Lots of Hands On Love in West!

This was my day today —

This morning we visited the West Elementary School in West, Tx. The 1st half of the morning I was in the library. About 50 kids at a time came in and listened to an audio CD of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was kind of hard for me to follow with no pictures. And with hands massaging my whole body while the CD was kind of droning on, I confess that I went right to sleep!

For the 2nd half of the morning we moved to the music room and got to listen to recorder music and singing. Those kids were really pretty good! Didn’t hurt my ears one bit! And if my singing was not on the blink, I would have been singing along!

It was a good day for all!! Hope yours was too!

This is not the West music group, but this is pretty much what I listened to —

Yankee Doodle on recorder

Bark!!

I don’t bark. Not usually anyway. I tend to sing alot. I have found that that translates into more treats than does barking. But lately my singer isn’t working quite right and it comes out as a bark. It’s embarrassing.

But this really has nothing to do with today’s post. Today’s post is about a BOOK.

bark

The book is titled BARK and the detention boys read it to us this evening. It was “stress reduction” evening for the boys. I think that this is the same thing as recess at school. Some of the boys took turns reading this book to us. Some of them brushed us. Some played dominoes or cards. It was a pleasant evening.

Anyway, back to the book! Bark is subtitled Selected Poems About Dogs. It was compiled and illustrated by Ferris Cook who has a very good eye for dogs. It was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2000.

The book contains 26 poems from all sorts of poets — Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, John Updike, Louise Gluck, Ogden Nash, William Wordsworth and some others that I am not familiar with. Like Marck Beggs. I like his name.

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Some are very short — like this one from Robert Frost —
The Span of Life
The old dog barks backward without getting up.
I can remember when he was a pup.

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Or this one by Langston Hughes

Poor Rover
Rover was in clover
With a bone
On the front lawn —
But Rover’s fun was over
When his bone
Was gone.
Poor Rover!

Some of the poems are quite long. The poem by Marck Beggs is titled Kilty Sue and is a sort of long poem about an overprotective border collie.

The boys all liked the poems a lot. It’s kind of funny and cool to hear these “gangster” boys reading dog poems. I’m hoping maybe it will inspire them to write some.

And tomorrow we are heading back to West for a visit. I’m hoping we get to hang out in the library. We’ll see when we get there. I’m noticing on Facebook that a lot of dogs and cats are being reunited with their families! So there should be some happy kids in West.

I’ll keep you posted. Be sure and say your prayers today and remember the folks in West.

School is Back in Session in West!

Yesterday, Monday, we were in West greeting kids who were just going back to school after a horrendously frightening few days off. The High School and Middle School were completely destroyed so the big kids don’t have a school to go back to. From now until the end of school, they will be bused to another small town nearby that happens to have an empty building that West can use. They don’t have textbooks or school supplies or backpacks. Lots of the stuff they need has been donated by Helper folks around the country.

At the end of their school day the big kids were bused to a car dealership in West where their parents came to pick them up. And that’s where we went to meet and greet. They all seemed pretty jolly as they got off the buses and were quite excited to see a bunch of dogs waiting there! There were 7 of us — all from TDI — all shapes and sizes. Some of the kids gave us quick rubs as they passed by. Some sat on the parking lot and gave us good rubs and hugs and talked a lot. Some of the teachers cried. They all thanked us for being there.

Next we went to visit the elementary kids as they were getting out of school. Their school was not damaged except for water pipes. Most of the town is without water because of damage to all the pipes. They put in some special pipes for the school so they have water but it’s not drinkable. No worry though, because the command center is overflowing with donated bottled water! At the school, we laid down on the porch and under the trees and waited for kids to come out. And was it ever fun when they did! Just like the big kids, the little ones were excited to see dogs at the school!! I have a hard time imagining a school without dogs. But I’m finding out that school dogs are pretty rare! It’s odd. Well, we got some good belly rubs and ear rubs and kisses and heard lots of laughter. I like that. And lots of Thank-yous.

After all the kids had been safely transferred to their parents, the school adults had a meeting. The superintendent stopped to give some ear rubs and got up with tears in his eyes saying ” Thanks for being here. It’s not just the kids who need these dogs.” Now doesn’t that make you feel good? It does me.

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These pictures are not from West. No pictures from West today as they asked us not to take any. But this is what my day was like.

I sure love my job! It’s the best job a dog could have!

To be continued …………

Going Round in Circles

Read this one to me!

“What Are You Thinking About, Robert?”

Went to the detention center – got to visit those sweet girls. They like to dress me up and take pictures of me. I kind of like being a star. Once they even painted my toenails. But sometimes we get to sit and read. This was a strange book of Concrete Poems, called technically, It’s Not My Fault by John Grandits. The poems were  fun,silly and kind of told a story about all the things that happened in Robert’s day.  The best part was that the words made pictures!  My reader girl had to turn the book every which way to read it!  Pretty crazy stuff.  I think you need to check this out to see for yourself! Maybe your library has one of these books.  Check it out!!!

A Word about Rhythm

Guide Dog pups in training

The Mom Person is taking to the keyboard today. We went to visit an obedience class for the DFW Area Puppy Raiser group of Southeastern Guide Dogs. And since This was at one time a big part of Rhythm’s life and is a big part of who she is today, I thought I needed to write about it. Rhythm was bred by and born at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Fla.  SEGDI pups are placed with volunteer puppy raiser families when they are 8 – 10 weeks old. We were Rhythm’s puppy raiser family. It was our job to socialize her and teach her good house manners. With that goal in mind she went most everywhere that we went and became quite famous around our small town.

When she was about a year old she went back to SEGDI for her guide dog training. Sending your pup “off to college” is a very hard transition for the raisers and sometimes for the pups as well. Rhythm began having chronic ear infections and eventually the decision was made to “career change” her and she came back to Texas to live with us forever.

She needed another job. To keep her busy I got her registered with TDI, Inc. as a therapy dog and she now works in several facilities doing Animal Assisted Therapy. Rhythm holds a special place in our hearts and the hearts of our community. She’s a hardworking, caring, special girl.

To learn more about Southeastern Guide Dogs and their puppy raising program visit their website — http://guidedogs.org/

To see what the Dallas Area puppy raisers are all about visit — http://northtxpuppyraisers.blogspot.com/