Man’s Best Friend

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Our girls, Mocha and Gracie are the best companions.

Dogs are a “Man’s Best Friend”, but they are obviously “a girl’s best friend”, as well.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole. Roger Caras, Photographer

Did you know? The statement that the dog is man’s best friend was first recorded as being made by Frederick II, King of Prussia, (1789) referring to one of his Italian greyhounds as his best friend?

There are countless inspiring stories about the four-legged canines in our lives. Click here to read about Callie, the Beagle and here to read about my friend, Tim’s guide dog, Ringer.

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive. Gilda Radner (a comedian who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 42)

 You can read an earlier post about favorite dogs here, Who Rescued Who?

I must admit that dogs are a lot of trouble at times. They make messes that require cleaning and tear up things that need replacing. Having a dog requires the owners to make vacation plans around them, take them to vet appointments, and make sure their food and treats are in stock.

However, I have found that you get back ten-fold in pure love all that you give to a dog.

Today, I want to introduce you to two of the countless best friends in our world: WHIZZ and LUCCA, both are examples of true heroes! And both received the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) award!

I first heard about Whizz on a recent radio show. Whizz, a Newfoundland, worked with the Royal Navy Rescue, the Severn Area Rescue Association and the Marine Volunteer Service. Whizz went to Doggie Heaven on March first of 2016 at the age of 12, following a ten-year water rescue career. Whizz was given a posthumous award, the PDSA Order of Merit, an award given to animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or society. Newfies are bred in the frigid environment of Newfoundland, Canada. With flaps of skin between their toes, their feet turn into webbed paws enabling them to swim more efficiently. Whizz’s breed is also gifted with soft, oily fur which allows them to float, astonishing strength, and the most endearing personality a dog can have.

Whizz rescued nine people and one dog during his working years.IMG_9846

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Owned by David Pugh, Whizz will be forever remembered by his, handler, Ellie, a top lifeguard in the UK. It was Whizz’s job to provide the strength and ability to help people in trouble, but as this big “bear” rescued frantic swimmers, Ellie provided the human touch and was the one who calmed them, telling them what to do. David explained, “A drowning person has the strength of ten people, and in a panic, would most certainly pull the dog under. The role of the lifeguard is to make sure the drowning person is well and to convey that the dog is there to help. Thereafter, the dog is able to perform the rescue.”

Another best friend, a German Shepherd, that was a hero to many is named Lucca.

Through all of her treatment, and despite the pain she was in, her temperament never changed. Cpl Juan Rodriguez said of Lucca, the war dog

GYSgt Chris Willingham, a Marine, was first paired with Lucca on April 23, 2006. In her six years of serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were zero human casualties. Sadly, Lucca was injured by a bombing in Afghanistan’s Helmund Province, with chest burns and the loss of a leg in 2012. Still with Willingham, Lucca lives in California and is being utterly spoiled during her retirement.

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Lucca and Willingham have been together since 2006.
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Lucca is now enjoying a well-earned retirement !

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Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner on the web to read my Pages today!

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I would love to hear what your favorite part was of these two precious dog stories. Please share this post on Facebook with all of your dog-loving friends!!

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Baby’s best friend!

Thanks and have a wonderful day!

JoanIMG_5465

Water the Tree 9 Ways To Take Care Of You In December

IMG_0692How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon.  Dr. Seuss

Though this post was originally penned in 2014, this list of nine ideas still applies today. I am looking to take care of myself this December, and I hope you will, too.

Our fresh, nine foot Christmas tree is beautiful and smells amazing. When we picked it out on Sunday, we had the folks at the Calvary Children’s Home tree lot cut the end off so the tree would be even fresher. As we all know, it is important to water a freshly cut tree daily to ensure that the needles stay in place until we ring in the new year on December 31, 2014. As I watered the tree again this morning, it made me think about ways you and I can take better care of ourselves during this season.

Nine ways to take care of YOU in December:

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(1) Start your day with breakfast. Donny and I have gotten to where we must have a green smoothie as often as possible to help us jumpstart our day. (** see bottom of post for our smoothie instructions.)

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. a Chinese Proverb

(2) Exercise often. Studies have shown that even a 20-30 minute walk can change the way you feel.

(3) Drink plenty of water. The Kennesaw Mountain National Park makes sure all those puppies who hike there are well-hydrated.

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(4)  Practice deep breathing in the car, in bed just before you rise, anytime, anyplace. (The 4-7-8 exercise: breathe in for count of 4, hold for a count of 7, breathe out for a count of 8, emptying lungs completely. Repeat.)

IMG_0697(5) Practice your faith on a regular basis. Reading my Bible helps me to keep my life in perspective. *There are many free on-line devotions we can connect with. My friend and college roomie, Susan, lives near Knoxville, Tennessee. Susan and I both read My Utmost for His Highest regularly and frequently email or text about something we have read. Our small group meets weekly in my girlfriend Sara’s home, and we are currently studying 1 Thessalonians. We all agree that the more we read and discuss, the thirstier we are for more study. You may consider reading a Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs and there is so much wisdom to be found there. For example today, December 3, Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks to my heart and encourages me:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him. and he will make your paths straight.”

*You may want to visit Insight for Living or Daily Bread for spiritual inspiration.

(6) Make and keep a running list. It feels great to mark things off!

(7) Call a friend to share what’s on your mind. Life is full, difficult, and challenging. Sharing what is on our hearts with a trustworthy friend can be very cathartic.

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If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.  George Burns (1896-1996) an American comedian, actor, and writer

(8) Reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves. I try to have $1 bills or a few coins on hand to insert into The Salvation Army’s red bucket when I hear the ringing bell. That small act makes my heart happy.

(9) Make yourself a cup of hot tea, put your feet up and rest, if even for a few minutes OR take a few minutes out for a hot bath.

 As you nurture your tree by watering it, consider ways you can take good care of yourself, too. It is my belief that if we consider doing these nine things, our December will be a little calmer.

** Our smoothie consists of kale, celery, cucumber, orange, apple, 3 kinds of berries (use fresh or frozen), banana, steel cut oatmeal, flaxseed meal, unsweetened almond milk, and coconut water. I don’t follow a recipe, I just use what I have on hand. These can be poured into a solo cup, covered with foil with a straw and ready to grab as you walk out the door. We have found the fridge shelf life for these is about 2 1/2 days.

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