Welcome to Ask Gail–a place to share questions and answers about what matters to us most: family, friends, community, health, peace, books, favorite resources, what feeds our soul… Ask Gail is also where we can create and share very important information like my “Gail’s Guide to Going to the Hospital.” Stay tuned for more…
April 22, 2013 Earth Day
Today is my 9th birthday and I am celebrating with a nice juicy marrow bone. After Gail blew out the candle, I took my treat into my crate where I am happily chewing away. Isn’t life grand?
My person, Gail, was in the hospital with pneumonia and you can’t imagine how surprised I was when Robb took me there–I knew I was going there to work–and found Gail in the bed! Because I work there as a therapy dog and because I am well behaved even if I didn’t work there, I was allowed to spend a lot of time with her helping her feel better. There is nothing like a dog curled up at the edge of a hospital bed to make everyone smile! If you have a pet and you are a patient at Bridgeport Hospital, you can ask to have your pet evaluated so it can visit you. I hope you never need this, but if you do, isn’t it wonderful that you can?
It was an exciting summer. Gail and I trained at Bridgeport Hospital, and I am now officially certified as a therapy dog by Therapy Dogs, Inc. We were then invited, as a team, to join the Bridgeport Hospital Spiritual Care and Education Pet Therapy Dog Program. Woof! That’s a mouthful.
I also visit the sick from St Luke’s RC parish in Westport with my friend Maggie Diviney on Tuesdays.
So, if you are not feeling too well or you are in the hospital, let me know, and we will come visit you and make you feel all better.
February 14, 2011
It’s been a long, cold winter and I have not been outside much. Today is one of those warmish melty days when all the stored up smells emerge to tantalize me; it took five minutes just to walk and sniff down the driveway this morning. And now the sun is out shining on all the puddles and the mud.
I went to the vet today for my yearly shots and checkup because Gail and I are hoping to join Therapy Dogs, Inc. I took their pre-test years ago but never finished my final certification. Now that Gail has met the local Therapy Dog Tester/Observer, we are planning on doing the training and earning my blue therapy-dog vest. I am happy to get back to work as it gets pretty old just laying around the house waiting for spring to come.
August 30, 2010
The dog days of summer are back. The A/C is running most of the time and I am either flopped on the porch floor where the tile is coolest or lying on the couch in the living room where I can look out the window. Life on the street has picked up as school started last Wednesday and lots of kids walk past the house on their way to and from school. Sometimes I get to go outside and play with them for a few minutes. And when Ms Smiley takes her 2nd graders for a nature walk, they always stop here to look at the peace pole in the front garden, and then Gail and I go out to say hello.
March 29, 2010
I have spent most of the winter laying about, going out for walks in-between rain or snow showers. It’s raining hard today and I am nestled with Gail in her office chair where I can look out the window or just feel the “dogginess” of being close to my favorite pack member. When Gail and Robb went to Mexico over spring break, I stayed with one of my favorite Aunties, Maggie, who lives in Westport. It was exciting. First, her son Brian took my portrait—he does fabulous canine photography–click here to visit his web site. I now have my 15-minutes of fame, forever. Then a powerful wind storm came through and we lost power and trees were blocking all the roads. I couldn’t go home until the next day!
October 29, 2009
Hard to believe it is the end of October—the grass is still green, I found a clematis bloom at the bottom of the side fence today when I was sniffing around after our walk, and it is warm enough to run around in the garden. I love the crunch of dry leaves and the smell of wet leaves after the rain, which we have had a lot of this week.
October 4, 2009
I am sitting behind Gail on her desk chair looking out the front window; every now and then someone or someone with a dog or two goes by. Snatam Kaur is chanting the “Ray Man” shabad quietly in the background. It’s a lovely day and the house smells like carrot cake and Italian sausage soup. Gail is cooking for her sangha group—later, friends will be here for meditation and chanting in community—sangha. Unlike them, I cannot hear the dharma or open my heart of compassion, but I am always in tune with my pack friends and at peace. It is my dog nature.
September 27, 2009
After a lot of rain and warm sticky weather, Gail and I are taking long walks again. I also got to go kayaking for the first time. I must admit it was kind of weird because I am used to being on a boat with both Gail and Robb, but here I was with Gail and Robb was up there, or over there, or behind us. I was nervous at first and they passed me back and forth between them but that didn’t help, so I just settled down in Gail’s kayak and watched the water, the clouds, the egrets, and the grasses as we moved quietly through Ash Creek and the tidal marsh. We paddled to North Benson Marina and found Decision, with her new owner aboard. I walked around on the dock taking in the new smells and then sat in the familiar cockpit. The sun was setting as we got back in our kayaks and paddled back to the marsh.
September 7, 2009
It’s been a gorgeous week and I have been out in the garden with Gail & Robb harvesting tomatoes, arugula, swiss chard, and basil; weeding; cutting back the roses; barking hello to walkers and bikers and dogs; and leaving messages for other dogs in the neighborhood.
Gail started back at school last week so I spend most of my day time keeping Robb company in his office. He will be traveling again this week so it’s just Bert and me laying about, wrestling now and then, and waiting for Gail to come home. If none of her students have dog/cat allergies, I will visit her classes soon. Gail and I are also considering doing some therapy work at the new Jewish Home for the Elderly Day Care facility that recently opened in Fairfield. I can go there after lunch and lick faces and hands (hmm, yummy!) and generally cuddle with anyone who wants me on their lap.
August 11, 2009
One of my KnitBliss aunties, Barbara H, sent along this poem.
“Fool’s Errands” by Kay Ryan
this is the rule of dogs
for whom there
are no fool’s errands. To
loop out and
come back is
good all alone.
It’s gravy to
carry a ball
or a bone.
August 9, 2009
Hi, I’m Ernie and Gail is my person. We’ve been together now for a little over five years. In the beginning I was small enough to be taken into stores and restaurants and even the local library. I spent lots of time in Border’s sleeping or chewing on a bone while Gail and Libby talked and talked. I went to work, meetings, even the dentist. And I spent lots of time working at the Jewish Home for the Elderly where Gail’s mom lived until she died in 2007.
Seeing the world from a foot above the ground keeps me very centered. Of course, I also get up on the furniture to watch TV, look out the windows, and see what Gail and Robb are eating. I beg in a very quiet soulful kind of way—no need to make any noise—I just stare at them until they share with me.
Gail sometimes takes me to school with her. I like greeting everyone in the room and then settling down next to someone who really misses their dog at home. Because I can tell time (I am very schedule oriented), I always get up just a few minutes before class is over and let Gail know it’s time to wrap it up. I do the same thing at her Tuesday night Al-Anon meeting—three minutes to nine and I am up and ready for the closing prayer and going home.
I also do yoga and have perfected both the puppy stretch and downward facing dog. When Gail and Robb meditate, I do too, as I am the only being in the house (after Bert the cat) who is in the present moment all the time!