Category Archives: pet therapy


We had to say goodbye last night to our 13 year old golden retriever, Chance. We first met Chance when he was a year and a half old. We adopted him from a family going through divorce, and the young boy who had to give him up to move into an apartment that didn’t allow dogs was heartbroken. We let him visit with Chance for a few months to ease the transition for both of them.

Chance adjusted well and enjoyed his new home with us, even our cat Sammy,and we eventually added other pets to the family.  We lost Sammy and added new cats Willis and Selena. We adopted a new old dog, Roxie, whose family was moving to Texas. She was thirty pounds overweight and as we took weight off her, would get so hungry she would steal bread off the counter. We added a cute puppy, Darwin, who turned into a wonderful therapy dog. We lost Selena, probably to a coyote, her body was never found. We lost Roxie to cancer, and she died in my arms. We added another cute puppy, Edison, at the suggestion of the breeder we got Darwin from, to keep Darwin company when Chance was gone.

And so last night, be lost Chance, who had ruptured discs in his neck, couldn’t walk, and was in a lot of pain. When the pain became too much for him and for us, we let him go.

And now there are Darwin, and Edison, and our old cat, Willis.

But losing Chance has been the hardest loss of all of our pets. We was a wonderful dog and friend, and I’ll miss him terribly.

Spontaneous Treats

“Dogs come to quantum physics in a better position than most humans. They approach the world with fewer preconceptions than humans, and always expect the unexpected…If dog treats appeared out of empty space in the middle of a kitchen, a human would freak out, but a dog would take it in stride. indeed, for most dogs, the spontaneous generation of treats would be vindication — they always expect treats to appear at any moment for no obvious reason.”

— “How to Teach Physics to Your Dog” by Chad Orzel

Well, of course — if dogs ruled the world, bones would rain from the sky! And the world might be a better place..

Source (updated from Feb 2005)


(I blogged this three years ago, but Rambling Taoist is posting on this book today, so thought I would repost this here).

Wellspring of energy
Rises in the body’s core
Tap it and be sustained.
Channel it, and it will speak.

The source of all power is within yourself. Although external circumstances may occasionally hamper you, true movement comes solely from within yourself. The source is latent in everyone, but anyone can learn to tap it. When this happens, power rises like a shimmering well through the center of your body.

Physically, it will sustain and nourish you. But it can do many other things as well. It can give you gifts ranging from unusual knowledge to simple tranquility. It all depends on how you choose to direct your energies.

We cannot say that a person will become enlightened solely by virtue of having tapped this source of power; energy is neutral. It requires experience, wisdom, and education to direct it. You may gain power from your meditations, but it is possible for two people with the same valid attainment to use it in two different ways, even to the extremes of good and evil. Finding the source of spiritual power is a great joy; deciding how to direct it is the greatest of responsibilities.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

I wrote this in 2005:

I don’t really have a lot to say about spiritual power today. It is a wonderful feeling when you feel it, and when that energy is flowing within you things seem to become effortless. I can’t keep mine flowing consistently but then i don’t tend to spend a lot of time in meditation. My energy source is definitely lying coiled and resting today. Perhaps I’ll push myself along to yoga later and get the juices flowing again… yawn. First maybe a dip in the spa and a long hot shower to get moving…

Five years later, a lot has changed for me. I would say that I flow very well from within my source, my life is fairly effortless these days. But I am beginning to feel the power rising; I do not yet know where and how it will be channeled. I’ve been sustained for a long time now and haven’t felt the need to do much, other than my political efforts, which I’m told have been very powerful at inspiring others, and my pet therapy work, which I hear the same about. I don’t actively try to inspire or create action these days; I mostly move with the Tao and allow myself to be a channel for whatever creative force wants to flow through me. This is hard to explain to people sometimes, but I don’t actually try to force my own will so much as I go along with whatever seems to need to be done at the moment. It is rare that I will tell people no if they ask something of me.

So I don’t always know exactly where I am headed, or even what the day will bring. I prefer not to bring my expectations to the day anymore, but rahter to let myself move along with whatever the day may bring. I’m not always able to do this, of course, and do get out of sorts, but I don’t expect everything to just flow to me either. It’s not about the law of attraction, it’s about the law of following for me. I don’t so much attract what I want — I turn it around to want what is attracted to me. It’s a different attitude, but it leads to a great deal of happiness and fulfillment.

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Our friend Gertrude at the Casa is gone, after 107 years. We’ll miss doing our pet therapy visits with her. But after leaving her empty room and wiping away the tears, in the very next room, we found a new Gertrude to visit. Somehow, it made Darwin and me feel better.

This article was written about Getrude last year.

107 Candles for Gertrude.

I reckon Gertrude Drais has lived through at least 20 presidential elections, and worn shirt waist dresses to chemises, bell bottoms to saggies. She shared her native Chicago with Al Capone and his pals, speakeasies, Prohibition – and its repeal. World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, Viet Nam War, Desert Storm, and the current wars have kept her glued to the radio, then TV.

Mrs. Drais had seen a lot of history by the time of her May 14th – 107th –birthday blowout at the Casa de las Campanas.

One of Casa’s first residents, Gertrude and her childhood girlfriend signed up for apartments in 1984, moving in upon completion in 1988.

Gertrude still loves to travel, but now she restricts it to circumnavigating the wing where she lives, surrounded by her many souvenirs. For decades, she traveled all over the world. She can show her Trip Diary to prove it. It began in 1953 with a trip by train to Montana. Other times it was by car, or airplane. In meticulous penmanship, she journaled where she went and how, with whom, how much it cost, and highlights of the adventure. A favorite was to China.

Her parents immigrated to the US from Sweden in the late 1800’s. Gertrude and her brother were born in the windy city. She can recite some of the bible verses she learned in the Swedish Evangelical Church. Her philosophies are simple, “Remember what you’ve learned.” And, “We all worship the same God, whatever we call Him.”

Gertrude married in 1927, giving up her job as a secretary for the Nickel plate Railroad. Tragically, her only child died in early infancy. Gertrude and her husband traveled, and took up golf and bridge, the latter of which she still plays. Widowed in 1963, Gertrude followed close friends to northern California in 1967, when she remarried. The newlyweds traveled extensively until her second husband died while on a trip to Hawaii, just two years later.

Gertrude continued to travel alone and with small groups, including a trip to her family homeland – Sweden, in 1972. She met all her cousins who were surprised to hear her fluent Swedish. When a childhood friend moved to Seven Oaks in Rancho Bernardo, she decided to follow. So did about a dozen other of their school chums. When her girlfriend told her about Casa de las Campanas being built, the two went over and picked out their homes from the plans. “Life is good at Casa,” Gertrude says.

I'm dreaming of Christmas being over

OK, perhaps I’m just being Scrooge-like, but I simply can’t get into it this year. My kids are grown up, there’s little incentive to decorate things that then just have to be un-decorated later on, and the money situation, while better than most people’s is not the greatest. There’s no company holiday parties, since they have little profit and are preferring to spend it on the people who work there, which is understandable and fine.

Maybe we’ve forgotten how to have a good time without spending a lot of money. I used to love all that stuff even when we had no money. But these days, I go in the stores and just see more cheap crap from China I don’t need. The most fun I’ve had so far was going to an artist’s sale and shopping for jewelry, pottery, hand-woven goods and the like. But those kind of sales are few and far between. We end up doing most of our shopping online, and having things shipped, which hardly feels like shopping for anyone. The kids have their college finals and so they aren’t into the spirit yet, either.

The most fun I’ll have is probably taking Darwin out for pet therapy, maybe putting his Santa hat on him and wearing mine. We may take some peppermints to hand out, maybe print some photos if him in his Santa hat.

But really, I’m just ready to celebrate the Solstice and Christmas, and move along into the next year.

What are you doing to get in the mood this year? I’ve put my Christmas music on my ipod, but it’s not working….