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

28 January 2013

Weekend at the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show

We had an awesome weekend. Kaline accompanied me to the GGKC Dog Show on Saturday, and Juno came on Sunday. They were both really great!

We got up super early on Saturday, because the Doberman breed judging started at 8:30. We picked up Sonja nearby—after she almost gave me a heart attack knocking on the window while I was at the traffic light! Argh! Chief came later because he wanted to sleep in.

Kaline, naturally, was not at all ready to settle on the floor, even with his blankie, first thing in the morning. So I spent most of the Doberman judging with him on my lap in some way. We saw a gorgeous black bitch come out in a pink and black zebra horse blanket, covered in sparkles. She was stunning, and she turned out to be Fifi! Full name, Protocol's Veni Vidi Vici, which is extremely fitting. She walked into the ring and you just knew she was going to win. She won the Working Group and Best in Show both nights of the show. She just blew everyone away. Her owner/handler was really nice, and liked Kaline's adorable ears.
Kaline does his own judging of the Doberman group: “I'm cuter than all you guys. Know why? I have awesome-sauce natural ears!”
So many Dobies!!! And a rogue Pharaoh Hound.
The Fifinator! Her handler had her pose so her fans could take photos. Isn't she just gorgeous?!
Kaline was certainly distracted by the atmosphere—tons of people, over a thousand dogs, food, etc.—but he was not overwhelmed. And after a little while, he got used to it and was able to focus pretty well. He still pulled but otherwise, he was a very good little boy. We got free stuff at various stands, including the Taste of the Wild booth. (I gave most of mine to Sonja, haha.) We visited the Dobermans on their bench, running into our two friends from the Rally trial as well as Linda with Rosie and D.J., who we met last year at the trial where Juno got her CD. I was super pleased at the compliments Kaline got on his looks, cause these are people who know how Dobes are supposed to look. I also awkwardly asked everyone with a male Dobe his height measurement. I saw one who was a nice height, I thought, and it turned out he's an inch shorter than Kay! How about that! Kaline's just not filled out, ya know?

We went up and down the benches, checking out the various breeds and saying hi.
Kaline blocks while I chat with Linda. D.J. is the red male, and Rosie, the black female, is his mom. I'm crazy about Rosie—she is such a love.
Kaline and D.J. making “Let's play!” faces at each other. They wanted to roughhouse so bad.

I also did some very delightful shopping, buying a slim snake chain each for Kaline and Juno (for obedience/Rally) and also a braided exceedingly soft leather traffic lead for each. Kaline got black, Juno got teal. And I got a pink dumbbell for Chief, cause he just turned a year old!
Our new obedience gear!

Chief and Kaline on our midday tea break, which temporarily relieved my deathly hacking cough. (I am almost over the damn flu.)
All dogs like to curl up on Sonja's bag. Kaline is no exception (also at the tea break).

Later in the day we met up with a Facebook friend, Ashley, and her SDIT Mordecai. Mo is a beautiful blue nose pit bull, and just the sweetest thing! She did great. Kaline of course is in love with her. Everyone at the Cow Palace was in love with Mo—Ashley really cleaned up in the free stuff department! We also got to hang out with Heidi and her SDIT Arrow, a super handsome yellow Lab.
Kaline, Chief, and Mordecai, with me and Ashley, by the Rottweiler ring. Yes, Juno is painted on my sweatshirt.
What an adorable group, don't you think?

We missed the beginning of the group judging, but caught Fifi winning the Working Group!

Kaline needed a warmer place to curl up during group judging ... I was amazed he still fits!

For dinner, we met another handler, Rebekah, and her SD Cali, along with a friend and her pet dog, at an Italian place. In San Francisco, ESAs have access rights the same as SDs, so you can basically take your dog anywhere and not have any issues. And the restaurants won't get nailed for health code violations. Mo and Kaline were butt buddies. He was pretty restless though, because we spent so long trying to find a parking spot and used up his tired settling time in the car. Gaaah, I wanted Juno so bad when he was popping up and putting his head practically on the tabletop. But it was a very long day for him, and for a nine-month-old, he really did fabulously.
At dinner!

All of us after dinner: Kaline, Cali, Missy, and Mo with their humans, heehee.

Sunday, though, was a dream. Juno is just too much fun to work. We did a lot of momentum pulling practice, and the majority of the time she did really well. There were of course a few moments where I'd be like, “Forward!” all happy, and Juno would back up and practically go sideways. That was awkward. But most of the time she'd go right ahead and be super, sometimes with Sonja or Ashley as a target, and sometimes without.
Juno and I making googly eyes at each other.
Cue incoherent baby talk.

Chief had a very excellent day as well on Sunday (he came for the morning, and went home after our midday tea break) and looked so bloody adorable in his little backpack harness. There was nothing in it, really, but he looked so businesslike. Which made it odd when this door-guard kept attempting to hassle us each time we'd come back into the Cow Palace after going outside. Juno was in her big vest covered in tons of patches with me hanging on to her handle, and Chief of course had his packs, and they're like, “NOOOOOOO, don't bring the dogs in!” Some people are just silly. We didn't even stop for them; I'd just look over my shoulder in what I imagined to be withering fashion (ha!) and go, “Service Dogs.”
Chief settled in his adorable backpack harness.

Juno settled immediately for the Doberman judging, although at the end I let her get up and have a peek at the action. Of course Fifi kicked butt again. I just got such a thrill out of seeing fifteen or so Dobermans all in one place, because you hardly even see one around here. And all well bred and beautiful. Mmmmmm.

Junebug and Chief doing off-leash sit-stays in the main arena.

I love Juno BUNCHES, No. 1.
I love Juno BUNCHES, No. 2. Jeez. Lookit that face.

She did great in the benching areas and in the booths, naturally. Lots of good pulling and blocking and ignoring everything. Which was a lot of stuff.
Doberman bench again. In red and green are our two Rally acquaintances, and in the chair is Fifi's mom.

We got Mom a Diane Wat shirt (she will be so excited). We stopped by the Peninsula Humane Society booth since Juno is an alumna, which was quite fun, and then I ended up chatting with a woman involved in an organization that works to train SDs for veterans with PTSD and TBI. She asked if she could take a picture of Juno's big patch, because she liked it so much, so I started writing out patch websites for her. She does amazing work!
Mo, Chief, and Juno doing down-stays by the Rottweiler ring.
Mo works on a down-stay, Chief does a long-distance sit-stay, and Juno blocks by the Rottweiler ring.
They are just so cute!
Awesome dog-powered cycle thing we saw outside between “upstairs” and “downstairs.” The dogs were clearly having a great time. The guy who made it has made others for wounded veterans to exercise their dogs more easily, how awesome!
Juno at the midday tea break.

We made sure to get back to the main arena for all the group judging. There was a group of old people behind us who Ashley and I decided were the real-life equivalent of Internet trolls ... or just mind-numbingly idiotic. Of course I got sucked into arguing with the dumbest one, but eventually I was able to restrain myself. Sigh.

Juno eventually got cold, just as Kaline had done (much faster) the day before. Kaline, of course, had gotten up in my lap for the warmth, which is totally normal for him. I was surprised and delighted when Juno did the same thing! Oddly, though Kaline is now taller and heavier than she is, he was able to fit his entire self on my lap, while Juno needed to use about half of Sonja's as well as all of my lap. Mo decided the whole lap thing was a good idea too. It was so freaking cute. And then Fifi won again! Hurrah!

I'm coooold, Mom!

Only Juno could pull this off.

It was a very marvelous weekend. I wish there were more dog shows like that nearby. Although I'd probably spend all my money there if there were!  

20 January 2013

Second time in Rally Novice A: First leg!

Juno and her qualifying ribbon. If you look really close you can see the long string of drool hanging out of her mouth!
We did much better today! I remembered to keep my leash loose and to pat my leg excessively, and Juno was a very good girl! So good, in fact, that she got second place with 95 points! (A perfect score is 100.) The dog who got first got 97 and was a Border collie. Yay Juno!

There were a lot fewer dogs today and the trial was in the morning, so it was just more ... reasonable than yesterday. I made a point to go watch some regular obedience in addition to the rally stuff, and we were treated to the sight of a Papillon doing Utility! Her dumbbells for the scent discrimination task were so tiny. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen. I will admit I am sometimes prejudiced against little dogs in the world generally, but it is such great fun to see them shine at obedience and agility. And of course service dog work! Little dogs are dogs, and it is refreshing to see them treated as such.

We made friends with a Sheltie and her family near us, and had fun watching the various rally competitors. One lady near us had three Goldens of varying ages, all in multiple competitions. She was running around like crazy, as you can imagine! My head would explode if I tried something like that.

The course we got for today was much more straightforward than yesterday's, and I quickly identified the exercises Juno and I would probably have more difficulty with—a 360-degree right turn, the figure eight, and the finish right. I botched the finish right a little in the ring, telling her “around” instead of “park,” but thankfully she cares a lot more about what hand signal she sees rather than the words coming out of my mouth.

She was super into retrieving today as well. Anytime I dropped something, she picked it up immediately and presented it to me with great satisfaction. Or sometimes she'd see something on the ground and decide I needed it, and present that also. She's so damn cute. She successfully begged food off several people too. 

One of the best parts of our spectating was seeing some rather unconventional dogs shine at rally. This included a little pug, who got third place in Rally Advanced, and a beautiful black-and-tan Coonhound. You expect to see Goldens, Labs, Border collies, German Shepherds and now Shelties at obedience, but you don't really expect to see pugs or most hounds. There was also a Shar-pei competing in the regular obedience and two Shiba Inus!

Our little group, Rally Novice A, included a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback and this sweet little Whippet. We were last, of course, so I had plenty of time both to practice sporadically with Juno, inside and outside, and to get hella nervous. Our performance passed in kind of a blur; all I could think was KEEP THE LEASH LOOSE. And hey, it worked! I wasn't sure how we did, because the judge said nothing to me after we finished (yesterday, the judge quickly told me I NQ'ed). Then she called all the qualifiers back in the ring and I didn't know if I was supposed to go or not.

Finally someone told me we qualified and I was super, super happy. We went in with the Ridgeback, the Border collie and one other dog, so I knew we'd get some kind of ribbon. I was shocked when we got second place! And a whopping prize of $15, woohoo. It was such a great finish to the weekend.

We came home and found the parents in the middle of the street with Kaline, using a Flexi so they could do super long recalls with him. The Flexi was actually attached to the end loop of his leather leash, which I thought was a good idea. Juno and I hopped out and Juno schmoozed with Mom while I did recalls with Kaline. He was not bad! With my parents he'd crash into their legs and/or leap on them, but with me he only did one drive-by in several tries. Mom and I let Juno crash with Dad, and took Kaline with us to drop off my chair at the storage unit and go to BK for lunch.

Mom had expressed disbelief that Kaline would be good at lunch, so I was extra gratified when he was basically perfect. He did a little sniffing, but that was it. Curled up very nicely on his mat under the table, and snoozed until we were ready to go.

I was exhausted, so I basically slept away the afternoon. Kaline snuggled a little in my bed, then leapt off to go sleep in his own bed in his crate with the door open. Such a good little boy.

But as of now, Juno is the No. 1 Champion in this house! Two more legs to go ... I gotta actually find rally trials around here now!

My cutie pie champ!

19 January 2013

First time in Rally Novice A: NQ

So, we NQ'ed today. It was totally my fault, unlike that epic time we NQ'ed in regular Novice A. That time, I had just taken Juno off leash for the heel free, and Dad, sitting outside the ring, decided to get up and move closer. All that mattered to Juno was he moved, and she absolutely booked it out of the ring to make sure he wasn't leaving. The end!

Today we were doing rally, which is different in that you can chirp to and encourage your dog all you want. You also have to follow signs that tell you what exercises to do and in what order, while in regular obedience, the judge follows you around murmuring directions. We've got our CD, which is the regular Novice title, but Juno isn't quite ready for Open, since we haven't had a chance to work on the broad jump. She also takes forever to do the drop part of drop on recall.

Anyway, since I waited till the last second to send in our registration, we were the last competitors in the last group of the day. So we were waiting around for a while, about 4 hours or so. The session officially started at about 1:00; we didn't even leave our house until 1:00. We swung by the storage unit to grab my folding Michigan chair (I always forget a chair for these things, and I'm always sorry), then headed for San Jose.

Magically we didn't have to pay for parking at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds and I got a freaking awesome parking spot. We actually found an open spot near the rally ring perfect for my chair and Juno's cushy mat. I love these trials—the only place other than a baseball stadium where I am actively social with strangers. You make temporary friends ringside, whoever you're sitting next to, and then of course anytime I see anyone with a Doberman I have to go over and say hi.

Dobie people, at least in my experience, are invariably friendly and lovely. We met a red boy, a red girl, and a black boy. The red boy was so handsome. Just the sweetest face. Big boy too. The black boy and red girl were littermates and their human mom is a breeder. Their biological mom has so many achievement letters on the back of her name it's ridiculous. And the brother and sister went 1-2 in Novice B.

So, we were Novice A. There were about eight other dogs, and only two got qualifying scores. Juno and I tried to stay warmed up but I don't think I did a proper job of it. Once we got in the ring, she was lagging, bigtime—that is our chronic problem. I get hella nervous, going in, and naturally Juno's response to me amping up in that way is for her to get super chilled out. I'm not gonna complain: Given the trade-off between having a great obedience dog OR a great service dog, I'm picking the second one, no question.

Other than the tight leash/lagging, we did fine, so I'm not upset about the NQ really at all. (Just a little grumpy at myself.) Juno did everything I asked her to, including the two new behaviors she had to learn for rally—"around," the Schutzhund turn, and "park," a right-hand finish. (I got "park" from the book Clara: The Early Years, which is about a hilariously spoiled pug. You should read it.) Most of the other dogs in our group had their noses glued to the carpet, since it was full of a day's worth of strange-dog smells. Junebug avoided that pitfall. Boy, I can't wait for the day Kaline has a leave it like Juno's!

Anyway, tomorrow we'll have a different judge and a different set of exercises. I'll try her on her slip collar rather than her big martingale, see if that makes a difference. Oh, and I won't forget my damn bait bag. I packed up two full ones today and left them both at home. (Luckily, they always have free kibble samples at the fairgrounds, and Juno gets almost as psyched for kibble as for bait.)

Outside the ring, let it be said that Juno was a champ. She had to do some bracing because my Michigan chair is pretty low to the ground. It was cold and I was stressed, so my muscles were pretty stiff and painful. She was picking up anything I dropped, helping me get my jacket off (too bad she can't help get it on), just being a star. Not even so much as a stinkeye at any other dog, and a lot of them will just kinda come up to you, though the owners always get them back fast. She did a lovely calm down-stay while I did my walk-through without her in the ring too.

I was planning to take Kaline to a movie when we got home, but we got home a lot later than I expected, and somehow being ringside and just sitting for most of several hours has totally exhausted me. So we are all just chilling out together for the evening. I can't wait till I can take Kaline to competitions. I get so excited when I see all the super-focused sweetie-pie Dobermans being stars in the ring, cause maybe that'll be Kay someday! All the Dobie people pronounced him very cute upon viewing his pictures. Heehee.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow!

15 January 2013

Fun, and why you really shouldn't touch a service dog

In case I haven't made it obvious, this being a dog-centric blog, I am an atheist. I read atheist blogs all the time, and follow issues of separation of church and state really closely. There is a pretty good atheist community in San Francisco, and I don't do enough active community type stuff.

This past weekend, one of my favorite atheist bloggers, Greta Christina, was giving a talk hosted by the Atheist Advocates of San Francisco. I totally had to go. I got Dad to drive so we wouldn't have to take BART.

Since the talk was scheduled to be two hours, followed by dinner at a local Chinese place, I took Juno. The foregoing parts of that sentence, in dog, translate to: Long down stay with limited distraction. Short walk, then almost as long down stay with food all around. So you can see why it wasn't a great fit for Kaline at this point!

Juno spent the talk lying quietly next to my chair, and absolutely no one bothered us. The talk was fantastic, because Greta is awesome! But then the talk ended, and boy, that was just no good.

Everyone got up at the same time, changing the calm, tranquil room into a seriously crowded, noisy space. Dad went ahead of me and Juno so she would have a target to follow out quickly. But it was like the end of the talk signaled a free-for-all on that cute dog. Hands were coming at Juno from everywhere, and people kept getting in her way. She was trying to lead me out, and these people, however well-meaning, were actively keeping her from doing her job. I don't do well at all in crowds, so I was just frozen—I couldn't even talk to say, "Keep your paws off my dog! Can't you see she is trying to do her job and you're stopping her?!"

As you can imagine, this did nothing to lower my anxiety level. It took forever for us to wiggle our way out of the room and I was hyperventilating by the time we did. Gaaah!

Right as we got out of the very gorgeous Women's Building, Juno had a little spaz-out upon getting reunited with Dad. Then she did amazing momentum pulling all the way to the restaurant, even when Dad walked behind us! She slept next to the table during dinner (there was no room for her underneath due to the table's enormous four-pronged "feet"). And dinner was incredibly delicious. Gotta find a way to go back to that place.

Juno and I are going in a rally trial this weekend. Two actually; there are three total happening but one of them was full by the time I sent in our entry. I'm hoping against hope for two legs toward her Rally Novice title, but I'll try not to have too high expectations. That never ends well.

In Kaline news, his training is going nicely. He's getting good at his leg nudge. He's getting a lot more proficient at finding heel exercises, and is learning to back up on command. We continue to work on doing long downs/settles throughout the day. I'm trying to do capturing for retrieving, and that's also kind of working! I actually get excited when he steals something forbidden, because then I can reward him for bringing it to me. We're still practicing the open-wait-close gently sequence with regular doors, and he's starting to open the fridge in a more Juno-esque (aka way more effective) style. We need to get back in the habit of practicing "legs" ... Still working on loudness desensitization. He's cool with everything except the high/shrill loud sounds.

And he got his pajamas from Cozy Coats. Woohoo!

10 January 2013

Winter Break Update #4: Kaline goes on errands

On the final Sunday of our little break, Kaline came with me (and Mom) on a couple errands and did an excellent job. After a quick stop at Town & Country shopping center, we headed to Stanford for Nordstrom and Macy's.

Because I'd gotten spoiled by Juno's precision with handicap buttons, I worked with Kaline on every button for his accuracy. I don't reward him for the door actually opening, because sometimes those buttons don't work, and in that case I don't want Kaline to think he's failed. But on that outing, Kaline only got a c/t if his paw squarely hit the button. He started doing a lot better after a couple repetitions, and we undoubtedly annoyed several people sitting on benches just inside all these various doors. Oops!

Inside, we worked on walking with a loose leash and settling, as well as the dropped-leash down-stays. He only had a couple opportunities to work on blocking but he did well at those, too. I had Mom nudge him in the butt to see if that would make him switch position, but it didn't! Yay! His settle is getting better every day (or so I like to think). Most of the time he'll not only go down, he'll pillow his head on one of his paws and sometimes do the Big Sigh.

To finish up, we did a quick run to Safeway and again, Kaline was very good. Barely any air scenting, even though we were in the dairy aisle, and good blocking while we were in line. Some guy stopped us by the yogurt to try and convince me that Kaline was a hound. This, after being told he was a Doberman and agreeing that he was a very good-looking specimen of his breed. I totally agree with that, although I may, just perhaps, be biased.

Loudness desensitization continues in tiny bits every day. The high voice still makes him get an instant scared face, so we necessarily are doing this in really short sessions, after when we then go do fun obedience games or open a bunch of cupboards. I'm trying to do the weird loud sounds in places other than the kitchen (he is guaranteed to start a freakout if we work in there), so I've been looking a little ... silly ... on our walks in quiet residential neighborhoods.

Someone looking out their window might see a kid in a hoodie with five dogs, grinning maniacally at the one in the middle and making some damn bizarre sounds.

“EEEEEEEEEEE! Good boy! OOOOOOOOGHHHHH! Good boy! SQUEEEEE! Good boy! AAAAAAAAAAH! Good boy! Ohhhh, you're such a good puppy!”

09 January 2013

Winter Break Update #3: Kaline gets freaked out

On Saturday, without getting into too much detail let's just say I had a loud episode. I guess it's just one of the ways my depression expresses itself. Something tiny and annoying becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back (to use a horribly overused metaphor—please accept my apologies) and the energy has to go somewhere. About the healthiest thing I do during one of these is to scream bloody murder into a pillow or blanket, which is what happened.

Well, Kaline got completely terrified by this. I'm fairly certain it's not the first time this has happened since I got him 6+ months ago, but it's the first time he reacted like this. When I had collected myself, Kaline had run to the top of the stairs and was lying there unhappily. Whenever I'd get him down into the family room (where I'd had the episode), he'd walk around in a crouch, not want me to touch him, and not want to come away from his corner where he used to have timeouts for inappropriate barking. He wouldn't take treats from me. He wouldn't do any of his little tasks that usually get him pumped up.

I was totally heartbroken seeing him like that. I was convinced I'd wrecked our bond forever, even though the whole thing was about me being mad at myself, not at him. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends, especially Sonja. She assured me he'd live, just ignore him till he got over it—and then even made me videos so I could see the kind of loudness to practice with him in order to desensitize him.

An hour or so after the episode, Kaline seemed a bit more normal. When I asked him and Juno if they wanted to go out, they both ran briskly downstairs to get their jackets and leashes put on. He was great on the walk, and then when we got home, he and I had a lovely, gleeful roughhousing session, with Juno egging Kaline on whenever he flagged. I was very relieved to see he was fine.

We tried working on loudness Sunday—while the Republicans were repeating “The problem is spending cuts” like broken records on the morning news programs. Perfect, I thought. Oh shit, thought Kaline. He was fine when I was loud with a deep(ish) voice, but when I made my voice a bit high, suddenly he got that look back on his face—huge scared eyes, ears flat back, etc. He came out of it so much faster, because when I saw the scared face, I immediately switched gears and we played Up-Down, did touch, did high five/other hand, and then opened the fridge and various cupboards. We finished up with a snuggle and all was well.

Loudness desensitization: another daily exercise to add to our list. Soon it'll be just as ho-hum as the "naughty bad dog" exercises that Sonja and I do with Kaline and Chief, where we pretend to be drunk or rude people being nasty to the dogs.

08 January 2013

Winter Break Update #2: Kaline and Chief go to Pier 39

Last Thursday, Sonja and I met up in the City to take Chief and Kaline to Pier 39 (among a few other destinations). Our boys were absolutely awesome and we had a great time.

Kaline and I took Caltrain into San Francisco. I wore this big blue jacket with a ton of pockets so I didn't have to carry a bag for him. My little paperback even fit in the pocket so I'd have something to read on the train, woohoo. We were lucky to find a pair of empty seats so Kaline had plenty of room to lie down.

Kaline on the way to the City.

On the train, he showed that he is really beginning to understand the concept of working/not working. The girl in front of us turned around and just started petting him. Normally that's Kaline's cue to be all wiggly and over-social. But he just lay there, didn't really respond to her, and looked up at me! I was very pleased with his response so I only rewarded him, didn't tell the girl off or anything. Later she turned around and stroked his feet, which I thought was odd but he gave the same reaction, or lack thereof. So hurrah.

We met Sonja and Chief at Philz, a coffee shop she likes, then set off for a leisurely stroll to catch the historic F Line to Pier 39. I took off Kaline's vest so he could pee and say hi to the various friendly, calm, off leash dogs who came over. Sonja knows them so I wasn't worried about it, and of course Kaline was glad to say hi and make new friends. It sucked I couldn't take him off leash but there was no fencing and we were right next to the Embarcadero. Chief got to run a bit.

Kaline still pulled, but not nearly as much as the last time we went to the City. That was a relief. I rewarded him for loose leash and for check-ins, which were pretty frequent (score).

The F Line was definitely a challenge for me, just because it is so crowded. Like a moving sardine can. There was barely standing room. However, aside from the crowding, it was a really positive experience.

As soon as Sonja and I got on with the dogs, people got up from the disabled seating so we could sit. I let Kaline get on and go ahead of me, so he could kinda poke people out of the way with his nose and general Doberman-ness. As soon as I sat down, Kaline did a lap-up and stayed there until we were almost at our stop. Two nice tourists blocked for him, after Sonja asked, so that no one would step on him. And when this couple with two little kids got on, the tram conductor called out, “Make sure you keep him”—one had made a beeline for us—“away from the dogs! He can't touch them!” Sonja and I looked at each other with happy surprise and made sure to thank him on our way out.

Pier 39 was also crowded but there was much more space. We had a grand time. Near the bungee jump, we had the boys do a harder version of the stay exercise from IKEA. We left Kaline and Chief mid-walkway and let the waves of people flow around them. Kaline couldn't have cared less about the people, he just wanted to watch the birds and maybe kill a pigeon.

Next stop was Le Beastro, a pet accessories shop that has various items featuring natural-eared Dobermans. (Crazy, I know!) I got a pretty keychain.

Browsing at Le Beastro.

Then we headed to the sea lions, where I fully expected Kaline to get all aroused and end up barking. Well, he was very interested, definitely, but he had no trouble working on watch, touch, etc. I was so happy about that!

I need a hug!
After the pier we went to the Musée Mechanique, which is this warehouse type building next to all the Fisherman's Wharf restaurants. It's full of all this fascinating antique arcade stuff (not just games, but moving dioramas and such). There was this huge creepy mannequin thing called Laffing Sal, which has scared the shit out of many a dog with its demonic cackle. When it turned on, Kaline gave it a stare for a long moment, then got over it. Chief was totally fine, he's done this before. Kay was super about walking slowly through all the games and displays.

The boys with Laffing Sal after she quieted.
 He and Chief even did a stay practically inside a player piano!

Kaline, Chief, and the player piano. I love those things!

For dinner we went to In N Out. The boys were exhausted and curled up together under the table. They were so cute. We hung out there for a long time, till Hendrik came to pick us up.

Sleepy boys at In N Out.

He got me to the train station with perfect timing, and Kaline conked out for the whole ride home.

On the way home.

07 January 2013

Winter Break Update #1: Juno at the movies

The past couple weeks have been pretty light in terms of dog duties (we're talking dogs who don't belong to me). So I've been trying to rest and sleep more, as well as do various things with Juno and Kaline.

Juno's work has been going to the movies, which she's exceedingly great at. (Kaline, of course, is not so great.) I have hardly gone to the movies since we got Kaline, so it was kinda nice to go back. And of course it's always fantastic being out with Juno.

Almost always, the approach to the theatre and the theatre itself are crowded, so Juno does a lot of crowd work. I love watching her weave through all these people, barely turning her head even if they pass really close. She did great at the handicap buttons as well—she always bats them firmly and squarely with her paw. She is very precise about it. Kaline is working on that, haha.

Except for the last movie we went to, Django Unchained, each one had a line you had to wait in to get into the actual auditorium. Even with Junebug to block, I didn't need to be in those. We'd go hang out at a table until it was time to go in. Once, there were elementary-school-age kids racing around; Juno was totally unperturbed. She's a rock.

Juno waiting with me in the lobby, ignoring every distraction.

We'd go in and I'd set Juno up on her mat for the duration. For Django, she had to lap-up before settling down, because we'd come through a huge, pressing crowd and I was not doing well. She barely had to be told to leave the popcorn alone. At the first movie she almost got stepped on twice by these crazy people who decided that climbing the rail to the first row behind the disabled seats was a better idea than going up the stairs. Gaaah. After that happened, I always turned her light (the one on her Cloudchaser) on during the credits so people would know someone was there.

Juno at Lincoln, definitely the best movie we saw.
Juno at Parental Guidance on New Year's Eve.
Checking in on me after her lap-up at Django Unchained.

She also came to New Year's Eve dinner at Izzy's, a yummy steakhouse. She came along yesterday to Vino Santo, another restaurant that's just a little too nice for Kaline. (Unless the wee man has been sufficiently exhausted.)

Ah, Junebug is the best.

06 January 2013

I like fonts

If you actually read this, and you read it on a computer, you may notice a few superficial changes.

I just read a fascinating book on fonts (Just My Type by Simon Garfield, if you're interested). I could no longer allow my blog to have such boring, non-beautiful/creative/fun fonts. Too bad that Bodoni and Didot were both unavailable. And Goudy looked funny.

I now can't go anywhere without looking at signage, menus, what have you, and going, “Hmm, I wonder what that font is!” It's driving me nuts that I don't know what the beautiful font is that they use on The Good Wife.

No, my font obsession is nothing new. I can remember being in elementary school and being obsessed with typing everything in Palatino for a while. And I have actually decided not to read certain YA books because they were printed entirely in a hideous font. Conversely, with favorite books, I'll remember if I especially enjoyed the font (see: Clara: The Early Years [Bodoni] and The Saddle Club series [Goudy]).

If you like Comic Sans, I am totally judging you. That font is a scourge, I tell you.

Your regularly scheduled programming shall return tomorrow morning.

ETA: I fixed the funniness with Goudy. Now all posts shall be in a version of that font, woohoo!