It is hard to believe that yet another year is winding down. My husband and I were born in the same year; me in January and he in December. So yes, he is an entire 11 months younger than I am. This weekend while celebrating his birth, we both commented on hard it is to wrap our heads around our age! I am not one to dislike birthdays, as they sure beat the alternative, and frankly I adore a day that is all about me, but still it surprises me to realize that I have probably celebrated more birthdays in the past then I will in the future. With our mutual birthdays comes the realization that another year has sped by and seemingly faster than any preceding it. I so clearly remember sitting in class at Elton Hills Elementary School thinking that the clock would never get to 3:30! Now I routinely yelp “Yikes!” when I realize that I have worked late and my husband is patiently waiting for me in the car to go home at the end of the day.
Which brings me to the dogs! I know they have some concept of time, as when I have been home with them they routinely know when to sit in the window and wait for Greg to come home from work, and at 9:45 AM everyday they want to go out (that is when Nana comes up to see them every day, but even on the weekends they head to the back door at 9:45). So what tips them off? The sun in the sky? Their bladders? My first poodle Anna headed to bed every night at 9 PM. A party could be in full swing and she would stand up, stretch and walk into the bedroom. Bedtime for her was 9 PM and no one kept her from it; not even Daylight Savings Time! Do the days seem endless until we get home, or do the awaken at 3:45, stretch and go to their watch stations (Ike in my recliner, Vivian in Greg’s) to await our arrival, thinking we just left?
I probably will never understand the concept of dog time, I just know that this is the time of year for reflection. 2013 was a good year. Vivian matured, as two year old dogs will do, and Ike has settled into his role of big brother/put-upon Golden with grace and dignity. He growled at Vivian once this year, and that was over a stuffed duck. Don’t mess with Ike’s stuffed toys. I think he could growl a bit more, but he is a gentle giant and will probably continue to put up with Vivian’s playful and not so playful ankle biting for the rest of his time with us. “Vivian, leave Ike alone!” is a daily statement at our house. Ike, Ikey, Iker is a lover, not a fighter and makes us smile every day. People ask me why Ike isn’t a therapy dog and I tell them, “He is, he just has enough private duty work at home to keep him busy”.
Despite her need to pester her big bro, Vivian really did mature. She has taken her responsibility as a therapy dog to heart and seems to revel in her work. Together we truly have become a therapy dog “team” and it has been such fulfilling work. As will happen when you volunteer at a nursing home, some of our residents have died, but then we meet new residents who want to talk to Vivian. I knew we had made an impact when one day a nurse tracked us down on our rounds and asked us visit a new resident. She told me that Vivian was just what he needed, and after we visited commented that his smile when petting Vivian was the first she had seen since he had moved in a few days prior.
In 2014 I hope to add some more responsibilities to our repertoire, and perhaps work with kids who have trouble reading. I have no doubt Vivian would be good at it, I just need to figure out how to fit it in. To get her ready to venture out into a more public arena with different kinds of people we have volunteered at our Company Health Fair, and at the Library Holiday Open House. We not only get to educate people about therapy dog work, but also do some breed education and dog citizenship education too.
As for the people of Puppyjackpot, we had a good year as well. We continue to work for a great company and are surrounded by great friends; are able to enjoy the beauty of Northern Minnesota, travel when the mood hits us, and have our wonderful moms and siblings in our life while reveling in the accomplishments of adorable kids we didn’t raise but love as our own; our nieces, nephews and now great nephews! We also celebrated 14 years together and six years of marriage this year.