July 30, 2009
Now that our heavy 'hitter'(65 lbs) is back in the 'swing' of things, we left our 'home base' and went to see a Mallards baseball game. Marley was not interested in the game and rested. Occasionally, we caught her attempting to 'steal' away. She was always happy to 'strike out' on a 'walk' never 'balking' to get some attention and ear rubs from the other spectators.
“We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.” - George Eliot
July 29, 2009
Our veterinarian said that Marley should show vast improvement in two days, by Wednesday. Tuesday morning, no rash in her ears and we could faintly see a pinkish rash on her belly. It significantly lessened in severity and range in one day - one step forward and well on our way to vast improvement.
This morning Marley's ears looked good, but her belly and legs were covered in red blotches - two steps backward. We had a decision to make, another visit to the vet or stay the course. As we seemed to be heading in the wrong direction, Marley got to see Dr. Mike and Bethany twice in one week.
My suspicion was confirmed by the vet, the cortisone had probably stopped working. The most common allergy is to their food, so he suggested transitioning to a different food. He also prescribed a week long regimen of prednisone. Marley had one tablet, half of the day's dose, this afternoon. By the time we returned home after Dog Den training at eight o'clock, she looked as good as she did on Tuesday and the lump at the incision site is half as large - one step forward ...
July 28, 2009
Our family has been so busy running us about that we have not even had time to write to you ‘all.
Next of all, I did not have a chance to tell you about “Hogs for Guide Dogs”. Some people with motorcycles came and visited my favorite place, Shelton’s.
There was music and something where people picked tickets out of a hat.
Mom and dad said that they wished there were more participants, but it was a good time anyway.
I was sick for a few days last week. I threw up all over the place one day, and I kept pooping. One night mom and dad could hear my belly sounds from across the room. My tummy sure hurt! So mom and dad did not feed me (because it would come up anyway), and gave me lots of pink awful tasting stuff. After a day they took me to visit Dr. Dave. (alias Dave Williams in Mt. Horeb). He gave me a shot that made me feel better almost immediately. He also poured more “pink stuff” down my throat. My tummy felt much better and I was able to eat the next day.
While I was convalescing, mom and dad went to visit Lilly and Valentino.
It seems that they are now officially a “team”. Mom and Dad talked about having a big party for them. I think they called it “graduation”.
I, Slick, have been walking around with Evan while he holds my kids harness. I am so proud of Evan, he walks along just like he is supposed to, so I walk very carefully and slowly with him.
My friend Deegan also had a chance to walk with Evan. He is very careful too.
We have been going to our usual breakfast spots and getting lots of attention. Sometimes when Deegan and I both go it gets a little crowded under the table.
We had another day on the square. We received lots of pets and were walking “advertisements” for OccuPaws. Chris came with Reggie and Divit. At one time all four of us received pets and loves. Chris is so proud of Reggie and Divit. We are proud of Chris, she is doing a great job training them to help blind people.
Mom took me to a big room where people were playing poker for the humane society. Everybody there said that I was very well behaved. They compared me to their dogs. We even had a chance to talk to a Humane Society worker that talked about some poor dogs that had been left in cages all their lives, and how he was trying to socialize them. Poor dogs, can you imagine being locked in a small cage for years and years? It reminds me how lucky we are.
Sunday was a day off for me as mom and dad went to help train new people for the therapy dog program, “Pet Partners” thru the Delta Society. Stitch and Reggie got to go! I didn’t realize how good my house mates were!
Deegan has been getting himself into trouble. It seems that he likes to pull clothes off of the hangers in the closet and then lay on them. I have told him that there are plenty of doggie blankets already on the floor and he does not need to use mom and dad’s clothes. Mom and dad are not happy when they find their clothes on the floor. They have been reminding him not to do that. He is getting better, but he still does it once in awhile.
I get to go to the nursing home today. The people there just love our visits. AND I gets LOTS of pets.
July 27, 2009
She is covered from nose to tail with a rash; it covers her belly, inside both ears, and under her front legs. If you dig down deep enough under her fur it looks a little pink which may signal something internal going on. However, it could be an allergy to something she ate or medicine. The vet said sometimes after surgery, a dog will have a clotting problem, and that could give them a blotchy rash too. Simple blood tests were inconclusive.
Even with this massive rash, Marley remains her happy self. She is not crazy itchy and allergies are usually very itchy. It's hard not to feel sorry for her and then she curls up on the quilt by the side of our bed. Very tempting to let her spend the night.
Marley's treatment was a shot of cortisone, which really wiped her out, and more powerful antihistamine drugs for the next 10 days. The veterinarian said if she significantly improves with the cortisone and antihistamines in a couple days, it might be an allergy. If she does get a rash back even with our best efforts to control her environment and not expose her to anything odd, then she might have something else going on. Her ears looked better this evening :-)
Oh and the golf ball sized mass in her abdomen? It is a suture reaction, the body's way of fighting off the foreign substance of the sutures, but the cortisone should help that swelling too. Apparently no big deal.
If OccuPaws is wise, we will be kicked out of the program with our puppies. Every dog they give us ends up with medical issues.
July 26, 2009
The benadryl that we use to treat the rash causes her to drink a lot and potty often. Either she was in a playful mood or very thirsty. It was pouring down rain as we walked to our car to return home and Marley started attacking the raindrops. She was jumping up to get a drink. If she wasn't recovering, it would have been humorous and we probably would have let her play for a bit, at least until we got a picture. However, jumping is not tolerated three days after surgery.
Never having had a female dog before and never doing post operative care for a spaying, we are out of our element. Marley has a mass or lump under the site of the incision. It is hard and about the size of a golf ball - I am concerned. She will be seeing the veterinarian about the rash tomorrow, so we can just add this to the list.
Note to self: Always schedule a surgery for the beginning of the week if at all possible.
July 25, 2009
She accompanied us to a restaurant and grandma's house. She must have been tired as she rested comfortably at both locations. Or she may just be a very good girl.
Recuperation seems to be going well with the exception of a rash on her belly and in her ears. She had a mild case last week, but since returning home her entire belly and ears (the only areas of skin that are exposed) are covered with red splotches.
"Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he's owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes." - Gene Hill, The Dog Man
July 24, 2009
When I Got My New Dog
I asked for strength that I might rear her perfectly;
I was given weakness that I might feed her more treats.
I asked for good health that I might rest easy;
I was given a "special needs" dog that I might know nurturing.
I asked for an obedient dog that I might feel proud;
I was given stubbornness that I might feel humble.
I asked for compliance that I might feel masterful;
I was given a clown that I might laugh.
I asked for a companion that I might not feel lonely;
I was given a best friend that I would feel loved.
I got nothing I asked for,
But everything that I needed.
July 23, 2009
As she moseyed out of the holding area, it was all she could do to hold her head up and keep her eyes open. It was painful for her to lie down in the car.
She hadn't eaten since last night, so the first order of business was getting some food in her stomach. They recommended a small amount of moistened food this evening. She accepted both food and water which we provided to her standing. Our old dog rested all evening; any movement was slow and deliberate.
Actually tonight was easy. Tomorrow when she is feeling better, it will be hard to keep her still and keep her from licking her wound. It will really itch when the hair starts to grow back.
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion" - Unknown
July 22, 2009
In the evening, the OccuPaws puppies met in Oregon - no travel! In attendance were Reggie, Divit, Banjo, Timber, Cinder and Echo, who by the way has been career changed and is looking for a new home. Banjo's brother Toby and an as yet to be named Golden retriever crashed the class. The little ones played while we practiced obedience, Rally style (HALT, FRONT, SLALOM, CALL, SPIN, ABOUT, FINISH, LEAVE, PIROUETTE). The most difficult part is learning the language, I wish they would translate the instructions.
Tonight Marley visited her piggy friends at the farm and then on to training class at the Dog Den. The trainers just returned from a seminar with Dr. Ian Dunbar, doggie guru on positive reinforcement training techniques. This class is different from our usual and offers alternatives.
Marley had minor attention deficit issues. She performed STAY, COME, LEAVE IT, and PLACE well; we need help with HEEL. The problem is our attention deficit issue. The other commands are events and are corrected/praised immediately while HEEL is continuous and demands constant praise/correction.
My two tidbits of wisdom from classes this week were:
1) It's not fair to correct a dog until you teach him what to do
2) Negative reinforcement usually outnumbers the positive (3 to 1), better results are achieved with puppies using positive reinforcement
As we work through the different training styles, we are developing our own preferences. We should be better able to adapt to the needs of each individual puppy.
“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.” - Stanley Coren
July 20, 2009
“Men cannot think like dogs.... [There exists] a sharp difference in the mental capacity of humans and canines. For example, a human who is given an intricate problem will spend all day trying to solve it, but a canine will have the sense to give up and do something else instead.” - Corey Ford
July 19, 2009
The procedure started with the trainer securing the dog to the owner. The owner then proceeded to run erratically, forcing the dog to follow her movement. It didn't take long for the dog to figure this out and he was much more attentive afterwards.
I tried a modified technique with Marley this evening. Walking forward, backward, and turning while giving corrections. She too caught on quickly, but she lost focus just as fast when walking normally. We will see what our trainers think of this technique.
“Old age means realizing you will never own all the dogs you wanted to.” - Joe Gores
July 18, 2009
Marley's greatest distractions were dogs, children, birds, and food. She needs to work on HEELing, hopefully more practice and tips at class this week.
There were more crowds and music down State Street for sidewalk sales. We worked through the crowds with little effort until Marley saw a dog, then she lost focus. She received constant subtle corrections throughout our walk.
After our three hours of exercise, we stopped for a bite to eat; Marley drank and slept under the table. Leaving the restaurant the customers next to us remarked that they hadn't known the dog was there during their lunch.
At home this evening we took our walk around the neighborhood and stopped by the playground. Marley does very good on the obstacles: steps, bridge, tunnels. Her favorite is the slide. She bounds up the steps, through the tunnel, and throws herself down the slide. I think she actually enjoys it. She will provide a demonstration for the other puppies at our OccuPaws training class this Tuesday. On our way home she practiced HEELing and the STANDing STAY. She can HEEL well for ten yards, we just need to maintain focus
In addition to toad hunting she has a new hobby - rabbit watching. She sits on the window seat and patiently, usually quiet, observes a family of rabbits in their natural environment.
“A well-trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.” - Helen Thomson
July 17, 2009
Walking around the neighborhood tonight Marley had another monster encounter. We met a high school student walking past us and Marley started barking and was fearful. There isn't any noticeable reason for these episodes. She recovers quickly, but we are going to try to work through this with more exposure to people/crowds.
Not sure if the timing is good for change, but we are moving her bed this evening. Marley will now be sleeping in the office a few doors down from our bedroom. This will be good for the person that sleeps late as Marley is very excited to have someone approach her while being crated, her tail thumps so loudly that we try to get her out quickly to not wake the sleeper. This new setup will provide us a better opportunity to teach her to be calm. I don't think that we will be successful - she is naturally happy.
“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.” - Stanley Coren
July 15, 2009
This afternoon Marley encountered a monster. She barked, backed away, and barked some more. She would be great watchdog except that the monster was me. The only difference in my appearance was that my sunglasses were on the top of my head. Eventually she made her way over to me for a big hug and kiss.
Wednesday nights are farm visits and training at the Dog Den in Madison. No pig sightings at the farm, just a DOWN STAY while we got our vegetables and Marley received praise for her obedience. We demonstrated our homework, STAND, at class and Marley did great.
We did a basic five station rally course and more work on STAY, HEEL, and calm greeting, shown here. This week we learned PLACE, STAND STAY, FINISH, where we substituted a standing HEEL. Marley's look displays the shock that she experienced with all the new commands.
A short walk in the park before returning home for dinner and chew time. In the last two days Marley has completely destroyed a rubber ball and is half way through another chew toy. We watch her very closely to ensure that no pieces get ingested. Tonight I resorted to a hard bone.
Our puppy has been suffering from a rash and/or allergy for the last few days. It looks like little red spots on her belly that clear up with a topical application of Benadryl, but returns the next day. We haven't figured out the cause yet.
"I used to look at [my dog] Smokey and think, 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what you were thinking,' and he'd look at me like he was saying, 'If you were a little smarter, I wouldn't have to.'" - Fred Jung claus
July 13, 2009
Lilly here - reporting from the Johnson Creek Mall when I met up with Mark and Barb for a little more training with my pal Tino and his Mom Rebecca.
We got to walk all over with Tino hanging on to my harness - up and down the curbs and over the rocks. Then down narrow passages and with humans getting in my way all the time.
Next we went into the store...again and again - about a hundred gazillion times I think. Come to the door, switch lease hands, open door, body block, Lilly "wait", change hands again, Lilly "through", guard the head, Lilly "turn", release the door, whee we're in. Wait, what???? go out again????
When the humans got bored of playing with the doors, we walked all through the stores and around stuff and didn't bump Tino into anything!!! Then MORE doors - I think they are fixated on doors and steps and stuff.
Finally, I heard Mark say "Looks good" ... time to go for Ice Cream....yessss!
WHAT - None for me??? Well how about a big hug instead?
Watch for our graduation party coming soon.
Love and Kisses,
July 12, 2009
While away at Camp Morga, Marley frolicked with Envy, Skeeter, Cinder, and Banjo. She would routinely submerge herself in the pool, definitely a water dog. Today she went to church and out to a farm. She met some interesting creatures, nose-to-nose, and chased some chickens which fled before she got too close. A brief chase ensued until called back which Marley did promptly.
Our entire family was reunited today and we were all exhausted so, after getting home everyone napped for a couple hours. Before our walk I thought a quick refresher was in order since we have class on Wednesday. Marley sat well and when I told her to STAND, which is our homework for Wednesday, she responded immediately and laid down.
July 9, 2009
The interesting thing about our visit was that we were never approached and no one asked to pet the dog. This was much different than our experience on Tuesday in Janesville where even store clerks greeted our puppies.
Before the mall, I stopped at work for a few minutes to clean up one of my messes. Lisa and Marley waited in the lobby, since I had been told that I could not bring my dog to work. She said that the security guard received a call and then approached her about not allowing dogs in the building. Upon receiving the standard service/guide dog in training response, the guard told the person on the phone that we had a service dog.
July 8, 2009
The dogs walked the mall, shopped a bit, rode the elevator, and calmly greeted the people that stopped to say hello. We tried to pique their interest in perfume, rattling hangers, surprising them with carts, but the only issue was the vacuum. Cinder can work on that at home.
Lisa rested in the massage chair with the puppies at her feet. It wasn't as much of a distraction as we anticipated; we thought there would be more noise and vibration. Lisa thought that a longer test was needed.
Wednesday is farm day, so Marley made a trip to Blue Moon Community Farm to visit her friends. She looks for the pigs as soon as she exits the car and sniffs the air; no pigs sighted.
She gets to 'meet and greet' the usual farm staff and a few of the other members. Marley must walk on a loose leash and pay attention to where and how fast I travel over the uneven terrain in the field. We also practice obedience (SIT, DOWN, STAY) with distractions.
Marley lies down while we bag our produce; we walk past her and she STAYs until we call her to the car. Before leaving, we spotted the pigs and took Marley over for a look. She stuck her head through the fence to investigate and get a kiss.
Another training session this evening at the Dog Den in Madison. They offer free classes to service animals. The unfamiliar surroundings were good for Marley and us - different techniques. This week we worked on STAND, STAY, and HEEL, in addition to the basic SIT, DOWN, and COME. Next week we need to bring a rug, we will add PLACE. Marley was disappointed as there was no playtime.
“Getting a dog is like getting married. It teaches you to be less self-centered, to accept sudden, surprising outbursts of affection, and not to be upset by a few scratches on your car.” -Will Stanton
Sorry I haven't written sooner, but Divit and I have had a busy couple of days. Mom says Divit is getting his last "boot camp" days done. He has been learning to take treats gently (no brainer), to come out of his crate sloooowly ( yawn, easy), to wait his turn at the door and to walk out slowly (could it get any easier?). and Mom has been especially noisy and careless dropping stuff too....butterfingers.
I like the walking stuff with my horsie coller on. Mom says I can finally walk in front of her - yippee. We both been working on walking in straight lines and ignoring everything (maybe a little tougher).
So last night, we got the night off and went to a big outdoor place with loads of people and kids and dogs and food!! Mom gave those pieces of paper she loves so much to everyone who came by to see us. Lots of blah blah blah while we waited for some food to drop from the plates....nada.
Then all of a sudden lots of music started playing and people stood up and shook their bodies, just like me and Divit. Divit even got up to dance with Dad to a Twist and Shout song - Divit was a real good tail wiggler.
Finally it was the little bugs that drove us out. Mom and Dad slapped at em, but don't they know eating them is so much easier???
July 6, 2009
Not much fun, but learning patience is critical. Only a fraction of the time will he actually be guiding his partner. The majority of the guide dog's life will be spent sitting or lying down quietly and waiting patiently for an opportunity to assist.
I need a refresher on nail trimming. Two weeks ago I cut Cinder's a bit short and this week Marley. It's not a big deal, however it can't be pleasant for the dog. My issue is not getting the dog to a completely calm state. I try to trim while the pup is still a tad squirmy. I locate the spot, she moves, and "Quick get the powder".
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.” - George Graham Vest
July 5, 2009
Upon discovery of our friendly toad, Marley's prey drive kicks in and she is focused on the toad as long as it is moving. This provides us the opportunity to practice LEAVE ITs. Once the toad stops moving, she quickly loses interest.
This brings up our biggest concern with Marley. She has a high prey drive, which she displays with toys, birds, toads, bugs, kids, dogs, leaves, ...
Marley enjoyed her walk this evening. We could tell that she was uncomfortable in the heat because she would lie down in the grass whenever we hit a patch of shade. We took her to McDonalds and she watched us drink our shake. Although she doesn't look overly happy to be there, she thoroughly appreciated the cool tiles on her belly.
My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. - Edith Wharton
Divit and I (Slick) had a great time on the 4th! We spent a really long time on the Capitol Square at the Madison Farmer's Market. We have been up there before walking around four really straight streets that surround the capitol, but yesterday we greeting people while we stayed in one spot.
We got up really early (even early for me) and arrived at the capitol while everybody was double parking and unloading lots of yummy looking types of food… (alas, none for us).
After a little while lots of people came up and greeted us. Mom and dad did a lot of blah, blah blah about how wonderful we behaved and how handsome we were, and they gave out small pieces of paper telling the people to "look us up"…. Look up where??
Then my brother Deegan came. What a surprise! Unfortunately, we were not allowed off leash to play on the grass that surrounded a really big domed building… I don't know why, nobody else was playing…
Deegan and his mom stayed for quite awhile, blah, blah, blahed, walked around the square and then blah, blahed some more. A really nice man took pictures of us and told us that he would send them to mom. I sure hope he does, because we did a really nice "down" and smiled pretty so he could take the pictures.
After we left the "Farmer's Market" Divit and I went to Mindy's house (mom and dad's pup), where mom put us to bed for a little while. We had not been in crates before at Mindy's house, but we were sooooo tired, that we just took a really nice afternoon nap while the human's ate hamburgers and tossed water balloons at each other.
Last night there was a lots of noise and lights in the sky. Reggie, our " brother" border collie that lives with us was really afraid of the noise. Divit, Stitch (our "sister" Golden Retriever) and I could not understand why….we just went to sleep as it was not very interesting to us.
That's all for now fellow pups.
July 4, 2009
Today we took Marley for a drive to Cuba City. He met a few new people and was on his best behavior in the new environment. We have been working with him to stay OUT of the kitchen when cooking or dining. She picked it up very quickly, so the first puppy raiser must have worked on this too.
More booms this evening as the locals are displaying their pyrotechnic skills.
A dog can express more with his tail in seconds than his owner can express with his tongue in hours. - Author Unknown
July 3, 2009
First we stopped to visit Banjo's brother, Toby. Marley and Toby romped and wrestled for thirty minutes. Toby was adopted by a family in Oregon. Hearing the accounts of Banjo and Toby nightly escapades, I am glad that we didn't have a puppy this week.
Our next stop was the Stoughton Fair, specifically the animal pavilions. Marley made friends with some piglets, calves, lambs. She was especially interested in the ducklings and goslings, but we detoured around them. The cows were in another building and she was intimidated by their size, but settled down.
Marley confidently and curiously entered the sheep/goat barn. The animals were very interested in the puppy. Marley did fine until one "Bah" and the sheep stood up. Pretty soon half the sheep were up and "Bah"s filled the barn. We made it through, but her tail was between her legs and she wasn't very confident. We hung out a bit longer, cutting the visit short as she was getting more, not less, stressed.
Marley trotted through the carnival with it's fallen food temptations, human crowds, whirling rides, girl's screams, and loud music without incident. She was back to her happy self, buoyed by a few meet and greets with young and old alike. The fair offers something for everyone. However, the only reason we went was for Marley's experience. She probably wished we hadn't. She did enjoy the cool floors at our final stop for the day - groceries.
Here's a cute one for the female audience.
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” -Will Rogers
July 2, 2009
Sunday was a picnic day...for the HUMANS. We just sat around while the HUMANS ATE!!!!
and Cinder waited...
and Divit and I waited...
BUT NO FOOD FOR US
Then we got excited. They finally got out a food bag for us but only let the new puppies near it. I think they were setting up a Circus act cuz every time this would happen...
Silly humans will never learn
Then one of the little guys tried on Reggie's harness...he/she has got a lot of growing up to do.
July 1, 2009
After much deliberation, arguments, "you've got to be kiddin' me's", and threats to boycott puppy raising, a name was decided upon. And I hope the song sticks in Marlene's head for a long time to come so next time she will just let us name the dog and not make us go through a whole list :-) He is cute though!
I can see I'm been slow in posting but Mom and Dad have me on a 25/8 schedule and I have NO leisure time fellow pups!!
First, I should report on Bodie & Tyler and Moby & Tanner's graduation Saturday night. Food food food everywhere and one measly dropped piece of Pepperoni :-( I should also mention it was raining indoors too!! Everytime anyone stood up at the little brown house with the antenna, the rain would start. But it was OK cuz everyone mopped it up with those tissue thingies.
Anyhows, here's the cake Divit and I didn't get to eat...
and Tyler and Tanner guarding it...
and Bodie and Tyler graduating...
and Tanner being eaten alive just before he could graduate...
All for now, I'll post again tomorrow.