Monday, November 30, 2009

Final November Post

I made it! Posted all month. Thanks for following along. I'll post a bunch of pictures and whatnot on Thursday after Rafferty's 4 month shots.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thank You!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments on my last post! Different perspectives always helps when looking back on decisions made.

Thank you!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Second Guessing...

I have a long history of second guessing some of the decisions I make. One of the ones on my mind lately has been not to keep Sterling. I didn't because I could not have another dog and still raise, but at the same time I so wish there had been a way to keep him in my life. At the time the placement seemed just about perfect, but after many months I wonder if it would not have been better to have GDB place him so that I would not feel so responsible for his continued care. Now that is not to say he is not cared for and loved: of course he is. But my level of ownership seems to differ from others. I want my dog to have a job, some structure, eat great food, and be an integral part of my life. I want a partner, a friend, a confident companion. I understand many people just do not view dogs in that respect, but it is something I am having a hard time accepting. Maybe it is just the holidays....the last two holidays I spent with Sterling: first as a baby puppy, last as a wonderful adult. I know that not every situation is perfect. I am so happy that he is loved and thankful that I get to see him still.
Sterling a black lab with a blocky head and amber eyes looks slightly off in the distance while standing on a bright field of snow the only color other than black is his bright amber eyes and green ID tag holder.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone and their pups a VERY happy Thanksgiving! Now I am off to bed to enjoy my food-induced coma. Good luck if you decide to brave the crowds tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I am going to buy my pass tomorrow. So excited!!! A total of 4 runs are going to be open...but it is skiing!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


For Tom's first day back at work he will have some fresh pow'! Lucky guy, since I don't have my pass yet and can't ski. Can't wait for the first day of the year...maybe on Thursday....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

First Day of the Season

Park City Mountain Resort opened today. Many people descended and payed $50 a ticket to ski one run of man made snow with everyone else. A great success was declared.

I worked. Hopefully some backcountry skiing tomorrow!

marley a brindle longhair dog looks up at the camera with snow on his nose while standing in a field of snow

Friday, November 20, 2009

Millie Agility

Had to do the title since it rhymed!

My baby girl has still not shown up on the phase reports. I guess she is too busy partying her first semester to worry about study time. Keep on rockin' Millie! Maybe next week....
Millie a black lab jumps through a agility tire jump with her ears flying up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy 9 Months

Wishing a Happy 9 month day to Paris (well officially it will start at midnight). Keep having fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two years and two days

Since I brought Sterling home. Love you little man.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Changing Lives

One of my really awesome volunteers returned from a trip today. She was so excited to tel me about a young man they had met during their trip. He was a soldier stationed in Iraq. There was an IED that was used on the vehicle he was driving, and resulted in the loss of both of his legs. He had to be in a hospital for many months and then had a slow adjustment to life in a wheelchair. One of the things he learned about during his rehabilitation were service dogs.

Once ready he applied for a dog from CCI. They have been together 6 months and he said that the dog has completely changed his life. Going out again, meeting people again, being independent: all these things he credited his service dog with helping him.

What amazing dogs: what an amazing difference they can make in our lives.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dog Walking

Now that winter is here, there are some things that have to happen before the dogs and I can go on a walk. First, I am down to just two dogs who will walk with me: Marley (who will go anywhere) and Rafferty (who will go anywhere Marley goes). Next, there are several preparations I undertake before snapping on the leashes and walking out the door.

It is COLD! That means warm shoes that have waterproofing. Walking along with two energetic dogs and having wet feet is NOT fun. My personal choice are Keens or Merles. I love them, they have good traction, and both brands have boots with good insulation! Perfect for when you are standing in snow at the dog park for 30 min.

Puppies! Since I usually have a puppy to deal with on my walks, I need gloves that have traction and warmth. Puppies pull, try to eat things off the ground, and will randomly spaz out doing labby loops. Without good gloves you either have no traction, and hence no control, or you have very cold fingers that can't feel anything (and then have no control).

Pants! For warmer days I wear insulated track pants. For cold days I bring out the Carharts with a base-layer underneath. For insane, why-am-I-out-in-this weather, bring on the ski pants!

Jacket! For really cold days I wear a down-jacket. Otherwise a soft-shell or fleece is sufficient. If it is a blizzard outside, then out comes the hard-shell with hood. Usually I don't need goggles as well (unless I have to blow the snow out of the driveway at 4 am.).

And of course...a hat. Really any hat will do. They keep all that hot air from escaping from your head. But then you have hat hair. And so I usually have two braids that make me look like I am twelve, but is anyone else even out in this crazy weather anyway?

Of course, I am not the only one who has things to wear for walks. Marley has an orange vest for visibility, and a flashing beacon for late night walks. Rafferty has a really sweet leash (read one I try to get him not to chew on).

Rafferty walks next to me and we practice not eating things, not pulling, no please-drop-that-right-now, don't pull, really-I-meant-it-last-time, don't walk under my feet, really-don't-eat-that, and not pulling. Marley runs along without a leash. We practice lots of recalls. I actually had someone say they were "impressed" by my dog's training. Well I would hope after 14 months of continuous training there would be some results!

We walk for as long as Rafferty can go, and then head home. I then take off Marley's vest, Rafferty's leash, my boots, gloves, coat, and hat. We relax and then repeat next time!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snuggled up.

When the weather gets cold it is time to snuggle under the covers.

 dante a black and tan chihuauha sleeps under a black blanket on a blue pillow

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big Boy

Rafferty is now 27.2 lbs at 13 weeks. Luckily he has now figured out the stairs, both up and down, because my back was not going to take much more of that. He is doing fantastic with his house training and is such a fun puppy to have around. He has started going on VERY short outings. He went in while I got a smoothie, and also joined me at Starbucks while I picked up a coffee. Both times he was very good, and made me realize he has almost out-grown the small vest!

He loved the snow this morning. On our walk he would take in a big snort of snow, pause for a moment, and then bolt to the end of his leash trying to do labby scoots. Now that it is cold he has taken to snuggling up next to Marley (much to his annoyance :) and sleeping by his side. He continues to be a quiet puppy and has learned 'kennel' and 'come'. Can't wait to see how much he gains next week. He was 21lbs when I brought him home, 24 last week, and 27.2 this week.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Sophie was a sweet, sassy, and so cute Dachshund I had for two months in the spring of 2007. Dante was just one year old, Hugo was still a pup, and we were still "fostering" Marley trying to decide what we were going to do. Sophie was a puppy I had found who needed a home as her military family was being re-located. She was 10 weeks when she came home, and she and Dante were inseperable. The plan was for her to hang with me for about 2 months, and then fly out to California to live with my Aunt and Uncle, who had just lost one of their dogs.

sophie a red dachshund puppy and dante a black and tan chihuahua exploring the great outdoors
dante and sophie snuggled up on a plush red velvet dog bed
dante and sophie sleeping together on a dog bed
She enjoyed many adventures with them and was a regular running buddy. She loved going for car rides, hikes, and riding in her special basket on the mountain bikes.

Last night she died in a tragic and freak accident. Her spirit will live on in the hearts of those who love her. Sophie, you will be missed.

sophie a red dachshund puppy looks straight at the camera with big eyes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Dogs

Dogs remind us of our own mortality. We see them go from baby puppy, running, playing, and learning about life to old dogs loving nothing more than a soft place to sleep and to be by our sides in just over a decade. It is so hard to watch them age, and yet I don't know that I would miss it for the world. Sure, they may start to look a little different, maybe not be able to go on long walks anymore, but they continue to look to us for love and affection.

When the end comes, we owe it to them to be there, by their side. Letting them die when it is their time, not prolonging pain and suffering because we cannot bear to let go. It is so hard to say goodbye and yet it teaches us so much. Below is a picture of Sparky, one of our 14 year dachshunds. I have grown up with them and hope to have many more years with Missy and Sparky, but when their time comes I will try to remember the happy times and focus on how blessed I was to have them in my life. Each new companion, whether it is a dog or cat or other animal, leaves a special mark in our hearts. If we are too afraid of loosing them to take that first step, then we miss out on the wonderful moments that make each companion unique.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Rafferty came from a nice big litter. There were 4 black pups, and 5 yellow pups. He has 5 brothers and 3 sisters. Here are some pictures of two of his brothers!

This is Rivet, who was a whole 2.5 lbs bigger at 11 weeks than Rafferty. And I thought he was big!
Riley appears to be one of the smaller pups, and is a black lab like Rafferty.
So far I have found the names for two of his sisters, Roxanne, a yellow lab (who is being raised by Sarita's raisers), and Reva, also a yellow lab. Rockford and Rivet are yellow lab brothers. Riley is a black lab.
So I am missing information on one sister and two brothers. If you have any info on their whereabouts please let me know!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Millie News!

Millie is now going into training. She went back for breeder evals, but they have decided to not have her as part of the breeding program and will spay her before she joins the next training string. No reason yet as for why: they did say they really liked her! I know two other siblings are also under consideration for breeding, so maybe they thought she would be better as a guide. Now I will be able to follow her progress on the phase report! She should show up in the next week or two (though she will be Millicent on the don't look for Millie!).

Go Millie Go!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dog Books

There is nothing better (in my mind anyway) that reading a great book that has a dog as a character. There are several I have read over the years, but here are a few that really stand out.

1. Watchers by Dean Koontz. GREAT book, features a golden retriever. One of my all time favorites.
2. Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote. I love this book!
3. Marley and Me by John Grogan
4. Bones would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier
5. Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul
6. Old Yeller - Thanks Cabana!
7. Where the Red Fern Grows- my favorite childhood book!
8. My Dog Skip

These are all the ones that come to mind at the moment. Check them out, they are great books!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Procrastination and Puppies

Procrastination and puppies seem to be the common theme for all my blog posts this month. I find myself always posting late at night, just sneaking in under that midnight deadline. I am not sure why I do this...I always mean to post sooner. But then I get caught up playing with the dogs, or watching House, or talking with my family...and I just wait until the last minute.

Anyone else a procrastinator? I think it really makes things more exciting. The panic that sets in when you have a 20 page research paper due the next day has makes roller coaster rides seem tame by comparison. I think maybe it is that some people work better under pressure? I seem to, though I do not really enjoy it. Things come together in a way that they just don't during non stress times. I think I am just rambling and trying to justify my procrastination.

Something I can't procrastinate on though is raising puppies. If you procrastinate on house training sooner or later you have a 6 month old dog who messes really are a BIG problem now. Can't train sit, down, stay, come, and loose leash walking in a day. Really not even in a month. not for commands that can be followed reliably in all sorts of situations. No, we have to start day by day to build up to those wonderful dogs we send back. I guess that is one of the really cool things raising has taught me: the wonderful feeling you get from small triumphs built up each day. The little things like learning to sit before dinner. Walking down the stairs. Or simply knowing what their name is. All the little things that hopefully will build to a tearful but oh-so wonderful passing of the leash at graduation. Something I cannot wait to experience.

Ok, now my battery is about to die, so that is my ramble for the night. What is something that raising meant to you?

Friday, November 6, 2009

A little bit of the wild...

Sometimes when looking at different dogs, I have a really hard time believing they were once descended from wolves. Especially with my little dog, Dante. He is a chihuahua, and doesn't really make it on the blog much. It is not because I don't love him...its more because he is just so easy and good there is really never much to say. But he is my first dog, and one of my heart dogs. Marley is my other heart dog for a different reason: anyone meeting Marley would never describe him as an "easy" dog. But I think that is part of why I love him so much: he has taught me so much about dog training, dog body language, and dogs in general. He is the one who introduced me to big dogs (and Guide Dogs after that), so I owe alot to him.

But I digress. Back to dogs and wolf ancestry. Dante is about as far from wild as you can get: always has a soft bed to sleep in, inside most of the day, and just a pampered pooch. Last night as I was reading in bed, he displayed a very "wild" type of behavior. He buried his food! Now let me explain...since Dante and Marley love to sleep on my bed, I have some blankets there for them to snuggle in. When Dante got his treat last night, he started to bury the treat in the blankets. He would dig the blankets up, put the treat under them, and then use his muzzle to push the the blankets back over his stash. Then he would look at me, find his treat, dig it back up, and repeat the process.

Dante a black and tan chihuahua
Such a funny sight to watch a little Chihuahua bury his "kill" in soft blankets on a big bed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Puppy Pictures...the process.

Well, Rafferty did not actually get to trick or treat this year, or really participate at all. But he did get to have some cute pictures taken in his halloween costume (and yes, it is the same one Uncle Sterling wore last year). I also got some pictures of him in his puppy coat. He is so funny about having his picture taken. At first he wants to get up, and I have him sit, and then he pops up again, I have him sit, and so on, until finally he sits and looks pathetic while i take his picture. I think it is the big ears and puppy dog eyes that makes him look so bored with the whole thing. Anyone have any tips for taking pictures with baby puppies?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lost Pets

Recently GDB posted about a lost puppy. In my local paper today there was a letter to the editor about a lost cat that ended up at the shelter and was adopted out. Every day at work I have to let someone know where to look if their dog or cat has gone missing.

Maybe it seems like common sense to me, but one should always start by looking at their local shelter if they have lost their dog or cat. I am sure GDB has notified all the local shelters about missing puppy Gannon, but why is it that pet owners do not know to do the same? Is it a lack of education? Should there be more information about resources for people with lost pets?

Here is my own checklist of what I would do in the event one of my dogs goes missing:
1. Call local shelters. Usually all shelters in my county and neighboring counties. People can be weird about where they take your pet.
2. Contact local Humane Society. Many people don't know about county/city shelters and will take the dog to the Humane Society instead: even if that is a county or two away.
3. Call local vet clinics. Let them know to watch for people who may be bringing in that nice stray they found because they may want to keep it.
4. Contact local radio station (ours will run lost pet ads for free!).
5. Start making fliers with a current picture, vital stats, that they have a microchip (but not the actual number, save that for shelter personnel only) and my contact info (multiple phone #s). Now I would take them to all the places I have contacted initially so there is a visual reminder of the dog I am looking for.
6. Put up fliers around area the dog was last seen. Also put them up on community boards at pet stores, grocery stores, churches, parks, and schools.
7. Post on Internet bulletins and community forums.
8. Keep physically going to the shelters and checking for myself. You never know when your description of a Pyrenees mix looks like a Samoyed to someone else.
9. Keep hoping and searching: there have been cases of some dogs being returned to their owners after months of separation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rafferty Picture Post!

Here are some pictures from the day I got Rafferty at the puppy truck all the way to today (wow, 6 days already!). He continues to be a very sweet and fun puppy, though I am beginning to doubt he is a lab: his lack of interest in food is so unusual for a lab! He had his first puppy meeting last night, and had a good time meeting the other two puppies in our club. We now have one of each: a yellow lab (Jackson), a golden retriever (Elvis), and a black lab (Rafferty). Enjoy the pictures!

[Huge puppy Rafferty being carried off the truck by a GDB driver. ]
[Me grinning as I hold Rafferty in front of the puppy truck]
[While I kneel down, Rafferty stand on back legs and places his paws on my chest]
[Rafferty standing next to a small black lab puppy with a small yellow lab puppy in back]
[Golden retriever puppy greats 6 month old black lab puppy by holding paw up to older puppy's face]
[Rafferty, black lab, and Marley, brindle retriever mix, stand in front of large rocks in the snow]
[Rafferty sticks his nose in the snow and has snow up to his eyes]
[Rafferty looking at big brother Marley in front of rocks while standing in snow]
[I hold Rafferty, wrapped in a towel, after his first bath]
[Rafferty sits in front of fireplace wearing his puppy coat. Guide Dog Puppy is visible on the front of the coat]
[Rafferty yawns while having picture taken]
[Rafferty sticking tongue out while wearing puppy coat]
[Rafferty looks at camera with the sun shining on his face sitting on the grass]

Monday, November 2, 2009

Missing GDB Puppy!

Here is a link to the story on the GDB Blog page. Gannon is a 3 month old male black lab missing in Lodi California. If you are in California, or know people near this town, please let them know about this missing pup.

I hope he is found quickly and is safe upon return.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Under the Wire...

I just found out about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) from R who found out about it from L^2! Woo, got that? I am going to take the challenge, and start with a very late post tonight! Now that I am back down to "sane" dog levels (as my mom calls it) I will hopefully have much more time to post daily. Some will be pictures, some will be just my musings, and some will be both. Tomorrow we are having wireless Internet installed and I will no longer be limited to random picture posts: now I can post straight from my laptop.

Rafferty has been great this weekend. I lucked out and have had the last two days off. Saturday we went tailgating and he was definitely a show-stopper. Tom was carrying him, and it is a very good thing I am not jealous: there were random girls running up to Tom every 5 steps! Hint to any single guys out there: get a cute puppy and walk around! Better if they are a cute puppy with a guide dog coat on! That night he snoozed in his crate after his big day while we saw Paranormal Activity. I was sooo glad to have Marley with me after that movie.

Today we mostly hung out at home. Started on food-induced-recall and played lots of tug. No accidents at all today: this boy is catching on fast!

That is all for my late night, under the wire post!