Ah, Spring! This is the first early spring that I have known in my 4-½ years of life. Spring’s sweet arrival has given me so much to see, to smell, to ponder. Most of all, this spring has opened my eyes and heart to what it means to share my days with so many others, including the earth herself. What a planet!
On my days off, when I am not greeting visitors and friends at All Matters Gallery, I get to sleep in at my lovely home with Cynthia and Rainer in Amish country, (I am one of the world’s great sleepers – my personal record being a sixteen hour nap.) However, this spring has provided so much to witness and to experience that I have had to cut back on my sleep time – alas.
I begin my day, stretched out on the carpet, observing all that goes on outside the glass front door. The tallest tree in view is the one my family calls, “Gary Cooper”. Gary is the tallest tree around, a majestic elm that provides a favorite perch for mourning doves, blue jays, cardinals, crows, finches and many others. Last week, I watched a squirrel build her nest in that elm, about 40 feet up. Each time she climbed down to the ground, she would carefully examine the dried leaves, remnants of last year’s “fall”. She would select three of the best of them to take up into the tree to build her nest. Then, three more. Then, three more. I grew exhausted, watching how industrious she was. I noted that whenever the pair of red-shouldered hawks was nearby, the squirrel was not. Hmmmm……………
Crowding Gary Cooper is a very showy, shorter, many-branched white oak that my folks call, “Bette Davis”. I figure that Bette is a hoarder cause she hangs on to her leaves longer than all the other trees in autumn. The chipmunks seem to revel in chasing each other round and round her trunk in spirited games of tag. How I would love to play with them! One daring chipmunk comes right up to my front door and presses his nose against the glass on the outside of the door, right in front of my nose! Of course I give him a thrill by acting outraged. I bark, “Make my day, chipmunk!”
Horse-drawn Amish buggies and wagons roll by regularly. I enjoy hearing the clop, clop of the horses’ shoes. I never bark at the horses as that might spook them. That would be terribly unkind. There is a grey pony who I often see pulling a small cart full of laughing children. The pony shakes his mane and smiles. I can see that he is a happy dude! I’ve seen him race a small horse and come darn close to winning once. I’d like to race that pony some day with my long black ears flapping in the wind. (Some poodle teams have competed in that famous race, the Iditarod, in Alaska you know, and they did quite well).
Hands down, the most exciting day I’ve ever seen outside the front door was just a full moon ago. The man who tends the long horned cattle at the big farm across the road left the pasture gate open. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the calves, which were born last spring, running across the field towards the open gate. Last spring they were about my size (32” tall). They sure had grown BIG over the summer! I flew into action, barking my emergency bark for Cynthia. I showed her the stampede and she immediately dialed “911”. I heard her say, “Yes, I am serious. There are 16 cattle running wild down the road!” I was later told that the cattle made it more than a mile down the road before cars with flashing lights and loud squealing noises arrived. Farmers and those Cynthia calls “cowboy wannabees” took a long time rounding up those horned beings and locking them back inside the gate. When the flashing lights finally stopped and everyone relaxed, I took a big breath. Too bad that no one asked for my assistance once I had sounded the alarm.
My ancestors were not herders, but I think I could have been a big help, rounding up those cattle, without being a bully I might add. That night, I sat on the front porch with Cynthia & Rainer. They praised me for recognizing that the stampede was a problem and for sounding the alarm. That entire day gave me a lot to think about in sharing this world with others. Guess it’s all about how and what we choose to be. I certainly learned that we do not want to run through every gate that opens before us without thinking it through first. I think that we all can be majestic elms, showy white oaks, industrious squirrels, playful chipmunks and stampeding cattle. All this action outside one door! I wondered how many doors there are on this earth. Lots I’ll bet…
Let me know what you’ve seen outside your door or window this spring. Next time, I’ll let you know what’s been going on outside the other door that lets me look at our large pond and the fields and trees beyond. Gotta run in the meadow.
Ps. A “bark-out” to my friend Maggie in Florida. I sure have missed seeing her bloodhound ears since she moved. I ask everyone to help me send healing prayers to Maggie cause she hasn’t been feeling well lately.
Dr. Jasper BLOG
AKA The Long Arm of the Paw
Let me introduce myself and my story. I was born on August 24, 2007 and I am a tried and true Virgo. My father’s name is Hercules. A standard white poodle, Hercules has sired twenty therapy dogs. My mother’s name is Brooklyn and she is a parti-poodle, white with black ears & a black saddle. She is very beautiful and spirited. My brother and two sisters look like me. I was blessed with a blissful, happy puppy hood. But, then…… I was adopted by a hard working woman with an important career and her elderly mom. They named me “Ike” (yikes!). They wanted me to be a companion to their huge dog, a Bouvier, who took an instant dislike to me. I was sad and terrified. No one wanted to play with me and I seemed to make everyone think I was a big mistake. They rejected me and sent me packing.
I was so excited to be home again. Oh, HAPPY DAY! Soon, the dear woman, Ellen, who raised me and my dog family, asked to speak with me. Sitting at attention, I listened as she told me that two people wanted to meet me. Ellen said this couple loved animals and had done a lot of animal rescue work, placing 56 stray and feral cats and an abused malamute in good homes. She further said that they had done this work in spite of having allergies to many animals. She explained that they were looking for a hypoallergenic dog to share their life and home. I wasn’t sure what hypoallergenic meant, but I was doggone certain that I had the dog part down near perfect.
Cynthia and Rainer loved me at first sight and called me a "rescue dog" of a different sort. They gave me the official kennel name of "Doctor Jasper". Cynthia said at the time that she just knew I would be a good listener and a therapist to many. Rainer said that I reminded him of the stone, jasper, because I was strong and healing.
Now four and a half years old, I find that my days are filled with jobs I enjoy. When Rainer carries the big bag of trash out of our home, I follow him, carrying a trash bag my size. I also help get the mail. When Cynthia and Rainer are working in their art studios, I help them by sleeping and dreaming at their feet.
I am a very optimistic, grateful being. Skilled at catching balls or Frisbees, I am constantly inventing new games; this is how I exercise, use my imagination and express my creativity. As Dr. Jasper, I urge all those I know to play more.
My favorite days are those when I get to go for a ride in the car to be at All Matters. My hours there fly by with so many wonderful people to meet and greet. I can tell that our visitors like All Matters because they are happy and smiling when they are there. I have many friends who visit me regularly - many like to kiss my nose. They ask me to right shake, left shake and high five.
Cynthia & Rainer know how important my friends are to me! They know that dogs are the masters of sharing unconditional love and keeping their hearts loyal and pure. My friends at All Matters tell me about their beloved dogs, cats, horses, & other lovely creatures and I get all kinds of information about them from the wonderful scents the people bring into the gallery. My sense of smell is such that, like most dogs, I can sense odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.
It seems to me that almost everyone who comes to All Matters loves art and animals so there must be a connection between the two.....
I understand why All Matters visitors like to come to Chagrin Falls, too. What a cool town! The waterfalls are beautiful and soothing. The park is pretty and happy with people, children & dogs strolling and smiling. Delicious smells spill from the restaurant doorways. Human hands are often filled with ice cream cones, popcorn or coffee cups brimming with brews better left to people.
As Jasper-the-dog, I am welcome at the bank, Chagrin Hardware, and the Chamber of Commerce. On these sojourns, people like to offer me dog biscuits, but I promptly spit them out on account of I'm a Virgo. I keep to my trim 45 pounds by only eating food that I am very fond of. I do wish I was given more cheese and peanut butter.
But enough about me! Cynthia and Rainer promised me that this year I could have my very own blog to answer some of the questions people ask me at All Matters.
So, from time to time, I'll answer a question for you. Please share your thoughts with me, too.
One of my favorite questions is:
Why do we love blue skies?
I took a nice, long nap and mused about this question. I think that humans and animals love blue skies because their color and energy reminds us of what heaven must be like, where spirits soar and love and peace abound. There is something about the color blue that is special: blue ribbons, blue birds, blue chips, blue whales and of course, blue cheese. Add the light of the sun and the blue becomes truly magical! Even when we get or sing the blues, we are reminded of special deep places within ourselves where passion begins. Paint the sky blue and we cheer up. Blue skies make us want to run in circles and chase our tails (I'm sorry if you don't have a tail to chase). Blue skies make us want to jump up in the air and catch Frisbees. Imagine a blue sky and send it as a prayer to someone you love. Blue skies are heavenly.
Let me know if an animal that was beloved by you now lives in heaven. Tell me how special they have always been and continue to be for you. Let me know what your thoughts are about blue skies. And if you have other questions, let me know 'cause you are barking up the right tree when you consult me.
Peace, paws and harmony,