Grateful for Dog Poop in the Kennel and other weird things

I am grateful for many things. Some of them might seem small and hardly worth noticing, let alone giving thanks, but I beg to differ. It is the “little” things that carry the most weight. So often we take the little things for granted. How often are we grateful for the simple act of breathing? How about the sound of the kids playing in the backyard? Or even that there are kids in the backyard? When was the last time we noticed that we can smell coffee or walk on our own from room to room? When was the last time we expressed gratitude for the roof over our heads or the food in our belly?

Here are a few of the things for which I am grateful.

The sound of my husband snoring. Yes, I am grateful for his snoring because his snoring reminds me he is alive and well. As does the mess he leaves in the bathroom sink, the newspapers strewn about the house and his greasy handprints on the hood of my car.

My grandsons fighting. Five years ago there weren’t any grandsons. Now there are three healthy, happy little tornados that have stormed into our lives. I’m very grateful even when they are fighting, crying and generally causing trouble. As a matter of fact, I actually find myself smiling when they are at their worst. They add spice to our lives.

The arthritis in my hands. Oy vey! Yes, I am grateful for the pain. You see, the pain means I still have my hands. Don’t get me wrong, I would not mind if the pain went away. However, it is a reminder that things could be worse, to be grateful for what I have.

Chocolate. I am definitely grateful for chocolate. Do I really need to say more about this one???

The people in my life that drive me nuts. There is no doubt I am grateful for their presence! You see, they are teaching me patience, acceptance, and compassion. Without them, I seriously doubt I would grow and improve myself.

Dog poop in the kennel. I know this sounds weird. However, from my perspective, no dog poop would mean there was no dog. I have tried going without a dog before. Not willing to try it again! Hence, I am grateful for dog poop. And, no I don’t want any of yours, so please don’t bring it over here!

My business partner, Kacy. Where do I start? This woman exemplifies patience, kindness, integrity and a whole host of other attributes I am grateful for every day. I am extremely lucky to have her in my life. When I grow up I want to be just like her!

I could go on and on, however I would rather hear about the things you are grateful for today and every day.

Fellar: A Most Unusual Family Member

Fellar: A Most Unusual Family Member

My husband, Sterling and I live out in the country, surrounded by beautiful mountains, a creek, and tons of wildlife. Having been a veterinary technician for over 30 years, I have had my fair share of wildlife patients. I really enjoy working with them, but I have developed some hard and fast rules about wildlife at home. I refuse to hand raise baby wild animals. No 2 a.m. bottle feedings, for me, no way, no how. I always turn the babies over to a qualified rescue organization. My husband knows this rule and has been very good about letting baby birds and such leave our farm with the rescue team – until our world was invaded by a funny little monster named Fellar.

Sterling was out mowing the weeds around an outbuilding when he saw what looked like a mouse. As he prepared to kill it (ok, we are farmers!), he stopped because the little critter didn’t look quite right. Reaching down, he picked up the strange, ugly, little bald creature and headed straight to the house to ask me what it was he found. In the palm of his hand was a 3” long, hairless creature with its eyes still closed. It was about a one week old baby ground squirrel. I could not think of any good reason for it to be above ground as the mother would never have allowed it unless she was dead. I suggested to my husband that he put the baby into the closest squirrel hole to where he found the little guy in the hopes that its mother was still around.

Less than an hour later, Sterling found the baby had crawled back out of the hole and had made it another 8 feet to the door of the shop. Obviously, the little bugger wanted someone to take care of him and had chosen my husband as his new momma. Definitely against my rules! I politely informed Sterling that I would not raise a bottle baby and that the little guy would have to go to a rescue group. Sterling quietly said he was going to take care of him himself. This from a man who never raised a bottle baby before!

Well, he patiently and successfully raised “Feller”. The squirrel became his constant companion, often hiding in the sleeve of Sterling’s jacket, peeking out at the world from his safe haven high above the ground.

Sterling is quite handy at constructing stuff. He built an elaborate habitat for Feller including a section up in a tree, a section inside the workshop and another underground. All of it connected by a raceway of pipe. Feller could travel from one area to another without ever leaving the safety of his habitat.

One of Feller’s favorite treats was watermelon. His tiny paws were perfect little hands able to grasp the bits of watermelon offered by Sterling, only he hated to get wet. So he would hold the watermelon with one hand, shake the other, switch hands and repeat while taking quick bites. So funny to watch! He also loved nuts of all kinds. Some he would eat right away, but most he would stash somewhere inside his bedding.

I have to admit Feller and I never got along. As a matter of fact, he hated me. I think he knew I wasn’t exactly supportive when Sterling had decided to bottle raise him. At every opportunity, Feller would try to attack me through the wire of his cage, growling and throwing his tiny 1 lb body against the cage as he charged at me. Did you even know that squirrels could growl? The little monster would leap at the wire of his cage, teeth bared, just to watch me jump. He also tried to charge my dogs. Brave little monster!

As it was my role to keep Feller healthy, I occasionally had to handle him to apply parasiticides, vaccinate, etc. Oh joy. I was helping to keep this vicious beast alive and healthy, despite the fact that there was no love lost between us.

I came up with a technique to avoid getting bitten, but it also happened to really tick Feller off (always an entertaining bonus, if you ask me…) From inside the shop, Sterling had run one of Feller’s pipes directly into a tiny cage in the living room. This pipe had a sliding door in it so that Feller could be confined indoors or outdoors, depending on our preference. I used to close the door so that he couldn’t get in and then tap on the pipe thereby getting him good and angry. I would then put a sock over the indoor opening of the pipe and quickly open the door. He would rush in thinking he could attack me. His headlong rush would leave him trapped in the sock! I would giggle fiendishly as I twisted the sock shut. I had him trapped where I could do his medical treatments, but he couldn’t bite me. Definitely did not endear me to him.

Feller lived to the ripe old age of 7 years. He hated me until the very end, but still trusted and respected his 6’3” tall momma, Sterling.

Beautiful Women

When I am driving, my mind wanders from thought to thought.  No rhyme or reason to what pops up.  Recently, I found myself asking what makes a woman beautiful.  Such a random thought, but interesting.

As I focused on the thought looking for the common denominator, I began to browse my memory for all the truly beautiful women I have known throughout my life.   There is Terri S., Barbara V., Kathy O., Anne S., Eileen H., Elvira P., Dru R., Dyne, Gaby I., Janet A. and the list goes on and on.  Each of these women is amazingly beautiful. What do they all have in common? 

Is it perfect complexion?

How about the cut of their clothes or the style of their hair?

Are they all slim with the perfect figure looking like a fashion model?

Do they all have expensive, stylish jewelry? 

Are they blonde or brunette?

Do they have perfect cheekbones or striking eye color? 

Are they all young or old? 

Does it take money to be beautiful?


It didn’t take me very long to figure out the answer.  It is so simple.  Every one of them has an amazing smile!  Their smile comes from an inner spirit of kindness.  They freely smile from the heart with abandon.  Beauty from the inside is real.  I see it all the time in the faces of women I know.    And, their beauty inspires others around them. 

I love smiles.  In fact, I am a bit of a smile connoisseur.  I can spot an insincere smile a mile off.  I recognize the tentative smiles, the evil smiles, forced smiles, frightened smiles, and the sad smiles.  I watch for smiles everywhere; for selfish reasons.  You see, the smiles of truly beautiful women make my day.  They lift my heart and leave me smiling.  I bet they lift yours too!  And, I know you have a beautiful smile that comes from the heart.  Share it generously with those around you.   


chocolate Labrador puppy looking up with concern

com·pro·mise [kom-pruh-mahyz]


  1. a settlement of a dispute in which two or more sides agree to accept less than they originally wanted
  2. something that somebody accepts because what was wanted is unattainable
  3. exposure to danger or disgrace


  1. to settle a dispute by agreeing to accept less than what was originally wanted
  2. to undermine or devalue something or somebody by making concessions
  3. to expose somebody or something to danger or risk

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

It is kind of interesting that the third definition for compromise is “presenting danger or disgrace.” I never thought of compromise as inherently dangerous. Compromising on techniques, timing, dinner plans, house design, selecting a school for your kids, and where to take a vacation isn’t risky or disgraceful. It just might be a matter of respecting the other person enough to try for a win-win.

However, compromising on your principles is another story. The danger is to your integrity and that is dangerous indeed!

Have You Ever Noticed…..

  • the better the surgeon, the messier the OR?

  • that as soon as you have a little money saved, one of your own pets gets sick or your car breaks down?

  • the smaller the dog, the bigger the attitude?

  • you spend most of your day picking up after others?

  • when someone asks you to meet to discuss a problem, he usually means for you agree with him and keep your thoughts to yourself?

  • there are mornings you feel like you never left work the day before?

  • how easy it is to jinx yourself?

  • ends never meet?

  • best laid plans aren’t?

  • Murphy’s law really exists?

  • having a DVM, RVT, MD or PhD after our name doesn’t grant intelligence, emotional maturity, power or authority? We still have to earn those!

  • we can’t change people? Changing ourselves is hard enough.

  • the final word never is the final word?

  • time does heal all emotional wounds if you let it?

  • worrying is just a waste of energy?

  • when all is said and done, things work out?

(photo by Sasse Photo)