Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. My mom has been gone almost 20 years now, but I still wish I could pick up the phone and just say hi. I also think of all my dog kids I have had over the years and wish I could pet each one again. Then there is the saddest thing of all for me. I would have a 20 something son or daughter had it survived. Strange that all this comes to mind only on’ mom’s day. It is interesting to me how our psyches work and what will trigger memories. Just some musing from here.
Yes. I mean the pun as I have actually heard people say this. They want a dog, but when the dog grows up they say it is no longer cute so it ends up going to someone else, or worse, a shelter. This frame of mind I just do not understand.
Sangria is my pet dog. I have had working guide dogs all my life. However, I had always secretly wanted a pet dog so I could spoil it and, well, just have it as my pet. Of course, my guides are spoiled with love, but a working dog has to be treated differently in some respects.
I always thought I would get an older dog. I could skip all the potty training, chewing, etc. However, my pet came to me one year ago in the strangest fashion, and I had no choice but to take a puppy. Craig’s List had a notice from a gentleman that he had rescued a puppy from the highway. However, he couldn’t keep her as he had two other dogs and another dog ready to have puppies. Then came the postscript. She is totally blind. My sister-in-law was reading the ad, and all I said was that I thought I understood her. Faster than a speeding bullet, my sister-in-law had the gentleman on the phone, and we were in the car going across town to get her. The gentleman almost threw her at us, and there I was with a wriggling and extremely active little girl of no more than eight weeks of life. So much for the older dog.
It is now almost a year since she joined the family. I have housebroken her extremely well with only two or three accidents in the whole time. She also knows down, sit, stay sometimes (Lol), go crate and a few other commands that are still not perfect. She is still extremely active and sometimes is a brat chewing and shredding paper, but would I say she needs to go somewhere else? Not ever!!! What a perfect little pet!
So, I do not understand anyone who takes on a puppy and when tired of it can get rid of it. I worked way too hard with her to get her to the lady dog she is today. I understand sometimes people need to surrender their pet for one reason or another, but if it is just because the dog doesn’t fit with the cuteness factor of a puppy or it is getting old and a little more difficult to take care of, you are part of my “pet peeve.” An animal is a life commitment, and Sangria is mine!
Technology confounds me! You think something is so simple, but no.
First I got an iPhone. Three years later I am still trying to figure out all it does! LOL! When I was able to post my first blog post on my phone I thought I had done something really techie!!! However, I found out that people just do not post but have a profile, a picture for their blog, and make it different colors! HMMM, just a little beyond my capability. Thank goodness I have a very blog, among other technology things, savvy friend! So, I end up with a cool blog.
Now my friend tells me I need pictures for my blog. OK, I’m game. I take pictures, though I only know what I am taking in my mind. When I send the picture to my friend it is my living room carpet, not Lex or Sangria playing in their sweet way. Oops! Only takes six more pictures before my friend has something that she can doctor with one of her magic picture fixer-uppers to send to my blog.
Then I see that another blog can be reblogged. Simple, right? First I had to find the blog I want to reblog. Finally after three attempts I had it. I see reblog right away which was pure luck! LOL. I ask it to reblog. However, where does it let me tell it where to reblog? I start searching. Fifteen minutes later I fine the magic reblog button with my blog name chosen. Woohoo, happy dance! I figured it out. I proceed with the reblog, but when I look for it on my blog, oh my, not there! Later I try again figuring even if there are two or three reblogs, well, I am learning after all! This time I see the name of the reblog in my posts, but when I try to access the actual blog post I reblogged, it cannot be opened! I guess that is another question for my blogging friend.
That is my blogging and reblogging story. Perhaps tomorrow I will tell you my story about trying to use Facebook, more confounding technology! State tuned!
This is real, not a scam!! Help name my friend’s novella for naming rights and a 25 dollar gift card. First 1000 words of the novella, to help you give it a name, are at email@example.com under
help me name this novella. Submissions will be taken until May 15. The novella will be released in late May or early June on Amazon. I will be doing the editing. So, let’s have some fun with this challenge!
So what do you write about after being away from your blog for a while? Dogs’ of course! What a pair they are!
Morning is play time. When I first came home I was a little worried about a male 60-pound lab playing with a 20-pound blind dog, even if she was a little roughneck! I kept him on leash, but Sangria tormented him! So, I had to trust nature, though mom was not totally comfortable! [smiles)
I need not worry. Lex seemed to just realize Sangria was small. At first he acted as if she was his big dog friend. He would slap his feet in a play bow, and I would worry he would hit her and possibly hurt her inadvertently. She would grab a toy, run in circles and growl like a little lion. If things got too rough, I would stop things and ask Lex to come, but over the last two weeks, he has learned she is just a bit smaller than he is. He even seems to know she cannot see. If he has a toy he will put it in front of her face to tease her into grabbing it, and the growling and tugging is on. The noise sounds as if I live in a zoo, and if the birds join in the racket … Well, I live in a zoo!!!
I am sure you wonder where in Muir woods I got off to. A posse was sent out, and it successfully found us! Oh, I’m sorry. That’s a dream. Really wish I could have stayed among the trees, though. The air was enchantingly clear and smelled like pines and other foliage. No problems with asthma there. Those trees were pumping oxygen and taking away the CO2 making it the sweetest air one can breathe.
Muir woods was our last workout before graduation. We walked a mile into the woods and a mile back. At the Muir Woods gift shop I bought a live giant sequoia. I bet my sequoia outlives me if someone takes good care of it. Both on the trail and in the gift shop Lex surprised me by staying focused on his work and ignoring everything and everyone around him.
The afternoon was a meeting to get our binders with all vet information, ID and ADA cards and a paper called Fun Things about my Puppy written by the puppy raisers. I had two puppy raisers. Both of them were experienced having raised six prior puppies apiece. One couple was a little younger than me, and the other couple was retired. For that second couple, Lex was their first successful graduate. The rest of the afternoon was ours. I did laundry and packed, yuck!
Graduation day was for the puppy raisers and us. I was privileged to meet the pilot who flew his plane into the Hudson river and saved everyone aboard. He and his wife have a now retired breeder, and one of her puppies was in our class.
My puppy raisers were wonderful. They told me he was an easy puppy to raise, but no puppy is easy! They still had to housebreak, put up with chewing and grabbing things he shouldn’t have and still teach guide puppy manners on the many socialization trips the puppy club went on. They did a great job with him, and I deeply appreciate all they taught.
Graduation was short and sweet. We were able to say thank you to the staff, instructors and most of all to our puppy raisers. Then the puppy raisers spoke and said a few words about raising. Then they handed the leash to the student. No dry eyes, at least in that part of the building!
After graduation I had dinner as a full graduate at a restaurant near the campus. It was really fun to spend time with my puppy raisers as a graduate. Of course, the food was good too.
Easter Sunday was my return home. Lex took both plane rides in stride, sleeping most of the way home. When we brought Sangria out to meet Lex, she went into barking mode. I petted her for a while to calm her, and we let the dogs sniff each other in all the appropriate doggy places. When we took them to the back yard, Sangria became very frightened. However, a few more minutes of doggy greeting, and she got back her terrier mojo. She seemed to say, “you are not Allegra, but I kinda like you. Just remember who has been here the longest!”
So now it is Tuesday night. Though I am a little worried about Lex with Sangria because he has such big paws and body, I know he is trying hard to be gentle. I am keeping Lex close to me so we can bond, and this time will also give him time to get used to Sangria. So far my boy has done great work at home, and things will only get better from here on.
It has been a while since I sent an update. I am so busy. However, here is my update from Tuesday to Thursday a.m.
The week is flying by! I thought the first week went fast, but here we are two days from graduation.
Tuesday began the customization for each student. Our routes are made as close to our home area traffic and things we will encounter in our everyday life as they can make them. We started out by working with Lex to target first steps and then the railing using clicker training. Our base for training was a coffee shop called Peet’s. They had wonderful coffee there and some cookies that looked like animals sitting down. Wonderful! Vanilla and chocolate. Our walk was to Petco. I bought stainless-steel bowls with rubber on the bottom so it will not slip on my floor. I also bought some almond-vanilla Earth Bath spray I just love. The dogs hate it, but it makes them smell really nice! After both of us were finished with our travels, we went back to campus and went to the gift shop. I was able to finally get leash luggage to carry pickup bags that hooks to the leash. This was something I was determined to buy. I also bought a T-shirt and a second leash.
Tuesday night was the optional night route. My partner went first, and per usual they were their speedy selves! My friend runs!! Of course, so does his cutest and fastest little labby girl you ever saw. They are matched beautifully.
My turn came up, and we worked to the street to start the route perfectly. However when I turned left and walked a way down the block, I knew I might be in trouble. I had a couple minor pain squeezes in my chest, and my breathing seemed to not be right, as if I was beginning an asthma attack. I kept going down the block and everything ebbed leaving me with just a feeling of a little shortness of breath. We worked our way down to B street and our coffee shop called Royal Grounds with no more difficulty except the nagging shortness of breath. We stood for a while and then started the other half of the route which was uphill to our right. Well, that got me. By the time I was to the first street I was frightened. My heart was in palpitations and I was definitely out of breath. never have I had to ask for a shortened route, but I needed to stop! My instructor stayed with me, and the van was brought. My blood pressure was up, but after using my asthma inhaler things settled down quickly. All in all, though, it was a good route, and Lex seemed to not be worried about the night and things associated with it. Oh, also in the afternoon we had vet examinations. Lex has been a really healthy boy, and he thought the vet was just wonderful!
Wednesday continued the customization. We went back to San Rafael and did our primary route again. As I was not feeling very well, I asked for shorter routes, which I did successfully. Thinking about what happened the night before, I determined it might be too much caffeine as I had been drinking a lot, and I mean a lot, of caffeinated coffee. So, I dropped down to one cup a day, and
Wednesday was my caffeine withdrawal day. I felt awful, and by evening I got in bed immediately after our last relieving time. Our afternoon trip was a country walk. He did well, but mom just squeaked through, still good though.
Since I have been writing throughout the day, I will tell about all of Thursday. What a difference a day makes. This morning I was bright and with it, at least as with it as my one brain cell will let me be! (LOL) Great day! More work with Peet’s as our base of operation. We went to a grocery store, and he never even tried to help me pick out anything! Good boy!!!! We also did some more clicker training to a pole. He showed it to me immediately. HE also targeted a railing on the steps we had been working on. I taught him these two things, and he really understood what I wanted! Our last route in San Rafael was this afternoon. It was the primary route, and we both nailed it!
So, with that last trip, we head into the last day! Tomorrow is my favorite work of all. We will go to Muir Woods with all the redwoods and the trail walk that is awesome! I am just so happy with Lex, and after Muir Woods and graduation we will go home to our life together.
I am one day closer to going home. For me there is some anxiety attached to home. No trainer to tell me when he is being a bad little boy or actually taking me around something. NO trainer to prompt me to do the second part of a time out and feed when he responds to it. Just nobody to depend on. However, yesterday in San Francisco showed me we both have it at least the beginning of together. His work with pedestrian clearances was really good. His obstacle clearances, except for a parking meter I almost kissed literally, was careful and thought out. When it was narrow, he slowed down and seemed to know his mom just might not fit through that space and went another way. He showed me the world of big city was very doable for us, though with my hearing loss it will not be a daily occurrence.
The afternoon was plain fun. We went back to San Rafael did a route to Petco, targeting a pole along the walk. I bought some bowls with rubber on the bottom so they will not slip on my floor at home. I also bought almond-vanilla spray to make him smell really nice. Most of the dogs I have used it on hate it, but mom always wins. (smiles(
Yes, there is some anxiousness about getting closer to home, but this boy continues to show me that we are well matched and getting ready to meet our world together. Today will show me even more.
Do you notice days off go by with lightning speed? Monday of our second week is here. Already?
I still had to get up with Lex Sunday morning. Sure couldn’t keep his tummy waiting for breakfast! After all, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!
After morning tune-up, I finally got my first cup of coffee and good conversation with some classmates and Mick, our RA at night Saturday night. There was a continental breakfast, but I was waiting for brunch where we could build our own breakfast.
At ten a few of us went to San Rafael to a coffee shop on our route where the trainers always stop. On the way back we stopped at the mall where some classmates bought some Sees Candy, a famous candy from this area. Then we came home. By the way, we could not bring our dogs, and using the cane again was very strange feeling after walking with our dogs all week.
On our return, I successfully took Lex to the paddock to play. He had a wonderful time running after a rope toy. I was thrilled also because almost every time I asked him to come, there he was right at my hand! Yay Lex!
Breakfast was even better than I thought it would be. I had a cheese, bacon and onion omelet, orange juice, toast and coffee. The omelet was the best I have ever had!
After resting a couple hours we had the highlight of Sunday, puppies!!! Without our dogs, of course, we went to the puppy kennels and got to pet an 6 week old black lab and an 8 week old golden retriever, well he was actually 3/4 golden and 1/4 lab! Can you say adorable?
At4:00 we had a short session describing T-touch, a massage for dogs. It was great! I just about fell asleep!!!! Lex? I guess he enjoyed all the pets!
The rest of the evening was quiet. I think I caught up on some sleep, and now the real work begins again!