Today we’re celebrating sweet Miss Harper Lee’s 11th birthday. Seven years ago (with a little help from her human mommy/blogging assistant), Harper Lee posted her first ever birthday blog. More birthday blogs followed in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Life got busy, as it sometimes does, and Harper Lee’s blogging assistant failed to share our celebration of Miss Lee’s 10th birthday in 2019. Rest assured, we had a fabulous time . . . including a weekend in the New Orleans French Quarter complete with a stay at the Ritz Carlton, where Miss Lee was quite the sensation.
While most ladies of a certain age might choose to slow down a bit, Harper Lee hit the road to her 11th birthday with a busy Visiting Pet Program (VPP) assisted therapy dog schedule. As a member of the MSY K9 KREWE, she brought smiles to travelers, employees, and flight crews at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
Through VPP’s Reading to Rover program, Harper Lee helped children at a local library learn to love books and reading and Golden Retrievers.
And once a month she shared her love with residents and staff at an area nursing home and patients, families, and staff at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. In June 2019, Harper Lee earned her AKC Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen titles and officially became Denham’s Harper Lee THD CGC.
Miss Lee even made an appearance on the Smoothie King Center big screen (lower right) before a New Orleans Pelicans basketball game. It was a busy year for our girl, so on December 31, 2019, she officially retired from therapy dog life. She’s spent the last few months enjoying her Golden years with leisurely neighborhood strolls, long naps on the lovely bed that the airport gave her as a retirement gift, and basically doing what she wants to so when she wants to do it.
With all of the ups, Harper Lee’s road to her 11th birthday also came with a few bumps. She’s battled some skin allergies and, much to her disgust, has had to endure fairly routine baths. On the bright side, she now gets to eat alligator kibble. Miss Lee highly recommends alligator kibble. She’s also had some pretty challenging UTI and bladder issues, but a battery of tests at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that little Miss Harper Lee is, overall, in fairly tremendous shape.
So today we celebrate the past 11 years of life with Harper Lee and we set out on the road to her 12th birthday celebration. The events around the world over the last few months have reinforced one certainty: Nothing is ever certain. We’ll cherish each and every moment along the way, and we will be forever grateful to all of you for joining.
Miss Harper Lee’s Family
A note from Miss Harper Lee’s humans . . .
We spent St. Patrick’s Day on Cloud Nine because today we celebrated Miss Harper Lee’s ninth birthday. We’re counting on a little luck of the Irish to bring us many more happy and healthy years with our sweet girl. Cheers to you, Miss Lee. You fill our home with joy and love and peace . . . and you mean more to us than we could ever express.
Last Saturday my little sister, Tallulah Bee, celebrated her second birthday. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Getting to her first birthday was a bit of a challenge at times. But that second year flew by. We marked The Bee’s birthday in typical New Orleans fashion with a big blowout brunch.
Shhhh . . . don’t tell my sister this . . . BrunchFest NOLA was actually a fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA, but Tallulah thinks the whole thing was just for her. Let’s just let her believe that. By the way, that little kitty behind us looks a little huge and terrifying. It’s not real, right?
Back to brunch. There were food and drink booths there for the humans and lots and lots of people to give us love and other dogs to give us kisses and sniffs.
Naturally we had to visit our friends at the Gulf South Golden Retriever Rescue tent.
And then we headed to Crescent Park’s big lawn for a little entertainment, which just happened to include a show by Mother Tucker’s Drag Queen, Inc. Drag shows are an integral element to many a New Orleans brunch, and Tallulah seemed to enjoy her first experience.
Tallulah still had plenty of birthday energy on the way home from brunch, so we made a little stop at my favorite New Orleans watering hole: The District. I was just happy for the nice cool floor. I guess that’s the difference between being two years old and being eight years old.
Our friends at The District even had balloons in celebration of The Bee’s birthday. (Again, this was simply a happy coincidence, but let’s just allow Tallulah to believe it was all for her.)
Judging from Tallulah’s post-birthday-brunch-bash nap, I’d say that the day was quite a huge success. My first two years as a big sister have been some of the best years of my life. Here’s to celebrating many, many more birthdays with my sweet little sister, Tallulah Bee.
A note from Harper Lee’s mommy . . .
Today is Miss Harper Lee’s eighth birthday. She and I celebrated a little earlier this week–just the two of us–with a visit to the edge of the Mississippi River. We watched the barges travel up and down the river, she watched the squirrels travel up and down the trees, and we reflected on eight great years.
I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing dog. She’s sweet and smart and eager to please, and she’s been all of those things every day since the first day her human daddy and I met her.
She has an amazing ability to connect with people. Through the Visiting Pet Program, she goes to nursing homes, universities, summer camps for children with special needs, and shelters for people forced from their homes by natural disasters. She immediately brings smiles to people’s faces. When they pet her, they all say the same thing: “She’s so soft.”
As much as I try to deny it, eight is sort of getting up there for a Golden Retriever. I have no idea how many more years we have ahead of us, but I do have a promise for my sweet girl: Your health and happiness will be my priority, and I will make every day an adventure filled with love.
Happy eighth birthday, Miss Harper Lee!
S is for streetcars and sisters. Today our tour of New Orleans takes a little detour. This is my sister Tallulah Bee’s first birthday. Woo hoo! So we’re throwing a NOLA-sized party . . . and in a city that’s known for partying, that’s a pretty big party. The pictures above were taken when Tallulah was about four months old. We were spending the afternoon in the Warehouse District (which is also called the Arts District) and Tallulah decided that she wanted to take a streetcar ride. Shhhh . . . don’t tell her that it’s just a bench made to look like the real thing. Streetcars in New Orleans date back to the 1830s, and at one time they ran from one end of the city to the other. (You can read more about New Orleans streetcar history by clicking here.) But buses began to overtake the streetcars in the 1960s and–with the exception of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar–the lines all but disappeared. Today the New Orleans streetcar is having a renaissance. There are several lines operating throughout New Orleans, with more lines being added. The streetcar (which is run by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority) is a great way to see New Orleans. You can buy a pass–called a Jazzy Pass–that allows you to take multiple trips on the streetcars (and buses) over a set number of days. Check out the streetcar lines and schedules here and click here for more information about Jazzy Passes.
Now back to my sister, Tallulah Bee. She looks like she’s ready to get this birthday party started, doesn’t she. (Or maybe she looks like she’s already been partying a little too much. It’s hard to tell.)
Because no birthday party is complete without a birthday cake, we joined our human mommy in the kitchen to do a little baking while our human daddy served as the official party photographer. As you can see, Tallulah is a little rule breaker. I know that feet are not allowed on the countertops, but sometimes she “forgets” this rule. We both know that licking the beaters is the best part of baking, and I will be the first to admit that Tallulah showed great restraint as Mommy decorated the cake.
And here’s the final product. Trust me, it didn’t look like this for very long. If you’re interested in the recipe for this dog-friendly cake (made with banana and peanut butter . . . yum!) and the dog-friendly icing, click here. I promise you it will be a hit!
So happy, happy first birthday sweet Tallulah Bee. You’re a little rule breaker, and sometimes you’re a whole lot of puppy and a really huge pest, but you’re a precious little girl with a heart of pure Golden love. We’re so happy that you’re a part of our family . . . and we wish for many, many, many more happy years to come. Love you, Tallulah Bee!
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Please click here for a link to the challenge homepage and a list of the bloggers who are participating.
A note from Miss Harper Lee’s Mommy . . .
Today my sweet Golden girl is celebrating her seventh birthday. She’s a St. Paddy’s Day pup, living in New Orleans’ Irish Channel neighborhood, and she’s seven wonderful years old. I’d say that’s all pretty lucky, wouldn’t you?
Where in the world have the years gone? It seems like just yesterday this tiny light-colored puppy was sitting by my side in the garden. I couldn’t possibly have asked for a better companion. I wish for at least seven more beautiful years, but I will take every single minute I can get.
So happy birthday to my sweet little Miss Harper Lee, and happy St. Patrick’s Day to her wonderful friends. You’re all a gift, and we are both so happy to “know” you!
Today is a big day, friends. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Humans far and wide will be wearing all kinds of funny green outfits and drinking all kinds of funny green drinks. Humans will look for any excuse to cut loose, right?
It’s also my birthday. My sixth birthday. My humans and I have absolutely no idea where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday that they drove out to the country to visit me for the first time . . . and I planted a huge kiss on my daddy’s face. That sealed the deal. My humans say that every single second they’ve spent with me has been pure joy, and I feel the same way. My face is getting a little grayer and I spend a little more time sleeping these days. Mommy says that just makes me even sweeter. Today we’ll join in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but we’ll also celebrate the last six years . . . special years . . . and we’ll hope that we’re lucky enough to enjoy many, many more.
In a little less than two months, I will be six years old. I think you can safely call me a middle-aged Golden Retriever now. When my human mommy looks into my eyes, she notices how white my lashes have gotten. When she kisses my ever-lightening nose, she sees how white my muzzle is. And as we enjoy our daily walks, she can’t help but look at the white hairs that are appearing along the ridge of my back. Time is passing far too quickly. I’ve done a lot in my five-plus years, but there’s still something big that I have yet to accomplish.
I have yet to learn a trick. That’s right, friends. I don’t know the first trick. Can’t shake. Can’t roll over. Can’t spin. Can’t do a high five. I can speak, but that’s usually when no one wants me to speak. You’ve heard of a One Trick Pony? Well, I’m a No Trick Pony.
Oh, I know all of my obedience commands. I ought to; I’ve been going to school since I was six months old. But when it comes to tricks, I’ve never shown any interest . . . as in no interest at all.
So my human mommy (in her infinite wisdom) has decided that I should attempt to learn six tricks by my sixth birthday. We have plenty of time to decide on which tricks to tackle and then to learn one per week leading up to the big day. Personally, I’d be happy just going out for a nice birthday dinner or enjoying a PetSmart shopping spree. But I have a feeling that I’m going to have to humor the human on this one.
What do you think, friends? Will Mommy be able to teach a middle-aged dog some new tricks?
And what tricks do you think I should learn?
Today–March 17, 2014–is my fifth birthday.
It seems like just yesterday that my humans and I met for the first time, and then a few weeks later I joined them in my new home. None of us had any idea at that point how much we would all love each other five years later.
When I blow out the candles on my birthday cake, I will wish for many, many, many more years . . . and I have a feeling my humans will be making the same wish.
This is the fourth and final entry in my series of Throwback Thursday photos leading up to my fifth birthday.
While the pictures for my first, second, and third birthdays were happy coincidences–my humans just happened to take a photo around the time that just happened to be my birthday–this photo was intentional. This is the one that started a tradition of Miss Harper Lee birthday photos, which my humans hope continues for a very long time to come.
This photo was taken in my back yard at almost exactly this time last year. The azaleas were in full bloom and the garden was beautiful. Butterflies, bees, and birds flew through the air. What a difference a year makes. This year, Mother Nature has been exceptionally cruel and Old Man Winter just refuses to go away. But that won’t stop the celebration.
As my humans look back through all four years of birthday photos, they notice that my face has gotten a little more white and my nose has gotten a little less black; but I still have my puppy smile and my beautiful bourbon-colored eyes. They’ve also been reminded of all the “firsts” we’ve shared, and they’ve started to dream about all the “firsts” to come.
While the weather may change from year to year, there is one thing that will always remain constant: my humans’ love for me and my love for them. What fun we’ll have when we celebrate that love on my fifth birthday, March 17, 2014.