Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!


It's the last day of 2010 .... a lot has gone this year for my mom and my siblings. We're going through some major changes and transitions right now ... of course, I tell mom these changes are all good even though there are times when she can't see that ... but hey, that's why i'm here!!! I tell her to just hug me as tightly as she wants till she feels better :)

Mom and I are living with my auntie Laura right now (who is one cool cool person!!). On January 14th (that's only 2 weeks away!) we are closing on our new house and I am SO excited. We will finally get to be a family again and my siblings Missy and Mister will get to come live with us again. They're in the old house right now (but you know what ... they keep telling me when I visit that that they can't wait to come be with us again!!). Our new home is going to be much much bigger! The backyard is HUGE so my energetic brother Mister can run around like a crazy boy to get his energy out. And mom bought a brand new leather couch and recliner. Oh yeah, we'll still have the purple couch you see in the photo but now we will also have a new couch for us to lounge on. Of course, we'll be fighting for the recliner.

So here's to new beginnings and to 2011 which I know is going to be an exciting year! The best part of it all, is that I believe with all my doggie heart that mom's health issues are going to get better now that we are going to have our own place and she can focus on taking care of herself.

Happy New Year!!!

Love,

nung-nung

p.s. And if you haven't become my fan on facebook, I would love for you become my fan :) You can join by clicking here

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Best Place to Bury a Dog



THE BEST PLACE TO BURY A DOG
by Ben Hur Lampman

There is one best place to bury a dog.
If you bury him in this spot, he will
come to you when you call - come to you
over the grim, dim frontier of death,
and down the well-remembered path,
and to your side again.

And though you call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at
him, nor resent his coming,
for he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see
no lightest blade of grass bent by his
footfall, who hear no whimper, people
who may never really have had a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know
something that is hidden from them,
and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good
dog is in the heart of his master.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Heartwarming email from one of my friends

The other day I received the most heartwarming email from one of my friends ... she's been following my blog and is a fan of my facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/AhnungNorthStar). I've been working hard helping my mom get through a really rough time and I think I must be doing a pretty good job because she seems to be doing better and smiling more :)

But I just had to share the most beautiful email I got with you ... and dear friend, thank you for thinking of us and praying for us:


"I was listening to the radio this morning (actually HD radio on my computer) and heard a song called Northern Star.  Of course, and especially with your Mom’s struggles, I thought of you. 

If I knew where to find you, I’d have bought the song in iTunes and sent it to you.  As it is, I’ll send you the lyrics.  It’s written and sung by Ann Reed.


You're my east my south and west
You're the one who gives me rest
And I know no matter near or far
You will be my northern star

You're the one when I'm at sea
You are there the land for me
When I've lost my way and day goes dark
You are still my northern star

You're the one I want to be holding
When the sun has wandered along
And the sky begins it's unfolding
There's no where else we belong, oh

Like the cardinal in the snow
When the trees are bare and low
The reward of spring is slow to start
You are still my northern star

Hang in there and know that there are Friends our there holding you both in the Light."

I always love hearing from friends. So feel free to email me at ahnung.star@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My work begins at home

sorry for the long silence and lack of blogging lately ... and no, I have not been snoozing and napping this whole time, although that does sound like a great idea now that I think about it!

I haven't had time to volunteer lately (at least outside of home) ... my mom's been having some significant health and emotional challenges thrown her way so my work as a therapy dog begins at home! I keep telling her it will be okay and that she can hold onto me as tightly as she needs to as I'm not leaving her side. I tell her what I have told the kids I visited at school ... that I can be their north star. Mom has these bad cells spreading in her body and about a week ago got some additional not so good news which means a bunch more tests and procedures (on top of all her existing ones!) to try to figure out what's going on.

Please keep mom in your prayers ... I tell her that love is the best medicine and that love can heal everything! It did for me!!

Love and big hugs to all of you!

nung-nung

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My virtual run with Mom ... we completed a half marathon!!

Mom ran the San Francisco US Half marathon on Sunday, 11/7 ... the weather was gorgeous when she arrived there on Thursday. And it was also gorgeous on Friday ... but guess what, on Saturday, it rained and rained all day!!! She had prepared herself to run in beautiful California weather ... the hills were going to be enough of a challenge for her and when she heard it was supposed to rain she got kinda nervous ... but no worries ... nung-nung to the rescue!!! :) I told her that running in the rain is so much fun. It's like being a kid all over again and playing in the rain and jumping in puddles!!

And do you notice her running bib??? :) She got to put whatever she wanted to put on her running bib and she chose 'AHNUNG'!! She told me that I'm her northstar and that she was going to carry me with her on this run and in her heart ... well, she may think i'm her north star but she's mine too. She also ran on behalf of St. Jude Children's hospital for children with cancer.

So on Sunday morning she ran 13.1 miles in rain ... and it was pouring. I told her that when she runs over the Golden Gate bridge to look up into the skies and to just take in the beauty of the moment ... and to know that the rain is a spiritual cleansing for her :) She ended up doing a great job on her run and loving it. She said she felt like a kid again and stopped caring about her shoes getting muddy and filthy ... way to go mom!!!

And don't you also just love the # we got ... 959!! The number '9' represents accomplishment and the number '5' represents unpredictability. Well, she got unpredictability with the rain on Saturday when it wasn't supposed to rain ... and I am proud of how she handled the rain, the hills and the mud!!! If she decides to run this race again next year, maybe it will be a sunny day, but if not, looks like mom can handle anything!!!

And this virtual running thing where I can be with mom in spirit and not leave the comfort of my couch .. well ... that's the way to do it!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

January model for the Pet Haven 2011 Calendar!

Guess what??!!! My alma mater, Pet Haven of Minnesota, has created their first ever calendar for 2011 AND the best part of it, is that I get to be a part of it!! :) I had my photo shoot at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis where mom would take me in November and December of 2008 when I first got to the cities and was living at Bloomington Veterinary because I had to recover from heartworm. She'd pick me up every day so we could go on outings and hang out for a few hours while she worked. And my auntie Lisa took these awesome photos ... actually, she took all the awesome dog photos in the calendar (my auntie Agnes took all the great cat photos!). My auntie Lisa volunteers with Pet Haven and is amazing ... you should check out her website lmj Originals.

These incredible calendars are only $15 and would make great gifts for the holidays ... don't you think?? :) And at the same time you will be supporting homeless dogs and cats and Pet Haven so that they can continue doing the great work they are doing. I literally owe my life to Karen Good who first rescued me up at the Red Lake reservation but then to Pet Haven for taking me into their foster program and nursing me back to health. There's only a limited quantity that's been printed for the first year, so you'd better hurry up and buy your calendar! So .... where can you buy them???

You can buy these calendars at Twice the Gift in downtown Minneapolis (the IDS tower) or at Pet Haven's Fall Benefit on Saturday, November 13th. And some time soon I understand they will be for sale at Pampered Pooch Playground in St. Louis Park.

So if you buy a 2011 Pet Haven calendar you will get to see my cute little face for the entire month of January!! Mom sponsored a month which means she gets to put a small ad in the calendar (it's at the bottom of the page ... she's promoting my blog and fan page on facebook and the work i'm doing as a therapy dog) ... as a sponsor she also got to pick the month and she picked January because I was officially adopted by her on January 3, 2009!!!

And I have to give a bark out to my auntie Jaime who designed and created this entire calendar from scratch. She's an incredible Pet Haven volunteer (not to mention talented!) and she gives, gives and gives!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Running a half marathon in spirit

Mom is leaving for San Francisco tomorrow morning ... yes, it's for work but also for what she says is pleasure ... hmmm, she thinks running a half marathon is fun ... nung-nung disagrees!! But what's really cool about all of this is that this time last year mom was not feeling good ... losing a lot of weight and extremely tired all the time and could barely do much of anything. Okay, okay ... so she was sleeping alot like me!! :) So this is a big deal to her because she's been feeling much better and has been able to train for this half marathon. She's running the US Half Marathon and gets to cross the Golden Gate bridge twice! It starts at 7 am on Sunday ....

But guess what the best part of all of this is ..... she got to request for a customized running bib when she signed up for the race AND [drum roll ......] guess what she requested ... her bib is going to read "AHNUNG"!!! So even though I won't be there with her physically I will definitely be there with her in spirit and we'll be running the half marathon together!!!

I don't EVER want to run a half marathon (maybe my brother Mister might be able to do that some day) but I am very happy to run it with mom in spirit .... the weather is supposed to beautiful on Sunday so I hope she has a great run! Run Mom Run!!! And remember, have fun and enjoy the gorgeous sights!!

... Sleep Nung-Nung Sleep!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Volunteering at The Lab!

I got to volunteer at The Lab (of St. Paul Public Schools) yesterday with mom, Uncle Keith and my buddy Roxy, an 85 pound Bernese mountain dog!! Mom says I look like a tiny girl next to Roxy ... well, i'm only 56 pounds so no wonder I look small!! :)

Yesterday was Roxy and Uncle Keith's first time to volunteer at The Lab and I was there to 'mentor' them ... (mom tells me they really didn't need much mentoring and I agree!! They rocked!). We were asked to present to Miss M's class. Mom and I have visited them before and shared my story. At the beginning of the class Mom asked them how many remembered my story ... wow, they remember the details of my story better than I remember it! They even remembered that my name means 'star' in Ojibway!! This one student said she remembers my name has something to do with the night sky and the stars!! :) When we were there last time, mom told them how i'm her north star and asked them who their north star was and to remember that even when it's dark outside and we feel sad and alone that we can hold on tightly to our north star.

But yesterday was Roxy and Uncle Keith's day to shine!! Uncle Keith got to share about how he followed his heart and his passion and love for dogs and started his business, Pampered Pooch Playground, a doggie daycare. Roxy was so cute and did great on her first day of work!! Good job Roxy!! We've been asked to come back and meet with another class ... i'm excited to volunteer with Uncle Keith and Roxy again!
I love my job!!!

When I was walking through the hallways yesterday I got lots of love and pets from the kids. It's so cool how they all remember me ... they even remember my name and Ahnung isn't the easiest name to remember!! I had an extra special treat yesterday .... I got to see 'R' who is the first kid I got to meet at The Lab over a year ago, and it's because of him that I am volunteering at The Lab. He came out of his classroom when he saw me walk down the hall (mom says his teacher was teasing her about how we were disrupting his class!) ... he came up to me and gave me a big hug!! And you know what he said to me and his classmates, "this is my favorite dog!" Then right behind him was another student 'A' whom I met last school year during one of the dog groups ... he said "do you remember me?" I said, "of course, I remember you!" When I knew him last year he was afraid, yet intrigued, with dogs and never really came close to me to pet me or give me hugs. Well, guess what? Yesterday, he came right up to me with a big smile and gave me a gentle pat on my head and my back!! Wow!!!

I just love these kids so much!! I love how they get so excited to see me! I can't wait to go back to see them ... here are some photos mom took from yesterday ...

Here I am arriving at The Lab!

Relaxing for a minute before going upstairs to the classroom
and here are a few more photos!! :)

Hanging out with my buddy Roxy!

Roxy and I hard at work!! Being a therapy
dog is hard work!! :) I demand a pay raise ...
more doggie treats please!!!

Giving and receiving love from a special kid!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spa Day today at Pampered Pooch

Guess what today day??? Today is a special day because it's spa day and pamper nung-nung day at my favorite place, Pampered Pooch Playground!!! I have to work next Friday at The Lab, which is where I've been volunteering with at-risk youth in this super awesome program of St. Paul Public Schools. Next Friday is an extra special day .... next Friday I get to volunteer with my buddy Roxy (and yes!! she's an absolutely adorable Bernese mountain dog!!). Roxy recently became a registered Delta Society therapy dog ... she went through class with auntie Danielle of Canine Coach. Roxy and my uncle Keith (who owns Pampered Pooch Playground) will be joining my mom and I next Friday to give a presentation to a group of really cool kids at The Lab! Roxy may even come in costume ... she's getting ready for a big Halloween Party at Pampered Pooch!! Mom has been telling me that she might put a tutu on me .... I have told her NO!!! Absolutely NO!!! No tutu for nung-nung!!!

The first easter I celebrated with my mom (2009) my auntie Laura put these bunny ears on me! As you can see from the photo on the right ... I am not a very happy nung-nung girl!!! :)

So please join me in telling mom that I will support my pal Roxy as she gets all dressed up for Halloween, but NO costumes for me.

Here I am with my buddy
Roxy who is calmly waiting for
a treat from Uncle Keith!
So back to what's important .... Roxy and I will be bringing smiles and joy to these kids at The Lab next Friday. All the kids there know me ... it's pretty funny because when we walk the hallways they all say hi to me and they even know my name - Ahnung! I get lots of hugs and kisses and mom says that they don't even know her name :)

I have to go and get my spa treatment today because mom is leaving town again for work tomorrow and won't get home till Thursday night.  If you ever need to get a spa treatment and want to get pampered (and we all should be pampered!) .... I highly, highly recommend my favorite place of all ..... Pampered Pooch Playground.  My brother Mister goes there for doggie daycare too when mom has a long day at the office.

Enjoy your Saturday my friends!!! Hope you enjoyed the beautiful full moon last night!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Volunteering with cancer patients

This was supposed to happen about a month ago but due to some health issues mom is having we had to delay our interview and orientation at Regions Hospital!! Well, as of an hour ago we are now both officially volunteers at Regions Hospital and we are going to be volunteering with cancer patients ... my job is to make them smile and make them feel better as they are going through chemo.

I really didn't want to have my picture taken today so I decided I was going to be uncooperative during the picture taking for my badge ... so all you see is this big black (CUTE!) blob on my badge with my name. But if you look closely at my badge (which mom says it's pointless to even show you the badge!) you'll see that it's me!! :)

Anyway, we won't actually start till the second week of November because mom is so busy traveling for work right now ... with her health stuff we also had to take a step back from volunteering at hospice but i'm trying to tell her i'm ready to get started. But next Friday .... guess what .... I get to volunteer at The Lab (of St. Paul Public School) with my buddy Roxy and Uncle Keith. I'll write more about that on another blog post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's play "Follow the Sun!"

This morning we got to play "Follow the Sun!!" There's this one spot in our living room that gets a beam of sunlight ... I hogged it this morning. My brother Mister was pouting and was ready to grab my spot if I got up for a second ... well, I claimed it for a little while .... I actually had to move and follow the sun beam. When I got tired then Mister hogged it ... mom says it's funny to watch us because after Mister got up then my sister Missy moved to lay in the sun beam, then my feline brother Henry did the same thing .... I don't know why mom thinks it's so funny. The sun feels so nice and warm.

The best part of it all is when mom lets me hang outside in the backyard ... then I just throw myself onto a pile of crunchy leaves and take a nice long nap in the sun! Now, that's the way to live my friends!!! :)

For those of you that have to work ... Happy Hump Day!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mom's made it through surgery with flying colors!!

Mom had surgery yesterday (her third surgery in a year and a half) to remove some crazy lump that keeps growing in her breast ... don't you worry though ... i'm continue to work on making these crazy lumps go away!!

I heard she did great at the hospital yesterday. I heard that she was talking away to everyone even as they were wheeling her away into surgery ... she was asking the nurse anesthesist if he was going to school to become an anesthesiologist, and then she was asking her surgeon when she woke up in the operating room if she was planning on getting started!! :) Her surgeon told her, "We're done!" Mom doesn't take drugs and if anything gets in her system she gets kinda loopy ... okay, not kinda loopy, VERY loopy!!!

We'll hopefully get the results of the pathology report tomorrow afternoon or Thursday at the latest. With all of mom's health stuff and her having to travel for work I haven't had a chance to do much work ... I keep telling her I'm ready to get back to work, so hopefully soon.

For today though, she's taking the day off to rest and hang out with us ... and it's a beautiful spring-like day here in St. Paul so we're going to do a lot of lounging around in the back yard!! A tough day for all of us.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers for mom.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

View from my backyard!!

It was such a beautiful afternoon here in St. Paul! I hope you got to enjoy it because I sure did!! Every time mom would let us out into the backyard we would make a mad dash to the fence ... because guess what, there's this bunny in our neighbor and friend's yard that just loves, loves, loves to taunt us!!! The bunny just drives my siblings Mister and Missy crazy! Me?? Well, sure i'm interested and my ears perk up a little bit but nothing like crazy boy Mister and my sister Missy ..... after all this time and as much as that bunny hangs out in the our neighbor's yard you would think they would get used to it and learn to share. 

Our neighbor has the most beautiful backyard .... we're so lucky that we have neighbors who have such beautiful gardens. Thank you J and M!! :) And thanks for being such terrific neighbors!! :)




Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My new job: visiting with cancer patients!

So tomorrow my mom and I have to go through orientation training so we can start volunteering at the Riverside Cancer Clinic here in Minneapolis. We'll get to visit with cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy. My job ... to get lots of hugs and kisses and to put a smile on their face and help them forget about their chemo treatment ... even if it's just for a moment!

So today, I got to go to one of my favorite places in the world -- I went to Pampered Pooch for my spa treatment!! Oh, they are so cool there. The owner, my Uncle Keith is just one cool dude!! I didn't get to see him today though because he's vacationing in Seattle this week. What I want to know is why he didn't bring me with him!! Oh well .... I got to go to Pampered Pooch and now i'm looking all spiffy and i'm smelling so pretty that i'm going to get extra hugs and kisses tomorrow at training. I'm also going to get my picture taken for my new volunteer badge with Regions Hospital.

I'm not sure exactly when mom and I will start visiting the cancer patients, but I can't wait. I'll be sure to blog about it after our first visit!! Oh, and i'm getting ready to start volunteering at The Lab (which is this really cool program of St. Paul Public schools serving at-risk youth) ... more to come on that soon!

And one last exciting news for the day ... when mom brought me home from my spa treatment she let me into the backyard, and the gate was unlatched, so guess what ... I decided to take a tour of the neighborhood. I roamed around for about 15 minutes. Mom was not very happy with me. She was running around the neighborhood like a crazy woman screaming my name out loud. Hasn't she learned that I always come back!!

Okay, later friends ... back to napping!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Start seeing everything as God!


Mom  has been reading a lot of poetry lately ... she especially loves these mystic poets, Rufi and Hafiz. She tells me their poems are so powerful. This morning she read to me this really cool poem by Hafiz. It's titled "I am So Glad", but you'll soon see that Hafiz is writing about me ... yes, Nung-Nung!! :) Okay, not just me but all my friends.

He starts by saying, "Start seeing everything as God!". Hmmmmm ...what happens when you spell God backwards??!!

I told mom she could post the poem on my blog. I've been a little lazy writing on my blog (I'm too busy resting and napping!) so I thought having my mom as a guest contributer would be nice ... so enjoy Hafiz' poem my friends ... and remember to start seeing everything as God!!

I keep telling mom that there's a bright light that shines inside all of us ... it's my job as a therapy dog to help people see that light that shines inside of them. Mom saw it me when she rescued me in October, 2008. Now I'm helping her see her own light.

I am So Glad
~ Hafiz

Start seeing everything as God,
But keep it a secret.

Become like a man who is Awestruck.
And Nourished.

Listening to a Golden Nightingale
Sing in a beautiful foreign language
While God invisibly nests
Upon its tongue.

Hafiz,
Who can you tell in this world
That when a dog runs up to you
Wagging its ecstatic tail,
You lean down and whisper in its ear,

"Beloved,
I am so glad You are happy to see me.

Beloved,
I am so glad,
So very glad You have come."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nung-nung Principle #1: Rest

You've probably been wondering where i've been and why i've been so quiet ... okay, maybe not! But don't tell me ... I'd like to think that you've missed my blogging :)

For those of you that don't know, I have lots of nicknames. My official name is Ahnung (Ah-NUNG) and yes, it's a beautiful name and means star in ojibway ... and mom's last name means moon rays from her home country of Thailand .. so I believe we will always be connected! But mom likes to call me nung-nung. Now when I hear Ahnung I feel like I'm in trouble! My auntie Danielle calls me Queenie, also Queenie Nung-Nung :) She tells me i'm so regal. I tell her she's so right!! :)

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of resting lately and so have my siblings Mister and Missy. This photo was actually taken a couple months ago when mom was feeling tired a lot .. she calls it fatigue as she would fall asleep on the couch with Mister by 7 pm at night. But since she's come back from her vacation swimming with wild dolphins (if you'd like to read more about her magical experience, check out her blog) she's had this burst of energy! She's back running like a crazy women (and dragging poor Mister with her!) and training for the San Francisco half marathon. Yesterday, according to the training schedule she is following, was a REST day for her. Can you believe it?? She actually wanted to run or do bikram yoga ... I told her she better REST because resting is as important for her as running. She only gets a rest day once a week ... ME??? Nung-nung, queenie nung-nung ... well, since it's the guiding principle for my life I get to rest every single day, and I love it. So sweet dreams everyone.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hospice volunteer work: Saying Goodbye



On Thursday mom and I had the chance to meet with our friend "S" in hospice. Mom wrote about our visit on Thursday:

"My therapy dog, Ahnung, and I volunteer at hospice. The picture on the left was taken earlier this morning as we arrived for a care conference scheduled for our hospice 'friend' (as Ahnung likes to call our assigned patient). We walked in after the hospice nurse who was also there for the care conference. I sign us in at the front desk and the receptionist calls a staff member who comes out to talk to us. Unfortunately our friend has a 'significant change' and the care conference has been cancelled. Our friend "S" has begun the active dying process. We've been volunteering now for several months with Allina hospice ... we've had 3 friends so far. The first was actually released from hospice because she was doing so well! The second passed on but it was actually before Ahnung and I actually had a chance to visit with her and we were notified by email by the Allina volunteer coordinator. This is the first time we are actually there when one of our friends has begun the active dying process.


Ahnung and I decide we want to see our friend and we head downstairs to the first floor. She knows this facility well now and walks around like she owns the place! She has friends there now who are on staff and they always give her lots of hugs. She walks into the elevator with confidence and stands perfectly still, calm, as the elevator shaft drops down just one level. As we exit we walk to the right and it takes us 5 minutes to get to the S's room as everyone wants to say "hi". We walk into S's room and the Allina hospice nurse is already there. "It won't be long" she tells me. She leaves the room to talk to the facility nurse and Ahnung and I are able to spend some alone time with our friend. She will stop breathing (apnea) for about 45 seconds or so, then when she starts breathing again, it's labored. As I reach to touch "S" Ahnung walks over to the bed and places her head on S's leg. I pull a chair over to the side of her bed and sit next to her. Silently, I pray and I talk to her while Ahnung lays quietly next to both of us. She is having a hard time breathing, almost gasping for air. I place my hand on her arm and stroke her arm. Quietly I tell her "it's okay. You're not alone." As my hand touches her body her breathing calms down. I continue to lay my hand on her so she knows that we are there. Ahnung comes up to the side of the bed so that she can see her friend. She then plops down on the floor again and takes a deep breath.


I had planned for a care conference this morning and emotionally wasn't really prepared to hear that our friend was actively dying. Somehow Ahnung seems to be much more okay with all of it. There's so much to learn from my sweet therapy dog ... she loves and lives with all she has, and when it's time to go, I think she will go with no regrets, no attachments, and with a big smile on her face ... I don't know exactly when "S" will cross over to the other side. It could be later today ... it could be tomorrow or the day after. If by chance, she's still around on Saturday, Ahnung and I will be there to visit with her again, to hold her hand and to let her know that we are there with her. I feel blessed and honored that we have been able to be there for "S" .... sweet friend, know that you are loved and know that you have touched the hearts of one human being and one canine.


Namaste."

Mom was busy teaching a class all day today so we couldn't go visit "S" today. This morning she got a message on her cell phone about spending more time with her if we could. Mom called back to let the volunteer coordinator that we were planning on going tomorrow morning. Late this afternoon mom got another message on her cell phone ... our friend "S" has passed away.


I'm so glad mom and I had a chance to see her yesterday and to say goodbye. I just know my friend is up in heaven now just dancing away and probably eating all the best ice cream there is!! When I saw her yesterday I told her to be sure to keep a spot warm for me .... and that we would all be together again ...


I am so grateful to be an Allina hospice volunteer with mom ... it has been a gift for us. In training they shared the following:


"hospice is about living up to the time of death ... hospice embraces the good of dying"


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the radio!! ... Pets as Ambassadors!

Mom is going to be on the radio again ... this time though guess who the focus of the show is going to be?? Yes, ME! ME! ME!! :) Well, actually, I guess it's not really me ... it's really to talk about my job as a therapy dog and how I'm an ambassador for rescued dogs. And to talk about the incredible new friends I make in schools and in hospice. Of course, I also personally think rescued dogs make the best dogs .... and will be giving a shout out to my rescuer Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and Pet Haven of Minnesota. Thanks to those awesome rescues I am still alive and now get to sleep on a couch, eat lots of food and have the best job in the world!

So i'm trying to coach mom today so she doesn't embarrass my good name and reputation :) [just kidding!]. She's going to talk about the work we do at The Lab of St. Paul Public School where I get to work with these awesome, awesome kids. Mom tells me they're at-risk youth ... i tell her blah, blah, blah ... there's nothing at-risk about them. I think they are the best kids. I've had the summer off from working there because they're also off ... but mom and I are gearing up to go back and volunteer. Mom better start working on some new lesson plans, activities and presentations!! Go Mom!!

So if you're available tomorrow at 1 PM tune in to Talk2TheAnimals Radio show. The title of the show is Pets as Ambassadors. And here's the description from their website:


Join Janet and guests Marilou Chanrasmi and Ingrid King as we talk about pets being ambassadors, spreading peace and joy to all they meet. Marilou's dog, Ahnung, was adopted from Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and is now a volunteer in the schools and volunteers with a hospice team. Ingrid is the author of Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher. Her online magazine “News for You and Your Pet” goes out to subscribers around the world. Her blog, “The Conscious Cat,” has been called “educational cat nip for the cat lover” and is a comprehensive resource for conscious living, health and happiness for pets and their people. 


Just so you know ... I was technically adopted from Pet Haven of Minnesota but it was Red Lake Rosie's Rescue that originally rescued me ... so I guess you can they BOTH rescued me!! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mom is home!

Mom finally came home from her vacation in Bimini, Bahamas where she went swimming with wild, free dolphins ... she said she swam with bottlenose dolphins and spotted dolphins! How cool is that??!! On her trip (which was through WildQuest) she couldn't even escape the magic of dogs!! Mandy is a mixed breed pup who ended up hanging out at the WildQuest home earlier this summer and adopted the WildQuest family :) Smart girl ... Mom tells me that she's a really cool dog. When they would leave every morning at 11:30 to go swim with the dolphins Mandy would be at the dock saying goodbye, and at 7 pm when they would come back in she was the welcoming committee .... she also would escort the humans as they walked around the island or went to the beach ....  she LOVED to have her belly rub ... yes, smart girl.

I understand she also likes to sleep a lot ... I think I would've gotten along really well with this girl.

Mom and momma MT had an incredible time swimming with wild free dolphins .... i'm posting a photo of mom hanging out with one of them. If you want to read more about their adventure check out her blog .  She said it was magical.

Welcome home mom!! Now it's time for me to schedule a spa day as I have to get back to work and visit my friends in hospice ....

I had a great vacation at home while mom was in the Bahamas. I was doing what I do best --- yes, SLEEPING and SNORING!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vacation time for me too!


Mom and momma MT are leaving early tomorrow morning for Bimini, Bahamas ... they're going on vacation and they're going to go swimming with wild, free dolphins! I'm gonna miss them ... but i'll get to hang out at home with the best doggie and kitty sitters. I'm going to get lots of napping and lounging in the backyard with my sister Missy. Henry the kitty will be with us as well ... my brother Mister is off hanging out with auntie Laura at Rescue Buddy Boarding and i'm sure he's going to have lots of fun there ...

so just wanted you all to know that I'm probably going to take a little break from blogging too while mom's on vacation.

Have a great vacation mom and momma MT!! And say hi to the dolphins for me :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A day in the life of therapy dog nung-nung


My day began with being pampered at Pampered Pooch Playground grooming. I always have to make sure I'm looking and smelling good when I work as a therapy dog ...yes, I get pampered and spoiled and treated like a queen by my Uncle Keith, the owner of Pampered Pooch! He gave me a bath and a good brushing ... he told mom that I was shedding like crazy ... heck, what's new?? :) After I got done being bathed I got to hang around and wait for mom wherever I wanted to!! Uncle Keith told mom that I like to open up doors ... ha! my new trick!! I'm a houdini dog and I can go wherever I want! My brother Mister got to spend the day at Pampered Pooch and get some of young crazy energy out ...

Then later in the day mom took me to meet my one new friend in hospice. Unfortunately she's taken a turn for the worse so she was sleeping when I went to see her so I just hung out by her bed while she slept ... she was breathing pretty heavily and on occasion she would stop breathing (my mom was warned about that ... she said it's something called apnea) but she would always start back up again. I got to say hi to lots of others who were there and the staff ... of course, the staff just loves me there! One young woman gave me this huge bear hug!! We hung out with our new friend for a little while to see if she would by chance wake up, but she didn't .... but that's okay. I believe she still knows that we were there visiting her and that she is cared for ....

Then mom and I headed out ...  what a day!! When I got home to our backyard there was this squirrel running up the tree ... so now I'm busy fixating on the squirrel :) I love my job as a therapy dog but I do get tired ... so tonight, I'm doing nothing and I don't care what Mister, Missy or Henry say!! or even Mom!! I am not playing or doing anything other than sleeping, and waking up for dinner! That's it!!

Hey, and if you're free tomorrow, stop by the Pet Haven dog adoption event from 10 - Noon. Medium and large dogs will be at the Richfield Petco (66th and Lyndale) and the small dogs will be at the Lake Calhoun Chuck & Don's. Check out the Pet Haven dog blog for more info!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

By your side


My first friend I visited for my volunteer job as therapy dog in hospice got released from hospice!! My mom was told that that was kind of unusual ... I'm so happy for her .... it's been a couple weeks but we got our next assignment, and actually this time, we've been asked if we could become friends with two new patients! I convinced mom to say YES!! This weekend is going to be a busy one for me. On Saturday I'm going to meet one of my new friends, then on Sunday we're going to visit my other new friend. And as you know, as a Delta therapy dog we have to make sure we smell good and are all freshened up for working ... so guess what?? on Friday I get to see my Uncle Keith at Pampered Pooch Playground for my spa day, pampering and lots of hugs ... I always love going there because they treat me like a queen there ... I get to roam around and check out all the rooms, greet the guests and sleep wherever I want ...

I also wanted to congratulate the first six pet therapy teams at Rice Hospice ... I stole this from their website (you should check out the full story and their photos!):

"The newest Rice Hospice volunteers don't drink coffee or drive a car, but they can still decrease patient anxiety and stress, provide a diversion from physical discomfort, and make their patients laugh and smile. Visits from pet therapy dogs can also reduce incidences of depression, alleviate social and emotional isolation and boredom, and expand communication and comfort for the grieving. A visit from a calm, friendly dog might just be the best medicine for many patients....."


Mom always tell me that I'm her best medicine. I tell her that she's my best medicine. And we both believe that it is an honor that we are able to join in the circle of those approaching the final stages of their journey. There's something sacred about the moment of transition. I tell mom that if I go first that I want her by my side ... and she tells me that if she goes first that she wants me by her side ...

meanwhile, we hope that we can share the journey with many others as we volunteer as an animal therapy team in hospice ....


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Street Survivor to Couch Hogger


Here's a common story for those of us who are taken into animal rescues ...  sometimes Humans call us 'Rescued Dogs' (but I do beg to differ on if it's really just us being rescued ...) --- many of us have been roaming the streets, scrounging around or hunting for our food, dodging bullets (I got shot and so did my "son" Julius, who is now Jackson) -- except, we didn't succeed in dodging all the bullets. I still have a pellet in one of my nipples and Jackson has a pellet on one of hie ears. We would sleep any place we could, and in the winters any warm place we could find. My brother Mister was found as puppy in a ditch in rural Iowa along with two of his siblings.

We're survivors. And we are grateful that an animal rescue took us in and helped us find a place we could call home. We're grateful that we don't have to hunt for our food anymore ... although, I do have to say that the hunting for food was kind fun. So a word of caution to the bunnies, bird and squirrels of the city .... our backyard is the bunny beware zone ... Enter at your Own Risk!

We're street survivors and we learn pretty quickly how comfortable human couches are!! Here's my brother on the couch .....


and here's Jackson (aka 'son of Ahnung') who only recently got adopted and his new mom sent my mom this picture ... looks like my boy learns really quickly! Good boy Jackson!!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Here's how we celebrate at our house!


Yesterday was a holiday ... yeah, Independence Day ... lots of excitement, noise and commotion with all the fireworks!! At our household, we celebrated really hard ....

Momma MT took this photo of us .... she tells us this is a common scene at our household. Mom has been feeling fatigued lately ... heck, I just tell her she's gotten smart like us pups ... humans spend way too much time DOING or PLANNING or ACTING!! You humans have a lot to learn from us :) Sleeping, napping and just BEING is the way to go!!

Finally, mom is learning to relaxing like us!! My mantra: 'Sleep! Sleep! and Sleep some more!"
"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Day you Came and Stayed



My mom wrote this shortly after she adopted my sister Missy in September, 2006 (yes, gorgeous Missy with those beautiful eyes .... Missy was 2 years old when she ended up in mom's home .. she hit the jackpot, just like me :) Mom lost Shadow (who's mentioned in the poem below on July 2, 2007 to intestinal cancer ... but then Mister was adopted shortly after that, then of course, I came along a couple years later!! :)

I can relate to how Missy needed a little time to trust again ... ahhh, life is good.


From the voice of Missy:

The Day you Came and Stayed
- by Marilou Chanrasmi

September 23, 2006 –
You picked me up.
Some kind stranger, I thought.
Until today, I had spent six months behind bars,
as kind souls worked tirelessly to save me:
Changing faces, changing places,
Locked behind bars.
I’ve been moved around like cargo.
If I’m lucky, there’s a “handle with care” stamp.
But I’m just one of thousands, and I’m big and black, and part pit –
Nobody wants me.

Who are you?
Are you just another passing face? A shooting star giving light and hope,
only to fizzle out?

Is today different?
Am I just hopeful?
Do I dare hope, again?
Only to come crashing down, again.

I am cautious.
I am skeptical.

It’s November now. 
I’m still here.
You’re still here.
I’m still counting – as days turn into night.
Each night you whisper gently
“I’m here to stay.”
Each night I learn to trust, just a little bit more.

I’m still counting,
but the beat of the drum is fading into the distance
as my days and heart fill
with walks, carrot treats, snuggle time, play time with Shadow, and car rides.

September 23, 2006 -
a day I’ll always remember.
Because it’s the day you came, and stayed.




Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stars are the streetlights of eternity

My mom's volunteer coordinator for Allina Hospice has this quote on her signature line:

"The stars are the streetlights of eternity." ~ Anonymous.

I love that quote. My mom named me Ahnung (Ah-NUNG) which means "star" in ojibway. She always tells me that I am her northstar. She also tells me as she goes through some health challenges how I am her best medicine. She tells me, I help guide her back to her true self and that she can just close her eyes and feel me there with her.

Everyone goes through rough times ..... when times get tough and you feel like you are all alone, just look up into the stars .... there are billions and billions of them up in the night skies. Every star is an angel and a spirit that will hold you up and carry you when you feel you can no longer stand. When I had to survive on my own for so many years up at the reservation, I had many angels protecting me ... and then I fell into the arms of my rescuer Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue who then led me to my mom and Pet Haven. And now my work as a therapy dog volunteering with at-risk youth and in hospice has just begun .... 

Dr. Edward Creagan is a cancer doctor at Mayo Clinic and talks about the healing power of animals with his cancer patients ... it's a short 2 minute video and well worth it!!!