Narley arrived on Friday, March 31st. He’s a Goldador and resembles a black lab puppy. His feet look like small catcher’s mitts. He’ll be a BIG boy with a sweet temperament with a dash of stubbornness. All to be expected from a young puppy.
Puppies are cute, so their owner’s don’t succumb to their antics. They look innocent with their puppy faces. They are not. No, they plot ways to grab a leaf from the ground and run. They dribble water wherever they walk, just to watch their owners slip and slide on the tile. What fun.
This is why God gave them puppy breathe. One of the sweetest smells in the universe to dog lovers. A body that moves like a Slinky. Their front end goes left; their bellies go right and their back-end tags along. The perfect balance for mischief on the prowl. Then when you feel you’ve reached the end of your endurance, they crash in a heap on the floor. Sleeping the sleep of the dead tired puppy.
Narley is an eight-week-old Goldador. A golden retriever and Labrador retriever mix. He is a service puppy/dog in training. I have the privilege of acting as his puppy raiser for the next 14 to 16 months. My job is socializing him. He must learn basic obedience and house breaking. Then he learns specialized skills to aid him in becoming a service dog.
I do no formal training. I expose him to different places, places any person might travel. Restaurants, movies, grocery stores, and doctors’ offices to name a few. These experiences need to be age appropriate. Too much stimulation isn’t good. Envision sending a third grader to middle school.
Spending every day with the puppy and watching them grow and experience new things requires a full-time commitment. Getting attached to the pup is a given. The most common question, “how can you give them up?” It isn’t easy. Loving them comes naturally, letting them go doesn’t. Witnessing the joy and freedom they provide is reward enough. The dogs bless our lives.
I stopped at a Burger King for my daily Diet Coke. A large Diet Coke is $3.07 with no senior discount. The same beverage at Mc Donald’s is.96 cents and Jack-in-the-Box offers it at $2.07. A huge difference between the three especially with no senior discount offered at Burger King (BK). A discount I never asked for until the sticker shock at BK. A quick fix for BK, I won’t use them. Still, I wondered about my new senior citizen moniker.
Technically, a term one earns by reaching sixth years of age. This may or may not be a significant age. We are each different. Take the term, Baby Boomer another descriptor one reaches based on their birthday. Nothing to sign up for, you reach the magic number and you qualify. I can only speak for myself. Being labeled a senior citizen irks me. I still blow by most teenagers and I’m not crawling when I do. Walking and pedaling between 10 and 12 miles a day.
I do not answer to the terms senior citizen or Baby Boomer. No, I choose wiser and happier. It works for me. I will forgo my discount. My life is blessed and I know it. Offer my discount to a hungry person or child. Lastly, instead of Baby Boomer I prefer Limitless Potential. What do you answer to?
Koi are members of the carp family. The fish trace their origin to Central Europe and Asia. They were a food source as early the Jin Dynasty during the fourth century B.C. in China. Koi can live long lives from100 years to 200. They are omnivorous, cold-water fish. Their natural predators are: herons, raccoons, cats, foxes, badgers and hedgehogs.
Keeping a koi pond at the proper temperature, 55-79 degrees Fahrenheit. A well-designed Koi pond will have sections too deep for herons to stand, overhangs high enough to discourage mammals from reaching in, and shade sails overhead to block the view of raptors. The fish need a filtration system and food.
Koi eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Their food floats, so the natural bottom feeders are drawn to the surface. They recognize the hand that feeds them. The caretaker use their feeding to check for any signs of injury or disease. Well cared for koi like the ones at the San Luis Rey Mission live long lives. The original koi are well and thriving. They are now 65 years old. It boggles my mind to think we are the same age.
I wonder if they waste any time ruminating on a life well lived? From what I’ve seen they live in the moment. Eating, swimming, sleeping whenever they please. I’m not sure I’d recognize a stressed koi. The koi I see always seemed sublimely happy.
Last night my ice machine was possessed by an evil spirit. Sunny beach, it spewed ice all over the floor. An unprovoked sneak attach as I walked away. Grabbing a glass, I vainly tried to stem the flow. No luck, this required a sterner intervention. I pulled open the refrigerator and opened the ice bin. Gotcha, I turned off the ice maker and closed the door.
Satisfied the raging ice maker could spew no more I left the kitchen. Imagine my surprise when I returned an hour later to find a small flood in front of the refrigerator. Incriminating slush rimmed the tray beneath the ice chute. A classic “cluster fluke” if I ever saw one. Game on evil machine.
Doing a quick online search on turning off rampaging ice makers. Satisfied I knew how to tame the beast. I approached the offending ice demon with an evil glint in my eye. One quick flip and the ice devil ceased to produce. I unabashedly preformed my Rocky run up my stairs without spilling a drop of wine. Ice maker 0-owner 1.
The birthday conundrum. Children love birthdays. The presents, the cakes and the parties. A day to celebrate your birth. The very young are the reason parents and grandparents join to party in celebration. Once a child is old enough to enjoy presents the focus returns to the child. Theme parties with all the children from your grade school class or your sport team. Gifts the token for entry to the party.
Then adolescence brings a new focus to the birthday celebration. Boyfriends and girlfriends flirt, dance and sneak out to make out. A ritual continued through high school and college. The main difference instead of punch, beer is served. Cards replace presents and receiving an invitation becomes the new prize.
Upon leaving school and joining the workforce the emphasis changes to smaller dinners and cards. A few close friends and family still bring gifts, but the gathering of loved ones takes center stage. Busy lives and travel restrict the celebrations. People leave and new friends are made. Until one realizes a fire permit is necessary to light the candles. Another shift occurs. Gratitude for a life well lived.
I watched a Dogs Purpose this weekend. Tears rolled down my cheeks from laughter and loss. If you are one of those, “it’s only a dog, people. Hit delete now you won’t get it. I’ve loved and lost many wonderful dogs during my nearly sixty-five years. Dogs are friends and one of the best examples of unconditional love I’ve found.
They don’t need fancy toys, any old ball, stick, stuffed animal or sock will do. The only non-negotiable-your undivided attention. Walks are essential and belly rubs garner extra attention. Canines are superior to humans. They like everyone and harbor no grudges. Forget a walk, feed them late. No worries, they live in the moment.
My current dog and best friend is a fourteen-month-old Weimaraner named Travis. Weimaraner’s nickname is “Velcro” dog. Travis likes to read with me at night before bed. He stakes out his spot on my right shoulder and refuses to budge. Yet, he refuses to read or turn pages. No, he snuggles in and sleeps.
In my opinion, a dog’s live to create laughter, or tears and comforting us when needed. Thoughts?
Tomorrow the country celebrates Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, candlelight and other delights. Fine for those people with someone special to share the holiday with. Harder for those without a Valentine. Not the people who opt to remain single. The people whose Valentine is no longer present. Their loved one may have passed or be away from home. I pray their memories warm their hearts.
In elementary school, everyone had to give every student a valentine. No one was excluded. Not so as we grow older. Hunter Hayes croons, “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me.” He laments, “I’d love to take a pin to a heart-shaped balloon.” The image makes me smile. No worries, I’m not sitting home plotting to deflate each heart-shaped balloon.
Instead, I’m going to give candy hearts and cards to everyone I meet tomorrow. I volunteer with the local police department. When I check on the people who are house bound, I’ll bring my cards and candy. A much more productive approach than sharpening my pin. How will you celebrate tomorrow?
Asking what unites us is a question with no easy answers. Family, friends, shared interests, sports, religion, are examples which come to mind. Unfortunately, those things often divide us. Not sure, ask a Yankee fan about the Red Sox. Religion and faith might unite us. Sadly, they often divide us.
Our firsts bonds begin with our families. As infants, we cling to our parents. Childhood challenges us with new adventures and friendships. Friends for life or friends we leave behind. Life changes as we change. Changes is not inherently good or bad. We outgrow clothes in the same manner we outgrow the beliefs of childhood.
There is no right or wrong way to evolve. Simply a path we each forge based on who we think we are. Hopefully, a tolerant path. Respect for differences and the knowledge that every path is different. None superior to any other.
So, what unites us? Our humaneness. The ability to treat people with kindness, compassion and dignity. Sounds simple enough. Why is it so hard for people to master?
The last twelve months prove my point. When did common sense flee? When did it become politically incorrect to lend a hand without a camera rolling or a selfie? There is much a person can do to help another person, animal, situation. You name it there is no shortage of ways to lend a helping hand.
When I see, thousands take to the streets to protest you name it-I wonder. I am not against voicing an opinion. I’m merely suggesting elbow grease might do more than placards and slogans. In the short time, I’ve roamed this plane slogans seldom scratch the service of any issue. What I’ve seen works is lending a hand, an ear and time to interact with another individual. A smile, a hug or a listening ear will do more to help than slogans and protests.
The world needs more face time and less emails, texts, tweets and e-mails. I’m old enough to have sent and received letters that changed my life. Do you keep emails, texts, tweets-perhaps? Instagram’s may give an image, but not the dialogue. Do not get me wrong theses venues have their place. Yet, they will never replace hearing the voice of a friend, family member or a long lost loved one.
I challenge you to tell five people hello. Wish them well and add a smile.