Cozy mystery, dogs, elderly and dogs, Labrador Retriever, Margie Vonn, Mixed breed, Nose work, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Celebrating a New Book Release – Naturally

Celebrating can be disastrous. There’s the prep, the expense, and the stress of performance. Since it was sunny and 62 degrees, Truman and I went on a walk about on our few acres. I didn’t even put on a bra, and Truman didn’t even put on a harness. We celebrated the day, just as it was.

Truman ran, following what delighted his nose. When we walk, he keeps an eye on me most of the time. Occasionally his quarter-bloodhound DNA has him so engrossed in following his nose, I tease him by hiding. A few seconds later, when his one-third-Labrador DNA reminds him of his need to be with his mom, he starts casting his nose for my scent. It never takes more than a couple of seconds before he catches the scent of my trail and heads toward my hiding place. His less than 10% middle-eastern-hound DNA kicks into high speed, and he finds me.

Truman romped while I surveyed my micro-kingdom. Truman followed his nose and I followed my eyes, evaluating the state of living off the land. Waiting for the chance to spice up a salad, mint surrounds my still green blueberries and figs. I snapped off a few green daylily buds and snacked on them. I love eating off the bush. We stopped by one of the beehives, the girls were just waking up and sunned themselves on the deck before they took flight. The pear trees planted in January were too you ng to bloom this year, but might produce some Bartletts next year.

Nature provides something to look forward to, and the celebration was peaceful and easy. (books are free on Kindle Unlimited and don’t cost much on Kindle)

A multicolored hound dog sniffing a dark object in a jar.
Cozy mystery, dogs, Mixed breed, Nose work, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Following a New Scent

Truman and I have approximately the same level of engagement curiosity. That means we like to do things together that are fun, but don’t drain too much energy and are not too risky.

So what does that mean for a dog who is a quarter bloodhound and a third Labrador? You guessed it, nose work. Using instincts, Truman can find his tug toy in a three acre pasture. He doesn’t need to be trained to use his nose, because he sees with it. The problem in doing structured nose work activities, is that we need to learn learn to read each signals so we can work together as a team.

Once again, my relationship with my dog reminds me of my marriage. I appreciate my dog’s skills and abilities (my husband’s too). In order to accomplish a task with the ultimate sum being more than the parts, we need to communicate compassionately and clearly, taking into consideration and using our different perspectives of the world.

dogs, Therapy Dog, Uncategorized

Comforting Still

A tragic accident took the life of a elementary school student. COVID had everyone scared. Truman Blue and I responded anyway, in hopes of bringing smiles back to the child’s classmates. He did. The kids loved Truman.

Truman visited seventy something children and teachers. He was more quiet than usual, but I thought it was because we had not been able to visit in almost a year. He did his job and the kids smiled. What I didn’t know was that Truman had a painful ear infection. I found out when teacher rubbed him under his ear and he yelped. Fortunately it was near the end of our visiting. We only had a handful of very special children left to visit.

Although he did not show any of the regular signs of dog ear infection, only an occasional shake of the head. Of course Truman went to the vet and was put on medications for two weeks and recovered well.

I can’t help but love this dog more and more. He willingly endured pain while small children surrounded him. I don’t think I could have done that. He’s a good, good soul.

Cozy mystery, dogs, Labrador Retriever, Margie Vonn, Mixed breed, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Truman Blue Mystery Book 2 Launching Soon

Margie, Truman and their friends head to the beach for a vacation, but Margie doesn’t want to go. Will vindicating a wrongly accused person make the vacation more fun?

Margie and Truman discover that not all the residents of Dexitine Beach, an affluent Gulf of Mexico beach town, are as upstanding as the town leaders would like visitors to believe. Dexitine is downright pleasant on the outside but some of the pillars of the community are a bit shaky.

Join Margie and Truman Blue as they negotiate the perils of a summer “vacation.”

Book Cover for Cozy Therapy Dog, Connecting the Dots, A Truman Blue Mystery Book 1, Jane McAllen
Cozy mystery, dogs, elderly and dogs, Labrador Retriever, Margie Vonn, Mixed breed, old dogs, Senior dog owners, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries, Uncategorized

Book Launch! It’s Here! The first Truman Blue Mystery is out

The first book in the series is now available digitally for free from August 15 through August 19, 2020. Enjoy reading about the real life dog Truman Blue who is fictionalized Cozy Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries. Is fun, with a splash of education! Click here to order.

Book Cover for Cozy Therapy Dog, Connecting the Dots, A Truman Blue Mystery Book 1, Jane McAllen
Cozy Therapy Dog, Connecting the Dots, A Truman Blue Mystery Book 1
dogs, elderly and dogs, Labrador Retriever, Mixed breed, old dogs, puppy, Senior dog owners

Dogs and Senior Owners

What size dog? What happens if I go first.

One of the saddest situations I have seen on multiple occasions, is when an old person passes away and leaves their beloved old dog. A beloved old dog who is not wanted by any family member. It is so sad when these dogs end up in shelters or put in a backyard, alone.

Let’s face it. Old dogs are hard. I don’t want my dogs to be old, but then I know (hope) they will get that way and I have planned for it. I certainly do NOT want them to die young. Old dogs take additional home and vet care. They lose control of their bladders, they need special food. Old dogs are hard to care for, but I would not give up my old dogs for all the gold in the world. Not for me, but for them. They deserve the loving care of the person who has loved them.

So how do you plan for your dog if it out lives you? (Younger people my die unexpectedly, so this applies to them, too)

Let’s look at what happened to my dad’s cat, Joe. My dad was in his 80s when my mother passed. He wanted an animal friend, so we adult kids got him Joe, a huge friendly young adult cat. Joe gave my dad a lot of pleasure. When dad died, Joe was middle aged. Because Joe was friendly, well behaved, well socialized and loved by family, friends and the nursing home staff, there were many offers from people to take Joe. Joe lived out the remainder of his life in luxury at my brother’s house. That’s the way it should work.

There are serious considerations if you are a senior who is getting a new animal. First consider your age and health and the longevity of the animal you are bringing into your home.

Seniors who are experienced dog people, should remember that they might not have the energy and stamina to raise a puppy of an active breed such as a Jack Russell or a dog who needs a lot of exercise, such as a Labrador Retriever. You may not have the strength to train a large dog who needs a lot of attention, like a German Shepherd. Consider purchasing or adopting an older dog who has slowed down a little and is well trained. No one is going to want your dog if it not well trained and is nutsy because you could not provide for its needs.

For seniors who are adopting their first animal, choosing a well behaved adult animal is not a choice, it is a requirement. Seek the advice of professionals and animal experienced family. Don’t even consider a puppy unless you are living with a younger caretaker who has plenty of dog experience and who wants to help care for the new dog.

If you already have a dog you need to make plans for that dog if you die first.

Start by making sure your dog is well trained and socialized. While you still can, take it to training classes and take it out with you so it can experience the world and learn to not be afraid of new situations.

If your dog needs special care and medicines be sure there is someone willing to take over the medical care and the expenses of the medicines. If not, consider leaving the horrible but necessary instruction to euthanize your dog. What is worse? A dog euthanized a year or two early, or a dog living the end of its life sick, miserable and lonely?

Face the facts. You are the planner for your dog. Plan ahead so you dog does not suffer.

dogs, Labrador Retriever, Mixed breed, puppy, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Dog Friends at Home

Truman Blue lives with three other dogs.

Leala is a quiet dog who has little interactions with the other dogs. It’s not that she’s unfriendly. She is an giving introvert. She was a therapy dog until she got older and it was too much work to walk around and visit a lot of people. She’s the same way with the rest of the dogs in the house. To her, interactions require a lot of energy. She’s willing to share the love-seat, but she doesn’t seek out company. Truman respects her need for solitude.

Stormy is a loud dog. For nine years, she has used her vocalizations to instigate chaos. Part German Shepherd, she loves to bark and make comments about everything around her. She wants to be involved with whatever is going on, not to participate, but to offer her opinion. Sometimes Truman enjoys jumping in to her world of chaos. Other times, he keeps his distance.

Sunny is an ancient Labrador who, at 14 is oldest and most hyper dog in the house. She is still a fish in the pool, but on land, gravity has taken its toll. Truman loves Sunny. He tries to get her to play the way a three year old male dog plays, rough and tumble. When Truman tumbles Sunny, she has a bit of trouble getting up, but she never complains. Her heart is as gold as her coat. Sunny is the only dog Truman cuddles with. He will miss her when she is gone.

Truman enjoys each dog friend. Each has different qualities that add to the quality of Truman’s life.

Sunny, Stormy, and Leala

dogs, puppy, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Dogs of Color

One thing I have never understood is why one color is better than any other. Truman Blue has many colors and mixed together they are awesome. His eyes are blue and dark brown. His coat is cream, gray, white, and black. He has pink and other colors skin. His variety of colors makes him spectacular. What really counts is the way he interacts with other creatures. He is gentle, he is kind, he is brilliant, and he is comforting. What difference does it make what heritage he is, or his color?

He is tolerant of horses, who he does not quite understand. He is gentle with kitties who are smaller than him. He enjoys the company of other dogs and gets along with all breeds and sizes. He is gracious and comforting to the humans around him.

What difference does color make? Colors are the stuff the earth is made of. The more, the more spectacular.

Chewed book cover
Cozy mystery, dogs, Margie Vonn, puppy, Therapy Dog, Truman Blue Mysteries

Chewed Up

People often like the idea of a dog, but not the reality of a dog. When someone gets a dog, whether it is a freebee or an expensive import, the person dreams expectations as to what that dog will be. The dream is what the human wants, not what the dog actually has the capability to be. That is totally unfair, and I admit, I am guilty. In reality, the dog’s DNA, personality, training and life experiences will dictate what the dog will become, not the human’s dream.

When I brought baby Truman into my home, I dreamed he would become a wonderful therapy dog, and a great companion. It was part luck, and part hard work on my part to have that part of my dream fulfilled. Like in any relationship, there are struggles. Truman is a dog and he does what dogs do. Today, I looked out the window and he was eating horse poop. He’s a dog with dog values.

Dogs dig, dogs bark, dogs chew. As puppies, although adorable, they are horrible. They pee, poop, don’t listen and do a lot of irritating stuff. As adults they have the reasoning capabilities and maturity close to a two or three year old human. They need supervision and family.

If you want to have a dog as a companion, remember that your companion is a dog. Don’t expect a dog to be an automaton who does nothing but what you wish, and don’t expect your dog to act like a human.

When Truman is in public and is expected to behave according to human terms, sometimes he lapses into his dog brain. He does things like sniff human’s privates, a very polite thing to do in the doggie world. My corrective words are gentle and help people understand what he is doing, and relieves their (and my) embarrassment. I say to Truman, “Don’t act like a dog.”

sleeping Labrador Retriever with hound dog resting its chin on the labradors side
dogs, Therapy Dog

Waiting in the Wings for the New Normal

sleeping Labrador Retriever with hound dog resting its chin on the labradors side

Truman loves when people come visit the house. Only two came on July 4. There have not been many visitors since COVID. We are all waiting for normal to come back, but normal is an ethereal concept that changes with each passing instant. Normal is a conundrum. Normal has never changed because it is always changing. We have to adapt.

Truman’s best buddy is Sunny, a fourteen-year-old Labrador. Sunny cannot keep up with Truman, even though she tries. It’s sad to see her struggle to be a coequal playmate.

They love to swim together. Sunny taught Truman to be bold in the water. A few short years ago, Sunny would spend hours dropping a “sinking toy” into the pool and diving to the bottom to retrieve it. Floating toys bored her. Her cataracts are so bad now she can’t see the bottom anymore, besides her weak muscles and tired arthritic legs can’t propel her down. Now normal is that Sunny can only swim one small circle before she has to rest and catch her breath.

Normal for Truman used to be visiting the behavioral health hospital and being surrounded by new friends who rubbed his belly, and scratched his neck. How can he understand why he isn’t allow to do that anymore? Does he try to understand? How will he adapt when his buddy, Sunny trots over the rainbow bridge and leaves him to cope with the new normal that is left?

Truman will adapt. There is no waiting for the new normal. The new normal morphs as every second of time passes by.