Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life's Happenings

Well, I have certainly fallen behind in my postings. Lots has happened since the end of June!

The biggest event for me is that Jenny moved back to Austin. It is wonderful having her minutes rather than hours away! She's teaching in an area school district and seems to be happy to be among family and old friends. We're more than delighted to have her near!

Zeke was extremely relieved to be back with me. We've had to work on some health issues regarding his skin and coat. With the help of my special vet/friend, we seem to be making good progress. Zeke is on a special diet (minimal ingredients, high protein, no grain) to help avoid allergy issues. He is behaving in especially positive ways, and we are enjoying our time together more than ever. Zeke is even content going to work with me and just resting on my office floor as I work. As long as he can see or hear me, all is well. I'm relieved and blessed to have him back in my home. After the first of the year, we will hit the agility courses again, and I can't wait!

This fall, he and I attended the Celtic Festival here in Austin. My Jen was so thoughtful to join us as was good friend Rox. It was a treat to watch Zeke's parents, grandparents, siblings participate in herding exercises. Joy Sebastian is an amazing herding specialist, and her dogs are beautiful to behold. Joy enjoyed seeing Zeke, and he had a chance to observe masters at work!

In August, Caleb and I completed the Divine Canine Therapy Dog training, and we are now a certified team.  The training, our classmates and instructor made this one of the most important activities I've ever completed.  As of now, we've put in about 14 hours volunteering at facilities, schools and events; and we've also participated in some walks. It has been a joy to meet numbers of people and their dogs. Our favorite activity has been Caleb's job as a Barking Book Buddy. Once per week, we go to a neighborhood school, and Caleb listens as two students read to him--each of them have their own half hour. Those students show some pretty special smiles when we walk them to and from their classrooms to the library! Clearly, Caleb outweighs both of them, but he is such a gentle giant that they are completely comfortable in his presence. It appears that they enjoy the attention they receive from their classmates because they have a giant Barking Book Buddy! And seeing the residents' eyes light up when we enter a facility is something that makes me smile all day.

My family and friends have been understanding and supportive through this process. Just look at this photo! Can you believe they all gave up a Saturday morning's sleep to be there for us? It was a very special day, and it meant the world to me to see my family and friends there cheering us on. My dear friend, Amarante, had already left when this photo was taken. I have to say that he has been indescribably supportive through this experience. He gave me a beautiful piece of pottery to mark the occasion. Such a caring friend.

Now that I'm writing, I realize how much I've missed this blog. Time just gets away from us, I suppose. I did have surgery on my right hand, and that cramped my style for a few weeks. Now that I'm on a minimal splint, I'm able to easily type again, and that's a relief. Caleb spent most of today at the vet's office. He and Iris were playing their usual game of morning chase, and he twisted, pulled or somehow injured his left hind leg. Thankfully, x-rays show no skeletal damage. He is on limited activities and medications for 7 days. As I write, Caleb is sitting and moaning at the back door because squirrels and cats are running around out back without his supervision! I'm certain that he would want you to know that it's especially difficult to be Caleb right now!

Tomorrow is what our girls always called Christmas Eve Eve. My dear friend, Pamela, is coming over during the day. She enjoys coming over to visit and spending time with the pups. I think she has an especially soft spot for Iris, and that's nice. Jen will be around here tomorrow, and Amanda, James and Jonah will be arriving tomorrow night. Our entire family will be together for Christmas Eve Day. This year, we will go to Kate and Joe's for our celebration. Spencer is doing so well, growing and advancing, but it is less complicated if we just let him stay in his own environment with all he needs. Logan adapts and just loves being with everyone! There is always next year to be back over at my house. I'm just happy we'll all be together.

One last thought before I close for the night. My precious sister-in-law, Lana, has been battling the return of ovarian cancer. I'll be honest--it has been a frightening journey. Today she received some good news. The numbers from the lab tests showed that the cancer cells were down rather than up. That's enough to make us all thankful. Lana has been a sister, good friend, and confidant over the years. I love her very much, and I hope you'll join me in praying and hoping for her health.

Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday is everything you want it to be and more!

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. 
                                                                                                                                - St. Francis of Assisi