‘There is nothing more American’

‘There is nothing more American’

Bring your dogs to the next Miracle game

Published in Sanibel Captiva Islander July 22, 2015 issue

Baseball fans and their four-legged friends are invited to attend the next Miracle baseball game this Friday at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Illy and Lucy.

Illy and Lucy

“There is nothing more American than baseball and bringing your dog out to the game,” Bill Levy, director of ticket operations and sales advisor for Fort Myers Miracle, said.

This Friday’s game, July 24, at 7:05 p.m. against the Tampa Yankees, marks the fourth “Dog Daze of Summer” program offered at the stadium. The final and fifth program offered this summer will be held on Friday, Aug. 14.

The program is a promotion Fort Myers Miracle began that has really taken off over the years. Levy said they are averaging anywhere from 150 to 200 dogs ranging from small to large each game. He said some people bring two or three dogs with them.

Illy and Lucy

Illy and Lucy

“This year we have seen a jump of (fans) taking their dogs to the game. It has seen growth every year the team has done it,” he said. “It’s probably one of our most anticipated programs. It has become a staple here. People look forward to it.”

Although there are no restrictions for the fan’s dogs, Levy said they ask that all dogs are kept on a leash, are well-behaved and not aggressive towards other dogs and fans. He said they want the dogs to complement the family-friendly atmosphere that Fort Myers Miracle offers.

The July 24 game will feature the Lee County Domestic Animal Service and its food drive. Attendees are asked to bring donations of dry and canned dog food, cat littler, wipes, tissues and paper towels. Levy said anyone that brings a donation will receive $2 off general admission tickets the day of the game.

Pet friendly vendors also will be present during the Friday game. Levy said Glamour Paws, Pet Supermarket and Invisible Fence are among some of the businesses that will be in attendance.

Illy

Illy

All American Pet Resort will have its mascot at the game and kiddie pools will be set up around Hammond Stadium for the dogs to splash in and cool off.

Andrea Miller with the Sanibel Recreation Center said they always try to pull together at least one activity a month for the community to enjoy. For the month of July they decided to provide tickets at the center for the “Dog Daze of Summer” Miracle Game this Friday.

“They give us a group discount rate,” she said, adding that residents and tourists can “come here and pick them up.”

Tickets, which are $9.75 for adults and children, are available at the Sanibel Recreation Center through Wednesday, July 22, or while supplies last.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road. For more information, call (239) 472-0345.

Lucy

Lucy

Levy encourages everyone, whether they enjoy baseball or not, to attend the game.

“This is just a fun event for everyone,” he said. “People seem to be more in a good mood when they are around dogs and animals. They have an extra step to them when people are around animals. (Animals) tend to bring out the best in people.”

Levy said the baseball players also get involved in the festivities while taking pictures with their fan’s dogs.

Tickets purchased at the stadium the night of the game are $8 for general admission and $10 for box seats.

Perfect couple of weeks

My to-do-list is finally reaching an end, relieving some of the stress that has been building these last few weeks.

A week ago today Jason and I moved into a quite little house that, so far, is a perfect fit for us and all of our animals. The picture below is one of my favorites. Lucy is so little that she could not see out of our front window in the living room, so I put something under it that she could climb on and view the world outside. Now every time I come home, I see her little face peering out the window.

Oct. 2, 2014

Oct. 2, 2014

The last few weeks have been nonstop . . . with that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. My parents flew into town on Sept. 23 and spent a few days with us before Jason and I drove them to Maryland, so they could end their vacation with my brother and his family.

I had begun a countdown as soon as my Mom told me she booked the flight to the Tri-Cities airport. I felt like a little girl as the excitement at times was uncontrollable.

I remember waking up that morning, Sept. 23, with a huge smile on my face and butterflies in my stomach. Although I was busy working all morning, the time still couldn’t go by fast enough. I was eager to leave the house and be on my way to the airport.

Jason called me as soon as I got off the interstate that afternoon and he too shared my excitement for the simple reason that I was going to see my parents in a matter of minutes. He told me he was excited for me to give them both hugs, which only made me smile more. When that time finally came I parked in the lot at the airport . . . I just couldn’t control it anymore. I was so giddy!!

The giddiness was because it had been quite some time since seeing my parents.  I won’t lie, from time to time it has been a struggle for me being so far away from my parents, especially when I was only a 10-minute drive from them for a long time in Fort Myers. The last time I saw my Dad was the day before we left for Tennessee last April. I was able to spend time with my Mom in Chicago last year when Jason and I drove to Illinois for my cousin’s wedding.

It was long past due to spend some time with my parents. I was beyond thrilled that after a year that time spent with them was at my new home. I had so much fun showing them around and taking them to some of the destinations that Jason and I have come to love since last May.IMG_2399

On Sept. 24, Jason, Lucy and I took Mom and Dad to Laurel Falls for a hike on the Appalachian Trail, something Mom had mentioned she wanted to do. The weather that morning was cool, making for a perfect day to be outdoors.

I loved every minute of that hike. Mom and Dad had the opportunity to experience what Jason and love to do on our days off, finding beautiful waterfalls. Although Mom has been following my blog and seeing where we have been through pictures, you fully do not experience the sight unless you are there taking in the sounds and scenery.

It was fun to experience the hike through their eyes. Everyone seems to take in the hike in a much different way. My parents were constantly trying to figure out the vegetation that surrounded the trail and the waterfall. Although I notice the trees, I spent more time looking at it all while hiking with them.

It appeared that they enjoyed themselves on the hike. They even had the opportunity to take in the fall scenery, which of course was a treat coming from Florida.

IMG_2416The following day while Jason had to work, I took Mom and Dad to Bays Mountain for a late morning hike. We followed the trail around the lake, which was a perfect path to show off some more of the beautiful fall colors. Mom even enjoyed picking up acorns for her grandkids . . . of course those included the biggest ones we could find.

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Bays Mountain was the first place Jason and I visited when we arrived in Kingsport last year, so you could only imagine how excited I was to show where our first adventure began. It seemed like Mom and Dad enjoyed another morning outdoors.

After we finished the hike, we went back to my place for a while before heading back out later that evening for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt. This was the only place on my list that I really wanted to show Mom because every time Lucy and I run the path she is constantly in my thoughts because of all the ducks we see. Since our walk took place around dusk, we saw a ton of deer that night, which is always cool to see.

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Friday morning, we hit the road early because we had a long drive ahead of us to Maryland. After being in the car for about 9 hours I think we were all ready to stand on our own two feet and stretch. I loved seeing Mom and Dad see their grandkids for the first time in almost a year. I have sweet pictures of my parents smiling, and my nephew Caleb while in the middle of a conversation. It’s those tender moments that I love to capture.

It was a lot of fun to spend Friday and Saturday with my parents and Tom and his family. I love seeing my nephews and spending time with them. The last time we saw them was in May and it’s amazing how much they grew up . . .

We ended up leaving earlier than expected on Saturday because of Lucy, our puppy. She’s usually a perfect little angel, but that day she was showing us a completely different side. A side that I was not too fond of. A side that had me stressed and rattled to the bone. She began barking at everyone that passed her or came in close proximity to her. This was rather strange because she seldom ever barks. So to keep her quite and calm I tried to take her away from everything, which did not give me the time I wanted to spend with my family.

It was bittersweet when I hugged everyone goodbye. I’m surprised I didn’t shed a few tears as our goodbyes were shared.

On our way back home we stopped at a friends house, a friend I have known for more than 20 years. A friend that Jason has known for almost just as long. The last time Anna and I saw each other was in 2003 or 2004 when I came home from college. It was so good to spend time with her and her family. So many good memories were brought up, even some yearbooks were opened, which provided a vision from our past as stories were shared.  I sure hope so much time does not pass before we see each other again.

When we arrived back home on Sunday, reality sunk in .  .  . moving day was right around the corner and we still had so much to do.

Tuesday was the big day . . . a day that started way too early and ended way too late. This of course is a trait that I love about Jason. When he has a vision we accomplish it, or surpass the goal. We ended up renting a UHaul, which helped tremendously. In two trips we were able to load all of our furniture and washer and dryer, as well as some boxes. We finished moving about 90 percent of our apartment in one day.

To say we were both tired and sore is an understatement.

The benefit of getting all that accomplished  . . . sleeping at the house a week ago for the first time.

I absolutely love living in this cute little two bedroom house with a beautiful backyard.

20141001_171845Except for a house we rented for no more than six months when we first started dating, Jason and I have gone from one apartment to another over the past five years. It feels great to have privacy once again. I cannot describe how good it is not to hear our neighbors through the thin walls, or to keep our voices down because we don’t want to disturb them. I can now play music in the living room while listening to it in my office without worrying about being too loud for our neighbors.

The list goes on and on of why I enjoy living at this house.

Sunday morning Jason and I headed back to the townhouse we were renting to clean and make sure we had all of our belongings. When we sat in the car a sense of relief washed over the both of us. We were beyond ready to say goodbye to that little place that we seemed to outgrow in a year.

Another chapter begins . . .  one that seems to be off on the right foot.

So much joy

It’s hard to believe a little puppy can bring so much joy to my life. She’s the best little companion.

This past month Lucy has completely changed my life. How a puppy only 15 to 16 weeks old can do that is beyond me.

Every once in a while I still think about her life before us.

Where did she come from? Who was her owner before? What kind of owner was he or she? The one that always repeats itself is how can someone dump this little precious puppy?

Lucy has the sweetest personality.  I couldn’t fathom just dropping her off some where letting her fend for herself.

Those thoughts always bring me back to, thank goodness Jason was outside when he was.

The first time I looked at Lucy it was over,  she captured my heart. 

The best thing about this little pup is the constant affection she shares. Sometimes just the adorable look she gives me puts a smile on my face, making me release some of the stress that seems to build.

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My routine has completely changed since we brought her home. Now Lucy and I are up between 6:45 to 7:30 every morning. The way she wakes me up always puts a smile on my face. This is huge because I’ve been known not to be a morning person.

Lucy is incredibly affectionate first thing in the cutest ways.

Today we woke up when Jason’s alarm went off and did our morning routine. We went outside so she could go to the bathroom. As soon as we walked in the house she ran straight to her food bowl, which is extremely cute. This morning after Jason left we went back to bed for a few hours.

Lucy woke up with a ton of energy, so I decided to take her to the Kingsport Greenbelt. As always, she did fantastic.

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There were a ton of walkers, bikers and dogs out on this gorgeous day. Lucy of course made friends with everyone. I was a little worried how she was going to react to other dogs, especially since she was by far the smallest dog. My little fearless Lucy greeted every dog nose to nose. It was cute and good to see.

As we walked along the trail, she made sure everyone who walked by saw her. This of course brought on the friendly conversation that came after “she’s so cute.” She got a lot of pats today! Lucy even made a baby smile for a picture.

This little friendly puppy makes everyone smile.

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We were out for about an hour this morning. Lucy slowed down every once in a while, but for the most part she kept me walking faster than I usually do. On our way back to the car she practically ran the whole way. She came home absolutely worn out, which aloud me to get some much needed wiring done.

I cannot say it enough, I love having a dog in my life again.

With the crazy hours that Jason works, especially the doubles the last couple of days, it’s nice to have this little companion always by my side.

Today was another great day with my Lucy.

One healthy puppy

I am beyond thrilled to say that our puppy Lucy is healthy. I’ve been worried since she arrived, especially since we know absolutely nothing about her parents, where she came from and how long she was wandering outside.

IMG_1548We took Lucy to the vet this morning and she did fantastic. She let out a couple little yelps when she was getting her vaccinations, but other than that she was beyond good. This little pup was really calm considering everything that was done to her.

It was interesting to see Lucy gravitate towards Jason between all the poking. She would walk over to me until I picked her up and then eventually crawled from my lap to Jason’s. This man of mine not only knows how to calm me down, but he has that calming effect on Lucy as well. She instantly curled up and closed her eyes.

I did not feel nervous, or anxious, but my puppy sure knew.

The vet said Lucy is a terrier schnauzer mix and based on her teeth she is about 13-weeks old.

After all our information was put into the computer Jason put her on the scale to see how much she weighs . . . 5.9 pounds. I knew she was tiny, but wow, she’s really tiny. She has a wonderful appetite though, so I’m sure in the next three weeks that scale will read more.

All her exams came back normal and she had four vaccine’s done, which made me feel good. My little puppy now is on a wellness plan to keep her healthy. No more wondering if she is okay. Now that we have vaccinations underway and received the first dosage of flee and worm medicine, she can definitely go on some hikes with us.

We now she is capable of going with us after her first adventure a few nights ago.

We took her for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt Saturday night and she was amazing. I forgot how much fun it was to go on a walk with a dog.  I don’t think she once walked while we went along the path and in the grass. It was cute to see her excited about exploring a new area. Often times she had me jogging to keep up with her pace. Once we got home, I gave her a bath and she curdled up in her little bed and instantly passed out. We wore her out.

It’s still sometimes hard to believe we are puppy owners. It’s surreal really. This little peanut and her sibling found us and we were able to give her a home. I love how everything eventually fell into place; that we were able to provide her a home that she deserves.

Her brother is still doing well and will be going to his new home next week. I met his owner the other day when Jason and I stopped by his house with Lucy. He is so incredibly laid back and very easy to get along with. He is already talking about fencing in his huge back yard for the little pup. I’m sure this little puppy will be very happy.

Lucy is such a smart little girl. She now knows three tricks – sit, up and down. Although we are still working on laying down and standing up, she knows sit really well. We have also been extremely successful with potty training. She no longer has accidents in the house! Lucy and I have been on a good routine. I take her out every one to two hours, depending on how long she naps for and she goes every time. You have no idea how exciting this is . . . I was starting to wonder early on because the accidents were so frequent.

This puppy has filled my heart with so much joy in such a short amount of time. I absolutely love having her with me all day. Even when Jason’s home, she finds where I am and lays close. At night, she sleeps with us, which I know probably isn’t a good habit to start, but it works just fine. She crawls under, yes, under the covers as soon as we lay down and stays there until she is ready to wake up.

This morning she started to gently kick my legs with her paws, so I moved the blanket from over her and she crawled onto my chest and then onto my pillow. She laid on her back as our noses were almost touching, so I could scratch her chest. This is one of her absolute favorite things . . . you need to calm her down, scratch and rub her chest and it works every time.

She is incredibly sweet first thing in the morning. Lucy always puts a smile on my face first thing, which is a great way to start the day.

Lucy filled a void I did not know was there . . . .