The National Day Calendar dedicates September 1st to Forgiveness.
They say that they're "dedicating" this day
"as a day to embrace healing, understanding,
and unity by encouraging forgiveness and fostering empathy."
"National Forgiveness Day traces its roots back to the universal human need for healing and forgiveness."
The National Day Calendar is "using today’s National Day to remind people about the transformative power of forgiveness. It’s time to let go of grudges and embrace a path of unity and understanding."
They list "5 Facts About Forgiveness"
When I think about the times that I've forgiven someone or have been forgiven for something I did to someone else, I always felt good after the forgiveness took place. I remember when I was growing up my parents always told us to say we were sorry for something we had done to hurt one of our siblings feelings. It was a very hard thing to do, but once the act of asking for their forgiveness took place I felt a sense of peace and freedom. We went back to having fun with one another.
Let's face it...we've all been intentionally hurt by someone in our lives. Or maybe we're the one's doing the hurting. We're human, after all! It takes a lot to forgive someone who has hurt us. And even more importantly, it takes more courage to admit when we've intentionally hurt someone. Asking for someone's forgiveness takes strength and bravery. By far the hardest person to forgive is yourself.
When I looked up the "Key to Forgiveness" my Google search led me to this:
"Forgiveness includes acknowledging that you are hurt, accepting the pain as your own, and being honest with yourself about the effect it's had on you. Forgiveness happens by being honest about what it was like for you to be betrayed, lied to, offended, mistreated, and abused."* There are many negative consequences of not forgiving too. They've been "documented in studies that show that it can lead to emotional pain of anger, hate, hurt, resentment, bitterness and so on and as a consequence can create health issues, affect relationships and stop us from experiencing the freedom that forgiveness enables."*
As I contemplate on the word "Forgiveness" I'm keenly aware of the times I've failed to forgive when I should have. I'm also aware of the times when I've forgiven as well. Very often I've written in Dagger DogVinci/Barney Dagger's message of the day that trying is so important. I think that being aware of forgiveness is a starting place. Perhaps "National Forgiveness Day" on September 1st is a New beginning of reflecting "on personal relationships by using today to reflect on our own relationships, of practicing self-forgiveness and taking time to forgive ourselves for past mistakes or regrets, by engaging in acts of kindness and compassion throughout the day. and by practicing mindfulness and meditation to reflect on the importance of forgiveness."
I'm gonna try. Are You?
Before you begin...
Most importantly...Remember to be good to yourself!
Happy tales to you!
I wish to thank the National Day Calendar for all they do to keep us informed by making everyday a celebration! ~Yvonne
SummerTime And the living can be easy...
As I sit in the courtyard of our backyard writing my blog for the month of August with Barney sitting close by under the shade of the umbrella, I can't help but think about how I yearn for days like this...a 10 on a scale of 1-10 in my opinion. Blue skies, low humidity and not too hot! I yearn for the summer months during the dead of the winter here in New York. It makes me chuckle to think that I will complain on the hottest of days, which we experienced last week with temps hitting close to triple digit numbers, yet I'll wait all winter long to feel the warmth of the sun in the summer months and complain that it's too hot!
Am I ever happy!?
I'm not alone.
I've talked to many people who feel exactly the same way I do.
So, what is it that makes us happy? I think that if we really contemplate on what it is that makes us truly happy we will see that it's the things that aren't expensive, to me, they are
the simple joys of life such as, taking a walk on the beach, playing with or going for a walk with your dog, bird watching, creating a work of art, watching the sun rise or set.
I could go on and on.
My husband, Denis, loves to surf. He says that as he's sitting on his surfboard waiting for the perfect wave he can feel the strength and power of the ocean. He watches the sun rise and takes this time to meditate and pray.
For me, the summer months have always been a time of reflection and growth. I may not be a surfer like Denis, but I've taken the time in the summer to meditate by sitting in my backyard by the pool listening to the birds and enjoying the beauty of the flowers. Even the puffy white clouds against the azure blue sky portray various images to me. It's beautiful! I read and crochet too while sitting in my backyard. I love it! So does Barney!
There are many ways to take advantage of the Summer Time. Here are some of the ways I've been able to reflect and grow:
Whatever you do...
Enjoy every minute.
take some time to Relax and Rejuvenate.
The Summer Time is great for that!
Happy Tales to you,
A Diamond in the Ruff
You've probably heard of the phrase a "Diamond in the Rough."
It's a reminder that diamonds, while beautiful gemstones, aren't quite that way in the beginning of their formation deep under the earth's surface in extreme heat and pressure.
As I reflect on this phrase, I can't help but think of our new rescue Barney. To me, he's our little four legged, furry "Diamond in the Ruff."
Barney's loving, gentle, and caring temperament is innate in him. He was born that way. Deep down inside Barney is a loving gentle soul. But, Barney's a scared little boy. There are days when I wonder if he thinks that this is REALLY his forever loving home. Denis and I try so hard to make him know that he's home now and he's okay. But, he cowers down so much to the rustling of a plastic bag, my keys, and so many other things. When we put his food down on his tray (which was Dagger's tray) he waits outside of the kitchen until we tell him it's ok to eat. I've never had a dog do that before! But, that's our Little Barney!
Every Saturday for the past 6 weeks we've been going to training classes. When asked what I expected out of the classes I simply said, "I'd like Barney to gain confidence in everything he does." Barney is doing splendidly in class. I think he's going to make a wonderful Therapy Dog one day. His loving, caring and so willing to please attitude is a pleasure to witness. AND He loves to work!! It makes him feel successful. Just like Dagger, but who's comparing...LOL...
Barney's my little four legged, furry "Diamond in the Ruff."
In a way, we are all like" diamonds in the rough." We are constantly striving to be the best version of ourselves. We all have what we need. We just have to recognize that deep inside is our true self just waiting to share goodness with the world.
As a "Diamond in the Rough" myself, I have so much more to learn and discover. Everyday I feel that I'm being formed into the "who" I'm meant to be. When I looked up how a diamond is formed, my Google Search sent me to this quote, "A diamond's journey is filled with diligence and perseverance. From mining details to making the final cut, the entire journey takes billions of years. The mesmerizing diamond story is a product of hard work, patience, and endurance."
Our lives are filled with "hard work, patience, and endurance." Sometimes it's difficult to deal with the difficulties and hard work we encounter in our daily lives. It's only when we acknowledge that we have the means deep inside of ourselves to become a beautiful diamond that we will discover a diamond mine just waiting to be brought to the surface, cultivated and shared with the world,
Barney's Journey continues with diligence and perseverance!
Everything that's worth the wait... is worth the wait!
Even with all of the hard work, patience, and endurance...
it's still Worth the Wait!
After all, if it takes billions of years for a beautiful diamond to make the final cut,
We too can persevere no matter what life throws our way
and become a beautiful "diamond" too!!
What a beautiful "diamond" formation that will be!!
Have a happy, blessed, and safe Fourth of July!!
Happy tales to you,
Barney's Journey Continues...
I had never been to Vermont before.
A dear friend of mine asked me one day if I had ever been to
Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Not only had I never traveled
to Vermont before, but Dog Mountain?
I quickly Googled up "Dog Mountain"
to find that it was a place
to good to be true!!
The web site says that "Dog Mountain is set on 150 acres on a mountain top location in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The grounds are always open to people and their dogs. This unspoiled haven is covered with hiking trails and dog ponds. Dogs are not just welcome here, they are cherished!" That was so inviting to me. A place that you can take your dog to run free. Amazing...Simply amazing!
But, the "greatest thing since sliced bread" to me was when I learned that on the grounds situated on the top of a hill is a chapel. Now, this chapel is unlike any other chapel I had ever been to. Built by hand, by artist Stephen Huneck, it's a chapel that Stephen considered his "greatest and most personal artistic contribution. In 2000, the Dog Chapel was introduced to the world as a symbol of peace, love, and remembrance. In the more than 20 years since, it has been transformed into a living piece of communal art and history, ever-evolving with each new note and photo pinned to the overflowing walls. The Chapel has become a unique and moving physical embodiment of the unending love people have to give." The most unique and remarkable part of the Dog Chapel on Dog Mountain are the many dogs that are a part of the chapel. There are dogs in the stained glass windows, the pews have dogs intricately carved out of wood. There's even a dog weather vane on the steeple of the Chapel.
Stephen and his wife, Gwendolyn had a mission and a vision...After Stephen passed away his wife Gwendolyn wrote this touching love letter which appears on the Dog Mountain website. It reads:
"Stephen first wrote The Dog Chapel Mission Statement in 1997, when the Dog Chapel was merely an inspiration in his mind's eye. In 2000, against all odds, Stephen’s dream came true. In 2000, he revised his mission statement and explained what had inspired him to conceive and eventually build The Dog Chapel. Stephen often said, “Dream Without Limits,” and dream he did. The Dog Chapel’s walls are now covered with thousands upon thousands of Remembrances of Dogs Loved and Lost. It is a tremendously moving sight.
I believe Stephen accomplished what he set out to do with flying colors! He wanted to help us honor animals as the feeling, spiritual beings they are and to also help us all find closure and healing. The Dog Chapel is a tranquil, sacred space to meditate with your dog as well.
WELCOME ALL CREEDS, ALL BREEDS, NO DOGMAS ALLOWED!
Let’s not forget Stephen’s other dream for Dog Mountain. That it be a place where hundreds of dogs and people could find Joy, Love, and Friendship by hiking the miles of trails, enjoying the swimming pond for dogs and the breathtaking views. He wanted everyone to take a break and allow themselves to be silly, playful and childlike (of course that comes naturally to dogs and children!).
Smell the flowers! Breathe the air! Listen to the songbirds. It is splendid to be out in Nature on our own little piece of heaven.
IN STEPHEN’S HONOR AND MEMORY, AND WITH YOUR HELP, I PLEDGE TO KEEP THE DOG CHAPEL AND DOG MOUNTAIN OPEN AND FREE FOR ALL TO ENJOY, ESPECIALLY DOGS, FOREVER.
With love and gratitude, Gwendolyn Huneck
Invited by the producers of the PBS Show that Dagger was featured on
("Shelter Me- The Art of Kindness"), Denis, Barney and I journeyed up to Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, this past Memorial Day Weekend. In one word, it was "AMAZING." It's a little bit of heaven right here on earth. Sacred, peaceful and joyful. Driving up the dirt road to the mountain, we began to see dogs frolicking freely all over the place. There was laughing and crying all at the same time going on. Because, you see, the Dog Chapel is where folks leave photos. drawings, tributes and notes to the dogs and pets that have passed. Some people, we've since learned. scatter their beloved's ashes on the grounds where they once frolicked for years. That's the only sad part of Dog Mountain. But people can cry there and never feel judged or shame for feeling so deeply grief stricken by the loss of their pet.
Before we entered Dog Chapel, I thought I would weep like a baby, but instead a peace and warmth enveloped me. Perhaps seeing all of the dogs running and having fun when we first arrived helped my grief. As we gazed at all of the layers and layers of photos and notes left by people, Denis and I thought about all of the lives scotch taped and pinned to the walls of Dog Chapel. Each had a history, a family, a life filled with love. There was love that permeated those walls. It was truly breathtaking. An awesome moment, for sure!. When the time came that we had to leave our tribute to Dagger DogVinci, it was a bit painful, I must admit. We left one of Dagger's red berets, photos of him, a sketch I created of him and 2 notes...one from Denis the other from me. Reflecting on Dagger's life at Dog Chapel was in a sense healing for us. Nothing will ever take away the grief that we still feel after losing him, but the grief was eased by this act of leaving a part of how special he was to us and meeting other "like" minded people who shared the same feelings as we do. Some people say that "Dog Mountain is the happiest place to be sad."
Barney was such a good boy on the trip. He's a wonderful travel buddy to Denis and I. He LOVED Dog Mountain especially playing with the dogs that worked there. He became fast friends with Honey and Maggie Mae pet dogs to Creative Director Amanda McDermott and Pam the wonderful Greeter.
Dog Mountain is a very special place.
I encourage you to go and experience it for yourselves.
It's truly a slice of heaven on earth.
Barney will be featured in the show that was filmed at Dog Mountain.
The PBS producers of the show "Shelter Me,"
Steven Latham and Conrad Stanley,
are hopeful that it will be premiering this fall.
As Barney Dagger's Journey continues!!
Happy Tales to you,
Grateful and Blessed
Timid and shy, Barney, entered our lives.
We needed him and he needed us!
Being the curious person that I am...I was interested to learn as much of a back story about Barney as I possibly could. Of course, before he was found scrounging and wandering the streets of Georgia, his story is not known. Only Barney knows that story and without a voice we can only assume what happened to him and why. What we do know is that he may have been harshly treated which is why he cowers down when he sees a newspaper and many other objects. That makes me feel sad and angry, too! So, from the streets of Calhoun, Georgia he started his journey to becoming a New Yorker! We are happy for us! In the next paragraphs I will attempt to tell his story from the time he was picked up until he arrived to his forever loving home with us!!
Barney's story goes back to Haralson County Shelter in Georgia. Their Facebook page describes them in this way... "Our Shelter is run by Haralson County Animal Control. Most of the animals in our care are picked up as strays by the Animal Control Officers who respond to citizen calls. We use this" (Facebook) "page to let the community know what animals are in the shelter, either looking for their owner, or looking for a new family." I have since learned that the Haralson County Animal Control keeps the strays for approximately 3 days during which they are either picked up by their owners or another shelter pulls them out. It just so happened that no-one came to reclaim Barney. And so Barney's fate was that he would be euthanized if someone didn't take him. The shelter then reached out to other shelters to see if they would be interested in him. Down in the Southeast and Southwest of the USA, dogs run the streets and are abandoned, dumped and destroyed all of the time. It's such a shame. When a Foster Shelter named "Paw Angels" in Calhoun, Georgia learned about Barney, they took him into their care. I was told that Barney spent about a week there. Paw Angels is a 501(c)(3) foster based shelter. From there, Barney was taken to live with a wonderful woman named Chris McCormick. Chris fosters rescues and sends them to a shelter called Forgotten Friends of Long Island (FFLI). Chris McCormick was the kind intermediary that took Barney and cared for him from August 2022 until his arrival in New York on April 15th, 2023. Barney became part of her family "pack" of dogs. She grew to love Barney. At the time Barney's name was Patriot or Pate (I was told that the shelter that picks up the strays usually names the dogs they take in. In Barney's case the Haralson County Animal Shelter most likely named him). As time went on Barney grew closer and closer to Chris and her pet dogs. But, Chris knew that Barney was being reserved for Forgotten Friends so, she opened her heart again and helped make arrangements to have Barney aka Patriot/Pate transported to a truck stop in New Jersey where Barney would meet Beth Marzo the President of FFLI and Lynda Lack the Vice President of FFLI. Before Barney was transported, Beth asked Denis and I if we would foster Barney for FFLI with the hopes of adopting him. We agreed to foster Barney. At first I thought maybe I wasn't ready for another dog. I was still so sad about Dagger's passing. But, Beth needed us to help her out with Barney. Chris made arrangements to have Barney groomed. He got a bath and was a complete sweetheart throughout the whole process. Chris was sad the day she had to say goodbye to Barney. She cried as she loaded him into the crate on the transporter. The transporters that travel up to the Northeast of the USA are loaded with crates piled on top of one another with dogs in each one. The dogs are scared and unsure of where they are going. Barking, crying and whining, the dogs travel for hours from one truck stop to another. Barney was on the transporter which left from Georgia at 6AM EDT Friday until Saturday at 3PM EDT.
Forgotten Friends of Long Island (FFLI) is a wonderful small animal rescue and rehabilitation center. They are near and dear to our hearts. Located right here on Long Island, New York, Dagger was a devoted Fundraiser for them and even had his first ever Painting Demonstration at their event in November of 2015. With over 100 eager attendees painting at their own workstations, they watched in amazement as a dog painted for them. The event was a huge success. In Dagger's Honor and Legacy, Barney will continue Fundraising for this fabulous Rescue and Rehabilitation Shelter, Forgotten Friends of Long Island.
Currently, Barney is getting and giving a lot of TLC. He is very smart and eager to please. Like Dagger, he loves to work. I know Barney feels as successful while working as Dagger did. Barney is just like Dagger in that respect. Currently, he's learning his name and some very basic commands. We are going slowly with Barney since he does get scared at times because we feel he was treated harshly by his previous owners.
Barney is a special boy.
I just know that Barney's journey will be an exciting adventure!! We plan to take him on a road trip
to Dog Mountain, Vermont at the end of May.
We are looking forward to enjoying our first road trip with him.
It should be a real HOWL of a trip!!
...To Be Continued...
Happy Tales to you!
To all of the Mom's, Grandma's human and furry...
Happy Mother's Day!!
a wonderful talented lady
In closing, I asked Ronnie what message she would like to convey
to all of Dagger's fans and family.
She said so eloquently that,
"God gives every human being talent. Whether that talent is in music, crafts, painting, writing, teaching and on and on.
The key is to NEVER EVER GIVE UP.
To always look for something better!
Continuing, she said,
"We are like sponges soaking up all that we can.
I always look at the glass half full.
I can pick up my knitting needles and feel good about myself.
It's important to be grateful...always."
Let me know what it is.
Write to me. I'd love to hear about it!!
Happy Tales to you,
AND To all who celebrate...
Happy Easter and Happy Passover!
Looking back on my life with Dagger, he did just that. He was this little four long-legged fur baby that didn't even know how super special he was. Making people happy and content was all,
I believe, he ever wanted in life.
And in return all he wanted were treats, belly rubs,
and to feel successful.
I leave you with this message...
You may see some signs from the people and animals who've made your world a better place.
They are the angels and saints in your life.
Tell me about them in the comments below.
I'd love to hear your stories.
You are all so very special to me. I hold your love, your concern, your prayers and your thoughts about me
and my family in my heart forever.
joy, kindness, and love.
Ragan, Lyn: "Signs From Pets In The Afterlife," page 87
Here are a few suggestions to help you cope:
- Acknowledge your grief and give yourself permission to express it.
- Don't hesitate to reach out to others who can lend a sympathetic ear. Do a little research online and you'll find hundreds of resources and support groups that may be helpful to you.
- Write about your feelings, either in a journal or a poem, essay, or short story.
- Call your veterinarian or local humane society to see whether they offer a pet-loss support group or hotline, or can refer you to one.
- Prepare a memorial for your pet.
The loss of a pet may be a child's first experience with death. The child may blame themself, their parents, or the veterinarian for not saving the pet. And they may feel guilty, depressed, and frightened that others they love may be taken from them.
Trying to protect your child by saying the pet ran away could cause your child to expect the pet's return and feel betrayed after discovering the truth. Expressing your own grief may reassure your child that sadness is ok and help them work through their feelings.
Coping with the loss of a pet can be particularly hard for seniors. Those who live alone may feel a loss of purpose and an immense emptiness. A pet's death may also trigger painful memories of other losses and remind caregivers of their own mortality. What's more, the decision to get another pet is complicated by the possibility that the pet may outlive the caregiver and that the decision to get another pet hinges on the person's physical and financial ability to care for a new pet.
For all these reasons, it's critical that senior pet owners take immediate steps to cope with their loss and regain a sense of purpose.
If you are a senior, try interacting with friends and family, calling a pet-loss support hotline, even volunteering at a local humane society.
Surviving pets may whimper, refuse to eat or drink, and suffer lethargy, especially if they had a close bond with the deceased pet. Even if they were not the best of friends, the changing circumstances and your emotional state may distress them. (However, if your remaining pets continue to act out of sorts, there could actually be a medical problem that requires your veterinarian's attention.)
Give surviving pets lots of TLC and try to maintain a normal routine. It's good for them and for you.
Getting another pet
Rushing into this decision isn't fair to you or your new pet. Each animal has their own unique personality and a new animal cannot replace the one you lost. You'll know when the time is right to adopt a new pet after giving yourself time to grieve, considering whether you're ready, and paying close attention to your feelings.
When you're ready, remember that your local animal shelter or rescue is a great place to find your next special friend."
I've also felt the love and kindness that has been expressed to us by so many people. It's been incredible....to say the least! The outpouring of love, sympathy and condolences has helped in so many ways with our grief. We received phone calls from people from all over the world, articles written about Dagger and his incredible life, an ABC 7 Eyewitness News Segment hosted by Brittany Bell about Dagger's passing, cards, flowers from so many people including a gorgeous arrangement of white roses from Rachael Ray, plants, cookies, a photo album filled with pictures of Dagger from the time he was born until now, plaques, ornaments, sun catchers, a blanket filled with photos of Dagger's life. a wind chime...and so much more.
We are so very grateful to everyone for everything!!!
Each was a expression of the love they all have for Dagger.
And each meant the world to us!
Someone once said that when we love our pets, we open our hearts to a life full of joy and when we have to say good bye we welcome them into our hearts to live there forever.
"The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.”
But, I do know one thing's for sure..
Dagger's message of Kindness, Hope and Love
will live on in me and through me.
Dagger and I always lived life organically. We treated it with the saying, "whatever happens, if it's for the good of others, let's take a chance,
try our best, and make it happen."
I'm planning to do just that!
our Words Count
"There's an old joke that says,
'It took me two years to learn how to talk
and the rest of my life learning when to shut up.'
written by Don Miguel Ruiz.
The Four Agreements are:
1. "Be Impeccable with Your Word"
2. "Don't Take Anything Personally"
3. "Don't Make Assumptions"
4. "Always Do Your Best"
"Be Impeccable With Your Word.". When Ruiz speaks of being "Impeccable With Your Word" he concentrates on what we say and how our words can impact the outcome of any situation. Ruiz says that "It sounds simple, but it is very, very powerful...Why your word? Your word is the power that you have to create." He goes on to say that, "Your word is the gift that comes directly from God. The Gospel of John in the Bible, speaking of the creation of the universe, says, 'In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word is God." (25-26) When I read that I was curious to learn more about how we can use our words in a way that helps rather than hinders..
It's not easy. I know. But, it is possible,
I'm going to try.
Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year!
Happy tales to you,
Excerpts taken from:
The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz
"The Dog that paints from his heart"
Written by Yvonne Dagger
Illustrated by Olivia Menghini
Umm...On second thought...maybe, just maybe I can.
When Dagger does his painting demonstrations and workshops people witness his charisma. It makes my heart sing to see how he brings out the best in everyone he meets. I was always asked at our workshops, why I haven't written a children's book about Dagger yet. My response was always, "Me??? Oh, not me...That's for someone else to do." Then when the pandemic kept us all isolated, our DogVinci Workshops and in-person meetings came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, I had the time to think about what all of these great people were prompting me to do while we were traveling from library to library and school to school sharing Dagger's talent. It was then that I began to think about the prospect of a children's book about Dagger. Should I write a book? I'm not sure if I can, I thought. As time past, I began to feel the need more and more to write about my amazing dog. I thought that it would also be a great legacy to leave for everyone. As my creative prowess emerged, my first thought was, "Wow, There's so much to say about Dagger's journey so far." I reached out to educators and family for their guidance. Coming up with a beginning, a middle, and an end was one of the hardest things for me to do. So, I've started writing about his life which is pretty interesting. I knew that illustrating was not my expertise, so I was fortunate to locate a wonderful illustrator for the book. For months now we've been working tirelessly on this creative endeavor. I'm still in the writing stage.
that needs to shine for all to see.
Let your light shine!
Your light will then encourage someone else's light to shine,
Have a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season!!
Be well and stay safe!
Happy tales to you,
A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger