Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Father's Daughter

This is a recent picture (above) of the Kenya bean, taken just a couple of weeks ago. Now here (below) is a picture of her dad, Buddy, from Deep Run Retrievers in Virginia:

It's amazing to me how much Kenya, though petite and tiny, still looks like her dad -- someone she hasn't seen or been around since she was six weeks old.

This weekend I accompanied my 84-year-old mother to an old friend's birthday party (the old friend was also turning 84) who still lives in the town where I grew up two hours north of here. I haven't seen many of these people for at least 30 years. After the party we also visited some cousins I also haven't seen in many, many years.

Without exception, these people took one look at me and said they saw my father (who died in 2003). Apparently something about my eyes, head, and mannerisms reminded them of Dad. Whether he intended to or nor, Dad passed something of himself on to me that I reflect to the world long after his death.

That got me thinking: What of myself will the world see in my children in the years to come? Or for that matter (don't laugh here) what will others see in our canine kids that reflect us and our values and lifestyle? Will our kids and canines become "good" citizens, influencers for good in their worlds?

In other words, just what exactly am I passing on (intentionally or unintentionally) to those I influence most?

My prayer is that it will be things that make the world a better place (or that make the Labrador breed a better breed).

I want my existence to mean something and (in some small way) to improve things for future generations, human or canine.

That's no easy task, but neither is it impossible. We can make a difference, even if it's only in one life at one time in one small part of this planet.

And if we all endeavored to do so, the world truly could become a better place.

Here's to influencing our worlds, no matter how small, for the better,

'Til next time,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Springtime in PA (a weather whine)

Okay. Now it's getting downright silly.

In January we had more sixty-plus-degree days than we had "winter" days.

In February we final had snow and cold temps (so cold, the dogs couldn't play outside).

Three weeks ago, it was 20-below-zero (F) with wind chill factors;
two weeks ago it was 75 degrees (F) warm and sunny outside;
last week we were back to single-digit temps and below-zero wind chills.
And Friday we endured another major winter storm (complete with accumulating snow and ice).

It looks like winter thaw again here.

While frozen ground and snow blankets provide a reprieve from the mud factor (see previous post), these extremes in temperature (warm, cold, summer-like, arctic-like) create more-than-ripe conditions for people to get sick.

Yup, me included. I got sick again.

But I'm back...again...hopefully to stay.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?
'Til next time,

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Mud Factor

If you read Elsie's comment on the last week (previous post), you'll know I've been sick for the last week (a really nasty stomach/intestinal virus that lasted six full days - yuk). Today I'm rebounding pretty well, but am still weak and tired. My stamina should be quick to return, though; I tend to be pretty strong and healthy most of the time (how grateful I am for that!).

In the meantime, there are no sickdays for "moms" of canine kids (or of the human kind, for that matter). Labs, like children, don't stop needing care just because we humans get flus.

And it's spring here in PA, so it's mud season. Well, for Labs, it's mud season all year long, except when the ground is too frozen to yield the sticky stuff.

And mud is a huge factor when you have sixteen Lab legs romping in it. We won't even mention tails and muzzles.

Last week, while battling my virus, I could barely stay vertical long enough crate or uncrate the dogs, let alone deal with muddy paws and underbellies. Dear hubby was in CA on business so I was on my own.

But the canine kids still needed exercise (thankfully we have a fenced yard). So out they went to romp in the mud.

That I could deal with, even sick. Their playing outdoors actually allowed my some rest without having to crate them.

Ahhh. But then it was time for them to come in.



And when you're nauseated to begin with, well... you get the idea.
So what did I do?

I whipped out the tools of the season: Quikclean Waterless Shampoo and Quick Bath wipes just for dogs (these and tons of old bath towels we keep just for the canine kids).

What a relief it was to have a quick, easy means of bathing the kids when my stamina wouldn't allow for the major undertaking of regular baths for them as they came in from the mud flats outside.


Hopefully this week will prove to be better on the health front. At least today I can focus my eyes and stay upright without getting dizzy (that's a good thing).

And I can romp a little with the kidlets. I've missed playing with them (although they've lathered me, quite literally, with their concern).

I'll give it another day or two, and then we can romp in style.

The mud, however, we can do without.

'Til next time,


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Elsie's Perspective on the Last Week

Elsie: "Bummers. Mom's been sick for, like, six days now. :( She can't play with us like she normally does. All she does is hang out on the couch and run to the bathroom. At least I can curl up on her feet and help her feel better."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Free Inside! The Other Things that Come with Labs

Before we bring our Labs home for the first time, we research the breed (well, I hope so, if we're wise) so we have an idea of what to expect. We plan on housebreaking and potty training and teaching them what to (and not to) chew. We assume they'll be lively and affectionate and reasonably healthy (though, we also rightly plan to incur some vet bills beyond check-ups and maintenance). We know they'll come with the need for a huge investment of our time, affection, attention, care, training, input, discipline, and reward.

Ahh...but then there are those things we didn't know about and couldn't know until we had Labs of our own.

For all you folks out there who are just thinking about getting a Lab (or just doing your research), consider yourselves warned.

And for you Lab owners out there, feel free to add to this list via the comments link below. I'd love to know what came with your canine companions.

Here's what came with mine:

  • more slobbery large-tongued kisses than I hoped for or imagined

  • more slobbery kisses offered in places I never conceived of (think wet-willy and human ears)

  • a plentiful supply of saliva-soaked tennis balls dropped with eagerness at my feet (my hands will never need moisturizers again)
  • a plentiful supply of saliva-soaked anything dropped at my feet (you name it, it's probably been one of my Labs exuberant offerings to me)

  • the need to invest in 3m stock because of all the 3m-lint-rollers we use up retrieving dog hair from our clothes and furniture during shedding seasons (who's supposed to be the retriever here, anyway?). Oh, and that's after regular brushing sessions.

  • an endless supply of automatic foot-warmers: all I have to do is sit down, and one of our four Lab-kids will plunk a head or rear or chest on my feet

  • an endless supply of lap-warmers (see previous, but change "my feet" to "my lap")

  • free showers on hot summer days (just supply the kiddie pool, lake, marsh, swamp, puddle, stream, bathtub, sprinkler, or any other water source, and you've got your Lab-powered shower)

  • more heart-warming and giggle-inducing moments than I ever dreamed

  • terrific photo ops (better than any I've seen in National Geographic or Life magazines)

  • an audible security system (just try sneaking up on our house -- anywhere, any side of the house, any door, any window, and porch or deck; we'll know, believe me)

  • a built-in, deep-seated comfort when I'm home alone at night (see previous entry)

  • a motion-activated mood sensor (boy, are Labs intuitive!); all I have to do is walk into a room and they know what mood I'm in

  • more comfort and therapy than I could buy if I went to a thousand therapists or counselors or psychiatrists (see previous entry)

  • better incentive to run the vacuum regularly than my in-laws coming to visit

  • a great weight-loss plan (increased exercise and food-sharing)

  • more life lessons (see yesterday's blog entry) than those I could glean from the wisest of sages

That's enough for now (yes, my Labs came with a host more of other things, about which I'll post another time).

What came "free inside" your Lab packages?

'Til next time,


Friday, March 02, 2007

10 More Life Lessons from Labs

1. Love exuberantly; don't be afraid to show affection.

2. Feel free to sit back and relax sometimes.

3. Wait patiently for good things.

4. Take the road less traveled; it's more interesting and rewarding.

5. Remember this: to enjoy life, you sometimes have to get your feet dirty.

6. Don't be afraid to receive what's offered to you; your gracious acceptance becomes a gift to the giver.

7. It's okay to hide now and then... long as you remember to take your friends with you.

8. A nap is a good thing; don't feel guilty.

9. We all need affection.

10. Sometime we lead; other times we follow. The important thing is to stay in the race.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Here's what greets me when I come in from the mailbox: four eager faces waiting for to the treat they receive from our mail lady each day (yes, she leaves four doggie biscuits in our mailbox with every mail delivery -- bless her heart!).

They're so hopeful.

They look forward with joy-filled anticipation to the good they expect to come.

And they're rarely disappointed.

Unlike humans.

Read what happened to me yesterday (at my other blog), when my longed-for hope was dashed.

I won't rewrite it here. But know this: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12).

Here's to hope fulfilled!

'Til next time,