I visited the Oregon Garden on my recent trip north. Located in Silverton, Oregon (near Salem), the gardens are a huge display of all kinds of plants beautifully arranged into types and themes, such as roses, conifers, vegetables, oaks, a sensory garden, a pet-friendly garden, and so much more. I first visited the gardens last winter when most plants wore their winter brown. This time, I saw a lot more flowers and was blessed with warm sunny weather.
The gardens are wonderful, but my favorite part was the water garden. As I approached, I heard something splash. I looked quickly, saw nothing, took another step. Splash. Again, I looked and saw nothing. Another step. Another splash. Was that the back of a frog disappearing into the muddy water?
As I proceeded, the step-splash, step-splash continued. It became a game. Could I step and see the frog before it disappeared? These frogs were too fast for me. But then up ahead on the bank, I spied a big green frog with a red head. Its colors were so bright and it stood so still that I wondered if it was real. I squatted, cranked my camera up to maximum telephoto and took a picture. No response from the frog. I moved closer and closer until it jumped into the water, its long legs stretched out behind it as it dove into the mud.
At the next pond, I saw two more frogs, darker green, bumpy and still as rocks. I let them be. I’d seen my frog. He’s in the picture, but pretty hard to see. It’s that green dot in the center, on the edge of the water.
Annie and I have decided to delay testing for therapy dog certification. We’re still adjusting to the many requirements, including the new harness. Annie has adjusted so well that she has managed to slip out of the harness three times in the last week. No matter how much I tighten the straps, she does her Houdini act and gets out. But she is pulling much less, and I’m confident we’ll pass the next test with no problem.
Meanwhile, Oregon Coast Therapy Animals listened to a talk from veterinarian Dr. Charles Hurty on Saturday. Boy, did we learn a lot. Here’s one important tip: When your vet suggests vaccinations, find out what type they are and whether the dog really needs them. The experts are finding that some vaccines are useless, some are dangerous and many are unnecessary because the dogs already have immunity from previous shots. So don’t be afraid to ask.