Happy Birthday Maya!

Today we are celebrating our dog, Maya’s, 10th birthday. She was named Maya after the Maya Indians of Mexico who were the first to make chocolate with the cacao bean and Maya is a chocolate lab.

When we brought her home in May of 2007 …

The early years…

 

 

 

 

 

 

All grown up…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The London years…

 

Her working years…

Her big sister years…

 

 

Happy Birthday to our beautiful girl Maya!

May we enjoy many more wonderful years together!

Everyday with you is a celebration!

 

 

The Blizzard of 2016

Mother Nature delivered on her promise. The Blizzard of 2016 started on the evening of Friday January 22nd and continued through Saturday January 23rd. Approximately 30 inches of snow blanketed our area of West Chester, PA.

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My husband and son did several passes of snow blowing and shoveling on Saturday.

On Sunday we woke up to a beautiful sunny day. We went to play in the snow.

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Trekking on unchartered territories!

Trekking on unchartered territories!

Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

Jessie, our puppy, discovering the joy of snow!

Jessie, our puppy, discovering the joy of snow!

Our seasoned snow expert, Maya, taking it all in!

Our seasoned snow expert, Maya, taking it all in!

Resting after playing in the snow.

Maya and Jessie resting after playing in the snow.

 

A Day in Maya’s Life

As I have shared with you before our chocolate lab, Maya, is certified as a therapy dog. What this means is that through the auspices of Therapy Dog International, TDI, we can offer our volunteer services to places like schools, hospices, and nursing homes. For the last two years Maya and I have been volunteering at a public school as part of a reading program for second graders. It has been found that having children read out loud to canine companions increases their self-confidence, interest in reading, and overall reading skills.

At the end of the school year the teacher invites us to a goodbye party.

At the end of the school year the teacher invites us to a goodbye party.

Maya and I attend the school once a week. Before leaving the house I tie a red service bandana on Maya that sends her into a frenzy of joy because she is anticipating where we are going. Once we arrive we check in at the office where Maya is greeted by the staff. We then walk down the hallway to our classroom with Maya prancing, tail high, and budding curiosity making her turn her head to peek into classrooms we pass along the way. I love to see teachers’ and children’s faces light up when they see Maya and often they stop to pet her. We quietly enter our classroom, wave hello, and make our way to our special reading spot. Although we try not to disrupt the class, we still hear little voices whispering “Hi Maya”. The children start arriving according to the schedule. Maya greets each child, sometimes a group of children, and settles down to story time. Although Maya is friendly with all of the children I have noticed in the two years that we have been volunteering that Maya has her absolute favorites. When these favorite children show up, Maya can barely contain her excitement. After the greetings the child and Maya snuggle up against each other and begin the reading. Once our task is done we try to leave quietly, but undoubtedly we hear the children’s goodbyes as we leave the classroom.

At the end of the school year the teacher holds a goodbye party for us. The children love this because they all get to be up close to Maya even the ones that did not participate in the reading program. Maya loves it because she gets attention from everyone including the teacher. This year the children wrote Maya thank you letters. One letter stood out in particular because the little girl handed it to me two weeks before the goodbye party and because I never expected this kind of feedback from this little girl. In many ways she appeared disinterested in Maya during our reading exercises. But after reading the letter, I think that Maya meant more to her than she let on. When I read this letter it confirms to me how special Maya is and how she is making a difference with these children.

A Thank You Letter for Maya

A Thank You Letter for Maya

Maya’s Toy Collection and the Philosophical Ramifications

Maya's Foyer Toy Collection

“Maya, put your toys away!”

We keep Maya’s toys neatly stored in a basket in the family room. But Maya always manages to bring her toys over to the foyer rug one at a time, until she has amassed a collection of toys proudly displayed in the foyer welcoming our guests and a few more scattered throughout the first floor. Pure mayhem! The foyer serves as a home base for Maya. We play a game of chasing her throughout the house, in which she always runs to the foyer, anticipates our arrival, protects a toy in her month, and relishes in our futile attempts of taking it away. We have trained Maya to do many things, but somehow we forgot how to teach her to pick up her toys. She is 7 years old now, not what I would consider an old dog, so I suppose I can still teach her a new trick. What would that sound like?  “Maya, bring your toys to the basket!” “Maya, clean your room!” or “Maya, put your toys away!”. And of course, unlike human children who would probably answer back with some excuse or beg to do it later, Maya would just look at me with her beautiful brown eyes and wag her tail happily. And since her happiness is so infectious, I would probably just say, “oh who cares about the booby-trapped foyer rug, Maya you are way too cute, let’s go play.” Reminding me to have a little fun and to cherish our time together, even if it means tripping over toys.

 

 

Maya & the Ginkgo Tree, Part II

Maya Awaits Winter

Maya Awaits Winter

Maya waited

With patience and hope

For winter to come

With all of its snow.

She sat on the hill

On top of the leaves

That’d fallen from Gingko

Awaiting the freeze.

The Snowflakes Arrive!

The Snowflakes Arrive!

And suddenly like magic

The snowflakes came down

On Maya they landed

And on leaves on the ground

Maya rejoiced

For winter was here

She frolicked in snow

She ran far and near

Maya Frolicking In the Snow!

Maya Frolicking In the Snow!

Reminding me

Of what really counts

To play and have fun

When winter abounds

The solstice arrived

A change it now brings

The days now get longer

While Maya plans spring.

Maya & The Ginkgo Tree

Maya Under Her Gingko Tree

Maya Under Her Ginkgo Tree

Once upon a time

There was a Ginkgo tree

With fan-shaped leaves

So delicate and green

Then summer ended

Crisp autumn arrived

The Ginkgo turned gold

Its leaves bright and alive

It was one fine day

When Maya stood near

Enjoying the view

And the time of the year

Then without warning

The gold leaves fell down

Descending on Maya

Ginkgo losing its crown

Maya pondered

Deeply in thought

Sir Newton was right

About what he taught

Maya Deep in Thought on the Pond of Leaves

Maya Deep in Thought on the Pond of Leaves

She sat in the pond

Of crispy gold leaves

Counting the days

To snow and the freeze

Because Maya is happy

No matter the time

The weather, the month

To her it’s sublime