Thursday, December 14, 2017

Paws to Remember- a tearful and joyful celebration

I was leafing through the local Advertiser newspaper when I saw this notice. The event was one I knew well, but there was something else:

This is an annual event held at Nassau Vet--a night to remember the pets lost that year. I'd been to this event before, sadly, a few too many times. But what caught my eye was the dog in the picture. Our Brooks. Our first senior rescue, the one who started us on the journey of adopting senior goldens, and changed our life. The angel ornament pictured was our ornament we'd hung on the tree five years ago to remember him. Seeing his angel wings again was like a gift from heaven.

And now it was time to make another ornament--two more, in fact.

We'd lost our senior golden Ike this past March, and then our 16 year old spaniel Kelly 5 days later. We think of them every day, but most people know, the holidays are always especially emotional. Having a special night to remember and honor them at this time of year is comforting. We decorated our new ornaments and hung them on the tree in the veterinarian's lobby.

Ornaments we made for Ike and Kelly this year.
As we walked in the door, we were each given a bell on a ribbon. The room was dark with candle light and a beautiful Christmas tree adorned with angel wing ornaments. Before long, the room filled to overflowing. So many others missing a pet, just like us.

 It began with a reading from Dr. Lisa Dietrich, called If he wakes in Your arms about when it's time for a much-loved pet to go to heaven. Then other veterinarians read poems and short essays about loving and losing a pet. I was already having trouble keeping back the tears.

Next, the names of the pets lost this year were announced, and when each pet's name was read the families rang their bell. At each soft jingle I felt the depth of someone else's loss.

Finally, pet parents and family members stood up and shared stories and fond memories of their pets. Mike shared about Kelly's dementia, and how Ike became like a therapy dog to her in her final months. Some people told funny stories, most shared about the end, and each and every story showed how much we are all connected to the cats and dogs in our lives.

I think of Kelly and Ike all the time, but the evening helped me share and connect with other pet parents. It felt comforting to observe such understanding from the veterinarians at Nassau Vet who knew and cared for our pets so well over the years, and in many cases helped us gently say goodbye.

As we left, we drove past beautiful luminaria lining the long winding driveway.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Santa Snacks for Dogs #ChewyInfluencer

Do you get a stocking for your dog?
We do!
What do you think of this one?

I couldn't resist this one for Ernest and Pete!

Perfect for any good dog!

As a Chewy Influencer, we were excited to receive a sample of Blue Buffalo Santa Snacks. I thought they make the perfect stocking stuffer for Ernest and Pete.

Good doggy treats!

These Kringle cookies are baked with oatmeal and cinnamon, barley, carrots, pumpkin and flaxseed. There's no corn, wheat or soy. No chicken or poultry either--perfect for pets prone to food allergies.  Ernest and Petey give them a five jingle bell rating!

Okay, can I eat them NOW?!

Has your dog been a Good Dog? Stuff his stocking with Blue Buffalo Santa Snacks!

Full Disclosure: We were provided with one 8 oz. bag of Blue Buffalo Santa Snacks for our honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wordless Wednesday. Love from #ChewyInfluencer

I'm so grateful to be a #ChewyInfluencer. Not only because I get to sample and review great products, from, but also because they continually make their bloggers feel appreciated. Just look at these amazing portraits of Ernest and Petey they sent us? We love you Chewy! Thank you!

Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Monday, November 27, 2017

All Creation Waits book giveaway

Are you looking for a book to help you connect more to nature AND get more out of the holiday season? Then check out All Creation Waits by Gayle Boss ...I'm giving away two copies of All Creation Waits here today, so you too can enjoy this wonderful book.

All Creation Waits is a unique and thought-provoking book about the advent season which depicts how wild animals of North America adapt when cold and darkness descend. Each day for 24 days you'll discover how the Painted Turtle, Whitetail Deer, Chipmunk, Raccoon and many other woodland animals endure the long, dark days of winter. At the end, the author helps us to see how these winter preparations can help us prepare our hearts for the spiritual gift of Christmas.

Today I'm pleased to have the author, Gayle Boss, join us here at The Writer's Dog:

 TWD: Your book is about animals and the Advent season. What does Advent mean to wild animals?

GB: Now is a time in the Northern Hemisphere when it is getting very dark and very cold. Animals' food sources are becoming depleted and they need more energy. They don't deny the dark and the cold--they've adapted to get through the season. There are 24 different animals in the book, and 24 different ways they adapt.

TWD: How can this help us prepare for Christmas?

GB: All the pressure to shop, decorate, turn up the music, and keep busy can make us physically sick. The animals are a metaphor--they can provide guides to handle the season in a healthy way by learning how the animals adapt.

TWD: What are some specific ways we can adapt?

GB: We can resist what the marketplace wants us to do (shop, get busy, do, do do). In response we can be more quiet. We're not always connected to nature, but nature still affects us. There are things we can do in our technology-ridden life to reconnect. For example, I go shopping and get everything done before Advent so that I can focus on the season. Instead of stringing multiple Christmas lights, we have just four advent candles, and we gather around them every night.  We spend more time being quiet and reflecting.

TWD: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

GB: Enjoy and embrace quiet. Match your own rhythms to the rhythms of all creation.

TWD: That is wonderful. Thank you for sharing about your book. Now I'd like to know a little bit about your pets. You have a dog. How do you celebrate the holiday season with your dog?

GB: We have a 15 year old Corgi, Jessie. She has a big, thick coat and she loves the snow. I don't like the cold, but because she loves it, I go out. I bundle up and three times a day we go out for a 30-45 minute walk.
TWD: One last thing. How can we help our wild animal friends in the winter?

GB:  I feed the birds and the squirrels in the winter, but just enough to supplement. I want to make it easier for them but I don't want them to become dependent on me, so I put out a small amount each day. I'll put out more when it's very cold out. In especially hard weather I put out corn or apples in the woods for the deer. I also make a brush pile in the back and possums, rabbits and other animals take shelter there.

 TWD: Thank you, Gayle, for this enlightening interview, and for sharing your wonderful book with us. Two lucky winners will also get a copy of your book to enjoy!

I absolutely love this book, and highly recommend you add it to your holidays. Prepare for Christmas this year with with muskrats, chickadees, black bears, raccoons and other wild animals of North America. Lyrical and unique, this is an adult book that you can also share with children.

You can also order All Creation Waits in e-subscription. What a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season. When you subscribe, you'll get one animal reflection in your inbox each day of Advent, starting December 1st. 

Every year I say I'm going to put more meaning into Christmas, and every year I end up caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping and decorating and my endless To-Do list...and all that "meaning" I'm searching for is lost. This year I read All Creation Waits helped me discover exactly what I've been missing.

Enter here to win. I'm giving away two copies of All Creation Waits!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
"Each of the beautiful creatures in this little book is a unique word of God, its own metaphor. . . they announce the Good News of Advent: that through every dark door the creating Love of the universe waits." — Richard Rohr, OFM

 All Creation Waits   ISBN 978-1-61261-785-5   $18.99

Full Disclosure: I was provided with one copy of All Creation Waits to review, and two to give away. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017