Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Adoption Day

Texas sitting on top of a platform facing the camera
Today 1 year ago, Texas officially became a part of our family. It has been quite the roller coaster ride,and I can defiantly tell you there is a good reason I have him.

After the first couple of months, my dad wanted me to give him up, his high pitched scream would go on for hours while crated, he was/is extremely reactive on leash, in my car and at the door. While he is wonderful with people he knows, he is extremely wary of strangers and would rather bite first and ask questions later.

He's defiantly a trainer kind of dog, and has forced me to learn more about dogs, training, aggression, desenzitation etc..

We first tackled his separation anxiety, I did it the hard way truthfully, I could have let him learn that the crate was a great thing, with treats and toys; but I mainly just put him and left. Which worked...eventually but it was a long and loud process. Once I saw the error of my ways, we went back and re taught him, and now he LOVES his crate. I just tell him "kennel" and he dashes for one of the five crates. :))

Texas and Bubbles curled up together in a wire crate with sunshine streaming in on themWhile his behavior was difficult, he learned new things sooo quickly, he got to be my clicker guinea pig, and LOVES it. Training sessions are always funny as he'll throw behaviors before I'll even finish cuing them. He knows; "Sit,Down,Wait,Come,Leave it, Up, Spin, Roll, High Five, Shake, Get em' Tex (A bad command for a reactive dog, but I can't help it), Go to your bed, Kennel"
Its a challenge find new things to teach him! (Ideas anyone?)

I can say that he has improved GREATLY, and if I could spend some more time at home, we could make sooooo much more progress. But that is on the to do list for next year.

He has been a great companion for Bubbles, and truthfully the two are inseparable. 

He spent his first weekend boarding this weekend. I was very apprehensive about how he would do, but figured I'd get a phone call if he'd bit anyone. (He's less reactive out of his territory) 
When I went to pick them Up I asked how he did, and the guy who hauled their crate to the car for me, said they were very good, and didn't bark. Could've knocked me over with feather.

Have I mentioned the word progress lately?? I love this little guy!

Texas standing beside the door intently gazing at something

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thankful Day

Hi Guys!
Mom said we had to post something about what we are thankful for; so here goes...
  1. Foood (Namely Hotdogs, Chicken, Table Scraps...Oops did we just say that?) 
  2. Bones 
  3. Shoes
  4. Dog Beds 
  5. Squirrels.(even if Mom didn't let us play with it....) 
  6. Other critters we can chase...
  7. Each Other
  8. Even our mom who likes to make us do weird poses...we showed her a better position.

And of course all our wonderful blogging friends!

Hope says she's thankful she got to see her foster mom again for a little while!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Vote for Victoria!

I entered Victoria's photo in the Cutest Dog of the Season contest! 

CLICK HERE to Vote for her! If you enter let us know so we can vote for you as well!!

Pups That Have Entered: 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bath Time

Dear FurPals,

If someone knows, would you please mind telling me the reason for the torture, our humans call baths?? I can't figure it out, and don't know what it was I did to deserve a bath?

I'm really a very classy pup, and I rarely roll in stinky stuff like some I could name...(Texas: HEY!! MOM!??!) If I do roll, its only in something of the highest quality of smells. 

So there is really no need for a bath! Mom said something about me visiting my foster mom next week, and that I need to smell good or something. 


She loves me just the way I am, so there is really no need for me to get all fancied up! *whew* But I survived, and I...uh..suppose..i smell..bEtTer..(gag)

Hope standing in the bathtub with her head hanging out the side, looking sad,her hair has been artfully arranged to stick straight up with shampooHope in the tub, pre-washing...she doensn't know what's about to hit her!

Outings This Week
Monday mom introduced me to my service dog harness. I don't really like wearing that silly vest much, so mom was hoping that we could go ahead and move me into my vest, and me be ok with that.

Guess what? I"M NOT!!

We we were going to go see a friend's child who was playing in the Kville Youth Orchestra and it was my turn to go...whoopteedoo. Mom decided to go ahead and put my harness on about 20 minutes before we were supposed to leave.

This was my reaction:
Hope curled up on a dog bed, with her head facing the wall..she is wearing a leather harness which fits like a normal dog walking harness, but with a handle attached at the back.

I pouted all the way to to the Theater, and then tried to scratch it off as we walked in. Once We got settled, I went to sleep; and slept through the whole thing. Well except for the part where they were banging the drums around, but hey! I had a nap to get in, so it didn't disturb me much.

{Knoxville Youth Orchestra on stage in the grand TN Theater }
Tuesday, we were back out at the kennels for several hours, while Mom did whatever she does out there. Victoria and I just hang out in the yard for the most part, and play with whoever else gets put in with us.

{Hope and Victoria sit behind the fence in the playyard.}
When we get home, Texas is always soo happy to see us, but by this time, we are both completely zonked, and cannot even THINK about moving. So he'll sit and bark at us..but we ignore him.

Thursday, mom and I went on a long ride, to a place with lots of cars and people. She called it "college" and we walked around and went to lots of desks and then left.Good. That's over.

Or not...

Then we went to like 3 other places; I didn't really like going, since I had to where that stupid thing on my back; not only that but mom kept holding the HANDLE; which I most DEFTNTLY hated.

Boy was I glad to be back home.

Victoria went out yesterday to a play and dinner. I was happy to hang out with Texas and Bubbles at home.
Victoria and Hope golden retrievers, sitting looking towards the camera..I say towards as Victoria is looking at my dachshund Texas who is out of the photo/></a><br></p><p>Being a Service Pup is HARD WORK!</p><p><br></p><p><a href=

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So we are about two days late on this...

November 15th or 17th 2002 - Bubbles became the 9th member of our family. And since we don't know her exact birth date..or age for that matter, we are celebrating her 10th birthday as well!!

My parents had promised that as soon as we moved in our new home, we could get a dog... an outside dog ( in their minds anyway), because you know things like carpets cannot be ruined by a dog.

A month before our scheduled close/move in date, I don't remember which, we recieved a call from one of our church friends.

Her sister had a dachshund that she was trying to find a home for. Though I had in mind a puppy or a larger breed dog, I was MORE than happy to concede to a smaller breed.

My parents were happy that the dog  was older and already house trained, and we were happy just to have a dog.

Bubbles sitting on the car seat, looking at the camera.

We made at trip to see her, and she came tearing out of the house normal Bubbles style, they said her original name was Duchess, but they started calling her Bubba..which morphed into Bubbles.

Truthfully I can't remember much about the visit except for the woman hit her with a fly swatter. Not cool in our book. But we all decided we wanted her, and a month later we went and picked her up!

Looking back I really feel bad for her, as there was such much we did wrong, but she survived, as any dog does with an uniformed owner! The one good we did do, was socialize!!

She went EVERYWHERE with us, she's traveled to Chicago, Alabama, Tennessee, just to name a few, she was the first in car when we were about to go out, and since most of the time we didn't have time to run her back inside she came with us. (And I stupidly sold her crate...WHAT WAS I THINKING!?!?!?) 

She claimed my dad and I as her primary caretakers, and tolerated everyone else. 

She loved to "tell off" other dogs, and my dad was convinced that she wouldn't be able to handle another dog in the house, which to him meant, no other dog until Bubbles passes away.


January 2006, I came in contact with my first guide dog puppy; and life the way Bubbles knew it changed forever.

Our first week with Jake and Bubbles was....interesting to say the least. I can remember being in tears over the thought that, GDF might take Jake away due to Bubbles' (what I labled) aggressive behavior.

Turns out Jake was indeed taken due to aggression, but it was him being Mr.Tough Guy, and not Bubbles.

Since then Bubbles has learned to ignore the menagerie of dogs that have come through our house, first day she lets them know not to touch her, and they respect that. Texas was and is the only dog that will get her to play, or even get her excited. They are pretty much inseparable.
Bubbles and Texas sitting in a chair, on top of a spotted blanket and my robe.
Since we've moved to K'ville, Bubbles has really turned into a different dog, while she still sleeps a much as possible, she also loves to hunt for rodents under the lawn mower shed, and will spend HOURS doing that. Which that additional activity along with a healthier diet, has cause her to shed some pounds like nobodies buisness!!
Bubbles in a large dog bed, but laying under a smaller dog bed...yes she's a silly dog
She has more energy, and is still always eager for a car ride. She likes to divide her time between my dog friendly house, and the company of my family in their home up the road. If she can she'll sneak up their for the night, before coming back for breakfast the next morning. Gives her a break from the crazy puppies zoom around my house :))

I think she looks great for a 10-year-old dog, I hope the rest of the her years are as good as the past ones have been!!

Love you Bubs!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So today was just "one of those days" (I seem to be having a lot of those lately) but today defiantly classifies as the worst.

First it started with me loosing my keys. I searched EVERYWHERE for them, walked up to my parents house to borrow one of their keys, but my mom how did have a key, was gone, and my dear father had also lost his key...
 My dogs of course were throwing fits due to me going in and out of the house multiple times etc.etc.. an hour after I was due at work, we called a friend to come pick me up and she took me on to work.

Work day, meetings, phone calls etc... the end.

My dad comes and picks me up from work, we get home, and I dash inside to let the dogs out, and check the status of my house. (I'd given my dog walker permission to leave them loose until I got back) Everything was fine, so I gathered my treat bag,(Hot Dogs!) and we stroll outside....

Well I did at least. Texas and Bubbles however had obviously been keeping an eye on the neighborhood while I was gone, and had seen that "Something was not right!"

And off they dash across the yard, barking full tilt......I called they came. Good.

Except for one thing.....they weren't the only dogs that came.


Our company was our "lovely" neighbors dogs from across the street. Remember the accident that took away their fence? These dogs are in that fence 24/7, Rain, Cold, Sleet, Snow, Ice, Sun....

They have not had any training, they've never been outside that yard that I can tell, and they don't even interact much with their humans they live with. They are extremely aggressive behind the fence, and I knew that it wouldn't be pretty outside that.

And it wasn't.

Texas and Bubbles of course led the charge towards theses dogs, while Hope pranced around me, and Victoria ran in the opposite direction...the dogs, noticing she was the weaker took off towards her....which of course brought out my mommy instincts.

Dudes you betta back off my baby!
I yelled, they ran, I grabbed dogs, and hustled them back into the house (yesss all that obedience practice paying off here) and went to see if I could get these dogs out of the road.

Though cars were honking and flying around them, they stood and barked and wandering in the road. I couldn't just stand there and watch that happen..(no matter how much I hate these dogs). So ok, lets see if I can lure them back across the road.

The saw me charged.

I crouch, avert eyes, toss hot dogs....watching them out of the corner of my vision.

They stop at the hot dogs and then approach me. More hot dogs....which they take from my hands.

And than I make the mistake of standing up. Baaaad Move. DUH Erin you know better! Blame it on adrenaline...

They both attack. A yell sends them backwards....

I try to back off to let them know I'm not going to hurt them, but they move forward, showing their teeth.

Hmm...ok I stop, making sure never to make eye contact, yet throwing hot dogs away from me.......

After a 5 minute stand off (with no help from some folks standing watching this across the street, and no clue of a response from the owners home...)I was able to back off into my house and at least retrieve a broom.

I needed those dogs off of my property as my dogs still needed to get out. My father happened to drive down in the car at the moment, and helped to sort of herded them back across the street. Where the owner suddenly appeared and took them back in the house.
"Hi! Nice of you to join us!"
I had to make sure Texas was on leash after that since he was still pretty keyed up over the whole ordeal (That is a responsible dog owner thing to do btw)....while Hope and Victoria ran laps around the yard...

Anyway once I got back in, I looked up Animal Controls number and put them on speed dial..because they WILL be getting a call if I EVER see these dogs loose again.

Believe me.

I have too many siblings/church kids running around here to even risk another chance.

These dogs are aggressive because that's the only way they know to react; to use their only defense mechanism. So no I'm not mad at the dogs for biting me....

You know, if there were a law banning dogs left outside...vs a law banning specific breeds....I wonder if there would be a decline in dog/human aggression.

Just a thought.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I'm really proud of myself for getting completing my goal of getting both pups out and about this week!!

At the beginning of the week, Victoria went with me to a Social Media meeting at my job with UTPD. It took her a little bit to settle down, and I couldn't get her to "go in" under the table.

Hope accompanied me through Food City and Staples she seems to have some aversion to her jacket, and walked with her head and tail down the entire time. We'll need to work on boosting her self confidence. :))

Victoria got the biggest outing purely by accident; and she wasn't overly excited about it either, but she and I went to Ruby Tuesday for Lunch today. Once again we had the "go in" struggle. So this is obviously something she and I need to work on.
What was funny is that the staff thought I was blind and gave me a braille menu.

We walked through the mall; and then headed to the Sprint Store. Both places she walked nicely, though had to watch and make sure she wasn't licking peoples hands as we walked by them.

A Good Week!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No we haven't fallen off the face of the earth.....

We're still here and keeping busy!! But what else is new?
Fall is here! And while were loving the great colors that brings, not so happy with all the crazy weather we've been having lately. Hot one day, cold, and rainy the next.

Poor Texas isn't very happy to see the dreaded sweaters have come back out again; I probably won't put them on him, except under extreme circumstances. He hates them and will go and hide somewhere when they are on. He'd where them all the time as a puppy and didn't seem to mind....?!?Bubbles doesn't care about the weather, but I like putting sweaters on her for fun; she doesn't mind.

Hope has settled in and is comfortable now I believe. She and Texas like to "argue" of toys a lot, but I monitor them closely. We've been to Petsmart and Panera Bread since her arrivall last week, and did very well.


Sunday they were able to get out and play with some of the church kids; while we were out there we witness an accident right in our front yard!! She didn't even startle at all the noise. We were able to gather the dogs and move into my house; Thankfully no one was hurt!!

Victoria is coming along quickly as well, today another trainer evaluated her progress and she passed with flying colors! We did have one command that she 'refused" to do, so we're going to work on that.

My Goal with the @ServicePups this week, is get them both out in stores/the community at least twice this week. Having multiple service pups is hard, especially when you are working everyday...but I'm committed to making sure these pups have the best chance possible at becoming Service Dogs.

Today was Victoria's day she and I attended at Social Media Meeting at UTKnoxville; Besides knowing their commands, an important aspect of service dog training, is teaching the puppy to behave aka be still in all situations. When the host started speaking into the microphone, she thought about talking back, but I was able to correct it before she got too loud. *phew*

But otherwise, she was in this position :)) Good Job Vicki!

Now to see if we can squeeze 3 more outings into this week...!! :)