Therapy Dogs Calendar Featuring Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog. To Benefit Sheboygan Cancer Care Fund.

One of the last projects I participated in with Frankie is the “Sophie and Friends” 2013 Therapy Dogs calendar.  Each month this calendar features a photo of a local (Sheboygan County, WI) therapy dog, also friend to Sophie the therapy dog who you see looking adoringly at a senior she loved to visit in the cover shot.  Lisa Lehmann, local photographer, donated her time and labor of love to capture all these special dogs.

I’m happy and honored to say that Frankie is the feature for February.  Rather fitting I think as she was my sweetheart, as well as a sweetie to many of her friends and fans.  If you are interested in this calendar which profits will benefit a local cancer care fund, I have a special offer for you.  I will stamp Frankie’s authentic paw print and sign her motto on the month she is featured in, which will make your calendar even more unique.  If you are interested please submit your order no later than November 30th.  All orders will ship on or around December 3rd.

Calendar is $15.00 plus $5.00 for shipping and you can order via paypal here (if you’d rather pay by check or credit card over phone contact me via email, barb (at) joyfulpaws (dot) com):

Both Sophie and Frankie were well known in our community for their inspirational work. Sophie did many fashion shows for seniors and she was quite the hit.  Sophie passed away in May from congestive heart failure, and as many of you know, Frankie passed from the same disease in June.  I have a feeling they are both in heaven being the perfect angel therapy dogs.

Who Says Dogs with IVDD Are Not Happy?

Joie gets along pretty fast as you can see by the video… despite having IVDD.  Dogs with IVDD amaze me!  Joie goes to a specialist who specializes in IVDD on November 8th.  I’m looking forward to taking her to Dr. Morgan.  Since I don’t have any prior records of her IVDD diagnoses I would just like Dr. Morgan’s thoughts on Joie’s status.  I’d also like to know if I should be doing some physical therapy for her and if I should do that prior to her starting to use a dog wheelchair.  She will use Frankie’s wheelchair, which John will adjust in length and height for her.  And I need to order her a license plate for it too, so best get on that pronto!

An Experiment in Less Stuff. The American Dream. Living Simply.

This cabinet used to be full of two sets of dishware, two sets of mixing bowls, glass bowls, bowls, bowls, bowls!!

So this past weekend I decided to de-clutter my kitchen. Ever since I read the book, You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too I’ve been re-thinking some things.  In this book Tammy Strobel, the author, and her husband Logan live in a tiny house.  And I’m talking tiny– it is only 128 square feet.  Now I’m not saying I could live in that tiny of a space, but it sure has got me thinking.

It’s not about living in that amount of space, but about many things. One of which is how we let our stuff control us. Getting hooked into believing we need all these material things. Often times thinking those material things fill us up when all they sometimes do is make us want more, more, more. This is after all the American dream, right?

When we were on vacation in Vermont we stayed in a 900 square foot cottage. Our home is 1,100 square feet on the first level, with 1,000 feet fixed up in the lower level. We have not used the lower level in years even though we have a lovely family room. We are content on the main floor. So while at the cottage, with limited dishware, etc. we noticed how we got along  just fine. I started to really then give thought to all the STUFF I have in my house, especially my kitchen. Did we really NEED all of it?

Well, I decided it would be fun to see what I could actually get rid of. I thought I would look at this as an experiment. It’s not like I can’t go out to a second hand store and buy something I thought we could live without but may find we can’t. But I have a feeling I won’t miss what I all got rid of. And wow, did I get rid of the stuff!  The back of my SUV was full and I mean full!  I clinked and clattered all the way to St. Vincent De Paul Sunday afternoon where I happily donated all of it. I really wish I had taken a photo of my car full of all this stuff, but I forgot. You’ll have to trust me when I say it was full. I felt like Sanford and Son driving down the road.

I got rid of dishes, glassware, pans, pots and silverware that I know without a doubt we have not used in ten years. It just took up space. But more importantly it took up energy. When I look in my cabinets now I see exactly what I have. No looking behind something, or digging to see if what I think is there, is there. It feels incredibly freeing!

What can we really live with and live without? It’s an experiment. Will be interesting to watch it unfold. But this isn’t something I find myself new to as it is something I started about ten years ago. Thinking about what I really need verses what I want and how that affects my choices and living simply. Next I’ll tackle my living room storage cabinet and craft room downstairs which is a mish-mosh of many things.

So what is the American dream? It is different for each of us. To me it is living more simply and having time to care for my new special needs dog, Joie. Time to write, time to walk the dogs, time to share my passion for IVDD dogs and get the word out, time to read, time to be with family and friends, date night and time with my husband, John.

What do you think of my experiment? Have you done something similar?