Friday, September 24, 2010

You're how old in dog years?

That's just for lookin' at, big guy.
Well, a big Happy Birthday shout out to the amazing M litter. These nonuplets, Mars, Marco, Marlena, Micron, Miwa, Molina, Madias, Madden, and Meryl, all celebrated their first birthday on September 23.

CCI's M litter is from Blaze, a golden retriever, and Nyrobi, a golden/lab cross. We caught up with some of these pups at seven months old. Now let's take a look at what they're up to as they hit their one year milestone. Here's Madias, Mars, Madden, Marco and Micron's updates.


Puppy Madias
Whenever I come across photos of this fellow I think to myself, what a gorgeous dog. And not just because he's a slobberin' image of Micron.  He is a handsome guy.

Madias is being raised in the northeast by 4-time puppy raiser, MaryAngela. When I asked for some fun facts about Madias, she says that he pretty much lives for snow. Last winter is was nearly impossible to get him inside. He has a "hurry" bell to ring when he needs to go outside to do his business, but if there's snow on the ground, the bell never stops. MaryAngela says she'll have to put a tag on him at turn in that says "must be placed in cool climate area."
 And he loves to "talk". MaryAngela has taught him to say "I love you" which he states excitedly to her family daily. [Blogger's note: I saw a video of this. It is adorable.]

Madias has an obsession with bugs. Whether he's gazing with his nose to the ground at ants scurrying around, or hopping through the yard chasing butterflies, he is always on the look out for some fun little critters to play with -- or eat.

Madias now

Puppy Mars
Mars works part-time at 7News, the ABC affiliate in Denver, and has a DogBlog that he updates weekly at He lives with veteran puppy raisers John and Marianne. Mars is the seventh puppy they've raised. I agree with Marianne when she says puppy raising for CCI is addictive. We can't imagine life without a leash in our hands.

Mars gets lots of extra attention because of his unusual curly black fur. He’s a three-hour grocery store dog. Puppy Raiser Marianne says littermate Madden must be a 4-hour dog. Scroll down to Madden's section and I think you'll see what she means.

For those who may not get the three-hour grocery quip; this refers to going shopping with your pup-in-training and having folk stop you to talk about the rock star walking at your side. Grabbing a gallon of milk is no longer an in & out trip if you've got an additional four legs with you. But this is a good thing, of course. We love the attention it brings to the CCI program. 

Mar's has the golden retriever Velcro personality. He wants to be with a human at all times, physically touching said human if possible. “What do you mean, I’m not a lap dog?” he says in complete bafflement. “OFF!” is his least-favorite command.

Mars feels that being left at home in a crate is a fate worse than death and will howl with sorrow and frustration. He’s the first puppy they've raised that unconditionally hates his crate. Being released from the crate is an occasion of such joy and rapture that the release command is immediately followed by “SIT!” in order to control the hysteria. Sort of.

Mars now

Puppy Madden

Madden is another Northeast Region puppy. He is CCI pup #9 for puppy raisers Regina and Dave who say he's a sweet, loving, gentle soul, the consummate retriever of all things but does not chew, is loved by one and all, loves outside exercise especially hiking the nearby mountains and loves, loves, loves swimming.

But what clearly makes him stand out from his sibs is his unique coat. That fluffy ball of mulit-colored fur has turned into a sleek flowing coated gentleman with just enough silliness to keep it fun. The photo above with the wine bottle was taken the week he arrived and Regina knew he would be the best invitation for the CCI Northeast Region Wine & Noses fundraiser coming this October. Maddens's love of water speaks for itself and he needs to be touching his big bro Doug the dog (COC #5) when napping.
Sharing puppy cooties with Madias
Madden has been mistaken for a Neuffie more times than not. Regina and Dave refer to him as our "horse of a different color" and he is a great ambassador for CCI. 

Madden now



Marco is being raised in CCI's North Central Region by Roxanne. He and Micron are close enough geographically that we can arrange the occasional get-together for the two boys. Roxanne and I have been asked if we think the two dogs remember each other and really, that's hard to guess about dogs. What's obvious though, is that they do feel a link between them and will start a play session with each other before interacting with another dog. Interesting stuff to watch.

A solo game of Marco Polo. Just not the same.
Roxanne mentions that Marco loves to carry things about the house. Socks, shoes, a bottle cap and a skull cap.  Actually the list goes on and tends to include such things as perhaps best left off a blog.

I'm a retriever.
Here's a shot from the earlier in the year. The fellas would be about six months old here. This was at CCI's May Graduation Ceremony using an offsite venue in Columbus. Micron was indeed in a conscious state; he just got a little motion sick from that SpaghettiOs-on-LSD carpet pattern. 
Marco and Micron at the May CCI graduation event

My two boys shared a birthday week. Both good lookin' bachelors; neither eligible. Derek turned a legal 21 this week and has an absolutely adorable girlfriend. And Micron is neutered. Sorry ladies. 

We got a birthday shot of the two of them when we drove up to BGSU treat Derek to lunch last weekend.

My handsome birthday boys
We asked the other puppy raisers for a few interesting facts about their CCI pups at one year old. We're seeing some similarities with this litter; water dogs, retrievers and cuddle bugs. And of course, the cool things that make each one unique.

So let's share some thoughts about the mighty Micron on his first birthday. Like his littermates, he is a people dog. He accepts spending time alone, but is very, very happy when you show up again to let him out of the crate. Also, like Marco he loves to carry things in his mouth. He'll walk up to you with his tail wagging so hard, the tip of it is hitting his rib cage to show you that, Holy Cow! Did you SEE this? I've got your dirty SOCK. Then go off to share the news with someone else.

He is also a remarkably laid back kinda guy. He's comfortable with sleeping in my office during the workday and snoring through meetings. He does look forward to puppy playtime at lunchtime with the other office dogs. 

Looks like somebody spiked the water bowl
 This is all fun stuff, sharing stories about these pups; part of the puppy raising experience. We're new at this thing. Micron is only our second dog for CCI.  But what a family we have.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went (Will Rogers)

Imagine this. You're exploring an old city cemetery during the early evening hours. You like this time of day because of the softly muted light. You're taking photos of an interesting monument and thinking intellectually deep thoughts about macro shots, f-stops and ISO settings -- you're in the zone. If you lean at this angle, is the depth of field too shallow or should you maybe bump it up to . . . and suddenly from behind you comes a deep bass "EXCUSE ME."

What do you do?  Turn around smoothly with an air of cool authority that says clearly, you wouldn't DARE accost me?  Or instead make a weird little strangling sob sound that is shorthand for, my purse is on the front seat of the car?

What did I do?  Oh as if.  Option B, naturally.  Just about dropped my stupid camera, I did.  Much to my relief the interruption to my artsy musings was merely a young college student from the adjacent University of Dayton who was taking his evening constitutional through Woodland Cemetery. Although I did make clear that I HAVE MY DOG IN THE CAR.  Perhaps a little too loudly. Thinking this may thwart any untoward thoughts against my chubby, middle-aged person.
Hey Fella, she left the keys in the ignition
Right. Oh, never mind.

The young man was merely curious, he heard stories about a haunting at Woodland. Something about a boy and his dog. He couldn't help but notice that I was taking photos of a monument of the same. Taking photos is right. I was trying to get a macro shot of the stone dog's nostrils (f-stop, depth of field . . .) when he caused me to jump out of my skin. But more on dog nostrils later in the post. 

So, what's the story on the boy and his dog; did I know? Are you kidding me?  Heck yes, I know.  Just give me a sec here to swallow first so I can get my heart out of my Adam's apple, though. Have a seat, young man and I'll tell you a story.

In the late summer of 1860, 5 year old Johnny Morehouse was playing with his dog near his father's cobbler shop in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Dayton was still a young city then and relied on the nearby river and the Miami & Erie Canal system for commerce with other Ohio cities. This was all before the Great Flood of 1913 when folk still had a tentative trust in the Great Miami River. Johnny went against his mother's warnings and was playing too close to the canal, when he fell into the dark water. His dog jumped in after him and tried in vain to save him. But Johnny Morehouse drowned on that summer day of August 14, 1860.

Johnny was laid to rest later that week in Woodland Cemetery. Legend has it that his dog stayed at the gravesite, refusing to leave. People would come by to bring food and water to the dog.

Then one day, the dog was gone and never seen again.

It's said that in late summer, at the last light of the day when the cemetery gates have been locked, you can hear a boy laughing and playing with his happily barking dog.

But really

Johnny's father was a cobbler, not a rich man by anyone's standards. The family could not afford a grave marker, even a modest one, for their only son. But a local businessman, Daniel La Dow, had heard the story of Johnny's valorous dog.  La Dow was a stonecutter and owner of a prosperous marble works in the city. He designed and created the remarkable monument that is at Johnny's gravesite. 'Tis truly a work of art that is not duplicated anywhere else within our fair city.

Take a break, hero dog. I got this.
The monument has no dates on it - no date of birth nor death. The only inscriptions are Johnny's name and the words Slumber Sweet. We see that after 150 years, the dog remains vigilant with a protective paw over the young boy as he sleeps. Forever to be alert and watchful in stone. At their feet are Johnny's cap and the toys found in his pocket that sad day. His ball, a top and harmonica.

Slumber Sweet
Woodland Cemetery states this is their most visited gravesite - and the most decorated. The site changes daily as families come by to pay their respects to this lost boy by leaving toys, trinkets and clothing. These items are later collected and donated to charitable organizations.

Now about those dog nostrils

To avoid cracks in the stone due to temperature changes, La Dow included an air vent inside the monument. This is a rather clever design as the air is released through the dog's nose. It is true that if you hold your hand near the dog's nostrils, you can feel it "breathe."  In cooler weather you can see steam coming from the nose.

What's really surprising to me though, in that in spite of the legends of this boy and his dog (I've only shared one story), we don't know the dog's name. This is lost to history as well as the dog's breed. I don't know, it seems disrespectful to me to even nickname this boy's dog. But what kind of dog is it? 

Isn't it obvious? Love, responsibility and never ending devotion? It's got to be a Golden/Lab cross, don't you think?

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