I need to start off this blog post with a few words about my favorite pal and guy-dog, Rudy the Sailing Wiener Dog. The words are: “Stubborn, Attitude and Elvis”. The first two may be self-evident, but we call Rudy “Elvis” on those frequent occasions when he shows us that he knows he is superior to us and expects us to cater to his every desire. One of these occasions occurred the other day while on a walk. We wanted to go one way, Rudy wanted to go in the opposite direction. So he went into what we fondly call “The Four Foot Plant”… and what’s with that “look”???
I have to give equal time to our Little Princess Gretchen, seen here napping on dog-dad’s tee shirt. She is a very sweet girl, always loving and full of kisses, but only has one expression, “Adorable”, unlike her brother Rudy…
During our events at Unity Village, we stayed at a Jackson County campground in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. This sunrise over Longview Lake near our campground brought a beautiful start to the day.
Suzanne’s W-Holy You! event was a great experience for all 185 attendees, and included folks who came from as far away as Australia and Canada. It started on Thursday and ended on Sunday. Unity Village did a great job for us!
There were various exercises and presentations that brought attendees to tears, but I will not spoil My Lovely Bride’s next event by describing them here. Just let me assure you that everyone had a fabulous experience.
During breaks, attendees at W-Holy You! could walk the beautiful grounds of Unity Village and enjoy the Tower, fountains and nature trails. Suzanne is already looking forward to her next event here.
During our last week at Unity Village, trees started blooming… here is one of the prettiest trees we have seen – the Bradford pear tree (Pyrus calleryana). But it has a sinister side… This species was introduced by the US Department of Agriculture as a landscape tree in the 1960s (another cute, but ill-thought out government program) – suburban landscapers initially loved these trees because they flower quickly and beautifully, but the fruit of this invasive species from Asia is inedible and the seeds mildly poisonous. These nuisance trees choke out other trees (especially in the South) as does kudzu (Pueraria montana), another Asian invasive species, nicknamed “the vine that ate the South”. Kudzu was also introduced by the federal government, ostensibly to control soil erosion in Pennsylvania (I am starting to see a pattern here). Bradford pear trees are also prone to splitting apart at relatively young ages and crashing down on people, cars, fences, etc. Most agricultural extension agents recommend against using Bradford pear trees for anything but firewood – it actually burns as well or better than cherry, and you won’t get in trouble for chopping down a Bradford pear tree like our first president did with a cherry tree.
Finally, I would like to showcase an amazing animal shelter south of Kansas City, Kansas. I was walking back from one of Suzanne’s presentations and happened to speak to one of the attendees, Laurie Savoie, who mentioned that a friend had an animal shelter about 45 miles away. So after W-Holy You!, Suzanne, Rudy, Gretchen and I took a day trip… Always and Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary was started by Jen Dulski, a lawyer by day and recreational athlete in her spare time, when she’s not saving neglected older dogs. We knew that she had converted a barn to a shelter, and were expecting to see a couple of dozen kennels for the residents… imagine our surprise and delight when we saw this… it looked like a coffee shop from the 60s!!! Mismatched couches and dog beds where older dogs (many abandoned by their owners!) could live out their days in comfort and with love from Jen, Laurie, and a group of Angel Volunteers…
Here is Laurie introducing me to some of the wonderful dogs that Jen is saving. Many have been turned in to “kill shelters” (that sounds rather dreadful!) by their owners who don’t want to (or can’t) pay for their care in their older years. (I have a bit of a problem with that concept. Imagine casting off your kids or parents at that point… okay, some people do, but your dogs are helpless, don’t have 401k’s or Social Security). In any case, Jen, Laurie and the volunteers at Always and Furever epitomize the love and compassion that we humans are supposed to be known for!
So, here are Laurie, Jen and Suzanne with one of the shelter’s residents. And, oh by the way, when one of their dogs is ready to pass, Jen or a volunteer holds them during their last hours in this existence. I cannot imagine any more loving gesture than that. We were so touched by Jen, Laurie, and the volunteers at Always and Furever that we made a donation in our daughter Susan’s name – she loved animals, especially dogs that were abused or unloved. We ask that when you have a few moments, please look at the shelter’s web site https://alwaysandfurever.love/our-history/, and if it speaks to you, please consider a generous donation. The shelter needs $2,500.00 a week just to stay afloat. Thank you…