Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

December 31, 2007


Warning: Raising a guide puppy can become an obsession.

We have a number of errands and events to complete. For example, taking a book to the library, paying taxes, going to a movie, and returning items to store. I don't want Buddy to miss out so I am eagerly waiting for Buddy's recovery to complete these tasks. Planning your activities around your dog is not normal behavior.

The other day he didn't even want to gnaw on the rawhide bone and yesterday he chewed on it all day. This morning he wanted to play a little right after getting up, so he must be feeling a little better. Don't notice any difference when he walks, however very little weight placed on the injured foot when he stands.

It seems as though we have switched dogs again. Buddy has been more like Bella the last few days, very social and affectionate, not wanting to spend time by himself. It might have something to do with his injury and spending more time in his crate, but probably has more to do with the TLC that he is receiving. Carrying him up and down the stairs so he can be with us must be a bonding experience.

December 30, 2007

Where's Buddy?

Buddy usually accompanies us everywhere and we have grown accustomed to him being there. So when people do a double take as we walk by, we ask ourselves "What are they looking at?" Oh that's right, Buddy's here.

It sure felt strange going somewhere and leaving him at home. It was nice not to carry his backpack of supplies, take a "smoking" break outside between periods, worry about him getting stepped on, be stared at or talked about. We became average customers at establishments, almost invisible.

It was difficult to crate him, because he could tell we were going out. He loves to travel and see new people and places, especially hockey. He looked depressed as we locked the door to his crate. However, we probably missed him more, than he missed us. Our seatmates even asked where Buddy was.

December 29, 2007

Vet Visit

After two days of rest and no noticeable improvement, we decided to take Buddy to see the vet. This would be our only training opportunity in a few days. So we dressed him for work and took a short car ride. At the office, we worked on sitting properly and leaving other animals alone.

No issue except when an ill-mannered dog rushed Buddy to say "Hi". Buddy had to be polite, get up, and say "Hi" back. During the exam we got to see how well Buddy accepted being handled, manipulated, and probed. He was startled when he had his temperature taken. We had not practiced that at home.

The final outcome was as we suspected and hoped, a probable sprained knee. By the way his temperature was normal. The prescription was for complete bed rest and anti-inflammatory. Since we had started using aspirin, we would have to wait four days to begin another, so he advised us to continue the aspirin at a slightly lower dose, 3/4 tablet twice a day. If things get worse or do not improve within a week, then x-rays will be needed.

December 27, 2007

Injured Reserve List

Another busy day was planned, however Buddy is injured.

Unfortunately, when Buddy was favoring his foot yesterday, it wasn't because of the salt irritation. After returning home his limp became more pronounced and he just couldn't seem to get comfortable last night. Usually he lies by our feet and rests easy. Last night he was constantly repositioning.

This morning he was putting little to no weight on his right rear foot. Hopefully it is only a sprain from slipping on the ice yesterday. The treatment plan for today is aspirin and rest, only getting up to go outside for potty breaks. And of course a heavy dose of TLC.

Buddy's Horoscope: A visit the veterinarian may be in your future.

December 26, 2007

Trip to the Mall

On our walk this morning Buddy saw some garbage placed near the curb and barked like he had never seen it before. Not sure what phase he is going through. Last Friday he was intimimidated by a pine tree and barked at it until we got closer.

What better time to test the young pup than the day after Christmas? So to the mall we went. First, a quick stop at the pet store to pick up some dog food and work on ignoring other dogs. Everything went fine until checkout when he spied a rather large dog and he proceeded to bark at him like he was a pine tree. Hopefully the Mounds experience last week hasn't affected him.

Since Buddy's first trip to mall about a month ago included a potty break (#2) in the middle of the mall, we were not eager to duplicate that experience. It would be a good test. On the way to the mall, we stopped at two packed stores, each with long lines. This tested his ability to manuever in tight confines and his patience to wait. After a long walk this morning waiting patiently was not an issue, keeping him awake was.

Entering the mall, Buddy seemed to be favoring one of his feet, so we stopped to clean off any salt. This seemed to resolve the issue. Usually Buddy is excitable around smalll children, however he reacted calmly, barely noticing, when seeing them in the crowd. The dining area was very crowded, but Buddy worked well through the traffic and when we found a seat he remained in a Down/Stay even with all the distractions. Walking out, Buddy started acting a little different, so we hurried out of the mall to color the first snow bank he could find.

December 25, 2007

First Christmas

Buddy's first Christmas began with a visit to the nursing home where he was warmly received by the residents and guests. People that we had not met on prior visits refrained from petting Buddy since he was working. They were delighted when we explained his current employment status and encouraged their attention as long as he remained well behaved.

He was very adaptable to each resident's needs. Some were not put off by his kisses, others only wanted to pat his head. He was more than willing to accomodate each request and he seemed to know/learn what each expected. Each gift of kindness was appreciated with a thunderous wag of his big black tail.

The holiday time is about giving. Not sure if Budy understood this as he received more presents than anyone else, squeak toys, rawhide, compressed rawhide plain and with peanut butter. Gift giving to Buddy stopped at dinnertime, which were great for practicing Down/Stays. However, gift giving started again after dinner. Getting him to "leave" the crumbs on the floor after meals was unsuccessful.

During our holiday celebrations, he interacted with humans from the age of one to eighty-six and again he seems to be able to understand how to intereact with each person. Unless they are sitting on the floor and then you must want to play. I think that's a dog rule. Even with all the driving and change in routine, he behaved very well.

Thinking about the last seven months with Buddy, he understands the spirit of giving better than we do. He gives happiness, joy, love, and affection to everyone he meets everyday

December 23, 2007

House Guests Welcome

Last night we received some unexpected house guests. The knock on the door and ring of the doorbell cause Buddy to lose his head. He barks and gets overly exited to meet our guests. This has been difficult to work on because it usually catches us unprepared. He may or may not have the pinch collar on and never on leash.

Manners training occurs at any time of the day, scheduled, but usually impromptu. So last evening, we let the guests in and restrained Buddy by manually handling the pinch collar until we could get the leash attached. Eventually he settled down after about 5 minutes, but he definitely needs more practice. We are going to have to schedule guests so that we can be prepared to reinforce the proper behavior.

He was much better behaved in the morning after getting accustomed to the guests. This episode was especially difficult because two of our guests were children under five, which for some reason cause a similar excitability as other dogs. I think Buddy views them as peers and playmates. Last week at training we had a new child walk Buddy around before the class started. Another opportunity for improvement for Buddy.

Today, due to the inclement weather, we didn't leave the house except for his morning and afternoon walks. The rest of the day was more laid back and we worked on Sit/Stays, Down/Stays, and Cradling. Not very exciting, but like Marlene says, "Training is Boring", "Repetition, Repetition, Repetition".

December 22, 2007

New Food

Woke up , got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, ...

Took Buddy for a very long walk through the park, along the river, and to the library to see if Bella's picture in the carriage made the newspaper. Unfortunately, it didn't. Instead the front page had one of those goofy yellow labs pulling a sled, no offense Gilbert, Ben, and Fintan clan. :-)

After the walk, Buddy should have taken a nap, However, Jeff was working outside the house and Buddy couldn't relax, he wanted to be outside too. After working, we all went out for some chicken wings, Buddy didn't get any. He did finally get to take his nap during dinner. After dinner, we woke Buddy up and went shopping to his favorite store, Mounds.

At Mounds he met some very friendly people, a few friendly dogs, and one not so friendly dog. No blood, no foul. He just got snapped at, but rebounded quickly from the experience. He couldn't wait to get home and try out his new food dispensing toy. He needed no instructions or demonstration to make the food exit the toy. He seems somewhat confused when the toy is empty and food stops coming out. It makes him work for his food and eat slower too. We looked at boots to protect his feet from the salt, but found that they were not that easy to get on and he walked on three legs when we finally got one boot on. He did got a comfort muzzle in preparation for the trip to the Blackhawks game in two weeks - IL law.

The associate at Mounds helped assess Buddy's dietary needs and recommended a different food. His coat has always been course, which was not the case with Bella or the other puppies. Her coat was silky soft and now Buddy's will be too.

The trip finished with two additional stops for gifts and a little frozen custard. Buddy remained well behaved in the shopping frenzy and caught up on a little sleep at the custard shop. He must have been getting ready for his evening walk. He doesn't cry as much when we approach the park, but at the park the crying begins as he searches the horizon for other four legged friends. A few calm meet and greets with different unleashed dogs and then home to play with the new food dispenser.

December 21, 2007

Boring Day

Today Buddy was a pet, no outings just walks, playing with toys, and a lot of naps.

The only items worth noting today are:
1) He was home alone (crated) all morning which didn't seem to bother him a bit, even though he rarely spends a minute without being with one of us.
2) Since coming home, he has not bothered the Christmas tree or ornaments. Thanks to Fran and Tina for working on that issue. Maybe he doesn't like the taste of our ornaments or maybe Stormy was a bad influence.

December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday - Nine Months

Well last night we skipped our walk through the park in lieu of some real world experiences.

After a short walk around the block to prepare Buddy for the night's festivities. We picked up Jeff from work to attend a retirement party at a pub. By the time we got there the place was very crowded and Buddy worked his way through the crowd confidently. He was interested in all the new sights and smells. He met a few co-workers and then we found a safe location for him to sit. It was actually the tightest corner in the pub so there was lots of very close traffic which didn't bother him a bit, but were were vary careful to keep his tail out of the aisle. Buddy did plenty of meet and greets with strangers and remained calm for the entire hour and a half.

After drinks, we proceeded down the street for some Mexican food. Buddy relaxed as we waited for a table to free up. He was completely bored by this point and was wondering when his walk would start. Unfortunately for him not for about another hour.

After dinner, we stopped at Trader Joes to pick up some Christmas gifts and groceries. We walked him up and down all the aisles with many stops to ponder the appropriateness of each potential gift. Oh, and Buddy would not let us leave without grabbing a package of pressed rawhide chews. Buddy's behavior this evening was stellar, hardly a step or sniff out of place.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY !! - Buddy is nine months old today.

The highlight of the day was visiting his Aunt Rose, who he had not seen since May when he came to our house to visit. We actually stopped by to visit her at work. He enjoys travelling and going to new places and this was no exception. Not sure who was more excited Rose or Buddy. After a while, it was clear that Rose and her co-workers were more excited as Buddy laid his head down to contemplate life. He seems to be aware that he is out in public and he needs to be on his best behavior or he may just be tired. I like to think that he knows.

After a short work experience, Buddy shopped the rest of the morning away. Visiting two stores and a bakery without incident. If I had a dollar for every positive comment about Buddy's behavior/manners, I would be living comfortably.

In the evening we went for a walk in the park to catch up on the doggie news and play with a friend. An early dinner followed and hopefully we will catch up on our sleep before the busy weekend.

December 19, 2007

Come Here

After having Bella last week, we knew that we needed to work on getting Buddy to come when called. He will usually come when called, but when distracted, especially by other dogs. He may "give us the paw" and pretend that he doesn't hear us.

So yesterday on our walk we worked on calmly greeting other dogs, which were running free. This is extremely difficult, however, he did very well. He is starting to learn that when a dog approches or he sees a dog in the distance that he should sit. When clear of the other dogs we let him run free in the park. When he was preoccupied and some distance away we called him and had him sit in front of us using small pieces of jerky as a reward. Needless to say he is doing much better with his recalls.

This morning we took Buudy out for his walk through the park and he ended up running with a pack of about a dozen dogs for about an hour. The dogs varied in age from 10 weeks to 15 years and all different breeds. We could always tell where they were by the bark of the Boxer in the group. This was another opportunity to test his recall and use the reward jerky. He did great and even seemed happy to be called away from the other dogs.

Food is the great motivator.

December 18, 2007

Home Again (Janesville)

I know Bella is home because I can't take a step in the kitchen without her plopping on my foot! What a moose. Bella seems to hit the floor running no matter where she is! It's like she was never gone. We loved doing the swap. What a treat for us!

Stormy and Bella are right next to each other, each chewing on their chips. After I get the kids up I like to play some fetch with Bella, tire her out so I can get my things going. We missed how she goes down the stairs, I think she only lands on about three of them.

I've read somewhere that Labs tend to give most of their love to on person, they love everybody, but they have that one special person. I know every dog we've ever had always fall for Fran. But, I don't think Bella has done that. And that's good. It's almost like Bella and Buddy know what lies ahead of them. Maybe because we are raising them a bit different than an average pet.

Have a great day and give that Bud Bud a big kiss from me!

December 17, 2007

Back Home (Oregon)

Yesterday Buddy was just worn out all day until we got to training class - the last session for the most recent puppy class. Each puppy received a bag of treats and toys. Most of our treats were gone before bedtime. Therefore, Buddy received a little less than his normal three cups of food that night. We did save the jerky because we had bigger plans for that.

Buddy is more himself today. We always hope he's going to act like he recognizes us or toys he has not seen for a week, etc., but he could care less. I guess that is part of the appeal of Labradors. I found this poem, actually called a prayer, for guide dog puppies. Here it is:


Lord, let us continue to help these puppies reach their full potential.

Thank you for guiding us to them and helping us lay a sturdy foundation that will serve them well.

And give us peace when it is time to let them go.

Help us focus on their future with their partner and the joy & independence that will result.

Let them grow and flourish as a team, and give them the same guidance you gave to us.

And Lord, Make a place in this world where disability does not have to be inability.

--Author Unknown

December 16, 2007

Buddy - Day 7

Isn't it a kind of bittersweet day? I'll miss Buddy, he such a gentleman. But I miss by Bell Bell, and looking forward to seeing her.

Buddy went to church with us today. Our church has been so great with Bella and loved Buddy. Fran ushers at our church and he told me when we started bringing Bella the church count changed, they list her "122 people, 1 dog".

How do you think you will do when it's time to let Buddy go? That's the number one question I get asked when I take Bella out and about. Oh boy, it's going to be harder than I thought when it's time for Bella to really leave us. But I figure, I've already had one daughter marry and move out, that was hard, but I got through it. It can't be harder than that!

December 15, 2007

Bella - Day 6/7

I wish we would have remembered the camera tonight when we went for the carriage ride. We first took Bella just in the general vicinity of the horses to gauge her reaction. Bella looked like a little bunny rabbit with her nose twitching. The carriage driver had to let us know if it was OK for Bella to ride because they weren't sure how the horses would react, but she was being so polite just sitting there almost like a child saying "please, please, I'll be good, I swear!" So the driver said, sure.

She was a little unsure at first when the carriage started to move, but we tucked some blankets around her, and she got comfy and everyone in the carriage was petting her (it was more like a small horse-drawn wagon) and she rode just fine. Since we didn't have a camera, one of the gals in charge of the horses took a picture of her in the carriage and they are going to send it to the Oregon newspaper--if it gets published, we will send you a copy! Oh, and in the restaurant, the middle school choir came in caroling, it was quite an adventure for all of us tonight.

I also worry about Bella going down the stairs. I thought she was going to run into the wall at the bottom or go tumbling. If she is moving, she has no other speed but fast. She's so funny! We forgot to tell you, we took Bella sled riding when we took our Goddaughters, and took her for a ride down the hill with Jeff in a sled--she practically jumped on his head, she was not at all thrilled with that ride. Since our Goddaughters are so little, 2 and 4, the hill was not very steep at all, but Bella wanted none of it.

Buddy - Day 6

What a magical night for all of you last night. What's so fun about taking these dogs out and about is the people you meet. I'm a people person anyway and love talking to anyone. With Bella or Buddy you really meet interesting people. I had a half hour wait before the concert on Thursday and forgot my book, which I take everywhere I go. I didn't need the book because this woman talked to me the whole time about Buddy and the program. That would be something if the picture of Bella in the carriage is published.

The boys of the house left for the wrestling tournament in Waukesha at 5:30 this morning. These invitationals are very long and loud, he will get lots of attention, too. It's neat to see these big tough wrestlers see a dog and melt.

Update from Waukesha: Buddy is very well behaved, so mellow. There is a cute Edgerton cheerleader that has fallen for both of my boys, Buddy and Jerry. And one of the assistant coaches really likes Buddy.

Fran said Buddy was perfect at the wrestling meet. The cheerleader helped take care of Buddy, said it made her month. Buddy let Fran know when he had to go out. He loved playing in the snow.

Buddy showed a lot of happiness when I walked in the door tonight. Right now he is playing a little fetch with the squeaky hedgehog toy. Stormy and Buddy have gotten to know each other pretty good by now and play more that fight!

December 14, 2007

Bella - Day 5

Sorry to hear Buddy was not very agreeable at the concert. You are probably right, he was probably just overly tired and irritated that the band was keeping him up! ha. Actually, he acted the same way by the end of the Springsteen concert as well, and then it was actually lucky we were sitting in the handicapped accessible row, because Jeff was able to stand up with him and walk around without missing the encore.

Bella ended up having an even more busy day yesterday. After Jeff got home, he was going to take her to shovel out the mailbox approach and then for a short walk, but when they got to the park, they met a man with a misbehaving 5 month old puppy who wanted instruction from Jeff on how to help train the puppy! Jeff took off Bella's pinch collar and put it on the puppy, and the man was amazed at how it worked! He was going to go out to buy one today. Bella came home exhausted from playing with this puppy.

We also found, now please don't panic, that Bella has some sort of abrasion on her front right paw, more up on the back of the leg but above her paw. She has not bothered it in the least and she is not limping. The only reason we saw it is because we were rubbing her belly and she was upside down with her legs in the air. We put some Bacitracin on it last night and again this morning, and probably she can take care of it better herself just by licking it.

Not that we are anxious to get rid of Bella, in fact, we would keep her as long as you would let us but we're anxious to get Buddy and I'm sure you're anxious to have Bella back too.

Buddy - Day 5

He did something sweet last night that I had not noticed before. A lady was petting him and he would put his paw in her hand, insisting she hold his hand! We both got a chuckle from that. He is such a big boy!

Buddy uses the doggie door! Isn't he a smartie! I did not know that Fran had introduced the doggie door to Buddy. He sure got the hang of it quick!

Buddy had a very laid back day today. I think he was exhausted from yesterday. He love using Stormy's bed. Stormy does not mind, as long as Buddy stays out of our closet, her other favorite sleeping place. Buddy had the most dreamy, sleepy look on his face today. I go into work this afternoon and will continue my baking. Buddy seems content in the doggie bed right now.

Buddy did great at the wrestling meet. Everyone there (the Edgerton parents) know Bella and were pleased to meet Buddy. Buddy is such a calm greeter, something we struggle with Bella. He really lights up when he sees kids coming. Labs and kids are just a natural together.

Buddy was funny when he got home, he saw me on the couch and made a beeline to me and greeted me with so much love. It was a great feeling! He calls me Aunt Tina now, you know.

December 13, 2007

Bella - Day 4

Bella and I just got done running some errands, library, hardware store, pharmacy, then I took her for a walk right away, then played catch with some snowballs (she has been jumping up to catch them in mid air, what a jumper!) and she had her supper, now is lying resting. Jeff is going to be home late tonight, so no doubt she will go out and play a bit when he gets home. She did great on all the errands in and out of the car. I was getting nervous because I knew it was time for her PM potty, but she waited until we went for our walk. Every place we go she gets lots of compliments!

That's funny you mention that about the salt on the paws. We had just asked on the Occupaws forum if anyone had any suggestions because our pet dogs we used to have used to really get irritated by the salt and even start to limp. We were told to carry some wet wipes with us and wipe off the paws every time they came in. I am so glad to hear Buddy is behaving himself, except for the barking. That will be quite an issue to control.

Jeff has been taking Bella to the park in the morning before work and meets up with some other ladies who all walk their dogs together--I told him he sounds like the only "dad" in a mom's play group! ha. He said there was another man with them today though. One lady also had 2 of her puppies with her, which are about 8 weeks old. He said Bella really tried to keep up with the puppies. She came home this morning and immediately crawled in her crate and fell asleep! So she has had a long day, too. Does your son do a lot with Bella? Because every time she sees a teenage boy in particular, she wags her tail and gets all excited like she knows them!

Buddy - Day 4

Bird Update: out of the house, safe and sound.

I have not taken Buddy out yet in public, but Fran says he is very good. We have a big day planned. Wish us luck!

We will start the day off with a visit to a friend of mine and her 4 kids. The kids range from mid teens to about 10, homeschooled. They no longer have their beloved dog and were thrilled to have Buddy visit them. And Buddy loves kids. The kids kept Buddy entertained and vice versa.

Then off to Woodman's,the schedules come out and it's like Wall Street, such a frenzy. Some of my co-workers could tell right away this was not Bella. He greets people so calmly, much more so than Bella. As soon as anyone would come up to pet him he would sit.

Then, Buddy and I shopped for groceries. I had a lot going on after I checked my schedule (he did great in the mob), with a large cart, coupons and calculator! Buddy never pulled on the leash, walked right by me. I did run over his paw once, poor guy. Half way through, he was acting a little nervous (we were there 1 1/2 hours!) and I took him out and he made yellow snow.

Then Buddy's favorite: Shopping. My daughter needed dress pants and a white shirt for tonight's concert. We had something very interesting happen. We were close to the door, Buddy sitting right by me while I looked at shirts and I noticed he was getting all excited. In walked a REAL seeing eye dog! Buddy wanted to play, but I firmly told him to sit. He did and he let out a couple of manly barks. I told him that was what he would be doing when he grew up. The lady with the seeing eye dog told me it was important to wipe off their paws in the winter, the salt on sidewalks can hurt their pads. I didn't know that, and I sure appreciated the tip. She was using a small towel and really making sure her dogs pads got a good cleaning.

I really bonded with Buddy today. We had such a good time and I'm looking forward to taking him to the concert tonight. Right now, Buddy is laying down for a well-deserved nap!Then off to the concert!

Poor Buddy did not like the concert. I think he had a lot of things working against him. The concert did not even start until 7:30, so I'm sure he was really hungry. Plus, he had already had a big day out, so he was probably tired. And the area he had to be in was small and cramped. Finally, I just wonder if the music hurt his ears! This is an orchestra with very young members, so for us parents, it sounded great. But, when I took off my parent ears and put on music appreciation ears, it's not so great. I really think he appreciates Springsteen more than beginning orchestras. Poor guy.

Buddy seemed nervous, could not settle in. I brought him a chip, but he ate that so fast. He would not lay down, and since nobody was right next to us I didn't mind if he sat or stood with his head in my lap. I took him outside during the intermission, thinking maybe he had some business. My in-laws were in the concert, sat in the next aisle and didn't even know Buddy was there until we went outside during intermission. And that's the whole goal!

Buddy is such a good dog! We had a very busy day and he took everything in stride. I love his face, such a strong looking face. The broad snout, he is very handsome! He gets many compliments, from his good manners to his handsome face and shiny coat. Good job, Buddy!

December 12, 2007

Bella - Day 3

Bella actually will sit and wait for her food, huh? We have been trying to make her wait, because that's what we do with Buddy (at least so you can get your hand out of the way before they dive in!), but it has been very hard but we will continue to try now that we know you do it too. Buddy drools for his food too.

It's so funny, I thought just the opposite about the sleeping habits. Since I work all AM, Jeff usually takes Buddy for a short walk before he leaves for work (& he's been doing this will Bella too) then Buddy usually curls up and sleeps until lunch time when I can take him out for a little walk and play, etc., so I'm surprised to hear he is staying up. Bella on the other hand, the first 2 mornings did the same thing as Buddy, but for some reason today she has been up milling around. We have a bay window that overlooks the high school so she has discovered that #1, that's where the sun comes in and it's warm, and #2 that she can see kids who I am sure she thinks must be her kids. She obviously loves all of you very much.

I am about to take her on a little walk, and then we are going to the mall for some shopping and meet Jeff for dinner out somewhere. Oh, I forgot to tell you, at the training class, they were clipping toenails, so we had them clip Bella's. She wasn't crazy about it, but she did not cry or fight, so she will come home with fresh clipped nails, though Marlene said they really looked fine anyway.

Bella did great yesterday. The mall was a big test because of all the people, but she was wonderful. We ran into a dad and his daughter (maybe 2 years old) about 3 different times in the mall, who just fell in love with Bella. The little girl was so excited and Bella was very gentle with her, very sweet. They said they have been thinking about getting a dog and when they left they said that they were off to buy a dog! Ha.

Gosh if the story I told yesterday brought a tear to your eye, I better not tell you how she reacted when she saw a school bus go by (does a bus pick up your kids?)...she actually tried to follow it. Although she seems perfectly happy here, I guess some of those triggers that she has known for 9 months are pretty set in stone. I don't even like to think about the day we hand Buddy over to Doug or Mac.

A tip about Buddy, before you go in anywhere on your stops, try to get him to potty. We usually ask him to potty any time before he gets into or out of the car. He and Bella seem to be on the same schedule as far as that goes, so if he goes right away in the morning, then he may or may not go a little bit at noon, and then you should be good until 5:00 or so with little potty breaks along the way. He'll also kind of alert you if you are in a building very subtlely, he just starts acting a little weird and nervous. He dearly loves to go for a ride and loves people, so he'll be fine.

Buddy - Day 3

We had something weird happen last night. Abby was letting Stormy outside, and when she opened the door a bird flew into our house! We tried guiding him out the doors with a broom. Buddy helped by barking at the bird. Stormy prefers to pretend the bird is not in the house.

We turned on the ceiling fan and the bird got hit by that. It fell to the ground and when I went to get something to pick him up with he was gone! Very strange. I don't know if he made it out the door, or if one of the dogs got him. I don't think so, because I didn't see feathers around the dogs. One of those things you hope can only happen once.

Buddy is happily chewing on a bone right now. He had another good night. He is a very happy easy boy. He will be going to at least one wrestling meet on Friday, maybe another one on Saturday if our son is scheduled to wrestle. It's great training for them. Lots of noise, can't join in on the fun.

His favorite thing to do here, other than sneaking ornaments, is to fetch a tennis ball. He will do that about 5 times with me, very good on bringing it back. We've been working on sit, down stay, does just fine.

That darn bird. He must be a phoenix, because he is now chipper as ever right back on the ceiling fan, which I now have off. We have had birds fly in before, the neatest was when it was a hummingbird. We knew we had to get him out right away, they have to eat constantly to survive.

Buddy is much calmer than Bella when he gets out of the crate in the morning. I find myself bracing my legs when Bella gets out so I don't get knocked over.

I know what you mean by Bella getting on the couch for her loving. She knows its a "No No", so she tries to disguise it as affection! She plops her fat old self right on my lap. Buddy is much better about that. And they are happy dogs, aren't they! That's why I love labs.

I'm sure Bella is going to have fun on the carriage ride. I'm curious how she will do around the horses. She has shown very little fear or unease around anything except large animals like cows and horses. We've taken her to 4H fair a lot this past summer, we are in 4H. When we went through the dairy and horse barns, she would have a little hesitation. Not much, but she would walk slower and lean in against our legs. We would gently push her away and just stay in there.

Buddy did do something kind of sweet this morning. He somehow got a Christmas decoration from my wreath, I was unaware that he did that. He brought it to me and showed me, like he was asking if he could chew on that. I told him no, gently took it from him and gave him a toy that he could chew on. How polite!

December 11, 2007

Bella - Day 2

Bella had a good day yesterday. She greeted our remodeling contractor with no hesitation. We continue to be in awe of how obedient she is. She is extremely attentive all the time.

Training class went very well last night. Bella did perfectly!! She had fun during play time with one particular shepherd puppy named Ace who seemed mesmerized by her pink collar, when they would play, he kept pulling on her collar like he wanted to take it off! She held her own though and they seemed to be a good match for each other. Boy was she tired when she came home though.

The only thing Marlene told us was that she wondered how Buddy was going to do with a doggy door, and Bella without one. Bella is doing fine. In fact,this morning when I let her out of the crate, she headed straight for the front door and I let her out on the tie out, and she did her thing and came right back to the door. So, they are quick learners for sure.

Bella gets lots of attention around here because she is much more affectionate than Buddy is, you just want to hug her all the time. She is just a sweetheart. With the weather, we really don't have any outings scheduled, but we will make a point of even just getting her out to the grocery store or somewhere in town here if nothing else. She sure does love to be on the go. She seems deflated when Jeff leaves for work in the morning and she cannot go along, but she's easily conjoled with a little game of fetch. Right now, she is again sleeping here in my office as I work--which I better get back to. Glad to hear Buddy is adapting. He's quite the independent little mutt.

Wow! I can't get over that a bird flew into your house. You will know soon enough if one of the dogs got it, but you're right, I can't imagine they would eat it that fast. Something must have been wrong with the bird, to fly in and then to get hit by the fan--you'd think birds would be better at avoiding both of those things unless it was sick or hurt already. If it got back out, boy will it have a good story to tell the other birds, right?!

We've been crating Bella at night because that's what we do with Buddy, but honestly once she is in there, we do not hear a peep until we get her out in the morning, and she comes bursting out. One thing about those dogs, they are always happy. It does not surprise me that Buddy has taken to Fran, he is definitely a man's dog. Like Jeff said, we try to think of things to work on with Bella, but there don't seem to be areas--the only thing we've had to tell her repeatedly is to stay "off", the couch or bed, but she only tries to get up on them to be closer to you, so it's really hard to tell her No, but we have been.

Buddy - Day 2

Isn't Bella a bulldozer when she comes when called! She can never just trot to you, even when I calmly say come. Buddy is much more refined. He has sure made himself at home, seems very comfortable here. However very different than Bella, she can be a little shadow. She has actually plopped on my foot while I was still walking! And when I'm cooking she plops right on my feet from stove, to sink, to prep area. Buddy stays out of my way. I've been in the kitchen making my cookie doughs (I make over 1000 cookies for Christmas!) Buddy was never in my way. Bella has to be right there.

We have not done the doggy door with Buddy, he just goes to the sliding door on the upper level that opens to a deck. Since that works for him, it works for me! He has been very good on letting me know that he needs to get out.

Do you have a Christmas tree with ornaments? Buddy has been taking our ornaments off and trying to eat them! I don't care about the ornaments, but I'm concerned about him getting hurt. I think he feels the tree is a huge fancy dog toy holder. He was funny this morning, trying to eat a gold glittered pine cone, he was all sparkly by the time we caught him.

Buddy has been very good for us. He just loves to play with toys. We do a little fetch now and then, he seems to enjoy that. We are having a lot of fun with Buddy. One of our favorites is how he loves to take squeaky toys and makes them squeak like crazy.

No outings today, in fact I called in because of the weather. The kids schools were closed today so Buddy will get lots of attention. Right now Buddy is chasing Stormy around. I don't think Stormy hates it as much as she lets on, when Buddy stops chasing her she looks at him, almost wondering why he stopped!

He wanted to go out with Fran and Jerry to help shovel so bad. Poor Buddy. He must have been jealous to see Stormy out there. He really was interested in Jerry's ATV. Jerry fired it up, Buddy was on the back deck. Buddy barked and barked at that mean monster. We are really impressed with Buddy's bark. So manly!

It's great that both dogs seem to go with the flow. They really are smart. And their futures as guide dogs looks pretty good if they adapt so quickly. If we had put Stormy in somebody's home, she would have been so homesick.

December 10, 2007

Bella - Day 1

Bella is doing great.

Oh Bella is just a love and so polite! We took her for a walk right away and she walked right by our side. She is excellent about coming back to you & enthusiastic about it! She loves chasing snow balls. Buddy needs work on recalling and as I said, he likes to be walking in front of you all the time. To him, "heel" means slow down slightly--which we really try to enforce now that the ground can be slippery (it's a work in progress).

Back to Bella, we were a little worried that she did not go potty (just to pee even) but after about 2 hours of being around here, I was in the basement with her throwing a toy and she would bring it back and drop it (wow!) and she suddenly stopped playing and started sniffing around, so I took her outside and success! I think it is because we are not used to having a female and Marlene had said a long time ago, females just do not urinate as much as males do because they do not do that "marking" behavior that male dogs do. Bella has already learned where the door is and when we ask if she wants to go outside, she runs right to it.

Jeff took her for a walk this morning and she went potty of all kinds with no problems. Oh, and there were other dogs in the park this morning that Jeff said Bella played with really nicely. She even let a puppy get her down on her back--awww. There was a boxer dog there also, and if you remember Sadie from training, boxers are very "growly", Bella did not like that much, so maybe she's more girly than you think! She slept soundly last night and we didn't hear a peep out of her.

I work most days until noon or so, at home, so right now Bella is sleeping next to my desk. She seems happy to be with whatever human is moving around the house. I have a building contractor coming in today to do some minor work, it should not be too loud or scary for Bella. She does seem to hear every new sound, but she has no bad reaction to it, she just notices it is different. I'm sure we have more traffic around our house than you do, but she is getting used to that. She does not seem at all interested in Buddy's toys unless we're throwing them (maybe one of those girl things where she doesn't want to touch some ucky boy's toys! ha).

We do have a training class that we attend tonight which Marlene teaches. It is a bunch of German shepherd puppies, then whatever Occupaws dogs Marlene brings and Ernie with Sadie, and then us. We only started taking Buddy to give him more exposure to other dogs. So we will take Bella tonight.

I apologize if Buddy came to your house dirty--I actually had just given him a bath before we left and he was smelling good. Then we got to the parking lot to do the exchange and Bella and Buddy had mud flying within about 2 seconds, but our intentions were good! I think we all needed a bath by the time we left.

Apologize profusely for us to Stormy for his overzealous behavior!

Buddy - Day 1

Buddy is doing just fine! We have an upper deck that makes it easy for him to tell us he has to go outside. He goes right to the door and cries. We've had no mistakes. He did fine in the crate last night, I got him up at 7:00 when I get the kids up. I'm going to play a trick on my co-workers at Woodman's. I'll bring Buddy in and see if anybody notices it's not Bella.

Buddy loves our doggie toys. We keep them in a milk crate and he just helps himself. He loves to fetch things. Brings them right back. So far, so good, he is affectionate and sweet.

Stormy is adjusting to Buddy, she is being kind of bratty. But, Buddy just keeps trying to make friends with her. We had to chuckle when you said it would be a change to have a little girl. As I'm sure you have noticed by now, Bella is not little and not girly.

During the men's group this evening, Buddy went to sleep and snored very loudly! The guys got a kick out of that. Then Buddy went shopping, everything went great.

December 7, 2007

Puppy Instructions

I'll write down some things about Buddy, too--gosh it's like leaving a list with a babysitter for a child isn't it?? The crate you have is perfect for Buddy. How lucky for Bella to have her own doggy door! Buddy's signal is he either cries (a very faint soft cry that you might even miss, which I apparently usually do when he is in his crate!) or he gets real pesty where he's bugging you (sitting in front of you, staring at you, etc.). Ask him if he wants to go outside or go potty outside and walk toward the door, he will usually follow.

I'll feed him early today (usually eats about 6:30-7:30 PM, too) so that he should either potty #2 either late tonight or very early tomorrow AM so that he should be all done with that before the wrestling meet aside from potty #1 breaks from time to time. Your biggest problem may be keeping Buddy away from Stormy's food--if he finds food he will eat until he explodes and he is also very sensitive to new food, so I would not want that to happen to you. Buddy is usually excellent in public, but likes to lick people, which we are trying to deter him from doing because some people just don't care for dog slobber all over themselves (can't imagine why! ha).

Buddy's commands are probably the same as Bella's (Sit, Stay, Down, No, Leave it, Come, etc), but in case you are really desperate to get his attention, our secret word is "Food". He will stop dead in his tracks no matter what he is doing. He likes to be out ahead of you no walks, we try to to make sure he's not pulling and tell him to "heel" and give him a pop with the pinch collar if he does not slow down, but he never walks right by your side.

It sounds like he eats about the same time Bella does and we'll bring his bowl, we usually just fill it up and that is about 3 cups. I know, the once a day thing is hard for me, too. I feel the same way you do, he just seems hungry all the time. If you have a bowl that's big enough, to stop her from gulping, put a tennis ball or golf balls in with her food. It sounds strange, but it works really well. They end up eating around it, so they have to go slower.

Buddy is really good in public and loves people, especially kids. When we're walking and he sees another dog, we make him sit (he will cry, bark, fidget) until the other dog has passed by but that is his real weakness is other dogs--poor Stormy. If he gets to bothering her too much though, just really lay down the law with him. He's not supposed to get crazy wild in the house but being away from home, no doubt he'll try to push the boundaries.

Anyway, hope that helps. If I think of something more, we'll let you know. If you run into any problems or he's really driving you nuts we can always come and get him! We're looking forward to having a little girl around the house for a while! Have fun.

December 5, 2007

Trading Puppies?

Hope all is well with you. Without training class for OccuPaws, we feel a little "disconnected". We were writing because we were thinking it is about time again for Buddy to get some more experience in a new situation, and in the past we have borrowed Hannah but since she is still getting settled with Kristen, we wondered if you would be interested in trading Bella for Buddy just for a week?