Mother’s Day Visit 2019

I was tempted not to visit our usual suspects on Mother’s Day this year. In fact, Skyy and I did not go to the VA. There was something nagging me about “calling off” at ManorCare. I just could not do it. I explained this to my wife and at 12:30, Skyy and I headed out to visit. Luckily, Kellee and our daughter went out to eat for lunch, which freed up some time for our visit.

Our visit was pretty much routine. Skyy was greeting all of the residents with wagging tail and laughing mouth as is usual.


When we made it down to one part of the building where we heard a woman shouting. I could not make out exactly what she was hollering about, but it seemed, as if she was upset. I had seen this type of behavior before. It normally stems from the ailment a person has. I do not know what infliction the woman shouting had, in fact, I do not know anyone’s diagnosis ever. I do not ask, because it is none of my business. My business there is to spread love and joy through a 43-pound ball of fur.

I was able to tell we were getting closer to the room with the shouting woman because the noise was growing louder. As we progressed room by room, it was certainly apparent that we were getting near. When we finally arrived at the room, our escort said that perhaps we should skip this room as she seemed agitated. At that very moment, God said to me, “ Dan, you need to go see this woman. She can use a bit of Skyy’s talents.” I informed our escort that I would like to try to visit her. We proceeded into the room.

The room was dark and lit by a nice table lamp that gave off a yellowish homey glow. The resident was sitting up in her bed. She stopped yelling when we entered. I inquired if the woman would like to see Skyy today. At first, she looked at me bewildered. I could see her trying to comprehend who I was. Since she did not recognize me, she looked down to see Skyy sitting at my feet. I again inquired if she would like to see Skyy today. She slowly nodded her head in agreement.

I walked Skyy aound her bed and told him to sit. He obeyed as he always does, gazing at the woman with a giant welcoming smile on his face.


She just stared at him sitting there. After a moment I asked her if she would like to pet him. Silently she reached out and started to stroke his head. She started to smile. She treid to lean over and give him a kiss, I asked her if she would like it if Skyy would jump into bed with her. She said yes. I told Skyy to jump up, which he did and he immediately went into a sit position right next to the woman.

At this moment, she began to weep. She kept saying how beautiful Skyy was all the while she was petting him and hugging him. Skyy just sat there enjoying the attention.  After a few minutes, Skyy could sense that she was done, and he jumped down. By this time, the woman had an enormous grin on her face to match Skyy’s.

Before we left her room, I knew that God wanted me to make an impression to last some time with this woman. Now, back in the day, patients in hospitals would have their charts hanging at the foot of the bed. The doctors would walk into the room stand at the foot of the bed, read the chart, and speak with the patients. Knowing this, I have trained Skyy to put his front paws up on the footboard of resident’s beds with the command of “play doctor”.

I told the woman that not only his he good looking, but he is smart too.

“In fact”, I said, “He thinks he is a doctor!”

I gave Skyy the command of play doctor and he instantly placed his front paws on her footboard and laughingly looked at her. Our resident started to heartily laugh.

She said, “He really does think he’s a doctor, doesn’t he?”

I said yes and promised to see her again soon and we exited the room.

We were in ear shot of that room for the next 15 minutes, and during that entire time, I did not hear a peep from the woman. Driving on my way home is when I was able to piece this all together. God had a plan for Skyy and I on Mother’s Day and it surrounded one resident on this special day. He did not want this mother to be upset so He sent Skyy and I.

I am blessed to have such a cool dog who is willing to do God’s bidding without question. I need to be more like that.

The pampering Skyy earned

Over the weekend, my wife and I ventured into the Allegheny Mountains to the Omni Bedford Springs Resort. I learned that the resort was dog-friendly. Since Skyy and I have been visiting folks in the VA and ManorCare for just over a year, I felt that a trip away from Syrah and home would be a perfect anniversary gift for the good boy.

We headed out on a perfect day for late March in the mountains. Upon arrival at the resort, the sun was out, and the temperature was around 65 degrees. We exited the car, handed the keys to the valet and stepped into the lobby with Skyy charging forward leading the way. Since Skyy automatically assumes that everyone wants to show him affection, he did his best to woo all people around him as we were taking care of the check-in registration.

The resort had a special section reserved for dog owners with quick access to an outdoor area. The rooms were spectacularly clean! Once we had unpacked, we decided to head out and explore the grounds.

The rules were simple for us. Skyy is able to go anywhere in the resort except for restaurants. We headed out to explore the pet area and then walked along a path parallel to the resort. We walked inside the resort and found where the restaurants are located and then headed back outside to explore.

We discovered there are many hiking and biking trails through the forested mountains surrounding the resort. We decided to start following the paths to get some photos. The following are some of the cute (and funny) pictures we were able to capture.

We then headed back to the resort and sat down by the fire pit, which by that time had a nice bonfire going. At this point, my wife and I were relaxing when people started to approach us and asked to pet Skyy. The social butterfly loved every second of the attention that he was getting. Of course, I had a tennis ball handy, and kids and adults alike were throwing the ball for Skyy and giving him commands to do tricks.

It is incredible to me how much easier it is for people to introduce themselves with the aid of a furry companion. We were able to meet some nice people from several states, all of which we may not have met had it not been for Skyy.

All of the staff at the resort were very accommodating to Skyy and to us.  We had a wonderful, restful day in near 70-degree temperatures and then drove home in the snow! Ahhh…Pennsylvania weather in the spring!


Focus on What Matters (and try not to get wet)

Having a focus on what matters the most to you is key to being successful in life. For Skyy, the tennis ball is what matters most. The tennis ball signifies the essences of what make Skyy tick. To him, nothing else is as important as the fuzzy green ball.

A funny thing happened over the weekend. Kellee and I had taken Skyy and Syrah out to North Park to get some exercise. Since Skyy is afraid of other dogs, Kellee took him for a walk around the park trails while I managed to keep Syrah entertained in the off leash dog park. Kellee found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time two separate times during this walk.

The first event happened as Kellee and Skyy approached the water. Skyy loves to swim and the water is roughly 45 degrees at this time of the year. He noted the water and hinted that he would like to take a swim. Kellee kept moving trying to refocus his attention on anything else. Then it happened. Skyy noticed the flock of ducks bathing in the water. He lept off towards those ducks with a ferocity that had Kellee desperately trying to keep up as Skyy dragged her closer and closer to the water. Skyy reached the water and the ducks went flying everywhere! At the last split second, Kellee was able to regain control of her own footing and get Skyy out of the water before she joined him.

At this point, I imagine that Kellee was thinking of many choice words for our beloved Skyy. Not five minutes later, Kellee and Skyy happened upon the tennis courts. There were roughly a half dozen tennis matches being played at this time. To Skyy, a moving tennis ball is something that MUST be controlled and grabbed. Off goes Skyy again with Kellee in tow! I can only imagine what would have happened if Kellee lost a hold of the leash at this point.

After a few tenuous moments Kellee had come back to the off leash dog park with Skyy. Skyy had a look on his face that looked like he just saw paradise! Kellee had a look on her face that could melt steel. As soon as I was in listening range, a tirade of expletives filled the air with a mixture of the two stories I just related here. It did not seem to be the best time for me to laugh, but I wanted to.

That evening as we sat on the couch to relax, Skyy brought me a tennis ball. He places the ball on my lap and then looks expectantly at me until I toss the ball. I have timed his staring contest on separate occasions. The longest time running so far is two hours! I did not feel like tossing the ball to him and I felt that he should not be such a victim of his innermost desires, so I took the ball and placed it on the banister over my left shoulder. The following .17 second video is an example of what happened for the next half hour until we went to bed…

The next morning I let the dogs out to do their business and when I let them back in, he was right back at it.

I finally gave him the ball, but I do not think that he learned a lesson. Since someone needs to learn a lesson over this situation, it may has well be me. The lesson is: If you focus on what matters most to you in life, you will somehow achieve it. (even if it means staring at it for hours)




Something’s on the roof!


Skyy and I want to wish everyone a pleasant and safe holiday season! We had shared the true joy of companionship over the last year with all of our buddies at the VA in Aspinwall as well as HCR ManorCare in the North Hills.  We love you all and look forward to seeing you in 2019.

Now…what was that I heard on the roof????



Christmas Greetings


Our prayer for our friends during the Christmas season:

May you be blessed…
With the spirit of the season, which is peace,
The gladness of the season, which is hope,
And the heart of the season, which is love.

Thank you for allowing us to visit you over the past year and we anticipate joyful meetings again next year!

Dan, Kellee and Skyy (Syrah wanted to be part of it as well)


Muddy boy

So what happens when your border collie has to run and exercise but it has been snowing and raining the past 2 days?

We are going to get a bath at Larry’s Laundromutt in Sewickley before we go home!

By the way, Skyy is in his glory right now! He loves being muddy!

Skyy Drawing by Lily

Earlier this week when we visited the Bethel Park School District, one special student named Lily drew a pic of Skyy in less than 1/2 hour while we were presenting to the class! I asked if I could share it with all of our readers.

Skyy and I think this is amazing! Lily has some real talent. Skyy and I both send our very best wishes for her and what seems could be a very talented future!

Nice work Lily!