Saturday, December 24, 2011

Divine Grocery Store Appointments

I was coming home from a Chester appointment yesterday and swung into a grocery store to pick up a few needed items.  Since Chester was still in his vest, I decided to take him in with me ~~ after all, who wants to sit alone in the dark, in the car, in the cold? (I thought it was my idea to take him in....not really)

We zipped through the store picking up a few things and rounded the corner where the Christmas items lined the aisle.  There stood a woman appearing to have a serious conversation on her phone. Her eyes lit up with longing when she noticed Chester. 

Would you like to pet him?

Since she could not manage to wrap both arms around Chester and hold her phone at the same time ~~ Chester won, and the call  ended.

She got down on her knees, held Chester's head in both hands, over and over she said, Did my Roxy send you to me?  Did my Roxy send you to me?  Tears leaked out her eyes and mascara smeared.

She looked up to me.  I lost my Roxy in October, not a day goes by that I don't miss her.  You have no idea all that I am going through right now.  Roxy sent you, I just know it.  The words tumbled out and Chester anointed her already tear-drenched cheeks with a kazillion kisses, then burried his face in her lap.

I got down on the floor.  And there the three of us sat, in the Christmas aisle.  A man came by. Chester went to say hi, then returned and gave more kisses to the woman.

I noticed he didn't give the man kisses, she said.

I smiled.  I noticed that too.

God sent me a miracle. She looked at me...and Chester.

I think he did.  He loves you so much, he sent you a dog. I laughed.  Actually, he loves you so much that he sent you His Son!  And a dog :-).

Her face became a little brighter. Yes, He did, He sent me a miracle.

I looked directly into her eyes. God wants you to know He loves you, and He hasn't forgotten you. He cares about you more than you can imagine, He knew what you needed today, and sent you Chester as a reminder, a reminder of what a treasure you are to Him.

We stood. I wrapped both arms around her, Chester leaned into our sides.  I held her tightly. She rested her head on my shoulder and did not let go for a very long time.

When it was time to go, we hugged one more time, Chester gave one more smooch and she gave him one more lasting squeeze.

I don't usually shop here, she mentioned.

You know what, neither do I.

Just the Right Time....

It usually takes me between 15-20-30+ minutes to get to Willard's place; depending upon red lights, green lights, construction delays, traffic ~~ you know how it goes.  And usually, I am not thinking the delays are Divine, if you catch my drift.  Today when I arrived at Willard's assisted living community, I don't know if I arrived late or on time.  All I know is that I arrived at just the right time.  As Chester and I got out of the car, a woman was just leaving the building. She greeted us and gushed over Chester and he of course soaked it up.  She mentioned she had just spent quite a bit of time with a woman on the first floor who LOVED dogs.  She asked where I was visiting and I told her the second floor, but but would try to see her as well.  She told me the woman's name and room #. I prayed I would remember :-) if I was supposed to visit.

After Chester snuggled with Willard on floor two, the Lord indeed jogged my memory (miracles happen everyday!).  The receptionist beeped us through the secure doorway into the memory loss unit.  Chester and I trotted through the lovely living room area and down the hallway. We knocked on Gladys' door and asked if she would like to have a visit from a doggie.

Oh Yes!

Precious Gladys, dressed in a bright red Christmas sweater and black pants (of course black pants that will show every golden hair !) sat in a soft rocking chair thumbing through a magazine. Her soft gray curls framed her face,  bright with smiles and crinkled with love lines. As soon as Chester came near she gently set her magazine aside and opened her arms wide.

Come see me! 

Oh my goodness, my heart welled up as I watched these two.  She knew just how to kneed his ears and stroke his back and whisper doggie-words to him.

On her counter were framed family pictures and a small watercolor of a golden retriever. I asked her if this was her dog.

I used to have a dog.  I love dogs.  My dog's name was......was........ I can't remember.

That's OK, sometimes I can't remember names. I smiled. Chester sure loves being with you.  I can tell you love dogs.  His tail thumped against her bed and he buried his nose into her once spotless black pants.

Though Gladys' memory was fading there was a look in her eyes that brought tears to mine.  It was a familiar look.  The way she knew just how to love-on Chester, and the twinkle of affection in her eyes as she did so. This look, this tenderness, this expression..... well, it reminded me of me.  How I feel about Goldens, the love God put in my heart for them, how I can't imagine my life without one by my side.

Though Gladys could not remember the name, or why the framed watercolor adorned her counter top, I knew there was a Golden Pup in her heart, and it was a blessing for me to share my golden pup with her.

We'll be back.

Thank you, Lord, for moments like these.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Quiet Game

The Quiet Game. 
Chester and Melissa played a new game during therapy time this past week. Denisha and Peg came up with this great game.

Here's the game.
Melissa stands on her own, balancing.
Chester sits quietly, NO barking allowed.
Who can last the longest.

This is a no brainer.

Melissa will win.  We all know it.  She can outlast Chester any day.

You see, when Chester thinks Melissa is going to throw the ball, he gets really excited.  Really.  So excited he wiggles and barks.  Melissa sort of makes him wait a long time.  She smiles.  She gives him the hand signal for sit.  And waits til he sits.  HE BARKS.  He sits. She giggles.  HE BARKS. (everyone in the building knows it's Chester day). Peg says, "Throw the ball!"  Melissa smiles.  HE BARKS.  She throws the ball.

This goes on repeatedly....

And so of course, we know Melissa will win this game.

Melissa stands.
Chester sits.
They stare at each other.
Denisha says, "ready ....begin"

Chester makes not a peep.
For a really long time he makes not a peep.
We can't believe it.
After a very long time, Melissa cracks up, loses her balance and Chester wins Round 1.

Second round.
Ready - set - go.
Denisha hands Melissa the ball.
"That's not fair!" Peg says "Chester will lose for sure on this one."
Melissa pretends that she will throw the ball, but of course she doesn't. 
Chester looks at the ball, then at Melissa.
Not a peep.
He smiles.
Melissa smiles....  And can't hold in the laughter. She falls into her therapist's arms giggling.
Chester wins Round 2.

We all look at each other. 
It's like he knows. Peg says.

I had no idea he was so competetive :-)  I respond.

Round 3 went really similar to round 1 and 2. 
Only, this time we all tried a little harder to get that hound to bark.
Not a peep.
Then we all went down in laughter. 
All except Chester, he just sat quietly.

After the game was over, just for fun, we decided to play fetch again.
You know...just to see if he would bark.
Melissa stood and held the ball.
Yup, you guessed it, he barked.

How'd he know???????????

Christmastime with Chester

Chester obviously loves Christmas.  Packages.  Bags tucked with goodies just for him.   We went to visit Melissa and Mom-Peg, and Denisha-No-dog-kiss-Therapist at Schreiber last week.  Melissa and Peg had Chester's Christmas present.  A bag STUFFED with goodies ~all his favorites....Pupperoni's (not the low fat kind like his mom buys), his very own peanut-butter jar, brand spankin' new tennis balls, a stuffed squeaky hedge-hog AND a grey flat non-stuffed squeaky rodent of some sort that we affectionately named roadkill.  ALL THIS was tucked in one cute Christmas Bag.  Can you tell they love him and spoil him like crazy? 

Well, when Chester-boy trotted in the room with his Santa-Elf hat on, they held up the bag and and shouted something about Chester and Christmas present at which time he promptly lunged and jumped (NOT proper therapy dog etiquette for sure) onto the therapy bed & stuck his nose right inside the bag. He went absolutely  bonkers and started kissing Melissa with a kazillion thank you slobbers.  Melissa and Peg opened the pupperonis and gave him a pre-therapy treat  After all, 'tis the season :-) . This could be where the problem started.   Anyways, after treats, he and Melissa got right to work.    ...pretty much....

Chester was workin pretty dog-gone hard, then, uh,  he got distracted looking at his present.  Had a hard time focusing.  So, for a brief moment when Chester took one eye off his present, Peg hid it.

A few minutes later, Chester stopped mid-exercise, eeerch, and sniffed.  He looked on the bed for his Christmas Bag.  It was missing. MISSING.  

He left Melissa.  Left Melissa?  Yes, LEFT MELISSA and went sniffing around the room.  Every nook and cranny.  

I am serious.

We were all in disbelief.  He never ever leaves Melissa.  Never.

We could not figure out what he was doing.  Then Peg said, "THE PRESENT.  He's looking for his bag."

No way.  YES WAY.

After sniffing every corner, poking his head into other rooms, he at last discovered his bag in the bicycle room.  We knew this because his fluffy butt and tail were wagging in circles poking out of the open doorway. 

We all of course were jaw-dropped in laughter.

I stayed next to Mellisa, while Peg went to retrieve Chester & his present.  She promised to give it back to him after his hour of therapy work with Melissa. He made her PROMISE.  She promised...

He managed to focus pretty well for the rest of therapy, and even won the quiet game.  (another post).

At the end of the hour, we headed out the door of Physical Therapy towards the hallway, Chester walking by Melissa's side.  Well, I should say he began walking AFTER Peg grabbed his Christmas bag and walked in front of him. He then pranced with Mellisa, ears perked and tail waggin' high.  I am serious....he wouldn't take more than a few steps UNTIL Peg was in front of he could keep one eye on his bag of goodies and the other on Melissa.  He was not trusting the Mom who hid his Christmas bag in the bicycle room, not one little bit.

We said our good-byes at Melissa's van.  Chester gave smooches and thank you wags to Melissa and Peg.  I assured them that Chester LOVED his gifts, which of course went without saying. I reminded them that he would probably be sleeping with Hedgey and Roadkill.   This indeed turned out to be true AND he greeted Keith and I the following morning with both creatures proudly hanging from his mouth. Obviously they have the scent of his favorite people.  Not that they smell like roadkill.... :-) just the scent of best friends furr-ever.

Chester snoozin with Hedgey. 
OH and PS.....
I received a treasured present too. You won't believe it.  It's a calendar called YOGA PUPPIES.  For reals.  (Obviously someone stole Melissa & Chester's idea and made a calendar)  It is priceless and I smile big time every time I look at it. 

Chester could do this....easy :-)