November 12th 2009 7:11 pm
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Today, I got my license. Yep, here in CA, they say service dogs like me have to wear a tag saying so. Sheesh. People can be so stupid. I don't need a tag to know who I am. But, since they do and our county didn't have them, Mom took on "city hall" so-to-speak. It was actually the county she took on. They didn't want to issue the tags--too much work, too expensive, blah, blah, blah... WELL, they have them now. And I got the very first one. It's red and tells everybody I'm a working girl. I think it's way cool.
When we got home today, Mom took my collar off, I thought to put the tag on, but NO, she said I needed a bath. She says we're going to the dentist tomorrow. She wants me to smell sweet. You should see me. After I wash my hair, I can't do a thing with it. Mom says I'm "poofy" and laughs at me. It feels weird and makes me goofy. Poofy and goofy with a new red tag.
December 10th 2009 9:02 pm
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I know that when she gets kind of breathy and her heart goes fast, like when she's nervous, I'm supposed to do something. I really perk up when things aren't right and wiggle around, try to get her attention, check her out--sniffing and stuff.
Today, she was lying on her back on the floor with her legs crossed like a pretzel and taking big, long breaths. I could tell whatever it was hurt, so I sprung into action. I put my nose in her neck and pushed and then smelled her breath for awhile. What the heck? Then I sat down. She said "good girl, I'm okay" then crossed her other leg and started doing that thing again...breathing, long breaths like she did at the dentist's office, but this time she was on the floor. I'm on it! I got into her neck again. She said the same thing, "I'm okay" but still. It just seems wrong. She said, "Rethy, I'm stretching." Whatever. I didn't want to leave her though, so I curled up under her arm, next to her chest so I could feel her heart beat. I stayed there until she was ready to get up. She gave me a big hug and said "you're da bomb!" I know that's really good.
I'm not sure what she wanted from me with all of that, but I do know I was a good girl. It wasn't about playtime, I knew that. I'm glad she's okay.
December 13th 2009 2:08 pm
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Hoo boy! I nap a little, like a minute or so, then go around and sniff, take out a toy, toss it up in the air and catch it, jump on my big sister. She's ignoring me now. I keep going to the door, going to mom and staring at her, going to the door. What's up with that? We didn't go to the park yesterday. Even though she took her shower and has on her outdoor pants and socks, she's just sitting there. Looks like we're not going to the park today either.
She lets me out now and then. But it's wet everywhere--on the deck, on the lawn and on me. She lets me back in, says "stand" then "wipe 'er feet". She rubs the towel over each paw, then wipes extra water off my coat, I shake and no problem. Why isn't she taking me out? Why aren't we going to the park? I have a good coat that just gets wet on the outside. My ancestors herd in the rain, so why can't I chase a ball? If I had some geese or sheep to take care of, I'd be out in the rain. Maybe I'll go sniff the kitchen floor. Nothing. Okay, I'll go over it again. Hmmm...what now?
December 14th 2009 9:42 pm
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It started out pretty regular. We went to the park. Mom has this new thing that makes my ball go REALLY far. I have to start running before she throws it or I can't see where it goes. It makes me run hard. I love that.
Then we went to our coffee place. We went inside and got a table next to the wall. It was a little tight. I was under the table right next to Mom and someone was sitting in a chair only 18 inches or so away from me. Mom was reading her paper, drinking coffee. A pair of dirty boots passed by. A few seconds later, the boots started back but stopped right in front of me. The next thing I knew, a guy's hand was coming into my face and Mom's hand reached out, quick, like a snake and grabbed his arm. I don't think she even knew she was doing it. I looked up and the guy was leaning right over the top of her to reach me and I figured that had freaked her out. The guy got really mad at her. He said, "Hey! what's the matter with you, spazz?" Mom said, "touching my dog is like touching me." She was really upset. I knew I needed to do something for her. Mom was shaking. I sat up and looked at her, she gave me the paws up signal, but the table was too low so she leaned down and let me sniff her.
She was so shaky, she was vibrating. She ignored that and got up to hand one of my fliers to the guy. He called her a spazz again. When Mom got back to me, she was toast. She got down on the floor and I got up on her leg. She put her face in my fur. She was worse than I've ever seen her. She gathered up my mat and her paper, and started out. Then she did something I didn't expect. She said to the guy, "I'm being polite, so please listen. I have PTSD and that's why I have a service dog. You just set things off big-time." Mom was shaking and crying, scared and mad. Hoo boy. The guy said, "You gotta learn to share your dog." If I could, I would have taken mom outside right away and not let her talk to him. He had bad energy and like my mom's friend told her later, "bad boundaries." I think he's stupid.
We left. As soon as we got out the door, Mom got down on the pavement and I did my paws up. She cried a little and nuzzled me. She said thank you Rethy, good work. I don't know what's "work" about that, but she sure appreciated it.
December 22nd 2009 10:23 am
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We've been going lots of places. Sunday, we met up with our friends, Ollivander, Zeus and Iris. We spent a long time in a store walking around. It was the first time I've been in a store with so many different smells. There were toys and clothes and folded cloth. We went to an area where I smelled food. Mom walked me by those big noisy refrigerator things. Some of them smell like meat. Then Zeus and Ollie and I posed for pictures while our mom's waited, watching us. I could tell they were proud. We all were doing such a great job.
I'm still a little shy about Zeus and Ollie. Big dogs often jump on me. I hate that, so I back off. Zeus and Ollie didn't try that. The big dogs at school don't, so I play with them. I'm just careful. Iris and I met each other and that went well. I like walking with everybody. It's a big pack and I'm the littlest one, looking at everybody's ankles and knees.
Yesterday, we went to see Mom's talk dr. and her therapist. She talks with the dr. about medicine she's taking. Sometimes he writes stuff on paper for her. He said he noticed I was behaving better since we saw him 2 months ago. Mom was happy about that. They talked about me and how I'm helping Mom. She asked her dr. if he was working with anyone else with dogs like me. He said no. Mom petted me and said I'm really helping her.
Then we went to see the nice lady Mom talks to about emotional stuff. I like that lady because she is so sweet with Mom.
On the way home, we stopped for groceries. We were getting some milk and I was hanging out behind Mom when some one backed a chair with big bicycle tires right into me. It totally freaked me out. The tires squealed on the floor, too. I'm not afraid of wheelchairs, but this one moved really fast and the driver didn't see me. I didn't want to get anywhere near it after that. Mom said now we have to go somewhere and practice with wheelchairs again so I'm not afraid. Sometimes being so little has its drawbacks, but last night when I was sitting on my mom's lap watching television (I do watch sometimes), I knew being little is totally worth it.
Mom keeps saying she's so proud of me. I like working. I feel important. I know what I'm doing is pleasing Mom cause I feel that, too. She says I'm really special and I believe her.
December 22nd 2009 7:36 pm
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I've been working a lot. That's not a complaint. I love my job. Today, when we went to the laundromat, I got bouncy and wanted to play with my leash. I've started talking to Mom when she puts my vest on. I hold out my head and make little noises. If I had a tail it would be wagging. I wiggle my butt a little, but have to hold still for her to buckle my vest. We put the wash in and then Mom took me over to Peet's for a coffee. I'm getting really good at waiting while the clothes dry and Mom folds them. Today, I stayed on my mat the whole time. Mom kept getting down into my face and saying, "You are being SO good." If I carried a sign, it would say "Will Work for Praise".
Then we went to get her prescription filled. A man there said how "beautiful" I am. We were standing in line. He said, "She's been trained to sit." I thought, duh. Mom must have been thinking the same thing, and she said, "she's been taught to do a lot of things." We sat down to wait and I settled right at Mom's feet like I'm supposed to, as if to say, "I'm trained to lie down, too." His hearing wasn't good so Mom had to sort of shout "MINIATURE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD". Then she handed him one of my brochures.
When she put me in the car, took my work clothes off and we did our celebration play with my tug, she said, "I'm so proud of you." I love that.
December 24th 2009 11:44 am
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Mom's getting sad today. I can tell. It's that sleepy kind of sad where she doesn't want to do anything. She knows she can't get away with that though, because I need her to take me out to run. I've been jumping on my sister and being goofy, throwing my ball in the air and chasing it. Mom knows she needs to get going. I think we're going to leave any minute now.
December 27th 2009 6:20 pm
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WEELLL! I've had my first live theater experience. It was really crowded though. The boss (Mom's trainer) and the other boss (her assistant) plus some other people all went together to see a play. Last time I went to a theater, the sloping floor bugged me and I couldn't get comfortable. This time, Mom put her jacket on the floor to make a nest for me and put my mat on top of it. I don't know if her jacket got dirty or not, but that was SO comfortable. Then the lights went down and it got totally dark. People started clapping. I wasn't sure what to think about that, but it seemed harmless enough, so I just stretched out and went to sleep. Every once in awhile, people would laugh or clap or there'd be a group of them singing on stage. I just ignored it.
Then the lights came up and they took a break. People started moving around, walking up the aisle. The boss and her husband got up to go get refreshments. Mom had me get up and stretch. She petted me and rubbed behind my ears and told me what a good girl I was. Well, duh, I know that. When every body got back to their seats, it went dark again. More singing, clapping and stuff.
Finally it was all over and Mom started gathering up stuff. None of my training friends talked to me or petted me because they want me to get used to that. It's hard for me, but it's a rule.
After we got out of the theater, Mom said, "WHAT a GOOD girl!" I made it all the way through the play. She was so happy with me that she took me to the park for a second time and threw the ball. I must have been really good today. Go figure. Don't let on that all I had to do was nap, okay? I'm loving that second park visit.
January 3rd 2010 5:11 pm
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Sometimes Mom doesn't notice how much I'm learning, then I surprise her. Like today. We were at our favorite coffee shop. I was in "post" position (behind Mom, protecting her back). Only today, I was lying down because I wore myself out running at the park. Any-whoo, I'm lying behind Mom in position, and a little boy, maybe 6 or so, walked RIGHT in front of my nose. If he had been two inches closer, he would have stepped on me. I think his parents told him he couldn't pet me, so he was trying to get my attention by being obnoxious. He walked by me twice like that trying to make me do something. I didn't even look at him.
Mom was peeking over her shoulder because she's always aware when a kid is approaching me. Both times the stupid boy walked in front of my nose, Mom said, "GOOD girl. Good leave-it." She was blown away at how well I did on this and I felt how pleased she was with me. I think a couple of weeks ago when that stupid guy leaned over her to pet me and she grabbed his arm, made it clear how important it was to Mom that people don't just reach out and pet me--of course, his leaning over her was what freaked her out most. Also, I think some people just have mean energy and that kid's energy was a lot like that rude guy. Blecch. I don't even want people like that to pet me. I ignore them and hope they'll go away.
It's great when I surprise Mom. She works with me so much and I think she forgets how far I have come. Silly Mom.
January 4th 2010 10:57 am
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Yippee! I love this. Our group training classes start today with orientation for basic obedience. Tonight and tomorrow night, The Boss (my trainer) explains to beginners what they will be learning, the philosophy of training and how to prepare their dogs for next week. (They leave their dogs at home.)
Next week, the dogs will join them. That's always kind of funny because most of them are run amok. They're all over the place, nutty and have very bad manners. Some dogs come in really timid. While the boss is fitting dogs with their nylon training collars, she is evaluating each dog's energy and relationship with their person. She gives the people some basic advice about how to work with their particular dog and meet some of the challenges that may come up. She's good at that. When people listen to her, you can really tell.
My job during orientation (tonight and tomorrow night) is to lie on my mat as a quiet example of good manners. Blitzen, my German Shepherd friend, does the same thing. We show people how good dog citizens act. We might be asked to do some basic things. Blitzen sometimes goes around the room so people can see and feel how his training collar fits. I'm not good at that because I get too excited when people start handling me.
I love school. I love my trainer and Lisa, Blitzen's person. It's hard not to get too excited when I get there, but that's something Mom is teaching me, to "chill" as she says--be cool, calm and collected. She says everything is a "training opportunity."
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