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

31 October 2012

We're back!

Well, on one hand the trip was great. We went to the Henry Ford twice, my new camera behaved amazingly, we had lots of fun at the Farmer's Market, went to Charley's three times, etc. But the Tigers decided not to show up for the World Series against the Giants. And not having Juno sucked. I needed her for physical help several times, especially the first day we got there and I was hobbling around like an elderly person because I'd sat for so long on the plane. I also really needed her for keeping my anxiety in check—it was like every place we went into, I was constantly scanning, on high alert. For what? Dunno. My mom did her best to be a good service human but it's just not the same.

So unsurprisingly, I was incredibly glad to see the dogs when we arrived home Monday night. Dad pulled up outside baggage claim, where I was plastered against a pole so no one could/would sneak up behind me. I went out, got Juno, put on her little vest and strode back in. It was like flipping a switch. All trip, we were avoiding crowds as much as possible. Now with Juno, I waded in, and she blocked exactly where I needed her to without even being asked. I was complete again! I hugged her a bunch, even when she was working, and then in the car she and Kaline piled up against me in a little mound.

Kaline had a great time at Freddie's playing with her big black Lab, Rio. I assume it's Rio's fault that I observed Kaline lift his leg to mark for the first time today. Haha. We had training yesterday and my whiny children did pretty well. My dad apparently worked Kaline in class on Saturday and did really nicely with him, didn't screw him up! Freddie said he was way more conscientious with the pup than he normally is with Juno.

I was super pleased with Kaline's stand-stay yesterday—he'll do it for me with basically no problem, but yesterday I left him and let Freddie "examine" him. He moved his feet some, but he didn't sit, come to me, or go to Freddie, so I'll count that in the win column! Juno did awesome recalls, during which a busybody cop came to inform us of the leash rule in the park. Which we, as trainers, have town permission to "break," and which assholes break all the time with dogs who won't do a recall. And those people never get any consequences. I let Freddie talk, because I'm not good at being patient and polite with stupid authoritarian people.

Today most of the dogs (save Xena and Jett) had Hallowe'en flair to wear on the walks. Kaline wore his jack o' lantern sweater, Juno had a jack o' lantern bandanna, Gracie had a grinning pumpkin headband attached to her collar with duct tape, Max had a black and orange frilly collar, and Ellis had the sparkliest, most awesome bandanna with black, orange and white pumpkins, witches' hats, and skulls. YAY.
Juno, Gracie, Kaline and Ellis on Walk No. 1. 
Jett, Xena, Kaline, Max and Juno on Walk No. 2.

22 October 2012

Bad blogger

Yeah, it's been spotty lately and it's about to get dead for a while. On Wednesday Mom and I head to Ann Arbor, and I'm not taking a computer. It's at least felt like I've been busy lately—in the sense that I don't have much energy when the day is done. Kaline has been trying everyone's patience, especially over the weekend, probably because he doesn't get as much exercise as he's accustomed to (yes, my bad. Definitely my bad). Even when Juno and he wrestle, I still end up in trouble because Juno makes very loud wounded-bear sounds during the play. (Kaline is a very quiet player.) Also we've been watching a lot of baseball. Can't believe my two favorite teams are going to face each other in the Fall Classic!

The dogs are real quiet right now because they both have pressed rawhide. I got Juno to "start" Kaline's new one, then ended up finding his rawhide stub under the couch and gave that to Juno as an exchange. Normally she is the tidy one, and Kaline isn't, but HOLY CRAP, she is making ten times the mess with that thing that Kaline does. It's really quite disgusting, but at least no one is bothering anyone. Mom came home, saw the white gooey mess, and declared she was totally nauseated.

We had ton of rain this morning, which was very unpleasant. I hate rain more than any other kind of weather, and that includes snow. (And yes, I know about snow, I lived in Michigan for five years.) Kaline saw it from the doorway and gave me a look like, "You must be joking. I am not going out in that." He was wearing Juno's Cozy Horse coat, and when he protested about going out in the wet, he looked like a wee horse bucking and rearing. He stoutly refused to pee in his favorite spot across the street, standing there pathetically with his little hocks knocking together unhappily. I put them in the car un-emptied, and Kaline stood back there whimpering in the most gut-wrenching way.

When we got to our first walk, the only one that was truly wet and miserable, Kaline did fine. Maybe it was the addition of his friends Teddy and Bentley? Teddy, who like Kaline lacks a proper coat and shivers at the slightest provocation, was pretty much as unhappy as Kaline to be outside. But I guess anything is more tolerable if you've got buddies who are as bummed as you are. They did look cute—I have so many raincoats left over from Angel, my first dog, that I can outfit my entire pack. I even have a raincoat that fits Jett, the Swissie (barely).

So yeah, today was all walking and training. Kaline's fave new client is wee Lupo, a three-month-old Lagotto Romagnolo. Lupo is this little fluffy guy who looks like a brown and white teddy bear. Kaline holds back a bit, but they still play pretty rough-and-tumble.

I'll admit, I am excited but a little apprehensive about the Michigan trip. Mom is incredibly possessive about it, and has never let me bring Juno on said trip. So she has to be my service human, the whole time, and while she is a lot better at that than my dad is (sorry, Dad), she still sometimes doesn't get stuff, like why I am not going to wander the mall alone while she has her nails done. My anxiety goes through the roof just thinking about the things about which she'll say, "But why can't you ... ? But two years ago, you did ... so why not now?" I am going to feel totally incomplete without Juno. I went through that earlier this year, when she was temporarily retired, and boy did it suck. Being without her makes me feel like a baby, having to be so dependent on another person. I hate asking help from people; I love asking Juno.

But the good stuff: We get to spend two days, instead of one, at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, which is basically my favorite thing in the world. I used to be super hot on the old-car-museum part, but now Greenfield Village is my love. I think about it ALL THE TIME. And we get to do Hallowe'en Nights there on Friday (please, please, no rain). My big fear there is not so much an anxiety or panic attack, because it's very spread out and not likely to be crowded, and everyone is super laid-back and nice. I'm worried I'll have a fibro flareup and might have to use one of those scooters. Which likely won't happen but I worry about it anyway.

We also get to go to all my favorite restaurants, see my poetry professor who is a huge Tigers fan, have dinner with one of my former gymnasts who is now in med school at U of M, and oh yeah, watch the Tigers in the World Series in Michigan. That will be rather marvelous, I think. But that's another thing I can't do—I can't go out by myself at night to my favorite pub and watch the game, because it will be packed wall to wall and 1) a panic attack will inevitably ensue and 2) I will have no way to stop it quickly and will have to leave.

One thing I can, I hope, do on my own, will be visiting men's gym practice at the Newt Loken Training Center. Being in the gym is like being in a cocoon where nothing can get to you. I don't know too many of the guys anymore, and there's been a bit of remodeling, but it's still my place. When my mom called me to tell me that Angel had died, when I was a senior, I went to the gym as soon as I could, because that was the only place where I could feel anywhere approaching okay. I probably spent almost as much time there as I did in my dorm or apartment.

Anyway, I didn't mean to make this a bunch of complaints about the trip. It's going to be really awesome, I think. Just could be awesome-er with Juno, ya know?

18 October 2012

Madly in love with Juno

Juno's been awesome today. Kaline too has been a very good boy, but oh my FSM, Juno! (Also, the Tigers won the pennant. A very good day.)

After a Trazodone-free night, I feel much better physically. We had two walks this morning, and on the second one, as we were in the little home-stretch, Juno's prong collar just popped off. It has a loose link, so it does that sometimes. Since it's on Juno, I don't worry. And clearly, I don't need to. When the collar fell to the ground, Juno hesitated a little, waiting for me to reel in the leash. Since we were close to "home" (Jett's house), I didn't even try to put it back on her. She stayed perfectly in position without her leash, keeping all three boys—Max, Kaline and Jett—in line as usual. Sped up, slowed down, all perfectly in step with me, all the way there. I was very gleeful!

Training was really good today as well. Freddie returned from the East Coast shows with a new car magnet for me—a silhouette not just of a Doberman, but a natural-eared Doberman! So exciting.

Kaline worked before Juno, and Freddie worked on proofing his down. I had a stuffing-less ferret of some kind, and Freddie had various balls; Kaline had to hold his down-stay or sit-stay while both Freddie and I in turn tried to distract him and make him break with the toys. He only broke once! Sometimes there was no warning when Freddie would throw something either.

Kaline did a beautiful figure eight (I remembered not to look down!). Freddie loves how elegant he looks when he's not being a galumphy pup, haha. Then he got to work on fun retrieves with the ferret, and finally he had his first hold and out session. You gently open his mouth and insert something to hold, in this case a tennis ball bumper, saying, "Hold." Then you keep one hand under his chin to keep his mouth closed, and put the other on the back of his head, where most Dobes have a knob (Kaline doesn't). Then you just kinda wait till he relaxes and holds the object calmly without chomping it or rolling it around. Once you get that, you put one hand on either end of the object, not pulling on it, and say, "Out." Most dogs, when you actually ask them to hold something, don't really want to do it, so they'll immediately let go and back their mouth off the object—exactly what you want when you say out. Kaline did that part perfectly every time. He'll get the hang of hold pretty fast, I think.

After Kaline, I got out Juno. She got to be a post while Peter did figure eights, and then when it was her turn to do it off leash, she went over by Freddie's chair, picked up the "tuff" toy that looks like a flattened doughnut, and handed it to me. I thanked her, then tossed it back to the chair. Whereupon she got it again. So I told her hold and we did the off-leash figure eight—all with the toy in her mouth! She looked so freaking cute. She did an even better off-leash figure eight without it though, haha. She then did perfect fabulous recalls alongside Peter. And then we got to do retrieves.

First we did formal retrieves, with Juno having to wait for me to send her to get the toy, then having to return to front with it, give it to me, then return to heel. So good, so cute. I took a couple videos, none of which were great because Juno gets a little confused when I hold the phone at her. Then we just did fun retrieves with the tennis ball bumper, and she had a total blast. She will only fetch if there are no other dogs around—I don't know why, but Juno will never refuse to give up a toy to another dog (that includes Kaline, and did even when he was very tiny). She was panting and grinning by the end and I just loved her up and told her she's the best dog in the whole world.

17 October 2012

Not a good life decision ...

I took a Trazodone last night before bed for the first time in quite a while and clearly, it was a very bad idea. I've never had a bad reaction to it before—it's basically the only med I've ever been put on that did (largely) what it was supposed to do without a ton of bad side effects. It's supposed to help me sleep, because I don't sleep properly. I haven't been taking it for a variety of reasons, such as: it knocks me out within about 15 minutes usually, and I like to read for longer than that before turning out the light; and the last time I took it, I slept through my alarm and that was very bad.

Anyway, I was fine last night. Then I woke up this morning far stiffer than usual, incredibly nauseous, dizzy, terrible balance/depth perception. I wanted to throw up so bad, but I couldn't. All we did today were our morning walks; getting through them was a slog, but I did it, kinda. We walked a lot slower than normal, and I was still stumbling over everything. Thankfully, the dogs in both packs behaved incredibly well, including Kaline, and that made everything a lot better.

There was no training yesterday so I took Kaline to Stanford Shopping Center and followed Mom around. He did great at the door buttons, and at settling whenever I stopped moving around. He was pretty good in the dressing room (Mom got me new jeans, woohoo!). He was a bit crafty about it, but you just have to laugh. I left him on a down stay as I peeked out the door to see if Mom was out so we could check each other's outfits. Next time I looked down, Kaline was still in a down, but he'd moved all the way up to the doorway. "Gotta be able to see you, Mom!" It was kinda precious. Kaline is all about the letter, not the spirit, of the law. "Technically, you see, I am still down and always was down, I was just not completely stationary."

While Mom was checking out at Macy's, Kaline saw something—I still have no idea what—that totally freaked him out. He was lying on the floor on high alert, trembling and whining a little; he even did a tiny boof. I let him walk around wherever, trying to see if he'd go investigate whatever was scaring him, but nothing jumped out, not to me at least. We went over to the mannequins which had a weird spotlight on them, and he didn't care about them; same with the checkout desk across the store. Maybe he smelled something weird, or didn't like the piped-in music. The world may never know. 

We went in the Apple Store for a little bit, and Kaline was amazing in there. It is always crowded, but whenever I stopped to look at something Kaline would just fold himself down on the floor, with his head on his paws. Once a guy dropped something metal, and it made a big clang; Kaline looked over, but didn't even break the sit I'd put him in. The guy kept apologizing and I kept telling him thanks for providing a nice little training opportunity for the puppy.

He was also pretty good in California Pizza Kitchen. He took a few minutes to settle, but after that it was all good. I got to do some fun SD education with our server because she was very curious about service dogs in general. And we got to watch the end of the Tigers game, in which they beat the Yankees again!

Juno is doing a great job tiring Kaline out between walks, because she has discovered that he is an excellent wrestling partner. The dogs were driving my parents crazy on Monday night, so I took them downstairs which is their signal to start wrestling. We stayed down there a good 20 minutes—they will go until you tell them to stop—then came upstairs and had peace until bedtime.

Yay wrestling.

14 October 2012

Kaline meets a bear!

I really tuckered the pup out yesterday, and it was pretty glorious. (Today, he's been an absolute pill while awake. Sigh.) The dogs and I got up early to get ready for training. Kaline was cold, so he got to wear his orange jack-o-lantern sweater to obedience class. He looked so cute. It's a little big on him right now, but so is everything. He did pretty well, except for whining during the lull in recalls. And trying to start chaos during long downs, haha.
This is how I found Juno yesterday morning. She thinks her cuddly friend would make a great successor dog, he's very quiet and never annoys her!

We worked on a lot of heeling, which Kaline does great at if I can remember not to be twisted, looking down at him, all the time. His figure eights were really good once I started standing up straight and looking ahead. We did a ton of different recall drills and while Kaline didn't break, he did break eye contact a lot and also whine sadly. Eh, we'll get through it. During the long downs, Kaline not only broke but attempted to get Juno and a little Chief-looking terrier mix, Rio, to go with him. Juno turned away from him and muttered under her breath but Rio just nailed him. Attaboy. Took Kaline back to his spot and he didn't get up again.

After class, Kaline went home with Dad while Juno and I went to Borrone's to meet her best friend, Alex. Alex and I both used to work at Kepler's. I did take video when Alex arrived, but Juno was not as insane as normal. When he was still at Kepler's and I'd bring Juno in to visit, she would smell him (I guess) and immediately start whimpering excitedly, ears up, looking all around for him. Then when she'd find him she'd pretty much attack him with love. Even yesterday, she couldn't decide between rolling over for delicious belly rubs, or leaping up to pat at Alex with her paws and lick his face. Sometimes she gets a little overzealous with the licking and it turns into face-punches. Hazards of being loved by Juno.

Once she had greeted Alex properly, I vested her to go in and put in our orders. She immediately shifted into work mode, calmly standing a bit behind me to block in line, then doing full blocking while I was doctoring up my tea. We've unconsciously worked out this little side-pass she can do when we're in a tight space and someone is trying to pass; I kiss to her a little and put a little pressure on the collar, and she sidles up next to me while still maintaining her position. She's just super. We saw an adorable baby bulldog at another table outside and then when we were about done with lunch, I took off Juno's vest and let Alex give her a bit of leftover cheese, meat and bread from his sammich. Yes, there are different standards for Kaline and Juno. This is my evil grin.

Next order of business was taking Kaline over to my high school. It was founded in 1952, so this year is its 60th anniversary and there was an all-class reunion/picnic being held yesterday. The event itself was rather disappointing; I'm fairly certain I was the only person not currently enrolled at the school with a graduation year after 2000. Kaline did fine, not that there were a ton of challenges.
Kaline and the bear.

The best part was when he noticed the new bear statue. We were probably fifteen feet away when he saw it, and he stopped in his tracks. He gave it the stare. He growled deep in his throat. He gave a little boof. The bear didn't react, so he got closer; he stayed quiet, so I started treating him for that and for moving forward. Eventually I had him do paws-up on the pedestal, and then I boosted him up onto the pedestal itself, all the while patting the bear's feet and saying what a good bear it was. People probably thought I was a little soft in the head but what do I care? I don't know them.

We did a school tour—there are a few new buildings, but not much has changed except for most of my teachers being gone—and then headed home. We picked up Juno, then went to get Jett out for a walk (his grandparents are babysitting him and his human siblings this weekend, and they can't walk him). We got to have a nice chat with our friend the CCI puppy-raiser, whose latest puppy is still in advanced training. She wasn't sure that the pup (well, she's not really a puppy anymore) would last more than a few weeks, but she must be doing pretty well! My pack met Hummel when she was a teeny little buttery yellow ball, and for Jett it was love at first sight. He'll probably fall in love with the new one in November though; Jett's not the reflective type!

Kaline had been ready to crash after going to the school, but after the walk he was ready to pass out. He was largely delightful during the evening, which was good because Dad and I were utterly absorbed in the gut-wrenching Tigers-Yankees game. We got pizza and Kaline chilled on the couch with me while I ate without begging in the slightest. When we finally went to bed around midnight or so, Kaline trotted into his crate, collapsed, and didn't so much as change position until about 8:30 in the morning.

He made up for it today, though. He was okay in the morning, but not as sharp as normal. (I get it, all dogs have off-days, and puppies more than adults.) We walked to downtown Menlo Park with him in the Cozy Horse coat. I clipped his In Training tag to the D-ring and used our 8x8 BLD leash with the service dog leash patch to try and avoid access challenges. It's not like we're unfamiliar in our usual haunts, but I try to mark him in some way when he's working, just as a courtesy.

We met Mom and Auntie Jen at the bagel place and had breakfast inside. Kaline laid down under the table next to my chair but took a while to fully settle under there. We did a quick pass through the market, which was not very busy due to the cold, overcast weather. Then we accompanied Mom and Auntie Jen to Sprinkles the cupcake place at Stanford. Usually it's really crowded, so I figured that would be great exposure, but it was totally empty! So I just worked Kay on sits and downs in front of the cupcake case.
Kaline at the bagel place.

After getting dropped off at home, we took Trumbull the car over to Jett's to walk him again. He and Kaline were screwing around the entire time. It was super annoying. I don't understand why Kaline likes to have another dog mouthing his, Kaline's, entire snout, but he really does. As usual Jett pooped in the middle of a sidewalk, luckily not in downtown Palo Alto. (You can give him all the chances in appropriate places you want; 95% of the time, he's going to poop on the sidewalk.) Hands and arms were really hurting after that, and it only got worse when we got home—I was constantly getting Kaline off Juno, herding him into his timeout spot, getting him off the couches in the living room which he's not allowed on, etc. Finally I just tethered him in the kitchen with me, whereupon he whined incessantly for an hour or so. It was a very frustrating afternoon.

Ever since he fell asleep though, things have been better. He slept for most of the Tigers-Yankees game (another win for the Tigers, yay!), then came with me and Juno to get Trumbull washed and behaved himself very nicely. And now he's asleep again. Hurrah.

12 October 2012

Latest "news"

Well, we've had our first bit of rain the past few days, and thankfully, Kaline does not seem to be fazed by it. He heard his first thunder the other night—he boofed once, as if to say, "Go away!" and then decided he didn't really care anymore. Juno doesn't care either. Yay. Their predecessor, Angel, would attempt to dig through the floor to China whenever it thundered, or if fireworks were set off anywhere in the county.

Since the game, we've had a quiet week, just walks and training as usual. Kaline's gotten in a lot of leave it work—showed up a Golden Achiever a little bit at the park. It must be noted that the Golden Achiever hasn't had nearly as much practice, though.

Dad and I took the pups to the Tony LaRussa event at Kepler's, which was pretty fun. Juno was off-duty, Kaline was on-duty, as you can see from the picture. Kaline did well, although he started to lose it toward the end. He'd been working on holding a quiet down-stay for a really long time (for him), so it was understandable that he got restless. He whined a little; also tried to snuggle up to Juno, who objected a little loudly. "Is there a dog here?" asked Mr. LaRussa, sounding a little eager—he has an excellent organization, Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). "Two!" I replied. Eventually I took Kaline in the back of the crowd and let him stretch his legs a bit. There were three pet dogs there as well (Kepler's is extremely and delightfully pet-friendly) so Kaline was definitely a bit distracted. He had a good time though, and was a good boy.

Because of the cold, we've been doing even more snuggling than normal. Can't complain about that! Today, Juno was on my chest and Kaline was between my feet, a nice little reversal of the usual order of things. Juno is still pissed off if Kaline "screws around" in the kitchen/family room (I have mocking quotes because her definition of screwing around encompasses such innocent acts as walking near her, or sniffing in a way she deems inappropriate, or touching her ever). However, whenever I unleash them from a walk, she'll wait for him at the top of the stairs and pounce, then gambol off invitingly so he'll come wrestle with her. The couches are all out of whack down there because they will bodyslam each other into them. Kaline always ends up with his ears and neck covered in Juno slobber, haha.

They do well in the car together when it's just them. Kaline is still having issues being settled when friends jump into the car. Friends who are not Max, that is; my beloved puppy wrangler enforces order most effectively. Today I found them snuggling adorably.
Isn't Kaline's Hallowe'en sweater cute?

I guess there's not too much news lately. Funk seems to have lifted, at least, and we've got a couple fun things planned for the weekend. Juno gets to see her bestest friend in the whole world, my former coworker Alex, tomorrow. Should be hilarious. Maybe I'll take video!

09 October 2012

The magic of long down-stays

Juno and I went to ALDS Game 3 in Oakland tonight, and goddamn, she was awesome. I had a tiny temptation to take Kaline simply because of his name, but thankfully I listened to my rational mind and accepted that it would be a terrible idea to take a five-and-a-half-month-old to a playoff game. Also, due to training in the park, there was no possible way to get there early—in fact, we were late, horror of horrors—so it wasn't like I could try and introduce Kaline to players or anything.

Traffic didn't get horrible until I got to the exit for the ballpark. It took about half an hour just to get from there into the jammed parking lot. So we missed the top of the first, plus the first two A's batters in the bottom of the inning. Argh.

Other than that, amazing. When we got through the gates, we were faced with an enormous, rather terrifying crowd, wall to wall in the concourse. Juno, fantastic pro that she is, led me confidently through all those people until I told her "right" as we got to our section. Without her, I probably would have frozen, maybe had a panic attack; Juno kept me moving and all I had to do was follow her and count section numbers.

We found our row, and my seat was smack in the middle. We had to squeeze past about ten people, and it seemed like every one of them had a big juicy hot dog in his or her lap! Like a mantra, I murmured, "Juno, follow, leave it." And she did! Never even glanced at a hot dog. Got to my seat, put down Juno's mat, and she curled up there, dozing through pretty much everything. I was able to keep score, concentrate on the game (a really good one, despite the fact that the Tigers lost 2-0), and not worry about Juno getting antsy or needing to pee or trying to eat random things on the ground ... She is the best, and I adore her.
Juno peeks out from under my scorebook.

After the game, practically all my joints had stiffened up, so Juno did momentum-pulling around the park so I could say hi to my usher friends, then helped me up the stairs. (Doing the stairs with Kaline last week was torture. I kept grabbing onto the seats, which aren't ... nice ... for grabbing.) On the way out, we had our only crappy moment.

I could hear people behind me muttering, "Do not pet"—reading Juno's bold white-on-black saddlebags, impossible to miss. Then I saw one of these young idiots come up behind Juno and ostentatiously pat her on the rump. I whipped around—well, as much as I could, being gently pulled forward and with a painful back—and snapped, "Don't [bleeping] touch her. Can't you see she's a working dog?" The guy replied, "I thought I was supposed to." I gave him my best you-are-a-complete-tool look. "She has Do Not Pet all over her. Do. Not. Touch. Her." And he melted back into the crowd. Of course Juno ignored the whole thing but as we walked away I heard people talking about the "mean Tigers fan." Ah well. They are not my problem.

We came home and Dad reported that Kaline had behaved really well during their "guys' night in." Kay was super glad to see me and Juno, and I at least was glad to see him too. Juno was like, "Ugghhh, get away from me, pest!"

My little man has some pretty enormous pawprints to fill someday. Grin.

07 October 2012

Full day for the pups!

The dogs had quite the full day today. We did the Farmer's Market, the bagel store, Borrone's, a street fair and then up to our ex-neighbors' house to play with one of their two dogs and also meet their horses.

Kaline only had to work in-vest for the market and bagel store. Dad took Juno into the market unvested—they don't enforce the no-pet rule at all, and it's not like Juno will do anything naughty, like poo or snatch produce. Kay was super cute. I had to let out his vest a bunch on Friday; massive growth spurt, I guess! He's getting longer right now, not so much taller. His chest is already super deep.

For the first time, I took Kaline in the bagel store and actually did the bagel buying—normally I just take him in and work him and come out. He did well focusing on me, blocking a little, not sniffing things while I was busy making the purchase. Woohoo!

We came home briefly to watch the very exciting and satisfying end of the Tigers-A's ALDS Game 2, in which the Tigers won 5-4, and then headed to the street fair in San Carlos to meet Mom. We had lunch in the outdoor space of a restaurant, and I took Kaline around the fair and let him socialize with polite people (i.e. people who actually asked to pet him instead of just reaching for him). He had a lovely time and did quite well. He met beautiful rescued Greyhounds raising money for—what else?—Greyhound Rescue, went into a bunch of stalls and immediately settled on the ground, charmed oodles of Doberman fans. He got to meet a firefighter by a fire truck, and the guy knew all the best scratching spots. Within seconds Kaline had melted onto the ground and one of his back feet was twitching in pleasure.

At the end, Dad and I confronted the hateful "pro-life" (read: anti-choice, anti-feminism, anti-separation of church and state, anti-sex for pleasure, etc.) people at their stand. It got really heated. Kaline ignored it all, curling up on my feet for the duration. Good job, buddy. It's very important that he not mirror my emotions, but only reflect calm back at me, no matter how anxious, fearful, or angry I get. When I get in conflict, part of my brain kind of turns off and I have trouble recalling everything I want to, and saying everything the way I want to; so I thought it was interesting that when one of the patronizing godbots at the stand called me a "poor little child," I angrily replied, "I am not a poor little child! I have a beautiful Doberman!" My dogs are the best thing in my life, what can I say. Of course, as soon as we got away from the stand, the adrenaline rush abruptly shut off and I had a meltdown with Kaline in my lap. Sigh.

After the fair, we drove to Woodside, where our former neighbors, Becky and Kip, now live on a big property with their two dogs (Jack Russell and Chihuahua mixes), their horses, and multiple boarders' horses. Kaline and Juno got to play a bunch in the huge backyard with their younger dog, Badger. Pinto, the older dog, recently injured himself so unfortunately he wasn't allowed to run around. Pinto is the real runner; Badger is more into bitey-face. So there wasn't a ton of running, but Kaline got pretty tired out anyway. Becky brought two of the horses, Slick and Aladdin, down to meet us; Juno was super interested and sniffed noses with them energetically through the fence. Kaline came over but didn't really want to sniff noses with something that big! It was lovely to get a horsey fix. I used to go up there all the time in high school to work on Parelli with Becky's horses. Both dogs are crashed out now.

Other stuff we've done lately ... Friday I took Kaline to Stanford Shopping Center to work on stuff. We went in a ton of different stores and had a great time. He got to do a bunch of buttons and work on obedience in all kinds of different stores. We did more escalator exposure, ignoring displays of stuffies and Christmas trees, and desensitization to the various water features outdoors.

We met a wonderful woman at the Bath and Bodyworks store. She loved Kaline, and it turns out she really could benefit from a SD. It was odd—just before, I had met a guy in a stationery store and stonewalled him completely when he asked about Kaline's work/my disability. When this lady asked, I started telling her about fibro tasks. Maybe subconsciously I could just tell she was asking for a different reason?

She told me she's had so many surgeries on the left side that she physically cannot get up without help if she ever falls. Her husband won't let her go on walks alone, ever. If she falls at home, alone, she is out of luck till someone comes. We talked a little about mobility dogs and I gave her my card and a PDPM card. Might go back in and see if she'd like more info on program dogs, because it didn't sound like she wanted (or felt she could) train her own.

Saturday we had no class, but the dogs got to the vet. It was the best visit we've had in a long time! All is well with the dogs, and we were not sent home with any sort of medication! Kaline's white spots on his hock are merely a sign that things are healing up. Juno's periodically red eyes are from allergies, and she should just have Benadryl, nothing stronger. YAY.

03 October 2012

Slow week

Freddie and Anne are on the East Coast this week, so there's no training in the park and no Saturday class. So it's going to be kind of a slow week around here.

Today was supposedly the last day of the heat wave. While I certainly don't like being out in the heat, and I stress about getting the dogs out early enough, I really like how much it tires everyone out. Yesterday, after the dogs had their afternoon nap, I had this thought that I'd take them on a walk. I took them across the street. They came back in and both collapsed on the floor for another nap. That's how nasty hot it has been here.

We had two pack walks this morning; then the three of us came home, guzzled water, and crashed out for two-plus hours. I love it when we all want to nap at the same time!

Dad's two painter friends came over in the afternoon to check out the house for an estimate on what it'd cost to do all the painting Mom would like. Kaline was super silly and charmed both of them. It was pretty adorable.

Maura, Kaline's breeder, just welcomed her new litter, all reds! Like Kaline's litter, it's five boys and two girls, and they're all doing very well!
Teddy, who hung out with us on Saturday.
Sleepy Junebug.
Kaline on his couch ... You can really see where he had the cluster of itchy bumps on his leg. Might have the vet recheck that, just to be safe. No longer itchy or swollen, just ugly looking.

They had their heads almost touching and it was super cute ... Of course the minute the camera came out, Kaline moved.
Kaline enjoys a frozen carrot. Om nom nom.

02 October 2012

Kaline has been busy!

Still trying to shake a really bad funk, hence the not writing. But Kaline has been quite busy doing all kinds of awesome things. Over the weekend, he did Borrone's and the Farmer's Market, as usual, but also did IKEA again. We also went to newly reopened Kepler's, which has an extremely shiny and fabulous floor—I was a teensy bit worried it might shake Kaline, but of course it didn't. Takes a lot more than a shiny floor to rattle this boy!

At Borrone's I was feeling all jangly and weird, probably because Kepler's had been so busy and in addition to all my friends working there, there were a bunch of new people too and I felt super awkward. Of his own accord, Kaline did a lap up and just stayed there until my waffle came; as soon as the waffle was gone, he was back up, and eventually started scrabbling his back feet—"Let me all the way up!" So I did, and he just leaned himself into my chest. I was so pleased with him! Not to mention, all kinds of people saw what he was doing, so their Doberman picture of the day was of a snuggler. Ambassadober!

He was awesome in the market too—by himself, he is doing extremely well. Great attention, very little sniffing around, just great. We also talked to a lady about the difference between SDs and ESAs; hopefully she'll get in contact again, because someone gave her tons of misinformation. Such as: ESAs are permitted to go on CalTrain, ESAs require special training, psychiatric service dogs are not recognized by San Mateo County, etc. I cannot stand people who give new SD people the wrong info! Starting off with a service dog is hard enough without others telling you things that are completely inaccurate. I feel so lucky that I was able to find groups where accuracy is of paramount importance and I was able to get spot-on information.

IKEA was pretty good too. We did a lot of "close" practice, because the parents were checking out all the model kitchens. It is pretty much my mom's fondest dream to remodel the kitchen, which anyone will admit was terribly set up and designed. I had a bag full of kibble, of course, so we'd go through the kitchens after Dad, and he'd have opened a bunch of drawers and cabinets at different levels. Then Kaline got to close everything! He only has trouble with low drawers, because he wants to use his feet—on a low drawer, feet are ineffective, and also I don't really want him to use his feet in the first place. High drawers were adorable, he'd push them like a seal bouncing a ball back to the trainer.

We also practiced under at different tables, settling on various interesting rugs (including one made of cowhide), sit and down stays, little recalls, etc. Kaline and I were pooped way before the parents were!

Then Monday night, Kaline got to go to his very first Major League baseball game! Normally when I go to a ballgame, I have extreme focus on the game: I get there when the gates open, I bring my scorebook, I keep score in my very detailed personal scoring system, and I basically do not leave my seat from first pitch to last pitch (unless I really have to go). So last night felt a little weird for me.

Hendrik and Sonja had invited just me, but then Sonja didn't feel well, so Dad came. We got to the park only a little while before first pitch. We introduced Kaline to our favorite ushers, Nick, Mark, Rod and Anthony, then went to the seats. Kaline was a little overwhelmed right at first. You don't think about it most of the time, but when you're with a puppy, you realize all of a sudden just how much sensory overload there can be at a ballpark. There are tons of people, food everywhere including all over the ground, it's inside but feels like you're outside (yes, I worry a lot that Kaline will have trouble with that distinction and think it's okay to eliminate in the concourse), it's loud and echoey, there's always something blaring from the speakers, etc.

But I'd brought Kaline's dinner, and that made everything okay.

He settled nicely under my seat on his cushy mat for about three or four innings. I didn't keep score, just focused on Kaline. And the Tigers game, playing on my phone, because they were about to clinch their division title. It was super hot during the day, so the night was warm and miraculously Kaline never shivered! (I brought the Cozy Horse coat for him anyway, and he wore it on the way out for visibility. ADORABLE.)

He started to get antsy after a while, so we got up and walked all over the ballpark, practicing attention and not sniffing/socializing. We did the inner ring, where we could still see the field, then did the concourse, which was louder and more crowded. Kaline was amazing. He was definitely interested in everything that was happening, but he was checking in constantly, both when I asked him to and on his own. At one point there was a huge cheer while we were in the concourse (the A's were about to clinch a playoff spot, so it was extra loud last night), and the sound was reverberating. Kaline's ears went flat against his head and he just got this look on his face like, "WHY?!" I got him to watch me, and instead of one kibble, gave him a handful. The rest of the night, when there was a big cheer, instead of wilting, Kaline would fix me with a stare: "Cheering! Where is my food?!" It didn't bother him again.

After the concourse we went to the gate where we'd come in, to see if they'd make an exception for us on the no re-entry policy. They waved us through, grinning: "You're not the only one who's needed to take a dog out tonight!" Yay. Kaline got his business done fairly quickly, and while he was out of his vest I just kind of played around with him a bit to loosen things up. Then we went back in and he was good under my seat basically the rest of the game. In the ninth I let him curl up on my lap. (He really has to curl now!)
Watching the game (sometime before our stadium circuit).

Obviously when the A's won and had their celebration, the whole Coliseum went apeshit. But Kaline now knew that loudness would get him treats, so he was completely unfazed by the whole thing. He was so great! He was a little pissed when I stuffed him into his coat at the end, but hey, people definitely noticed a bright blue and maize puppy trotting through the crowded concourse. I was very proud of my little guy.