So much to write about today, which means I’ve had a busy week. Let’s get started!
Book Update. I finished reading “My Name is Mary Sutter”, and it was awesome. I highly recommend it – IF you’re not turned off by graphic battlefield and hospital scenes. The story is really good, and “Mary” is a heroine you won’t soon forget. Next up on my reading list is the new Nora Roberts book, “The Next Always”, book one her Inn Boonesboro trilogy. After the Civil War saga of Mary Sutter, I needed something a little lighter this time, and Nora Roberts always delivers a good page-turner.
I love my readers! Thanks so much to those who emailed yesterday and this morning checking on us after the bad weather we had here in Georgia. I sat on the sun porch with Maddie and Bear and watched that front move in Wednesday afternoon. It seemed the weather radio went off every five minutes, announcing severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings all around. We had 15 minutes of really black skies, wind, thunder & lighting and rain, but the really bad stuff went north of us. Our prayers go up for those who lost loved ones in north Georgia and North and South Carolina. It’s really, really late in the fall for tornadoes around here, but it’s also been unseasonably hot – although the storms ushered in much cooler weather for today. Yesterday at this time it was 83, today it’s 64.
Bear, Happy Jack, and Charlie. Does this look like a psychotic dog to you? Nope, not to me either. But if you’d seen him yesterday traveling back and forth to Albany for our first Animal Assisted Therapy dog session since we returned to Georgia, you would have shouted, “Valium! That dog needs Valium!” Just for fun, I tried loading him on Tuesday – and got nowhere. Ted had to help me urge him in. So, knowing Ted would be out of town on Wednesday, I called Ed (our neighbor down the street) and asked if he’d be on standby for me Wednesday morning. Ted left at 5:30 a.m. to pick up veterans in Albany and take them to the Dublin VA hospital. I called Ed about 8:45, and said, as soon as he answered, “Could you just come on down? I know Bear’s not going to load for me alone.” When he could get a word in, Ed said Sally had just called to tell him she’d hit a deer, and he was on the way out the door to help her (Sally is fine – their SUV not so much) – which called for Plan B. I dialed our neighbors, Joe and Kay, two doors down and asked their visiting nurse if she’d come down and help me (she’d told me when we visited last week that she’d had golden retrievers in the past). Thank goodness she wasn’t busy and hurried over. With me standing at one back door, and Teresa nudging Bear at the other back door, he jumped in. Then, for 40 miles, he was a nervous wreck – same story coming home, although he loaded more easily after we worked in Albany. So we’re back to square one on that.
I’m so thankful that Bear doesn’t let the jitters affect him at all once he’s out of the car. We worked yesterday at the Albany Advocacy Resource Center, an adult day
care facility for mentally and physically challenged men and women. Bear was so glad to see Happy Jack, Marty Harris’ therapy dog. I thought they were both going to wag themselves into pretzels – bodies and tails were going every-which-way! He also got to meet Charlie, the therapy dog I wrote about last year when his owner, Pat Howard, passed away. Charlie now lives with Happy Jack, and both Marty and Betty Hester have passed the Delta Society certification program to work with Charlie. Charlie is a 14-year-old sweetie-pie terrier-mix who doesn’t look a day over eight or nine. He is precious, and he was working with Betty yesterday.
Watching the three dogs work was joyful and heart-warming. The adults in the center look forward to these once-a-month visits so much, and as soon as we walked in the door, and the dogs were spotted, the news traveled through the building like wild fire. “The dogs are here! The dogs are here!” was shouted down the halls, and people converged in the sitting area to take their places on couches and chairs so the dogs could cuddle up to them. From there we went next door into a larger area, where people were gathered around tables. We walked the dogs to each person, chatting whenever it was possible to turn someone’s attention away from the soft eyes and silky fur of our four-legged angels. We handlers just basically hold on to the leashes and let the dogs do their work.
Happy Jack is a bundle of quivering . . . happiness. He has a smile on his face all the time and just looking at him makes
me, and anyone who sees him, feel better and have a much happier day. Charlie, the elder statesman in the group yesterday, is quiet, laid back and pure “cuteness”. Bear is usually the largest dog in any group, as he was yesterday. His size makes his head readily available to people who are seated – in chairs, on couches, or in wheelchairs. The dogs visited with around 20 people in the large room yesterday, spreading the love to each and every one. I have no idea how Bear makes the choices he does, but there always seems to be at least one person in every group that he wants to spend more time with – yesterday there were two. He returned to each of them several times for special bonding, pressing his head into their laps and lighting up their faces with the most beautiful smiles. The sweet lady said, “He really likes me, doesn’t he?”, and the gentleman kept saying, “I love you, Bear. I love you, Bear!”
As annoyed as I tend to get with having the Bearster be such a “beast” loading for each visit, the joy he seems to bring at each location makes it all worthwhile. I’m very, very proud of him.
Prayer Request. Reader Judy from Ann Arbor, MI commented this week on the Mackinac Island blog that her husband, Dave, has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in four years. I hear from Judy regularly on that blog, and I know she reads this one too. Let’s all keep Dave and Judy both in our prayers over the next months and lift Dave up for healing.
PHOTOS FROM THE LAKE
Sometimes it really pays to get up early . . . . and I’m so glad that Ted does that! Especially on mornings like this one a few days ago, when the sunrise was really something to see!
I’ll see you back here on Monday – just a few days before Thanksgiving! God bless.