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The recent wild fires in Northern California have burned thousands of acres, homes and businesses in the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds have been converted to a self contained community of 3500 first responders from CA., NV., OR., WA., SD., CO., MT., FL., NV., AZ. and Australia. The compound includes chiropractors, message folks, a small engine repair tent, communications trailers for AT&T, electrical generators to power everything, an eating area, kitchen, showers, laundry and enough tents for all the 3500 first responders as well as Santa Rosa Police, Sheriffs Department, CA. State Parks Department, U.S. Army and the Reserves for security and contractors for the bulldozer work. And, parking for dozens of fire trucks in all sizes, mostly red but some hi-viz yellow as well as an area to maintain all the equipment.

When we learned the organization that Shelby, Cindi and I volunteer for, P.A.L.S., or Paws as Loving Support, had permission for our dogs to visit the first responders, we headed down there.

I remember in Shelby’s Comfort Dog training, she found a firefighter she was very fond of…so I knew she would love being at the Fairgrounds.

Getting into the Fairgrounds means getting through security, first letting the Santa Rosa PD know that Shelby is a comfort dog by showing them our photo name tags and that she was requested by the first responders. Then as you enter the compound you need to check in with Cal Fire. Fortunately most security folks have remembered Shelby so our access has been a bit easier. For the last week Shelby has posted herself near the main gate so she could greet the first responders as they headed into their compound after working all day or heading out for the night shift. We knew she would use her red wagon, because most fire trucks are red, and she really wanted to “blend in”. On October 15th we tied a “Happy Birthday” balloon to her wagon and celebrated her 10th birthday by hanging out with the first responders. The next day I was told that Shelby was brought up in the fire fighters morning meeting and they gave her a new nickname, DOGTOR SHELBY.

We usually spend 3 to 4 hours by the gate where Shelby has greeted hundreds of first responders and without fail brought a smile to their faces. Some will tell us about their dogs at home and show us pictures. Some will ask to take her picture, some will ask to have their picture with her, some will smile, pet her and go about their business. Some will bring her a piece of steak from their dinner or a piece of jerky for her to munch on. We make sure we tell everyone we meet, “thank you for being here” and “thank you for helping us”. We are humbled that many have told us, “thanks for being here, we appreciate it”. I mentioned to one of the fire captains that we haven’t heard any swearing or negative comments, his reply was “there’s no room for that”.

Yesterday was the first day in 2 weeks where we have no visible smoke from the fires. People are being let back into the evacuation zones to see what they have left. The long, difficult period of rebuilding has begun, it will take years. Cindi and I are very blessed, our house was never in danger.

The first responders came from all over to help us. I don’t know how to say thank you enough for what they have done. Hopefully we’ve helped in some way.

under: Conversations with Shelby

I knew it was going to be a really warm week, 7 days of temps over 100 degrees, time to turn on the lawn sprinklers. I always do the front yard first, fewer sprinklers and usually they don’t need much more then fine tuning.

When Penny was here, it was her job to supervise me, now it falls on Shelby’s little shoulder. It was really nice to have her hanging out and supervising me. She was also keeping an eye open for neighbors coming home. That’s when she works her way to visit them in search of a treat. We found a major leak by the driveway, so I dig around and find a plastic piece had broken. Shelby and I run down to the local hardware store, pick up the replacement and cruised back home.

She’s right by side making sure I cleaned, repaired and assembled the sprinkler correctly. I get the the OK that everything looks good, so with Phillips screwdiver in hand, I head around the corner of house and manually turn the sprinklers on.

As soon as I open the valve, I look around the corner of house and see a very wet Shelby motivating down the sidewalk, on what looks like her rear legs only, front leg off the ground! Shelby’s poppin’ a wheelie! By the time I catch up to her, she and I are both out of breath…she’s highly upset and I’m doing the best I can not to laugh. I pick her up and apologize as we head back to the house where I grab a towel and dry her off as best I can. She really wasn’t that wet, but you know how a princess can be.

I feel really bad about what happened… and I swear, with just a bit of a smirk, I didn’t do it on purpose.

 

under: Uncategorized

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We had a great time!

Wonderful to meet new friends and see our old friends again.

Hope you enjoy the photo’s! The chauffeur

under: Tripawd Parties

Well, well, well, I just celebrated my 8 year adoptaversary!!!

On April 4th, 2009, I rescued a family from Santa Rosa. They came looking for a dog and left with me, The Petite Princess. They had no idea how much their life was about to change. At first they were like deer in the headlights, didn’t have a clue what to do with me, only having 3 legs and cute as a button.

A few months later after all the training and learning stuff, they turned me loose on Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa. I remember that day like it was yesterday, November 1st, 2009. That hospital had never seen the likes of me, my red wagon, autographed 4 by 6 closeup photo’s of you know who, and, the maid and chauffeur there to help me start my rounds. Nope they had never seen a Princess cruising the hallways with my Farah Fawcett tail blowing in the breeze. People stopped, pointed, oohed and ahhed and we’d invite them over so they could meet me. A few told me how beautiful I am.

We’ve made a lot of friends at the hospital, we make friends everywhere we go. We’ve traveled many miles, me in my wagon, tail in the breeze. Hanging with Mom and Dad …from Doggy Days at Sonoma State, to a So Cal TRIPAWD PAWTY , a Las Vegas TRIPAWD PAWTY, to the Strip in Las Vegas, yeah, Elvis wanted his picture taken with ME! To retirement homes, helping kids learn to read, selling raffle tickets for the local Harley Owners Group fundraiser, working with autistic young people and sometimes folks who just need a Princess to hug.

I couldn’t have done any of this without gobs of help. The students that rescued me in Taiwan and the volunteers at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue. The Doctor that took my bad leg off and threw it away. Jim and Kathy, the best foster parents this lucky Princess could have. My Foster God Mother Jana, who gave my dad the what for, and told him what he could and couldn’t expect from me. Margie the trainer that helped dad and me learn to work together. Nancy taught us how to be a social/therapy team. She believed in me, as little as I am, she believed in me. Early in the training Mom and Dad weren’t sure, but Nancy was. And Penny, my Border Collie big sister, taught me how be an alpha female before she left us…she was a much better Alpha Female then I’ll ever be. She was so cool.

OK, let’s not get all mushy here. 8 years, I can’t believe it…

So, Mom and Dad, A.K.A, the maid and chauffeur, took me out for my 8th Adoptaversary Celebration lunch / dinner. I sat in the front seat of the pickup with my Dad and Mom sat in the back. I had a chickin sammich, fries and ice cream! Dad said as far as he knows, thats the 3 main food groups people talk about, I think he’s right! Tons of chickin crumbs and ice cream all over my face and I was workin it! I usually don’t like my picture taken with chicken sammich crumbs and ice cream on my face, but this time, I did! Ah, heck, we all know I love my picture taken anytime!!

Thinking back over the last 8 years, we rescued each other, that’s the way things should be.

 

 

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

I miss my big sister!

Posted by: | July 13, 2015 | 2 Comments |

It can’t be a year already. Shelby’s big sister and the Worlds Most Beautiful Border Collie crossed the bridge on June 13, at 3:04 PM.

Penny was the most amazing dog I have ever met. She came to us as a scared, timid 1 year old from a local shelter. She was a Border Collie with the color of a tri-colored Collie. She was beautiful and regal. No matter where we went people would always tell us how beautiful she was. When she came to live with us we were told, she’ll need a job or she’ll get into trouble. Poor Penny didn’t know that a big part of her job was going to be taking care of me and getting me out of my comfort zone. My, how she could run, she was wicked fast. Penny learned how to chase a tennis ball. She would run after it, find it, point it out to me and then trot back to where I was…without the ball. She’d look at me like, you want me to bring you the ball? Perhaps a lab or golden might do that, you see, I’m a Border Collie and this Border Collie don’t fetch!

I tried doing agility with Penny, she was great I was doing the best I could. One evening in front of the whole class I was running beside her, tripped and fell face first in the horse training arena. She looked at me like, you are so embarrasing me, get up, maybe no one saw you! One other time as we were running next to corrals wall when a horse stuck her head over the fence. Penny stopped dead in her tracks and stared. Tilted her head back and forth a couple of time and looked at me like, that’s the biggest dog I’ve ever seen!

She was always on “duty.” Watching where we all were, is everyone here, is everyone OK? If Cindi and I weren’t in the same room, she would spend time with Cindi, then check on me, then Cindi, oh yeah, better check the back yard. Whenever I was in the back yard, she was with me. I sometimes get into trouble doing Honey Do’s and she was there to supervise. Since she left, the back yard is kind of a hard place to go.

Cindi and Penny would go on power walks, I power stroll, so they would get really far out and Penny would turn, spot me and come racing back to check on me and then back to Cindi. She didn’t need no leash on her walks, she would pick a route and we would follow. She was always watching, checking everywhere and everything just making sure all was good.

I only heard her growl at someone twice. Once was when my ex-boss, came up on her a bit quicker than Penny thought prudent. The other time, she and I were sitting on tailgate of the truck while Cindi was inside getting us some ice cream. 2 fella’s started walking towards us and Penny stood up and gave them boys the Border Collie eye and growled big time. I told them Penny’s not too socialable and for them to just move on.

She was a wonderful big sister to Shelby. Quiet, all observing, a Border Collie nip or Stare would let Shelby know, don’t do that…don’t even think of doing that. I only saw Penny make a “suggestion” once and it was like, girl, I told you once, don’t be doing that! And Shelby didn’t do it.

I miss the eye to eye contact, I miss having a dog smarter than I am, I miss her supervising me and I miss taking her to visit the the folks at the retirement home. They loved Penny, she wasn’t all over them or pushy, she was very much a regal, beautiful girl and they knew she was special. I really miss My Baby Girl!

That’s what I called Penny, my baby girl. When she came to live with us all she wanted was a walk, some love and a family to take care of. The day she left us was the most difficult day I’ve ever been through. She graced us with her presence for almost 15 years and now, just like that, she’s gone. We knew it was time for her to leave and we tried the best we could to make her as comfortable as she could be. We all were sitting on the floor, I had Penny’s head in my lap, Cindi was petting her. She knew we loved her and we told her again as she left.

It’s been a year now. I think of her and smile and sometimes laugh, then tear up. John, Bernie and Linda’s dad, took a photo of her a couple of months before she died. It’s a straight on closeup of her face, they sent us a copy printed on canvas. It’s perfect, it’s her and I love it. I thank John and Diane everytime we see them. It means so much to us, so,so much.

She was and still is, My Baby Girl and she is greatly missed.

 

under: My family

Friends in high places.

Posted by: | March 30, 2015 | 4 Comments |

Shelby has been visiting the hospital since November 1st, 2009. We have met hundreds of amazing people during this visits. Sometimes you are there when a patient and their families get to go home and sometimes you’re there when the final arrangements are being made for a family member.

Sometimes when we visit the hospital we spend a lot of time with the staff, nurses and doctors. Often we hear, “O boy, here comes Shelby!” and sometimes we hear, ” Shelby, I really needed to see you today.”

This last weekend we visited on both Saturday and Sunday and there were some families that really needed to see Shelby. The aunt, grandmother and sister waiting in the Intensive Care waiting area for word on their loved one. The sister and grandmother already there more than 24 hours. The aunt who came in had Shelby sitting beside her on the couch and you could see the concern and worry on her face. Shelby hops in and does what she does so well, creates a bit of a break from both the concern and the worry. She did really, really well with these 3 ladies.

We moved to the critical waiting area where we met a mother and her sister who were waiting for word of her son who was in a motorcycle accident. The doctors had already removed one of his legs. Shelby hopped on the couch next to the mother and again, for a few minutes, help to calm and distract her. After quite awhile we left there and went to the 3rd floor, Oncology.

We had some amazing visits with folks! Learned a few jokes and one gentleman shared a cell phone photo of his Jack Russell, 17 years old, that had just crossed the bridge. We met some new nurses and saw a doctor that we had met several years earlier. She had always been a big fan of Shelby’s and so we’ve talked several times. After we visit someone, I always pick Shelby up, thank the folks for letting us come and visit and Cindi resets their chairs and helps to wipe down their hands with a disenfectent wipe and says her goodbyes. I was waiting in the hallway with Shelby when Shelby’s doctor friend came out of one of the other patients rooms, knelt down next to Shelbys wagon and the two of them had a great visit! The doctors have the final say as to whether the therapy dog programs are allowed in the hospital, so we are always on our best behavior, which is no easy task for some of us!

While she was visiting Shelby, I congratulated her on becoming “Chief of Staff” and told her we hadn’t seen her lately. She said, “not to worry, I’ve been right here”. After we said our goodbye’s, I started thinking about what just happened. The Chief of Staff was kneeling down hugging on our little Petite Princes in the middle of hall on the Oncology floor. I was humbled, amazed and blown away.

Shelby says, It’s good to have friends in high places!

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Our visits to Memorial Hospital always start in the Intensive and Critical Care waiting rooms. These visits are very, very special. Many times we find families that have been there for 24 hours waiting for a loved one. We often spend 1 to 2 hours visiting these waiting areas.
During our last visit Shelby caught the eye of 2 nurses on duty that day. As Shelby visited with some of the visitors, one of the nurses said, would you be able to visits some of our patients in Intensive this morning. We told them we are only allowed in with the permission of a nurse or a doctor. 2 minutes later, we were in one of the Intensive Care rooms visiting a young man who had been in a single car accident and was awaiting surgery. We put a pillow case on the right side of the bed and laid Shelby right next to him. We told him let us when you’re tired and we’ll leave, about 5 minutes later we said goodbye and wished him well on his surgery the next day. As we got up to leave, the nurse said, hold on, don’t go anywhere, we have another patient for you to visit.

We were introduced to an amazing women in her late 80’s. As we brought Shelby into her room, her face lit up with a huge smile. We laid Shelby next to her and she reached down and started petting her. The nurse said, that’s the first time she had smiled since she arrived at the hospital. We were having a wonderful conversation, but within a few minutes, you could see she was tired, so we thanked her, gave her one Shelby’s autographed pictures and said our goodbye’s.
The nurse said, we have one more 1 more lady who would love a visit. We were shown into a room with a wonderful couple. The husband was there visiting his wife, she was sitting on a chair right next to her bed. We looked at all the equipment, wires, tubes and figured the best thing to do was put Shelby on HER bed. It took just a moment for her to reach out and pet her. Her husband was so tickled we were there, everybody had big smiles and we talked about their dogs at home. All the time we talked, she’s petted Shelby. We told them she looked so comfortable on the bed, we joked that we would leave her with them while we go out for some lunch! They were very happy to be able to spend some time with a dog in the hospital. They said it made their day. A few minutes later, we left the room and headed back out to the waiting area and Shelby’s wagon.
Shelby was pretty thirsty after all of those visits, so we put her back in her pink wagon and put some water in her bowl. While she was busy drinking, Cindi and I looked at each other, 3 great visits…in Intensive Care? Are you kidding me! We had only been allowed in there 3 times in 4 years!
As we headed to the elevator, a young man in scrubs came out of the Intensive Care area and told us what a great thing we were doing and how it really helped the patients and how does he get his Golden Doodle and himself qualified? We thanked him and Cindi and I told him what was needed and asked him where was he thinking of visiting.? He said, why, here of course. It would be so cool if I could bring my dog to work and we could visit some of my patients. Cindi asked what do you do, he said, I’m a doctor in the intensive care area and my office is right here. She said you sure look young, he just smiled and kinda laughed. I thought, heck, I’ve blue jeans older than he is!
We continued our visits on different floors and after a couple of hours, the 3 of us were done. We made our way out of the hospital and back to the truck. As I put Shelby’s wagon in the back, I turned and looked back at the hospital, looked at Shelby and Cindi and thought, that was so cool! What an amazing day! THEN, we went out for cheeseburgers and fries!!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, we are so blessed Shelby came to live with us.

under: Conversations with Shelby

April 4th, 2009 I found my forever home!

My Foster Mom and Dad took me to the ranch that Saturday so I could grant interviews. That was my first big outing since March 11th, when I had my amputation. They said they weren’t ready for me to be adopted…but I was!

Ever since I came to my forever home we have been so busy visiting and meeting so many new people, but what’s more important is how big my extended family is. From the lady that rescued me in Taiwan, Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue picked me up at SFO,  the Doctor who did my surgery, my Foster Mom and Dad, my Foster God Mother Jana, Margie, my trainer at Petsmart,  Nancy at ADI believed I could be a Therapy dog, all my human friends at TRIPAWDS.  My grandparents, Lee and Janet, all my friends at the hospital, library, county fairs and the elementary school. I’ll never forget the time at the VA Hospital when a soldier petted me for a long time and told my dad, thanks, you made me forget the bad things for awhile.

I miss all my TRIPAWD friends that have become Angels. Cancer, I hate you.

My big sister Penny has been so patient and taught me so much. Charlie my big brother has taught me some things that Penny never would!

I think Phil, the Dad on that Duck TV show sums my life up best, “Happy, Happy, Happy!” Cheeseburgers and fries for everyone!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

Happy birthday Charlie!!!

Posted by: | April 1, 2014 | 5 Comments |

My big brother, Charlie, the worlds most handsome Cocker Spaniel, turns 12 years old today!

I told the maid and chauffeur it would permissible to take him to get a cheeseburger and fries.

Charlie is a “reading buddy” at the Healdsburg public library. He takes the first Saturday of the month, 11AM till noon shift. Children who want to practice their out loud reading or if they are to young to read, show him pictures or turn the pages and make up their own stories. I’m really proud of him because the librarians say Charlie is their favorite!

I’m glad Charlie is my big brother, he showed me how to get into trouble, like the time he convinced me to steal a steak off the kitchen counter. I got into trouble, he got the steak. He also taught me how to take a dump on the front lawn, specially right after it was mowed! Sometimes, he sneaks out and goes on an adventure! One time the maid and chauffeur found him like 4 blocks away! without a leash! But one time, the dog catcher got him…he did time in the local jail. The chauffeur had to bail him out, it was like $130.00. Some girl dogs like him because he’s a wild child.

Let’s all wish Charlie a Happy Birthday!!!!!

 

under: My family

Shelby, the talking dog?

Posted by: | March 17, 2014 | 3 Comments |

We keep Shelby’s red wagon in the living room. It’s full of toys, half chewed up tennis balls, various bones, pieces of bark and any half shredded pieces of paper she felt were important enough to keep.

When she can’t find the “right” toy, ball, bone, shredded paper or piece of bark scattered around the house, she’ll hop over to her wagon and starts, “The search.” Her front paw in the wagon, her Farrah Fawsett tail wagging, she’ll search the wagon for the “just right toy” for the moment. She’ll usually finds something, jumps up in her wagon, grabs it, turns around and looks at us like, “Hey, help me out of my wagon!” And of course we both drop everything we’re doing and rush to help her down.

Saturday night she sprung something new on us. Front paw in the wagon, tail wagging, she gave us both the over the shoulder look, hopped down, sat down, looked calmly at Cindi and barked…once. Not a loud bark, just a bark telling Cindi she wanted her half green, half red tennis ball, now, please.

Cindi immediately went to the wagon, found the requested tennis ball and gave it to Shelby who hopped off as happy as she could be.

We both swear when she barked, it actually sounded like the word “ball.”

I have one question, just who is running this house??? the chauffeur.

 

 

under: Conversations with Shelby

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