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.


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!!