Likes: Lots of attention from Mom, doggie massages, belly rubs, to run and play with his friends at the Dog Park, car rides to anywhere, walks with Mom, Doggie Daycare, sticks (fun to carry around), tug of war, and our dog walker Trishie
Pet-Peeves: small spaces - he's a little clostrophobic
Favorite Toy: His corn cob chewy toy
Favorite Food: Dog biscuits, cheese, hot dogs, peanut butter, and homemade dog treats
Favorite Walk: Anywhere he walks with Mom is great! We often go for walks on the trails near our house and try to find new places to check out as well.
Best Tricks: High five, give paw, speak, sit, down, catch the treat, stay, find the bone
Arrival Story: I met Smokey when he was an 8-week old puppy. He came to the retirement community where I worked along with a pet therapy dog from a local animal shelter. It was love at first sight. When we put Smokey down on the floor, he ran around the room and returned to lay on top of my feet as if to say, I've decided - you're the one! Who was I to argue? A week after meeting Smokey, I went to the shelter just to visit him. I wanted to think this through before adopting a puppy because it's a big committment. I wanted to be fair to him and be sure I could give him everything he needs to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog. I had a friend come with me to the shelter to meet him and restrain me from acting impulsively. After visiting with him, I couldn't bear to leave him at the shelter. I adopted him that day and the friend I brought along for restraint helped talk me into it. I was totally unprepared (very out of character for me) and had to stop at PetCo on the way home to buy basic supplies. The next day I loaded Smokey into my car in the co-pilot's seat for our 3 hour drive to my parent's house for Thanksgiving where he was introduced to the rest of my family. Even though he had just come home with me the day before, he stayed by my side and curled up on my feet during Thanksgiving dinner. My family commented "he definitely knows he's your dog"! We bonded quickly and Smokey has become my best friend. He told an animal communicator that he was meant to be with me. I agree.
Bio: Smokey has striking bi-colored eyes (one blue, one brown) and a curly tail from his Husky parent. He's a very happy boy, loves other dogs, and we love going on adventures together. To date we've gone on a 90-min. canine cruise on Lake Michigan, gone to pet fairs, and taken road trips to visit friends in Michigan and Iowa. Smokey has even come to work with me and done some unofficial pet therapy work. We've gone through puppy kindergarten and beginner obedience class and he passed his Canine Good Citizen test. We hope to do more pet therapy as he grows out of puppyhood. I thank God every day for giving me such a wonderful friend in Smokey and allowing me to be his human guardian. Animals are such pure spirits and they have so much to teach us if we will just be open to it. Smokey inspires me daily.
It's been several months now since we lost our dear Sheba. She went to the Rainbow Bridge on Christmas Day, 2008 and my mom and I were devastated. We've had some wonderful support from our dogster friends which has been so very much appreciated. It's really hard to lose a member of your pack. Sheba and I had settled nicely into a routine and we gave each other companionship. It was nice to have another dog around. She clearly understood the rules of the household - after I explained them to her - and once she understood we didn't have any squabbles. Basically the food toys and bones were all mine, and the squeaky soft toys and balls were all hers - this worked out well. When we went out for walks together, she would bark at the dogs I didn't like and would stand right next to me as if to say, "I'm siding with my brother Smokey. You mess with him, you mess with me." When we would see Smokey's dog friends, she would be polite but was not that interested in other dogs, which was fine because then I got all the attention. We co-existed very peacefully and found comfort in having the other around, especially when mom had to leave us at home. Sheba officially retired from her public life as the official house dog at mom's assisted living community in July, but she continued to go to work with mom at least 1 day a week. The rest of the time she stayed home with me and she told me she enjoyed that quiet time. Sheba's passing was a big shock to my mom and I. We grieved for a while, but we're doing better now. I really moped around for about a week until I saw my best buddy Wrigley and his mom Suzy when they came over to take me for a walk while mom was at work. Somehow that really perked me up and I began to see that while much had changed, there were still things like Wrigley that I could count on, and I began to feel okay again. As a dog, I find routines very comforting. My mom took it all a bit harder. That first time she put down one food bowl instead of two, picked up one leash instead of two, went back upstairs to see Sheba's bed with her favorite pink piggy squeaky toy just as she left it - well there were a few tears of sadness. Mom still hasn't touched that squeaky toy but she will eventually. So many people have asked if we're going to adopt another dog. Mom was even offered a golden retriever puppy. We had already talked about it and decided no. We're fine with just the two of us (and Holly the cat). I see my best buddy Wriggly almost daily when he and his mom come over to walk me while my mom's at work. Then when mom's home, we have a lot of quality time together including some great long walks. I stick very close to my mom's side and I think we've grown even closer than we were before. I know she needs me and I need her too so we're a good pair. We're helping each other work through the sad days, which are now more like sad moments. We have so many good memories of our time with Sheba so it is bittersweet. We're going to go back to visit that lake that Sheba loved so much last summer. We have decided to rename it, Lake Sheba it her honor. Yeah, she would like that. I'll bet she's smiling.
I've been very busy so it's been a while since I've updated my diary. My mom's "work" dog Sheba has come to live with us. Sheba is the "house dog" for the assisted living community where my mom works. Sheba loves her job but decided she needed some down time and a home life to balance things out. A few overnight visits became extended into a permanent thing and Mom says I've adjusted very well. It took a little getting used to but I really didn't mind and kind of enjoy having another dog around. Sheba and I had to work out the toy situation but she now understands that basically...they're all mine! She has some special squeaky toys that she just loves and I have no interest in so we do get along quite well.
I also go to work with Mom once a week but I tend to get a bit bored if there's not much going on. I especially love going to the third floor where the people with Alzheimers live. Mom says I have a special knack for understanding what people need. I have one man in particular that I like to visit with. He really likes dogs and likes to walk me up and down the hallway. I sometimes get a bit nervous with other people walking me, but I looked up at Mom to ask if it was okay and she told me yes and that she would stay with me. That's all I needed and off we went. I didn't even protest when he held my leash a little too tight. I have helped to calm him down and distract him when he gets aggitated and my mom told me how proud she was of me for helping him. I felt pretty proud of myself too! Although Sheba is great with the residents and can literally sit for hours on end just getting petted, she gets intimidated by our special Alzheimers residents. So Sheba and I each have our specialties. People don't realize it but therapy work can be very draining for a dog. We really put ourselves out there and take on the problems of the people we're helping but it's so worth it!
You may have noticed that my mom changed out my pictures to reflect some of my adventures over the past year. Mom and I took some additional training classes together in preparation for therapy work and the last class was held at the local fire station. I just loved hanging out with the firemen - hey, my name IS Smokey after all - get it? Some of the other dogs in our class were a bit intimidated by the fire gear and equipment but not me. I showed them there's nothing to be afraid of. I've seen a lot of these guys by hanging out with my mom at her work but I really had a blast.
Two of my other highlights from the last year were going to Lakewood Dog Park - a HUGE offleash dog park where I got to run and explore in the woods with my best dog buddy Wrigley, a Britney. Wrigley and I also went to the Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago this past summer and I went swimming for the first time - I did some full-out dog paddlin' and I loved it! I tried swimming in Wrigley's pool but didn't care too much for that so I just floated in the pool on a raft -- now THAT was COOL!!! I can't wait for the weather to get warmer so we can go to some more outdoor cafes, concerts, boat rides, beaches, dog parks and long walks. So, as you can see, I've been a pretty busy guy. I have a very full life and am fortunate that I get to have so many adventures. See you at the dog park!
Woofs and Wags,
My mom has been sad and I've been trying to help by giving her extra love and understanding. She told me that my feline sister Jezebel went to the Rainbow Bridge and that she misses her deeply. I know that Jez was an old kitty - about 20 in human years - that's ancient in dog years! And that Jez has been sick. Mom did her best to keep her comfortable and put a heating pad in her bed for her, and cuddled with her at night and brought her food to her on the days that Jez didn't feel like coming downstairs. Mom worried about Jez a lot and would run to check on her if she heard her cry. Jez took a turn for the worse this past weekend and mom kept hoping she'd rally again, but she didn't. Mom carried Jez around in a blanket all day and cried for her before she took her to the doctor. Jez didn't come back home with Mom and Mom's been so sad. I've been trying to be an extra good boy for Mom and I even let her brush me for the longest time as it seemed to help Mom feel better. My other feline sister Holly and I know that it was Jez's time and we understand these things better than most humans think we do. Our job now is to comfort Mom and share our love with her and help her to stop being so sad.