Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

April 28, 2010


Banjo's pal Toby went home on Sunday. Monday morning after his outside potty, he went straight to the spare bedroom looking for his canine companion. It took him a day to realize that Toby wasn't at our house anymore.

After a morning of mourning, Banjo has busied himself with shopping. Monday, he went to Kohl's and JCP; spent two hours shopping for a suit. Tuesday, he took a quick jaunt to get a blender and motor oil. Today it was ice cream and he stopped in to see his former puppy raisers. Except for seeing his puppy raisers, he was bored, but well-behaved.

Good News: Banjo has received confirmation that he will be visiting the White House. It doesn't make any sense that my dog gets to go and I have to spend the day in training. Ironic?

April 26, 2010

Dog Den Blast

Woof fellow black dogs...we rule!!!!

Shepherds and Goldens quake in our dust!!!

Oh, wait, water-break...ahhh.

We all had a great time playing at the Dog Den Saturday morning. Pictures were a little difficult as most turned out to be blurry streaks. We were all pretty well behaved with only a few "unnecessary roughness" penalties and time outs. Poor Harley and Louie were on injured reserve...Harley was just neutered and Louie had a bit of a limp so he didn't get to play either. The humans just stood around and blah blah blah until a pack of labs broke up the talking.

I'll admit, I'm no Lab either and enjoyed some quiet time with Kotah.

There are some more pictures posted here.

All for now,

April 25, 2010

12 Dog Night!

Hey All - Geyser here.

I'm not sure what my doggy Mom was thinking but we ended up with 12 dogs in the house last weekend! Do you think that might make it into the Guiness Book of Records? Anyway, besides the three little white girls I live with my mom decided to doggysit three dogs for her friend.

Then over the weekend two visitors brought their guide dogs to the house plus three "pet" dogs. I have to admit I did enjoy playing with the other lab! We got to have the garage for our "playground". It reminded me a bit of being at the Dog Den.

We also went on a nice walk on the Glacial Drumlin Trail - six of us anyway.

Now that the house is back down to only four dogs it seems kind of empty! Not really.

Smile if you are a lab and lovin' it!

(the almost one year old.)

Silly Humans

OK fellow Occupaw Dogs - Geyser here. I experienced the most unusual thing yesterday. You are never going to believe this! There is a thing known as moving stairs! Yes, I did say "moving". Now why do you think the humans think they need the stairs to move when the not moving ones work just fine? I am rather confused. Seriously! Anyway, let me tell you that it is no piece of cake getting on and off those things. Nicole had to drag me on the first time. I wasn't going voluntarily! It was awful at first - very scary. But I trust Nicole so I tried to relax a bit. The second time up and down I tried to act calmer but inside I was still churning. Once you master the "moving stairs" the worst of your new experiences isn't over. When I was done complaining, my "doggy mom" informed me that there is also something called a moving walkway. Does it ever end?!! At least those things are only at airports so I am told. If that can be believed!

I also had a couple other "firsts" this week. I got to stand about 10 feet away from a very slow moving train. The squeaking and banging bothered me at first but I got used to it pretty fast. I'm also am going outside a lot with students who are learning how to cross streets. All that traffic is quite annoying. But I did get to see (and hear) a motorcycle do a wheelie! I spent
all afternoon Friday learning how to cross at a new kind of street intersection called a "roundabout". The genius who invented or engineered that concept must have been crazy! I think these humans think they are so smart to have come up with these inventions. I just think they are plain silly!

My doggy Mom says she is very proud of me so I guess it was all worth it!

April 23, 2010

Candy at School

Took Candy to Grandkids school, they had a learning fair. All the kids had to do a project of their choice. Kaitlyn reported on Occupaws.
The report had to include visual aids.

Kaitlyn printed off information from the Occupaws website. She cut out pictures of all our Graduated dogs and put them in a photo album along with pictures we gave her from our many dogs and outings.
She was most excited about having Candy attend.

She said "I have the best visual aid"
Candy was put in a down stay. She stayed for over an hour even with kids petting and hugging her.
Everyone was so impressed. They couldn't believe she was only 6 months old and would stay for that long in one spot.
Ernie and Jan

April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Juan

Wishing Juan a Very Happy Birthday.

Thanks for putting up with all of us.

All Mixed Up!

Hope I am doing this right! Never wrote a blog before! First dropped off Finley Friday. Suppose to get Casey but got Magic the Standard Poodle! He was a great guy to have around! What a gentleman! I can see why Occupaws has these poodles in training - they are just different than Labs-more elegant about everything they do!

Went to training last night and now that Casey switched foods she feels much better, so she gets to come to Camp Kachel! The kids were like "where did Magic go"? I said"we have Casey now". So Casey is adjusting well and having fun! Wait she just knocked over her bag of dog food oh no!!!

In Fact, you are doing so well with your first blog, your computer decided to help and upload a picture of Casey!!


Your Computer

Sparta's New Adventures

Hi Pups ~

Sparta here ~ I'm now with a new mom for two weeks 'cause we did an OccuPaws rotation, so I'm hangin' out in Middleton.

Would you believe the very next day I got a Graduation Certificate from The Dog Den!! (Well, I was a stand in for Casey, but I did all the skills and would've graduated too....) Thanks, Dog Den, for providing classes for our OccuPaws pups!

I got to meet a new pal, McGruff, at the grand opening of Middleton's new Police Station.

I even got to meet the head guy, Chief Kiel. Everyone greeted me "Hello, Casey ~ my, how you've grown!" until I told them I was a BOY and was Casey's brother. They all remarked at how well behaved I was.

Then it was off to the Kohl Center for a reception and the UW Band concert. Mike Lekrone greeted me, but he thought I was too quiet to join his band. And, pups, was that band ever LOUD!! Don't know how I managed to sleep through all the noise and fireworks ~ tho I did wake up to watch the "Chicken Dance."

I slept good that night!

Sunday was a road trip and hike at Indian Lake Park. There were lots of steps on the path,

and at the top of the hill I saw a tiny little chapel,

just big enough for me to fit inside!

I'm having a good time and adjusting well to my new (temporary) home.

Your pal, Sparta

April 18, 2010

Forty-Eight Hours

Similar to the switch of OccuPaws puppies, Toby has been in our home for two days. The first forty-eight hours are frustrating and critical. The puppy will test to see what the rules are, determine the pack leader, and identify his standing in the pack.

Initially, our two brothers had been sparring quite a bit to establish their rank. Banjo has been much more dominant and rougher during play.

Having been through rotation a few times in the past, we experienced similar thoughts this weekend. Wondering what we have gotten ourselves into and counting the days until this "new" dog leaves.

Banjo and Toby have settled down for the most part with only the occasional outburst, which we try to limit to outdoor playtime. They have both learned the STOP command. Toby has quickly identify myself as the pack leader and follows me around, even more than Banjo does. As things continue to progress, we will all be sad to see our "new" puppies leave us.

It appears that someone, Toby, has gotten too comfortable and is still testing us or following old routines. This situation was quickly rectified, after the required photographic proof. Just a reminder that your puppy will continue to check the boundaries.

Hopefully the Puppy Raisers are now reaping the benefits of consistent training and a smooth transition (and can keep their puppy off the bed).

April 17, 2010


Banjo is entertaining a house guest for the next ten days. His brother Toby is visiting while his family is on vacation. They have not seen each other since they were eight weeks old, nine momths ago.

At the OccuPaws training class on Friday night our canine tandem met up with a third brother, Geyser. Geyser (m) and Banjo (l) have been in guide dog training for the last nine months and Toby (r) wanted to see what he was missing. He didn't like having to sit quietly and he didn't understand why he shouldn't run to the person saying "Promise, COME". Banjo and Geyser performed respectably and Toby was impressed with their ability to understand humans.

All Toby wanted to do was play which is what we did Saturday morning. He accompanied us to The Dog Den for Banjo's weekly play time. Banjo was extremely dominant and vocal resulting in many timeouts. He did not experience the switch, but having a new dog in the house may be creating a bit of tension as they determine pack order. Toby got along well with everyone, human and canine. His only transgression was eating the pebbles in the play yard.

After playtime, we stopped at the bakery and Toby experienced one of the disadvantages of being a regular dog. He and I had to stay in the car while Banjo went into the bakery and received hugs from another customer, who was very interested in OccuPaws and may become a puppy raiser.

A new dog in the house creates new dynamics, so we should have daily updates as relationships develop.

View more photos of Toby and Banjo's Adventures as the week progresses.


All of Maddi's litter is now old enough (8 months) and we are switching them around with the other raisers to see what happens in new situations. Maddi is with Sonny's raisers and we have Sonny. Casey, Sparta, Finley have also switched homes for the next two weeks. It is always interesting seeing how the dogs react in different situations.

April 16, 2010

Play Date


We love nice weather!!! It means a play date with all my dog cousins and all my human cousins. Evan and Jacob are really learning to retrieve for us, but Anna and Noah just lay there like lumps. For some reason, only Roxie got to play with Noah...gentle, schmeltle, just give em a big kiss is what I say.

Mom says Wilbur and I are growing up. I think Wilbur is getting over fed cuz he weighs 50 pounds and is taller than me now...no fair!

I'm still the boss of him tho'.

That's what he thinks - I'm just biding my time until I make my move :-)

All for now,


April 13, 2010


Writing an update last weekend, I was going to write about Banjo's first night in a hotel, but then I remembered that he accompanied us to a wedding in South Bend last October. It was sure a lot easier this time. Although not as cute as he was six months ago (right), he is much more trustworthy and I will take brains over beauty any day. He adapted very well to the schedule changes and new experiences.

Before our trip, we had confirmed Banjo's acceptance at all of our required destinations. The hotel in Kalamazoo required an explanation from the corporate office that a pet fee was not acceptable. One Detroit restaurant refused to serve us and we reluctantly took our business elsewhere. Another restaurant begrudgingly let us stay after we showed them the state statute on the back of Banjo's ID card. However, for each negative encounter there were ten positive experiences.

Our greatest training challenge was getting Banjo to LEAVE the pigeons alone. They were everywhere. Their slow waddle enticed Banjo to get closer until they would fly away and engage his prey drive.

My greatest annoyance was waking, dressing, riding the elevator, and taking Banjo potty each morning and every night. A small price to pay for having a puppy enhanced trip. We never rode the bus/train or strolled the streets without interacting with someone. We hear how a guide dog changes the life of his partner, but having a canine sidekick changes our lives too.

April 12, 2010

Poker for Paws Pictures

I had a great time at Poker for Paws - I had lots of people to love on me :-)

Woof, Harley

So did I!! Nanny Nanny boo boo!!

Love, Wilbur

Click here for more pictures for Poker for Paws and if you have pictures from there, send them to mark@occupaws.org and they can be added to the facebook album.

April 11, 2010

Mass Transit Eh

We began Saturday with a short walk to the bus station and a relatively quick bus ride. Banjo didn't seem to notice the difference between the bus or the train; both modes of transportation required him to lie quietly and leave people alone.

This trip was a bit different though as we ended up in Canada. Passports and proof of vaccination in hand we proceeded through immigration to enjoy the city of Detroit from across the river, in Windsor.

Birds and dogs still looked the same, so we worked a lot on LEAVE IT Eh. Banjo adapted well to the foreign language.

He found boats to be very interesting. It was difficult to tell if the noise or their movement caught his attention. The sound of waves crashing startled him a bit the first time he heard it.

Back to the US via a much longer bus ride - the tunnel was backed up. A few more train rides to get to the hotel.

We saw some big cats on our way to the hockey game; Banjo wasn't interested. After a long day, Banjo slept through the whole game, or tried to. We were sitting near the end of the row and we kept waking him up to let people by. We all should have stayed home and slept; the Badgers lost (5-0).

More crowd exposure, and dinner (where he saw a real guide dog), before a final train ride back to our hotel. Five hours of sleep before driving home. So essentially Banjo has been napping for the last eighteen hours.

Candy and parents

Today we took a drive with Marlene, Magic, Linus, and Riley. We went to see Sharon Long. She put a chip in Linus and Riley.
We rode along so Magic and I could visit our mom and dad who live there.

Here is my mom Katie, me, and Magic.

This is my Dad Lincoln, he is apricot color.

There were all kinds of yellow dogs running around, but I found a little time to play with all the toys myself.


Poker for Paws.

First, Promise was a good pup and went to vote last week. The polling place was getting ready to close, so no excitement there.

Yesterday was Poker for Paws, and the pups all had a grand time. Promise enjoyed seeing all her friends and was wiped by the end of the day.

Promise and her new friend Moby resting. As you can see, Moby was all wags.

April 9, 2010

On Alert

Our first night in a Kalamazoo hotel did not get off to a good start. Our canine companion was absorbing all the new sights, smells, and sounds. As we settled in for the night Banjo was alert to all the new sounds. He could hear people talking in the next room, doors were open and closing, and kids running down the hall. He let out a few warning barks and received a QUIET correction. Eventually we all fell asleep. The morning brought us a short trip to Detroit and a new hotel.

After getting settled into our home for the next three days, we needed some food before the evening's two hockey games. Banjo boarded the People Mover, for his first experience with the elevated train. Riding the train has been quite an experience with dog in tow. The platforms are monitored by camera and security and every time we attempt to board we are either stopped by security or asked to call the "eye in the sky" - No Pets Allowed. By the second trip Banjo he had apparently adapted well.

Humans fed and dog apparently starving, we attended the Frozen Four semi-finals. Both the Badgers and Banjo performed admirably. No re-entry to the facility, so between games we had to get special permission to potty our dog. No problem getting out, getting back in was a slight hassle. Safely back inside Ford Field, the sheriff stopped by and asked about Banjo. It turns out that he volunteers for Leader Dog raising one of their breeding females.

We returned to our new home and Banjo was fine; either too tired or not concerned. There wasn't any noise from next door or the hallway, but some sirens and horns outside. He just went to his bed and went to sleep. Until he escaped from his crate. He is a smart little guy. It didn't take him long to figure out how to use his nose to move the zippers and he already knows the route to our hotel room.

April 7, 2010

Natural Balance

Another great partnership.

Natural Balance Dog food is a major provider of dog food to OccuPaws and we are now one of only 4 guide dog groups featured on their website. :-) Click Here


The other day, we had a full day of LEAVE IT. We spent the morning trying to get Banjo to LEAVE a toy on the end table. It actually started the night before. He enjoys his toys and would sneak up and grab it without anyone noticing. It doesn't pay to provide a correction after he's had the toy for five minutes, so the morning involved spying on him to provide instantaneous correction.

In the afternoon, we took a long walk to the park. The birds were out which offered yet another opportunity to practice LEAVE IT. He does good when on leash, but off leash he is improving, but if I don't reinforce the LEAVE IT, he's gone in a flash.

Banjo was able to LEAVE home today. At this moment we have just settled into our home for the evening. After touching four states (WI, IL, IN, MI), it's time for dinner and early to bed.

Banjo wanted to go for a swim while we waited for our dinner, but he has just eaten, so he had to wait an hour.

April 5, 2010

Enjoying spring.

Promise and I have been enjoying the warmer weather, walking to school, and spending more time outside. Today we saw ducks at the Union and Promise did a great job maintaining herself in the presence of distraction.

It is also a delight to have a dog that is not afraid of thunder and lightning. Our last lab (a slightly neurotic rescue) turned into an 80 pound pile of shaking nerves whenever it thundered. Of course, he was also afraid of plastic bags...

We're enjoying the last few weeks of Promise before she starts the next phases of training.

April 4, 2010


Our Saturday started like any other, up early to get to The Dog Den for puppy playtime. Banjo received his morning meal and I went back to bed to catch a few more ZZZ. I figured he could wait thirty minutes to potty. I was certainly correct in my assessment.

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

It was 8 o'clock before we made it outside for potty and I decided to try the other side of the yard, just to mix things up a bit. He peed on command and I waited for number two. And waited with no success while Banjo longingly eyed his usual spot across the yard. Back into the house/crate until he decided the time was right. Note: His last BM was at 2 pm the previous day.

Fifteen minutes later, we tried again. There were birds tweeting, the neighbors were out, and a dog barked - no relief.

To make a long, seemingly endless story short, we repeated this process until 12:30. Needless to say Banjo missed puppy playtime, the 9 and 10 o'clock sessions. Eventually we won the battle of wills.

Please tell me again why we do this.

April 3, 2010

Candy at zoo

Friday we went to the Madison zoo. I was very popular. With all the different animals to see every one kept coming up to me and wanting to pet and hug me. Hasn't any one every seen a poodle before?

I was also popular with the other animals. When ever one spotted me they came up close to the fence to look at me. The Camels, and buffalo, and girraffe's were really interested in me.

I couldn't go see the lion's, tiger's, or monkeys tho. Orders from Marlene. They might get too excited at seeing me and might lunge at the glass.

I think the best part of the zoo was watching the praire dogs. They were all running around digging holes. I could of watched them all day.

It was a long day. Dad and I took a rest while the
grandkids played in the park.


April 2, 2010

Spa Treatment

Oh the humiliation. Our eleven month old MALE black Labrador had to get a spa treatment. We received a coupon about a year ago, Bark For Life raffle, to the Oregon Pet Spa and Salon. We decided to use it today because we were going to Easter dinner on Saturday and it expired today.

The spa treatment included: *hydrosurge bath, shampoo, *leave in conditioning treatment, *nail trim/ file if needed, *ear cleaning/ hair plucked if dog allows, *anal glands expressed, *haircut to your specifications, and his favorite *tearless blueberry facial

We were most curious to find out how he handled the experience. The groomer said that he was a perfect gentlemen, but then again would she have told us otherwise.

Banjo returned home looking sharp and very happy. He smelled wonderful, except for his breath. Should have spent the extra two dollars for tooth brushing. We have been lax, but to remedy this we have re initiated daily oral hygiene. Not sure how good beef flavored toothpaste will smell though.

Our trainee performed well at Easter dinner and was barely noticed by the humans. Even smelling nice or because of it, the resident Shih Tzu, Charlie, kept a watchful eye on the large puppy. Banjo batted him in the head with his big paw a few times and did steal a little of his host's food. We will have to see if he gets invited back.