Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's a family affair

The mighty Mr. Micron comes from a litter of nine pups; all stinkin' adorable. Now that these nine cuties have celebrated their seventh month birthday, it seems a good time to take a look at how a couple of them are doing.

The dad, Blaze, is a full golden retriever and mom, Nyrobi, is a lab/golden cross with a black coat. Some of pups sport a fluffy coat and the rest are smooth coated. Some black, some yellow and some, well . . . a little of both. 

Hey, I'm no geneticist, but I really thought labradors came in just the basic solid colors. Black crossed with yellow makes either black or yellow, you know? I'm glad to be wrong, cuz check out the stunningly handsome Madden.  Is that coat just amazing or what? And as a bonus, his puppy raisers Regina and Dave say he is a wonderful pup to raise. They took this photo on Easter Sunday and noted that he didn't need any bunny ears to dress up; his gorgeous coat and markings need no adornment.

I would agree.


Littermate Marco is being raised in Ohio and within driving distance for us. Marco is another black, fluffy coated pup. We met up last month for a CCI puppy raiser event and the two boys made time for a play date. Marco has a bit of brindling in his black fur as well. Yeah, I know he has his eyes closed in this shot on the right. Sincere apologies to puppy raiser Roxanne, but I really liked the wind-in-his-hair look that Micron is sporting.

And here we have Micron offering knot tying advice to puppy Yahtzee as he attempts to hog-tie Marco with the leashes.

Cute puppy alert

It wouldn't be right to fawn all over the successful M litter without giving heart-felt praise to Marti Madias. Marti cared for the pups from birth until eight weeks. By the time I received Micron to raise, he had been introduced to crate training, early socialization and had learned some fundamental skills. All thanks to Marti. This is cool enough, but realize she did this with nine puppies over two months--as a volunteer for CCI. Talk about a labor of love. Awesome work. 

The young puppy photos are courtesy of Marti. Above we have a newborn Micron ready to be weighed and measured. The shot at the very top of the post is Micron before Marti sent him off to our CCI regional center. Before being named, the puppies are assigned a color to avoid any mixups of who is who. You see that Micron is "neon green."

This is good to know because now we can identify him in the feeding frenzy below. And there he is bottom center with the neon green spot on his adorable butt. Check out the real estate that body stance is taking up. I'm told he was the biggest of the litter. Kinda makes sense after seeing this.
Here's a pair of fluffy yellows taking advantage of the California sun.
I'm not sure if this is Micron or not, but based on what's going on here, I'm willing to make an educated guess.
And how is the mighty Mr. Micron doing these days?  He's doing great, thanks. Except for when he's getting the snot beat out of him by smaller puppies.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Would you rather . . . ?

In a past life I spent a few years as a catechist at my church teaching a faith formation course to seventh graders.  "What?" you're thinking, "Seventh graders!  A few years?  Are you nuts? Why would you do that?"  I can actually answer that in one word:  penance.

Ah, kidding, kidding. No, actually I'm just an idiot and had no idea what I had signed up for. Although, once I got into the groove of things, it was a great time and I have wonderful memories to take with me to old age. So, you want to know the secret of how to teach morality lessons to 12 year olds without all the eye-rolling and sighing?  News flash . . . you can't. Disdain just comes with the territory. But I did have a super special secret weapon that got their attention every time. The book of Would You Rather . . .? This little tome peddles itself as "four hundred and sixty-five provocative questions to get teenagers talking."

Provocative questions, indeed. Want to do a quick morality check on your young 'un?  Ask question #341:

     Would you rather . . . wear dirty underwear or dirty socks?

Not provocative enough? Then think like a 12-year old for question #148:

     Would you rather . . . eat a hamburger in front of a starving child or destroy a child's self image?

That one was a little deeper. But to get a rise out of the entire classroom population, this one single question brought the most riotous response. Question #333 asks:

     Would you rather . . . watch Barney or Sesame Street?

There's something about Barney that just put seventh grade young people on the defensive. If a child psychologist hasn't written a paper on that subject, well they should.

All interesting stuff, you say. But why am I sharing this with you? Because I received something in the mail that raised a would you rather question for me.  Totally wonderful news, but caused a morality check.

I'm told that my first CCI puppy, Inga, has been selected for team training in May. I'm so jazzed about this, that it's crowding out any other thoughts. We are so close to seeing her be matched with someone. Cautious optimism; we're close, but not there yet. If a match isn't made during this team training, she'll wait until the next team comes through. But still, she made it this far! I'm doing a happy dance. Just in my mind, though. Otherwise, I'll just hurt myself.

Now that this is all in-my-face real stuff, no more imagining what to do if she doesn't make it. This beautiful dog I raised for 14 months, who was my constant companion during that time. This dog I loved and worked so hard with. Would I rather she graduate from CCI and become a service dog or do I want her back in my life? I've said all along that I wanted to raise a service dog and I meant it. Now I know that Inga is not ever coming back to my home. How do I feel about that?  Ah, reality smacks me in the face yet again. 

I do love that dog. I loved the time we had together. And I love that I was able to be part of something that could possibly change someone's life in a profound way. Hey, you know what? I'm ready to share that love. My dog, who is not my dog, is moving on. This is bigger than just me. That's my morality check and I'm feeling pretty damn good about it. 

Puppy raising for CCI rocks!

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