Posted by: bree1972 | January 12, 2012

Colorado, Here We Come! 1/13/2012

What a busy week it’s been!

Pet Therapy Work:  Bear and I worked Monday at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and it was a great visit, with over 29 patients seen on three different floors.  It’s quite a sight to see our group walking through the hospital on the way from one wing to another.  As we move from one section to another, we clip the “Do not pet me, I’m working” badges on each of our dog’s vests, just so we can make our deadlines to each area.  Even with those badges in place, we usually stop because someone can’t resist petting our beautiful four-footed angels.  It’s quite a surprise too when an elevator door opens, and the folks waiting to enter are faced with five ladies and five dogs!  Some people do a double-take and decide to wait on the next ride up or down, but most scurry on with us so they can ooh and aah.

Today (Thursday) we worked at two assisted living communities.  In each, residents gathered in a large “family room”, and we went from chair to chair and sofa to sofa.  We also visited several residents on an Alzheimer’s wing.  Even though memories are fading, faces still light up at the sight of a furry face, and stories are related about past pets and how much they are missed.  Others silently sit and rub soft heads and scratch floppy ears.  Such sweet smiles on those precious, wrinkled faces.

Book Reviews and What’s Next on the Reading List:    I finished “Gabby – a  Story of Courage and Hope” by Gabrielle Giffords & Mark Kelly last week and loved it.  What a remarkable story of survival and miraculous recovery by the Arizona Congresswoman who was the victim of an assassination attempt a year ago that left six people dead and thirteen wounded.  Told mainly through the eyes of her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly, I was impressed with their love for each other and the support he continues to give her.  It’s evident that she was, and still is, his biggest cheerleader, and now he is returning that favor. There are also some wonderful stories from Mark of his various shuttle missions.

It’s funny.  I’m not usually a big non-fiction reader, but the next four books I have lined up to read are true storiesI can’t figure out how that happened.  Here’s the list:

  • “An Invisible Thread” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski – a Christmas gift from Julie.  It tells the parallel stories of Laura, a busy sales executive, and Maurice, an 11-year-old panhandler, “whose lives are fated to converge just around the corner from Broadway”.  In a statement from the book jacket, “This is a book about how, if we learn to let go of fears and burdens and expectations, we can find ourselves plunged into the sweet, unplanned blessings of life.”

  • “Thunder Dog” by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory – a Christmas gift from dear friend Helen. Looking forward to the story of Roselle, a guide dog, who led her blind master down 78 floors and out of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

  • “Worth Fighting For – Love, Loss, and Moving Forward” by Lisa Niemi Swayze.  I was a huge fan of Patrick Swayze, and this is his widow’s story of his fight with cancer and her role as caretaker.  So many of us have been – or are still – caretakers, and a quote from the book jacket sold this story to me: Lisa said, “I tell you, I am a different person now.  One who has been thrown into the fire and forged.”  From the book jacket, “This book is both a tribute to a marriage and a celebration of the healing power that each day holds, even in the most idfficult of circumstances.”

  • “Gloryland” by Shelton Johnson.  I found this book online when I was researching the Sierra Club.  I received a beautiful card this Christmas that originated from that organization, and when I clicked on the web site I found “Gloryland” in their online store.  It tells the story of Elijah Yancy, who was born on Emancipation Day in 1863.  Elijah , like many rootless young African-American men of that era, joined the U.S. Cavalry.  In 1903, his unit was posted to guard the newly created Yosemite National Park.  “Gloryland” tells the story of Elijah finding himself and a spiritual home.

Colorado Trip:  We’re almost all packed.  On Friday we’ll finish up, and late Friday afternoon we’ll take Maddie and Bear to the boarding kennel.  I can hardly stand leaving them for almost a week, but I know they will be well taken care of, and sometimes leaving them is necessary.  I sure don’t like it though.

We leave Albany on a 6:30 a.m. flight on Saturday, have a 40-minute layover in Atlanta, and will be in Denver by 10 a.m. Colorado-time, where Blake will pick us up and drive us to his home in Ft. Collins.  On Monday we’ll drive to Beaver Creek Ski Resort, then on Wednesday back to Ft. Collins.  We return home late Thursday afternoon and will try to pick up the pups before we get back to the ri’vah (depends if flights are on schedule).  I won’t have my laptop with me on this trip, so this will be the last Lake Blackshear post until Monday, January 23 (no way I can write a blog for Friday after we get home next Thursday evening).  But be prepared that Monday!  I’m going to bore you to tears with Colorado snow photos!

Safe travel prayers will be much appreciated.  See you back here on the 23rd!  God bless.

Header Photo: Blake and a buddy snowshoe trails in Estes National Forest - a few miles from Ft. Collins. This was a week ago.



  1. Wow all the books you listed sound awesome Brenda!! I got a new Kindle Fire for Christmas and I never thought I would enjoy not having a book in my hands but I love it!! Now I am going to check out some books on your list.
    Sounds like Bear and you are doing great with the Pet Therapy, so happy that it is going so good for you!
    Have fun in the snow..we are heading South on the 19th for 10 days in Florida…visiting our grandson, wife and two great grandsons….can’t wait!! Haven’t seen them since Christmas 2009 so am really excited..Will be praying you have a safe and wonderful trip to see Blake!! Many blessings!!

    • Safe travels to you too, Alice. Enjoy!

  2. Have a safe and fun trip!

  3. Oh, I’ve been to Estes Park ( a long time ago) and it is gorgeous! Such pretty country you’re going to see! BTW, there used to be a very good book store in a little old stone home near the entrance to Estes Park (as I remember it). It was an independent book store, so it may not be there any more, but it had a wonderful selection of books about local mountaineers and pioneers and such. If it’s still there, you’d love it!
    Happy trails to you!

    • I will check on that bookstore, Barbara! Love those independents!

  4. Safe travels and a wonderful trip!!! xo

  5. Have a safe trip and here’s hoping all your flights are on time. Enjoy!

  6. Brenda,

    I’m glad you were able to do the Pet Therapy work this week. I know it meant so much to all those you visited. And doesn’t it brighten your day to know you have put a little sunshine into the lives of those you and Bear visit?

    Well, you and Ted are on the way now and I’m counting on a safe trip for both of you, with a wonderful greeting from Blake at the Colorado end of the journey. I’m glad this is 2012 (and you’re flying) and not the 1800s (and you would be going by horse and wagon). We are so fortunate to be living at this time.

    All the books look interesting, but I think I would like Thunder Dog and Gloryland the best.

    • Not quite, Lowell – we leave Saturday.

  7. I love watching the therapy dogs arrive when I’m working up at UM Hospital. People who may have been processing really crappy news will just light up and you just know their day got better. You and your fellow handlers are doing such a wonderful, wonderful service.

    I think I’ll be downloading ‘Thunder Dog’ if I can-that sounds like an awesome read as does the Invisible Thread.

    Safe travel prayers headed your way. I always tell Pixel he’s going to camp when I take him to the boarding kennel…I’m sure Maddie and Bear will too. See you next week!

  8. Hi Brenda: I have another good book suggestion called “The Heavenly Man” a biography about Brother Yun when he lived in China! Though you and Blake might like it???!!

    • I’ll check on that one, Anne. Blake might have already read it. He seems to read about 10 books a week.

  9. Safe travels. I hope when the time comes for someone to visit me with a therapy dog, someone will be around to describe the “sweet smiles on those precious, wrinkled faces”. There is such love in every word you write.

    • Hmmmm . . . .Maybe “lined” faces would have sounded better.

  10. Looks like you better CANCEL Nexflix for awhile so you can get some reading done!
    Safe travels to CO & HAVE FUN (don’t break anything). Can’t wait to see the photos & hear all your stories.

    • LOL, Jill. Will probably be checking in on email and Facebook on Blake’s laptop – at least while we’re in Ft. Collins.

  11. Wishing you safe travels and a wonderful trip.

    Seeing all the books you mentioned reminded me that I need to get back to reading. I used to read alot, but then life happened and I got “too busy”. I loved Patrick Swayze too – I think maybe I need to read that one sometime.

  12. Have a safe journey and a wonderful time. Prayers are in order.

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