O.K., here’s the deal. If you didn’t go to the 2011 Miss Southern Hootie competition you missed out on the biggest laughs of the year. I’m not kidding, either. I’m still chuckling, and it’s two days later that I am writing this ! Those guys were amazing….Joey, Jack, Adam, Howard, T.C., Joey S., Ted, Tony and Dave… with guest appearances by Liam and Pat – names that will forever be mentioned at MIRA with love and admiration for all of their hard work and dedication to this project, and for making Saturday’s performance a night to remember.
I personally was a little frazzled, and I ‘ll tell you why. It isn’t often that I have to guide and protect Bob in a crowd of over 300 in one room, and, quite frankly, I have NEVER seen him dressed like he was dressed on Saturday. What was with those clothes, Bob? And where on earth did you get them?
You see, Bob and I were in a skit with Dave. I got the part about being a “blind date” and me telling Bob that his tie was really tacky – which it certainly was – it had Tabasco bottles printed on it, for starters. But that was nothing compared to his shoes and pants. Those faux snakeskin shoes could have been boats, they were so big and ugly, and as for the pants….well, Armani they weren’t! I barely recognized Bob, and that’s saying something coming from me.
Still, the whole night was all in jest for a good cause. And you know something – it warmed my heart to see so many people I had never met before turn out for the show. There were people of various ages and diverse backgrounds – all having a good laugh for a great cause. My friend T.C. earned the crown, and if you could have seen him in his Tina Turner routine you would know why, but truthfully, every guy who turned up week after week for rehearsals and showed up on the big night and put their all into it are kings in my book. Or should it be queens, I’m not sure….??? In any case, they are all winners!
Enjoy more pics in our photo gallery.
Lately I have been thinking about how wonderful therapy dogs are because of all the comfort they provide the people they visit. Think about it: if you were old or ill and you didn’t have many visitors, wouldn’t it just make your day to have a warm fuzzy creature stop by and say hello ? And the best part is that dogs love everyone. We don’t care if you are short or tall; skinny or, shall we say, “have a few extra pounds” , brown hair, blonde. We love you all, and we know our job is to make you feel better, so that’s what we willingly do each time we go out to pay a visit.
And now we have had a wonderful group of women with therapy dogs donate to MIRA to honor our work ! I am so touched by this gesture. The group is headed by Betsy Ficarro and they sent me pictures of some of their buddies, so I am proudly sharing these pics with you.
Thank you, all of you.. (Riley, Pumpkin, Butchie Boy and Farley) and thank you for the fine work you do…
Talk about a lot of driving! We returned home from Florida last Monday after almost two days on the road and on Tuesday morning Bob and I were at the office (well, so was everyone else, in all fairness – and they didn’t have a nice Florida vacation) Anyway, Thursday evening we drove an hour each way to Lumberton to see some very nice Lions (no, not the real lions, the human Lions- though I wouldn’t mind a trip to the zoo to see some real lions) Bob and Beth talked about what’s going on at MIRA these days, and I lounged around and looked Ambassadorial. It was fun.
Then on Friday we headed to Raleigh for the NC Conference on the Blind and Visually impaired. We had a special talk to give about MIRA’s program for children and youth and it was very well attended. People seemed really interested, too, and asked good questions. My good friends, Carol and Dion, were there so I was very happy to see them. They are the folks who work on orientation and mobility with the students and are very important people. I love them.
Tomorrow we are going back to Raleigh for another important meeting where we hope to get some pretty influential people excited about MIRA. I even heard Beth remind Bob that I should wear my MIRA scarf, so when that happens I know it is a big day. Seems like we are spending a lot of time in the car going to and fro, but I guess that is what it takes to get the message out.
I am all for it if it means more kids can get MIRA guide dogs. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Devon (the road warrior) Baillie
It’s pretty hard to convince Bob to take a vacation, however, he finally agreed, so we are playing in the surf in sunny Florida for two weeks. Although it’s warm for me, I still love coming here because we sleep in a little later and I have the chance to enjoy the sand and surf. Dogs need vacations, too, don’t forget…..
So…just so you know….I won’t be checking in that often, but I’ll post if something exciting happens. Until then, I’m off to the hammock with Bob to listen to a good mystery!
I love vacations.
Fall is a busy time for us MIRA folks. After beating the heat any which way we can all summer, we really gear up in the Fall, and by that I mean lots of speaking engagements (Bob and Beth speak while I look Ambassadorial and lick an ankle now and then), fundraising events, and meet and greets.
This week the two most notable were AJ’s appearance with his dog, Martin, as the Grand Marshalls (not quite sure what that means but I know it is really special because AJ was so excited) for the Pinecrest High School Homecoming parade in downtown Southern Pines, and our talk over at St. Joseph of the Pines. That AJ and Martin are something else. As you can see from the photos, they were as cool as cucumbers (who ever made up that comparison must have been drinking, don’t you think?) Anyway, I know Martin has never seen or heard a band before, but he acted like he Grand Marshalled every day of the week. That’s what I love about MIRA dogs: they know their job whether they are being asked to do it on the beach in Florida, at the mall or the airport, in the middle of traffic, at the symphony, or on a street downtown with a band playing and a bunch of people marching around in funny outfits. Now that I am thinking about it,we MIRA dogs are Grand Marshalls every day….
And as for our visit at St. Joe’s, well I just love Sheila and George Atherholt who arranged everything for us. We see them on Wednesday mornings at Rotary meetings and they are always so nice to me. George has a great laugh and very twinkly eyes and Sheila is a beautiful lady. We had a wonderful visit with the people who live at St. Joe’s and we told them a lot about MIRA and our work. I think everyone had a good time because they all clapped when Bob finished speaking. I did my best to look Ambassadorial throughout, even though I got a little tired and had to snooze a bit in the middle of Bob’s talk. I don’t think he minds about that as long as I don’t snore.
So…these were the highlights of a busy week that also included a Lions Club and Rotary meeting, a trip to Raeford, and a meeting with our friends at SCC in preparation for Miles for MIRA. It’s all in a MIRA day’s work of going with the flow…
Devon (the Grandest of Marshalls) Baillie
Whoa…this is some exciting news. We are having MIRA night at the PNC arena in Raleigh this coming Saturday night, March 31 when the Carolina Hurricanes are playing the Devils (I didn’t know devils played hockey, did you? Isn’t it a little hot where they live?) How cool is that? We will have a table on the concourse with MIRA information, and my friends, Darcie and Michael, will be there with their dogs ,Navy and Robbie. That’s three MIRA guide dogs in the same place at one time. I can’t wait to see them and to teach them about being Ambassadorial. It’s an important job, you know, and they haven’t had the experience that I have gained over the years.
It’s going to be so much fun. I don’t know if we will get a chance to see any of the hockey game, but I imagine we will between intermissions. After all, who will come and see us when the game is on? I don’t know much about hockey, but I love the fact that it is played on ICE – wow- my kind of sport- you get to exercise a lot AND be cool at the same time. Who thought of this, anyway? And if they play with a puck, why isn’t it it called “puckey”? I absolutely do not understand human language.
Anyway, I really loved meeting those nice people at the Hurricanes, Doug and Kristina., and I would like to personally thank them for taking an interest in MIRA’s work. Hockey, or Puckey, I, for one, am a big fan of the ‘Canes. It’s a great organization committed to giving back to the community- and they are all winners in my book.
Devon (the wingman) Baillie
I know most dogs probably don’t watch much golf, however, if you read my piece from Roanoke, you know that I am a bit of a golf junkie. (If only they would make those carts a little larger…) Anyway, Bob, Elaine and I watched Rory McIlroy run away with the US Open last weekend. Are you sure he is only 22 years old? I couldn’t believe it. Four rounds in the sixties, in a world class competition…Wow!
As a MIRA dog who has been trained since puppyhood to strive for excellence in everything I do, I can really appreciate Rory’s effort. It is a beautiful sight to watch a person, or an animal for that matter, perform flawlessly and calmly under great pressure. I just know we are going to be seeing a lot more of young Rory McIlroy from Ireland.
The thought makes me want to do a little Irish jig!
Another week…and I am just tuckered out. In fact, if you look at this picture closely you will see that’s me catching some z’sss at a luncheon where the humans were talking about a lot of things that really didn’t interest me (and Lord knows there wasn’t any food to be seen anywhere…what kind of luncheon was that, anyway?) so I did what any self respecting tired dog would do and crawled under the table and found a pillow: my head on one guy’s feet and my not insubstantial butt draped across another set of feet. It was really comfy, but for some reason the humans at the table all thought I looked funny, and Elaine started taking pictures. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know whether to be flattered or embarassed. I mean, gee, I was just catching a little shuteye. What was the big deal?
And I can tell you why I needed that nap. Saturday we attended a wonderful party at our friend’s the Klines. Sunday -church. Monday at Raeford Elementary School.
Tuesday we were on the radio in Sanford with a very nice man named Steve Koranda and then we had lunch with one of my very best friends, John O’Connor.
Wednesday we had “outside appointments” all day. They weren’t really held outside, but I guess that’s what you say when you aren’t in the office and you are supposed to be.
By Thursday I was so tired I had to take this nap that I am writing about, and a good thing, too, because that night we went back to Sanford to talk to a great group at the Sanford Lions Club.( They are not REAL Lions, you know, they are humans who call themselves Lions. People are so funny.)
Friday morning we were with my good friend Rich Rushforth at Star 102.5 radio chatting him up about Miles for MIRA and then we worked a couple of hours before going to another luncheon and another meeting.
Do you still wonder why I take a nap now and then?
I Love MIRA and I Love Guiding my Friend, Bob, but there is nothing like a good snooze when you need it.
Beth had a riding instructor who would always say in a very energized manner, “Now we’re cookin’” when it became apparent that what he was teaching was getting through to his students. I think that’s pretty funny, don’t you? What does cooking have to do with riding a horse, anyway? What is it with humans and their language? If it were left up to us canines we would just say “Good dog,” and be done with it.
Anyway, we are sure cookin’ around MIRA these days, and that’s why I haven’t posted in a while. In fact, Bob is taking an actual cooking class every Wednesday for a couple of hours! So far we have pretty much been baking stuff which isn’t too exciting for me, since I am far more interested in braising, broiling, and grilling, and I am sure I don’t have to explain why. Ah, just the thought of smelling a lovely t-bone on the grill sends shudders down my canine spine. Bet I won’t have that opportunity in this class, though. Oh, well, a dog can always hope.
We have been going hither and yon a lot, too. We spoke at the Kiwanis Club of Seven Lakes, the Pinehurst Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus, and a Lions Club in Raleigh in just the last two weeks. Oh, yes, we also held a MIRA Board meeting and spent an hour with Bill Sahadi of Fore Properties. Bill hosts a radio show on WEEB a.m 990 and we were his guests. He was a really nice guy. Bob and Beth had a lot to say about MIRA and how everything works. I wanted to add a word or two, but the one time I stood up to say something, Bob told me to” sit ” in French, and I think I mentioned to you once that when he speaks French to me I know he means it and I don’t try to get cute with him.
This Friday night is our big second annual Dining in the Dark dinner in Raleigh. It will be held once again at the very elegant North Ridge Country Club and I am really looking forward to it as my good friend, Board member Kathy Virtue, always includes me in the festivities. Last year I sat at her feet while she channeled my thoughts. Not sure exactly what that means, but I definitely had the attention of everyone in the audience, and that makes me feel very important.
Then next week-end, starting on Friday April 27 we will be welcoming our dear friend, Eric St.Pierre from MIRA CA, four MIRA guide dogs, and our five candidates for MIRA guide dogs in 2012. They will be here in the Sandhills for assessment to determine if they are, in fact, ready for a guide dog. This is always an intense and interesting time for all involved. And this year we will be joined by several of the students from this past summer who already have their dogs. I am so happy. I will get to share guide dog stories with “Navy,” “Sandy,” “Robbie,” “Gale” and “Martin.” It’s going to be doggie heaven!
So..if you are in the Aberdeen downtown area on the 28th, please look for us out on the street. You won’t miss us, as we are all some pretty good looking dogs, if I must say so myself. (check out the photo..)
Devon (the kitchen wizard) Baillie
Hi. I’m Bob’s Bernese Mountain guide dog, Devon, and because Bob always says that I am the celebrity that he accompanies, I am getting my own regular blog spot! You know, sort of a “dog’s eye view” of life at MIRA, which, under the circumstances, really makes sense now that I think about it.
Whew! Where to start? Bob and I have been so busy these last few weeks, I can’t even begin to tell you all of the places we have been and things we have done. Here are two of my favorites.
The first week end in April (so Bob tells me) my canine friends from Canada came to visit. Four guide- dogs-in- training came down to demonstrate their skills to the students who are going to be getting dogs from MIRA USA this coming summer. Boy, did we have a great time! When I wasn’t on my harness (which means I wasn’t working) Bob and Eric let me romp around in the field with “the kids.” We tumbled over each other and chased each other around. It was just like I was a pup again. Eric, who is the big guy who runs MIRA Canada and who trained me to be a guide dog, seemed really happy to see me looking so well and so happy living with Bob and Elaine and my best friend, Dixie doodles. I assured him in my very best dog manner that I love every minute of my life. After all, I have a really important job.
Then I guess about a week went by- who knows in dog time?- and two local high schools, Pinecrest and Union Pines, held a joint FunRun walk as a MIRA benefit. It was out at the Virtues’ farm(good friends of mine) and did we ever have fun. Bob and I walked a little of the way (I could have gone further, but he wanted to socialize-what can I say?) so we hung around and talked to people who came to support MIRA. Chip Best and his folks at Outback donated a grilled chicken luncheon that smelled absolutely wonderful. Alas, I was not allowed to confirm my suspicions. Oh, yes, and the King Costanza band provided some rockin’ music. Sometimes Bob and I dance, but I guess he wasn’t in the mood that day. In any case, it was a great day for MIRA: those kids raised over $6,000 ! I am so proud of them.
Well, gotta go, but check back, soon, for more MIRA life as I see it….