"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it along to someone else." Mitch Albom

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Hot Out There!

      With our temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees each day, I've been rather lazy about outings! Other than her weekly outing to the Children's Discovery Center we haven't gone anywhere exciting.   So, we don't have a whole lot to report other than Churry has still been working on "leave it" in the kitchen.  I spent a few hours today freezing some zuchinni and corn from the garden.  That's a fairly messy project and Churry had lots of practice with "leave it".  She did a very good job!  She's also enjoyed some evening walks and lots of snuggles while trying to beat the heat.  She hasn't shown any fear at all of all the new sounds around the neighborhood with the firecrackers, either.  Hopefully, that contines through the 4th!

I love that she walks so nicely on a loose leash!

                                                   And she loves to get sprayed by the hose!

                       After I water my flowers and garden every night, I let Churry have a turn.  She loves it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Trip to the Aquarium

      Jacob, Kinsey and I went on one of our fun summer educational adventures today to the aquarium.  I figured Churry would really love this outing because she loves the tanks at Cabella's and Bass Pro Shop so much.  But, she was pretty nervous the whole time.  Not so much because of the fish tanks, but because of the crazy number of people.  It could also be because I can't stand crowds so I'm sure she was reading my cues as being an unenjoyable experience.  When we were able to get close to a tank without being crowded she did relax and enjoy looking.  I did find a couple of areas we need to work on though.  When I stop to look and it's crowded around me, she's not sure what to do or where to wait.  She also wanted NOTHING to do with the observation tank that was glass on the bottom and you could see the fish swimming underneath you!  The same with the escalators today.  Not going near those scary things, either!  Other than that she had really good manners.  She was very good with greeting people today...and there were lots of people who just reached out and pet her, too!  She waited in line patiently, enjoyed eating outside with us and remained exactly where I asked her to the entire meal.  She walked over food and things on the ground without trying to nibble and didn't seem to mind any of the loud, dark areas we  were in.   We even visited a few of the places that her old friends, Vance and Hosta, had visited, but we didn't get to stay too long in any of them.  We have a couple of other trips to go back planned with some other sightseeing to do so we will revisit them.  The lady in the store clearly thought I was Vance and Hosta's PR because she got really excited and said, "Oh, you brought her on a Thursday this time!"  Well, I've never been there so I'm guessing it's Lisa's frequent visits she was thinking of.  :)  Overall, a pretty good outing and the kids enjoyed the aquarium.  Not a huge number of pictures because the lighting and my little budding photographer (Jacob) were not getting along too well.  But, here's a few to enjoy...

She liked to get right up to the glass to look at everything!

Churry really wanted to participate in the touch tank!

Finally, some space!

This is looking down through the glass observation deck that she refused to step out on.

She does very well in tight spaces with me.

Enjoying lunch outside on a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Learning to be loved...

    While it may seem like a silly concept, dogs have to learn that some of the things you're doing are because you love and care for them...such as grooming, home health checks, and good mealtime manners.  Puppy raisers work hard to do this from the day they bring their little loved ones home and continue to work on it the whole time they have them.  One thing that has been really nice is that while Churry is learning good manners to use while having these things done, my kids are learning the important things that go along with having a pet so they may someday be responsible pet owners as well.

She has worked hard on self-control at meal time.  This was mostly accomplished by me and other family members hand-feeding her .  

Not only does she have to wait for a bite, but she has to gently and politely take it.

The waiting to eat out of her bowl also takes a lot of self-control on her part.  She is not allowed to eat any piece off of the floor or ground.   She usually eats in the same spot every day and has to sit in the spot while she waits for me to go to the garage to get her meal.  It's also good to practice in other spots as well.

While she's eating she is used to being handled and touched by any family member.  It's important that she not growl or snap at us.  She has learned to trust that we are going to feed her and are not going to keep her food from her.

She has also learned (and is still working) on polite manners while being groomed.  It's important to keep the coat brushed everyday to check for sores, ticks, and to help with the heat by keeping all the dead hair out.

Her toenails are trimmed regularly and the area between each toe pad examined for stickers, etc.

Kinsey is learning about a dog's normal heart rate and respirations and how to check it.  This can be found  around the area behind the 3rd rib.  Since she was panting here, it was not the easiest or best time to check it.

Having her ears examined is something that she needs to be used to  in order to keep them clean and also in case she would ever need drops in them.

Allowing someone to check her teeth and gums is important for many reasons, too.    Dogs need their teeth brushed just like people!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Children's Discovery Center

            Churry had a fantastic opportunity today to visit the Children's Discovery Center.  We went for a couple of reasons...one for a training opportunity for her to experience the center.  The second was a trial run for Churry to be a "guest exhibit" at the center.  She had fabulous behavior and was invited to be a regular guest for the children to interact with and learn about assistance dogs every Friday morning!  I love having the opportunity to reach kids and their parents to teach them about assistance dogs.  And what a perfect place for Churry to practice her good manners.

      The Discovery Center is basically a huge room (maybe 5000 sq. feet) that's basically a children's dream playroom.  There are many different areas from a dress-up area, a vet center (which Churry was "displayed" by), a workshop, a wind tunnel, a grain elevator that the kids can send "grain" through and see the process, a toddler area, a restaurant, lemonade stand, grocery store, car repair shop, art area where the kids actually paint on the windows, and much more.  So, it's a great place for puppy distractions!  My daughter, Jordan, and my mother in law both volunteer there, too, so it was really nice that Jordan could do her volunteering while Churry was doing her "volunteering".

One of the first things the kids can play with is a wind tunnel.  There are a bunch of colorful scarves inside it that blow all around.  Churry was not bothered by it at all.  That's one thing I love about her, she very rarely lets her focus and attention be on anything but me.

Here she was patiently waiting while this drum pounded to the beat of my heart.

She did awesome today with her greetings!

And she loves kids!  One child brought over the vet's stethescope and was listening to Churry's heart.

She is such a natural with kids!

This is when we first entered the room.  She was checking out all of the commotion.

Watching the action in the workshop!  This was a very popular attraction with a one in one out policy going on, so we just watched from the outside!

You can't see very well, but the kids are putting "grain" through this machine.  It was flying all over and sitting all over in front of her.  She had excellent "leave it" manners going on.

And since it's her usual naptime, she was excited to see a kennel!  It was the only thing she pulled on me about.  I think she was really upset that there was a stuffed snake taking over her bedroom!

Outside there were a couple of chickens to look at.  She was very interested in these and did pull quite a bit trying to get them.

And we enjoyed a short walk around the park when she was done!  She looks pretty pleased with herself!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nursing Home Visit

      Today was a big test for Churry.  We were invited to visit a nursing home to do a short presentation and visit with the residents.  I really wasn't sure what to expect and was very nervous because Churry still struggles with her manners when she wants attention.  She paws and licks until she gets the petting she is seeking.  We work on it all the time, but still have a lot of work to do.

      It was a great experience for her.  The mannerisms of the residents are much different from young children, which is what Churry is most accustomed to.  Churry kept either trying to paw/pull or get into a "Down" position to be pet.  The residents were all in wheelchairs and many had a rolling table/stand next to them that she was interested in.  They had also recently had a snack so there were a few crumbs and their hands smelled like food.  There were also a variety of "things" lying around that Churry was very interested in.  She was pretty nervous/excited/curious all at the same time!

      Two residents in particular stole our hearts, though.  One lady latched on to Churry and for some amazingly incredible reason, Churry sat absolutely still, kept her paws down, and only licked when the lady asked for "kisses".  She bent completely over in her wheelchair, wrapped both arms totally around Churry like she was hugging a small child and just hugged and kissed Churry for at least 10 minutes with her arms totally around her like that.  She kept saying, "Oh, I love you, I love you."  It was the sweetest thing!  Now, as I've mentioned before, Churry is NOT a snuggler and she totally shocked me that she not only tolerated this hugging from this woman, but didn't budge from her until I asked her to stand up and leave with me.  The lady begged us to come back and see her again.  I reassured her we would.  I think Churry has made a friend for life!

     The 2nd lady who really made an impression on us was SO excited to meet a dog that may be a guide dog. I couldn't convince her that she might be a social or service dog, too.  She just thought Churry was absolutely amazing.  She just kept saying "I've never met a guide dog before.  Oh, this is so exciting!"   I truly think meeting a "guide" dog ranked right up there with meeting the president of the United States or something!  It was very sweet!

     Even though I wasn't impressed with Churry's subpar greeting skills today, the staff there thought she was amazing and invited us back on a regular basis.  I'm excited for the opportunity to continue working with this group of people since I don't encounter elderly people very often and she definitely needs to work on her manners around them.  And, I wouldn't want to disappoint that sweet woman who loved Churry so much!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Silly Ducks!

      Yesterday afternoon we were getting a bit bored so we decided to to feed the ducks...something Kinsey hasn't wanted to do for several years now, but thought it would be okay since it was a good exposure for Churry.  :)  Pat, Kinsey and I all went.  While Pat and Kinsey fed, Churry and I sat back and watched.  The ducks were quite loud and Churry really had a hard time focusing.  She would sit for just a couple of seconds, quivering with excitement the entire time, and then get up and try to go closer.  She really wanted to just jump in the pond and swim with them.  When she realized after several attempts that I was really serious about her not swimming with the ducks, she started whining!  Churry has never been too much of a whiner, so I knew she was really having a hard time.  We took some breaks and walked around and then would return to watch some more.  This is definitely an outing we will need to repeat several times this summer!  Good thing it's close and free other than a package of stale bread!  :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Learning about her roots at the Flint Hills Discovery Center

We visited the Flint Hills Discovery Center today.  On the way home she stopped to pose  in front of part of the actual Flint Hills, although I know some places that will be much prettier than this, so we will go see those sometime this summer!
     Since KSDS places their puppies all over the United States, I thought it would be important for Churry to learn about her roots so she can share about where she came from in case she's far away!  Her people enjoy good educational outings, too, so it worked out well.  Here is some of what she learned...

She was excited when she spotted her birthplace and future college town on the map!  Although, we kept insisting to her that we were right there in the best college town today!

She practiced some downs and waits a lot today.

She practiced lots of "go up" only when asked.

She really enjoyed watching the fire on the movie screen here and learning about why ranchers burn their pastures in the Flint Hills.  There were tons of special effects in the museum today including loud thunder and lightning periodically while we were in there to simulate a Kansas thunderstorm.

She wasn't sure about these people and horses...they look a bit off!

She enjoyed watching the train go around.

She learned about our state flower.  We will have to get some pictures in front of some real sunflowers sometime.

She was very confused about why she couldn't see the animals making all of these noises.  She was just sure they were back there.  She heard various birds, insects, and a coyote.

She learned about our state mammal, the bison.

And she slept right through the cool movie and all of it's special effects including more fire, more thunderstorms, snow actually falling on us, lightning bugs surrounding us in the dark, etc.  None of it bothered her resting a bit!

And finally, she enjoyed watching the crazy spouts of water popping up everywhere and didn't try to jump into them.

It's a great educational outing for kids of all ages.  We'd highly recommend the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, KS!  Churry, Kinsey and Tayler were sad we had to leave so soon...Bill Snyder was going to be making an appearance and giving a presentation there later today, but we had to get home for Tayler to work.  It would have been a great addition to her K-State photo collection!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

Today is my sweet girl's birthday!  I think this day must be the day every puppy raiser dreads...you don't know if you'll see another one.  I feel pretty good about how much time I have left with her considering how many litters are still out ahead of her, but I can't get the thought out of my head that my time with her could easily be halfway done.  I put together a power point of her first year that I intend to put on a CD and give to her partner...if I get one of my techy friends to help me I'll get it on here somehow.  It was fun to go back and look at all of her pictures...the things she's learned, places she's been and how much she has grown and changed.  It's because of her I've made some wonderful new friends and my kids have had a wonderful experience learning about the gift of giving!

We celebrated her birthday with her brother Perdido.  We took them to the lake, had a picnic, opened presents, played on the playground equipment, and then let them swim.

They weren't sure what to think of those hats at first, but eventually sat and posed for us.

They just caught sight of their cake sitting below them!

Very good "Leave it" Churry!

In pure Churry fashion, she will not take her new toy in her mouth!

Perdido is more interested in her new octopus than she is at the moment!

Perdido showing his good manners and thanking his PR, Daisy for the party!

And Churry is enjoying all of the special attention today!