dog

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My grandnephew, Bowen Parmely is the only boy among the four children of his parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely. Bowen was the third child, and when he was born, Ashley and Eric found out, in no uncertain terms, just how different little boys are from little girls. Bowen is full of energy and, well…zing!! He lights up a room with his smile and laughter, and he is a delight to his parents, but he isn’t above picking on his sisters, Reagan, Hattie, and little Maeve. Just give him a reason…or don’t!! He really doesn’t need a reason, he is a boy, after all.

Bowen likes everything his daddy and his grandpa like. Working on tractors, however, that is top notch for Bowen. Eric has a big tractor, and Bowen would like nothing more than to be on that tractor all day long. His Aunt Brenda Schulenberg even found him a quilt that has tractors all over it last year. Talk about a happy boy. He loved it. Bowen is a farm boy, with all the trimmings. His family raises horses, cows, goats, chickens, turkeys, pigs, cats, and dogs… and speaking of dogs, Bowen’s parents have let each of the kids get their own dog…when they turn 7 years old. That means that Bowen’s older sisters, Reagan and Hattie each have their own dog, that is also their responsibility, and Bowen can’t wait until he is old enough to have his own dog too. Unfortunately for Bowen, that day won’t come for two more years. Until then, he will have to settle for the family dogs.

Bowen really loves all the animals, but he loves the babies the best. On a farm, with a lot of animals, there are always babies coming, and that is ok with Bowen. It is something he shares with his mom. Ashley would have tons of babies too…human and animal. The mothering instinct is very strong in Ashley, and she loves to teach their kids about the animals, life, and how to grow both. The Parmely house is always filled with love, laughter, kids, and animals. When we go out there for family dinners, once a month, it is sure to be fun filled. The kids have a playroom/classroom off of the kitchen (Ashley homeschools the kids, but they did preschool at the Montessori School which is where Bowen currently goes), so we can observe all the fun, as well as the occasional “turkey at the window” visits. All the kids are very entertaining, but watching Bowen, so full of energy, bouncing around the room on his bouncy horse is always super fun. Today is Bowen’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As most of us know, dogs have been used in many kinds of work from K-9 units to military units to guide dogs, to cadaver dogs, and many more. During World War II, one such dog named Chips, who was a Shepherd-Collie-Husky mix, served for 3.5 years of the war. When the US entered World War II, the military actually asked Americans to “donate” their dogs to serve on patrols and guard duty. That seems so strange to me. How could the dog know what was going on? How could it not get depressed or aggressive, thinking its owner was dead or had abandoned it? It’s one thing to send a soldier into a war situation, they have either been legally drafted or they freely joined up, but a dog…or any animal for that matter, couldn’t possibly understand why, after having a family of their own, they were suddenly in a foreign country, without their owner, their own bed, or their home.

Nevertheless, when their country asked, over 11,000 Americans volunteered their pets, including Chips’s owner, John Wren of Pleasantville, New York. Chips the first “volunteer” dog in the United States, took part in the invasion of Sicily, just a year into his deployment. When an Italian machine gunner pinned down Chips and his squad, he broke away from his leash and charged into the enemy position. A single shot rang out. Then, the Italian gunner emerged with Chips at his throat, followed by three more soldiers. They all quickly surrendered. Chips received a wound on his scalp and burns on his mouth and left eye. That didn’t stop this hero dog, who kept fighting and helped capture 10 more soldiers that day.

After the war, per their request, it was time for Chips to be returned to his family. Plans would have to be put in place for that to happen. So, in the fall of 1945 he was taken back to Front Royal where he was retrained so that he could go back to his family. A dog who had been in combat couldn’t just go back to his family as if nothing had happened. Finally in December of 1945, he traveled home to Pleasantville, riding in the baggage car of a train. He didn’t go alone. He was accompanied by six reporters and photographers who wanted to cover the story. They were met by Mr and Mrs Wren and their son, Johnny, who was only a baby when Chips left. The girls raced home after school to see their dog. It was a sweet homecoming. Chips lived for just four months before his kidneys failed. I guess war had taken its toll.

Chips’s story made him an international sensation. He received a Silver Star for his heroics. Unfortunately, some people thought that a dog shouldn’t be awarded the same medal as a human, so it was revoked. Then, in 2018, he was awarded the PDSA Dickin Award, the highest honor for wartime bravery for an animal. A well-deserved honor. While his award was amazing, I think that the family should have also received an award, as should all of the other families who donated their dogs for the war effort. It was a very selfless act.

These two have always been like “peas in a pod.” They were always together as kids. They were more like sisters than cousins. while these girls live in different states now, they have been trying to take an annual birthday trip, because they are 5 days difference in age, with Christina being 5 days older than Shai. They really love getting together and traveling to new places. So, Christina is flying out to see Shai for the weekend, and the girls plan to make a “Girls Weekend” of it.

Christina has been dealing with some food allergies and has been gluten free now for over a year now. Christina has not exactly struggled so much with her weight, but more with how she felt, as anyone who has food allergies knows and understands. While she wasn’t very much overweight, she is very happy with her current weight. Christina has been eating right and juicing, as well as going to the gym to work out. She is feeling really good about herself. Christina is a dental hygienist and assistant office manager at a dental clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She works with great people and is good at her job. Christina has a strong faith in God, and that has helped her through so many of life’s challenges. Things are going very well these days.

Shai tells me that she has a really bad dog named Athena, and that she loves her very much. She loves having movie nights and living also living on her own. I’ll never forget those two girls together. They had such good times. They laughed and giggled, played pranks on each other, and teased each other. They were inseparable. Christina and Shai have been close for so many years now, and I can’t imagine the two of them any other way. I was always glad that they were good friends, because they are cousins by birth and friends by choice. Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Riley Birky has had a rough year, as has his whole family. The 2020 year began with the loss of his mom, Rachel Schulenberg, to a stroke. Rachel’s loss has changed Riley in many ways. Like most teenagers, Riley has gone through his share of wild times, but now he wants to make his mom proud of him. Now, he is on the other side of that old life, and moving forward into a better life. That said, Riley has been spending the last year really getting his life together, and really making a fresh start. Every day finds Riley trying to become a better person. He wants to be a and upstanding citizen, who is working for society. Every kid makes mistakes, and Riley is trying to make up for his.

Riley is really moving into adulthood in a big way. He has been with his girlfriend, Sierah Martin for over a year now, and he is working hard to make a good home for her and her son, Jace. Riley is working hard to being a good father figure for Jace. Riley working full-time to help support them, and often takes on odd jobs to give them a better life. He has also been being a good uncle to his nephew, Lucas and niece, Zoey, babysitting all the kids at his sister, Cassie Franklin’s house. Riley really enjoys time with his family. They play video games like Spyro the dragon. And, they share precious family times together. He has also been enjoying his dog, Nala, who came from his sister, Cassie’s dogs, Buddy and Maya. As we all know, a dog is man’s best friend.

Riley is pretty handy, so in his spare time he’s been helping his friend renovate their camper. Most renovation jobs take more than one person, and a camper is no different. I’m sure his friend really appreciates the help Riley has been giving. A great friend aids a friend in need, and that is what Riley is…a great friend.

Riley definitely misses his mom, but I know without a doubt that she would be so very proud of him. I can’t take away the pain of missing her, Riley, but I promise you…she is very proud of the man you have become. Today is Riley’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kelli Schulenberg has a list of things she likes that might make many people feel very tired, but Kelli is someone who is on the go a lot. In her own words, Kelli likes “Music, traveling, fitness, animals, and the outdoors. Fresh air, trees, blue skies, summer, and hiking.” Anyone who knows her, know that truer words were never spoken. Kelli likes to stay active, and doesn’t like to waste a moment of her free time. If there’s a concert nearby, Kelli and her husband, my nephew, Barry Schulenberg might jump in the pickup and head for wherever it is being held. They both really enjoy going to concerts.

If there isn’t a concert, Kelli and Barry might be found on Casper Mountain, cross country skiing in the winter, or hiking in the summer. Anyone who knows Kelli very well, knows that she prefers Summer over Winter…every time. And there are a lot of us who totally agree with her whole heartedly on that one. For Kelli, as for many of us, Winter brings with it, a little bit of…depression, for lack of a better word. It’s not that she is depressed, but that the weather is depressing. Because Kelli likes to hike, she feels sad when the winter months hit. For a hiker, cross country skiing really can’t compare to hiking. At least, that’s the way I feel about it.

Kelli loves animals, and her dog, Scout is her current “baby.” Scout can be a trial for Kelli, always wanting to be lazy, when she wants to be active. Nevertheless, he makes up for it with his goofy ways. There is a lot to be said for a dog making his masters laugh. Scout refuses to “adult,” as Kelli would say, so his goofiness is always inspiring laughter in his masters. Scout came to live with Kelli and Barry as a puppy, after their long time dog, Dakota passed away. Scout has lots of potential, but lets face it…right now Scout is no Dakota. I know that Kelli and Barry still miss Dakota very much.

Kelli and Barry have a place out east of Casper, Wyoming. It’s home, but Kelli would love to have a couple of donkeys on it. They are one of her favorite animals. Still, she loves most animals. She has a real heart for them. She loves their antics, their cuddles, and yes, even their naughtiness. I hope that someday Kelli gets her donkeys. I think that would be very cool. Today is Kelli’s birthday Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Riley Birky is a man who has a big heart. He truly cares about the people around him, and while he is not always able to do anything to fix the problems his friends might have, that certainly doesn’t keep him from having a deep desire to help if he can. Sometimes, I think that carrying around the…almost burden of having such a big heart can be hard on the guy who has said big heart. When they are unable to change the outcome they tend to carry the weight of it, as if it were their failure. It isn’t, of course, but it is how they tend to feel. Nevertheless, Riley has a good group of buddies, and they have good times together.

Riley has grown into a good man, who lives on his own now, and works to support himself. He is a responsible worker, who is well liked. He is working for a fencing company, as an installer. Riley has never been afraid of hard work, and has done a variety of heavy duty jobs in his lifetime. As an adult, he has proven himself to be capable and reliable. I think he will do well in whatever job he does or career he chooses.

Riley loves his mom, my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg very much. She has been supportive of him all his life, and he has nothing but respect for her. Oh, they have their disagreements, but when it comes right down to it, his mom is his hero, as well as his biggest cheerleader. He knows that he can always count on her to be there for him…even if that means encouraging him do the right things. In reality, that is what most kids want to do anyway.

Riley has a dog that he loves very much. Nala is an American Bully Pitbull Terrier. Nala came to Riley as a puppy, but she is growing like a weed. She has a beautiful, soft brown coat that is very shiny. She loves Riley very much, and the feeling is mutual. Riley has always had a heart for dogs, and Nala is Riley’s baby girl. Their companionship makes both of them very happy. Today is Riley’s birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

One year ago today, a sweet little curly haired girl named Elliott Stevens was born to my nephew, Garrett Stevens and his wife, Kayla. Elliott is my sister, Alena Stevens and her husband, Mike’s first grandchild, as well a the first grandchild for Kayla’s parents, Lynette and Wes Smiley, so it was an exciting day. Time marches on, and as with all children, so much has changed in just one year. Elliott now has lots of curls as her hair has grown. Her little smile is sporting teeth these days, and she has learned to walk. That, of course, means that she is “exploring” her world, i.e. getting into things. Her personality is showing now, in so many ways…one of the biggest being her giggle. When she gets into things, and gets “caught” at it, she just laughs and laughs. Her parents ask her what she is doing, and her response is always the same…that infectious little giggle!! She already knows that her giggle can get her out of a sticky situation.

Elliott is a happy little girl, who loves her dog, Charlie. And the feeling in mutual, because her dog is very patient with her little baby ways. Kids aren’t always gentle with their furry friends, but Elliott’s dig doesn’t seem to mind, because Elliott is his baby too. In fact, sometimes he feels like he is in charge of the baby. It seems to be a dog thing. They love to cuddle the family babies…especially at nap time.

Elliott loves the water, and she’s not picky. The bathtub, the wading pool, or the beach. All of them are fun for Elliott. She got to go to California with her parents a few months ago, and if fact, she turned 8 months while she was there. Less than a year old, and she’s already been sunning herself on the beach. Of course, she doesn’t care if it’s a beach in California, she just liked the water and the sand. I think a lot of people would agree with her on that.

Elliott has been such a blessing to her family. She has three wonderful aunts, Michelle Stevens, Lacey Stevens, and Lexi Smiley, so she is very blessed too. Life is great for Elliott and her family, and we are all very excited to see what the next year will bring for our giggly girl. Today is Elliott’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Elliott!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Barry Schulenberg has always been a hard worker. From the time he was a little boy, he worked hard to help his grandpa, Walt Schulenberg with anything he was working on. It didn’t matter what his grandpa was doing, Barry wanted to do it too. In fact, Barry once told his mom, Jennifer Parmely that he was going to quit school so he could help his grandpa. He was going to work on and drive trucks. The reality is that Barry did grow up to drive and work on trucks. His own vehicles are pickups, and he works on the trucks for the State of Wyoming. He hasn’t changed a bit since he was a little boy.

Barry has always been the kind of guy that you can count on.He helps his brothers and his uncles with projects they are working on. They have a great network of assistants, and that makes for a very good team of people. This year Barry has been helping his Uncle Ron Schulenberg in cutting and splitting the mountain of wood it takes to heat their home for the winter. Barry has also been working on insulating his garage. As a mechanic, Barry spends a lot of time in his garage, and staying warm while working is vital.

While Barry is hard working man, he is not all about work. He and his wife Kelli love to travel and they have gone on many trips. They like to attend concerts, and to go hiking. They also like snow shoeing and skiing. A favorite place to go camping is in the Big Horn Mountains, but they also enjoy a number of spots in Colorado. This pas summer, they took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park and several areas of Montana, took in a concert and had a great time relaxing.

A year ago, after losing their beloved Black Labrador, Dakota, Barry and Kelli decided to take the plunge and get another dog. They went to see what was available, and came up with a male Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix that they named Scout. When a dog is a puppy, you don’t always know how they will turn out, but Scout and Barry are best buddies. Scout loves Kelli too, but he likes hanging out with Barry a lot. They “work” together on whatever Barry is doing, because Scout is a little bit like his owner. He just wants to hangout and ride in trucks. He would probably work on them too…if he knew how. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Since becoming disabled, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen has struggled to redefine himself. He can’t be on his feet for very long, and he can’t sit very long either. During the years since he was disabled, my daughter, Corrie Petersen, Kevin’s wife, has been pretty much single-handedly been taking care of him. Soon,it became apparent that Corrie needed a new carer. One that would be more fulfilling and one that would pay better. After much prayer, it was decided that Corrie would go back to school to become a nurse. They knew this was going to be a difficult road, that would become much harder when nursing school began. After 2 years of taking her prerequisites, Corrie started nursing school two weeks ago.

Since August 20th, Kevin has reversed the roles. Now, while here are times Kevin need’s Corrie to be his caregiver, these days he is taking care of her. While Kevin must take frequent rest periods, he is cleaning the house, washing the laundry, and cooking the meals while Corrie is in school, at work, or studying. Each week of this stage of Corrie’s studies requires more work for her, and it isn’t going to get any easier until she graduates. Kevin wants to do his part. In many ways nursing school might have actually been harder for Corrie is Kevin was working, although I suppose he would be stronger too, if he wasn’t disabled. Needless to say, this process hasn’t been easy for Kevin either, and I am very proud of how he has stepped up to make this journey easier on Corrie.

When Kevin has some free time, he has been working on the Cyclone car his dad, Dean Petersen gave him a while back. He has also decided to try his hand at painting and drawing with different kinds of paint. Kevin has been dealing with tremors in his hands these days, so I’m sure painting and drawing is quite a challenge. During the times when Kevin has to lay down for a while, he has a companion who is very excited about those naps…their dog, Dottie. Dottie is a Scottish Terrier, and she totally loves Kevin. When Kevin needs to lay down, he tells Dottie they are going to take a nap. Dottie gets very excited. She is like a kid, except that she likes naps. She runs to the bedroom door and waits for Kevin to come. Then, Dottie settles herself on Corrie’s pillow. It has become Dottie’s place when Corrie isn’t there. She loves napping with Kevin. When Dottie is outside, and Kevin has his shoes on, she won’t come in the house, because she thinks it’s time to go somewhere, and she doesn’t want to be left at home. She loves Kevin so much and she wants to be with him all the time. She is content to do what Kevin can do, and rest when he needs to, so it’s good for both of them. She is a great companion. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

This year has been a little difficult for my nephew, Barry Schulenberg and his wife, Kelli. Their long-time companion, Dakota, a Black Labrador Retriever dog passed away a few months ago, and they were feeling very sad. Anytime you lose a pet, there is period of time that must pass before you feel ready to have another pet. It’s different for everyone. Dakota went everywhere with Barry and Kelli. He was their hiking and camping companion….always happy to be right there beside them. Dakota was always waiting at the door to greet them when they got home from work. Dakota was like their child, and he had been with them all of their married life. It’s hard to imagine life without your pet, because the reality is that your pet is a part of the family…a big part of your family.

After that kind of loss, there is always a grieving period, before you can possibly move on and find another dog to adopt into the family. Barry and Kelli took their time. healing at their own pace. They did the normal things they like to do…camping, hiking, target practice, and just spending quiet nights at home. Soon though, it became clear to them, that something was missing. It was time to fill the void left behind with Dakota’s passing. That is a big step for any pet owner. It’s hard to open your heart to another pet, after losing one that was such a big part of your life for so many years. So, after some soul searching, Barry and Kelli decided to take to plunge, and adopt again.

They went to see what was available, and came up with a male Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix. For a while, their new “baby” didn’t have a name. They wanted to see what name might fit him. Before long, the puppy became a Scout. He always seemed to be at the alert, as if scouting his next move. Barry and Scout became inseparable. Scout loves to hang out with Barry, hoping to receive the scratching and petting that all dogs crave. Scout even loves riding around on the 4-wheeler with Barry. They say that a dog is man’s best friend, and Scout is definitely Barry’s best friend…with the exception of Kelli, of course. I know that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship for Barry, Kelli, and Scout, and I think Dakota would be happy too. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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