Kathy Diamond Davis

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Author of the book "Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others," 2nd edition published by Dogwise Publishing. Canine Behavior Series at www.veterinarybehavior.com

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Cookie Hunt for the Dogs

The tradition continues. It's not a typical Easter day here, so far gray and with a North wind and too early in the year for things to be really pretty outside. Still, the dogs had a terrific time just now on their Easter Cookie Hunt.

Hubby broke up the small Iams biscuits and put them in a basket for me, to spare my sore hands the pain of breaking them. They need to be small enough for lots of drops, but big enough that I can spot them to locate those the dogs miss. I confined Spirit and Believer to the bedroom and let Gabriel watch me lay the track through the patio door. That gave him the privilege of rar-rarring the girls when they came out of the room, made him happy.

They took their usual 15-20 minutes to pretty much clean up the track, and I walked it to find the last few pieces. As I came to one I stopped and called a dog to eat it. This will be their midday meal. I checked out the yard Thursday (which contributed to my allergy crisis), so knew it was pretty clean of garbage and cat poop. Didn't see them eating anything other than the treats today. I don't know why the cats stopped pooping in our back yard, but I'm very glad they did. (We don't have any cats. When we did, we kept them indoors.)

I read "The Rising" last night, skimming it. It's the first of a new series that takes place before the "Left Behind" series, which I've also read. And now I'm looking at "Peter and the Starcatchers," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I haven't decided whether to read the whole book or not. Hubby went to the library for me to pick up my reserves, because I wasn't up to it.

I had a fabulous dinner last night including a filet, and probably will have pizza tonight. Such a treat, in both cases. But next I need some sleep. My happy canines will enjoy that, too. I think dog toenails can wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

We Are Not Amused

I mean the royal "we" in the not amused category, of course. Just me, really. Had the third appointment to get cable working right yesterday. Guy was an hour or more late arriving, and then rushed through the installation, was rude, and messed up my computer in the process. I think stuff is set the best we can for now, thanks to the other two guys figuring out what won't work, and readings from my call-ins to the office that gave them the additional needed information to know what to do. As to his competence level, I can't judge. Don't know if the deficiency involved ability, or just attitude.

He probably knows what he's doing. He was probably mostly just rushed because the appointment in front of mine ran so far over. Not my fault. He was only here about an hour, not much time at all for running a new line, moving an amp, etc.

As the song from "Oklahoma" says, "We've gone about as fur as we kin go." My allergies went nuclear by the time he left yesterday. I literally could not see at all, I was so close to passing out. And he suggested--twice--that I let him type in my AOL password. I don't THINK so.

I had to call my husband before the guy could leave, to avoid the necessity of getting an ambulance. It was just my swollen and reactive Eustachian tubes, complicated by being on my feet too long (he was so dense, I had to keep asking him to get out of my chair so I could sit down and not fall down!). I guess he figured I was mad and didn't realize I was passing out on him. I finally pointed that out. When somebody is that close to passing out, doesn't their face turn a funny color or something? I mean, aren't there SIGNS?

I must admit, though, that since I've seen black before in this condition rather than white (must have been from staring at the screen trying to make it out--it was just pure white, so WEIRD!), I wasn't a thousand percent sure it was the ears. I used my cane and Believer to stagger to the front door and lock it behind the guy, then got to the bed and lay flat. In five minutes my head was clear. Then I got on the phone and talked to friends and my mother, as a precaution, since hubby wasn't coming home for four hours. I unhooked Beevy from my waist but kept her harness on in case medical attention was needed. Gabriel hopped up on the bed and nuzzled me so enthusiastically he pushed my glasses off. Plastic lenses, metal frames, and bendy-back hinges come in handy with big dogs sometimes. Beevy got a little put out with him, thought he should be more gentle. But he is The Man in the dog pack, so all she did was grumble.

I was really glad I didn't go to the hospital. I can imagine the battery of tests, plus the physical reactions of my allergies to all the junk in the air there. Last time I visited a hospital patient I had the same darn reaction. Heck, a blood draw affects me this same way. I looked it up online last night, and apparently there is a name for the reaction to needles. The blood flows to the legs and lowers the blood pressure too much. Since my blood pressure is low to begin with, that'd do it, alright. But that gives me some important information. When I feel this way, I should try to get the feet up quickly, not just the head down. And if I can't get them up, I should pump them.

I've got MusicMatch playing songs from 1974 and I've had lots of cocoa powder today to bring that swollen ear down as much as possible. Feeling good!

The tech yesterday told me that the dealie-bobbers the last guy had put on two of the TVs to let me watch another channel while taping are bad on the signal as well as tending to come loose. They didn't seem to work consistently for me, anyway, and if I plan on a tape, I by golly want a tape to occur. The VCR Controllers, a separate item, only turn the VCR on, which I also don't trust to work. So we pulled off both devices from both TVs. He argued with me about whether the digital box can turn itself on with the timer and change channels for each program set to record, but when he understood what I was saying, he realized, yeah, it does do that. If the VCR comes on to record at the right time, the digital box will send that program to it, and you'll get it on tape. The VCR Controller is supposed to turn the VCR on and off at the programmed time so that you don't have to program it separately for the time.

I've been programming the VCRs separately for the times, to force them to turn off and on at the times I choose, anyway. The Sony is said not to work well with those controller devices, and the Panasonic is a fancy-schmancy commercial skip model that has a mind of its own. I have to be firm with these VCRs! So now I can reliably record, am getting good pictures, but can only watch what I am recording, if a recording is being made at the time. Too bad, so sad, I'll deal with it. I'm taping a lot of stuff in the early part of the day when I'm asleep, so I have stuff to watch between midnite and 6 when the boxes need to receive their update signals.

After what he did to my computer (I'm not going to say, because I'm not totally sure and also because I don't want to give anyone ideas.), I'm not going to trust them to set up a network for us later. I don't think I want a full network anyway. I think I want to see if there's a good way for two computers to share one cable modem without sharing files or printers. I think there is. I'll probably hire someone independent to come set it up. Someone who doesn't work for a company that can look inside my computer.

I pray that nothing breaks down or urgently needs doing for awhile, so my allergies can calm down. Believer really came through for me yesterday. The guy was evidently afraid of her, and she ignored that body language and was unflaggingly calm and genial toward him. She was also right there for me when I needed help, including the couple of dozen times I dropped my cane.

Picking stuff up off the floor and then standing back up is not a great idea for me in that condition. Her height and head carriage brings things right up to my hand, and she's quick and persistent with any difficult items to pick up. She loves to please, and it's easy for me to sincerely thank her, because I feel so grateful to God for the help she gives.

At one point I was in the kitchen with her hooked to me and she pulled. I gently restrained her because I was doing something, and then realized she had been pulling to get a drink of water. I stopped what I was doing and got her to the dish. I want to always remember to be considerate of my dogs' needs. It's too easy to forget.

Today in bed with two dogs on the bed and one on the floor, I heard a noise outside. I figured it was a neighbor, but sounded like it could have been an unhappy dog. It occurred to me that I had just let my gang out to potty a few minutes before and fed them, and heaven forbid maybe had left a straggler outside. I didn't think so, but still... So I raised up my head, lifted my eye shield, and visually checked that each dog was there.

They heard the noise outside, too, and saw me check and "count noses." Of course we do that all the time in letting them out to potty, getting them back in, etc. It struck me for the first time that checking on them is the action of a leader. They saw me do that, as of course they've seen many times. That has to be a factor in dogs feeling secure in their places in the pack, and their believing the pack has a worthy leader.

I'm convinced that we only know a small fraction of the things our dogs use to form their view of the world and determine their reactions to people, places and things. No wonder I never get bored with the subject.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Allergy Time

The whole year is allergy time for me, but something snuck up on me today. I went out in the car to the drive-through bank and the library front desk. It was a quick trip and not one I anticipated would cause a problem, but I noticed on the way out in the car that my ears were reacting. The only thing I can think of is something in the outside air. Normally I don't notice a big problem this time of year, but it made me dizzy and nauseated for a few hours. I think around that time the weather report said the wind was from the south about 30 miles per hour. It rained last night and in the morning, which would normally make the air safer for me than any other time to be outdoors. Guess I'd better plan on staying in tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Continuing Saga of Digital Cable Installation

Tonight I tuned the TV in the study to a Premium on Demand movie on Starz and it was tiling like crazy, as well as pausing and other irregularities. This was what the last cable guy had told me to report, if it happened after they'd had time to turn the amplifier up. It was six days, longer than the two he had indicated it would probably take for that adjustment.

I changed to an HBO Premium on Demand movie to see if it was just a problem with one movie, and it tiled and paused, too. So I called a tech at the office to see if it was a system problem. Nope. He sent a signal to the box and tested signal levels on both the computer and the digital box. He said he agreed with both the installers who were out here--the TV was not getting enough signal and the computer was. Net result is we need that extra outlet. So they're coming out to do that.

This reminds me of getting my first computer and on the Internet just as AOL went to unlimited subscriptions in December 1996. We'd sit and dial and dial to get online. We had all kinds of inconveniences, but we did it anyway. Talked all night in chatrooms, learned from each other online, and felt like part of history.

It was around 6 when I got the tiling. At 10 I turned to the same movie and it ran fine. I suspect this problem could only be detected when lots of people are watching TV or online or both. Good thing they can read it through the system. Way cool, in fact.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Just Don't Ask Me How I Did It

I can make both of the VCRs record from the digital cable now, if I don't change any settings while they're running. I don't know what happens when I change settings. I don't think the cable people do, either. The VCR Commander units are thoroughly confusing, sort of jerry-rigged as far as I can tell. I'll experiment with it when I can play around with recording something I don't care about, and am not exhausted from staying up all night writing.

I'm reading the book "Judgement Calls," by Alafair Burke for the Murder and Mayhem list. Not sure yet whether I like it. So far it's a little too much about how cases are filed by prosecutors. Hard to tell if there will be characters I can care about.

I looked through "Senior Dogs for Dummies" by Susan McCullough last night from the library, and ordered a copy. I need that book for working with Gabriel and Spirit right now at their ages. Age, really, since they're only 4 1/2 months apart.

Spirit has been skipping some meals, but we seem to be getting her back to eating. When we discovered she was overweight we increased her food from 2 cups a day plus extra virgin olive oil and a few treats to 3 cups a day and more. She gained a few pounds quickly. When she started balking at eating, we cut it to 2 1/2 cups a day, and after a few meals at that level she's eating promptly again. Hopefully it will continue a gain, though not as rapid a gain.

I can make both of the TV/digital cable box/VCR setups play the VCR with the digital box turned off, but I have to keep pressing buttons until I get it working--I don't understand the signal pathways. I can't get them to tune the TV on analog channels with the digital box turned off and recording to the VCR on digital. When I turn the box on to try to tune the TV, it stops the recording even though the readout on the cable box still says REC. Maybe at that change it sends that signal to the TV instead of the VCR. I think if I left the box on for recording I might be able to switch the TV to watch analog cable on another channel while the VCR is recording from digital cable. The problem is that the box has to be turned off some of the time in order to receive programming updates.

The idea of machines taking over the world is beginning to seem less farfetched to me. And yet, apparently I am not the only one who prefers to hold a book in my hand to read, rather than reading off a screen. Maybe it's something about the light from the screen. We'll always want and need books.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

DVR, Please, Pretty Please?

Today a different cable company representative came out and instituted a whole different plan on how to get my two VCRs to record off digital cable while I watch analog cable. Now they're both set up with VCR controllers, and you should have seen the numbers and commands flying on the TV screens to get it done. He also checked out my computer to make sure it was getting enough signal and I've never seen anyone so fast on a keyboard. But Superglue was involved, so it didn't all go without a hitch. The plan is to boost the signal at the neighborhood amplifier rather than run another line. If it's not working well in a few days when they've had time to do that, I'm to call back and they'll try something else.

So far stuff seems to be working except that I don't know why I didn't get that second television program on tape tonight. I'm thinking it might have something to do with that fussy VCR having commercial skip and marking the start of programs. It may work better if I program the VCR to come on and record for the time span. That's what I'm going to try next. That will have the added benefit of giving me a mark where the program starts, which the VCR commander did not do. Programming the VCR is not a problem for me. The way it's set up now causes less signal loss and doesn't have that big noisy A/B switch. Instead, you press a button on the remote to switch.

I watched Crossing Jordan from my Sunday night tape while grooming dogs, and then part of Hellboy via Premium on Demand. It has to receive programming updates from the company during the night, so I decided to turn it all off and listen to FM radio. Peaceful. Hubby is up now and watching his DVR. They told me on the phone today that they hope to have enough DVRs in about two months to let us have another.

Believer was even smoother in her work with me today than last time. She's so good at just melting through tight spaces at my side, and if she can't figure out which way I'm planning to go, she takes my direction beautifully. I couldn't be more pleased with her assistance. Gabriel was fussy in the spare room and Spirit required a leash escort to the car for her private spot to rest during the service call. I'll work out different confinement for the other dog when I start having someone here every week to clean, but this works for no more often than I have workers here now. At least it does when the garage is neither too hot nor too cold for a dog to snuggle down in the car and sleep.

I scheduled another DogRead author today, Susan McCullough with Senior Dogs for Dummies, in November. I think that time of year is great to think of our old dogs, the ones still with us and the ones not. Wednesday we start a new book on the list, Moira Anderson Allen's Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet. We've already been talking about losing them on the list because the current book on canine cancer got us into whether or not to treat and when to stop. Difficult things to think about, but better to do that thinking before we're in the middle of unbearable grief and have never considered the decisions we suddenly need to make.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Tails from the Bark Side

I picked up a book at the library the other day by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson, titled "Tails from the Bark Side: True Stories from the Family Dog Files." The library checkout desk was crowded and Believer and I had not practiced in awhile. It was the day before the cable installation. Rather than waiting in line, I decided to go browse for other books to take home along with the reserve title I was there to pick up. That got Believer and me away from the crowded desk until some of the patrons were served and the line was gone, and also provided more practice.

This book caught my eye. It's charming, and makes me wish I could get to know this couple better. Hey, I have an idea. I should browse the Amazon and Dogwise sites for other titles by them and see if they can be persuaded to talk with us on DogRead. I've always liked their book "Good Owners, Great Dogs," written some years back. Their love for dogs comes through in their writing.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Struggles with Digital Cable

I've been trying since Wednesday to find a way to make my VCRs work well with digital cable TV. I like television. I don't have a lot of time to watch, and when I do have time (mostly when combing dogs), I want to watch something special. My husband uses a different TV and also likes to watch on tape. We got a DVR from the cable company for that room, and that's letting him watch the way he likes.

But using the digital TV controller boxes with VCRs is a MESS. I'm trying another method right now, just in case it might work. The company's website technical information is sketchy and you get very few written directions with the equipment. There is a feature on the remote and the onscreen program guide that I don't understand, and in about 2 minutes I will see if it is capable of changing the channel between programs. I can set my VCR to be on and recording at the proper time, but it can't tune the digital cable channels. Only the digital controller box can.

The problem is that so far all I can find out indiates that you have to have the channel on the digital controller set on the station you want to record. If this is the case, when I want to record two or more programs in a row on different channels, I will have to go back to the unit between shows and change the channel--wait, it's starting--OH MY GOODNESS! It works! The techs on the phone did not know how to do this, so of course I'm feeling very clever. It's not in the instruction book for the remote or on the website, either. I guess it's a secret. Well, not anymore.

They're coming back on Monday to finish the installation. Good thing it's a dog training opportunity, or it might make me cranky that it's taking two visits. I just wish I could get another DVR. I will have to keep checking to be sure of getting one as soon as possible. The DVR is the best way to operate this system the way we want to use it.

But for now, I found a way to string the wires connecting the A/B switch to reach it from the bed, so I can watch at least the basic cable stations while the VCR is recording something from digital cable. I will also have to program the VCR timer to start and stop at the right times for these programs, which means programming both units for each thing I want to tape. Oh geeze.

Next test, do I have to leave the digital controller box on for it to be ready to send a program to the VCR for recording, or will it turn itself on at the set time? You have to turn it off at least once a day for it to receive updated programming information. I just checked to see if I can stop it in the middle of a program if I decide I don't want that program, and yes, that works.

I want a DVR!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Good Dog Training Day!

I got Spirit settled in my car, Gabriel in the spare room with two rugs, and Believer on my waist leash (about 30"), before the workers arrived. It was a long afternoon. I was ready at noon and the Bil Jac delivery was around 1. He called first--he's great about that. He also had some Gooberlicious treats I'd forgotten to order, super service.

The first cable guy got here after 2:30, and he had a trainee come later to help him. They finished right before 5, but will have to come back Monday because the signal isn't strong enough, even after they redid the old wiring the way it should have been done when the digital telephone service was installed. It wasn't that guy's fault he didn't get it then, because he was way overbooked. He got it working, the main thing.

So the computer will be getting a dedicated line. And it turns out the VCR hookups don't work the way I need them to, so they'll change those Monday, too. Not their fault, because figuring out which way to hook up the VCRs to digital cable controllers is a matter of the lesser of the inconveniences involved in the different setups. There is no really good way to do it.

The good setup is a DVR in the digital controller so there's no VCR needed. I hope it won't be long before all the sets have that. I think the technology is there now and I expect they'll decide it's cheaper than all the labor to try to help customers get the VCRs and separate DVRs they own to work with the digital cable boxes. They want to encode the programming, and splitters cause signal loss--it's so complicated without the combination control/record device.

Changing the VCR setups will be easy for the techs with the right controllers, and I called in to make sure they'll have those on the work order Monday. But running a wire more than halfway around the outside of the house and drilling through the wall into the study: not so easy. Been there, seen that done.

Believer was great with all the comings and goings. I didn't realize what a super opportunity it would be for us to work as a team on movements and keeping together for hours at a time. Five hours, on our feet almost the entire time. She has so much stamina. Imagine following someone's lead in dancing for that long.

After the workers left, I combed the dogs and Spirit was a real toot. She won't fall for that car gag so easily on Monday. Gabriel fussed all afternoon and never noticed the treat-stuffed Kong I had in the room with him. My oldies-but-goodies aren't spoiled, no, not them! They enjoyed their combing and hubby got home right after that so they got attention from him.

I'm really pleased with Believer's work today. She was steady and responsive. She accepted the workers and the noise and also had nice poise with Spirit's grouchiness later. I think besides nice nerves and skills, she has healthy self-esteem. She knows she is important to me, and she loves that as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Dogs and Workers

Tomorrow I have people coming to the house to work. I figure they will need access to three rooms plus the front door and the back door. I have three dogs to control during this, with three different needs.

Spirit needs to be where she will not see or be seen or be around a stranger. It's very temperate here right now and she has a massive, well-groomed coat, so I'm planning to put her in my car with the windows rolled down a couple of inches. It's set up for her. There's a rug in the back that the dogs like to rest on.

Believer is my assistance dog and needs to be with me. I'll leash her to my belt as usual, and have treats to give her at the very first moment so she doesn't stare too hard and make the people nervous.

Gabriel is too arthritic for the one room they don't need to access that has a door, because it has a smooth floor. With a bulging neck disk and arthritis in his hips, I'm not putting him on a smooth floor. I could pick up a couple of rugs, some of the big rubber-backed mats from the kitchen, and put them in there. Two would give him plenty of footing in that small floor area.

Otherwise I was thinking I'd put his padded nonrestrictive chest harness on, fasten his leash to it, and tether him to the leg of the sofa away from the pathway and the working area. I don't want him making them nervous when Believer is already out, though... I think the room with rugs is a better idea. He won't like it, but it's the safest place for him. He wouldn't like the tether any better.

It would be too much to expect a phone call in time to situate all the dogs, so I'll aim to get them fed, pottied and settled before the start of the "window of time." And keep the phone in my pocket. I'll be glad when this is over!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Flags of Our Fathers, by James Bradley

I'm reading a book by James Bradley with Ron Powers about the six Marines who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima in February 1945. I got the book because I heard the author speak on Book TV. I don't know if that's on anymore. I got bored with it because of the topics they featured for several months. Whenever I think to check, like now, it's not on, because it's only the weekends.

Bradley's father was one of the men, and his family found a lot of papers in the attic after he died that told them there was much more to how it affected him than he had ever said. So far the book is fascinating, but I'm only about 1/5 of the way through. I'll read more in it when I start pedaling after writing this.

The digital cable isn't installed yet, and I'm curious as well as dreading the shuffling of dogs for the multi-room installation. I expect it will go quickly. I hope we can manage to vacuum behind the TVs before the installer comes. I'm scared of doing that because it's devastating to my allergies and I have an ear that's been stopped up for about 2 months now.

I think I want pizza tomorrow night, or more precisely, pizza topping. Little Caesar's seems to have good ingredients for a low-carber who can leave the crust alone. I've eaten their pizza sans crust through my whole weight loss and maintenance, and done great. They're very accommodating, too.

I need to go out to the library tomorrow and pick up a reserve book by Csanyi Vilmos, "If Dogs Could Talk." It sounds like he thinks that should be a goal. I'm interested to see what the book is like.

Reading in 2 Kings tonight, I noticed that King Joash of Judah, the one who was crowned as a young boy under the protection of Jehoida the priest, died by assassination at the hands of two of his trusted advisors. It looks like he was about 6 years old when crowned, reigned 40 years, and according to the footnote, was assassinated because he had become an evil man and his kingdom was out of control. How sad.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Digital Cable

My husband and I love television, and we watch movies at home since my arthritis makes long sitting in a theatre painful. Our current bundled cable plan is being discontinued and it looks like we're going to make the jump to digital cable. I hope I'll be able to get through to the company on the phone tomorrow and find out the cost and particulars. Instead of going out to rent movies, we're hoping this will make it convenient to watch them at home through the system. Theoretically that means always something good on TV, but in reality of course there will still be lots of "nothing on" times. Hopefully, though, more chances to record things we want to see when we sit down ready to watch a program. And more technology to learn. At this point I'm glad we haven't bought a DVD player yet. Looks like we'll be trying out a DVR from the cable company free. I really don't like those delicate little plastic disks, especially since I dropped my MS Office DVD from a height of about one foot and put an ugly scratch on it.

Time for exercise and reading that good book!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Back to My Reading

I'm looking forward to pedal exercise tonight, so I can get back to that fascinating novel. Not going to take time to do proofs of the rubber stamp. That will be a pleasure for tomorrow or the next day. I carved two Saint Patrick stamps for this season. Easter is so early this year that I'm thinking of doing a sort of "Resurrection Eggs" project with this new 12-square grid stamp.

It's a shame having a short Easter season, because the art of the season is interesting. And then next, April, April, April...Spring? I have some nonseasonal images chosen, some partially and some fully drawn for carving. Maybe time to go play with those. But I guess first, fill out the income tax forms and mail them, groan.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Rubber Stamp Carving

Last night between other chores I managed to carve a new rubber stamp. This is the first time I've used the faux woodgrain carving material. The stamp I made is a large grid of 12 squares for showcasing other images or items such as punched shapes. I've previously carved one with the squares empty. This time to show off the wood grain I carved alternate squares empty and the others with interior line to frame the woodgrain. I'm eager to see what it looks like, but no time to make a proof yet. Something to look forward to!

Atkins Meal

Tonight's dinner was delicious and easy and so good for my Atkins eating plan. I had taken a filet out of the freezer two days ago to eat last night. My husband got home yesterday earlier than expected, and we had something else last night. Meanwhile my steak was already marinated. So when I broiled it tonight it had marinated for maybe 36 hours. I'll be doing that again! Along with it I had frozen green beans cooked covered in the microwave with about a tablespoon of butter for about 14 minutes. I topped that with about 4 ounces of grated mozarella cheese and then put my steak and the also-broiled marinade on top. Marvelous.

I started Atkins 1/30/2002, lost down to goal weight 10/24/2003, and have maintained that loss. Total weight loss is 185 pounds. This is how I will eat the rest of my life--how could I do otherwise?!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Kenny Rogers and Working Dogs

I like to listen to my Walkman while I write. Tonight I've been listening to Kenny Rogers. Right now the song is "Islands in the Stream," with Dolly Parton. Some of my favorite poetry is song lyrics. I was writing an article that will be posted to the articles section of the Canine Behavior Series in the next few days, about behavior considers of Working Group breeds. Interesting to research those breeds, even just enough for that short article. Human history can be hard to trace, and dog breed history even harder. Still, those things we can discover offer special insights into both dogs and humans. Stanley Coren has a book about that.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Nursing Home Good-bye

Today I had a warm phone conversation with the wonderful activities director at the nursing home where I'm retiring from volunteer therapy dog visits after 19 1/2 years. I told her about the great new volunteer handler and Bichon team they're getting, and she told me my visits have meant a lot to the people there. She wants me to write a good-bye letter for their newsletter. That will be hard, but it's a very good idea. I spoke on the phone with a friend later, and she used a word that expresses what I felt from talking with the activities director: Validation. I feel blessed to be making this transition with so much love.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Time for my daily hour of pedal exercise turned into a treat time by reading fiction. Tonight I'm reading Tami Hoag's "Kill the Messenger," a club read for the murderandmayhem_bookclub Yahoo list. Too soon to know if it's to my taste, but so far so good.