Very young children love to be read to and shown pictures…especially of animals. If there is a pet in the home or the family takes trips to the great outdoors, animals are always in the mix.
Our family dogs and cats give us love and attention and love is mostly what they crave …next to a big bowl of food.
All animals, domesticated or wild, feel better when they have a full tummy.
Food changes all moods…human and otherwise. This led me to think about how animal books could teach very young children how to behave. Parents, you will like this first in a series on “animal lessons” as you try to feed, put to bed or teach sharing with your child.
Here is my newest book for a little one that you may know…The Moody Musical Cat.
It wasn’t food that changed his behavior, but music. Surprise! Surprise!
There are some times of the year that are fascinating not only to the young at heart, small children, but to our furry friends.
This Christmas music is dedicated to them…with all our love!
Slide presentation: A special dedication to our military and their dogs
For your listening pleasure!
Turn up sound (Favorite Christmas music with the Hallelujah Chorus)
This was the 150th year since the Golden Retriever became one of the best and most loved dogs on the planet. They are gentle, trainable and great with children. They also serve as comfort dogs… going to visit hospitals and the elderly who are made happier because they come to be loved and adored. Many of them worked hours in rescue during 9-11 and in other emergencies. They are simply the best.
It seemed a fitting time to blog about our own most loved Golden Retriever, Gracie, who was with us for 14 years. She would have loved the romp with 361 other dogs…if she was still alive and we could have made the trip to Scotland. Well, we don’t know how Lord Tweedmouth did it when he founded this breed…but we are certainly happy he did!
What was this all about in Scotland?
“The Golden Retriever Club of Scotland hosted a “Guisachan Golden Gathering” to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Golden Retriever breed.
It is believed that the breed was first created at the Guisachan House in 1868 after a breeding experiment by Lord Tweedmouth. According to Friends of Guisachan, the breed began by breeding a Wavy-coated Retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel. On Thursday, (July 19, 2018) 361 golden retrievers gathered in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate the special anniversary.” (Taken from Sunny Skyz)
We have all heard the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas”, but what if some of the people you love will not be there? What if you were not invited to be with your family members in some other location? You may have a family member in the military that is far away and the thing he or she would like most is to be with family, but it is impossible. The song mentioned above is a heartbreak song for many.
There also may be family members who don’t want to share Christmas with you and have made that choice. It is never easy to come to the realization that someone does not want to be with you on one of the most special times of the year…especially for Christians. The question is…How does One deal with a reality at this time of year…or anytime, for that matter?
We really have one of two choices. It can be to let our emotions and disappointment weigh us down OR turn our directions toward a time of thankfulness for all the other blessings that we have.
First, look around you. Do you have other family members who are excited to be with you? Lavish them with your love…for they have not turned away. Do you have a roof over your head and food on the table? Rest in your most comfortable chair and eat with gratefulness. When the old, dark thoughts begin to come back and cloud your day, refuse them and look at the stars or the beautiful trees outside and realize that this life is too short to spend it in mourning…especially things that you can’t change.
Take someone by the hand and give them this message:
For us here in Florida, it may be down by the lake or through a green park, looking at the winter flowers.
Decorate a tree or a bush outside. Turn on some cheerful Christmas music…sacred or otherwise. I never knew how anyone could come up with lyrics like “Grandmother got run over by a reindeer”…but maybe it is good to chuckle and then shake your head because we would never say something like that about our Grandmother.
Give your pet an extra pat on the head and a bone in his stocking. What, no stocking for your dog!? Find one. Our beautiful 14-year-old Golden Retriever passed away this year, but I still strung lights around her memorial garden and whispered to her beautiful spirit, “These lights are just for you, Gracie”. Surprisingly, a beautiful rose appeared on the bush above her little tombstone in the middle of winter.
If none of these spark your imagination or lift your spirits about missing family or friends, turn toward someone outside the family. The scriptures tell us something that we should be doing, not only at Christmas but always.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
My husband and I have been surprised on returning to Florida from Virginia, how many people around us are either recent widows or in the last few years have become widowers. We decided to visit them for a while to listen to their thoughts and feelings. One lady has just recently lost her husband and will be having Christmas lunch with us. I mention this to say that when we are feeling “blue” about family situations, it changes things when we reach out.
Don’t forget the different organizations that make it possible to help children who are in need. Recently a child had written to her teacher that he only wanted Santa to bring a ball, some food and added…”I need a blanket.” If that does not pull you out of doldrums, you may need to examine charities like Samaritan’s Purse that brings smiles to children around the world. ( See Operation Christmas Child..Samaritan’s Purse)
Christmas is not all about giving or getting. I recently told someone that if I would receive a letter from my children saying anything of appreciation for me as their Mother, THAT would be “the best Christmas present of all.” So often Christmas is hard on those who have had expenses throughout the year and the funds are just not there for presents of any kind. Kind words and thoughtfulness is only the cost of a 50 cent stamp.
I close with this thought, with the help of a little friend, on the real reason for the need to choose a better outlook on the season:
VIDEO Winchester Cathedral Choir (Turn up sound)
It seems that even our animals are not safe from the opioid crisis. Veterinarians are seeing more and more dog patients who are stricken because they are simply taking a walk with their unsuspecting owners over something that has been thrown to the ground.
Every dog owner knows that a dog will sniff anything and often ingest things left outside. This is a warning to all pet lovers that your animals may not be safe to walk around your neighborhood.
The careless acts of those with a terrible addiction, that has killed so many people in our country and the world, is not their first concern… for children, other adults or even animals. Neither is it for those who sell these opioids. No matter what kind of neighborhood you live in…BEWARE.
In the situation you are about to see on this video, it took the vet giving more than one dose of the chemical to reverse this almost fatal drug. BE VERY ALERT and watch everything that may be in the path…or off the path…while walking your dog. This would be the case whether on or off a leash. Often the leashes that allow a dog freedom to move out and away from their owner might not be the best choice. Something to think about.
WATCH THIS VIDEO AND ARTICLE (turn up sound) Wait for the 2nd video, after the first, to view the better video that shows the owner and the vet speaking.
Fourteen years ago, Gracie, our Golden Retriever, came to us as a tiny puppy. She was named Gracie Star of Venice, but we only called her “Gracie”. As her health declined in the last few years, we knew that someday we would have to let her go. Today is that day. Only those who have been loved by a pet unconditionally know our sense of loss.
This blog is to honor our gentle, sweet Gracie as she lived life to its fullest, loving everyone that she met. So many blessings to all of our family, neighbors and friends.
Prayer for Gracie Star of Venice
This we know, Our Father in Heaven, that every living thing is Yours and returns to You. As we ponder this mystery, we give you thanks for the life of Gracie and we now commit her into Your loving hands.
Gentle God: fragile is Your world, delicate are your creatures and costly is your love which bears and redeems us all.
Holy Creator, give us eyes to see and ears to hear how every living thing speaks to us of Your love. Let us be awestruck at your creation and daily sing Your praises. Especially, create within us a spirit of gratitude for the life of this beloved pet, Gracie, who has lived among us and given us freely of her love. Even in our sorrow, we have cause for joy for we know that all creatures that die on earth shall live again in your new creation. You have promised that in this new creation the lion will lay down with the lamb. We believe that sweet, gentle Gracie will be there to lay down also. Amen (parts taken from Prayers and Liturgies for Animals)
FRIEND TO ALL
We will miss you, Gracie.
Yesterday was National Dog Day in the U.S.A. We would like to honor our dog, Gracie, who has been the most wonderful dog one could ever imagine. Now, she is old…13 years old…not walking well, going blind and still trying to do her best to please us.
All dog owners will relate to this blog. We are also thankful to all dogs who love us and service so much in our communities. They helped find the victims of 9-11; train as service dogs to the disabled; give encouragement to the elderly in nursing homes and provide love and protection.
See the training of our security dogs video below. Thank you also to our police.
Anyone who has owned a golden retriever will tell you they are the sweetest, most gentle dogs imaginable. Today we are adding another attribute…patience.…even the patience of Job! I can remember when our Gracie would curl up on our back entrance with a neighbor cat named Patches. Patches, an adult cat, would wait for Gracie to come out and then very carefully tip toe her way between Gracie’s paws. Settling down very quietly and carefully, Patches was happy as could be with her best friend, our Golden.
Now you have to know a little about Gracie. She is 13 years old (that’s 91 in human years) and one would think that she might be a little difficult…not wanting to be bothered. Not, Gracie! She seemed very content to have this feline invade her space. She also is truly our “golden” dog for she has had two surgeries on her hind legs. Without the surgeries, she would not have been able to walk and a dog that weighs over 100 pounds could not be carried outside every time she needed to go. You get the picture…so we “bit the bullet”, so to speak. She was able to walk just fine and even went up steps.. Back to Patches… unfortunately, while we were gone on vacation, Patches disappeared and the neighbor did not know where she went. She liked to roam at night and we hope she was found by a friendly soul and not one of our great Florida hawks. Our Gracie is a real “senior dog” now and doesn’t climb steps anymore. She has to be lifted into our truck for the rides she loves to take. From room to room she follows either my husband or me. She never wants us out of her sight. Whether up in the mountains of VA or at home in FL, she makes herself at home.
A blessing beyond explaining…our Gracie.
The video you are going to see could be Gracie, even though it is not. This Golden has the same white face of an older dog and a Gracie look-alike in every way. Be ready to be touched by the patience exhibited by this kind dog…and one may say, “Why can’t people who are different get along as well?”
The Season of Lent and Easter is now passed, but I saw a video today that made me think about the transforming power of faith in Jesus Christ. Before we have this renewal of life through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are often pulling, tugging and trying to get away from surrendering to His love and guidance.
The video below is a perfect example of God’s care. We are fearful. He wants to rid us of all the dirt and infestation that makes us miserable. If we have been abused by people or abandoned by those who should have cared, He understands. We don’t understand the loving touch of God. We don’t know His intentions to transform us or what the outcome will be. This is why we either resist or delay or even hide from what He wants to do in our lives. He has a bigger plan for us. Not only does He want to bring peace and love into our lives, but an adoption into His family…the Christian family.
Take a look now and see if you see the remarkable parallel to us, as humans, and this pitiful little creature who found a new life.
Dogs have been called “Man’s best friend” (or women’s), but they are much more than that. So often we forget how intelligent they are. One thinks they don’t speak our language, but so often they understand exactly what we are saying. It may be that they hear a word or two and associate it with an activity that they have done before. Who really knows, but our dog can jump up and be ready to go even if we are spelling the words. Maybe it is in the tone of voice.
Dogs have been known throughout the world as “wild dogs”, “working dogs” and “domestic dogs”. They are able to be highly trained and often perform in circus shows and other events.
The downside is that when we find a dog with great traits, intelligence and temperament, they can be over-bred and inter-bred, ending up with many health issues. Which has been the case with Golden Retrievers that are probably the best companion dog in the world, with a temperament of “gold”. We always suggest families with small children consider the Golden Retriever when choosing a pet.
Meet our dog, Gracie…age 13 and loves everybody.
Having said all that, I have a question. Are you lacking a dance partner? Maybe this lady in the video below would rather have a good, intelligent, obedient dog as a dance partner any day. It appears that she found one…even if he does have four legs.
A dog show in Moscow…give it a moment to start.
Our dog rules…and dog lovers will know what I mean. If we put on shoes; pick up the car keys…and we don’t spell out such words as “truck, ride, go” etc….she will sit by the door as if to say, “There is no way you are going to leave me behind!”
On the other hand, if we say that really bad sentence to her… “Go get on your bed…we’ll be back”, she will obediently do that, but will never look at us even if we call her name. (pouting…I think they call it.)
A friend of ours sent this video clip, and just for fun…I thought I’d pass it along to my readers and especially those with dogs. Yes, they are not only man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but they are truly smart!
Playing by the pool on a hot summer’s day can have a few challenges, but this little guy got it all figured out. (Turn on your sound)
In the animal world, some are able to set aside their natural differences. Perhaps we humans could take a lesson from a blind and hard of hearing chocolate lab and a cat named “Pudicat”. It is well known that cats usually do not like dogs. I have seen this unusual situation even with my golden retriever, Gracie, and a neighbor cat…now deceased. Gracie would be laying outside the door and “Patches” would come up to her. Ever so gently, Patches would tip-toe between Gracie’s legs…maneuver a bit and lay down between Gracie’s paws. Gracie never tried to move her…or pull away. They would lay there for a very long time. Usually it was Patches who would get up and travel along her way.
In the video below, you’ll notice the words...vulnerable.…sensing….which says to us to be more keenly aware of the vulnerable around us…sense their needs and do something about it if we can…just like “Pudicat”.
Nothing can improve on the beauty of the earth and the creatures God has made. Relax and enjoy on this Sunday morning.
Enlarge screen for this excellent video by National Geographic
Sometimes people and animals just need someone to love them. This is the case with a boy in England and his three legged dog. Enough said.
To be kind is defined as benevolence, humanity, generosity, charity,sympathy, compassion, tenderness. One would think that it would be very easy to be kind. For some it is easier than for others. Usually we notice that a person is being kind, generous, compassionate when he/she goes out of his way to do something for another. It is amazing how much people also go out of their way to be belligerent, condescending, sarcastic, and even ruthless. Those who fit this description must go to bed each evening with very little happiness. There is joy in doing something for someone when we receive no credit or recognition. It is a little secret that we hide within our heart.
I remember when I was in college and had very little money for everyday spending. I went to my college mailbox and found a white envelope with my name on it. Inside was a $10 bill with a note…saying “something for one of God’s children”. That has been many years ago, but I have never forgotten it. Only God knows who sent it to me.
In the Holy Scriptures, Ephesians 4:32 tells us “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Why do we show kindness or compassion? It may be because there is a place in each heart, unless it has been hardened, that knows that we are blessed…and there is always someone else who has a life more difficult. We reach out because in the back of our minds we know that were we in the same place, we would hope someone would reach out to us.
We may be in the right place at the right time to see a heroic deed that goes beyond kindness. We call those people heroes. A kind person does not have a name…but the person or animal receiving that kindness will remember even if they don’t know a name.
Make this day a day to show your kindness to “one of God’s children…or small creature .”
Love comes in many forms. The love that is unconditional…but simply says, “I love you” with no special requirements is the best. It is not because of how you look. It is not because you can make me happy. It is not because you have so many talents. It is because you are who you are…nothing more.
I was touched by a video that demonstrates this kind of love. In this case, it is the love of a dog to a small child. “I just want to be near you” it seems to be saying. “You are small and I am big. You are human and I am animal. That doesn’t matter. There is something about you that I love. It makes me want to put my paw on you. It makes me want to roll over. It makes me think that you can love me too.”
Just a few more days to get everything done…shopping, cooking, traveling or cleaning for company! You know the routine!
Sometimes things are frustrating…and disturbing..and any amount of pushing and pulling does not help the situation…especially if one in the mix is extremely stubborn. In the end, one of the two may have to just give in and co-exist…or even cooperate. It may make things turn out better in the long-run….even at this busy holiday season.
In some cases, the giving in can have its rewards. It may even be time to relax and have a laugh. Take it from some dogs and cats that figured this out from a series by pet owners.
For your enjoyment.
Yesterday, I talked to a friend who had just gone to a spiritual retreat. Because he is a Hindu, what he was about to tell me made sense to him. He had gone to the “Hugging Woman ” from India, who makes tours around the world and simply hugs. It must have a definite effect on people or why would so many flock to see her?
ABC News carried an article on her with one interviewed person expressing it this way. “I’m not religious,” a 28-year-old banker tells me. “I saw her four years ago in Houston. Now, I just go to her every chance I get. She may be just an old woman who hugs. But there is some beauty in this. Maybe we have to appreciate our need to hug and be hugged — to care for each other.”
An article by Vivian H Ortiz and Sarah Hodd continues… “She is not selling salvation or offering physical healing or a chance at prosperity. Instead, Amma seems to have tapped into a deep and essential human need — the need for affection and the human touch. Some people, it is true, don’t get enough human contact.”
They may not have been held or hugged when they were babies or small children…and don’t know what to do with hugs as adults. My husband saw orphaned babies in Russia that did not get warm, close attention stand for hours in their cribs…rocking back and forth….as to make themselves feel something...anything. When I was in Ukraine, I visited a State orphanage and no amount of hugging would make those children smile. They simply were not used to it and did not relate to close human contact.
Too many hugs or over-eager huggers are not often accepted in the “American way” of life. We ,in general , like our distance. (unlike the Italians and others). At one of our favorite restaurants, the owner’s wife (who speaks very little English) comes around the tables and gives hugs…sometimes very big hugs…with her large bosom in close proximity to the faces of the customers. This is not to say that some don’t enjoy it! Nevertheless, it becomes a little far-reaching for the “not in my space” Americans.
There are definitely different types of hugs. I like what A.K. had to say on this subject.
“A hug kind of depends on how long it lasts : Just a quick and polite hug is just that, polite. Oh, and the patting on the back, that is definitely non-romantic. If he pats you on the back you might as well be his Aunt Liz.
A romantic hug will last just a little longer than it should and it will end when he leans back and puts both hands on your upper arms, just below your shoulders. That is the “oh baby” hug. If he does that, you’ve got him. He’s yours!
Very few first hugs will be a romantic hug though. If he is really interested, the first hug will be somewhere between “Aunt Liz” and “oh baby”. This one may end with him stepping back but leaving one arm around your waist or slightly rubbing your back vertically. This is the classic “whew, you are awesome, I can’t believe you let me hug you” hug. That’s when you look at him, smile slightly, and then look away. Powerful stuff!”
Even animals like to curl up and cuddle. We had a cat in our neighborhood climb between the paws of our Golden Retriever; curl up and just enjoy the closeness.
Nothing can take the place of the peaceful, relaxing, mothering hug that warms our heart. Hope someone has given you a special hug today…or you have given one. It will probably come back to you in some form.
Yesterday was a DOG DAY! I took our golden retriever, Gracie, to the vet to get some attention to a splotched, red belly and her itching. It seems she is allergic to everything. We call her our “GOLDEN” RETRIEVER for the vet bills would make anyone cry.
Dr. West said, “Going to give her a shot now…you go home…rub this medicate all over her belly…rinse…and then put this lotion on all the red spots.” So, out we go…get the hose…wash the belly and do all the above. The shot helps but Gracie, flapping her ears, gets us up around 2:00 am to drink…drink…drink…and go outside.
This wonderful girl of ours has a real plush DOG LIFE. She is truly our “baby” since all of our children are out of the nest. When our last “goldens” got cancer and passed away, Bill and I cried for days.
Who says it is a “DOG’S LIFE”….for she is one loved pup and when she looks in my eyes, I’m butter.
They are smart, loyal and loving.
Maybe that is why I get such a kick out of things like the following…which you will love if you like Swing Music and dogs…..
Just get “in the mood” and enjoy! (Click; turn on your sound (maybe really high!) and enlarge picture for best viewing. Swinging Dogs