Friday, June 30, 2017

Listening to the Animals, an entry dedicated to our friend Murphy

Our neighbor and friend Murphy

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I have used this quote in past but this is on of my very favorite ones worth  being ‎re quoting.

What is anthropomorphism?
The definition  reads : the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.

Some people think this is absurd and that animals are things that do not feel like we do. Great scientists such as Jane Goodall and Marc Beckoff have proven otherwise. I also agree with one of my heroes, Ms. Goodall that animals do feel and love as humans do. Actually I believe they actually have larger hearts than most humans and love unconditionally.  I enjoy watching their antics and quite honestly can say I hear what there voices may sound like in my head. I can also imagine word bubbles popping up over their head and what might be in those bubbles.

My kitty Raven has a french accent. Black Lab Grandpuppy Cash, sounds like Goofy from Disney. My buddy Odin has the voice and demeanor of Winnie the Pooh. He does nothing fast and is just content looking for another smackeral of honey or whatever he can get his paws on. Golden retriever neighbor and buddy Murphy has the voice of Foghorn Leghorn.
I wanted to have all these voices in place in your imagination before I proceed with my story.
Cash Odin and Raven 

Happily Cash has sleepovers with us quite often. Not too long ago she stayed for the weekend and we went for a walk in the woods. In the past Odin and I would come across a grouse that flies straight up and can certainly startle. Odin could care less, just like Pooh, being in no in particular hurry. On this day with Cash present  a grouse popped up and I could instantly hear Cash's word bubble say in her Goofy voice, "Did ya see that, did ya... did ya? Odin did ya seeeeeeee that? (her retriever instincts kickin in) Odin that was the coolest thing I have ever seen." Odin got a little pep in his step and you could hear him say in the most excited Pooh voice he could muster, "Oh bother, I'll be a little excited with ya Cash."

Raven and Cash's relationship could best be described as Raven 'tolerates' Cash. Cash just wants to please and be eternally happy, hoping Raven will throw her a crumb. When we returned home that day, Raven was waiting at the door, giving Odin the normal sniff of ears and feet and saying in her French accent.  "Ju may pass Odin." Cash giving Raven a good three feet comfort space tried to get in the door but Raven had to take her one intimidating step forward, with her eyes glinting knocking un confrontational Cash back almost in a somersault. Flouncing her imaginary french tu tu hopped to the couch word bubble popping up saying "You is ze stupid." as she curls up to sleep.

Cash wants to be buddies so very badly, waits till she is fast asleep. In slow motion one, quietly one inch at a time puts one paw up, then another, until finally her whole body is on the couch, word bubble saying,  "You like me, c'mon ,(one paw)  you like me, please like me.(the next paw)" Raven slyly opens one eye "In-grade" Cash barely moves slow mo curls in a tight ball, and as she falls blissfully asleep one last word bubble, "you love me."
Cash hoping for a morsel of love from Raven

Aren't they just so sweet and fascinating to watch?

When we go for walks or paddle boat rides , we happily run into our neighbor Murphy. When walking Murphy will run up to me in the Foghorn Leghorn voice you can hear Murphy's word bubble loud and clear, "Well well boy, Hi Odin Hi Odin, Jodi, you got a treat? How bout another treat , and another and another. "As he happily shoves his whole  nose into my treat bag circling us tail waggin. When he is in the house or one the dock when we paddle, Odin and Murph call out greetings of joy to one another. There is no hesitance with Murphy he is just happy and joyfully full of exuberance swimming and strutting his tail feathers with pride.

In the past I have mentioned Odin is the best of dogs but has some fears. He would rather just go off to his own honey tree and be left alone when scary things, especially when children come his way. I believe it is always best to NOT set your dog up for failure when you know a situation is just too much for them. When six year old step grandson comes to visit Odin has to go to the bedroom behind a baby gate. Raven does NOT like the fast movement and hides on her own. On the other hand when twenty year old step grandson comes Odin AND Raven are overjoyed, he is one of their favorite humans. I have one of those gates that will keep Odin in but holes big enough for gate for Raven to chose to be in or out. Even though it is best for Odin to be in there, you can see his word bubble silently pleading," PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSE let me out, please." Raven on the other hand says, "Thank you for ze gate" as she saunters through swishing her tail, "Ha ha you silly little human child, I will not allow my velvet fur coat to be ruffled by ze dirty paws." She  waits until the very second the youngest's head hits the pillow, peaks her head around the door and pops out from behind the gate looking for the slow moving one that knows how to honor such royalty. When the coast is clear Odin is let out and also goes in search of his buddy knowing he will get loving and a smacekeral of some kind of honey goodness.

Odin and Raven snuggling safely behind the baby gate 

These stories lighten my heart and I hope they do yours. I wanted to bring some humor to this month's story because the story has a bittersweet end.

Recently looking out onto my beautiful lake,  I saw my handsome Murphy and his  moms on the boat sweetly gliding along and it made me smile. Shortly after I received a message that said, Did you see Murphy? We wanted to take him on one last ride because that is what he loved to do. My heart broke in two. It was time for Murphy to go to the rainbow bridge the next day and his Moms wanted his last day to be perfection of all his favorite things.

With a saddened heart but also a toast to a celebration of beautiful life I want to dedicate this article  with love in memory of sweet joyful Golden Boy Murphy. May you fish,swim, run, and fly on golden wings until we all meet again.
A tribute to Murphy

I have included a wonderful story by Murphy's mom

For saying "no, we can't handle a puppy 2 weeks from our daughter's wedding", to his 1st couple months laced with health problems, we quickly came to love our Murphy boy.  In spite of him shredding every toy of Maude's he got a hold of, eating sticks non-stop & wandering off occasionally, he was a good boy.  He always treated Maude with the utmost respect. Always staying back until she got the treats first, let her eat before him, even choose her place to lay.  After Maude passed 4 years ago, he has been nothing but the best Golden boy!  New babies entering his later life, he has never snarled at one.  He would fish for hours, or play fetch with a stick, and then chew up the stick at the end of play.  He couldn't stand anyone to swim without him, and always had to be in the lead.  We made him learn to climb the ladder on the pontoon boat after several 'excited' overboard leaps after fish, turtles or bobbers,,,  folks were amused & amazed seeing this!  I'll miss my trips into the kitchen with you close behind, sharing my toast & sandwich crusts with you, & always the last bite of whatever I had.  Murphy has been sick since December.  After several vet & specialist visits his sinus tumor grew tremendously these past 3 weeks, closing one eye completely & moving to his lower jaw.  The laborious breathing that he is suffering thru would have only gotten worse with the upcoming heat & humidity.  Last night, with our boat still on the driveway to be cleaned, neighbor Bev offered her boat for one last cruise around the lake.  He had so much pep in his step getting to the lake!  We cruised past all his favorite spots that he would normally cry & tremble to have us stop the boat so he could swim.  Turtle Bay, the Sand Bar, the Eagles 🦅 Nest.  No excitement, as if he knew whats going on.  We got rained on, but continued on, last glances at the Eagles, like it was all part of a plan,,, 

He touched the hearts of many.  Neighbors Bev & Jodi both stopped by to give him his last love. 

We'll miss you, our Murphy boy.  You AND Maude have shown us what wonderful furbabies Golden Retrievers are.  You'll live on in our hearts ♥️ forever,,,

Friday, June 23, 2017

A true hero making a difference

Ashley and Wade Marr's dog Skye
Photo Credit Kim Perry

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.~ Christopher Reeve

Ashley Perry turned thirteen years old this May. For such a young girl, she has given back with her whole heart, more than most people accomplish in a lifetime. She has a huge heart for people and animals.

Ashley has had 20 surgeries and every three weeks has to go into the hospital for the day to receive IVIG infusions that have side affects that resemble chemo. She has a very rare disease called Turners Syndrome that only affects 1/2000 young women.

Ashley and Wade Marrs
Photo credit Kim Perry

Overcoming obstacles like this and giving back as much as she does has made Ashley a true hero in my eyes. She is someone to admire that I believe is a wonderful role model. I am apparently not the only one that has recognized the greatness in this young lady. Wade Marrs, an Iditarod musher, I also admire, has also seen and admires her courage. Wade lives in a cabin with no running water or electricity. His life is loving and caring for his dogs. He works very hard to accomplish his goal. He has said that Ashley inspires him in his chosen fight. Wade inspires Ashley in her fight that she has no choice in.

The two have formed a bond. Ashley met Wade through Providence Children's Hospital, who contacted Ashley. A  sled ride was donated for Opening Ceremonies. It was donated to the hospital from a Pediatrician they lovingly refer to as Dr. Greg. Ashley rode with Wade in Iditarod Ceremonial Start in 2013. Once that was over his "commitment" was done. However, according to Kim Perry, Ashley's mom, "Wade truly has a heart of gold." He started asking the Perry family to his kennel to mush and then also invited Ashley to the Musher's banquet and the friendship grew. Ashley told me, "Wade is amazing, like a brother" to her and her two sisters and brother.

Wade is now racing to promote Turner's syndrome awareness. He has invited other girls from Alaska out to his kennel for rides and to socialize with each other so they know they are not alone.
Ashley and Wade
photo credit Kim Perry

This is one of Ashley's projects is to help others with Turner's syndrome know that they are not alone. They need to be able to support each other. She also wants the kids in the hospital to be able to forget they are sick for awhile. She works hard to get visitors to come to the hospital to bring joy. She has had Wade (of course) visit with fellow Iditarod Musher Aily Zirkle, country stars Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood and more. Ashley is always on the hunt for more volunteers. She has contacted her local mayor and is installing blessing boxes in her town. She is now reading to dogs in shelters.

Not too long ago, I wrote about getting a program started locally to do this. Reading to dogs in shelters allows children to spend time with the dogs in a loving, innocent non judging manner. This helps a very scared dog or anti-social dog become more adoptable and less likely to be returned. For children, especially those struggling with reading, one of the biggest challenges of learning to read is the embarrassment and fear of making mistakes. One of the most accepting, non-judgmental creatures in the world are dogs. Young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent.

Life got busy, and I hadn't quite done it yet. Ashley's determination and spirit inspired me to get moving faster. I decided a girl with that much determination was the role model I wanted for this program. The program is to be called the "Ashley Perry Shelter Reading Program." I feel Ashley will be a beautiful inspiration for those struggling to achieve greatness. This program will take place at Muskegon Humane Society located in Muskegon, MI.

I hope Ashley inspires you, as she has so many. If you live locally, and would like to be a volunteer for the reading program, or get your child involved, please contact me via facebook or For Ashley I would also like to share this information to get the word out. Please feel free to contact me if any of these apply to you. I will get the information to the Perry family. She would love more cheer brought to her hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. Ashley wants others to know just because you have Turners Syndrome it doesn't mean that it  defines who you are. It's just a part of you.  The more sponsors for her dear friend Wade, the better. Ashley has told me he has done so much to bring awareness to Turners syndrome and joy to her family, she would like to help return the favor.
Ashley in her first sled dog race
Photo credit Kim Perry

This would be great advertising for Dog related business to be involved with the Iditarod. If you don't live locally, we both would love if you would be interested in getting a sister shelter program going in your area. I would love to get the information and assist you with that. One by one we can ALL collectively make a pawsitive difference.