October 23rd 2010 10:53 am
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AROOOOOOO! Mom got some great news yesterday! At the North American Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA (NAMASCUSA) Nationals, I was awarded second place prize as a Goodwill Ambassador for my work as Mom's Service Dog.
Evidently, Zeus' mom had encouraged my mom to tell my breeder about my work and how I help Mom. Here's what Mom told her:
I've written to you about this before, and wanted to follow up. Rethy (Reethy), my black tri-female adopted from Sam Oesterlander[breeder's Jr. handler] in December 2008 has passed her public access test and is now my full-time service dog. At 25 lbs, she is fearless in protecting body space for me to help with Post traumatic stress disorder. She detects the onset of panic symptoms or dissociation in public places and interrupts that so I can get a grip and either get grounded or leave. She has herded me out of a situation that was creating a bad physiological reaction I wasn't aware of until I was outside. She is making it possible for me to get on an airplane for the first time in many years. As a result of her work with me, my stress levels have decreased so much that my doctor is now lowering and soon will be taking me off some medications.
Rethy is a happy little worker with a bounce in her step and stellar obedience in public places. She travels with a loose leash and adventurous demeanor. She started out shy. I had a professional trainer with the Cesar Millan philosophy toward dog psychology guide the training process and confidence building. She tailored Rethy's training for my needs. [Note: Rethy's breeder recommends this philosophy with her dogs--it is in Rethy's purchase contract.] Above all, Rethy is calm and easy-going. People are surprised that a 19-month old dog with Aussie lineage can lie at my feet for 3 hours or so and not get antsy. She does get a lot of exercise.
I don't know if her temperament and personality are typical of the dogs you breed. However, I get many questions and compliments about her. I ALWAYS say if people want a mini-aussie, they need to go to a reputable breeder. At times, I have given them info about you.
I don't know if you want to know all of this, but a friend encouraged me to tell you. I hope you are gratified to know that one of your pups turned into a happy working girl who is changing someone's life in such a big way.
My breeder wrote back and asked if she could nominate me as a Goodwill Ambassador representing Mini-Aussies. Mom said, YES!
What Mom wrote was read to the audience at Nationals (along with all of the other stories about most excellent mini-Aussies). The dog who won first place had detected a fire in his house and gone around to his family and awakened them so they could get out ahead of the fire. I think that's a pretty great Goodwill Ambassador, so I don't mind being in second place.
Mom is most excited because now many mini-Aussie people--breeders, owners, etc.--know we can be great SDs. And they know about psych SDs. Mostly, Mom is proud of me regardless because I do wonderful things to help her.
October 21st 2010 3:18 pm
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We're watching the leaves fall and pretty soon there will be rain. The clothes Mom hangs outside may not dry so well. She has an inside rack where she hangs her underwear and socks, but she can't hang everything on that. A few weeks ago, our landlady gave us a dryer. Her boyfriend came to hook it up. He smells like Travis, a big chocolate lab I know from school, but he didn't have Travis with him. The free dryer didn't work. Boyfriend came back and took the dryer away.
A few days ago, JoAnn and Art took us to a nice lady's house to get a dryer Mom found on Craigslist. Mom finally got everything she needed to get that hooked up. When she started it, it just pumped gas out into the yard. Mom said "Yikes," unplugged it and now it is sitting in our laundry room.
Mom has had it with cheap dryers. Today, we went to Sears and looked at dryers. A little skinny man who smelled like cologne and cigarettes gave Mom a paper with different prices of dryers on it. When we got back in the car, Mom put her head on the steering wheel and cried a little. That's not only because of the dryer. The pit bull we met earlier already had her on edge.
Mom's car needs service. We have been going around to garages that smell like grease and have cars with their hoods up inside. Mom sits for awhile, then gets a piece of paper and talks with a person. Every time, she frowns and mutters "$900" when she leaves. After a couple of days of this, Mom got frustrated and sat at her computer to look up everything people had told her. Then she started calling garages and giving them the list of things her car needs. Finally, one guy said "$423".
Today, we went to see the $423 guy who has a little garage and nobody working for him. He says that's why he doesn't have to charge so much. When we drove up a big pit bull came trotting up to greet us. Mom went looking for the owner. A man in another business had a dog behind an exercise pen. He put the pit in with his dog, so Mom thought it was safe to take me into the car repair office. While we were in there, I told Mom the pit was coming. She turned just in time to step between me and the pit bull to put her foot out to stop him. She got her stern voice and said, "Go! Go on!" He didn't want to and kept coming back, so she put me in the little office with Eric, the mechanic and went to talk to the owners who had a glass repair business near the garage.
That didn't go well. Mom came back very upset. She got anxious and had to keep watching to make sure the dog didn't come after me. After we left, Mom made a call to the dog police. I imagine they will explain to the pittie's owner that they can't let their dog run around loose. I'm proud of my mom for protecting me.
Now we are home. Evidently, Mom gave up on getting a new dryer because she said, Rethy, let's hope we don't have many days of rain in a row. I agree. When it rains, I don't get to chase my ball. THAT is what matters most. Humans need to get their priorities straight.
October 18th 2010 11:26 am
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My birthday was SO fun. Then came yesterday. YAWN! Mom didn't even change her clothes. She wore her sleep t-shirt and sweats all day. In her defense, she didn't feel well, like her cold is coming back, so she wanted to rest. Also, it rained which means I don't get to go to the park. Still....a little dog needs SOMETHING to do.
Between raindrops, I did yard reconnaissance with my nose. If sniffing doesn't do it, I have to use my mouth. Periodically, I asked Mom to take me somewhere, but no luck. I had to occupy myself.
If Mom sees me sniffing out some unknown thing, she'll usually say, "leave it". Then she investigates, picks it up if she can find it and I have to pretend I'm not sniffing any more until she looks away. Yesterday, she didn't watch me in the yard so I nibbled on this and that.
In the middle of the night, I woke Mom up and told her I had to go outside because my tummy was upset. A little while later, she let me back in, but my tummy was still bothering me, so I didn't get back on the bed. Mom found some stuff this morning and cleaned it up--wasn't much. I wish I knew what I ate so I could avoid it next time.
It's sunny today. I'm hoping Mom will take her shower and get me to the park. You should see me plead with her. I can be convincing. Time to turn on the charm.
October 15th 2010 7:21 pm
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Well, pups, tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 2 years old. Guess what I get to do to celebrate? Agility! You'd think that would be no big deal any more, but Mom has a new idea about it that makes it even more fun. More about that later.
Today, Mom was on the phone, then rushed around, put me in the car and pretty soon we were in JoAnn and Art's truck on our way to Auburn. We went for an early dinner at a place called Strings. Mom kept saying, Mmmmm, this is SO good. I got to lie between Mom and Art, so I put my head right next to his foot. He is my favorite man-human. He loves me up when everybody is doing classes, so he and I are special friends.
After lunch, we went to a house where a woman and a boy were standing outside with a dryer. It's not the kind Mom uses on me at the grooming shop. It's great big.
After we got the dryer into our house, we went back to JoAnn and Art's where I got to play with Breeze. The agility course was already set up for tomorrow which makes running with Breeze lots more fun (look at the brace-team movie on my page to see us run through it--at the end of the movie).
Here's Mom's bright idea. After she put our brace team movie on youtube, some movies came up about "agility brace teams". Mom watched them and sent some links to JoAnn. They agreed that Breeze and I are naturals for that. Tonight, with the agility course already up, Mom and JoAnn started herding us through the course together. What fun! I would jump and Breeze would jump, she would go through the tunnel and me right after her. We went over the A frame together, but she skipped the tire. We both got through the tunnel over the little A-Frame and actually both hit the table at the same time! Mom and JoAnn just laughed.
So, guess what we'll be doing next summer? We'll probably keep playing agility together until the end of this season, too. Tomorrow, for my birthday, Mom promised that Breeze and I can run the agility course together. Fun, fun, fun. Can you believe that's actually a dog sport? I must be living right.
October 13th 2010 8:09 pm
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What a busy dog I am. No complaints, I'm just sayin'...
Today after the park, Mom took me to physical therapy. Today, she saw someone different, a therapist that worked with her a long time ago. Martha is a PT who helped Mom heal some very old trauma in her body, so Mom likes her and trusts her a lot.
I lay down on my mat and was aware that Martha worked differently than the other PT. Right away, she was getting energy moving in Mom's head and neck. I had to sit up and check on Mom because when her energy changes, I have to see if she needs me. Martha started to watch me and see what I was doing to help her see what was going on with Mom. This is a different way to do my job, but Martha speaks good "dog" and got what I was telling her.
When Martha was done, I could feel how Mom's jaw was, so I did a whole series of partial yawns. I was trying to help Mom release her jaw, but no luck. You can only do so much, right pups?
After PT, we went to lunch. On the way to the next place, we pulled over next to a school so I could walk around. I got to pee and sniff, but not for long.
Next stop? The dentist's office. Poor Mom. This is NOT her favorite place and her head had already been worked on. When we got into the little room, I gave Mom my worried look. She smiled, not anxious. That was good. No big deal.
A dentist--not Mom's regular one--came in to see what happened when Mom's tooth broke off. He said something about a crown which Mom would prefer had to do with royalty, but means REALLY expensive dental work. She didn't groan out loud, but I could hear her inner groan. Yawning isn't going to help on this one.
We had time to come home so I could play with Belle a bit and then off we went to school. Breeze, Cammy and I got to play before and after class. Mostly we just lay there and watched. Cammy and I demonstrated drop on recall. Then Breeze and I demonstrated heeling in a team.
Blitzen came to watch tonight, too. His back has gotten really bad. He has been taking prednisone and his muscle tone is all gone. He looks like an old man and isn't getting better. Everybody loves him so much. It's so sad. He got to play with Breeze a little, though. He likes to put his whole mouth over puppies and hold them down because he's the leader--after the humans, of course. He used to do that with me. It was Breeze's turn tonight. She did what I did and rolled over and puppy giggled. Blitzen acts so tough, but he's just a big goof. At least he is coming to hang out with us and watch classes again for as long as he can.
Anyway, lots of work today and a good amount of play. I can't wait to see what we're doing tomorrow.
October 9th 2010 6:35 pm
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Where does a little dog register an official complaint? A human should NOT be allowed to leave a completely devoted little dog who takes care of her human 24/7. That's just wrong!
My day started out really good. Breeze and I got to run while our humans set up the agility course. Then the other dogs came, so we lay quietly (being examples of good behavior of course). Guess who came to agility? Lina! She's that beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback who played with us in Old Sacramento last week. This was Lina's first time at agility. First Mom showed Lina's mom how to lead Lina with a martingale, without the halti. Then Mom took them through the course and taught Lina how to do tunnels and jumps and dog walks and the bridge, even the teeter. Lina did great! She loved it. Her mom loved it too. They were both smiling. Lina's mom took her through the course several times. Lina's younger brother Bala is going through obedience classes right now and he came too. They were all tired out, lying on the grass and smiling.
Mom took me through a few times, but darn it, I kept forgetting not to bark, so we stopped a lot. Maybe next week I'll remember to keep quiet so I can run straight through.
After the equipment was all put away, Mom got in her car and left like she did last week. I remembered that. JoAnn and Lisa were both there, so I knew Mom was coming back.
Art brought everybody sandwiches, Mom got back with iced drinks and pretty soon, the new dogs in basic started arriving. There are three grown up dogs and five puppies in the class. One of the pups looks a lot like Belle and another one looks like Polar, only gray. All the humans caught on fast and the dogs, even the youngest wee bitty GS pup did great.
After class was over, the humans started gathering up stuff and putting it into JoAnn's truck. They weren't paying attention to Breeze and me at all. Art put us in Breeze's little yard and we watched while JoAnn, Lisa and Mom all got into JoAnn's truck and drove off. They had been talking about the animal shelter and working with the volunteers, foster parents and some of the dogs there, blah blah blah, but I didn't think it meant Mom was going to leave ME!
I started to call her MOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMM!! I kept calling her, but she didn't come back. Art said "quiet!" He just didn't understand. My job is my mom and not only is she gone, so are JoAnn and Lisa. I was SO worried. I kept calling Mom. Breeze got irritated with me because I wouldn't play, so she went in that plastic door where dogs go in and disappear. I don't like that door. That left me all alone, so I yelled more-humans call it howling because they don't understand. A human should know better.
Finally, JoAnn's truck pulled back into the driveway. My throat was sore. Art told on me, like I was being bad. JoAnn told him he should have brought me in the house and made me "settle". He hadn't thought of that. All I know is, I just wanted Mom to come back.
They let all of us dogs out to run, but I didn't want to. I wasn't going to let Mom out of my sight. She smelled like different dogs I haven't met before. I told her what I thought and talked and scolded her. I said, Mom, you know better. You could get in all kinds of trouble and I wouldn't be there to help you. Don't you ever do that again. She ignored my scolding, but I had to let her know.
On the way home, we stopped and went into a frozen yogurt shop where a stupid girl backed up into me. I was doing my job standing behind Mom or the girl would have backed up into her. The girl apologized and Mom told me "good girl" because I just stepped aside, then stepped back into place. I had to prove to Mom how important I am so she doesn't just leave me any old time she wants.
We're home now. Belle chewed on a yummy bone all day. I sniffed at it, but decided to leave it alone and come into the house so I could keep my eye on Mom. If I could, I'd put a leash on her and make sure she doesn't take off again. At least I know when she goes away she DOES come back.
October 7th 2010 4:04 pm
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Howdy pals. This week so far has had its ups and downs. The day after our fun time in Old Sacramento, Mom's nose started dripping and she blew her snout into a hankie all day. Because she loves me, she got dressed to take me to the park so I could chase my ball. She also needed to get some food, so we went to the grocery store. That was the quickest trip through the store ever. When we got home, she stretched out on the couch with the TV on and napped. Belle and I napped, too. We're good at that.
She wasn't feeling so great on Tuesday either, so we stayed home. Mom slept all afternoon until time for school. She took a pill, blew her snout and off we went. I'm getting used to not being able to run at school, but things have changed. When I got there, guess who met me? BREEZE! And we got to RUN! Wahoooooo! She said her doc had to take staples out of her tummy--ouch--and now she can run and play.
Yesterday morning, after my ball chase, Mom drove for a long time which usually means we are going to a city somewhere. Sure enough, we wound up in Sacramento where Mom goes to talk to that nice lady who has a hard time not playing with me. Mom took me for a walk before her appointment. We saw an interesting man with two dogs helping him pull a train made up of two shopping carts. One of the dogs looked like Jolanda and the other one like Iris. His train was full, covered with a blue tarp and he had some stuff hanging off the sides, including a plastic gas container. With dogs helping him pull his train, Mom wondered why they needed gas. Mom's appointment with the nice lady went fast because I slept all the way through.
Mom still has headaches. They were getting better until now. Today, we went to a place that has slippery bamboo floors in the waiting room. I had to put on the brakes at first because that is a weird sensation. A lady in the waiting room thought I was going to pee...silly woman. I don't pee inside. Sheesh. Mom filled out some forms and a lady took us back into an itty bitty room where Mom had to figure out where to put me. Since I'm so small you can imagine how little the room was.
The lady seemed nice, asked Mom lots of questions, made notes, then put this weird crown on her head. She told Mom to move her head around in different directions and made notes. Then Mom lay down and the lady pressed and pulled on her neck and head. Afterward, she put that weird thing back on Mom's head and was really happy about the results.
I'm glad the lady is happy. Mom's headache is worse now. I can tell because she is squinting and rubbing the back of her head and just took two aspirins. She is fighting being grumpy so I know she doesn't feel very good. Mom says we're going to go back to that place so her headaches can go away. I'm not so sure about this. I'll keep you dogs posted. In the meantime, it's almost time for school and I'll get to run with Breeze! YAY!
October 4th 2010 5:42 pm
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Yesterday, Mom took me down to Sacramento where we met up with Lina and her mom. Lina is a new friend, a pretty rhodesian ridgeback. She is a little shy and a nice girl to hang out with. Our moms sat and yacked while I looked at the big green field and wondered why Mom wasn't throwing a ball for me. There were two boys throwing a ball back and forth. I thought maybe I could go play with them, but Mom ignored the whole thing.
There were other dogs around, mostly people though and lots of noisy music. It was a music and dance festival. Mom didn't seem too interested in that, thank dogness. Pretty soon, up walked Polar! COOOOLLL. I hadn't seen Polar in a long time. She wagged her poofy little tail and said Hi Rethy! Then she met Lina and we hung out some more.
Pretty soon, here came Jolanda! Wow. It's a party!
Our humans walked us all around Old Sacramento. There were LOTS of people there, noisy kids and people dancing in costumes to loud music. That sort of thing is hard on Mom, but she was with her friends who make it worthwhile. At one point, we walked up some stairs into a place with narrow aisle and all kinds of costumes. People were jam-packed in there. Mom and I went in with Lina and her mom. The humans looked at each other and said, "uh-uh" and walked back out. Whew. I didn't want to be in there.
My favorite part of getting together with our friends is playing somewhere which we didn't get to do. So when the humans took us to the coffee place, I didn't really want to stay on my mat. I wanted to creep and look around the corner--I was bored. Mom told me to get back on my mat which is usually no big deal, but...
Here are some pictures:
Our Old Sac Day
All in all, I had fun. It's good to see my friends.
This morning, Mom woke up feeling really awful. She has been blowing her nose all day. She took me to the park to run, then to the grocery store. When we got home, she lay down on the couch and went to sleep. Now she just blows her nose all the time, itches at her eyes and sucks on strong smelling things. Blecch.
At least I get to go outside and chew on the big knuckle bone Belle got when we left yesterday. She is such a good sister to share it with me. I'm one lucky pup.
October 2nd 2010 6:16 pm
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Today was agility day! YAY! The only bad thing is Mom has slowed me way down so I won't bark. I know why we're going so slowly, but sometimes I just can't help letting one out. That's a mistake. Then I have to sit and "get a grip" as she says before we can move on.
I love the back part of the course. I still like to skip the weave poles, but I don't get away with that. Once we get through them, I don't even want to bark because I can go full blast without Mom telling me what to do next. Don't tell her, but I basically ignore her at that point unless she stops me. That's when she directs me backward over things or takes me through tunnels or over jumps out of sequence. She just wants to stay in charge. Whatever. As long as I'm jumping or tunneling or going over big wooden things, I'm happy.
Today, after the humans put all the agility equipment away, they started talking about pizza. Pretty soon, Mom is driving away WITHOUT ME! I love being at school..it's like my second home. Mom made no big deal about leaving, like it was just a normal thing. JoAnn was sitting right next to me. Still, I got nervous because my job is to take care of Mom. I can't do that if I don't go with her, right?
She wasn't gone long. When she came back, she brought a big flat box that smelled REALLY good. The humans ate and before they even finished, people started driving into the driveway for another class. This is new--a basic obedience class on Saturday afternoons. That's cool. I love being at school, so all day there will be great. Mom will probably have a harder time with it because when we get done with agility, she usually comes home and naps.
Speaking of naps, I'm beat...think I'll go stretch out and rest until dinner.
September 30th 2010 2:58 pm
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We are going to dog class like usual, but some things are "off" this week. Last week Blitzen came back a couple of times. He is doing better with medication, his hind end isn't so floppy. But, he can't do demos for classes any more. Last week, Mom and JoAnn were doing demos with Breeze because she is a newbie and she doesn't have to pretend like she doesn't know something. Blitzen and I do have to act like we are just learning to make sure people get it.
Breeze had an operation on Friday, so she hasn't been able to do much. It's about puppy prevention. I had it done when I was a youngster, too, but can't say I remember it. I do remember wanting to run and play and not being allowed to. When Breeze and I are out on the yard in a "settle," watching the class, I tell her, "yep, this sucks. But you will be able to run and play and jump in your pool, again. Trust me." She rolls her eyes and gives that "harumph!" that teenagers do.
Lisa has a beagle named Cammie who sometimes demonstrates, but for some reason, JoAnn has been asking Mom to have me do it. Last night was recall and "finish" class. I can tell by which hand Mom has my leash in which way she wants me to finish. I'm supposed to pretend I don't know. Blitzen is better at that than I am. Maybe by next week, Breeze will feel good enough to get back to demonstrating--she is more convincing.
What's worse for me is that without Breeze being able to play, we just go to class and come home--no running. Mom has been taking me to the park and throwing a ball for me, but it's so hot she doesn't do it long enough. Yesterday, she iced up my cooling jacket and had me wear that while I chased the ball, but still stopped WAY to soon. *sigh*
A couple of nights ago, Mom stood up from the refrigerator without backing out of it first and hit her head really hard on the freezer handle. She is usually careful about the things she blurts out because Kermit is a chatty little parrot who repeats all kinds of things. Still, Mom let out a really bad word I have heard her say fewer times than I can count on one paw.
For the last couple of days, she has been having headaches that are getting worse. I go to her chair and stare at her. She gives me a "paws up" invitation and I climb up to put my head under her chin. If I could only dial the phone... Finally, she called and made a dr appt. Whew! Now, I can take a nap.
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