Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Day

It wasn't a big snow yesterday, but enough of a blanket for the dogs to bounce around in. I let the two of them loose in the backyard and let them be just dogs for a while. Micron had a blast on his first snow day.

At 12 weeks, Micron is now wearing his puppy cape at the office. My co-workers are nothing less than awesome about working together to raise the CCI puppies in the office. I work with two other puppy raisers and Micron is the ninth CCI puppy to be raised in our building. So most folk understand how important it is to reinforce calm greetings and to ignore the pup if he's over-excited. For other co-workers not familiar with CCI, the yellow puppy cape is a signal that this isn't just another cute puppy to tousle about the head. 

Micron is starting to grow out of his baby face. He's getting his feathers on his legs and I need to pay attention to around his ears to make sure that long fur isn't matting. He no longer fits on the postage scale, so we use the electronic scale in the fitness room instead. On Thursday, he was 23.2 lbs. -- bigger than a bag of dog food.
He took on the stairs at work last week, mostly just going up though. He'd get to the second floor and then look down like somebody just played a horrible trick on him. By the end of the week, he did finally get the courage to try coming back down. Now he wants to chug up to the second floor every time we walk past the stairwell.

I'm attaching a link to the post of a 5 minute video created by Alex Lowry, an film student in California. He put together a documentary showing the final steps of the breeder/caretaker as she prepares the 8 week old puppies for their trip to the CCI regional centers. This shows Micron and his eight littermates, and spotlights Marti Madias, the BC for these pups. Pretty cool stuff:  A pup's journey to greatness.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inga update - Month One

Inga's report for her first month in AT (advanced training) at CCI came in this week. Of the six to nine months of AT, it's the first month that's the biggest adjustment for the dogs. They've moved into a entirely different environment while being introduced new behaviors. So as a puppy raiser, it's not good to get your hopes up too high when you get that first report card.
Inga is the first CCI puppy that I raised. I was told to expect to see her react in different ways than when she was with me -- and that is indeed true. Her already dominant personality is now a bit elevated with her CCI playmates and her trainer says she is easily distracted. This may be just a maturity issue, but of course this could also be just who she is. Her trainer will be working with her over this second month and we'll get a better idea by the end of January.
Regardless, anyone can see this is an amazing dog. Whatever Inga decides to do, in the end she will change someone's life for the better. We just have to wait to see how. My life has changed profoundly just having been her puppy raiser.
This month's AT report came early due to the holidays. The next update won't be until the end of January. I'll have to be patient over this long wait. Keeping my fingers crossed that she hits her groove before then.
The photos for this post are Inga wearing her rosette at her matriculation in November (top) and getting a snootful of her personalized cookie made by fellow puppy raiser, Esther (right).  Esther generously makes these cookies for all the matriculating pups. It looks absolutely yummy, but I don't have the heart to actually eat the thing [~sniff~]. I'm sure Esther understands.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The joys of . . . oh crap.

I just love puppies. A lot. Of all the amazing things about being a puppy raiser for CCI, one of the top benefits is getting a new furby every 14 months or so. They're cute and cuddly and have bladders the size of a field mouse. I do know the drill -- after naptime, after playtime, and such. They just gotta go. And Micron is a live-for-the-moment kind of guy. Just when I think we might have a schedule happening, turns out I'm expecting too much of the little fella. It's ok, really. Even his puddles are adorable. We'll get there; he's just a baby.
Micron handled himself remarkably well at the office this last week. My co-workers are wonderful about letting sleeping puppies lie. A few folk were disappointed to stop by during Micron's naptimes, but we still enjoy just watching him sleep. Even though he has a sweet setup with a cozy crate, he prefers to sleep in the middle of my cubicle or right under my chair. A cube neighbor, Jean, got the cute shot of Micron sleeping on the legs of my chair.
Since he's on a 3-meal-a-day feeding schedule, Micron gets a lunch hour like the rest of us on the cube farm. I got a shot of him showing off his noon meal to his new friend Kel, a CCI COC (change of career). You'll see a gate separates the two of them. The thing is, Micron really likes Kel. And Kel is more of a people dog than a puppy dog, if you know what I mean. Kel is the like the guy down the street that stands in the doorway in his skivvies and yells at the kids to get off his lawn. He just doesn't remember what it was like to be a puppy. But he did want that lunch kibble.
That about covers things for week two. I'm including a final photo of playtime between Micron and our family dog, Jager. Jager's role in life is to be a professional victim. He seems to be ok with his martydom and totally owns it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Workin' like a dog

We made it through two days in the office this week. Micron put in some long hours building his new fan base. Hugs & naps all day long, the lucky pup.

The little guy is inheriting some hand-me-downs from Inga. I'm getting some heat about that pink collar. I know hot pink is not befitting of a manly man like Micron, but this falls into the category of "whatever." He's growing like Bruce Banner in a bad mood, so it's not going to fit him in a couple of days anyway. The office crate is still in good shape. He did get a new mat for it; the old mat was worthy of bio hazard disposal [shudder]. Micron moved right into my cubicle world and made himself comfy. He was confident, friendly and not shy at all about taking nap breaks whenever the moment seemed right.

This week we're working on reinforcing good office behaviors: Sit, Down, Wait and Hurry outside. We're also working on the little gremlin game he likes to play where the goal is to grab the hem of my slacks and then shake like hell. Yeah, that's gonna have to stop. Like pretty much right now, little fella.

Because we could, we put him on the postage scale to weigh him on Monday. He weighed in at a beefy 15 lbs 3 oz. This is an 8 week old puppy, people. If he were a kid, we'd be hitting the Husky jeans section at Sears. Truth be told, the fellow is really in great shape. Micron's just a big-boned, healthy doggy. Makes his name just a little ironic though, don't ya think?

Our first week together is coming to an end and things are going just great. What a cool puppy we got here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Mighty Mr. Micron

Meet our newest Super Dog, the Mighty Mr. Micron. Sure, he's stinkin' adorable now, but just wait. This little guy is on his way to be something pretty awesome. Micron belongs to Canine Companions for Independence. He's the second service dog we've raised. Micron will be living with us until he's around 16 months old. Then he will go back to CCI for advanced training to become a service dog. Service Dog College, so to speak.

We're now on Day 2 with this little guy. He's sleeping through the night in his crate. It's just that he thinks 2:30 a.m. is morning. Not a problem, really. Who needs a full night's sleep anyway? That's sarcasm, folks. He's discovering the ugly truth of dealing with someone who is not a morning person. Stinkin' cute is only gonna get you so far at 2:30 in the morning.

You know how you compare your kids? You don't have to admit it to me, but you know you do. I don't mean in a competitive way, like Cleatis is shore a might smarter than Cooter. But how kid #1 likes peanut butter and kid #2 likes cheese pizza. Or maybe that kid #1 slept through the night at an earlier age than kid #2 did. All I want to say right now is that Inga never got me up at 2:30 in the morning. Nope. Never.

So anyway, what cutie. Micron is an eight week old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross (LGX in CCI-speak). When I saw his six week photo, I was sure he smelled like snickerdoodle cookies. He's been in a playful, happy mood since we brought him home last Thursday evening. He and our family dog, Jager, have hit it off quite nicely. Jager's such a good sport about this puppy raising business; what a great dog.

Our amazing adventures the past couple of days have been really not much more than doing the duty outside. Also, basic good behavior things like sitting before getting the food bowl and not grabbing my sneaker laces when walking. Stuff like that. It's going to get more exciting than this, I promise. In the meantime, enjoy the cuteness with me, won't you?

Inga - Update No. 1

Not much to share about Inga's advanced training yet. She's just finished her first week at CCI's North Central Regional Center. I'm told she's acclimating to her new digs and is now bossing around the other dogs in the play area. Yep, sounds about right. I got a peek at her on Thursday when we picked up Micron. She looked great.

She's a smart dog; one of the smartest I've ever encountered. Keep your paws crossed that she does well in advanced training. I'm hoping I raised a Super Dog. Dunno though. She's with the pros now and all I can do is wait to see what happens.

Here we go

Well, here goes nuthin'. My newbie attempt at blogging. Inspired by other CCI puppy raisers blogging about their experiences, I've decided to give this a go as well. I'm painfully aware of my otherwise simple existence in this world, so we'll keep the focus on my adventures as a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence. I may throw in an occasional thought about myself just to keep my ego intact, but please do skip over that silliness and just move onto the photos of the puppy. That's all we really want here and honestly, I'm ok with that.

I'm anticipating that readers will include both folk involved with CCI and those who may not be familiar with the secret language we use. If I can actually figure out what I'm doing, I'll set up a link to an acronym list.

I'll be talking about two dogs in my posts. CCI Puppy #1 is Inga, a 16 month yellow Labrador retriever that I raised over the past 14 months. Inga is now in advanced training at CCI's North Central Regional Center. I'll put out updates on her progress as I get them. CCI Puppy #2 is Micron, an 8 week old golden/Labrador cross. Most of the posts will be about Micron's adventures as we watch him grow and learn.

Alrighty then, let's give this a shot. Please leave comments as you wish, but I do ask that if you disagree strongly with something I've said along the line, respect my delicate ego and contact me privately to discuss.

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