Posted by: bree1972 | February 24, 2011

Waiting for Spring 2/25/2011

“A hush is over everything, Silent as women wait for love; The world is waiting for the spring.”  – Sara Teasdale


It’s been another busy, beautiful, “waiting for spring” week here at the ri’vah.  We seem to go from famine to feast in the activities department, and this week our plates have really been full. 

This beautiful yellow lab is Happy Jack, a nine year old bundle of pure, quivering joy. Happy Jack owns Marty, my new friend who has been Chief-in-Charge of Pet Therapy dogs in Albany, GA for many years. Bear and I visited with Happy Jack and Marty Monday at Phoebe Putney Hospital and Wednesday at Palmyra Nursing Home. At the nursing home (and everywhere else we visit that provides long-term care), Happy Jack has his own fan club - residents who have looked forward to seeing Happy Jack's smiling face every month for years. On the days we've visited that Happy Jack hasn't been with us, everyone's first question is, "Where's my Happy Jack?"


Looks just like Bear, doesn't it? But it's not! This is Belle, the only female therapy dog in our group. Belle is anaother "long-time" visitor, and at many of the places we visit, some of the residents call Bear "Belle". Belle and Bear are exactly the same color, but Belle is only about half Bear's size. They could easily be brother and sister. She is beautiful, sweet and loving, and she and Bear have taken a real liking to each other.

After visiting hospitals and assisted living homes, Wednesday was our first visit to a nursing home.  I’m definitely finding that both mine and Bear’s favorite visits are with senior citizens, which we can even do at the hospital because one of the floors we visit is the geriatric wing.  Bear, with his “velcro head”, is really becoming a big hit for those confined to wheel chairs.  He found two little ladies sitting side by side Wednesday at the nursing home, and I thought between the two of them they would probably rub every hair he had off his head.  He just settled his head into one of their laps, soaked up the caresses for two or three minutes, then moved over one chair for more of the same.  The two ladies were delighted and had the best time laughing and vying for his attention.  After a while, I had to drag Bear away to meet others who were waiting, but we had to promise to come back to those two before we left – which we did.

The most poignant moments happen at those visits also.  One little lady, who could not have weighed more than 75 lbs.  followed us with her eyes as we slowly made our way down the row of wheel chairs in the day room on Wednesday.  This is a big nursing home, and there must have been 35-40 residents who had gathered for “dog petting day”.  When we got to her chair, I asked if she wanted to pet Bear.  Her beautiful pale blue eyes looked into mine, and I realized she probably could not hear me.  I patted her leg (Bear’s cue to put his head down), and he placed that big head in her lap.  Then I took her hand and placed it on top of his head.  She looked down with the sweetest smile and gently rubbed his head with fingers gnarled by time.  I truly could have just stayed right there for the rest of the visit.

Another special moment was with Happy Jack.  A therapist had been trying to access the sight of one of the patients, a 92-year old WW II veteran.  With Happy Jack at the left side of the gentleman’s wheel chair, it was evident he could see the dog.  Marty then led Happy Jack to the right side of the chair.  At first it was evident that the  old soldier didn’t see the dog there.  But when the therapist placed the man’s hand on the dog’s head, he suddenly “focused” on Happy Jack and said, “Ah, there he is!”  The therapist was delighted to have it confirmed that he could indeed “see” from both eyes.

Every visit is different, and we are loving it.  Bear continues to balk at getting in the car at home, but once he arrives in Albany, he is all business and loving it.  Getting him into the car to come home is a breeze.

Signs of spring are everywhere here in our yard, and I’m so afraid we are going to have another hard freeze to top off the winter, killing all the tender young growth that is appearing everywhere.

The variegated hydrangea next to our shed is budding like crazy. It's always the very first bush to show signs of awakening . . .


. . . and the daylilies are pushing through the pinestraw, seeking the warm sun.  In June, July, and August they will set the flowerbed at the front of the house aglow with their bright yellow blooms. I’ve got to remember to ask Dawn to drive over one day in June and take pics of them to email me in Michigan.  I miss seeing them in all their glory.

 Another spring first appeared this afternoon . . .

Lady Liberty, the State Park dinner boat, was out on its 2011 maiden voyage, with a rolicking group of partiers. We could hear the music and people laughing and talking all the way over to our yard.

Other news:

  • As you already know, if you’ve been checking the link to Blair’s Travel Blog to India, she has not been able to post.  She has it all ready, loaded with photos, and everytime she hits “publish”, an error message comes up.  She will continue to try, but it’s looking really iffy right now.  I promise I will post some of her photos when she returns –  if she doesn’t get it going.  So far she has been to Bangalore, Mumbai, and this morning (her birthday) arrived in Delhi and was presented a beautiful flower lei by her group of travelers.  We have Skyped once, and she and Jason have Skyped every night.  Jet lag hit four days in, and she is running on sheer adrenaline at the moment.  Just before they leave, they are taking a day off to visit the Taj Mahal.  I can’t wait to see her photographs!
  • I’ve been praying hard for a good report from my dermatologist today.   Having had a basal cell skin cancer removed from my leg several years ago, I’m always on the alert for skin changes, and a couple of weeks ago discovered a spot just inside my hairline at my forehead that scared me.  It looked nothing like the basal cell.  This one was brown, irregularly shaped, and hard.  I had my appointment made in a flash, and my doctor pronounced it a simple  benign “something that I can’t spell, pronounce, or remember the name of”.  All that mattered were the words, “nothing to worry about”.  Thank you, Lord.
  • Dudley (my sleep apnea mask) and I are sleeping better together.  I usually throw him out of bed around 4:30 a.m., but I’m hoping to eventually make it an all-nighter.  My energy level is ramping up daily, I’ve only taken two daytime naps since beginning to sleep with Dudley, and instead of constantly wanting to sit down and do nothing, I find myself hunting projects around the house to keep me occupied.  I would still prefer to have only Ted as my sleeping partner, but with the benefits Dudley is providing, it looks like there will be three of us in the bed from now on (or four – with Maddie; and sometimes five – with Bear).  Oh heck, it’s a bed FULL!
  • FUN!  My friend Samille is hand painting wine glasses!  I asked for one with a fish on both sides, and here it is:


Anyone interested in ordering custom-painted glasses can contact me at, and I will put you in touch with Samille. She also does lettering on the glasses, and is working on a "Boogerette" glass for me.

That’s the week from the ri’vah.  Have a wonderul, wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.  For my northern friends, I am praying for NO MORE SNOW and some warmer temperatures for ya’ll.  Where spring is right around the corner for us, it seems the north has a little more waiting to do.

God bless.



  1. Thank you Bree for your beautiful sping flowers that you shared with us today. We are digging out of 6.5 inches of snow this morning in the Toledo area. On Monday we had a horrible ice storm with the motels full of people who lost their heat. (some still do not have electricity restored) Your flowers remind us that spring is just twenty-some days away. Have a blessed weekend.

  2. So nice to see some green……….we have a LOT of snow on the ground now (again). We just got rid of the last batch and as soon as we could see the ground, we had another storm.

    The dogs look so regal! Glad you are both enjoying your mission.

    Hang in there with Dudley! Pretty soon you won’t even notice him.

  3. oh brenda, we want more snow on the island. it is all going south of us, and it is too early to not be able to run our sleds. our feet are getting sore from doing snow dances.

    • I know, Marsha! Mackinac Island is having another winter of not much snow, but maybe a LITTLE more than last year. Those “less snow” comments were for friends in lower Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, who have really been hit hard this winter. Lifting up “MORE snow” prayers for the island, and maybe I’ll get out in the backyard and do a litte southern “snow dance” too! THAT should entertain everyone putting their boats in at the park next door LOL!

  4. Hi Brenda,
    Whew! We escaped getting dumped on here in Niles. A little rain, a little ice, and just a little over 3 inches. South and east of us–Wham! It was weird as I watched the radar. The clouds came in as rain, hit Lake Michigan and turned to ice, hit the coast and turned to snow.

    There were blue skies for quite a while this morning and now bleh–more snow on the way. We’ve had over 100 inches now. The Lake Michigan water basin is low, so that’s one way of refilling it. 🙂 Bury us!
    I love the dog therapy sessions and how you describe them. So sweet. Do you ever have anyone who refuses to pet the puppies?
    I have a lump on my forehead. I asked the doctor what is was so he took an x-ray. He said it was bone–so I was either turning in to a rhinoceros or a unicorn, and I could take my pick. Nice man. 🙂 But that could explain a lot of my problems–no– I’ll think just blame them on Dave and his Dudley. Hee hee. Can’t wait for summer!

    • Yes, Doris, there are usually several who don’t want to pet the dogs. Some are afraid, and even though we try to explain that these dogs are trained and have to pass an extensive “entrance exam”, some fears are just buried too deep. The saddest ones are those who are afraid of dogs, but still want to come down to just ‘look’ at them. I know better than to force the issue, but some of them I think could be won over if they’d ever just once touch the dogs and feel that soft fur under their hands. P.S. I think I’d go with the unicorn image!

  5. I loved your post about the visit at the nursing home w/the woman who couldnt hear. That brought tears to my eyes. You and Bear are blessed to do this.

    Glad you & Dudley (love the nic) are getting along better. I believe this path may be in my future…. I’m intrigued by your burst of energy!

  6. What wonderful therapy dog stories! I’m all teary-eyed. Makes me want to go out and get a golden or a lab, just to do that! My little Katie-girl (a sheltie) is too shy…but maybe when she gets older…

    Love that you’re getting signs of spring. My family in Alabama say they are picking daffodils. So unfair, while we dig out yet again from the latest snow. But our time will come!

    Glad you have Dudley too…I know…it’s a pain…but you’ll be better for having Dudley in your life!

  7. I would be glad to take picture for you in June and send it to you, but I might want to deliver it in person.

    • THAT is a wonderful idea, but I thought ya’ll weren’t coming until August! But I guess I could wait till August to see my daylilies!

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