Wordless Wednesday: A Note to Summer

Is it the heat? Is it the humidity? Is it the blazing sun? How do you feel about summer?

Thank you to our friends at BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

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Pet Therapy: Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles

In many ways, my human mommy/blogging assistant and I are a team. We do our best teamwork when we’re bringing love and leaving smiles for the Visiting Pet Program. We started the process of becoming a pet therapy team about two years ago. Because most of our work would be done in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, our initial evaluation simulated what we would experience during our visits: a raucous round of bingo, walkers and wheelchairs navigating hallways, slightly-less-than-gentle petting, unexpected loud noises. My manners were perfect, I handled each step of the evaluation beautifully, and we moved on to our probationary visits. During three months of probationary visits, we were paired with human buddies (senior members of the Visiting Pet Program) who watched as we met with the residents at several different nursing homes. And then in December 2015, my human mommy and I became a full-fledged pet therapy team for the Visiting Pet Program.

Mommy and I do our regular monthly visits at a place called Colonial Oaks Living Center. We spend about an hour going from room to room to see our friends. They love telling us about all the dogs they’ve had through the years. I love being petted and told how pretty and sweet I am. It can be kind of exhausting, so sometimes I lie down and take a quick nap. No one seems to mind. In fact, I think my little naps are somehow comforting to my friends.

We also do special visits. Mommy and I have been to a summer camp at the Lighthouse for the Blind. I was a big hit there. All the campers said I was super soft. A couple of months ago we visited Camp Tiger, a free camp for children who are physically and/or mentally challenged organized by the LSU Health Sciences Center and staffed by medical school students. Last fall, we attended the blessing of the animals at Christ Church Cathedral.

Tallulah and my human daddy joined us at that visit . . . unofficially, of course. The humans thought Tallulah could use a little blessing. Turns out an exorcism might have been more appropriate at that point in her life. My little sister has calmed down a lot since then, and one day I think she’ll make an excellent therapy dog . . . but not yet.

Back to the real team. Our favorite visits are the ones that we do with university students before they take big tests. We’ve helped students at Loyola University relax before finals and calmed the nerves of physical therapy students in the LSU School of Allied Health Professions. Most of our university visits have been with the students at Tulane University School of Medicine.

They have two really important tests each year. There’s a lot of pressure, and they can get pretty stressed out. You should have seen this group when they walked into the room where we were meeting: eyes focused on the ground, shoulders hunched, fists clenched. Within five minutes we were all on the ground. They were petting and hugging me, laughing, sharing photos of their dogs back home, and snapping selfies with yours truly. It felt good to bring a little love their way, and I definitely left some super big smiles. Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you have a great time. And I hope you remember to bring love and leave smiles. Cheers!

 


Fancy Fences

Isn’t it wonderful when humans take something perfectly ordinary and make it amazingly extraordinary? Like when they dip your plain old dog treat in some yummy canned food? Or when they drop ice cubes in your water bowl?

My human mommy/blogging assistant and I walk every morning. I’m a creature of habit, so we usually take the same two or three basic routes. It gets a little boring for Mommy. Not for me, you understand, because the smells are always different, always enlightening, and always fabulous. But Mommy’s sense of smell isn’t quite as advanced as mine. Therefore, we’re always on the lookout for something extraordinary on our ordinary daily walks.

We recently found a couple of fancy fences in our neighborhood. How wonderful that our neighbors have taken the time to transform something so very ordinary into something extraordinary for us to enjoy. So, as we enter the long holiday weekend, I hope you’ll take the time to look for the extraordinary in all the ordinary around you . . . and let me know what you find. Cheers!


Pawing It Forward

Remember when I told you about all the stuff that filled our chariot on the road to BlogPaws 2017? Well, on the way home, we had to find a little additional room for these huge duffle bags overflowing with all kinds of fabulous swag. Everyone attending the BlogPaws conference received a swag bag of goodies specifically selected for dogs, cats, or both. Because both of my humans were officially registered, Tallulah and I came home with two bags . . . filled with dog items, of course.

Those two bags sat on top of the dryer in our laundry room for way too long several weeks, until Mommy finally let us dig in.

Wow, the haul was somewhat overwhelming. We’ve set aside a few things that we think you might like to know about. Look for more on that in the next couple of months . . .

. . . but Mommy and I delivered most of the items to our friends at Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO). ARNO is a nonprofit, grassroots, volunteer organization founded after Hurricane Katrina. ARNO operates a no-kill triage shelter and has found homes for more than 8,300 companion animals. We can’t think of a better place to paw the BlogPaws love forward.

We also delivered a bag of super yummy and healthy food from The Naked Dog. Here’s a little background info from The Naked Dog website:

In 2014, Marco and Bere Giannini started The Naked Dog with the mission of helping pet parents access only the healthiest products for their pets. Within the next three years, The Naked Dog family grew to 11 retail locations in Southern California and built a group of pet parents dedicated to their grain-free, gluten-free in-house pet food and treat brand, Naked. In 2017, The Naked Dog Box was founded to help broaden the reach of this healthy mission, allowing pet parents across the nation to get Naked with its bi-monthly pet food subscription service. Marco, Bere, and the whole Naked Dog family are proud to have kept their Naked Promise: higher quality pet food and fair prices, available to all.

My friend Emma from My GBGV Life wrote an excellent review of The Naked Dog food and subscription service. I hope you’ll click here to read more. As you can see from the picture above, Tallulah was a little unsure about parting with The Naked Dog food, but I explained to her that the dogs at ARNO would really, really appreciate the donation. I think she understood.

BlogPaws is all about sharing the love and improving the lives of animals. I’m so happy that I could paw it forward by delivering treats, toys, and food to the dogs at Animal Rescue New Orleans. Even with my new shades, I see a bright and shiny future for my shelter friends.


Birthday Brunch for The Bee

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.


Play Ball!

Last Thursday, my little sister and I joined our humans at the Shrine on Airline to watch the New Orleans Baby Cakes minor-league baseball team take on the Iowa Cubs, an affiliate of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The Baby Cakes host Dog Day at each of their Thursday-evening games. Every Thursday also happens to be Thirsty Thursday with $2 12-ounce domestic drafts, which comes in very handy for all the humans who are stressed about ensuring that their four-legged family members behave themselves for nine innings.

Technically, this wasn’t my first time at the ballpark. I concluded last year’s A to Z Challenge with a trip to Zephyr Field, as it was known them, but I only got to see the outside that day. (You can click here to read that post.) And back then, our Triple A Miami Marlins affiliate team was called the Zephyrs. Then they had a big contest to change the name and, in a bit of a controversial move, they became the Baby Cakes. It’s a play on our Mardi Gras tradition of placing a little plastic baby in our king cakes, but it’s a little odd because no one ever says “baby cakes” around here. Nevertheless, the new name has grown on us and the logo is pretty fabulous, so we’ll give our hometown team a pass. But I digress. Back to the game.

Humans and their canines have the option of enjoying the game from two different locations. Most of us sat beyond the outfield in an area of the ballpark called the levee. The nice people with the Baby Cakes set up water bowls and kiddy pools for the pups to enjoy, and there’s plenty of room to stretch your legs . . . all four of them.

Dogs are also invited to join their humans in certain sections of the stands along the first base side of the ballpark. We decided that Tallulah probably wasn’t quite ready for that level of sophistication, but we did stop by to enjoy the view.

And speaking of Tallulah, her mind tended to wander during the game. She was far more interested in the dogs around us and the hotdogs and Cracker Jacks their humans were enjoying than she was in the action on the diamond.

My big round eyes, on the other hand, were glued to the game . . .

. . . except for when I dosed off briefly. Turns out baseball is pretty conducive to napping.

My humans, Tallulah, and I say cheers to the Baby Cakes. We had a fantastic time and our hometown team won the evening we were there. We definitely plan on attending another Thursday evening Dog Day game this season. Here’s hoping we catch a homerun ball or at least have a little taste of a hot dog on our next visit.

Have you ever gotten to join your humans at a sporting event in your hometown?


Wordless Wednesday: See Ya Later . . .

. . . alligator!

Thank you to our friends at BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

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