Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Whether or not your dog has been skunked is not a lesson you are given in puppy school, but when Maggie came in the house the other morning I knew something was wrong. The smell that came with her could only mean bad news. She looked at me with uncertain eyes as if to say I really don’t know what just happened to me.
I waited till the local pet shop opened and ran Maggie over, in hopes of being able to bathe her there. They confirmed my suspicions, sold me a bunch of product but turned me away saying the smell would permeate their store- thanks anyway L!!
Driving home with my smelly beloved and now smelly car I started to panic. How was I going to handle this 75 lb dog in a household bathtub by myself? By the time I got home I had formulated a plan. I emailed by groomer who usually comes to my house in her van (her van had just gone to the garage for service) so I called the local pet shops that have in house groomers until I found one with availability to take a smelly skunked dog. Shout out to Mindy’s Pet’tique for taking us on short notice. They did a good job but I was not prepared for the news that it might actually take 2-3 baths to get rid of the skunk smell. UGH!!
Meanwhile, I had to deal with the smell in my car, my house and my clothes (since I came into contact with Maggie) I asked my trusted friend Google who had lots of valuable advice and I spent the rest of the day spreading baking soda, Lysol and dawn liquid all over.
Next a phone call was placed to the Wild Life Removal Service to trap the critter(s) that are most probably living under my shed. My goal is to keep Maggie away from that location. I feel like a helicopter mom. Every time she goes out I hover over her so she doesn’t go near the shed. Maggie isn’t used to this behavior from me.

All because she’s a normal curious dog!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Off Duty?

I’ve commented before that when walking Maggie in the neighborhood she feels it is her duty to greet everyone. Sometimes it makes for a “quick” walk a rather long one.
Last week on a visit to the Jersey Shore we were out walking. Approaching us was a couple, the man was in a wheelchair. I noticed the man look at Maggie and smile. I never assume anyone likes dogs but it was clear this man did. As we got closer he asked if he could pet Maggie. I replied yes. Maggie is very used to wheelchairs and as this persons lap is just at her head level she laid her head on it. His smile turned into a laugh. He then noticed her tag that says she is a therapy dog and asked about it.  I explained that we visit hospitals and nursing homes to help cheer people up. I also explained that once Maggie saw his wheelchair approaching she had already changed from a dog out for a walk to a therapy dog out to do a job.
I’ve witnessed this one other time with Maggie. We were invited to a BBQ and decided to take Maggie with us. Someone was there in a wheelchair. Maggie made it her mission to pull me over to this person to make sure they received a visit by her. I’m not sure who benefited more the person in the wheelchair or Maggie.
Of course after we finish with a visit Maggie looks to me for praise (she gets lots!!) A treats helps as well. Usually I ask the person we are visiting if they want to give Maggie a treat and most of the time they do.
Maggie being on the large size (75lbs) has large teeth but you’d be surprised how gently she takes the treat from your hand.

So even when I’m in a hurry but I know Maggie needs her walk I’ve learned when she gets something in her head to just let her take care of her goal as opposed to changing her mind!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Does Color Really Matter?

I always say after 5 years of visits with Maggie I continue to learn.
This past week Maggie and I went to our last school visit of the year. I was telling a 12 year old boy the story of how Maggie got her name…Our family chose a few names and we narrowed it down to two names, Katie and Phoebe. We decided to wait to meet her to choose the final name. But when we met her we decided she looked more like a Maggie then a Katie or a Phoebe. The story continues with when I took Maggie to the Vet the technician that was helping had the name Heidi. I told her that was one of the names we had considered for Maggie. I told her this because I thought she would consider this an honor. But instead she turned to me with a nasty look on her face. The young boy I was talking to asked me if the tech was white or black. Not sure I heard his question properly I asked him to repeat it. When he asked me the question the same way I looked him in the eyes and asked him if it made a difference.
This got me thinking. As a white woman entering a school with a black student population I wonder what they think of me. I look around from time to time and notice a predominately black teacher population (this classroom had a white teacher) Uniforms are enforced and everyone must have an ID as well. Students as well as visitors are buzzed in and adults are monitoring the hallways.
Needless to say I do standout in this particular school, but I never feel threatened. They do love seeing Maggie and generally shout “dog in the hallway!” If anything I am encircled but only to be asked if they can pet Maggie.
But back to the 12 year old boy, at what age did this young boy learn to ask this question.
When I turned it around and asked him if it made a difference he got uncomfortable. He did not answer me and ultimately got up and walked away.

I get that we are a product of our environment. But who is responsible to teach these young minds to look at the world differently? Does it start at home or at the school?