Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Help! We're in Jail!
Texas

Monday, March 29, 2010

We've bee Tagged!

Toby The Dog with a Blog tagged us in the blog photo game.
And here are the rules:
1). Go to your 1st photo folder
2). Find the 10th picture
3). Post the 10th picture and tell everyone about it!

I accidentally changed up the rules, and went too the first folder, then the 10th folder inside the first folder, and picked the 10th photo from there. I have two tons of photos obviously. ::grins::

Anyway, this photo is of my third puppy Midnight, who will be a GDF mommy one of these days. But right now she's living the spoiled life of a pet. Midnight was posing with some toys she'd received from Addie, Hailey and Lucie's very first Halloween Costume Contest!
She loved that green spiky toy to death, and wore us all out with it! She went IFT a couple weeks after this, and Texas arrived and killed the spiky squeaky toy.

4). Tag 5 other Doggie Blogs so they can have some photo fun, too!!

- Sorry if you guys have already been tagged! :)

Erin and company

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Uh...Happy Spring??



My momme hates me. I know she does else why would she do stufs like dis? An I was real good in da store too! I didn't do much sniifies, and I walk right beside her alla way! I did try to say hi to some peoples but mom jus tole me too leave it.
So den why do I haz to wear this???
See I even tried to run away wit mom's classmate, but mom caught me!
HELP!!!!
Pompeii

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Randoms...March 19, 2010

I miss having four dogs.

I feel ridiculously lazy with just these three.

Bubbles and Texas probably require at MAX 30 minutes of exercise a day to be mentally satisfied, though they didn't quite a bit more…

Pompei is still young so about 20 minutes of walking, and he's out for the rest of the evening.

Over the last 6-8 months, I've been used to about two hours of hard walking, or play times just to get the house semi-calm in the evenings, and then lots of training and food toys to keep these little minds busy enough for me to relax a bit.

Yes there were some days I wished it weren't so, but for the most part I loved the work of it.

Now when my dogs are snoozing the evening away, I sometimes wonder if its because they are actually tired, or just because there is nothing else to do.

I know I know. Who cares why they are sleeping.

It's just that were constantly running nowadays, I don't feel we're getting out enough for them to be tired..though I time myself.

I am thinking about sending Pompei and/or Texas to daycare at least once a week, but have some concerns about that…1 Texas doesn't "meet and greet" really well, and two when he was with me at when I worked at doggie daycares he alternated between sleeping or "screaming at the gate"…so I don't know how well that would go over with daycare staff…

We'll see about Pompei, he could use the dog socialization and I could use the savings in gas money…


I cAnNoT wait for summer.


But in other news.

Pompei is officially legal in the shots arena.

We went to class this morning, and then wandered around that side of town for about 4 hours until our appointment time at 2:30pm. (Our vet is near my school, which is about 35 minutes away from my house) We walked around the trails on campus; (No Dogs allowed there so we were safe.) went two a couple of stores looking for house d├ęcor…Pompei were really pushing some boundaries with his sniffing today. Gotta work on that. A couple of times I literally pried his nose away from a display full of breakable items…as he wasn't budging. We got some down/stay practice in as well.

Short Shopping Blurb:
Most of my puppies have considered shopping, and extremely boring event, so I'll normally put them in a down/stay at some point in the aisle (depending on the crowd in the store) and browse at my leisure. So far no "run aways":)

Anyway after that, we got some lunch..er.. I got some lunch and went to the vets office to wait for our appt time…only about an hour and a half away. The weather was BEATIFUL, and there was a huge field next too the office, so Pompei and I got out and walked. And walked, and walked, and then sat in the sunshine, Pompei in my lap…I love this dog. For real.

We got back to the car and sat there and waited for the last 15 minutes..I think Pompei recognized where we were at this point, as he started to get antsy and wanted to leave the car. When we finally made our way into the building, his little tail went crazy in anticipation of the "love session". The receptionist comes out to "love on him" then, he'll cast loving looks and wiggles to anyone else in the lobby who succumb to his charms quickly. Then its his turn and he bounces to the scale and tries to throw himself at the vet tech, while I'm holding him in place. J

Then we move into our assigned room, where the vet tech will give him lots of hugs and kisses while the tech surreptitiously tried to take his temperature.

Any Concerns? Nope

Diarrhea cleared up? Yep!

Sneezing? Coughing? Over amounts of urination? Normal amount of water intake? Eating Good? - Nope, Nope, Nope, Noope, YESssss,
{Pompei lies in the floor facing the door, hoping for another human victim to succumb to his charms}
One question that always makes me…I don't know wonder is even though I've been there almost every three weeks they still ask if he's only Heartworm and Flea meds…somehow I was under the impression that they lasted for thirty days…

Silly Me.

Anyway the vet came in, and basically repeats the above question, and plays with Pompei…

Then its shot time!!

This time Pompei actually noticed them shots as he was uber excited to have TWO NEW PEOPLE touching him AT THE SAME TIME!

Wiggling + Shots = Puppy feeling the Pain.

So he was biting at his butt area for a few minutes after the procedure was over. Tsk tsk.

But his attention was quickly placed else were when the vet presented him with a a RAWHIDE (AH AH AAAAH sung in heavenly tones)

He was loathe to part with his new toy, as we bagged it up for the trip home.

But after a firm command from me relinquished it for a cookie.

We came home and played the afternoon away.
{Pompei being held still while his callous mother takes a photo of him}
Trained for part of our dinner, and then "worked" the other part out of our Tug-A-Jug toy..

And he's been sleeping a very tired puppy induced sleep.

Aah.

Erin and company

Friday, March 19, 2010

Remember Ira? (Warning Long)

For those of you who don't know, I worked with Ira for about two months, before you moved on to another trainer. Shout out to her foster family!

Wilderwood Service Dogs Are Trained to Protect and Serve Their Autistic Owners
By Rose Kennedy
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Photos by David Luttrell

When Abigail Keylon is distressed, she seeks higher ground.

On this particular Saturday in late December, that meant the severely autistic 12-year-old, spooked by unfamiliar surroundings at the Wilderwood Service Dogs facility in Maryville, scrambled to the top of a piano in the rec room. Only this time, her service dog Ira, a petite golden retriever, leapt up right behind her. And then, as she had been trained to do, Ira stood over Abigail, right on top of the piano, keeping the girl from moving until the adults in the room could bring her back down.

Girl and dog had known each other only a few hours.

“I don’t know how Ira could have made it any more clear that she understood, ‘This is my child,’” says Deanna Hall, a longtime Wilderwood volunteer and the facility’s spokesperson. The occasion was the first day of “graduation week” for several families who would be taking home Wilderwood service dogs.

“Abigail was the most difficult child, the one with the most challenges,” says her mom, Lou Ann Keylon, who with Abigail’s older sister Hannah came to Wilderwood to learn how to handle the dog who was joining their family. “During the week, all the other dogs would be sleeping and Ira would be working up a sweat.”

“Abigail was a wild child, jumping over tables—it was like, ‘Oh God, there she goes!’” says Hall. “But it’s a week-long graduation, and on the very last day, Abigail’s sister and mom took the exam to be Ira’s handlers. Abigail was able to lie quietly on the floor for a whole hour with her head on her dog. And that’s just after a week!”

Ira and Abigail were one of the latest pairs to “graduate” from Wilderwood. Executive director Tiffany Denyer, then a psychiatric nurse with 11 years experience, founded the non-profit in November 2005. Wilderwood has placed 27 dogs total, but Ira is the first to go to a home in this area; the Keylons live in Walland. Just one of five similar programs in the nation, Wilderwood trains and provides dogs for people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and, most often, autism, which is a pervasive and lifelong developmental disorder. The symptoms include differences and disabilities in many areas—social communication, fine and gross motor skills, and sometimes intellectual skills.

A “spectrum” disorder, autism can range from mild to profound developmental delays and challenges. Abigail has severe autism; she is non-verbal but seems to have at least an average IQ. “It’s impossible to measure, but you can tell she really understands what’s going on, and she can follow simple commands like, ‘Take this paper to the trash can,’” says her father Ron, a pharmacist who works the night shift. “Of course, the next day, she might ignore the same command, and you, entirely.”

Ira (who is female, despite her name), learned skills at Wilderwood that help the family cope, like nudging the child to break a self-harming or repetitious behavior. She and other Wilderwood graduates are also guardians who can retrieve a child who impulsively bolts, or alert parents by barking if a child wakes in the night, a prime opportunity for getting hurt or wreaking havoc. “The dog’s goal is to maintain the safety of the child at all times, and one of the great joys is to see tired parents of a child with autism sleep soundly for the first night since the diagnosis,” says Denyer.

You maybe have to be the parent of a child like Abigail, who is the middle of five kids ranging in age from 8-17, to truly appreciate what these dogs do, says Lou Ann, a former high school teacher. “Abigail has gotten out of the house twice, even with the internal locks, and if the neighbors hadn’t called... And a week after I had her younger sister, and I was trying to control Abigail and the baby, she got away from me in a parking lot and almost ran into a car.”

These days, there’s no way Abigail could get away when she and her mother are out and about—she’s tethered to Ira, and would have to pull the dog wherever she goes. “With autism, a lot of the kids fixate on something—some watch the ceiling fan. Abigail’s not a big one for spinning things, but she likes sifting things through her hands. She loves socks, so that’s what we use as the extension for Ira’s harness; her sister Hannah’s volleyball sock, tied to the harness. Being attached to that tether gives Abigail so much more independence. You can just feel her freedom.”

Ira is trained to streak after Abigail and bring her to the ground if necessary. “Our dogs will stand over the child or lie on top of them in those situations, and they’d let a car run right over them before they got up,” Hall says.

Just as important to the Keylons is the developmental promise Ira brings to Abigail, and just the unconditional love. “Ira makes Abigail more attentive, and affectionate—in part because she’s competing with the dog for my attention,” says Lou Ann with a laugh. “Monday we were sitting in the speech pathologist’s office and Abigail was in a good mood. She got down in Ira’s face and started to smile. Then she touched her nose to Ira’s and kissed her. Little things like that will happen that just blow me away.”

But that’s getting ahead of the story. About a year of highly specialized training comes before any of these tender moments, although the recruiting for Wilderwood is pretty heart-warming, too. Seventy percent of the service dogs are rescue animals, while the other 30 percent are given to Wilderwood by breeders. They start training under the auspices of Denyer and three other professionals while they’re still puppies, boarding at Savannah Spring Kennels near Lenoir City. It’s clean and serviceable, a low-lying weatherproof cinderblock building—nothing special, but dogs and trainers do amazing things there, beginning with learning 50-70 commands in three or four months, like “wait” and “sit,” and even “cuddle.”

Volunteers come and sign them out of the shelter to complete a rigorous list of dozens of public visits, taking them out to, say, the post office or the Wal-Mart. The dogs move from the kennel to become what Hall calls “hip dogs,” joining a foster family for another six to eight months to learn how to live closely with and serve a human. The current rookies are mostly golden retrievers and labradors, which is typical, but a white and black pure mutt and a long-legged fuzzy Golden-doodle are in the mix, too, and Wilderwood is donating an outsized Pyrenees/white lab mix to an autistic boy in Oklahoma as part of the ABC show Extreme Makeover.

An impressive 75 percent of dogs who start at Wilderwood get paired with a human. The ones who “wash out” are thwarted by tendencies like “chases birds” or “barks at the UPS man.” They are adopted out; Hall herself has a Wilderwood “alumnus,” Ruthie, a schnoodle (schnauzer-poodle mix). “She’s just too hyper,” says Hall, “and needs to inform all around her each and every time she sees a cat, including the one who lives at her house.”

The final step for the dogs without those idiosyncrasies is placement with a family; the wait is usually about a year and a half. Denyer may still be weighing a couple of suitable dog candidates pretty late in the game. Once she pairs a dog with someone to serve, though, the final step is teaching the animal another 10 commands or so that are specific just to that owner. Ira, for example, has learned to interrupt Abigail when she starts clapping her hands over her ears, the dog learned the skill watching Denyer mimic Abigail’s habit.

The total cost for each dog is $14,000; the family is expected to raise $5,000 of that and tap a corporate sponsor for another $5,000; Wilderwood assumes the remaining cost. The Keylons were supported by Leadership Blount Class 2008. “God is so good—that money just rolled in,” says Lou Ann. “If folks could only know what a difference these dogs can make in a kid’s life. In the whole family’s lives. Once you get that diagnosis, you are no longer living on Planet Earth. Our family lives on Planet Autism. I always say Ira’s a big piece of our puzzle.”

Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Ira may accompany Abigail to her special education classroom at Eagleton Elementary. The dog goes with the girl and her mother to speech pathology two hours a day, four days a week at Parent-Child Services Group off Weisgarber. “Ira’s just incredible to me; does she not just exude peace?” says Abigail’s speech pathologist of two years, Susan Hock. “I hear a lot more gibber gabber from Abigail. And see a lot more smiles. Before Ira, the thought of Abigail walking down the hall just holding on to a dog, that was about the furthest thing in the world from anything we could imagine. Since she’s had Ira, she’s empowered.”

Ira and Abigail play at home, and sleep in the same bed. “We’re three months in, and so far the only thing that’s gotten Ira upset is the platform swing in Abigail’s room. She can get really wild, and Ira didn’t like that. She barked and got us, to let us know.”

So far, so good, says Lou Ann, but they’d like to go a lot further. “This is a long, exhausting process,” she says. “It’s not like the movies. Ira’s not Lassie. We’re building a relationship; it’s a process. But Abigail’s done so much in three months—I can’t even imagine how good she’s going to be in a year.

Erin and company

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Conversations From the Yard

Autumn: Ready Guys?
Pompei: What are you going ta do?
Texas: YEAH!! YEAH!! ME! ME! WOO WOO!!
Autumn: Go Get it!
Texas: MINE! MINE! I CALL IT!!!! 
Pompei: Uh...what are we supposed to be doing again?
Texas: See ya
Pompei: HEY WAIT FOR ME!!! 
Texas: SIKE!! hAHAHAHA GOTCHA SUCKER!
Pompei: Hey look!  A ball!!

Erin Notes: We do not encourage guide puppies to chase things, so we like to employ a technique we call "Controlled Retrieve". We have the dog in a sit/stay until we release them to go get the object. Pompei is a little clueless in this and was just chasing Texas. :) 
Pompeii
Texas

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Silent Sunday..



Dear Mom. 
We love that you love your camera, but dangling treats in front of us, while you point that thing at us, is nothing short of animal cruelty.
Keep it up and we'll report you to PETA!!!
Love ya!

Bubbles

Texas

P.S. (Moms says to let her know if you are having trouble with the Disqus Comment system, by email toomanyemails07(at)gmail(dot)com)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giveaway!

Hey guys check this out,a very-cool-dog-loving-person, is giving away a Molly Mutt bed from SimplyDogBeds.com! You guys know how much we love our other bed covers, so we're really excited to get this one. Yep you read that right, we're going to take this home guys!

So don't even THINK about going over there and doin NOTHIN'.

Cause Bubbles & Texas HOG the other beds alla time!!!!! And I have NO WHERE to LAY down.
And cause we do love our Molly Beds as well!
pawscript (Mom forgot to tell yous about the mean doggie dat was at the vet place today! It tried to BITE me and MOMMY!! But I tole him to go back to his own mommie and leave us alone!! Then I had to stay right by mommie so that I could protects her from that mean doggie. I showed him!!)


Pompeii

Impromptu Vet Visit

Nothing serious, but we had to get Pompeis....well poop checked out to make sure he didn't have any parasites causing him diarrhea, I knew there weren't but it was just a precaution.
He got a clean bill of health, some meds and lots, and lots of lovin'. But his last set of shots was pushed out ONE.MORE.WEEK. As the vet was afraid that giving them today, would just worsen the diarrhea situation. *sob*
I am dying to get him and the other dogs too a park, or something!! Out of our yard and doing something fuN!!!

*sigh*
But I'm glad our buddy will be feeling better, whether he knows it or not.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Victoria Update

I finally sat down and looked up Victoria's new mom's email address,and shot her a quick email last night asking how our Vicki was doing....:

She is doing great!  Victoria is such a sweet, loving, happy dog and everyone loves her.  She settled right in and does so well with both children and adult clients and other dogs at the office.  Victoria is also a great companion for me.  She has a great time.  I can understand why you miss her.  The vet at ******** Animal Hospital says she is in great shape, doing well and on target physically.  When she is more mature, I plan to work toward certification so she can visit nursing homes. She loves people and  I think she would be great at it. 
This is picture of her sleeping with her “baby” which is a little stuffed Golden toy she loves.
Thanks for giving me this opportunity.   She is such a great dog.


Erin and company

Monday, March 8, 2010

To Clip or Not Too Clip

According to the dogs, the answer would be simple. Not!
Like most dog owners, I shied away from clipping my dogs nails, for fear of hurting them. Bubbles nails have been sorely neglected as they were also so hard to clip through. My dad has been the only one to attempt Bubbles nails in the past, and I had a groomer dremmel them at one time, but she never went down too far.

Bubble's nails are RIDICULOUSLY long.
{This photo is inaccurate as this is after I worked on them....well keep reading :)}
Since then I learned how to clip my dogs nails, but for some reason never attempted Bubble's nails. A couple of months ago, Ben's former owners gave me a PediPaws dremel like tool, that they'd never used.
Speaking of Ben, I heard from his new family, and they say he's doing great, and "his boy" always wants Ben to be involved in everything he's doing. How cute is that?!
Anyway I began desentizing the dogs to Pedipaws while I still had Victoria with me, but  found it was easier to clip my more active pups nails with a clipper, as they didn't like to stay still long enough for me to properly grind their nails. I began desensitizing Bubbles to this new device as well,and she didn't really have much reaction too it, but since I'd never done her nails before, I was a little hesitant as too how far I could go.As I believe its true that the quick grows too the length of the nail?? I don't know.
{But Mom I love you? Why do you torture me like this??}

Well....Saturday night I was playing with the Pompsters, when I was "attacked" by one vicious claw. I immediate jumped up and grabbed my nail tools, and went too work on his nails. I started off with the clippers, but moved to the Pedipaws when he tried to wiggle out of my lap. (which he placed himself in willingly) He actually calmed down, and laid still while I 'buzzed' his nails..then he got bored and wanted to leave, which I let him AFTER I was finished with the nail I was working on.
{Pompei wins the shortest nails award}
{Texas's nails are pretty short, but his dew claw is really extending itself. :}
I looked up from that too see Bubbles snoozing on the couch, and decided to work on her longer nails.....for Bubbles its best to work on her if she's already in a relaxed position. Sure enough, the only visible sign I saw that she was uncomfortable with what I was doing, was the change in her breathing, from deep sleep, to the faster awake.
I probably worked on her back feet for about 10 minutes, (one negative of the pedipaws is how SLOW it turns) and she barely shifted positions. 

Course now I'm going, why didn't I do this before??

I'll be working on her feet, at least once a day, to get them back to a nice short size..but I'm happy to find a non intrusive way of doing her nails!!

The weather this weekend, was beautiful! The dogs spent as much time as possible sunbathing on the porch.  Now if only I could get Pompei to stop bringing me dead stuff!!! We also had a lot of visitors this weekend, as RoomieC was moving more of her stuff in...Texas did excellent with all the people coming in and out. He'd bark but that would be the end of this. Can I see the light at the end of the tunnel??
{Saturday Pompei hit the 4 month mark!! }

Erin and company

Friday, March 5, 2010

If I don't see it, its not there.

"If Iz don't even looks at her, she can't even see me."

Erin Notes - Yes he was removed from the couch as soon as the photo was finished, he kept his head turned away from me, but kept glancing at me out of the corner of his eye, as he KNEW that was a No-NO! :))


Pompeii

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thinking Thursday

How to get the human to give up the treat....??

Pompeii

Bubbles

Texas