My Special Day with Bashful

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Late last week, my human mommy helped my rockin’ friend Bashful pack his bags and head home after an eventful stay in my hometown of New Orleans. He had quite a visit. Between a Pelicans basketball game, gumbo and brass bands, and laundry and red beans and rice, it seems Bashful was always on the go with my humans . . . and he was always eating. He may need some new clothes (one size up) when he gets home. Before Bashful traveled back to Bacon and the Hotel Thompson, I got to spend a very special day with my new little friend.

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We were up bright and early last Wednesday and in the car for a road trip. Bashful called shotgun.

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Before I knew it (maybe because I slept for most of the trip), Bashful and I had arrived at our destination: the Small Animal Clinic of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine where I do rehab for my hip and elbow dysplasia. (You can click here to read more about my special joints and the rehab I do.)

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I sent Bashful off with Mommy to run a few errands while I did my workout. The pre-Christmas Baton Rouge traffic was even more horrific than usual. I want to apologize to Bashful for any words he might have heard as he and my human mommy attempted to traverse the city as quickly as possible.

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I sensed some slight traffic-related tension when Bashful and Mommy returned to the vet school to pick me up, so we all spent some chill time in the Serenity Garden with its beautiful fountain before heading back to New Orleans.

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When we returned home, my little sister Tallulah Bee was still at Camp Bow Wow, which meant that the fabulous piggy toy that arrived with Bashful could come out to play. (Tallulah is a bit rough with toys, so they tend to run off and hide in a special cabinet when she’s around. When Tallulah goes to camp, the toys know that it’s safe to come out and play with me.) Bashful and I had had a pretty eventful day already, so after just a very short play time we were fast asleep.

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We had a message from the Hotel Thompson that Bashful arrived safely at home Sunday afternoon . . . and he didn’t arrive alone. Seems Bashful is quite the ladies man and he brought his new friend Lola from Nola back to Georgia. At this point, I’m going to leave you in suspense so that Bacon can introduce you to Lola when he’s ready. Patience, my friends. 😉


Rerun: Wall Art, Literally

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That’s right. My human mommy/blogging assistant is still away. I wonder if she’s forgotten about me. Never! She’ll be back, but until then I think we should revisit some of the beautiful public art in my hometown. I sure wish we could revisit the beautiful winter day when we went to these sites. It’s getting a little hot in South Louisiana. Anyway, Mommy says that a lot of new wall art has popped up since this blog post first appeared and that we’re going to show it to you soon. I think a cool autumn day will be soon enough . . .

Last weekend my humans and I set out in search of Baton Rouge wall art–literally, murals that have been created on exterior walls. Boy did we find a lot of it. My human mommy was inspired by a news story about one of our newest BREC parks, Convention Street Park, which was dedicated late last year. The downtown park includes a 90-foot mural (technically, it is a mobile mural because it’s on canvas and attached to a wall).

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The mural was painted by artists Alex Harvie and T.J. Black as part of the BR Walls Project. This section depicts a downtown neighborhood called Spanish Town, the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge, which is famous for its Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade and ball . . . and pink flamingos. It’s a long story. I don’t know about you, but I think I look pretty good flanked by two pink flamingos.

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We stopped at two other BR Walls Project murals while we were downtown. The one above was painted by Joseph Konert on the outside of Harrington’s Cafe. It blends the grace of a swarm of butterflies and the expansive calm of the aurora borealis (you just have to trust me on that, or you can click here for a link to the BR Walls Project to see close-up photographs).

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This one was painted by artists Saliha Staib and Clark Derbes on an exterior wall of a building that houses the McGlynn, Glisson & Mouton, LLP law firm. It’s called “Cinq Umbre” and consists of multi-colored quadrangles. I think it even manages to make a dull parking lot look interesting.

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Our next stop was in Old South Baton Rouge, just outside of the downtown area. This mural is on an exterior wall of the old Habitat Imports building about a block off of a fairly main street in my hometown. My mommy and I pass it every other week on our way to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, where I do physical therapy for my hip and elbow dysplasia. We’ve admired this very large mural from afar, but we were completely blown away when we saw it up close. This was the first mural completed by the Museum of Public Art. I absolutely insist (as only a Golden Retriever can) that you click here so that you can see the entire mural.

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This mural is called “Tribute to the Old School New York Graffiti Artists” and it’s another collaboration. New York City graffiti writers James Top, King Bee, and Part One tagged the top of the wall, which depicts the side of a subway train. Dr. Kevin Harris, who created the Museum of Public Art, painted the bottom portion, which depicts the train trestles and graffiti on the walls of the station. It really is an amazing work of art that is accessible to thousands and thousands of people every day, day after day.

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As we continued to travel away from downtown Baton Rouge, we passed through an area known as Mid City. Mid City has its own share of wall art. The photo above is of a section of a mural painted on the side of a vacant building. It was so realistic, I thought I could smell the cheese in the little shop behind me.

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The mural above is on the side of the Jambalaya Shoppe. Do you feel like you’re in the South Louisiana swamp? I wonder if those ‘gators are having any luck with those fishing poles.

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These last two murals are on either side of the building that houses Denicola’s Furniture & Upholstery.

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I am so glad that my mommy decided that my human daddy and I should join her in a quest to find wall art throughout Baton Rouge. I have no doubt that we have only touched the surface of our city’s public art offerings . . . and that you and I will be seeing more in the future.


“Celebrating” the Fifth Season

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Where I live, we’re preparing for our fifth season. We have spring and summer and fall and winter just like the rest of you. But here in South Louisiana, we also have a “bonus” season. It’s called Hurricane Season. It started June 1, and we don’t like it one little bit.

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A hurricane named Gustav did this to my back yard in 2008. Fortunately, that was before my time, but my humans still talk about (or should I say complain about) clearing this 75-foot pine tree and living without electricity in stifling heat for two weeks. I was around in 2012 for another storm named Isaac. By the time Isaac knocked on our door, he was just a strong tropical storm, but we still lost power for almost a week. Let me tell you, being a Golden Retriever in hot and humid South Louisiana without air conditioning is not fun.

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That’s why I’m so happy that my humans found this battery-operated fan for me. Of all the hurricane supplies we have in our hurricane-supply storage bin, I think this is the single most important.

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It’s crucial for humans living in areas affected by hurricanes to plan and prepare. You can click here for some valuable tips from the National Hurricane Center. And please don’t forget about your pets. Click here for disaster preparation plans from my friends at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. As for me, I have my plan all set. I’m keeping my paws crossed that we make it through November 30–the final day of the fifth season–without having to pull out my battery-operated fan. But if the fan does have to come out, I plan on plopping myself right in front of it, enjoying the refreshing breeze, and channeling my inner Beyoncé.


Harper Lee from A to Z: X is for X-RAYS

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For the first time in her life, my human mommy is happy that I have x-rays . . . otherwise, what in the world would we have done for the letter X in today’s installment of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?

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I now present to you x-rays of me. I am not a veterinarian, so I have absolutely no idea what specific parts of me these x-rays show. Here’s what I do know: A little more than three months before my first birthday, my humans thought that my hips might be a little “funny.” So off we went to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine where I received a very thorough examination, which included these x-rays. The x-rays showed that I have hip and elbow dysplasia. (I already told you about my hips and elbows in J is for JOINTS, so I won’t go on and on about that again, but you can click here if you want to refresh your memory.) That was more than four years ago. Maybe one day I’ll get a new set of x-rays, but for now I am doing well. I’m just happy that I have these to share with you, and now you’ve had an x-ray vision of me!

Cover of the book showing title in white letters against a black background in a banner above a painting of a portion of a tree against a red background

Photo from Wikipedia

Today I would like to wish the real Miss Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, a very happy 88th birthday. It is a true honor to be named after such a talented lady.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. See you tomorrow!

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Harper Lee from A to Z: C is for CHARIOT

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I know exactly what you’re thinking right now: Miss Harper Lee, that’s just a car. I must respectfully disagree. This is my chariot, and it takes me to the most fabulous places: weekends in New Orleans and St. Francisville, walks around beautiful parks, visits with my human grandparents in Texas, trips to the LSU Vet School for rehab (the kind I do for my hips and elbows, not the Lindsay Lohan kind). Once I even traveled in my chariot to visit Santa Claus. Tomorrow you’ll get to see another place my chariot takes me. But do you want to know the best thing about my chariot? It comes with another C word: chauffeurs!

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. See you tomorrow!

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Are You Ready for Some Football?

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You probably already know that I am a huge fan of Louisiana State University, not only Tiger athletics but also the academics and the school’s history and traditions. I have taken you on a tour of the lovely LSU campus and I have told you all about the treatment that I receive for my elbow and hip dysplasia at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. And I dedicated my second blog post ever (almost one year ago now) to LSU Tiger football.

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Well, friends, it’s been a very long time since last New Year’s Eve when I watched in horror as my Fighting Tigers fell in defeat to the wanna-be-Tigers of Clemson at the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Not the happiest way to end a season. But all that misery ends tonight and hope once again springs eternal when the LSU Tigers take on the TCU Horned Frogs in the House that Jerry Built. My humans have been preparing for the game for two days–and by “preparing” I mean indulging in adult beverages, eating special gameday food, raising the new LSU flag, and selecting the perfect (and hopefully luckiest) clothes to wear.

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All of this game prep has been nothing short of exhausting, and the game doesn’t even start until 8 o’clock tonight. So I think I’ll just put my head down on this pillow and take a little nap. Because in a few hours when the clock strikes eight and the LSU Fighting Tigers rush the field behind Head Coach Les Miles and the Golden Band from Tigerland strikes the most famous four notes in all of college football, a new season begins. The slight disappointments of last year will fade away, and all things will be possible. I am more than ready for some football. Geaux Tigers!


My Happy Hips and Elbows

No, this is not an endorsement of another favorite treat (although I am a huge fan of Happy Hips). This is a story about my very special hips and elbows.

A few months before my first birthday, my humans noticed that I wasn’t quite “right.” When I ran across my yard, I did a little bunny hop. Sometimes when I tried to stand up, I had a bit of a struggle. And when I sat, I tended to lean over on my hip. The picture above was taken that winter, during one of our rare South Louisiana snows.

My veterinarian at the time referred me to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. At the vet school, I received a full (and I do mean full) examination by one of the professors, a resident, an intern, and a senior student. Through their examinations and radiographs, they determined that I have dysplasia of my elbows and hips. Their report included this sentence: “While we know that Harper Lee’s hip arthritis will progress with time, we cannot predict if her clinical signs will worsen.”

This was all very hard for my humans to hear as they held a Golden Retriever puppy who had not yet celebrated her first birthday. But they were encouraged. Rather than recommending immediate surgery, the report suggested a conservative therapy: non-steroidal anti-inflamatory medication, controlled activity, and weight control. The veterinarians and future veterinarians said that I should receive regular exercise, including walks and swimming (I am still waiting for my humans to put that pool in the back yard!). They said that running, jumping, and rough playing should be avoided to prevent excess strain on my joints. I think my human daddy was a little disappointed that I would not be joining him on his marathon training runs, but my human mommy was happy that she would have a daily walking companion.

They also suggested that I should receive physical therapy through the vet school’s Companion Animal Rehabilitation Center. I started aquatherapy almost immediately. That’s me on the underwater treadmill, which allows me to build muscle and increase range of motion while decreasing stress on my joints. Our local public radio station did a story about my therapy. You can click here to listen to the story or read more. There’s even a YouTube video of me on the treadmill (don’t blink or you’ll miss it!). When I first started rehab (my human mommy always points out that it’s not like Lindsay Lohan’s rehab), I went twice a week. I improved so much that my visits were cut to once a week, and now I only go every other week.

So you can imagine that my humans were a bit alarmed (to say the least) when they noticed me favoring my right front leg earlier this week. They immediately got me in to see my “primary care veterinarian” at Jefferson Animal Hospital. (My late sister, Lexi, and I started going there shortly after my first visit to the LSU vet school, and I’m so happy we did.) My veterinarian characterized my limp as a flare-up of a chronic condition. His recommended treatment included laser therapy, which I started immediately at the clinic.

I had my second laser treatment yesterday, and I’m responding extremely well. It’s really quite enjoyable (probably more so when my human mommy isn’t there with that camera in my face). I go into a nice, quiet room with a big, fluffy dog bed. While one lady holds me (I like that) another shines a warm light (that’s the laser) all around my elbow. In about 15 minutes, I’m finished. You can click here to read more about Companion Therapy Laser.

That’s the current story of my happy hips and elbows. As I approach my fourth birthday in March, I am doing quite well. I enjoy my morning walks, and now that the weather is getting cooler here I’ll probably start working in an afternoon walk each day. To lessen the stress on my joints, I have been advised to control my weight, but that’s not a problem for me (don’t you just hate blondes who say that?). I take a daily dose of Dasuquin (a joint health supplement) with fish oil tablets (which studies have shown may increase the effects of the Dasuquin; if nothing else, it keeps my golden coat beautiful). Every other week, I do my aquatherapy at the LSU vet school, and now I know that the laser therapy at Jefferson Animal Hospital will also help to keep my joints healthy . . . hopefully for a long, long time.

This has been a long and somewhat serious post for me, but I thought it was important to share this information. I know that I am very, very fortunate to have the brillaint minds, cutting-edge resources, and caring people at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and Jefferson Animal Hospital. Those are certianly two of my favorite places. My humans and I realize that my special joints will be a lifelong challenge, but when they see me sitting in happy hips position (like in the photo above), they feel very good about my future.