Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

February 29, 2008


Buddy had an unexpected trip to the doctor's office today. There wasn't any issue with his health, he just accompanied Lisa to take her elderly mom. They arrived in Platteville (about 1 hour drive from home) for their appointment at 1:00 which turned out to be a 2:15 appointment, so there was plenty of time to relax in the waiting room. Every nurse and receptionist in the clinic came out to get a look at the dog and a couple greetings. They were amazed at how calm he was, and made the comments we have heard since he was a puppy, he just has the cutest face. A 2-year-old patient named Haley walked right up to Buddy after her grandma made sure it was OK with me. Turns out Haley has a Rottweiler at home, so she was very gentle with Buddy and accepting of his occasional wet nose.

Lisa's elderly mom still has not gotten used to the fact that Buddy comes everywhere with us, so she was a bit leery of Buddy going to the clinic, but he did so well and Mom likes attention, so the fact that Buddy got so much and people were so complimentary, it made it all OK. He always draws a crowd wherever he goes. Lisa fielded lots of questions about the Occupaws program and Buddy's training, people there had never heard of an English Labrador. They all had to say good-bye to Buddy when we left even! Afterward, he returned to the apartment in Cuba City for some play time with Jared and Jalyn. They are both school age and have 2 dogs and a cat at home, so they also were very good with Buddy and vice versa. He is learning more acceptable behavior with kids the more time he spends with them. At 1 point, the kids were rolling a ball to one another on the floor and Buddy REALLY wanted to get in and steal that ball, but he did excellent at listening to Lisa when she put him in a down/stay-though his tail never stopped wagging, so he was still obviously anxious. When Jalyn gave him his own ball to play with, of course, he wanted nothing to do with that (much more fun to steal one from the kids, or at least just await the possibility). Buddy was ready for supper (when isn't he?) and a nap when he got home from his long day.

God ... sat down for a moment when the dog was finished in order to watch it... and to know that it was good, that nothing was lacking, that it could not have been made better. --Rainer Maria Rilke

February 28, 2008


Just an ordinary day for Buddy. Snacked on a raw carrot at lunch. A trip to the grocery store and drug store, without incident. A very long walk in the afternoon to make up for his missed morning walk.

And a trip through the automatic car wash. He was quite nervous sitting inside the car as it was pelted with soap and water. He didn't bark which is very surprising because he has been barking at people that walk by the house and strange sounds in the house. He calmed down relatively quickly, not to the point of enjoying the experience.

[Being a parent] is tough. If you just want a wonderful little creature to love, you can get a puppy. - Barbara Walters

February 27, 2008

Skinny Buddy

At the board meeting on Sunday, we confirmed that Buddy was underweight. He needs to gain at least six pounds, about 10% of his body weight, to catch up to his siblings.

For the last week he has been getting an extra cup of food and additional doggie cookies. He now responds to the word "cookie". Apparently it is still not enough because he is still hungry. For the first time, he got into the garbage can and feasted on some leftover pork.

I should have saved yesterday's quote for today - "Never trust a dog to watch your food". We found him after the fact so the training moment was lost. Keeping our fingers crossed that his stomach is strong and he handles it well. Tomorrow we will begin a few days of garbage correction.

"Man is troubled by what might be called the Dog Wish, a strange and involved compulsion to be as happy and carefree as a dog." - James Thurber

February 25, 2008

Kids 4

Another visit to the Madison Children's Museum. Much less crowded than Saturday, significantly less distractions for Buddy. Everyone behaved well.

With our focus on the little ones, we haven't been spending as much time with Buddy. He still goes for his two walks every day and an outing or two, but his daily dose of TLC has been reduced. He may have been feeling a bit neglected today. He was bringing us toys to play with, so he received some quality grooming and play time tonight.

Buddy and the girls are getting along much better now. When Avery visits, Buddy is almost relentless about kissing her. Her face is right at his level and he rarely passed her without a kiss and Avery would duck away when he approached. Now he barely notices her. Except when she is eating, then he knows exactly where she sits.

Never trust a dog to watch your food.
--Patrick age 10 Advice from Kids

February 24, 2008

Kids 3

After my morning walk with Buddy, it was time to get the girls some exercise. I was thinking PlayLand to let them burn off some energy. The eldest goddaughter wanted to walk on treadmill. So we walked with her on the treadmill a little while. We mentioned to her how dogs can walk on treadmills, a la Dog Whisperer, and she was skeptical. So Buddy got his first walk on the treadmill.

Then it was off to the first test of the day - the PlayLand. Buddy is getting so used to kids that they are not a distraction or he was tired. My guess is a little of both.

In the afternoon we attended an OccuPaws board meeting. A half dozen other dogs in a meeting. Again we questioned our sanity. We knew the dogs would be okay, our concern today was keeping the kids quiet and calm during a two hour board meeting. The kids performed amazingly well, with only a few outbursts. Of course all the dogs performed wonderfully during the meeting and were rewarded with a little time to reacquaint themselves after the meeting.

"Ever consider what they must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul -- chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!" -- Anne Tyler

February 23, 2008

Kids 2

The test today was the Madison Children's Museum on a Saturday.

As we were leaving the house we questioned our sanity. A four-year old, a two-year old and a eleven month old puppy in a building full of kids. What were we thinking, we have a difficult time with one dog.

This endeavor went like all the others. Buddy behaved well and the kids played well with others. The distractions were plentiful: babies, children, balls, stuffed animals, children, plastic food, high pitched voices, children, and crying kids (ours when we had to leave). Buddy received TLC from the kids at the museum and their parents had an opportunity to explain how a "service" dog can help people.

Many adults were interested in the OccuPaws experience and puppy training. One person today asked about the fifty percent of dogs that do not make it through training. He was interested in adopting a "dropout".

The two questions we get asked most often are (1) How can you give him up? and (2) How did he get to be so calm? The answer to the first question varies depending on our mood, but the common theme is that it will be difficult. The answer to the second question is breeding, training, and training. We always mention that Buddy is an "English" style lab that has been consistently trained.

"English" vs "American" Labrador. The difference between the two have to do with the purpose behind their breeding - rather than where they were bred.

The "English" Lab was bred to conform to the breed standard. They are a medium-sized but somewhat stocky dog with a broad skull and a calm temperament. These are the Labs you will see in the show ring.

The "American" Lab is breed for their field and bird hunting ability rather than the breed standard. They vary quite a bit in appearance and often do not have the calm demeanor that people have come to expect from a Labrador Retriever.

Crate Training

We found crate training to be highly effective when housbreaking a puppy. It also provides a place for Buddy to go to keep him out of trouble or for doggie timeouts. We would never train a dog without a crate.

Babysitting the two kids this weekend, we found another use for the crate.

The crate worked well for kiddie timeouts, however Buddy was left with no where to go. So we picked up two more crates this weekend.

Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones

February 22, 2008


Today Buddy's big test was a preschool story time and activity hour at the local library. Eight kids, under three, and parents singing, dancing, and jumping - a challenge for anyone.

The session started at 9:30 which still wasn't enough time to be completely prepared. The humans were ready with car seat, hat, and gloves. However, halfway to the library I noticed that we didn't have Buddy's guide dog cape. I decided to proceed and explain the situation to the staff at the library. They have seen Buddy about once a week so it wasn't a problem.

Class was just beginning as we entered the room. We quickly removed our winter wear and joined the class. After finding a spot for Buddy and telling him to stay. The children were quite a distraction and Buddy was a distraction for the children. Buddy remained in a STAY until class was over and we redressed for the ride home.

What a good boy. As a reward he got to meet a few kids and moms after the class. They were very impressed with his behavior during class.

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

February 21, 2008


The dynamics of the house have changed. Two packages were dropped off this evening - two little girls. A two-year old and a four-year old. They will be visiting for the next five days. We have a house full and lots of activities planned for kids and dog.

This will be good training for Buddy since he is rarely around small children for any length of time. Some adjustments will have to take place. The most noticeable change this evening was that we were spending time with the girls playing on the floor and reading books. Buddy wanted to be involved in each activity.

Can dogs be jealous? Buddy went upstairs and brought a few of his toy downstairs so we could play fetch and tug. Then, he curled up next to Lisa and Avery as they read a book before bedtime. Should be an interesting five days.

Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one. - Anonymous

Every boy who has a dog should also have a mother, so the dog can be fed regularly. - Anonymous

February 20, 2008

Wild Eleven

Buddy was eleven months old today. One month before the medical tests. Next month Buddy will get his eyes and hips checked to determine if he has any issues that would prevent him from being a guide dog.To celebrate, we took him to another hockey game.

First we stopped for a bite to eat at a restaurant near the United Center. The host met us and told us he would be right back. He came back a minute later with the manager. Oh Oh, we've seen this before. He asked us a few questions and when we told him that Buddy would be well behaved, he agreed to seat us. No problems at dinner, except for a very busy/unattentive waiter.

On the way in to the hockey game, Wild vs Blackhawks, Buddy made like he needed to potty and stopped. We knew he had to go, but nothing worked. Too many distractions. We went to our seats and of course Buddy fidgeted the entire first period. So between periods we found the perfect spot and he relaxed for the rest of the game.

To follow up on a point from last weekend, Buddy drew a lot of attention and I met a number of Blackhawk fans to discuss Buddy's training. Having a dog with you everywhere you go really opens up a whole new world. We probably never would have talked to any other people at the game

"Do not make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans or they will treat you like dogs." - Martha Scott

February 19, 2008


Buddy may be in trouble with election authorities. He might have broken the law today. He voted twice.

It wasn't much of a test though, because the whole process took less than 5 minutes.On his second trip, the elections workers noticed that he was there before, but made an exception. They remarked that he was so well behaved.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

February 17, 2008

Too Skinny?

The veterinarian's office and pet store are the only time we can weigh Buddy. We used to be able to pick him up and subtract our weight. That doesn't work very well now because it's difficult to see the reading holding a big dog. So yesterday, he weighed in at 58.5 pounds. That's about a pound more than three weeks ago. He seems to be healthy, but ...

Last night two different people commented at how skinny he was. One was the owner of a dog that he walks with at the park. She thought he had lost weight. He hasn't lost weight, but as he continues to slowly grow the same weight appears thinner. Comparing him to Dually, his litter mate, who tips the scales at 70 pounds, Buddy is tiny. What do you think?

He gets a lot of exercise, so maybe he should be eating more. We started giving him an extra cup for breakfast to start the day and a few bisquits to supplemnet his diet. We will see the rest of his brothers and sisters next weekend along with the puppy coordinator and be able to better assess his health.

By the way, Buddy has completely recovered from his minor medical issue, hematoma.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To it with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace.” ~Milan Kundera

February 15, 2008

Walk, Walk, Walk

All Buddy did today was walk, walk, walk.

An hour and a half walk around the neighborhood in the morning. After walking Buddy expects food. We spent an hour in the pet store walking past other dogs and the many sights and smells that are so tempting. Buddy did well with only a few lapses where he got too close to the toys or food. One reason we spent so much time in the pet store is all the choices. I had a $20 gift card and couldn't decide between all the toys and treats.

I stopped for a bite to eat at East Towne while Buddy rested for a bit before walking the mall for an hour. I don't like eating at food court because of all the food on the floor. It's difficult to eat and watch Buddy at the same time, so he did eat a couple scraps. We always meet people that are interested in Buddy's progress and future. Today was no exception, I must have had interactions with more than thirty people that had questions or just liked dogs. Now that we have Buddy, we are much more social.

More walking at the grocery store and finaly some rest. Buddy expected food. One last walk before going to a restaurant before the hockey game. At the hockey game, Buddy should have slept through the whole game, however he resisted lying down. We tried some encouragement with little success. He got his way after we discovered that the floor was pretty wet. So he sat for the first period.

On the way out he proceeeded to shake off, much to the dismay of a few other spectators. Sorry. Drying him off betwen periods, we discovered that it wasn't water, but he was wet from a mixture of water and soda. No wonder he wouldn't lie down. We cleaned it up and he could rest for a bit - until the Badgers score and horn went off. Badgers win, but more important, home to eat.

A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk. ~O.A. Battista


One of the hardest things is keeping Buddy's supply of plush toys ready for play. I spent an hour sewing them up this evening. Since he became a big dog, the toys don't hold up nearly as well as with puppy teeth. He rips them apart as fast as we can sew them up.

Of course his favorite toy is the one that is being sewn. Second favorite is the one lying on the table waiting it's turn to be repaired. I have sewn more in the last five months than I have in my prior 44 years. At $5 a piece it may make more sense to just buy new ones.

Buddy was not supposed to be in the picture, but he just couldn't stay away from his "new" toys.

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. ~Max Eastman

Danger Park

Buddy was attacked by another little dog on our walk last night. He seemed unfazed, but we will be limiting our walks to the park. After so many episodes recently, we are wondering if it's us or something Buddy is doing to provoke the other dogs. On a few occasions, we were walking with a few dogs and Buddy was the only one that they showed aggression toward. Not sure if being on a leash makes him a easy target, his hormones are active, or he's just too playful.

Buddy is recovering very well from his mild set back. The hematoma has all but dried up and disappeared. The antibiotics and/or compresses really worked quickly. We were worried that the wound had not healed correctly and they were going to have to restitch the wound. Another couple days of doctoring and he should be 100%.

Our walk this evening was late, due to a long day at work, more snow, and a slow drive home. No other dogs were out, so we walked through the park. Even without other dogs around, it's a good distraction because he knows that others could be or should be around. So keeping him focused is a challenge, but good real world practice.

Labradors [are] lousy watchdogs. They usually bark when there is a stranger about, but it is an expression of unmitigated joy at the chance to meet somebody new, not a warning. ~Norman Strung

February 13, 2008

Dog Owner?

Having a puppy in the family significantly changes your life. It is the best of times and the worst of times.

If you are a dog owner, you have experienced the following:
trials of house breaking, relief when he finally gets it, long walks in the sun, short walks in the cold, a cold wet nose, warm toes, hair on my pillow, hair everywhere, spending ten minutes deciding between the plastic bone or plush hedgehog, toys in the middle of a dark hallway, feeling something missing when he's not around, friendly greeting every time you walk through the door, early morning potty, late night potty, frustration when he forgets, and pride when he masters a command. Please add a comment sharing how you know that you are a dog owner.

I know that I am a dog owner when ...

I find plastic bags in every jacket and coat that I own and sometimes they are not empty.

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

February 12, 2008

Meet the President

Buddy made a trip to see the next President of the United States (maybe). Barack Obama was in Madison at the Kohl Center and Buddy endured the one and a half hour wait outside in the crowd, the security search, the hour wait, the 30 minute speech, and the slow crowded walk out of the building.

He met a lot of new people. And they were a captive audience so he received plenty of attention while waiting in line and walking around before the speech. Having a dog at these outings certainly helps pass the time. The only issue we had was the heavily salted sidewalks.

All that after a visit to the vet to check on a hematoma that formed at the incision site from his surgery two weeks ago. After draining the site, the vet thought it might be infected, so in addition to twice a day hot compresses, he is on antibiotics. Nothing serious, just a little more TLC.

Buddy was uncooperative and very tense at the vet's office. Not too surprising considering what they did to him last time he was there.

Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge. -- Jerry Seinfeld

February 10, 2008

Below Zero All Day

Too cold to leave the house. We did get a two hour walk in yesterday before the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.

Good time for reminiscing about the last nine months.

More Photos - Buddy with some Hanna

“If a dog’s prayers were answered, bones would rain from the sky.”
~Turkish Proverb

February 8, 2008


Buddy did get out this afternoon with Lisa to run some errands. He stopped to get some legal advice and tax advice with visits to the lawyer and accountant.

After work, we settled into our normal routine and went for our walk. Working on walking attentively and staying calm when passing other dogs. No issues, until three labradors came running at us, one of each color yellow, black and chocolate.

Buddy sat with a little coaxing from the pinch collar. The chocolate lab immediately started growling and biting Buddy. Buddy gave a cry of surprise and help. We got the chocolate lab to leave him alone and the owner, about 30 yards away, didn't do or say a thing. Buddy is fine with no lasting issues. He got along with the other two momentarily before we exited the area.

Yesterday when we were leaving the park, I noticed two small dogs and I told Buddy that they didn't like him. They also growled and snapped at him. The owner never offered an apology, however she did offer her dogs a treat. Nothing like rewarding them for bad manners.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
--Roger Caras

February 7, 2008

Walk, Walk, Walk

More walking today ...

A long walk in the morning before work. Again, Buddy was working on staying by my side and being attentive to my pace. He is doing so much better. However, there are times that I lose focus and forget to correct him. So he may walk for a minute or two in front of me.

This evening another long walk. A really long walk. We were getting ready to leave the park after doing a loop, trying to tire Buddy out. We met a guy with his dog and decided to do another loop with them. Almost done with the second loop and we noticed that Hanna had lost her collar. So we retraced our steps and found the fluorescent orange collar, completing our third loop.

Buddy was finally tired, more like exhausted. Needless to say, we didn't go on any additional outings this evening. Buddy rested and watched me while I biked.

“You don't have to train a dog as much as you have to train a human. During the show you see dogs that are super trained ... but they have issues. They attack humans or they have psychological issues. They're trained but not balanced.” Cesar Millan

February 6, 2008


We are all starting to fall into a routine. Potty, Walk, Work, Walk, Play, Dinner, Potty, Bed. We are treating Buddy like a pet and needless to say he is starting to behave like one.

When we had Bella for a week, we went out of our way to find new experiences or any experience to get more exposure to different situations. After we shovel out today, we need to change and refocus on the task.

“I don't have any plans. I don't create the plans; my wife does. Put me in front of a dog and I'll make sure the dog has a plan for his life. But with my life, I think my wife is much better at that than me.” Cesar Millan

P.S. Marlene did say that they also need to be puppies.

February 5, 2008


Again, we worked on walking by our side and being attentive. When we slow down, he needs to notice and slow down to match our speed. On walks in the past, Buddy was always out in front of us, not pulling, just leading. We figured that that was good because a guide dog will be out in front of his partner, which is not true. The dog will be by his side guiding, not leading. They will become one.

We are also being more aggressive on calm greetings. Every day when I come home, Buddy runs to greet me and I make him sit before showing affection. Which is good. However, he is learning to expect affection when people enter the house or he meets them on the street. So we have started to ignore him, until we and he get settled.

Only showing affection when he is in a calm state. Very difficult for man and beast. The most difficult part is getting other people to understand this and cooperate. Most people greet dogs like a long lost friend - hugs and kisses. Dog in a freny being rewarded.

“The most important thing that we have to provide every day is that we are the pack leader, that we set the rules, the boundaries and the limitations, and then we love. Most of the people, they go to get a dog because they need somebody to love. So they are going after what they need, not what the dog needs. And that, to me, creates instability immediately, and the dog sees the human as a soft energy. So they don't follow the lovable leader or a spiritual leader; they follow a dominant one.” Cesar Millan

February 4, 2008

Affection, Affection, Affection

Worked on walking by our side again today. He picked up on what we wanted very quickly. Then we let him play a little in the snow. He loves chasing snowballs.

“We have to use exercise, discipline and affection every day. Most of the time people share affection, affection, affection, and that creates frustration. In a powerful breed, that's going to lead him into aggression. So exercise and discipline play a big role in balance.” Cesar Millan

February 3, 2008

Puppy Bowl

Exercise. Discipline. Affection.

Boring day today. More work on walking by my side and being attentive during both his walks today.

Not that interested in the Super Bowl, so we watched the Puppy Bowl as I cradled him this afternoon. He wouldn't watch it when we pointed out all the dog action to him, but when being cradled it caught his attention. So we used the television for some mock socialization.

Buddy has learned to stay away from my bike when exercising downstairs. We also confirmed today that he can tell when I am finished exercising. Whether upstairs or downstairs, immediately when I dismount, he races to greet me. Not sure if this is a good thing or not. Though it makes me feel special. He also stares at the door any time I leave the room. This affection should be easily transferred to his new partner when the time comes.

For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog. Roger Caras

February 2, 2008

Back to Work

Buddy's first day back to work started with a long walk to the library to return two Dog Whisperer dvds and pick up four more. On the way home we walked through the park and saw some of his buddies. Still on the mend, he had to remain calm and walk with them as they played.

After a little play time at home, we got ready for some shopping. Buddy was out of pressed rawhide, so a trip to Mounds was in order. And we wanted to pick up a bag of dog food to donate to the humane society. Also since it was the end of the month, we have to complete our OccuPaws progress report. There were a few other dogs in the store and Buddy behaved well, performing a great SIT STAY on the scale (57 pounds) with many distractions.

A few more stops at Farm & Fleet and Buddy's least favorite place, the grocery store. Some more Dog Whisperer and another walk before the hockey game this evening. We worked on staying by my side and paying attention. He rested duringthe hockey game and did well with SIT STAY between periods as the crowd walked by. He remains calm and attentive walking in crowds.

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

February 1, 2008

One More Day

Yesterday, we had some furniture delivered. Buddy barely noticed the delivery men as they entered the house and moved stuff in. The fact that he was eating might have had something to do with his ambivalence to strangers.

Today is Buddy's last day with pain medication. We have still been taking him out for walks twice a day. Lengthening them a little every time. Returning from his evening walk with Lisa, Buddy saw me shoveling the front walk and gave me a few big dog barks to warn me. Not knowing him, I would have kept my distance. However, it was an opportunity to let him know that that behavior was unacceptable.

Home bound for one more day. Back to work tomorrow

The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them. Stanley Coren, dog psychologist

For those who love dogs, it would be the worst form of a lie to call any place where dogs were banned "Paradise." Certainly no loving God would separate people from their canine friends for eternity. Stanley Coren, dog psychologist