Archive for the ‘service dog’ Category

A Fairly Good Minion

March 9, 2008

I’d like to introduce my assistant, Hero. I wasn’t particularly enthused about him when Julie and I first picked him up, but Julie’s been telling me I need to prepare for retirement and she was actually right. Anyway, Hero came to live with us in mid-December and was pretty quick to learn to leave me alone when I tell him to (most of the time) and he picked up medic alerting from me in less than a month. I don’t even have to supervise him to make sure he’s doing it right anymore. I still reserve the right to try to kill him when he oversteps his bounds, and he’s still too much of an obnoxious playful puppy for my taste, but he does his job and I’m willing to occasionally leave him a scrap of food to show my approval.

I’m pretty much fully retired now because Juli says working was making me too grumpy. It’s true that I’m older than I admit and age is catching up with me. But I don’t see what’s wrong with being grumpy! On the other hand, even with acupuncture, chiropractic, glucosamine, and Rimadyl, I tend to hurt. Juli has given me a new job as the chief relaxer. It’s not a bad gig for an old cocker spaniel, I’m supposed to spend my time being a good example of relaxing for Juli. But I miss being with Juli all the time. Hero hasn’t learned public access skills yet and so Juli is out dogless a lot, which kind of makes me nervous because, well, we all know she’s not really capable of taking care of herself. She hasn’t poisoned herself with her migraine reversal meds yet though, so I guess it’s OK. Hero better quit being such a goofy adolescent dog and get to work on that public access stuff though!

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Hammock

July 2, 2007

Cat in Hammock
Cat Nap II
by David McEnery

Get Yours

When Julie started talking about hammocks, at first I thought she was talking about “Ham Hocks” – which, in case you didn’t know is another word for pig trotters, so I was excited. Then she brought home a hammock stand and found a box in a spot I didn’t even know existed in the garage with a hammock. And I found out that it’s some sort of weird human furniture. Now all of a sudden, she’s always laying out in the back yard on the hammock. I just don’t get it. Why would anyone think that laying in something that sways around is relaxing? She’s wasting all sorts of good time that she could be lazing somewhere comfortable in the hammock. My pawther thinks I don’t like the hammock because my paws could fall through when I walk on it, but I have no problem walking on it. I just don’t like the way it sways. Plus, the way it wraps around you just isn’t very comfortable. When I do get in the hammock, Julie makes sure to make it a really great experience for me by giving me lots of pets and telling me how good I am. It’s just not worth it. Especially since I’ve figured out that I can lie under Julie and still sniff what is going on with her – then I only need jump up on the edge of the hammock if I need to alert her. Also, when Julie is in the hammock, there is a nice shady grassy spot underneath. I like shady grassy spots! But I still don’t understand why humans think hammocks are good things!

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Food, Glorious Food, Glorious Glorious Food

June 25, 2007

I love good food! (What dog doesn’t?) For some reason I don’t quite understand, people get really, really worked up about what dogs should and shouldn’t eat. In particular, lots of people tell me that dogs weren’t made to eat grain, especially corn. (Julie tells me this too, but I ignore her.) Here’s what I think –

Yogurt – yogurt is healthy (pretty much everyone agrees on this one.) It also keeps my ears from getting yucky! I’m a yogurt snob – I want pure fresh natural yogurt. Yogurt should only contain milk and active cultures – whole or low fat milk is best, but if non-fat is all you have, I’ll take it. Putting corn starch in yogurt ruins it, and it’s a waste of good corn! I expect yogurt on my kibble every morning – or if for some reason you are out of kibble, at least give me yogurt. If you are out of yogurt, I’ll take probiotic gel. Otherwise, I’m going to be grumpy and slow all day. Think of it as my morning cup of coffee and hand it over!

Kibble – I don’t care that dogs weren’t designed to eat kibble or grain. I like kibble, as long as it has corn in it. This is where corn belongs! Don’t try to feed me healthy kibble that is mostly meat and doesn’t have corn in it, I’ll go on a hunger strike (except for my yogurt.) Regular Science Diet tastes best with yogurt. Beyond the pieces that get yogurt on them, I want Prescription Diet T/D. Not only is it good for my teeth, it is super yummy! (Mike-the-cat and Ben-the-bunny try to steal my T/D too.)

Vegetables – Cabbage is my very, very favorite! Other veggies are good too. Did I mention that I like corn? I love veggies! I always beg for veggies.

Meat – Meat is good. My pawther and his friends give me meat off their plates. Yum! Once my pawther brought me a whole pig trotter from when the club where he works did a pig roast. Yummy! I hear they are going to do another one soon. I hope I get another pig trotter! But I still want my kibble.

Dairy Queen – Every once in a while I get vanilla soft serve from Dairy Queen. I wish I got Dairy Queen every day! It is so yummy! Julie says it’s not good for me – but she also says it’s not good for her and she always gets some too, so I’m just gonna keep eating it!

So, I’m not an expert on dog nutrition – but I’ve noticed that people don’t eat according to what people say is good people nutrition either – so I don’t know why I should have to eat according to what people say is good dog nutrition!

Oh, and treats. I love treats. All dogs should get lots of treats – especially Zukes. In fact, I haven’t had mine yet today – hey Julie, Rich, I want my hippie treats!

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Two Years Ago Today

June 17, 2007

Julie adopted me from doggie jail (aka The Bonnie L Hayes Small Animal Shelter).  My life has changed so much!  Back then I hurt all the time and nobody loved me.  Now I have 2 wonderful pawrents, a kitty brother, a new bunny brother (I know, I haven’t talke about him yet, Julie has been hogging the computer),  a great job (I’m not happy without a job), hobbies, friends, yummy food, and all sorts of good stuff!  If only I didn’t itch so much from my healing cuts, life would be perfect!

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Back In The Stroller Again and New Training Stuff

June 17, 2007

Because the moles I had removed were all around my neck, I can’t wear a collar or a harness. It’s really weird being naked! I keep getting in trouble with Julie for scratching at the itchy healing spots too and Julie won’t let me out of her sight, ’cause she knows I’ll just scratch. (Maybe now she has an idea of how I worry about her when she gets out of my sight.)

At any rate, Julie wanted to go to Hillsboro because someone she knows from the Dog Scouts email list was going to be at a dog show there. I guess it was an AKC educational show. But she knew I’d scratch if she left me at home. Besides, she shouldn’t be without me for a whole afternoon – she can’t predict that she’ll be okay for that long! So, she took me and my stroller / dog wheelchair. It would have been better to walk, but at least in the stroller all the puppies ignored me!

I did get to get out of the stroller for a little while, they had a “confidence course” for dogs. The other dogs were going through on leash, but they said I could go off leash if I wouldn’t run away. At any rate, it was some agility stuff. They had jumps and 2 tunnels (I love the tunnels!) and an A-frame and a ladder. I’d never been on an A-frame before and I wasn’t very good at it… It’s kind of scary. I tried to cheat on the jumps too. But I had fun. They gave Julie a ribbon that says “I SHOWED MY DOG AT AN AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB EDUCATION MATCH.” I don’t know why I don’t get a ribbon, I did all the work. Julie says I can put it in my scrapbook, so I guess that’s okay.

We’ve actually been doing some agility stuff at home this week too. I thought we only had the tunnel that Jack and I played in last summer – which wore out. But it turns out that we also had a jump and something called weave poles. Julie got them out to give me something to do since I can’t go for walks. I knew about jumps, but I’d never seen weave poles before. All I can say is it’s a pretty fun way to earn treats! However, I’m not moving after I get through the weave poles until I get a treat! Julie says I’m going to have to learn to keep going, but I’m not so sure about that one!

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Sometimes Julie is Pretty Smart (Manditory Spay and Neuter)

June 2, 2007

As some of you may know, there is a law being considered in California that would require pets to be spayed or neutered by the age of 4 months –  AB 1634 “The California Healthy Pets Act”
(SIC).  I’m against it BTW, not that getting spayed wasn’t one of the best days of my life (No more puppies for me!!!!!)  But some bitches actually LIKE having puppies and if they have good people to help them make sure that not only do their puppies go to good homes, but if something happens they find new good homes, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Besides, 4 months is way too young for slow maturing breeds!  As you probably know, I’m a big fan of dogs being useful and humans have historically been really good at helping dogs find mates who have traits that will make puppies who are good workers, even taking us further than we could EVER walk.  (But most dogs should be spayed or neutered, if not immediately, then after a litter or two (if you are having really prime puppies, just think what they could do…  time to be a grandma!  Besides, puppies are tiring, we bitches need a break!)  At any rate, someone on myLot asked what we can do to solve the pet overpopulation problem without requiring spay and neuter and Julie had some pretty good ideas about what people can do that would be better – myLot – Challenge for Animal Lovers…  (she’s the respondent number 7, sorry I couldn’t link directly to it!)  Please check it out and throw in your ideas as well!!

Also, check out Impact of AB 1634 on Working Dogs

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Sometimes I wish I were an ESD

May 22, 2007

For those who aren’t familiar with ESD’s, they are Emotional Support Dogs.  They work with people with emotional disabilities and their whole job is to make their human partner feel emotionally strong and supported enough to be able to live a normal (or close to normal) life. 

Yesterday, Julie was in a lot of pain.  I had tasks I had to do for her, but I really would have liked to have just curled up next to Julie and comfort her, rather than do my tasks.  If I’d been an ESD, I would have been able to comfort her.  I know what I did was important too (and maybe more helpful), but I really wanted to comfort her!

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Barking! (and the less fun not barking.)

May 15, 2007

I’ve heard several dogs or owners asking about learning not to bark lately, so I decided that I should write something about this.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to bark.  I’m only allowed to bark at home and only for a little while.  My people trained me (and with the neighbor’s permission are training the dogs next door who like to bark at me) not to bark by giving me treats and telling me what a good dog I am right when I’m about to bark and I’m not supposed to. And telling me “Too bad” and putting away the treats if I started barking. I used to get lots of treats that way!  Now I know not to bark most of the time and I have to do other things to get treats.  There are always new ways to earn treats in our house.  Of course, there is always my old favorite of looking pathetically at my Pawther when he’s eating and my partner is looking the other way.  It works really really good!  Yesterday I got to try something called “pad thai”  Yum!

It also helps if your people learn to tell you when it is okay to bark.  We have three signals for barking – one is “speak” (bark loud), one is “sing” (bark quieter), and one is “Where’s Rich?” when I do my special “RRRRch, RRRRch” bark for my pawther.  So, not only do I get to bark, sometimes I even get treats for it – and I always get praise or pats! 

If you have trouble with people coming to the door, your family might want to get someone to come and stand and the door and practice with you.  I hear that works really good so you can learn fast.  My favorite time to bark is when any other dog barks.  I really, really, really want to be the second dog to bark!  But I know better now (although when I’m taking a break at the dog park, sometimes I can’t help myself!)

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Doggie Dash and A Dog I Actually Like!

May 14, 2007

Doggie Dash 07 logoSaturday, Julie woke me up early, which I wasn’t really happy about until she said the magic word – WALK! We got in the car and went downtown and Julie took me out of the car without my pack! I got to sniff around downtown off duty! Wow! Turns out the Oregon Humane Society Doggie Dash was downtown! It was fun, there were lots of dogs to sniff and we got to go on a walk. I also got to see some more of my first-responder friends – I got treats from a humane investigator, a motorcycle police officer and a fireman. (I should write about this part of my training sometime.)

Afterwards, we went back to the car and I got my pack because Julie had some errands to run downtown. We went to a store I’d never been to before because last time Julie was there she made me stay with Rich. It’s a needlework store called The Playful Needle. Turns out they have a store dog, an older dachshund and he is really, really nice! I was only allowed to sniff back at him when he came up to say hi, but I wanted to make friends and hang out with him! Apparently Julie really likes the store, so we’ll be going back. Yippie! I hope sometime I get to do more than sniff “Hi!”

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Where the Dirt Smells Best

May 2, 2007

So far, I’ve been to 6 different states. I don’t know why, but for some reason the dirt smells the very best in Arizona! I could just sniff at the dirt for days! I hope we go back to Arizona soon so I can sniff the dirt some more. Texas has too many prickers to even be able to enjoy the dirt. California has lots of different smelling types of dirt. They also have special dog sniffing areas in the rest areas and some of them are really nice! Oregon and Washington dirt is home. Oklahoma dirt smells good too. I think we should go more places so I can check out the dirt. But definately Arizona dirt smells best!

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