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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

This picture says it all!

Leaving those Easter eggs alone was exhausting!

I hope everyone had a Blessed Easter!  I hope this Lenten season renewed your spirit and made you a better person because of your sacrifices!

Here are a few pics of the family on this absolutely gorgeous Easter day we had here.  Too bad my tulips aren't in bloom this year like they usually are for our Easter pics!  The landscape still looks like it has the winter blahs!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another Assistance dog at our house!

       I am a strong believer in investing in quality toys for my kids and not junk.  Toys that promote creativity, imagination, are educational, and promote an active lifestyle.  Therefore, you will not find violent video games in my home or dolls that are dressed like a lady in their 20's going to a club!  What you will find a lot of in my youngest daughter's bedroom is art supplies, books, writing journals, games, but most importantly (according to her) many items from the American Girl store.  Yes, the items from that store are expensive, but have you priced video games recently?   And yes, we do have a gaming system, but the time spent playing it  is limited and the games are mostly active.   But, enough of my soapbox!  The reason why I'm posting about this is that Kinsey's most recent gift from the AG store is a Guide Dog.  It's labeled as a Service Dog, but (and correct me if I'm wrong), it's wearing a Guide harness.  I love that they have such a toy!  They also sell wheelchairs, crutches/braces, and other medical supplies for the dolls.  LOVE IT!   It's a GREAT store that promotes positive self-image, tolerance and acceptance, is age appropriate, and also educational.  Yet, they are not "babyish" dolls that she used to play with.  I'm thinking that this dog will probably belong to Kanani, the Hawaiaan Girl of the Year from a couple of years ago.  Because, Kit, her other doll, lived during the Great Depression and I don't think Guide Dogs were around yet.  I see a research project...Anyway, here is a picture of the little Chocolate lab that came to live here.  She was a gift from my sister in Chicago.  So, it came from the original American Girl store!  I'm sure it must be better because it's from that particular store!

*One more plug for AG...they donated an item to Cabernet for a Cause if I recall correctly!

Thank you AG for teaching acceptance and teaching young girls wonderful life lessons!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Churry's a good nurse!

This past Friday my youngest daughter had surgery on her ear.  I really had contemplated having Churry go to a babysitter so Kinsey could rest and recuperate on the couches in the living room without being pounced on and pawed at by our dogs.  I was in for a nice surprise!  Both of our dogs have been so sensitive and intuitive that she has been in pain and that there is something not quite right about her.  They both approached her very gently and would just lay their noses in her lap or on her leg.  They both refrained from giving the IV area and the surgery area a big lick like I had anticipated.  And they have neither one let her out of their sight!  They have kept vigil with her.  Bailey at the end of her couch and Churry as close up to her on the floor as she could get.  This is particularly noticeable because when Pat or I are in the room, it is Pat that Bailey is with and myself that Churry is with.  There are very rarely any exceptions to that.  But Pat and I have definitely been booted from the popularity contest this weekend.   One skill that I have learned that Churry has mastered this weekend, though, is carrying things between two people.  She has carried the remote between Kinsey and I several times!  This from a dog who doesn't care for things in her mouth!
      This morning we washed Kinsey's hair for the first time.  Her surgery was on her ear, so the area could not get wet and is still very tender.  So, needless to say, it was a spectacle.  Kinsey is not the best of patients.  She was yelling and crying about how I was getting too close, it hurt, etc. etc.  Even though I know full well not a drop of water got near any of it!  During this whole incident Churry sat outside the bathroom door and shoved her paws under the door trying to get in..  Then, somehow she got the door open and came and basically tried to push me away from Kinsey!  Not aggressively or meanly at all, just wanted me to stop.  When she first barged in I thought, "Great, she's going to jump in, too, and Pat is on another level of the house!"  But, she just sat by me as I finished and looked very concerned.  Needless to say, we didn't make it to church!  But, I've been very pleased with her behavior and sensitivity about being gentle with Kinsey when she knew she was hurting.  I couldn't ask for two better dogs!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Meeting a Real Life Search and Rescue dog while Churry makes a liar out of me!

    Today Churry and I had a wonderful opportunity to go on an outing with two other puppy raisers as well as a FEMA urban search and rescue dog and her handler.  Churry, of course, made a complete liar out of me referring to her inability to work around other dogs.  Today, she had NO problem.  She did awesome!  It was great to get to know the FEMA trainer and hear about her work.  The dog she had with her today went with her to New York to search for survivors after Hurricane Sandy.    It's very interesting and I look forward to learning more about it.  We followed up our outing at the car show with a trip to Jose Peppers for an early dinner.  Here are a few pictures of our day...

We found a $206,000 Mercedes that the dogs thought they would like to go for a ride in!  Churry is trying to show everyone that I have no idea what I'm talking about when I say she can't focus around other dogs!

And several cardboard cutouts of some strange looking little creatures the dogs found interesting.

The crowd on hand was very intrigued and interested in the dogs.  So we  obliged them with a demonstration of their awesome Down/Stays.

Churry held her stay while Lisa and the two labs walked around her and over the top of her several times.

Yet, another strange looking fellow!

Practicing a Down/Under

Churry is showing me what she needs so I can stop lifting her into the vehicle.

And we were happy to see some good K-State engineering students there with the car they designed.

Taking a break while we spoke to some admirers

She didn't ever Sit on the narrow beam like I asked, but at least she held a stay while standing on it.

Churry is fascinated by the robots that the Army had there doing demonstrations...

including a demonstration with Phoenix (FEMA dog) playing tug of war with it.  That gathered quite a crowd as you can see!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Other weekend outings

    Besides Cabernet for a Cause last night we also had some other outings this weekend to work on some specific things I had in mind.  This summer when we went to Crown Center in KC I discovered that Churry was terrified of the escalators.  So periodically, we go hang out by the escalators at the mall.  She has gradually gotten less and less afraid of them.  She will now very bravely go onto the metal flooring in front of the escalator and stand or sit calmly on it.  Yesterday, we went back to the mall to visit it because we hadn't been near it in awhile.  It took very little coaxing to get her near the moving step.  I'm very uncomfortable with actually taking her on it myself, so I'm going to let the trainers at KSDS do that part when she goes back.  I didn't even let my child go on it by herself until she was WAY too big for me to still be picking up.  Pinched toes would hurt and I certainly don't want to injure Churry or create a fear that would be too much to get past.  So I'm satisfied with her progress.  I have no doubt that I could get her to actually step on it at this point if I wanted to.
    The mall was absolutely packed yesterday for some reason.  We were there to look at prom dresses for my oldest daughter.  Didn't find one that she would even try on, but it was great experience for Churry walking carefully in between the very tight racks of pretty dresses.  The dresses seem to have LOTS of tulle and bling on them this year, all of which is at Churry's eye level and would be really fun to snuggle and roll around in I'm sure.  But, Churry did great at not rubbing up against it and not grabbing at things.  She also did really well totally ignoring all the people, the train that drives around inside the mall and dings its annoying delightful bell, and the kids at the indoor playground.
     Today, as a result of her performance last night around the other dogs, we went to PetSmart after we were done at Barnes and Noble spending Kinsey's birthday money.  PetSmart is the Wal-Mart for dogs I've decided.  People don't always require their dogs to have the manners I expect from mine.  So it was a great place to practice ignoring other dogs and doing some commands with other dogs getting right up close to her and even in her face at times.  This is definitely NOT a place I would suggest taking a timid dog or one that has fears/dislikes of other dogs.  It's not my favorite place to take Churry, either, but it has dogs.  And she needs dogs.  I'd give her a B for her behavior today.   We spent several minutes just sitting and observing the other dogs.  I made her sit on a loose leash until it was MY idea to move to a new spot.  As a reward I let her look at the birds for awhile.  She loves to do this!  Kinsey thinks we should get a bird for our house.  I think definitely not!  We'll just go to PetSmart and enjoy the birds in there.

She's practicing some commands with 3 other dogs in the aisle with her.  They were pretty close, but I couldn't get them in the picture.  She doesn't have her eyes on me, but at least she wasn't lunging at them and was obeying a command.

She thinks these rain boots for dogs are ridiculous!  I made her try them on anyway!

Trying to get the feel of her cape off her back!

Snow is all the more fun to roll around in.  Works much better for getting that "feel" off of her.

Can't wait until it melts a bit more and is just mud...==[

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A roller coaster of doubts

   Puppy raising has to be one of the biggest roller coasters of emotions ever!  Churry has always been an absolutely incredible puppy when in public.  She is calm, walks obediently beside me, does not jump on her admirers, etc.  Everything one would look for in an assistance dog.  However, she has a downfall.  Other dogs.  She can't handle herself.  She wants to play with them SOOOO badly!  It worries me that when she goes back to KSDS she won't be able to focus on her daily training because she will be trying to play with her classmates.  She demonstrated this weakness of hers tonight in front of all of the KSDS trainers, other puppy raisers, and the public.  :(  Embarassing!  I wanted to cry.

    Tonight was a very wonderful event put on by some very special people.  It is called Cabernet for a Cause.  It's an evening of wine tasting, silent auction bidding, dressed up people, and seemingly everyone else's puppy but mine behaving beautifully.  From the moment we walked in all Churry wanted to do was play with the other puppies or JUMP on and play with her puppy raiser "substitute when I'm not able", Mandi.  It was embarassing!  As the night went on she settled in and showed some of the good manners I know she has.  But, she simply cannot behave like that if she intends to be an assistance dog someday!  Sigh!  I've got a lot of work to do in the next few months.  But, where, I don't know.  I take her everywhere I can think of and she is spot on good as gold.  Where does one go where we will encounter other dogs?
    Here are a few pictures of the moments where she was remembering her manners.

Maybe when she realized she was the spokesdog for the event she decided she should settle down and represent herself like a good puppy.

My dear friend, Sheila, attended the event with me.

Flat Stanley was visiting from New Jersey.  He had traveled to Kansas with her brother, Marco's, raiser.  Unfortunately, Marco didn't get to come.  But, we heard he's doing well.

No, she's not embarrassed about her behavior here, she's just doing a down under like I asked.  We've been working on eating establishments and she's doing really well.