This was Jägermeister’s 20:1 Specialty Challenge for Do More With Your Dog. The challenge was to perform 20 tasks with one prop. His “prop” was his XDog weighted vest. While earning this title, he learned a new trick: honking a bike horn.
Yes, that is “Good & Plenty” pink-and-white paneling in the powder room! This powder room is actually a closet that someone converted to a (very!) small bathroom! the previous owners covered all the logs with paneling. This is how the room (closet!) looked when we bough the cabin in 2009.
February 2010: Ripping out the paneling to expose the logs
In February 2010, Brian asked me what I wanted for Valentines Day… I told him I wanted the Good & Plenty GONE! … so on February 14, 2010, we began the first phase of the upstairs powder room!
After we ripped the paneling out, Brian installed a new toilet, and I refinished the logs and chinking, and installed a new floor so that we could use this “toilet/sink room” if needed. This is how the powder room remained for 11 years until we could do the next phase. Directly on the other side of that wall behind the toilet is another closet where the previous owners installed a stall shower…crazy, right?!
Stall shower in adjacent closet (gross!):
Ever since we moved in we used the first floor master bathroom as our main bathroom and wondered if there was a way to marry the “shower” closet with the “toilet/sink” closet and somehow make it a functional (and more normal!) bathroom. I had formulated plans in my mind of busting through the wall behind the toilet, and bumping out one of the other walls to allow for a pocket door, but we didn’t know if what I had dreamt-up would even be possible. What Brian and I did know was that this job would be way beyond our capabilities, and we would have to wait until we could seek out the advice of a contractor.
Almost 11 years later, in January 2021, my plan came together. Brian and I were ready to seek out someone to survey the job, and we shared my idea with a friend and local contractor, J.Reynolds Custom Homes and Renovations who said it actually was doable!
Breaking through the wall to join the 2 closets
Shower closet gutted – looking into the toilet/sink room:
Gutting the adjacent shower closet
Busting through the original walls to create the new angle of the outer wall
Build-out of the new outer wall
Outer wall completed
Marrying the 2 closest together
I’m disappointed that I never took a “head-on” photo of the original vanity…but you can get an idea of what it looked like from the first photo in the below set:
We now have a full bathroom upstairs with the shower, toilet and vanity all in one room!
First shower in the new shower
Although Limoncello (below left) was the first to actually walk into the shower, she declined and gave the first shower actual to Sweet Reet.
Margarita christened our new shower in April of 2021, just two months before she gained her angel wings.
Miscellaneous construction photos along the way
It is with mixed emotions that I announce Margarita’s early retirement from Therapy Dog work. It has been decided that it is not in Margarita’s best health interest for her to receive vaccinations. Recently, her rabies titer test revealed she no longer has immunity and would require a rabies booster. Her Therapy Dog registration can not be renewed without a rabies vaccination.
Although I am saddened that she cannot carry on with official Therapy Dog visits, I’m thrilled that she can to continue to be actively involved in our online math lessons with my students for the remainder of this school year.
In the last 4 years, Sweet Reet has formed a bond with so many individuals. In hospital and retirement home settings, she provided much comfort to the elderly. Within the school setting, she has improved students’ success socially, emotionally and cognitively. I am absolutely honored to have been a small part in the huge role she has played in making a remarkable difference in the lives of countless people of all ages.
Some highlights from Margarita’s four years of Therapy Dog work:
- initiated the therapy dog program in the Shamong Township School District as the district’s first Therapy Dog
- featured in the Burlington County Times newspaper Not once …but twice!
- participated on campus at Rowan College’s Mental Health Week event, while she helped enlighten students and staff on the positive benefits therapy dogs provide for students with depression and anxiety
- attended YMCA Camp Ockanickon with sixth graders
- appeared on Action news
- had her very own district-approved Google Classroom
- featured in “School Leader” – the official publication of the NJ School Boards Association
- participated in a 2021 Burlington County, NJ Board of Education Director’s Meeting explaining the benefits of a Therapy Dog Program in a school setting and how she was able to engage students during remote learning (Click HERE to see her slideshow)
Of all the adventures our dogs have taken me on, this — 𝘣𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘳 — has been the most rewarding of all. I am beyond grateful to have witnessed the significant and lasting impressions Rita has made in the lives of those she visited – both in person and virtually.
In her retirement, we will attempt to accomplish the last two items of her lymphoma Adventure List. Beyond that, you’ll find her lounging on the dock, GLAMping, and visiting outdoor wineries and breweries.
Shamong Township Therapy Dog Photos from Pre-Covid In-person Teaching:
Coloring pages made from photos of Rita with students:
Remote Teaching with Rita:
Virtual School Spirit Days
Shamong Township School District Staff Yearbook Photo:
Rita’s Virtual Classroom:
Happy Easter 2021!
We camped at Spacious Skies Shenandoah Views Campground (formerly Luray KOA)
Our campsite was perfect, the campground was awesome… and the views were amazing!
On Easter Day, the Easter Bunny hopped all the way down to our camper in VA! He left their baskets and hid our pack’s color-coded eggs…
The Pups’ annual Easter egg hunt:
Note: this post is back-dated. I am currently attempting to catch up on many missed memories that I failed to post over the last 2-3 years). I appreciate your patience as I attempt to bring my diary of “special moments with my dogs” up-to-date!
April 3, 2021
During my last Spring Break as a Special Education teacher in 2021, I realized just how grateful I was to have a camper….Not that I wasn’t thankful to have one pre-Covid, but now more than ever I am so appreciative that we could take a trip and still remain safe and self-contained in our own “home” during Covid times. On the way to our 2021 Easter Camping trip, we did an overnight stay at Quattro Goombas Winery/ Brewery/ Pizza Kitchen (a Harvest Hosts spot) in Aldie, Virginia, and it did not disappoint!
All safety precautions were in place and they provided curbside pickup for beer, wine, and Pizza for those who were not comfortable dining/drinking indoors … everything was delicious and there was plenty of room to walk the dogs on the grounds!
This was our first outing after the Covid oubreak