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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kindness...it goes both ways

Astrid the therapy dog is keeping up her circuit of three visits to a variety of rehabilitation, living and alzheimer's centers each month. Her purpose is to show care and kindness. While every staff we have encountered has shown gratitude to us, and care to the residents, there is one special care giver that Astrid has bonded with.









Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Star Gazing

When it was still warmer out, Astrid and I got in the habit of going outside after dark. She relaxed on her cot, I would sip a latte on the patio. We soon realized that there was a whole lot of beautiful over head! We watched the moon in all it's phases. We started noticing stars that seemed brighter than others...some, amazingly spectacular! It has turned into a little hobby for both of us. I'm enjoying learning something new, Astrid is enjoying these extra unexpected trips out side and the conversation about what we are seeing out there. Sure, she doesn't know what I'm talking about but with her name thrown in every now and again, she knows that it includes her and is about her and that is all good. Here is Astrid modeling her new official 'star gazing' bandana!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Snowman Couture

Astrid got to build her second snowman ever a couple of weeks ago. Southern North Carolina is not known for it's snow so when it happens we take advantage of it. Mr Snowman got to stand proudly just outside our back door wearing hand loom knit (by Astrid's mom) scarf and hat. When it only snows enough twice in seven years to make a snowman, nothing is too good.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mistfit or a Match For Life?

Are shelters full of misfits? Of course they are! There are high energy dogs taken home by mellow, homebodies. There are dogs that would like nothing more than to lie at your feet all day but end up in a house full of children that want to dress them up. There are dogs that love to 'work'. By that, we mean is they love to learn, learn, learn new things! They may find themselves in a home that wanted a dog that was just content to be there. And there is nothing wrong with any of these dogs in and of themselves! But the harsh truth is that they are labeled. Labled "odd ducks", "square pegs", "odd balls" and many other defamatory words included the worst, 'returns'. This....all because the word that could really describe the situation was 'misfit'. A situation that didn't work. It didn't work, it wasn't right and it all could have been avoided from the beginning with a little bit of help. First, one needs to make the right fit between dog and potential family. Once assured that the match is right,  the rest is called 'rehoming skills' and there are lots and lots of books written about it. Tons of info on the 'net, too!

So, when adopting a dog, make a list of what you want from your new family member. Want a dining companion? So did we! And here she sits. Astrid Nicole, social butterfly and you can tell, she is a little 'older'. And so are we.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Late Bloomer

I didn't know what to title this post. Thoughts like 'never give up' and 'shame on me' came to mind. I had brought my dahlias in about a week ago. For lack of nurturing over last winter, I had gotten a measly three blooms from one pot and nothing from the other. Looking pretty dreadful, I put them on the bottom shelf of my potting stand until I could get around to emptying the pots and throwing away the contents. No water, no sun, no nothing. 

Today, after letting Astrid outside, I stopped at the potting stand on the way in the porch and mindlessly picked up the pots. My intention was to assess how big a bag I should get when removing the dirt and bulbs. This pictures shows what I found. I know it isn't a pretty picture, but how or why I missed the struggle of the one pot to bloom, I just don't know. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but these bulbs are going to get a third chance next year after over wintering the right way. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Astrid's Big Weekend

What a fun weekend we had! First, Astrid had a 10:30am pedicure appointment. She is even happy while she waits.

















Next, it was off to Pet Essentials for some cookies. She doesn't mind waiting in line to pay for them. It gives her a chance to schmooze the other customers.
















She picked out two cookies and was ready to go. She needed cookies to snack on while Mom and Dad had lunch.

















Next, it was off to our new fave restaurant for some lunch.


















And finally time to go home. Thank you, Showmar's, for being so pet friendly and having yummy food too!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

There's A Story Behind The Mistakes

I've been trying my hand at these old fashioned crochet doilies lately.  My Swedish grandmother had the time and patience to surround herself and her home with homemade things like this. Well, maybe not quite like these as you may find mistakes in mine. Especially that little white one. Why is it all scrunched up against the others you ask? Of course, there's a story behind it.  And of course it involves Astrid.

Astrid is well trained. I could put a sandwich on the floor and if I told her not to touch it, I could leave the room and return and still find the sandwich on the floor. She touches nothing that isn't hers. Except once. It was Christmas time and a dear friend sent Astrid a stocking with her name on it. Of course, she joined in the excitement as we opened it but I was super surprised when she picked the stocking up and ran off with it! That was a few years ago and she hasn't 'stolen' anything since. Until last Friday night.

Astrid's dad had come home later than usual. We were in the living room. I was working on crochet. Apparently, she got a little beside herself with jealousy as her dad and I ignored her while we talked. She grabbed my work out of my basket and ran off...leaving a nice little trail of unraveling crochet thread. She only traveled a couple of feet, but that was enough to undo my work a little. Wow...talk about guilty looks! You should have seen her face when she realized what she did. I'm not that experienced at this tiny (and tedious) work, so I tried putting it together as well as I could. But there's a mistake(s) and it's noticeable. Hence, the scrunching up of the little white one for the picture. 

I don't imagine Astrid will continue in her wayward behavior. We all act irrational when our emotions get the best of us so I forgive the doily runaway. But the stocking? Do I think she is so smart she can read? Of course not! But it did have her name on it.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dining With Dogs


Astrid joins us a lot at restaurants around Charlotte....everything from fast casual, one of our faves named 'Showmar's' to finer dining at '131 Main'. It wasn't always that way. For the first couple of years, there was not an official rule 'on the books' regulating dogs on restaurant patios. Then finally...officially, if the owner of the restaurant approves, all well behaved dogs are welcome to enjoy patio dining. 

There are about three rules for dining with dogs on patios. One, of course they need to be pleasant around strangers but not too inquisitive about every other patron of the restaurant. We don't meet and greet everyone who arrives at the restaurant and takes a seat in our vicinity so our dog shouldn't either. Two, they should have a 'reliable settle'. That's a term I've learned at dog training classes when the teacher doesn't want the dogs jumping up and down and barking. You are confident that they will quietly and patiently lay down beside your chair. Giving them a bite here and there is perfectly acceptable as long as they will resume this 'reliable settle' (don't you love that phrase) when you give the word. 

The third rule is for the dog's dining companions...mom, dad, whoever. You will eventually run into 'the jerk'. They will want to know why anyone would bring their dog with them to a restaurant. It is hard...it is so very hard not to come back with a harsh remark. Here's your chance to change someone's mind or at least give them something to think about. I usually reply 'since well behaved dogs are now welcome on restaurant patios as long as they are welcome by the restaurants owners, we take Astrid everywhere. It's a nice break from all the Therapy Dog work we do.' Yep....I slip in a brag. And I try not to be too smug about it all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Falling Big

This year for Autumn, Astrid's Etsy shop is going big. Big in size, that is. Our new 2013 Halloween collection is all larger sizes. We still have a few of the smaller favorites in our shop from 2012, so you little ones won't miss out. The first six shoppers will also be getting a sweet little surprise in their package! Happy shopping, Happy Halloween!
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