Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pet Therapy

I have been involved in a program called "Pet Pals" through the UW Vet School in conjunction with the Children's Hospital. My dog Maddie and I go to the Children's hospital twice a month and visit with the kids. At first, I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle seeing the sick children and was a little wary... but it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!

All the dogs in Pet Pals have to go through an intensive screening process. Their behavior, demeanor, and interaction with children are all tested. Fortunately for me, Maddie passed with flying colors and was accepted into the program in 2007.

Maddie, almost 7, is our sweet Golden Retriever we rescued in 2005.

Last week, one of the patient's parents was telling me that their son had two dogs at home who slept on his bed. Being in the hospital was difficult for him because he was used to having his pups with him. After our visit, I heard his dad ask him, "See? Do you feel better? Aren't you glad you came?" You could see the change on the boy's face- he looked happy and was smiling.

Sometimes Maddie will lay down on the floor and kids will lay with her. They will put their arms around her, hug her, and just close their eyes, maybe even take a little nap with her.

It's the small things like this that can really make a difference.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I gave up alcohol and sweets for Lent. It has been VERY challenging, and at first, I wasn't entirely sure I could do it. I had given up sweets in the past, so I knew that was not going to be a problem, so I really wanted to challenge myself. And out of all the Lents, this was the worst one to pick giving up alcohol.

Someone very close to me died exactly forty days ago today (on Fat Tuesday). He gave the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE- he died a hero for our country in Afghanistan. Let me tell you, it has been the hardest forty days of my life and not a day has gone by that I don't think about him. While I was dealing with his death, my friend Jill shared this photo and quote with me. I think it is so very relevant today and especially so at this time of year.

Only two men have offered to give their lives for you... Jesus and the American Soldier

My mom reminded me that I can drink at midnight tonight (officially the end of Lent). And to be honest, I am quite reluctant to do so. I feel really good about not drinking for forty days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an alcoholic or anything, but it's empowering to know that even though I have been surrounded by it, I have been able to resist the temptation. And believe me have I been surrounded by it. Dinners, going out, happy hour after work, everyone trying to pressure me in having a drink... It really made me see how much alcohol can be part of your life, and I can understand why it would be hard for alcoholics to quite when they are constantly reminded and surrounded by it.

These last forty days have also given me insight into who my friends are. When someone is going through a hard time, you really find out who is there for you, and who really means it. I have been surprised to learn that the people who care about me most, are not the friends that I see on a regular basis and those who I have known for a long time, but rather, those whom I have just recently met and those who are away.

Some of the friends I would have expected to understand and help me with this, have not done so. I even told one friend about the situation and never heard back from her. On the other hand, my friends who live out in California have been so wonderful, and my newest friend Jill has been there every step of the way with me. She went to the funeral with me, even though she never new Dan. It just goes to show that one of your closest friends can be one of your newest friends.

I hope that we don't lose sight of what Lent and Easter is all about. It is easy to think that we are just giving up something for the sake of it, and then indulging on Easter. We can't forget the ultimate sacrifice- that Jesus gave his life for us so that we all may live again.

Rest in Peace and may God bless you SGT. Daniel Thompson

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Good Friday...

I remember going on a cruise ten years ago over spring break to South America. On Good Friday we visited Costa Rica, and just about everything was closed. From 12-3, stores restaurants were closed and the streets were deserted. It seemed the only people walking around were the pasty faced vacationers wandering the street. The one place I remember being open was a beautiful church.

Finally the weather is getting more spring like. It's mid April and it had been in the 30's!! I am ready for the sun.

Speaking of GOOD Friday- the Brewers won their home opener today! What a thriller. Talk about waiting til the end to pull it off. Any win against the Cubs is a great win, but for their home opener, it's like extra chocolate in the Easter basket!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Capitol Squirrels Will No Longer Go Nuts

The squirrels on the Capitol Lawn will no longer be able to indulge in their peanuts. DOA officials sent a letter asking the perp to stop spreading peanuts on the lawn. Why? Because state officials are concerned about visiting children who may have allergies to peanuts.

"Recently, someone...carpets the ground beneath the trees opposite 1 E. Main Street on the park grounds with peanuts. We are trying to get word to whoever, their concern for feeding the squirrels, is creating a much greater hazard to those visitors with allergies", the letter from director Ron Blair stated.

If true, I think it is hilarious that someone "carpets" the ground with peanuts. They must have a real affinity for squirrels to spread that many peanuts. Officials are worried that as the weather gets nicer, kids touring could be exposed. Are they more worried about the lawn looking nice or genuinely concerned that a child with allergies might just pick up a peanut under a tree?

Why don't officials work to make sure people walking their dogs don't leave their waste on the lawn? I think more people are "allergic" to that.