Archive for the ‘Service Dogs’ 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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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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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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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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Hotels!

March 9, 2007

By listening in over dinner tonight, I found out I’m going to San Diego
at the end of the month so Julie can go to the SANS 2007 conference. 
Conferences are good – I get to doze under the table all day and
sometimes I find friends to spoil me.  I already have friends at SANS,
so I hope they are there!  And we’re probably driving!  Yippie!  Road
trip!

Plus, I adore staying in hotels even though I have to be on my very best behavior.

Speaking of hotels…

Julie set me up with my very own hotel booking site!  You can even search for dog-friendly hotels! 

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Jack the Bunny and Snow

January 17, 2007

Jack, my bunny brother, isn’t doing very well lately. A week ago last Monday, he couldn’t get up on his back legs. He didn’t seem too concerned just frustrated, but Julie and Rich were really worried. Julie and I took him in to see Dr Dahlquist, the bunny vet, on Tuesday. They spent a lot of time looking at him and trimmed off some of his muddy matted fur (he likes to roll in the mud.) They gave him some bunny NSAIDS (I guess it’s kind of like the Rimadyl I take when my arthritis bothers me) and said he had something wrong with his back. The vet suggested Julie take him to see Dr. Mary again, and if chiropractic didn’t help try something called acupuncture. Jack was feeling better after the NSAID kicked in. Then on Thursday we took him to see Dr. Mary. That helped – he was wobbly but he was actually walking not just hopping. Jack broke his leg before I knew him and he only walks on his good days, mostly he prefers to hop. It’s kind of like me, when my arthritis is bothering me, I like to run so I can use my back legs together, but when I don’t hurt I use my back legs separately. Of course, Jack is a bunny and hopping is their main way of getting around anyway.

Today though, Jack can’t use his back legs again. Julie called Dr Dahlquist and got Jack more NSAIDS, but it hasn’t helped as much, he’s still pretty much just dragging his back legs. I guess I’ll be finding out what this acupuncture stuff is, because Jack is really nervous in the car and at the vet, so it’s my job to go with him and be calm so he knows he has nothing to worry about. He was pretty nervous, but Julie says he is even more nervous when I’m not there!

The really sad thing is that Jack LOVES snow (silly bunny) and we got a very rare several inches of snow today and he can’t enjoy it. Speaking of snow, I hope we get to go back to the dog park soon, we were there Saturday and Sunday when there was also a little snow on the ground and I really like how the dog park smells with snow! It’s really the only good thing about snow. Actually, snow is better than rain, cause you don’t get as wet.

Flu and other non-fun parts of being a service dog

January 4, 2007

Julie had the flu for the last week and a half of December.  I thought when you had the flu, you went to the vet and got subcutanious fluids until you felt better; but Julie just stayed at home and wouldn’t go to the human vet.  I was really worried about her.  Most of the time I stayed right next to her at all times, not even wanting to take a dinner or bathroom break even when Julie told me to.  At one point though, she was so sick that I went and sat in the hall where I could watch the doors for potential help and keep an ear on Julie.  If only I could reach the lever on the front door, I would have gone looking for help.  (Rich wasn’t home.)  Julie said she’d talked to the nurse and she was not so sick that she had to go see the doctor, but I disagreed!

At any rate, it was no fun for either of us.  She’s finally better now though. 

Of course, having a healthy partner isn’t all fun and games.  Since we’d missed Christmas, we went to visit Julie’s family for New Year’s weekend.  (Also we needed to go to the Tillamook Farmer’s Co-Op since after all the stress I got a yeast infection in my ear and they sell yummy Probiocin, lactobacilli for animals, which wipes out the nasties in my ear really fast.)  We went letterboxing on Saturday and the stairs to the observation tower at Barview Jetty were unlocked.  Julie decided to climb up to the top of it.  This is a 4 story tower with metal grate stairs – talk about scary!  (Julie did have my leash attached to my harness and herself, so I was safe, but looking down the through the stairs – not my idea of fun!)  She actually let me wait for her half-way up the last flight of stairs, but it still wasn’t much fun!  But that’s my job, and I certainly wouldn’t have let her go up there without me!

Happy Meal!

December 13, 2006

Just when a girl thinks she’s under appreciated, she gets a real thank you!  Yesterday, I had to go to Les Schwab so Julie could get her tires changed.  Les Schwab always has lots of ill behaved human puppies jumping around and there is yummy popcorn on the floor that I’m not allowed to eat, even though I practically have to lay in it.  Then we had to go to the library (boring) and shopping (double boring.)  Plus I just wasn’t having a very good day, it was one of those days I really would have liked to spend on a nice long walk, not working – though I didn’t show it except when it was time to go back to work from a break.  Then Julie took me to McDonalds and bought some food.  When we got back in the car, it turns out it was a chicken nugget Happy Meal!  I love McDonalds’ fries!  (Sometimes I’m bad when we are at home and I steal them from my pawther if he’s not looking.  It’s the only food worth being that bad for.)  I’d never had chicken nuggets before but WOW!!!  It made up for my bad day.

A Very Hard Day

December 7, 2006

Today started out pretty easy.  Julie was working from home and having a good day, so I pretty much got to hang out and doze at home.  However, early in the afternoon, we went out and everything started to change.  We went to a park I’d never been to before to go letterboxing and that was pretty good, since I was allowed to sniff around.  I was glad to get back in the car though, since it was cold and windy.  I wouldn’t have been if I’d know where we were going though.  Mike needed his cat license renewed, so Julie made me go with her to animal control.  I can tell an animal shelter from far away and they make me really, really nervous.  Before I found Julie, I was a shelter frequent flyer and I’m always afraid they’ll make me go back.  Julie has been working with me to be comfortable at shelters, last week we went to the store at the Humane Society to buy really yummy treats and then sat there for a while while I got treats.  And today, as soon as we went into the shelter, Julie started giving me good treats.  But I was sure happy when we left, except that as soon as we got to the car, Julie realized that she’d locked her keys in the car, so we had to go back into the shelter and wait for AAA.  I had to spend almost an hour at the shelter!  I was really good though and was able to focus on Julie the whole time we were there.  In the past, I’ve had trouble putting aside my fear enough to focus on anything, let alone work when at the shelter, so I’m really improving.  I overheard one of the shelter workers tell Julie that it’s not unusual to be nervous at the shelter, so that made me feel better.

After we finally left the shelter, we had to go shopping.  Shopping is about the most boring thing on earth!  I’ll go anywhere for Julie, but I do hate shopping.  I guess I hide it well, because strangers are always surprised when Julie tells them that, but I really don’t understand why Julie doesn’t just order everything online so we don’t have to go shopping!

When we finally got home, Julie and Rich decided to go out to dinner.  Normally, this is fine – although I’m not allowed to sniff at things, I can hold my nose in the air and smell and boy do restaurants smell good!  However, tonight, they decided to go to Chang’s Mongolian Grill.  Chang’s has a buffet line where the people pick out their food and then the chefs cook it.  There are always a lot of raw meat and veggies on the floor that I have to ignore.  That’s not the problem though.  The problem is that the particular Chang’s we go to most of the time has this really narrow aisle next to the buffet and there is a vent with a loose cover that can fall out a little bit and snag my pack so I’m stuck.  (How do I know this?  Experience.)  I can see Julie looking out for me to make sure that I’m okay, but I’m still worried that it will happen again.  After being stuck at the shelter, I really would have preferred to go somewhere safer for dinner!  On the other hand, the good thing about going to Chang’s is that if I’m good, Julie and Rich give me their fortune cookies when we get back to the car.  I do like fortune cookies!  And Julie told me that she was very proud of me for behaving so well today in such hard situations – not proud enough to overlook my being mean to the cat when we got home though…