Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

January 30, 2011

Plus Five

The UW men's hockey team was on the road at Michigan Tech this weekend, but we just couldn't stay away from the KC. The women's team had a special event to "Fill the Bowl" to raise money for Second Harvest. In attendance were 10,668 fans, plus five puppies: Hailey, Monte, Meadow, Aspen, and Pilot.

A bit excited before the game started, Monte settled down as we employed our new strategy. The crowd had a higher percentage of youngsters than the men's games and our walks during intermissions involved more greetings than exercise. We missed the first eight minutes of the second period fending off fans and posing for pictures. The evening's greatest challenge was LEAVING the consumable items unexpectedly found on the floor.

After the game, we were provided more photo opportunities and greetings. Monte was reunited with some of the hockey players that he had played with on Monday night. However, he took a backseat to the adorably cute little puppies, only getting attention from the overflow crowd gathered to hold Aspen. Forty-five minutes later we exited the now empty KC.

January 28, 2011

Back to Basics

The Dog Den's beginner class and working with a young puppy provides an opportunity to reevaluate and get back to basics. This week the class introduced the WAIT and STAY commands which Monte has been doing for at least six months. He is very good, but not perfect. This week we only walked out to the end of the leash which virtually guaranteed success, earned the puppy a reward, and strengthens the puppy/raiser bond. At this age we often forget the positive reinforcement and only offer corrections.

For a couple weeks now, Monte has been reluctantly getting dressed, almost shying away. Seven months ago he was bounding into his vest. By coincidence, Abbey's raisers have started working on getting her to move into the vest by luring her. This was a perfect reminder that we needed to start at the beginning, ensure success, and re-institute positive reinforcement for this action.

I started by placing my hand down by my side, palm facing forward. It didn't take Monte long to hit my hand with his nose (TOUCH) which earned a "YES" followed by some kibble. After ten more times with varied hand placements, he was ready to TOUCH my hand through the vest - "YES" and more kibble. It took about five minutes and he is now eagerly inserting his head through the vest with only the verbal command (no hand prompt), which earns him a reward.

January 27, 2011


As you all know, the long term goal for Monte is to be a guide dog, but some days it feels like that is a pipe dream. I am already preparing myself for the day that the leaders of OccuPaws pick him up and take him away. Some days I want to call them and request it myself. His obedience is very good, not perfect by any means, but how will we ever get this nervous, sensitive canine to relax.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

To lower our frustration, we have been setting short-term and intermediate goals for Monte. Our first training session this week was at the Dog Den and they are helping us with a short term goal to eliminate his nervous whining. The classes are also an initial step toward our intermediate goal of passing the Canine Good Citizen test and ultimately reducing his canine distraction.

To that end we invited our protege puppy, Abbey, for a training visit on Wednesday. Little did she know that she was merely a pawn for Monte's second training session. Her job was to act like a puppy and Monte was supposed to behave. An active puppy in his territory was too exciting and he broke a few STAYs. He ate dinner and went to bed, so we could focus on our visitor. We heard a few whines from our jealous house dog. After resting, he was more relaxed, until we brought some toys out to check for possessiveness. High energy, but no issues. For his first at home test, his behavior was acceptable, but definitely needs improvement. Practice makes perfect.

Our secondary objective was to see how Abbey was doing. Being a tad over three months old, she has few expectations. Other than some submission exercises and a training collar, there wasn't much that we needed to do to help her. Our biggest job was to reassure her new puppy raisers that they are doing a good job and they need to enjoy this early stage. Expectations rise exponentially after the fourth month.

Having been in their shoes four years ago, we were armed with years of experience "housing" pet dogs and we wanted to be the perfect raisers. We failed miserably. We had no experience training puppies. I soon learned that there was no perfect training method - every trainer had an arsenal of approaches and techniques. We ended up confused which ultimately lead to inconsistency. This along with our biggest fault, not understanding the need or techniques to discipline our puppy, resulted in a misbehaving puppy who was "in control". With plenty of assistance, we eventually became the pack leaders.

Puppy raisers need to develop their own style and be able to adapt to the needs of each puppy. What worked for one, may not work for another. Experience is the key because puppy raising involves trial and (lots of) error. At least that's been my experience.

January 25, 2011

Hockey Clinic

Sometimes our guide dogs in training get to the do the most fun things. Monday evening it was a hockey clinic for young girls put on by the UW Women's Hockey Badgers. Since one of our Goddaughters was attending with some of her tiny Tomah Timberwolves team, Monte got to come and watch with Lisa.

He got to meet and greet a bunch of talented and friendly student athletes and by the time the event was done, we had most of them trained on the proper way to greet a guide dog. Unfortunately, some of the many "mighty mites" were not so easily trained and one of them offered Monte a slice of pepperoni pizza (he did not get any!). Monte even got to meet his favorite badger, Bucky, up close and personal. As you can see, Monte kept an eye on Bucky at all times. He did great with all the chaos of kids and hockey gear and pizza and players.

Lexie and her friend Sierra got to get autographs from the women's hockey team and then got a special treat when Hilary Knight and Carolyne Prevost let them wear their jerseys. These little girls were all smiles and chattering up a storm when Monte and I walked them to their car.

It's always a great day for hockey!

January 23, 2011

The Look

Our Saturday started early with a long walk. We had the park to ourselves, so we practiced a few recalls. Most of them went well, but on a couple Monte couldn't resist and detoured for a run through the snow. After a reminder/correction, he was much better. The cold was not a factor, the temperature was a balmy 10 F, but the salt from the sidewalks needed to be brushed off Monte's feet a few times. No such luck this morning; the mercury reads -12 F.

After our breakfasts, we stopped by the veterinarian's office to make a healthy visit. We stopped to show our healthy dog, thank the vet for his efforts, and get a quick weight (63 pounds), before dashing off to the mall.

We were scheduled to sell coupon books at noon. Since we were ready early, we arrived at the mall at about 10:30. We did some shopping and practiced some STAYs and recalls in the real world. At noon the onslaught began and people of all ages gathered to meet our puppies. It was two hours of fun and training. And we sold a few coupon books too.

To finish the evening, we had a Badger hockey game. Based on our last experience, we weren't sure what to expect. However, you CAN teach an old dog a new trick, if the old dog is willing to adapt. Monte is not an old dog; I am the old dog being referenced. Although the SETTLE technique has been working well, we needed something more effective.

Then I remembered something that our trainer, Doug, mentioned a few weeks ago. When approaching dogs on the street he stated that "Distance is your friend". Now this was not directly applicable, but the concept was. In order to keep Monte calm at the hockey game, we needed to wait for him to mature or reduce the distraction and control the situation. Deciding not to wait for the former, I implemented the latter and "encouraged" Monte to remain DOWN, unable to see the action, while we were in our seats. This is a good rule and should have been implemented from the beginning. It didn't take him long to figure out the new rule and eventually "The Look" was all that was needed. It was the best hockey experience that we have had with Monte.

At OccuPaws training class I figured out that "The Look" although effective is not a good training technique. We traded dogs during class and I could see the other handlers struggling with Monte at times; they didn't know about "The Look". After giving a command, Monte usually responds. However when he doesn't, I don't repeat the command which is a huge training mistake, but I do give him a combination disappointed/angry/encouraging look and then he complies. He has not learned to respond on the second command, unfortunately, he has learned to respond to "The Look".

January 21, 2011

Crate Sweet Crate

Puppies need and thrive with a daily routine. As a puppy raiser, I have to establish a routine to provide consistency and safety. Then, we are required to modify the routine to see how the puppy reacts and adapts to change.

This week Monte's regular schedule, and mine, was changed drastically. Lisa moved her work location back to the office for a month. We are all getting up earlier and Monte has been exercising/playing before I leave for work. Though the biggest change is that his daytime crate time has increased from two to five hours.

We cut our exercise routine short this morning; it was too cold (-10 F). Monte was lifting his paws after being outside for only a few minutes. The weather combined with being busy with activities the last three evenings (two training classes and groceries), provided rationale to hibernate tonight. Instead of working Monte's muscles, we worked his mind and senses playing "Hide and Search" with his toy. Maybe if he washes out as a guide dog he can do search and rescue - always good to have a back-up plan.

January 18, 2011

The Cycle

Here is a poem I wrote this morning as I thought of how my time with Dayton is half spent. He has learned the foundation behaviors he needs to be successful, and now it is up to me to be sure he learns to generalize his stellar behavior to everywhere he could go. As he leavves me, though it will be a hard day, I know he will be going to give someone else something I cherish with my Kirby. I will do my best to be strong and walk away calmly so as to make it easy on us both. Life is a series of letting go and receiving. I received the privilage of sharing my home with him for about 16 months, and I did so knowing I would have to say goodbye much sooner than if he were to spend his life with me. So, here's to Dayton, to all of the pups in the program, to all of those with huge hearts who have let these puppies into their homes knowing it is just for a short time. Here is to the courage to love so deeply and be willing to let go.

The Cycle

I've done my best to make you wize
to learn to be another's eyes.
Side by side we've walked the halls
of schools, of homes of shopping malls,
sit, now stay now come now down,
at the markets, parks and stores throughout this town.
Drop it, leave it spit it out,
Consistency teaches with no doubt.
The time will come when you must leave,
A time my heart and home will grieve.
but as I've said and as you know,
down the sidewalks you will floe.
With someone blind with confident stride,
You'll be more than my puppy, for you'll be their guide.

January 16, 2011

Mall Rat

After Christmas sidewalk sales are one of the two times of year that I shop. The other being summer sidewalk sales. During each of these weeks our OccuPaws puppy becomes a mall rat, spending hours each day strolling the mall and practicing HEEL, SIT, DOWN, STAY, LEAVE IT.

For some reason, Monte is drawn to the escalators. Not sure if it is the sound or motion. His initial encounter as a young puppy must have left left a big impression. Now, he enjoys standing by the glass wall on the second floor watching the customers ascend and descend.

Saturday was an extremely busy day that resulted in Monte sleeping in his crate all evening - his choice. In addition to "working" the mall and dining out twice, we spent three hours at Animart "working" at the OccuPaws table. Animart is the perfect location for puppy training. It provides an opportunity to interact (or not interact) with people of all ages, a cornucopia of dogs, and a menagerie of furry/feathered critters. If they can be well-behaved there they can be well-behaved anywhere.

This was Monte's second visit and he calmed down after twenty minutes and a few SETTLE techniques. During the third hour, one person even commented that she preferred the livelier dog (Angus) to the mellow dog (Monte), who was stretched out resting.

After struggling with Monte's gastrointestinal (GI) issue for two weeks, we threw caution to the wind and tried something not often recommended. GI issues surfaced two weeks ago after opening a new bag of food, same kind, just fresh. He has been taking Tylan for a week with very little if any improvement. Food rationing and skipped meals also proved ineffective. At wit's end, I decided to try a different food, cold turkey. A change in diet can cause GI distress, however in this case the GI issue was immediately resolved.

January 15, 2011

OccuPaws Litter

Melody and Ripley, of Neverest Labs,would like to announce the birth of 10 new puppies, some who may follow in Promise's pawprints and become a guide dog for someone someday!!

Mom is doing well with 1 yellow girl, 2 black girls, 4 yellow boys and 3 black boys

CONGRATULATIONS to the happy couple!!

We are in need of a few good homes and some caring puppy raisers.

January 13, 2011

The Accidental Puppy Raiser

Well, another walk took place at the forest on Sunday.  Abbey loved the walk and made it all the way up to the water tower and back down again.  We also stopped at the Yahara River near the park and she stepped in the river and explored the shoreline for a few minutes.  She just loves to get out and explore, meet new people, meet new dogs and see new things and places.  A busy Sunday afternoon was followed by a few naps and a good night sleep.  This morning Abbey and I started the week going to a well-puppy visit that included a distemper shot and a bordetella treatment.  Lakeview Veterinary Clinic
www.lakeviewvetclinic.com recently became our sponsors for Abbey’s vet needs.  Many, many thanks to them for their very generous donation.  Their sponsorship was arranged by Barb Schultze, President of Occupaws and we greatly appreciate Barb’s help.  Dr. Krass and her assistant Jess, both did a wonderful job meeting Abbey, talking to me about her needs, reviewing her health and making recommendations for the future.   They were excellent and helped answer many questions.

Abbey now weighs 19 lbs and 12 ounces and they thought she looked great. 

After the excitement of the veterinarian visit, we had a pretty lazy afternoon with a few short walks in the back yard thrown in.  We did this because of our plan later that day to take Abbey to the Dog Den LLC for her first puppy class for 8 – 20-week-old puppies.  We think it is going to be fun.  I will report just how fun it is.  It’s a miracle when you spend so much time with a puppy that you know what they are thinking.  Or, think you know what they are thinking.  Anyway, life with Abbey is good and growing.

The Dog Den was a blast for all of us.  Abbey met two golden retrievers, a husky, two basset hounds, a golden doodle, a great pyrenees and several other dogs and really had a great time.  She held her own running, wrestling and playing with all of them and behaved very well when we did a few easy commands.  The Dog Den provides classes to Occupaws raisers free of charge and I recommend it to all of them.  It gives you a sense of the kind of dog you have and what a special kind of dog they can someday be.

January 11, 2011


Monte performed well at the last OccuPaws class surrounded by other well behaved dogs that he was acquainted with. This evening he was back at The Dog Den. for the beginner's class. It starts out with a refresher of the teenager class that we completed in September: SIT, DOWN, WATCH, WAIT, and LEAVE IT.

At this point in Monte's training it's less about teaching him different commands and more about "proofing" our pooch to handle and perform in difficult situations. His real challenge tonight was to perform along side seven new dogs with varied temperaments and energy.

Initially things did not look good. Our student exited the car in an excited state and it ramped up quickly as we entered the building and walked past the other canines - more whining and crying. Accustomed to having the star of the class, we were in foreign territory having the noisemaker that disrupts the class for the entire forty-five minutes. While verifying medical records, we practiced our SETTLE technique and he quickly calmed down, but needed reminders throughout the class.

The opportunity these classes provides is priceless. Many thanks to The Dog Den, our unofficial sponsor.

January 9, 2011


Dear Puppy Raisers:

Many of you know Guide Dog Dale. This was our first graduate guide dog 4 years ago.

Dale is currently ill with an unknown kidney problem and is at the UW veterinary school of medicine. As you can imagine, the bills for Dale are growing on a daily basis. OccuPaws has been asked for financial assistance for the Vet bills. The OccuPaws' contract with graduated dogs is that the user of the Guide Dog pays any and all veterinary bills for the dog.

The OccuPaws mission statement is that OccuPaws provides guide dogs to the visually impaired. It does NOT allow OccuPaws to support working Guide Dogs. Our fiduciary duty is to our puppies, current raisers, Guide Dogs in training and the salary of our Guide Dog Instructor. And, as a practical matter, we do not have the funding to pay for veterinary bills of our graduated dogs in perpetuity.

That said, the Board would like to help in ways that we legally can. We will be contacting our Facebook friends, Constant Contact mailing list, and you our blog readers to see if you would like to donate funds to Dale.

Any money donated needs to be earmarked specifically to Dale, and donated through OccuPaws to receive the charitable tax deduction. If further financial assistance for Dale's medical care, and organizes a one-time fund raising event specifically for Dale, we at OccuPaws will certainly assist her all we can at this event.

The Board wanted you to know what we can all do to help Dale. If you would like to pledge, you may pledge using the following e-mail address, with DALE DONATION in the subject line. dalefund@occupaws.org.

You may also use pay-pal with earmarking to DALE DONATION at http://occupaws.org/OnlineDonation.htm


The Accidental Puppy Raiser

Well, Abbey here, I have had a good couple of days since my puppy raiser reported on Wednesday last week.  I met his mentor child in Oregon and I was an excellent puppy and ate my lunch with four other children and their mentors.  It was fun.  The office staff and guidance personnel thought I was really cute and I even got some kisses just for my cuteness.  Yesterday, my raisers and I visited East Towne Mall.  I was surprised when I realized they only visited the mall for my benefit.  We arrived at a less than busy entrance at the Sears store.  I went potty outside and then we went into the store.  There weren't many people there so we calmly walked to the mall entrance.  Then we met several older and younger people and some small children, too.  After about fifteen minutes of meeting people we arrived at a bench in the mall.  I sat and got a bunch of treats while I sat paying attention to my raisers.  It seemed that people walking by knew I was working so although many of them noticed me they left the three of us alone.  After about ten minutes, I turned around and just watched people walk by.  My raisers praised me and gave me a few extra treats.  After another ten minutes we went back to Sears, met some more people and went back out to the parking lot by our car.  I went potty like a good girl and we headed home.  Late yesterday afternoon, we also went to the Indian Mound Middle School Forest for a walk.  While walking we met a lady my raisers know.  She has a Border Collie mix named Semper.  He was friendly and we walked together for a few minutes.  He was a big grown up seven-year-old dog so after a few minutes he and the lady went far ahead of us.  I really like the forest and with some treats I am learning "leave it" and my raisers like that very much.  I am dropping dead mushrooms, stones and sticks and getting a treat instead.  A pretty good trade I would say.  

High Anxiety

Observing the "new" puppies at class, reminded Lisa and I how cute and frustrating young Labradors can be. We questioned why we would ever want to raise another puppy. Yesterday, Monte attended a Mites hockey game in the morning and Badger hockey game at night. We were reminded how difficult it is to deal with a ten month old Labrador with unresolved issues (which should have been dealt with at a younger age). We questioned why we raise puppies of any age.

Our lovable companion cried and whined the entire morning. Two of his issues combined (fast moving children and hockey action) for an unbearable morning for us and other spectators. We tried everything to get him to relax and be quiet with limited success. Eventually we gave up and hoped that it would work itself out. Great idea, but rarely works. Thankfully the game ended and we could retreat, tail between our legs, to a calmer environment.

After spending the afternoon practicing magic tricks, my hope was that Monte's behavior would magically resolve itself before the evening game. No such luck as he was the worst he has ever been, whining uncontrollably for the first period. I knew we we in trouble as soon as we entered the parking ramp, Monte sensed where we were and was very excited. In our seats, I tried everything I could think of and he would not relax.

Sitting in the front row, being watched and bothering everyone in our section, my initial thought was that we need to get out of here and get rid of this dog. My second thought was that we would get through this night and then stop bringing him to hockey games, events with children, activities with any action, ... Both options were essentially the same, admit failure and give up on Monte ever being a guide dog or children's visual companion dog, which sounds better and better every day. Fleeing this situation was close to an actuality, but would help no one.

Just before my complete submission and meltdown, I recalled some training advice that we had provided Abbey last week. Not the same situation/issue, but the method might be helpful. Since things could not get much worse or more embarrassing, I decided to give it a try.

Always eager to please, Monte complied with my DOWN command. Then I physically rolled him on his side, holding him down, patting his side, stroking his head, asking/hoping/willing him to relax. Keep in mind the hockey game is in progress, we are in our front row seats surrounded by other fans. After he calmed down, I released him.

Now I would love to write that this application of calm assertive energy, a la the Dog Whisperer, changed Monte forever. However, that did not happen. Although not an immediate transformation, he seemed better and the process was repeated every time he appeared stressed. He spent the bulk of the second, third, and overtime period lying at our feet with his head resting on the wall in front of us, alert/aware but quiet. Until the Badgers score the winning goal with 8 seconds left in overtime - too much energy. We returned home emotionally exhausted.

January 7, 2011

Puppy Distraction

Yesterday's OccuPaws training class offered a good opportunity to work on one of Monte's many areas of improvement - dog distraction. Raising an older puppy we were to show up for the second hour, but we decided to attend the entire class. The first hour was for the youngsters. Couldn't ask for a greater distraction than eight rambunctious, untrained twelve week old puppies running, jumping, and barking.

So Monte's assignment for the first hour was to calmly observe the canine frenzy and be quiet. He struggled to comply with my wishes for the first thirty minutes, staying on alert, before eventually relaxing. He even ignored the construction noises which would generally elicit a warning bark. Overall a good experience.

After resisting temptations for an hour, it was finally Monte's time to be active. Glad to be moving, he eagerly performed the concentric puppy wheels. Then more dog distraction as dogs weaved their way around each other - no sniffing allowed.

Monte briefly enjoyed the part of training where the raisers work other dogs. He took full advantage of a new raiser, until one of the trainers stepped in to provide advice to the raiser and a firm hand to Monte. It's always a surprise to see how your puppy reacts to a different handler.

January 5, 2011

Half Way

Monte is ten months old today, which means that our latest puppy raising assignment is half over. We picked him up eight months ago and he will be with us for eight more. Time sure flies.

On our initial meeting, he relieved himself in the store, three times. He was only eight weeks old, so it was operator error, not a puppy issue. He has been a quick learner, but still retains a few quirky behaviors that will keep him from being a guide dog, if they do not improve.

Not much about the first eight months has been easy. Monte continues to challenge our patience and forces us to relearn or adapt our puppy raising skills. We once believed that he was high energy, however, upon closer observation he appears to be high stress.

Although, he is very eager to please and a quick learner (for some things). The next eight months will surely be exciting.

Monte has changed so much and yet stayed the same.

The Accidental Puppy Raiser

Today was a day like many others.  However, Abbey woke me at 5 AM this morning and wanted to go outside.  She made the trip worth it.  I was glad I got up.  She and I laid down on the living room couch until about 6:30 AM.  Then I fed her and started my day.  I am seeing some signs that she is learning the "No bite" command.  She still likes to use those teeth of hers and probably will for a while.  I think she is making some progress on understanding who is in charge and who is not.  The fact that she is not has somewhat cleared up for her.  Not completely, however.  We had a less active day today than yesterday and I got more done today.  She played vigorously in the yard whenever I took her out.  In the kitchen she pushed an empty plastic milk jug around.  She pushed and chased it all around the kitchen jumping on it when she got to it and having quite a good time.  Tomorrow we are probably going to meet my mentor child in Oregon for lunch.  That should be fun for her and for her master.

'Til next time.

January 4, 2011

The Accidental Puppy Raiser

Today my puppy raiser took me to the Indian Mound Middle School Forest and we had a great time.  There were more sticks there than I could shake a stick at and it made it difficult to pick a good one.  So, I walked, sniffed and ran as much as I could.  My raiser told me that the kids in the school have a tree stump they call the time-out chair and if I didn't behave I would have to sit on it.  I sat and was a good girl and I even posed for a picture next to the specific stump.  I find that being outside for longer waks is helping me with my constant desire to chew stuff.  Right now I am going to take a nap and then have some lunch.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  They were taken with my master's cell phone so the quality is not so good.  But, I was very good on our walk.  After walking we went to the McFarland House Cafe.  I met a little girl who liked to pretend she was bringing me water with a plastic cup.  My raiser found out that the people who own the Cafe have a nine-week-old Golden Retreiver that I might get to meet some day.  I also met two shetland sheepdogs named Barclay and Leon.  They were friendly enough and we nosed around each other for a while.  Early this morning I also got to sniff my next door neighbor.  He is a large yellow lab named Luke.  He is over 100 lbs.  We meet with the fence between us.  I wiggle all over and like big old Luke very much.

I am looking forward to Thursday when I can see some puppies my age again. 

By the way, with my name being Abbey, I am planning on possibly putting together an advice column for the local paper.  I think "Dear Abbey" might be a good title for it.  What do you think?

 Here I am next to the Middle School "Time Out" Chair.


Here I am at the front of the school.

January 2, 2011


We finally made it over to Animart, which stocks the American Natural Premium dog food. Our primary purpose was to take advantage of their bathing facilities that are free for OccuPaws puppies. It is more convenient than the bathtub and we were slightly less wet after the whole process - he still shakes when wet. Monte handled the water and shampooing, but freaked out when molested by the dryer. We were able to calm him, but more exposure is required.

Many thanks to Animart for the free dog wash and the training opportunities. In addition to having plenty of puppies, the store provides exposure to cats, rabbits, and birds. Monte was quite vocal so we spent ten minutes getting him to relax while observing the birds/rabbits and another twenty minutes moving toward the puppies when quiet and backing up when Monte was vocal. Eventually, we got next to their X-pen. Monte was quiet and I was able to reach over and pet the puppies without a reaction. Again, more practice is needed.

We have also discovered a trick for those puppy raisers who do not like to trim their dog's nails. After taking Monte running the last six days, his nails have been worn down to the quick. Depending on your dog this may take less time than the standard method.

January 1, 2011

The Accidental Puppy Raiser

Abbey is behaving better all the time.  We have learned some tricks of the puppy raising trade and she is catching on.  She celebrated New Year's Eve with sleeping from about 10:15 PM through to 7:15 PM.  The grass is frozen this morning and she is definitely looking for some snow to do her business.  Yesterday, we took her to the BP/McDonalds gas station and she met a little boy eating his hamburger and fries.  A couple of days ago we took her to the library and walked across the street to the Village Hall to pay our property taxes.  On the walk to the Village Hall she met a little girl.  The girl was very shy of people.  So, I promised to close my eyes for a minute so she could pet Abbey.  The little girl liked that idea.  Abbey also visited her future vet yesterday to get to know the place a little bit.  Abbey weighs 18 pounds now.  On January 5, she will be 12 weeks old.  This morning after walking and eating and walking(running) some more she curled up with me and we watched some early morning TV together.  We have been trying to get some good pictures of her and the latest are attached.  Abbey says hi to all of her litter mates and hopes they are all doing well.