Monday, June 29, 2009

I could never...

I think you all know what I'm talking about. The much hated expressions we get regularly from the public along the lines of "I could never do that! I love dogs too much!" or "Isn't it hard to give them up?" or something along those lines.

There isn't really a good answer either. Many of them have talked to raisers before and know our "payment" is the love the dogs give us while they're with us, seeing the dogs develop into amazing dogs and ultimately seeing the bond they have with their handlers and how they open the world for them.

I never thought of doing this while raising for GDB but sometimes I am REALLY tempted to say to people when they say something along those lines something like "oh, I'm not giving her up, she's in training to help me". While I do not need a SD it'd still be fun as even if the conversation ended there it could educate them about invisible disabilities that warrant an SD. However, it could also give them the idea of bringing a pet into public under the guise of being an SD or an SDIT. I would never do such a thing as it's a major lie but sometimes I'm not in the mood to deal with people telling me that I love dogs less than them when they don't know me or anything about what I'm doing.

How do you deal with these annoying questions? Since I know we all get them!

Ally w/ Teddy & Kira

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!

That's what class was today. We had individual classes today (well, raisers north had theirs during the week) to learn to work with the dogs in wheelchairs. It was a lot of fun!

We went shopping a bit before class got started today with our mom /grin/ She went to Salem with us in need of some shirts so while we met up with Joy a few minutes late she'd been held up and not able to go get Elly (for Coreena to work) so she ran home and got Elly, a bag of food for Eola (she gets a good discount and sells us food at cost to her) and to change her shirt as it was oppressively hot today. While waiting we worked Eola on ignoring people, working on escalators, doing an up at an elevator button (she hit it with her paw once) and going through doors (her going in before me, turning and face me in a "front" position, backing up until there's room to drop back into a side or heel position and continue on our way)


Below: Eola in a down-stay in JC Penney's



Below: Eola and I on the escalator. Please forgive the monstrous derriere photo... would have been better taken front the front (maybe) but Eola hasn't been on an escalator in more than three months so it took 3 or 4 trips before she was willingly jumping on and off thanks to kibble! /wink/



After about 40 minutes we went back up to the third floor of the parking garage and Joy was just getting the wheelchair, Elly and herself to our meeting point. Lol, we have impeccable timing as she'd just gotten there when we first arrived as well!



First I sat in the chair and wheeled myself back and forth down this little walkway. You don't notice the grade of sidewalks and such until you're trying to control a wheelchair! It was interesting to say the least but fun! Then Coreena got her turn, without puppies /grin/ Then Joy had me sit in the wheelchair, hold Eola's leash and wheel myself. It was a trip figuring out how to hold the leash, control the girl and wheel myself without running into the wall or Eola, or Joy! Finally she told me I could tuck it under my leg... um, duh! I've been doing that for years when sitting but didn't Generalize it enough I guess to translate it to the wheelchair! Things change when your seat is moving! /grin/ Eola did pretty good, moving out of my way and turning with the chair.



Then it was Coreena and Elly's turn. Elly was a bit nervous about being next to the chair so Joy had Coreena hold onto her leash and Joy pushed Coreena.... Elly didn't get comfortable enough with the chair to work with it today but Coreena still worked her. Here Coreena and Joy are working to get her comfortable with the wheelchair...



Smiling Elly! She looks very good! She's still a big pup but so is Evett and her coat is looking so nice!



After getting somewhat comfortable working with the chair and getting instruction on leaning back on any grade, up or down, we headed out to train me! (this class was mainly to let us know why we do what we do, what the dogs need to learn and why and to train us in wheelchair operation) Joy pushed me most of the time but we took the elevator downstairs and came to our first set of doors. This is where my first struggle came into play.



I have a hard time figuring out how to get from point A to point B. I can read about it or see it and remember it forever but figuring out I've never been good at (I even suck at puzzles!) so figuring out how to get myself, the chair and Eola through the door safely, efficiently and not like an idiot was quite a challenge for me.



Joy told me to give it a try and then explained the doors are easier to open away from the hinges so I pushed both door open with the foot plates, wheeled myself through and then didn't know what to do. The door was still open from the back wheel but Joy told me to turn the chair into the door! Genius! So I did that a couple more times before she handed me Eola. I was still a bit rusty but after Joy pointed it out I turned the chair in the correct way for the position Eola was in (the opposite, so if she's on my left I turn the chair right and hold that door open, allowing her to remain in position and not have me get us stuck in the door /grin/) and we made it through unscathed! Eola even danced around nicely to avoid the doors but stay in position as much as possible!



We worked on push plates for the doors as well which was a struggle simply because we get NO practice down here (we have very very few push plates in this town) but Eola tried. Although much of the time Eola laid down everytime we stopped moving as if to say, I'm done. She was shutting down but as an 8 month old she's in a bit of a rebellious stage right now and could potentially be going into heat soon (she will be spayed, just not yet due to the litter's poor health).



I also had the opportunity of figuring out how to open a door that opened towards me, while manuvering the chair on a downhill slope! That was a struggle! Then we practiced what would happen if Eola pulled the door open with a door pull... it's quite cool! Once the door is open the handler can stop the door with their foot plate (if the wheelchair has appropriate foot plates) and either have the dog jump between their leg and the door or "go around" behind the chair. The dog then goes into a "front" position and backs through the door, dropping into position when there's room!



It's all amazingly fun to learn and train and I had many many questions! While I was working in the chair with Joy Coreena was working with Elly on push plates, going through doors, being calm and just generally socializing. At one point Joy was showing me how people in chairs feel when they're being pushed, the person pushing their chair stops to look at something or talk to someone and leave the person in the chair facing the original direction... they want to be involved, not sit with their back facing the action! We then were talking about Elly a bit and I asked Joy how she was in the crate /wink/ When Joy said she was fantastic I asked if she wanted to trade and she bopped me on the head! Not hard just funning but it's nice to know we have that sort of relationship with Joy. It's nice. She's a friend as well as our trainer!



We then headed out, well kind of. We headed that way and worked on the chair turning in a circle and TRYING to get Eola to keep turning her bum with the chair. Although with the hand signal Eola is so used to getting a treat after doing a "closer" (we're working on it!) she was hopping up at my hand after she moved her rear around so it was kind of annoying! We did that couple times and then practiced backing up with the chair. The dogs *must* stay right with the chair, not going behind it as they can get hurt if the circle back behind the chair. Joy then worked with Elly on back but Elly was quite distracted due to the wall Joy was using was a wall of dark windows and Elly was trying to watch her reflection, Joy, do the command and get that treat all at once!



Below: I realize she's on a tight leash. It being her first time working with a wheelchair it was difficult at times keeping her in appropriate proximity (I asked Joy about that as well, lol!) so I was pulling her in while sitting in the chair and listening to Joy!



After that we headed back to the parking garage, put the wheelchair in Joy's rig, got Evett, met up with Mom and headed on down the street. We met up with Kelly and Duncan and headed on over to the World Beat Festival. It was pretty cool! We went and watched Joy's sister on Native American drums which I love as we used to go to Pow-wows all the time when younger! We gradually moved closer to let the pups acclimate to it.



Below: Elly snuggling with Coreena



Eola



Evett and Duncan (Disregard the pink spot on Evett's nose, she tried desperately to get out of a crate)



Pretty Elly right in front of the stage



Just after Karen, Josh and Fiona showed up it was time for us to go... we had a long drive ahead of us /grin/ We walked back to the parking garage and got Eola's food out of Joy's car and took the elevator to the first floor. The elevators have a glass side... below is an attempt at a picture of Eola in the elevator but the sun was reflecting horribly and I ran out of time /grin/



On the way home Eola found this position quite comfortable! (Maybe she is going to go into heat soon /grin/ JK)



A little while later she found this position comfortable! Still definitely a BIG meerkat!



Once we got home Coreena got Eva out of the crate upstairs (Max was with her most of the day), got them some water, fed Eola a bit of kibble (I upped her food a half cup in the morning so she got 2.5 cups this morning [1/2 cup in her kong for her crate time] and treats for training so she didn't get her full cup and a half for dinner) and then headed out with all four dogs for a walk. We attempted getting some good pictures with the sunset but weren't entirely successful... I can't wait to get a better camera!

A good picture of Eva! Those are rare!

Back left to front right: Eva, Eola, Kira and Teddy all in down-stays

Remind you of anyone?

My baby girl! I love Kira! :-D
Class today was a lot of fun, a great learning experience and a good experience for both Eola and Elly! I learned a lot, enjoyed working in the wheelchair and now want to buy one! My arms would get buff fast! /grin/

That's all from here! Have a good one!

Ally & Alex w/ Eola, Teddy & Kira

Friday, June 26, 2009

I suppose...

I should introduce you to our very First graduate!

This is Teddy's cousin, Cody. He was our mom's dog but was very high energy and I simply didn't have the skills at 14 to control him and release his energy. He also had a laxating patella so while playing frisbee got his energy out we had to limit it or his knee would pop out of place /sigh/

Cody was donated to Dogs for the Deaf on July 25, 2005 and we still miss his endearing personality! It's still sad to know if I had only had the skills he would still be bringing our family delight at the ripe age of 6!

Anyway, he graduated as an arson detection dog from an organization in Texas and has been working since! No word from him and we'll never get word from him due to security reasons. He's our first working dog and we love him dearly!







Ally, Eola, Teddy & Kira

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recent Events

I've been having fun with photoshop again! Idk why but I love b&w photos especially with a splash of color in them!






As I'm sure many of you have noticed, things are somewhat awkward right now. The explanation (well, part of it) is on my private blog. I'm having a very difficult time, thus things will be quite quiet around here for awhile (other, of course, than our first time working in wheelchairs on Saturday!).
Sorry.
Ally & Eola

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Growing Up


Eight months is always a milestone in my mind, although I'm not quite sure why. Probably because most puppies tend to really start maturing at 8 months, they've been with their raisers for 6 months (we thought we'd have our original pups until they were eight months... we didn't expect the swap until this month) and they start to look more grown up.

That's no different with these kids (other than maybe Eclipse and Eva who are still extremely small for their age).

Here's some more recent pictures of the four pups from the coupling of Woody Gerry and Happy Day Chayene, although we wish their three other siblings well in their homes as pets (or whatever they are)!

P.S. The most recent picture I have of Echo available is around 6 months, as is my favorite of Eclipse after he left my home, he's 6.5 months in it.

You all are good kids! Despite your many many quirks and while I have a different relationship with every one of you, a relationship it still is. Eclipse is an amazing dog who was so intune with me who if gets career changed will end up coming home but has always had great potential as a service dog barring some issues he had when with me. Eola isn't quite as intune with me but is still just as much of an amazing dog, it won't be nearly as painful for me to hand her over as it was for me to hand Eclipse over but we'll miss her goofy happiness and ADD /wink/ Eva makes an amazing pet for Coreena and Max and will continue to do so for her entire life. She's a spitfire, that one, same as she was the day she came home at 9 weeks 1 day. She's catching on quickly to using a pee pad and will hopefully be transitioned to peeing in the tub before too terribly long! (peeing in the tub is the cleanest place to teach her to pee, if they're working fulltime (Max is at home with her all day at this point) she pees too much for pee pads, and it would get expensive, but the tub can just be hosed out and sanitized regularly, since they don't have a yard for her to access). Echo, I only worked with a couple times but reminds me greatly of his sister, Eola. Headstrong and somewhat ADD (just needs to mature) but quick to catch onto things and willing to do practically anything for a piece of kibble!

Happy eight months to you all! You're all loved for very different reasons and in different ways but the love is still true. No matter the course any of you take, you all make us proud! Good job, "E" litter!

Ally (Eola is with Coreena until tonight)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey! (By Eola)

Excuse me, Mom! I'm the one you're training right now!! I really don't mind sharing the spotlight with my brother and I know how much you love him (I DID watch you spend two days working on that ridiculous video of the kid... what's so special about him!?!)

If you would remember, this is my blog now /grin/ I have fun writing on it! I'm at work with Tia Coreena right now being bored but I can still write on a blog! How is that for multi-tasking?

You know what Mom made me do yesterday? She made me stay in the den, by myself while she took a shower, allll the way upstairs! I wasn't real comfortable but I decided to be good and be quiet /grin/ Mom was quite happy about that! Then she took me to a movie where they kept saying my Mima's nickname, spock, whatever that means. After I realized Mom wasn't happy with me diving for popcorn (there were lots of people around us to drop popcorn just for me!) I layed down on her sweater and slept the whole time, although I like to sleep under the chair in front of me and my back feet kept slipping and touching the girls in front of me. Don't worry, they patted my head and forgave me for kicking them! Then we got home and um... Mom worked on that stinking video again but she played with me too!

Then we worked on some of the things I do to make Mom happy AND get a kibble every now and then! First she worked on something we worked on in the morning too. I wasn't quite sure what she was wanting me to do but she had something on her foot (Editor's note: It's called a sock, sweet girl) and when I put it in my mouth she told me "Yes" (Editor's note: I try so very hard to say Yup but it slips my mind!) and then I got a kibble. After a couple times of that she was just looking at me and saying "tug". I wasn't quite sure what she wanted but I pulled my head back just a bit and I got a BIG YES and a couple kibbles! Apparently that was good /grin/ That was all in the morning... Yesterday afternoon she asked me to "get it" and told me "good" then said "tug" and I tugged that sucker a little bit. She told me Yes again and I got a kibble. The next time she told me to get it and tug and I tugged it a bit and looked at her... Nothing! What's the deal. So I sat and thought for a minute and then told Mom I was ready to try again. She told me to "get it" and "tug" and I pulled that stinking sucker right off her foot! Mom gave me a VERY BIG YES and I pranced, apparently like my brother does when he pulls off socks, and wiggled and got froo-froo ears and handed that sock over when told "thank you". I was sooo proud of myself! I even got another number of kibbles! Then Mom offered me her other foot and told me to "get it" and "tug" and I tugged that sock off too! I got it! Wahoo! That was easy, what else?

Then we worked on me avoiding kibble in Mom's hand unless she offered it to me... she has kibble in her hand and reaches at my collar. I'm supposed to ignore that kibble until she offers it to me! How mean is that!?! I do good though and ignore that kibble, sometimes even ignore kibble when it's offered to me and Mom has to say OK! I think I've got that one down!

Then we worked on "go around". I haven't had much practice on this (Editor's note: I've been slacking!) but I think I did well! I have to go BEHIND Mom to her other side, this is so strange as before I could only go in front of Mom! Again I did well though!

We then worked on one of my favorite commands ever! We worked on the me nudging a spot on the end of a stick! Sometimes I want to play with the stick, I LOVE sticks but usually I'm really good about touching my nose to that spot! Mom even held it all the way out yesterday and I "nudged" on command! It was so much fun! She even put it up against the wall and I nudged it against the wall! So much fun!

Mom says this weekend we're going up to see Joy again, I love Joy! I also get to walk beside the wheely chair I sat beside last time we were at Joy's. This should be fun! Mom is excited about it!

You know how much I like my kibble? I LOVE my kibble! BUT Mom hasn't been giving me kibble, well other than the TINY amount I get when Mom says it's training time... I've had to eat this wierd white concoction Mom made me... she calls it rice and cottage cheese... It's okay, I guess, but it's sure not no kibble!

Ciao!

And I guess Eclipse can have some air time on MY blog and I won't mind too much!

Eola

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This little guy...

Is coming back down south....










No, he's not been career changed. However he's no longer with Mary. (for personal reasons Mary is no longer a raiser for JLAD, nothing was done wrong though) As you know, Tabatha's greatly missing puppy raising, however, all the pups Joy has available at this point can't go to Tabatha for varying reasons. Eclipse is the only option. Tabatha will be getting him from Joy tomorrow.

It hurts, yes, to know he's coming back to town but not to my home, because I love the boy so much but it'll be nice to have regular updates and pictures and maybe even littermate pictures! I'll post an Eclipse video within the next couple days... have to choose a song /grin/

We'll have word tomorrow on when his kidneys will be tested among other things. It'll be so nice to have him in town again! Welcome back, buckwheat!

Ally & Eola

Getting Over It

We are working extremely hard at getting Eola used to being by herself and comfortable with it. Before when in her crate or on tie-down (even with someone in the room with her) she would whine, shake, pant excessively, scratch, bark, howl, etc. She would even completely ignore bully stix, compressed rawhides, liver treats, peanut butter in a Kong, anything and everything we tried. However, Thursday night I stuffed a Kong with all sorts of yummy stuff... two different types of liver treats, one type of chicken treats, a handful of kibble, a dried chicken breast strip and a vitality apple and chicken treat stuffed in the top (it's literally a piece of apple wrapped in dried chicken, smells awful!). We showed that to her and she went with Alex upstairs and she was quiet for the entire hour we left her up there! FIRST TIME EVER! (well... she was quiet one time when we got back from meeting). She ate every bit that was in that Kong.

Unfortunately it was a bit rich for her stomach so she woke me up three times that night to "hurry". Yesterday (Friday) Eva came over with Coreena and we took them up to the school and let them play but worked on their recalls and manners/not loosing their heads as well. I had to use high value liver and chicken treats since Eva is such a distraction for the girl... she also had to have some crate time yesterday so had a bully stix and kitty cracker (a cracker shaped like a cat, not for a cat!) to try and keep her quiet (didn't work). So again she woke me up three times last night. She'll be fasting until tomorrow's dinner... poor girl!

Today though she's been tied to the kitchen door most of the day (with play breaks, treadmill breaks and potty breaks) where she can sometimes see me just to get her used to being "alone" and out of sight of me. I even had to go spray down her potty area (blast away the diarrhea since it's impossible to pick up! Fertilize the weeds, yeah! lol) and while I was at it I sprayed all the dirt and rocks off the driveway and only heard one bark from her! Yay for improvement!

I have to get over something as well... /sigh/ yesterday Eva ate my treat pouch from Cabana's raiser... so when I order a t-shirt and hoody from her I'm also ordering TWO more treat pouches, one for me and one for Coreena... /grin/ I love spending money on doggy stuff!

Next class, next Saturday, is a one-on-one class. We'll (Coreena and I and Eola) will be meeting Joy at the Salem Center and for the first time will be working with Eola in the wheelchair! I think she'll do great, although I'm somewhat concerned about my wheelchair manipulating skills ;-) I think working with the wheelchair will help Eola learn to focus and pay attention rather than be in la-la land (yes, one of her nicknames is La-la). She's doing well overall and I'm proud of her. No new pictures though, sorry :-D

Have a good one!

Ally & Eola

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pictures! and other things

As promised, here are the pictures of Eola's most recent activities, from newest to oldest. Top pictures are of my new, VERY expensive leash :-D It's next to the GDB style leash to show it's massive size but it's nice and I like it :-D (BTW the GDB leash I have is quite thick for a GDB leash, I hand picked it because I don't like when a leather leash feels like a thin string in your hand /grin/) It definitely needs to be worked in though as it's quite rough on the hands at this point. I also got a cd of videos from the K-9 Celebration from Joy in the mail today. The videos are being uploaded to youtube as I type and then will be posted to a new blog! Yes, another new blog! This one is strictly for JLAD events, fundraisers and outings. The link is on facebook as it would take too long and isn't really convenient to post pictures and videos on causes. Here's the link. I also got my treat pouch in the mail today from Cabana's raiser. I love it!

Oh and my big treat pouch that I ordered, I love it too! I'm just in love these days! I can open it wide open, open it half way or keep it closed. I can have up to FOUR different kinds of goodies in there for the girl, as long as they're different sizes/textures so I can tell them apart and there's a spot for the camera or a dried chicken strip for an extra amazing treat!

If you haven't checked out this post yet, do! Something to be added, the dvd says if you think it's too tight, it's probably too lose or just right! I know the dvd is boring but it helps so much! Also if the clip under the jaw slides sideways is a very easy way to see that the neck strap is too lose!

Now, the pictures. First set are today at Stewart Park, second from the other night at the school, she liked to help us pick up the discs and she carried a little boy's helmet for him all on her initiative, third are from Whistler's park last week and the last are from our trip to the lake a number of weeks ago! Enjoy!







Below: Eola is holding her own leash tight... is she telling me something? /wink/ (I actually LOVE to see pictures taken by others of when I'm handling pups so I can see if I have them on a tight leash or not... it helps me immensley to remember to keep a loose leash)
Two pictures below: She was rubbing her face on the ground in her "free time" to get the halti off, thus the weed on her face /grin/ This time she wasn't eating it although she does like to help maintenance mow the grass and get rid of leaves ;-)
Below: she has very nice posture, when she's watching something! In this case it was a chihuahua... It's nearly impossible to keep her in position at this point if something catches her attention... time to start practicing with yummy dried chicken strips (from the pet store) and the fruitable treats from the raffle basket

Below: In this picture the new leash is wrapped around my body and I'm not touching the leash at all with my hands. She is capable of holding positions on her own /wink/ She does however tend to forge ahead a bit if I'm not reminding her to stay in position, although treats are helping with that /wink/ We even had a successful walk yesterday without the Halti... I just had treats /grin/ If I corrected her for forging ahead she'd "back" right into position. Yay for improvement!
My new treat pouch and Eola. You can see her kibble and the fruit treats in the front pocket but the back one is closed. It held liver Charlee Bear treats
Yes, the window is closed, she's just enjoying the wind from Alex's open window :-D



She was a bit nervous doing an "up" on this basket so Alex gave her treats and pet her while she maintained the position. Really cute to see him help her through something instead of get frustrated and have me do it /wink/
Up at Whistler's Park last week. I LOVE this picture and hope to find the time to make it black and white other than the yellow flowers... hopefully it turns out well
Whistler's got new benches at some of the holes, Eola had to model
She's not tied but her leash was looped over this bench and got stuck. Soon as I looked at it I walked ahead of her and took a photo. Since it wasn't something she could untangle on her own so I did it for her /sigh/
The first spot we went at the lake a few weeks ago ended up being a VERY steep trail, when we went back to the car there was a deer standing right by the car. She's much closer to us than she looks