The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

30 June 2012

Juno goes to the Olympic Trials!

Juno had a great day today. Kristin came to babysit Kaline, and Juno, Dad and I headed to the Olympic Trials for men's gymnastics in San Jose!

I am obsessed with men's gymnastics. I got into the sport while I was at the University of Michigan, and ended up covering the Wolverines for four seasons. Most of the fifteen guys competing for spots on the Olympic team are guys who were in college when I was, who I saw all the time during the season and know to one degree or another. Juno now knows a bunch of them too, since she went to Winter Cup in Las Vegas this year. (That was actually right before her temporary retirement.) She has a special affinity for the Oklahoma guys!

We took the train down to San Jose. To a lot of dogs, a train squealing into the station might be a huge scary thing, but to Juno it's old news. She's great at trains. As soon as we got off we saw a bunch of the Stanford alums, which was lovely fun. Stanford, with three competitors, had the second-biggest contingent in the competition (Oklahoma had five).

Juno had to do a ton of crowd work today, her favorite kind. The command is “Follow Dad,” and she thinks it's great fun. She completely ignores everyone in the crowd, focusing intensely on where my dad is headed and leading me through, so I can ignore the crowd as well. Thanks to Juno, we got to sit in a nice area with folding chairs near the vault runway, instead of up in the nosebleed seats.

Before the competition we hung out as close to the floor as we could get, so we could say hi to people. We saw Kurt Golder, the Michigan head coach, and talked with him a bit about Sam Mikulak, the awesome Michigan Wolverine who may just make the Olympic team (!!!). Sam is a little past my time (he was a freshman two years after I graduated), but I still know him a bit. We also saw our old buddy Paul Ruggeri, a big Juno fan, and Juno's bestest gymnastics buddy of all, John Roethlisberger. They met at Winter Cup and Juno was in love! We also got to see my two Michigan buddies Evan and Scott, who are working for Inside Gymnastics and USA Gymnastics respectively. Men's gymnastics is such a small world that every meet is like a lovely little reunion.

The meet was amazing, and so was Juno. I have never been at such a loud gymnastics meet, even at NCAA championships—I mean, people were shrieking, en masse! And the floor where we were vibrated like it was going through an earthquake anytime someone walked on it. Juno took it all in stride and went to sleep. I love her so much!

Juno at the Shark Tank!

I have to admit, I was a little worried that Juno's poutiness over Kaline would carry over into her work. But that was decidedly not the case. She was her usual excellent self, and I think she appreciated the opportunity to work even more than normal because it was a chance for us to focus just on each other, and for her to get away from the puppy. We had such a wonderful time!

When we got home, Kristin said Kaline was a little star for her (yay!). Since he was awake and peppy, I took him and Juno over to a Kepler's event. I used to work at Kepler's (it's a bookstore, in case you're unaware), and it's closing for the summer, so all the current and former staff were invited back for a sort of indoor picnic. Of course everyone wanted to meet Kaline, and I thought it'd be a great chance for socialization for him (and for Juno to see all her friends!).

It went very well. While Kaline was awake, he mostly played with his chewy ball that I brought to occupy him. He was polite with everyone, not timid and not mouthy either. He met tons of new people, and got held on many different laps with absolutely no issues. He fell asleep on my lap for a while amidst all the hustle and bustle. He was extremely curious when he saw Juno go nuts over her best friend, Alex. If she even smells him in the store, she starts whining and dancing around; once they get together, she basically attacks him (in a very loving way), whimpering and growling and wagging her entire body as she pounces on him.

Everyone loved both the dogs, naturally. Kaline settled nicely on each person's lap, snuggling into their chests and making his insanely cute little gurgly lizard noises. They said he sounds like a baby dinosaur from Jurassic Park!

28 June 2012

Juno is warming up

We are all just pooped! Kaline is snoring away in his crate, and Juno is crashed on her thick brown bed. I want to be asleep also ...

After his restaurant excursion yesterday, Kaline and Juno came along to dinner at Danny's parents' house. They met Danny's mom, dad, brother, two cousins, Chihuahua mix Chiquita, and cat Slippers (Slippy). Kaline met Slippy in the garage and was far more interested in a crack in the floor than in looking at the kitty. Who, it should be noted, looked horrified at having to submit to the meeting!

Kaline did great with all the meetings, and Juno was delighted to see Danny and his dad, who always spoil her. Kaline was brilliant during dinner, curling up on the floor next to Juno and not begging one bit. He's never begged and I'm hoping to keep it that way.

After attempting to play with Chiquita a bit, and getting passed from lap to lap, Kaline finally crashed across my lap and Danny's. He barely whined in the car on the way home, and when I stopped at a red light after getting off the freeway, I turned around to see him totally snuggled up to Juno in the back, fast asleep. I practically died it was so cute. She just let him do it too ... And then when we got home, she actually played back when he playbowed at her! Basically she wanted to chase him, and there wasn't room, so nothing really came of it, but it was still a big deal. Usually she barks incessantly while staring at me, like, “JEEZ, can't you make this thing go away?” Last night, she was barking and looking at Kaline, playbowing back.


The puppy quickly crashed, and was so deeply asleep I didn't want to (and didn't think I could) wake him up to go on the last walk of the night. Mom finally prodded the poor little bleary-eyed guy awake. I felt so crappy that I have now instituted a rule that we will 1) walk the dogs right before or right after dinner and 2) if the puppy's that deeply asleep, he can skip his last walk. Cause when he does wake up needing to pee in the middle of the night, I'll be right there.


I was afraid he'd get a second wind after the walk , so when I put him to bed, I sat in there with him humming the Mary Poppins song about not going to sleep until he was out. I love how if he's asleep anywhere near me, he has to be touching me, as much as possible. When I got up I left him cuddled with his stuffed beehive, and he only had to get up to pee twice during the night.

Today we had our new walk, about 45 minutes long into Felton Gables. When we got back, Dad helped me with nail trimming. We took the dogs out in the common area (shhhh!) and while Dad held Kaline's leash, I let him watch me grind Juno's nails down. She's incredibly calm about it, just goes to sleep on her side while I work on her feet. Then I had Dad hold Kaline against his chest, feet hanging down, so I could work on his nails. At first I just turned the Dremel on low and touched it to his nails briefly—he was totally cool. So I turned it on high and actually took something off of each of his nails. I couldn't believe how okay he was with it! Such a good boy.

Kaline draped in his in-training vest, which will actually fit all too soon!

Before training, we had a playdate with Teddy, one of the dogs I walk. He is a beautiful, sweet, silly pit bull-whippet mix. He is excellent with pups, and Kaline was no exception. The two of them were fast friends, ending up underneath the table playing bitey-face for a solid half hour or so.

Once again, at training Kaline spent most of the time in his playpen. Anne came today and brought Kaline a new chewy toy. He got cuddles from everyone, met a couple new men (I'm kind of obsessed about him meeting men and children), and did not only the group down-stay at the end, but did a tiny jump! Very exciting. I did a quick obedience training session with him further away from the other dogs—they're such a huge distraction for him right now, along with ... leaves—and we did sit, down, stand, watch, and come.

Kaline with Ben, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, during group chill-out.

Juno did awesome recalls—she comes with great enthusiasm, which is so marvelous to watch. She broke down-stays a lot ... sigh. And she got to run gleefully through the sprinklers with the other dogs who have decent recalls. She's hilarious with the sprinklers; she bites the water sometimes, and other times just lets it soak her chest. Kaline was a little more apprehensive about the whole getting-wet thing. There are two theories among Dobies: Water Is Fun and Water Makes Dobermans Melt. I think Kaline subscribes to the second theory!

27 June 2012

Kaline's first restaurant experience

Today Kaline came along with me, Juno and Mom to Stacks for lunch. I wasn't sure quite what to expect from Kaline, cause, ya know, he's a wee baby. We brought his chewy toothbrush thing and a soft mat for him to lie on (we were outside; I've pretty much decided no pet-unfriendly places until Kaline is at least 16 weeks old).

He'd been out for an hour-long walk in the morning with Juno, and then had a long nap in his little crate while Juno and I went on another walk. For all that he doesn't like the little crate, the one he was shipped in, every time he races upstairs and I go looking for him, I find him standing proudly in his big crate. Precious. And yay, clicker training. He had some zoomie time as well before lunch, fetching his fluffy bone. And he's now wearing his Go Blue collar, woohoo. It's a little loose, but thanks to his big ears it can't slip over his head.

Handsome little Wolverine.

He was a little better in the car this time, because he could press up against Juno. She was clearly not best pleased about this, but she endured quietly (with a huge pout). We didn't want to put him down in the parking lot, so Mom carried Kaline to the restaurant—in her purse! A Doberman as a purse dog, can you believe it? I was pretty amused.

Juno and Kaline in the backseat.

He kinda fits! He was totally cool about it too.
I set Juno and Kaline up with their respective mats (when Kaline is a big boy Service Dog In Training, I'll get him his own spiffy portable SD mat ... for now, he gets this random but quite soft thing that we brought home from my dad's hospital stay in January). I got Kaline his chewy toothbrush, sat him on the mat, and just kinda waited and watched.

Stacks is on Santa Cruz, the main street in Menlo Park. The outside tables are a flight of stairs up from the sidewalk, and set back a bit, but you can still hear and see all the traffic going by. There is also a bit of foot traffic by the tables themselves, mostly kids going to Color Me Mine next door.

Kaline keeps tabs on downtown activity.

Kaline was quite curious about everything, but not stressed or worried in the least! I was pretty amazed. He stayed sitting for a bit, watching the cars go by and putting his ears forward at the sounds of the trucks, then lay down with his chewy. One truck had a big clattering load, but apparently this was no big deal. Junebug, of course, provided an excellent example, chilling out right next to Kaline on her own mat. People walked by, and neither of the dogs left their mat, just politely watched as they passed. I was actually pleasantly shocked that no one ran up and started manhandling the puppy (as so often happens with Juno). People cooed from afar, but that was it.

By the end of lunch, little Kaline had copied his big sister's position exactly—lying down, rolled over on one hip, head to the side and resting on a paw. He actually fell asleep and ended up totally sacked out (on his side, legs sprawled) next to the table! I love that he always wants to copy Juno. This is one amazing, awesome little puppy!

26 June 2012

Big day for Kaline!

The little man met a ton of people and dogs today, took it in stride, then crashed bigtime. We had another quiet night in the family room, although he needed to go out more than the night before. Almost had a poop accident, but I was able to rush him outside again before anything came out!

Kaline seems to like arising at 7:00 a.m. I can't say I support this, but for now, whatever. It gets us started on everything early, that's for sure. I took him and Juno down to Curves on the corner, where Mom exercises, because all her friends wanted to meet the baby. Comments on his paws, of course, were very plentiful.

I took the two dogs on about a half hour walk, then gave them breakfast. Kaline cleaned his bowl again! He went in the crate (more yowling) while Juno and I went on a long peaceful walk around the Circus Club. We saw a gorgeous high-stepping horse pulling a carriage! It was very cool.

We did some crate training with the big crate upstairs. I had the Kikopup video going for review, sitting on top of the crate, and was following along with Kaline, treats and my clicker. After about 10-15 minutes, he was happily offering the behavior of going in the crate. I still had to lure him into a down, but he'd stay in until I invited him out. Progress! I also got a picture of him lying on the bone-shaped mat that Mom got him, our nine-week photo.

Nine weeks!

When I got Kaline's food for lunch, he demonstrated his smartie-pants-ness. Juno knows she has to lie down before she'll be fed, so she doesn't bother crowding me at the kibble container—she just trots over to her bowls and lies down. Well, Kaline watches everything she does, and once I put food in his bowl, he promptly trotted over to Juno's bowls and sat expectantly. So cute! Later, when I was getting food together to take to Danny's uncle's house, Kaline heard it rattle and ran to his bowls and sat. I practically died.

We all took had a nice group nap before training, Kaline in the big blue bed, me and Juno cuddled on the couch. My girl needs her cuddle time. Normally she's not allowed on the couch if she's not working, but it's a safe place for her to be when Kaline is nippy, and it gets her some special individual time. Kaline is snuggly, but Juno really knows how to cuddle. She gets in position, and just stays there. Delightful.

My cuddly couch hog.
Today was Kaline's first day of training in the park—big day! Kristin brought a playpen for him to hang out in; Freddie got him a stuffed hive filled with stuffed bees, which Kaline can “de-stuff.” She had a crate pad for him and I put in his little Nylabone. Everyone was just enchanted with him. He was so great meeting all these people (mostly women, but one small child and a couple adult men also participated) and a bunch of dogs. He's polite, as a puppy should be, but he's not timid. At the end of training, everyone was doing relaxed down-stays on the grass in the shade, and Kaline participated with no problem. I mean, obviously he couldn't do a long down-stay, but he had no issues being in the midst of all the dogs.

Conked out in the playpen.
Kaline got to meet Freddie and Kristin, and our friend Suzie, who is also a trainer and used to have Dobermans. She was smitten with my little guy. She and Freddie had a great time pointing out nice things about his conformation. Diane, Peter the Poodle's mom, was also in love with wee Kaline. Yeah, he's super cute. He got to run around the little field with me a bit, hang out with Juno, sleep in his playpen, yowl, etc. Juno got to do more stuff, obviously—down-stays during weaving, high jump, bar jump, and broad jump (sort of), and a little dumbbell retrieving. She was not feeling that today, for some reason, but her recalls were awesome.

Post-potty break in the grass.

After training, we went over to Danny's uncle's house, where Kaline met Danny's grandparents, uncle and aunt, and young cousins. He was only awake for a little while; after attempting with great enthusiasm to excavate a tiny hole in the stone of the patio, he absolutely crashed. At one point, Juno was playing with Danny and barking her head off; Kaline sleepily opened his eyes, looked at her, then snuggled down and went right back to sleep. Everyone was amazed at how calm and mellow he is. I'm amazed at how mellow he is!

What do you think is in there, little man?
Kaline was so sleepy, he didn't even wake up for dinner!

He came home and continued to sleep. Guess being out at the park really wiped him out!

25 June 2012

First vet visit, etc.

Puppy zoomies just ended and Kaline has fallen asleep, so I thought I'd get in a little blogging.

Last night everyone got a lot more sleep, even me. Kaline and I worked on crate training during the day, and then last night, he slept in the kiddie pool bed with his leash tethered to a kitchen chair. I was on the couch up here, right next to him. He actually slept! I woke up a lot, worrying about whether he was awake and needing to pee, or chewing on the bed, or the towel, or the leash. (Despite having a fluffy bone, a Nylabone, a Kong and now a toothbrush thing, the leash remains the most popular thing to put in his mouth. Thank goodness it's not the BLD leash!)

But there was no yowling, so what sleep I got was a lot better. Kaline did some time in his crate today as well, when I went next door to feed my neighbor's cats, and later when I took Juno out on a walk by herself. She needs a lot more exercise than Kaline does at this point, and of course she really needs her individual time. Kaline did well in the crate—Mom reported that he yowled at the beginning, but by the time Juno and I got back, he was lying in there quietly and calmly.

Brief moment of sibling peace and closeness.

Can I just say, I cannot begin to imagine how much more stressed out I would be right now if Juno were still blind. It takes off so much pressure to know that I don't have to depend on Kaline for anything anytime soon, seeing as how I can't. Juno and I are going to go on a longer walk tomorrow, plus we'll have training in the park.

Kaline got more of his intro to the prong collar today, and he's doing quite well. He started pulling on leash last night (getting some more confidence!), so he wore the collar this morning. Juno is great at teaching new dogs to walk nicely, so between the two of us we really got Kaline going great! He looked so cute. He has the most gorgeous little trot, even at nine weeks.

We also did clicker introduction. He gives such amazing eye contact! Before he gets distracted by Juno, of course. All he wants is to play with her ... Sigh. She barks at him and runs away. Or just stands there and barks. It's loud. Kaline is much less intimidated already, haha. He always goes for her tail, he's utterly fascinated by it.

This. All the time.

Anyway, I think he's getting the clicker ... I will have to use higher value treats tomorrow to make sure. I've been using his leftover kibble, because he's leaving a lot at each meal and I worry, but he is not terribly motivated by it. Damn, I knew Juno would spoil me. (She will work/train for vegetables.)

Kaline did a lot of sleeping. Thank goodness, cause then I can recharge! This afternoon, I pulled the extra downstairs dog bed into the family room (we now have literally no floor space) and ended up snuggling on it between Juno and Kaline. Kaline snuggled so wonderfully, and even pillowed his head on my neck. He also fell asleep in my lap at another point. He's so bloody cute when he sleeps. Okay, he's cute when he's doing practically anything.

Cuddling between my dogs!

This afternoon Mom and I took both dogs in to the vet. Kaline had to go for a puppy checkup, and we wanted to see what's up with Juno blowing her coat all of a sudden (she normally doesn't). Everyone thought Kaline was very cute, and commented on his enormous paws. We got our first, “What is he?” comment. First guess, if you can believe it, was DACHSHUND (admittedly, his face does look Doxie-like) and the second guess was Rottweiler. Third guess was mix. Nope. Kinda knew I was in for that with his natural ears. (The thing that is really annoying me, so far, is that everyone calls Juno “he” and Kaline “she.”)

Kaline was pronounced lookin' good by the vet, Dr. Harish, who also said that yes, walks around the neighborhood are fine, just no high-traffic areas. It's what I thought, but it's nice to get vet confirmation. Juno got blood drawn to make sure her thyroid is working properly. Kaline managed to almost fall off the exam table twice, and later tried to perch on my shoulders like a parrot. Oh, puppy.

Kaline at the vet on the exam table.

After the vet we went to Pet Place to get Kaline's play pen (turned out it was the wrong model, oops). Kaline waited in the car with Mom; Juno came with me and milked everyone in the store for treats. She's really good at convincing people she's starving, neglected, no one feeds her, etc. I love my girl. Lynn, who owns Pet Place, came out to the car to meet little Kaline and cooed over him. Teehee.

He got zoomies when we came home, sliding down the stairs a couple times, pouncing on all his toys like they were running away from him, running around in circles, etc. And then he crashed. I feel like I haven't done anything all day, yet I'm wiped. Guess this is puppyhood!

24 June 2012

Let the mostly sleepless marathon begin!

Yesterday was the big day! Obviously, there was kind of a lot going on.

We picked up Kaline around noon (we being me, Danny, Dad and Juno). He was at Air Canada Cargo—we could hear him yowling as soon as we walked in. They gave us paperwork there that we then had to drive over to Customs down the road, and then we drove back for the puppy.

Kaline in his crate at Air Canada Cargo.

He is so tiny! Well, except for his paws, of course. I know he won't stay that way for long, but he is little enough that I was able to pick him up yesterday. (I now know that was a bad idea ... well, I knew it at the time too, just didn't care! All muscles are in mutiny today.) He's fun to carry around, because he hugs onto your neck like a little monkey. He cried part of the way home in his crate—he is not a fan!—but then fell asleep. I guess it's a puppy thing, but I find it just so adorable: how Kaline can be totally into something one second, and then the next second, he's asleep!

We came home and mostly had a playful afternoon. Juno wanted/wants nothing to do with Kaline—I think she's afraid of him. He'll go up to her, kissing or playbowing, being very polite for a puppy, and she just walks away. She wasn't talking to me for a while but I think we're friends again as of this morning's training session.

Kaline and Danny!

Kaline smelled kinda bad after his trip, even though he didn't mess in the crate as far as I could tell, so I took him upstairs and gave him a bath. He hadn't peed since we got him, even though we gave him chances (he was distracted). I expected he'd end up going in the tub, but I was slightly off and he peed in the bathroom. Easy cleanup, totally not his fault.

Kaline in the bathtub.

He was very good in the bath, partly because he couldn't jump out no matter how hard he tried, being too small, and mostly because Maura did such a great job accustoming him to being handled. He didn't mind being touched anywhere or having his feet washed or getting his face wet. I loved how I could wrap up his entire body in the towel once I got him out.

What a face!

Danny, Dad and I hung out with Kaline in the living room (Juno wasn't having any of it) for a long time. He was like the Energizer Bunny for a while. We worked a little on sit, down, watch, get busy, and wait. He's really getting the hang of going potty immediately, outside, and on his leash. Hurrah. He had one more accident later that night—because he'd just woken up from a long nap, but instead of getting outside promptly, he got sidetracked being cuddled by Mom!

My stuffie!!

After Danny left for work, Kaline pretty much crashed. He had no problem sleeping in his crate if the door was open, but the minute I shut it, he would go ballistic. You can imagine how attempting to sleep last night went! Not so awesome. But we just have to ride it out; he absolutely can't learn that if he just cries LOUD enough, and LONG enough, he'll get what he wants. I've only been letting him out once he's quiet, and I'm trying to get him to wait. We need to do some crate exercises with the clicker ... First I have to introduce the clicker! (I've just been luring and treating so far.)

Asleep in the crate.

Today, Kaline's sit has been awesome. It's one of his defaults already, and he's starting to make nice eye contact. He'll stay a bit too, long enough for me to get from facing him to the heel position. He goes into a down very easily, but so far doesn't really want to stay there. He comes wonderfully (we're not doing the formal recall yet, just “Puppy puppy puppy!” and the like) and is starting to wait at the doors.

Walks are interesting. I don't know how much time Kaline has had on a leash. So far, he mostly will not walk ahead of me (big plus), but he kind of weaves around behind me. Sometimes he'll just stop ... so yeah, we're having fun on the walks! We've just gone around and back on the back streets here. Kaline was a little surprised by the train when he first heard it outside (inside, he couldn't care less) but he recovered really fast. He's catching on fast with the stairs too—we have a lot of stairs. Watching him go up and down like a little uncoordinated jackrabbit is way too much fun.

Juno finally talking to me again.

I really love Kaline's personality. He's bright, he's fun to do quick training sessions with (he has the attention span of ... a baby puppy!), he doesn't get frightened easily (just startled, and then curious) and he has an off switch! He's definitely up for relaxing/sleeping a lot. He also likes to chew his leash, but I've been redirecting him with a squeaky bone and a Nylabone. Fluffy bone is a big hit. Also sweet potato chews. Juno finishes those in about fifteen seconds; Kaline was still earnestly masticating his twenty minutes on.

Oh, speaking of earnest, have I mentioned his little head wrinkles? So precious. He looks so serious and pensive when he just plops down, cocks his head and wrinkles his forehead while looking at you in a quizzical way. He also makes gurgling noises when he sleeps.

And his ears. They are everything I thought they'd be and more!

22 June 2012


I am excited out of my mind. Kaline will be here tomorrow. Since I got home from walking my packs today, I've been doing cleanup and puppy prep. Mom and I washed down our whole back patio—this will be the first place he learns to eliminate—and then sprayed the whole thing with a weak bleach solution. I'm hoping that soon Kaline can learn to hold it between his crate and getting outside in the morning/after naps, and then I can take him out the front door and across the street, to a nice big patch of gravel. Much easier cleanup!

All Juno's stuffies, except her current favorite, Mr. Rhino, are either hidden away in the garage or up on a high counter in the little bar area off the living room—no stuffies for the wee one until I know he's not going to kill them. Mom did a last Pet Place run while I was out with the packs, and came home with a ton of goodies. A little stuffie bone for Kaline (yeah, we'll see how long that lasts!); a couple free packets of little treats; a smaller, softer Nylabone (I already have a big one for Powerful Chewers); and of course, an enormous container of Nature's Miracle. We've got spray bottles now ready, one full of the bleach solution for cleaning up on the back patio, and one full of Nature's Miracle for accidents.

I got a bunch of little stuff up off the floor throughout the house. Filled up the smaller black Kong with peanut butter and some pieces of puppy kibble, and popped it in the freezer. Moved the thick awesome bed out of the big crate and into the guest room (Kaline can have it when he's not gonna destroy it, and when the crate no longer needs to be partitioned) and lined the crate with a big towel and the adorable soft pad Mom got for him when she was at a craft fair. We have grand plans for that thing. It's vaguely bone shaped, very soft, light blue with puppies on one side and red with puppies on the other. We're gonna take a photo of Kaline on the pad tomorrow, and then every Monday thereafter for a couple months. (Who knows, given my tendency toward obsession/sticking to routines, it could be every Monday for a YEAR.) Why Monday? Cause he was born on a Monday, and then I can say things like, "This is Kaline at nine weeks."

Juno got a bath, mostly because she was sticky from training yesterday at the park. She was tethered on the lawn when not working ... there were plums ... thus stickiness. Also she'll be all super-pretty now for the arrival of her new brother. I even put more ointment on her pads—such a gorgeous girl!

I also got in touch with Air Canada Cargo. I got a Real Live Person™ on the first try! It was amazing. The Real Live Person™ helpfully told me the address of Air Canada Cargo—a completely separate place from San Francisco International Airport—and said to arrive there about an hour after Kaline's plane is due to give him time to get transported from the airport to cargo. Once I get him at cargo, I have to take his health certificate over to customs, and then we can go home. Not entirely sure if I have to leave him (and his undoubtedly full bladder) at cargo while I do this; hopefully I'll at least be allowed to take him for a pee break first!

Man, tomorrow is just going to be insane and momentous. Gotta at least try to get a decent night's sleep, since I won't even have the opportunity to do so for the foreseeable future. I've done the first-day-with-a-new-dog thing twice, but Kaline is my first puppy. And like most people, I've wanted a puppy since forever. I'm actually really glad that I had to wait this long. I feel like I'm finally ready for a puppy.

Let's see if I still feel that way by the end of tomorrow!

19 June 2012

Stacked photos, 8 weeks, 1 day

There are new stacked photos of most of the pups, and wow, do the cropped pups ever look different and grown-up. It turns out three of the six pups are being left natural (Kaline of course is one), which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I can appreciate the look of a beautifully cropped Doberman, but to me, there is nothing more gorgeous than a natural-eared pup! Just four days!

My boy Kaline! I cannot wait to stroke those silky ears.

Olive, the black female who the breeder will co-own. Show pup! :)

Red collar boy (blue collar boy was asleep! Red boy probably was too.) Love the face on this little one.

Red girl.

18 June 2012

Five days!

This countdown is getting crazy! Okay, actually I'm the one who's crazy. Today I got Kaline's flight information. He should be arriving at SFO at about 10:35 on Saturday morning. I'm not entirely sure just yet where I actually pick him up, but I seem to remember seeing someone pick up a puppy in an office by the baggage claim. I wonder how long it will take to reach a live human being at the airport who can give me the one answer I need ...

I went back to observe puppy class again this past Sunday, this time with Danny in tow. I'm hoping that if I can get Kaline into the class, Danny will be able to come to help with the recall and stuff. Kaline may end up falling into a sort of limbo between classes—might be too young for any but the last meeting of the current five-week session, and may be nearly too old for the next one. It's not the end of the world, as Freddie also has puppy classes going on. I just have my heart set on Amy's!

The puppies are ever so cute, as always. This time around, there's a yellow Lab (my fave, of course); a Golden Retriever; a poodle/Golden retriever mix; a gorgeous blue Great Dane with the most hilarious ears; a Wheaten terrier; and a delightful little Bernese Mountain Dog. Hopefully Kaline can get his second-round shots at 11 weeks and make it to the final meeting. We'll see what the vet says, just one week from today!

Did I mention that the local vets are Doberman people? There is a married couple now in charge at Peninsula Pet Hospital (originally, Angel's and Juno's vet was Dr. Cortesi, but he's mostly retired now) and they have a gorgeous young black and tan male named Anchor. Juno likes Dr. Ulla a lot, which is a big deal cause she is not generally a vet fan. The techs are all stoked to meet the puppy, of course.

16 June 2012

One week to Kaline!

Kaline will be here in just seven days! Brown-collar puppy, now wearing a brown and blue collar, is for sure The One. I am so excited! He's super sweet and pretty sure of himself, which I love. The puppies met Maura's potbellied pig, Stella, this week, and Kaline went right up to her to check her out. The little red girl ran away when she realized how big Stella was, but Kaline was just cool. He and the red boy are both unfazed when they go exploring and find themselves without their siblings. I guess the others don't really like that.

I'm guessing this is before Stella was let out; all the pups going, “WHOA, what is that?!”

Handsome red boy, Wilson, in the yard with his black sister, Olive.

One of the black boys approaching Stella.

Puppy pile on a young friend! Kaline has been quite calm and friendly meeting all kinds of strangers. WIN.

More introductions to Stella!

Juno has had a busy week! On Wednesday, we went to the Giants game, likely our last of the season, and if you're a baseball fan, you know that Matt Cain pitched a perfect game that night! (If you're not a baseball fan: In a perfect game, the pitcher allows no baserunners. No hits, no errors, no walks, no dropped third strikes. NOTHING.) It was amazing, and Juno handled everything with her usual no-sweat attitude. She got to watch the game a little (we had several empty seats around us) and otherwise slept through pretty much everything. She worked the crowds like a champ.

Juno at the perfect game—“What do you want me to watch you for? I'm watching the game!”

She also got to go to a couple new pubs (new to her) to watch some Euro 2012 games. One was the Rose & Crown, where my friend Ben and I watched England play to a 1-1 draw with France. That one wasn't too crowded, but when the goals were scored, it got fairly loud. Then on Wednesday afternoon, we went to Rudy's for the Netherlands-Germany game. Rudy's is the local pub where all the Dutch fans gather to watch their team, so Rudy's was packed wall-to-wall with crazy people in orange. (Yes, I too was a crazy person in orange, though sadly I am not Dutch.) Juno, who had just been on two hour-long walks, sacked out under the bar with Ben and me standing behind her, guarding her paws from wayward human feet. Lots of loud noise, crowding, food everywhere—no big deal for Junebug!

Juno at the Rose and Crown.

It's been really hot here lately, so much so that Juno has been dancing about uncomfortably on pavement, so today I got her Ruffwear Skyliners—dog booties. She pranced hilariously when I first put them on her, but I think they will really make a big difference. Yet another small proof of global warming: Juno has never, ever had this issue with pavement before, even in summer. This year, it's hot enough around here that her paws are hurting and her nails were getting ground down to an uncomfortable point. But not anymore! Yay booties. I also got her some ointment for her pads.

We picked up Kaline's puppy food (Royal Canin), one of the last things I need for him. I also got him a Zoom Groom, cause they've been highly recommended and I certainly can't use a Furminator on him. (Juno, on the other hand, has been Furminated nearly every day in the past two weeks, and the amount of hair that's still coming out of her is absolutely preposterous.) I'm sure there'll be more things I have to get for him—dogs are 'spensive, jeez!—but I think I'm as prepared as I can be for now!

11 June 2012

Outing to the San Jose Giants with GDB pups!

Yesterday Juno and I went to see the San Jose Giants (Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) with my dad and my friend Julie, and her guide dog Honda. It was so much fun, not just because of the baseball, but because we got to tag along with the Mid-Peninsula Puppy Raiser Group for Guide Dogs for the Blind!

It's kind of a funny story, actually. I've been a huge fan of the YouTube show Growing Up Guide Pup, for a while. Then when I was out walking dogs several months ago, I ran into a guy walking three or four dogs of his own. And two of them looked so familiar ... Suddenly I realized that two of the dogs were Ricki and Eli from the show, and the guy walking them was Matt Chapman, one of the show's creators! It was so cool! I of course was all full of hero worship and probably couldn't really talk coherently, but Matt seemed quite pleased that I was such a big fan.

From that, and through Facebook, we were able to set up a fun dinner meetup with Amie and Matt (and of course their new puppy, Pilaf!). Juno was in her temporary retirement at the time, so we went to a restaurant with dog-friendly outdoor seating. It was great fun getting to talk to them, and especially get puppy-raising tips for Kaline.

We kept in touch on Facebook and they knew I definitely wanted to do more meetups, especially since Juno got her sight back. When I picked up a Brian Wilson gnome at the Giants game with Danny, it was a great excuse to get together—Matt really wanted one, and I find gnomes creepy, so I was glad to get it off my hands! And the baby Giants game was a perfect time to do the handoff. Not to mention a great opportunity to do an outing with Julie and Honda.

The group had reserved rows right at the top of the little stadium, one of which was in the shade. The majority of the puppies were up there, out of the heat. We went to the barbecue (one of the best barbecues you will ever taste, I highly recommend it!) so we ended up in one of the sunny rows. Luckily, Julie and I had brought a towel and mat respectively for our dogs to lie on, and kept them well cooled with water and ice cubes. And when we were able, we moved up to the shady row.

The puppies were absolutely amazing. They ranged in age from pretty little (I think the lone black Lab, Adidas, was about five months old) to about a year old, I think. Everyone but Adidas was a yellow Lab, my favorite! Pilaf was there, naturally, so we got to schmooze with Matt and Amie, who were very gleeful to meet Julie and Honda. The other puppies were Andretti, Skittle, Felicia, Mecca and Blake. They were so cute, and they all just chilled out under their raisers legs, some of them working on Nylabones, some just lying there. Gigante, the mascot, came by, and rather than being afraid, little Felicia enthusiastically licked his hands.

I hope my little guy can behave as well as these puppies when he's five months old! Bravo to all puppy raisers—they are fabulous, amazing people who provide a tremendous service. They put so much love and effort into these puppies, knowing that if all goes as planned, they'll have to give them up. I really hope I get to do more things with this group—they're such fun! Wish I had pictures, but with all the dogs staying in the shade behind legs, it wasn't exactly the best photo op. Oh well!

09 June 2012

Puppy evaluations and grading

The pups are supposed to get evaluated (temperament) and graded (physical conformation) today or perhaps tomorrow. The testing is super important, at least to me, in ensuring I have the best service dog candidate of the bunch.

The temperament test will likely be the Volhard Test, or something similar. There are ten parts to the test, and they are as follows (from

1. Social Attraction—degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.   
2. Following—willingness to follow a person. 
3. Restraint—degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance—degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person. 
5. Elevation—degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer. 
6. Retrieving—degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity—degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity—degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms. 
9. Sight Sensitivity—degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. Stability—degree of startle response to a strange object.

Puppies are evaluated on a scale of 1-6. What kind of scores are “good” depends on what kind of dog you're looking for, and what you hope to do with the dog. For service work, you want a dog who scores mostly 3's, and who does well especially on the retrieval test. You also want a dog who, when startled, recovers quickly and heads off to investigate whatever scared him. (You don't want a dog who either cowers and never recovers from the startling, or a puppy who doesn't startle at all and just pounces on the thing.)

The tester is not the breeder, but an independent third party. The important part is that the person is someone the puppies don't know (obviously they'd be pretty willing to follow the breeder, etc.) The puppies are also tested individually, not together.

A “mostly 3's” puppy is friendly but not over-the-top, cuddly and not bitey, startles but recovers, is curious but not overly assertive. Basically a chill, middle-of-the-road pup who will probably be able to adapt quickly to new situations, and who enjoys working with people. Obviously Doberman puppies are not what most people would ever call “chill,” but a “mostly 3's” puppy will (I fervently hope!) learn to settle down readily. A big part of being a service dog, other than learning tasks, is going to distracting places and still managing to chill out or even sleep. The vast majority of dogs are not born able to do that, but a “mostly 3's” puppy will be a lot more able to learn than a big-time high-drive pup, or one who is scared by everything.

I expect that most of the pups will be in the 3 range—Gatehouse is known for producing smart dogs with solid temperaments. But one of those puppies is really going to stand out as a (relatively) calm, confident guy—and that'll be Kaline!

08 June 2012

Stacked puppies at 6 weeks, 3 days

Pretty much everyone's collar has switched, so here we go! I still haven't found the stacked picture of the wee red girl, but I've got everyone else.

Black girl with her new pink collar.

Blue collar boy (was no collar boy).

Blue/brown collar boy (was brown collar boy).

Red collar boy (was white/grey collar boy).

Black collar boy ... not that he needs a special collar, cause he's the only red boy ...
 And now, some squooshie puppy cuteness.

Red boy (I'm pretty sure), fast asleep.
One of the black puppies, no clue who!
Gotta be that little red girl!