Some people have all the luck…

Today, I was one of them!

This morning Roux and I went down to Monroe Park at VCU for the Hounds for Healing 1K+Dog Walk. Ivory’s doing okay, but this would have been a little too much for him. Doing the walk with Roux would have been fantastic – obviously – but there was so much more. I talked with my friend Barbara about it shortly after arriving  home. I kept saying and/or thinking “that was the icing on the cake.” Except I kept thinking the same thing over again, about different things. So it is more precise to say there were lots of frosting roses in the icing on this cake. And the cake of this Easter Saturday, 2011 was just covered in roses.

Roux and me at Hounds for Healing

The rose that got me started was seeing my old friend Monica, who got me started doing Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) with people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s). I’d been doing AAT for many years at MCV. Monica knew, and she was working with people with TBI’s. I hadn’t seen Monica in literally years and it was fantastic to catch up. She was there with her three-year old (I think) son. Last time she only had dogs! And she had left her six month old twin girls home with her husband. Big changes!

I also got to see my old friends Sandy and Randy Barker, Denise Ekey and Janet Knisely, all on the Executive Committee of the Center for Human Animal Interaction  (CHAI) at VCUHS. The walk today was to raise funds for the Center. Thank you so much to everyone who donated! I wish Ivory would have come down today but it wasn’t going to happen. If you poke around on that CHAI web site some, you can see plenty of pictures of Ivory during his decade of active service as a therapy dog at MCV.

Plus I ran into my old friend Heather – and her handsome new son Micah! What a treat.

There were just tons and tons of dogs at the walk – way more than I’d anticipated. There were big dogs:

Big boy

Small dogs:

Pretty little girl

Dogs of every description:

Nikki (can you tell why I like her?)

Sweet pair of Goldens

Roux and I do lots of walking, although as most of you are aware it’s at Pony Pasture. Where we’ll be greeting the Easter sunrise tomorrow! But we decided to head out of the park for a little while. Our destination: Lavenders Cafe, which Alex and I discovered by fortunate accident after the Monument Avenue 10K.

119 E Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219

If you read that post from our visit earlier this month, you’ll have a hard time believing this: it was better this time! Part of the reason: chocolate ravioli. No need to rub your eyes and read that again – you read it right the first time – chocolate ravioli. Norman is the Creative Design Chef there, and “Creative” is a very important word. Chocolate ravioli is amazing. Plus Norman made a remarkable shrimp quesadilla, a fruit salad and a glass of their Lavender Lemonade. Which has to be tasted to be believed. And Norman made chocolate truffles dipped in peanut butter. Unfortunately they’re not open Sundays…

Chocolate ravioli (Seriously! Try some! It's INCREDIBLE!)

I saw a flyer about autism on the counter and began talking with Norman about it. It turns out they, like so many of us, have a connection with a person with autism. I never cease to be amazed. We had a great chat. They are learning a lot from Autism Speaks.

While Roux and I walked back we passed the Jefferson Hotel. They have huge, old style roses blooming outside – the kind that still smell so incredible you just want to stop and inhale them and not walk any more:

Roses at the Jefferson

Roux was so relaxed while she waited for me to inhale my shrimp quesadilla and chocolate ravioli and lavender lemonade. You know, I just realized something. I don’t know who reads this blog. Probably no one who is a hundred years old. But a lot of people who have read many, many, many books and articles and words and sentences. I would bet every single thing I own that not one single person has ever read the words “inhale my shrimp quesadilla and chocolate ravioli and lavender lemonade” in their entire lives. So we’ve all had a new experience today! That’s what Spring is all about! Have a superb Saturday, Sunday, Spring and Summer,


Jay and Roux and Ivory and Mackey and Max

Roux at Lavenders Cafe

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Flowers, Fun, People, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Some people have all the luck…

  1. Grace says:

    Jay, I think this is my favorite post to date. Perhaps because I love dogs (your photo of the Goldens is professional grade) but also because I care about what’s going on locally. You did a great job of blending two of my favorite things. Per usual, I was smiling as I was reading! 🙂

  2. Hi Grace,
    Glad you enjoyed it. As accomplished a blogger as you are, I’m sure you’re aware that the posts that sound most enjoyable are generally the most enjoyable to write. Regarding my “professional grade” photo of the Goldens – you would be astounded to see how many I deleted to come up with that one. Have you ever heard the expression “even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes”? That’s how I end up with the occasional nice photo. Have a great day,


    • Grace says:

      I hear ya- and that’s the beauty of digital. For each “decent” photo I post, there are at least 5-15 of the same thing that never make the cut.

      FYI: I heard a good commentary on NPR this afternoon on your favorite writer, DFW.

      • Thanks! Just read it/listened to it. Nice piece of writing. That guy really captured the essence of DFW. I miss him a lot. It feels odd to miss him. I never met him, of course. And a lot of other people I knew well are gone and I only miss them a little bit.

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