A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Views from the Garden

Switching up a bit and offering some of my photography. One of the great things about retiring is being able to spend time in my garden.

Soon as the weather got better, I got out there. This first shots are  actually sometime in May.                                                             This is June.           The trees in our neighborhood were gorgeous this year. Also my lilac bloomed more than it ever has.            We have resident bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, doves and cardinals and a host of all kinds of other birdies.

  But I am glad we have a fence because this year the neighborhood hosted a deer heard.

I put in over four flats of flowers and now I have even more to plant.


The dogs love the garden as much as I do.  

   Pots before

Pots after     New this year was doing something with the front rock garden. Because there are so many roots in there I had to do something different.     Before

After      We love sitting out in the garden.  



Who rescued who

  It is no secret that I love animals. These two came to us after they picked us. When visiting the home where they were being fostered, Cookie crawled into my lap and Browny nestled in on my side. We were sealed forever as a family.   After my Heart Dog (one who owns your heart) Bishop passed away, I did not think I would ever feel the same. And I did not when we got the pair. It is different, but it still is love.

 Miss Cookie selected me to be her favorite, although she loves her Dadder. Browny bonded more with him. Browny comes to the Mommer especially when he needs hugs and reassurance, which is often. Mommer also gives him energy massages which he loves.

At first, they would not sleep in our bed. It took a lot for her especially to trust us. They had clearly been abuse as they cringed when someone raised their hand  or held a stick up. There was no tossing sticks for them and it took a long time for them to run after balls, being fearful of the toss. They ran when I had the broom out. It took time and love.

Their personalities are very different. He is hyper and demands a lot of attention. But he is a sweetie.  She now likes to be in my lap as much as possible and has a quirky funny disposition. She is a love.

 She loves to roll in the snow, but hates the rain. She likes to be with someone, especially me.  We spend hours together in the garden. She comes for me promptly at 9:00pm to go to bed.   She is silly and possessive and devoted. We cannot figure out why anyone would hurt these two. Browny has suffered two seizures, booth mild. Other than that they are healthy, active and our loves.

   We do not know their true history and never will. We do know Cookie is slightly older than Browny, maybe. We have had them four years. We figure she maybe around nine if she was really five when we got them. They both have slowed down unless there are squirrels in their yard.

  This morning I woke up to Cookie throwing up on my foot. She has been itching a lot. She has seasonal allergies which have reared every year about this time. There is little we can do except give her low dosage Benadryl and lots of love. She hates the itching and so do I. This morning, she seemed to be very off and I pray there is nothing more wrong. I do not know if I can stand to lose her in such short amount of time and I certainly do not want her to suffer. It was then I realized how much I adore these two. And so, who rescued who?

By the time I finished writing this blog, after I fed them, Miss Cookie seems to be feeling much better.

More Springtime views

  We took a trip out to the Lake last weekend. It was so foggy and gray. The streets are still flooded  in this little lake village of Sodus Point.        There is a street of shops and bars and houses that was  totally closed because of the flooding. We went to the beach and pier.

  The erosion on the beach was terrible.

   The beach was covered with drift wood and garbage. It is a mess and it will required a lot of clean up before they can open for the season.

  But there was some wonderful days during  the long weekend and my hubby and I took advantage and planted flowers and some new shrubs.

   I was not sure how I would fair doing with the planting but I completed planting all the pots and planters. I was in a lot of pain the next couple of days but it was so worth it. I realized I am better than I was the previous year because I got them all potted in a day. Last year it took me several days and I can remember crying being so frustrated with my fatigue and inability to garden.

  Every year is different and  every year I am amazed at how much my garden brings me joy. I am a different person. I long for the time when I do not have to work and can spend hours and days working in the soil and relaxing out there.  I will have plenty of company.

  The doves have been working on their next brood. They are so used to us now they fly in and out right over our heads. Sometime I will hear them cooing to each other in their secret language. On the other side of the deck is another bird house that had a sparrow family. We call them the Cheep-cheeps. The babies would squawk for food all the time and they looked like three little Muppets hanging out of their hole in the bird house. They have grown and moved on and now Mom and Dad are rebuilding the nest.

 Every fall I bring in some plants and then this year I had a bonus of several new amaryllis. I potted some lettuce also because what I had put in the garden was chewed.

  I do a few herbs and I will probably do basil and a few tomato plants this year.

  I had previously put in lettuce in the garden that is in front of the deck.  It really got chewed up. One night I was sitting out and the bunny, who totally saw me, came right up on to the deck and proceeded to chop away. He knew where and how to get around the sticks. We also have a chipmunk who dug  a tunnel with an entrance right in the patch. I closed it and he has now taken up residence under the deck…..

 ….Much to the delight of the dogs. One night this week, Browny actually caught the little bugger but released it. Both dogs thought it was a hoot and I think Browny surprised himself with the capture. The chippy was not hurt.  Now he thinks he is this big hunting dog and patiently waits for the next squeal.

  This little piece of the world brings much peace and serenity to all who visit. I am very blessed.



Shave and a hair cut…..it is Spring!

  These are the loves of my life. The pups are Papillion mix and the legs are my husband’s. He went into the cheese drawer…enough said if you have dogs. I let their fur grow out all winter to keep them warm. The day this picture was taken, it was 85 degrees. It was an unusually warm spring day, and we were not prepared.

 This is Browny. He is a “special” dog as in the fact he is was pretty traumatized. I have no idea of the truth of their history other than they were very mistreated. They think they were around four and five when we got them and we have had them for four years.

  He is the sweetest baby ever. But he has manic episodes where he barks like crazy at anyone near our home. If they come into the home, its even worse. He has bitten someone. He will defend his partner, Cookie, if anyone tries to threaten her. We have no idea of the true relationship of the pair other than they are devoted.

   Miss Cookie seems sweet at first, but she is a bruiser. She likes to be dirty all the time. But she adores me and her Dadder, especially me. She does not like to be brushed so by the end of winter, she is pretty messy.

  She loves to roll in the snow, but hates baths. She will go out and roll in the grass or mulch and often comes in the house covered in “stuff.” So it was time for their summer haircuts. I finally found a groomer who has a van and will come to the house. Groomer on the Go. Eric was wonderful with them and I highly recommend him.

 Cookie was mad. She did not want her picture taken at all.

  But she looks amazing!

 The B Boy looks completely different. His fur was extremely long with a long tail. Eric cut his tail, which was necessary. But the view is completely different.

  He really fits the name Monkey Boy now.

Spring is everywhere, finally. We spent the day yesterday digging out the veggie garden out and turning the soil. We then planted some lettuce. I was so thrilled to be able to get down and actually work in the garden. It was at first scary getting down, it was even more scary trying to get up after being down on the ground for a couple of hours. But I did it. I am paying for it today, but that’s ok.

  Here is half of the garden with the lettuce protected from the bunnies. I put in some lettuce in pots without sticks and the chomped them down overnight. Sorry bunnies…. the sticks are back.

  Slowly the garden is getting in shape. I think of it as a canvas that Mother Nature and I work on together. Next week I will post pictures of the flowers and lilacs. It is beautiful.




August Garden

aug garend 3  The garden is beat up and truthfully, so am I. We have had 90 plus degrees every day (28 days to be exact) and very little if any rain. It finally rained yesterday, right after I watered all the pots. If I knew that was the key to make it rain. Actually, I watered every other night all summer. I also make up buckets of plant food water and give them that. It is a lot of work. And I am tired of it.  I will long for it around January, thinking that the work was no big deal. But the heat and humidity has barred me from sitting out there until much later at night.

aug garden 4 I do not bother with the lawn. If it does not grow we do not have to mow it.  Usually I pop out to the chair around 7:30 after feeding my bunnies, who usually join me around that time.  Petee But with the heat and the bugs, it has not been very fun.  I try not to use bug spray because… well, I am covered with Psoriasis lesions.

This is a whole other thing with this summer.  I am now on my sixth drug in a year. I went from Enbrel (after 8 years it stopped working as they all do)  to Simponi (gave me high blood pressure, like stroke level)  Cimzia (raised my blood sugar to over 400 with one shot) Otezla, the glamour drug at $80.00 a pill (which was the most horrific one of all, I was so sick on it and it made my arthritis worse) to leflunomide, (raised the blood sugar back up there to almost 400) to Humira. I have only had two shots of Humira and it is helping the PsA but not the Psoriasis.

aug garden 5  As beat up as these plants look, so am I. I am grateful for the relief on the arthritis (PsA), but I am a long way from where I was before. I can only walk short distances, and at least I am not crying when I get done grocery shopping. But the lesions are awful and they itch and hurt. My legs and arms and scalp are covered.  But the next thing issue is was something that I have been trying to avoid for the last 8 years.

Diabetes.          aug garden 4  Ever since I was old enough to go to the Doctor, they have tried to make me out to be diabetic because I am fat. Up until they started giving me all these very strong drugs, my blood glucose has been perfect. It never was above 5.5. When I first was truly diagnosed with PsA, they gave me a cocktail of Methotrexate  (MTX), prednisone, and Advil prn. My A1C went to 13 and no one caught it for a while. To bring it down, they gave me Metformin on top of all the other crap. The result was my right kidney failed. They took me off of everything and after a while, my kidney came back to about 41%. The sugar came down but it never has gone back below 6.  Now it is back up to 8 or 8.8 even off the last drug that increased it.  So now I have to take Januvia in the am and a shot of 10 units of insulin at bedtime. Already my morning readings are improved after two shots so I am hopeful we can “jumpstart” my pancreas again. If not, this is a life sentence.   My doctor told me this, thinking it would help: “I had diabetes when I was 29 and I got rid of it by losing 40 pounds.” Well isn’t that ducky? At 29, I did not have any health issues! All this shit started after my divorce when I was 47. But I could go off on a tangent about how trauma affects your health, but I am saving that as I am doing more research on it.

aug garden 1  What is keeping me together is we leave for the River next Sunday. We will be gone for 10 days. We have people staying at the house with the “kids”. They use our house as their vacation spot.

Bro Brow cooling off I am going to try to stay cool, get through this week and go to the one place in the world where I feel safe and grounded. I will have a ton of pictures to share.

Dove love; teaching me

empty nest They are gone. They are my dove family. Ever since early spring I have had a dove under my eaves on my porch. We have become patient and tolerant of each other. Now I miss them. They have been gone since Wednesday. I hope she comes back.

I had no idea what she was doing one night as the female flew at me while I was sitting in my chair on the porch. She flew right over my head. I looked up and there was this pile of sticks on the roof of some of my bird houses. There was no way it looked sturdy enough to hold her. Her first mate was David and  he sported this cute little cap of feathers. They took turns every night sitting on the nest.

david and davina    DAVID

Soon, Dudley and Dot made their appearance. How they fit was an amazing feat of architecture.

Dot and Dudley Debbie and Don

Next came Duncan.

Duncan 6-16  His mom left him alone for a very long time. He was either very brave or very scared to fly because he remained in the nest for a few days by himself. We had some thunder storms and the landscaper was working in the yard. They also power washed the roof right above him and he just stayed in the nest. Finally, he left.

cu 3 doves  But they had another family. There are actually four birds in this tiny nest. We named the new chicks Donnie and Debbie. ( Yes I had a theme with the D names) I could walk up to the nest very close and Debbie especially would cock her head to the side as I talked to them, just like a dog does.

donie and debbie  She was so sweet. Her brother would glower at me, but she would follow every word. One night I was singing to them and she fell asleep. It was so cute. Donnie left the nest first but then when I came home from work, Debbie was gone too. I was actually sad and worried because she was so much smaller than her brother. Then on Friday, I saw a small bird just sitting in the grass by herself. I thought, oh no, is she hurt. I walked slowly towards her using my singing voice talking to her as I approached. She just sat there, and cocked her head. As I was about two feet in front of her, she took off and flew up to the tree above me. It was like she was saying, “hi Lady, I ok and look at me go.” I was very happy but I will miss her the most.

Petee   Every night, Petee and Sweetee join me in the garden. They nibble on the bird seed and then often will play for a while. Then, just like cats, they sprawl out on their side or stomachs and just be with me in the garden. The other night, Petee was sitting about two feet from where I put the seed down. He just sat there while I walked up to the spot and put out the food. He never flinched. He knew what was coming. One night, and I did not see any bunnies,  I put the seed down and it was like they were waiting for it. Within a minute, they were there. They live I think under the back deck. There are in and out spots. Funny, the dogs do not really bother with them, unless they run. I think they all enjoy the chase. We have strategic spots where they can get out easily. But they will run past one just to engage the dogs in a run around the yard.

lettuce 7-25  But the little boogers still managed to eat some of my lettuce in spite of the sticks. They nibble the edges. I still have enough for me and them. I do not pull the lettuce out. I just cut it and it grows back. I did not realize this at first but now, I will have lettuce all summer. Of course my water bill is out of this world as I have to water everything almost every night.

I love my garden. I learn so much from it. The doves have taught me that no matter what, life goes on…with you or without. When Dot died, it really hurt to see something so small and lovely be harmed. But isn’t that what happens everywhere in the world?


Before and After

Again this morning I woke up trembling, the anxiety overwhelming me and rendering me immobile. There is so much that makes me this way and not one thing that I could explain to anyone. So instead of feeding this fear of life, I want to share more images from my garden.

The garden was looking a little shaggy and unkempt this spring. When my husband and I put in new grass spring a year ago, the seed went ever where when we mowed the existing grass. It was springing up on all the old mulch. I attempted to chop it out but it was too well establish.

garden befroe 6-16 We had flagstone put in and in time, grass replaced the pea stone they originally put in. It had all washed out leaving big gaps between the stones, making them hard to walk on.  I called our Landscaper and he and a crew of about four came and worked on the garden all day.

garden before2 6-16  Before

garden after 2  After they trimmed all the beds and put down new mulch everywhere.

garden3 before 6-16 Before

garden after  After

side after  The garden looks amazing. The dogs have been doing their best to disturb the mulch in some places. They put this product that looks like sand between the flagstone but when you wet it, it hardens. We also had the roof powerwashed because I can grow plants anywhere it seems, including my roof.

roof before 6-16  Beforeroof after After

We had the doggies groomed also this summer. Browny gets so hot and his fur is so dense. I wanted them trimmed but the girl ended up shaving them. They looked so silly at first, but with the heat this summer they are happier.

Be Boy furry and garden  Before

Browny shaved  After   He looks like a plush toy.

I put up a lots of pots this year and they are doing great. I water every night as it has been a very hot  and dry summer.

Bearsgarden 7-16

deck shot  We have been also enjoying looking for garden decorations and odd pots in our travels.

In our eves over the porch, we have a dove who has been there since early spring. She has had three broods so far. Two chicks, one who died when attacked by something now resides in a grave in the garden. This is Duncan who was very brave and stayed in the nest when all the work was being done

Duncan 6-16

And this is the newest ones, Debbie and Donnie.   They are so used to me I can stand there and talk to them and they just look at me like they get it. Last night Debbie fell asleep while I was singing to her.   So cute.

Debbie and Don

lettuce  We have been enjoying the lettuce. The bunnies come every night and sit with me while I read. One comes very close. I noticed last night that even with my kabob sticks, they have managed to chew some of the plants. But there is plenty for all.

This is my place of peace. I truly long for it when I am at work. Even John, the Landscaper,  says the garden is very peaceful. We all need a place like this.



Spring in the Garden

I am on the other side of a very long stretch of a lot of turmoil. Instead of going on and on about my troubles, I thought I would share photos of the garden. Spring this year has reflected my ups and downs. But even in troubling times, there can be peace and beauty.

lilacs The lilacs were late this year. We have a festival here that is centered completely around the lilac display in a park. The lilacs were not open when they had the festival. Strange, this festival is the first of the season and is usually lovely and pleasant. They open on Mother’s day weekend and go on for a week. It is a mecca for the silver hair bunch. However,  even this was filled this year with street fights and brawls. It will change next year with more security and probably close it to unattended teens. What was supposed to be a family event is now marred with gang wars and stupidity.  This lilac resides in my yard.

david and davina  David and Davina continued building their nest. I found a shell on the floor below them but did not see anything for some time. They are very used to us being out there. One morning there was a new set of eyes peeking out. Then I realized there were two babies. I was a Grandma!  I was so excited and named them Dot and Dudley. One, I assume, is Dudley and was very big.

Dot and Dudley   Even in this shot, you can see he was a little braver and feisty.

deer  All the plants are finally coming up. Our little village has a  lot of wooded areas and the canal. Deer roam pretty freely munching on the variety of vegetation offered by the town folks. My yard is completely fenced so they cannot get in the back. But one winter, they nested in the front right next to the house under some bushes. They stripped the bushes from underneath. I think they are one of the most beautiful creatures out there.

spring ice  Last weekend, it was cold and very grey. We actually had several ice showers. I did not have anything planted yet so I was not concerned but it was not a nice. The weather continues to be glorious during the week and crappy on the weekend. I had plans to put lettuce in today, but it is raining.

disey I did put my plant in to a pot and that is beginning to settle. I usually have all the indoor plants out and pots of inpatients done but not this year. I have to take things very slowly as I am struggling physically. I am not going to go there today.

Dot and Dudley  Last night, Dudley fell out of the nest. I was not out there. My husband did not see him, but the dog did. She scared him and he flew into the quince bush.

quince   I could not find him. I saw David come by and then he took off also. This morning, it was only Dot and her mom in the nest. Dudley is within the fence so he won’t be eaten by a cat. I really hope he will be ok. It was very upsetting for me. I can’t be mad at the dog though.cookie 5-16 “I sorry Mommers”



EYEBALLING HOUSE  Spring has finally arrived. It is raining hard this morning. Although I would rather have a day outside in the garden and I wish it would rain during the week while I work, it is comforting to hear the patter of drops on skylight. I know I am safe from the wetness and cold. Seems my property provides safety for many and I welcome them all.

CHUCK I collect bird houses. I have a few out in the garden but most are on the deck hanging or are under the roof. This blue house has been home to Chuck and Rita Chickadee before and they are back in residence this year. This house is right next to the door to outside and I am surprised they like it. Chuck spent an afternoon actually in our house flying around, but finally got out.

BIRD HOTEL  Now I have a pair of mourning doves who have set up residence right above where I sit. They are used to us all now. They stay now on their nest when we come out and sit below them. Even the dogs do not scare them.

NURSERY    There is a definite calm energy in this house. The only storm comes periodically from its humans inhabitants. When I first moved in, my dog Toots found peace after so many years of having seizures in our old house. She did not care for my ex. From the day I moved in here alone after my divorce until her final day, she did not have the weekly seizures that were so horrific to watch. This home has been a haven for five dogs and one cat.

DAVID I am grateful to have this home. It provides safety to me too. There are days when I hate leaving and wish I worked from home. It is even more difficult to leave when the garden is blooming and the animals are visiting. The other morning the pair of rabbits were feeding on the seed along with a chipmunk and several birds and two squirrels. Where some would see vermin, the communal feeding brings me great joy.

I wish the rest of the world got along as well as the plethora of animals and birds do here in the garden.

The Perfect Storm

Jan backyard  This is a shot of my garden sometime in the first week of February. The weather this winter has been delightful and warm. Every evening after work, my husband and I sit out on the covered deck and chat. It is the wind down of the day. I miss the outdoors all day and the fresh air. Sitting in my garden grounds me, especially after a long crappy day, which there seems to be an abundance of lately.

Last week, alerts for poor weather started showing up a day or so before Tuesday. I love checking the weather and the maps and air streams and all that. I also have a very intuitive gut. I am usually more accurate than the professionals. I had my staff Monday prepare everything for all the Wednesday classes and anything necessary for Tuesday was to be completed. My coordinator usually just laughs at me and calls me a worry-wart but this time she complied and we were set if something happened and no one could get in.

snow on light Something did happen. We got over 20 inches of snow in six hours. It was horrendous. I planned on working at home no matter what. I got up around 6 and sent an email saying I was working at home. By 8:00 am, our area was in a mess with grid locks and impassable roads. My coordinator called and thanked me and she remained safe at home. My Nurse Educator also was prepared to work from home as she lives over 20 miles away from the office. There were images on the DOT cameras that you can check into all over the city of accident after accident. Major highways were bound up from tractor trailer trucks being stuck. They issued a no unnecessary driving emergency at 10:00am.

car 2-16-16 The thought of being stuck in a car for three hours or more is overwhelming to me. My body would not have handled it. As it was, I did not sleep the night before from the anxiety of having to go into work or not. Our company is considered medical necessary  and we are all to report, even if we do not see patients. Personally, I think that is crap. Especially since I never see patients and I can work totally from home and VPN into the systems at work. But there are some antiqued few who still hold out to old work thinking and have not grasped virtual offices.

the wall  By two o’clock, the village came through and left six feet walls at the end of everyone’s driveways. I would not have been able to get my car back in to the garage if I had gone in and came home when they finally closed the offices at 3 PM. I had put in a full day and had done a lot of work safe and secure in my house. To me, they got a lot more out of me than if I had tried to come and go. I would not have been able to focus at work.

backyard snow 2-16-16 We tried to clear the back deck and a path because the poor doggies were unable to get to the yard. It took a lot of persuasion to get them to do their business in the small area we prepared. The snow was very dense and heavy and that was adding to the mess. Even the plows were getting stuck.

potted snow They officially closed all the expressways in the area in the early afternoon. Streaming headlines asked “How are you getting home?”  I think there is a lot of stupidity in demanding people who are really not essential report to work or else. If you did not come in, you have to use paid time off. Only teachers in school districts get paid for not coming to work because of snow. I get that it is a loss of revenue. But it is also a dissatisfier to know that the company puts money over people lives by putting them into jeopardy.

tunnel By early evening, the snow had stopped and people were digging out. We made a path for the kids to use for doing their business. Our snow plow guy came and cleared out the driveway and I was able to get out to go to work easily the next day. Many people did not make it in. Even the visiting staff rearranged their patients and many were not seen. What good would it have been to go out and then get stuck somewhere or in an accident? You would not have been able to get down driveways if you could even get there.  It is beyond me why the company insists on this.

As I get older, I value more the safety and security of my life more than the almighty dollar. I also am not brave and the idea of putting myself into a precarious position of driving in frightening conditions has little or no appeal to me. I will admit, I hate driving in winter more now than ever.

This Sunday morning, the snow is melting but still too deep for easy running for either dogs. But they have made some paths and look like Pac Man going down their little alleys. The temperature today should help to dissipate more of the snow. There is more predicted for the week, and I will do due diligence and perseverate on it in the middle of the night. But today, the air was filled with bird songs. You could sense the difference in the light and sounds of the anticipation of spring’s arrival. The squirrels were at my feeder and my cardinal flew right by my nose as I stood on the deck. It was as if he was saying, “hang in there, this too shall pass.”