Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Mmmwah

Today's WW pic is a repeat from last fall's post Turkey in the Raw.

Because I love the essence of mutual adoration captured here between Micron and his new toddling friend. And because I had a nightmare about Micron last night and he's heavy on my mind this morning. 

Off now to hug my dog.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unicorns, dog frogs and the odd duck

Dog Frog and his noshable  friends

Introversion ain't all it's cracked up to be

Sometimes it's tough living life as an introvert in a world that seems to be run by extroverts. You got all these Type A people out there on the front of the stage running the show, while all us quiet, unassuming folk are back in the wings holding things together. Go on out there, we say, we got your back, dude.

According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you can sum up these personality diffs this way:
  • Extraverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented.
  • Extraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence.
  • Extraverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction.
  • Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone
As a highly functioning introvert, I'm pretty much in agreement with all this. I'm ok with the task of being the thinker behind the doer. And while I absolutely can do high energy adventures like give a speech or go to a party, it's just that a nap afterwards would be quite nice.

I'm somewhat familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test thingy, having gone through it a couple of times or so in the interest of career development. And while the results provide some comfort to know that my core personality doesn't change, it remains unsettling to find that I fall into an "exclusive personality category which contains only one percent of the population."  Huh, one percent. I try to think positive as I ponder on this nugget of info.

So, I'm unique, y'all! Creative, clever and sensitive! As rare as a unicorn in a world of plow horses!  No, no of course I know what this means. If you should find your personality style anywhere less than even 10% of the general public, well, it means people look upon you as a bit of an odd duck.

And so thanks so much, Myers-Briggs, for confirming that with your nifty little test.  Like the high school experience wasn't enough to prove it.

Socializing the yellow dog

So, you might think taking Yaxley out for socializing would present a challenge for me. In a world where I prefer to go about my business within an imaginary cloak of invisibility, that taking a dog would knock me off my groove. It's true, walking Yaxley through "no pets allowed" facilities negates the invisibility cloak. You're gonna get noticed.

It can be turned into a game, of sorts.  I flash a friendly smile at anyone we encounter who makes eye contact. The sport of it is to tally up the reciprocated smiles against any askew skunk eyed glares. The smiling faces always win (there's bonus points if you get an awww).  Skunk eyes can go on their way and live to stink up someone else's day, I say. But only because I'm weird.

After reading fellow dog blogger Something Wagging This Way Comes'  post titled  5 Ways Dog Save the World, I was reminded of our local farmer's market and their no-pets-rule. A rule that I find a little off. The PNC 2nd Street Market is an effort in sustainability with organic food and handmade natural products. Come on folk, what's more organic and natural than a dog?  But really, I do understand. Space to move about the indoor market is limited, not much room to maneuver a dog through there, organic or otherwise.

Animal Snackers Bakery
In the winter months though, the crowds have dispersed providing a shopping experience at a leisurely pace. Yax and I popped by the 2nd Street Market for some power socializing.  With his CCI logo cape, he is easily identified as a trainee. But he pulls himself off as a pro. Walking by my side, sitting when we stop. Shaking paws on command as he meets toddlers and adults. A fine ambassador for CCI, he is. Good dog, Yaxley.  

We made time to stop at the Animal Snackers Bakery, a shop run by the volunteer group Friends of the Humane Society.  These folk make healthy and tasty dog cookies as fundraising for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. I stop by here every trip to the market to grab some baked goods to support the fine work these volunteers do. And because the dogs love it when I bring home some goodies for them. They nosh upon all of the varieties with eagerness, but it does seem their favorite is the peanut butter Dog Frogs.  How can I tell? I measure the drool strings.

Hey Food Lady, the cookies are glowing!
Kinda like a unicorn does!
The farm market experience gave us a couple of things to check off Yaxley's New Experience List:

  • Tight traffic areas and how to position the yellow tail safely.
  • A really big guy in a clown suit making balloon animals.
  • Balloons popping before becoming said animals.
  • A dog cookie store and ignoring the treasures that are within easy reach.
Another successful outing with this masterful puppy. He went out there and wondersmacked the world while raising awareness of Canine Companions for Independence.

Ah, twas a good day. Now, please excuse me, won't you?  I think I've earned myself a cat nap.  Wish me sweet unicorn dreams.

Chickie Chompers

The dogs aren't the only food motivated ones here. Tasty fare from Baan Thai Noi

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Vintage Dog

And just who is that adorable toddler? Why, that's the Food Lady herself with my first dog.  It kinda looks like I'm teaching Sissy to speak. More likely I was hoping not to get my tender little digits nipped by the little terrier. It's all how you interpret it, I guess.

When was this taken, you ask? Well, let's just say somewhere after the Beatles hit U.S. soil but before space travel became more than a dream.

After I showed this photo to a dear friend, she noted that my personal sense of style was my hallmark even then. It's not everyone she says, that can rock the socks with sandals look.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dog bling

Welcome! Come on in and have a seat. Grab yourself a Diet Coke and make yourself at home. No, no it's ok. I'm not going to show you the slide show of our last Grand Canyon vacation or try to sell you plastic bowls that burp for freshness.  Nothing like that.

Well, maybe just a little like that. Now we all know this isn't the place in the blogosphere where you can count on finding the latest in product reviews. This sort of thing ain't my bag, baby. (Austin Powers, 1997).  Having my choice of druthers here, I'd druther just talk about the derring-do's of the yellow dogs and post a photo or two.

And because product reviews of my favorite things might be something like . . .

The heated cat bed!  

No longer the place I was going to store those old CD's.  Instead that cardboard box I was saving was commandeered by the cat. And setting the thing on the printer keeps those privileged feline nether regions nice and toasty warm.  Energy savings in one little corrogated package.   

It doesn't bother him a bit that he's oozing random body parts out of it. I guess the side benefit is the natural face lift.

Levitating dog toys!

When tennis balls aren't bouncy enough, we have the gravity defying Go-nut!  After your dog gets the hang of catching this rubbery toy, keep the challenge going by having them fetch it while walking on two legs. 

Designer doggie pharmaceuticals

After a second trip to the vet to staple Jager back together, I asked if there were such things as anti-terrier meds.  Can't we just knock him down a notch on the hyperactive scale?, I ask. You know, drop the needle from Completely Maniacal to maybe just Flipping' Freaky?

Apparently not.  Obviously our vet doesn't have a terrier.

But of course, I know she's right.  I just need to keep Jager on a shorter leash, so to speak. And anyway, I have other dogs in the house to consider.  I mean, what would happen if, say, Micron got into the anti-terrier meds?

I'd never the college drop-out off the sofa.

The Super-Grip Camera Strap!

Handmade and customized by special order by Sassy Strap. The super grip feature is actually a manual setting. And by manual, I mean it's me gripping the camera while two yellow dogs play an impromptu game of tug o'war.


Stylin' Dog Bling!

Ah, but there's a shiny gem in this mixed bag of treasure. And while Micron likely looks upon a Christmas gift of a new dog collar kinda like the kid and new crew socks, well, I'm rather jazzed about the bling of it all.

Micron models the Celtic Knot design
A dog collar?, you say, can't you just pick one up at the pet store?  Sure, you could. If you were happy with some ho-hum look for your dog. As they say, don't dress for the job you have. Dress for the job you want.  As for us, we're motivated to keep Micron looking good.  I keep telling this dog, he has a destiny.  A destiny that doesn't involve daytime TV and a can of Pringles. Now that life as a service dog is out, we don't know what's ahead just yet for the mighty Micron.  But let's keep up the GQ metro style while we figure things out, ok Mikey?  We chose Woof Wear Dog Collars to update his haberdashery.

So why this particular collar for my extra special dog?  Well, for one, it comes in so many snappy and clever designs, it's tough to choose just one. Even seasonal choices are out there for the opting. But this dilemma is easily remedied by the extra little removable tag switcher. The tag switcher can be removed from one collar and attached to another in a blink. Easy peasy to move the dog tags around, no pliers needed.

But the best part of it all?  These fancy collars are handmade by a fellow Canine Companions for Independence puppy raiser, Nancee Wright.  Afforable, durable and stylish, Nancee sells her canine bling online at Etsy.  A special added bonus - she donates part of the sale to CCI.  

Don't be envious of Micron. I've asked him to dial down the handsomeness, but he just can't help himself.  And with the new Woof Wear, he's too cool for school. But your dog could look this good too.  Check out Nancee's shop at Woof Wear at Etsy.  Tell her Micron sent you.

Are we done here? Oprah's on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Bodine breaks his fast

Bodine, the benevolent ruler over the realm of Black Sword, breaks his fast with his minions.

We've discovered over these past few weeks with our new feline family member, that the term confident cat is synonymous with one obnoxious son-of-a-queen.   He fears neither man nor dog.  Yep, pretty much what we were looking for in a cat, I think.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not purely altruistic

Now don't go off and get the wrong impression of me when I tell you this story. I don't want anyone thinking I'm all stuck up or anything as I talk about an article from the New York Times. While, yes, I do have the New York Times drop an email update to me on a daily schedule, I really only scan the headlines. Put the Sunday issue of the Dayton Daily News and the New York Times side by side and watch me grab for the Dayton paper. Because DDN's Sunday issue has the comic pages in color.

So I admit it's not often that I actually open an article from the NYT email to absorb a story. I discovered that not only do the Times writers tend to use obscure words outside of the common tongue, they use several multi-syllable of the things in a row.

But here's an exception.

Is Pure Altruism Possible? says the headline. Blog readers who have stuck with me over these past couple of years may recall my ramblings about teaching catechism to seventh graders (Rambam's Ladder explains in further detail of these years of penance for me).  I have a foundational belief that I valiantly attempted to fit into the heads of these young people. Regardless of circumstance, each and every one of us has experienced blessings in our lives. And each and every one of us has a resource available to make a difference to someone else. This process of "giving back", my young friends, is the very least we should be doing within our lives
Tell ya what, chick-a-roni, says Bodine.   
If you fill my food bowl, I'll write your cards.  
How's that for altruism, feline-style?
So this altruism headline in the Times intrigued me. I got as far as the byline and saw that this opinion piece was written by Judith Lichtenberg, a professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. Well, that should have been my first warning to stop right there before my brain exploded. Who did I think I was anyway?  Reading a NYT article written by a philosophy professor? But I bravely trudged onward hoping for a nugget of information that I could actually hold in my humble gray matter.

But, oh!  I got it!  Well, most of it.  Ok, ok, some of it.  Anyway, it's full of some really great profundity and I'm finding it tough to summarize it here. I welcome all you curious folk to read the article in full here:  Is Pure Altruism Possible?  Grab that latte first, though. You'll likely be there for a few minutes. For the truly courageous, read on through the reader comments, where you will find even more deep thinking as provided as critique by Dr. Lichtenberg's fellow philosophers. My poor quivering brain sprung a leak after the first couple of those and I found myself reaching for that glass of Pinot Grigio.

The thought of pure altruism remains interesting to me as a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Sure, my very hope is that this incredible pup I'm raising will become an assistance dog for someone. Which in turn would provide a level of independence, companionship and a sense of security to someone else who is looking for such things.

Pure altruism however? Well, no.

Inga taming a polar bear at the
Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
Why not? Oh, as if, people. Because I got me a puppy in my house, that's why. I get nearly a year and a half of  happiness as only a fuzzy canine can give. Puppy breath and Frito scented feet in a cotton ball body, followed by months of having a constant companion. And adventures! Have you ever taken your dog to a museum? To the movies?  Well, I have and I gotta say, it's a blast. The dog is a social bridge as well.  I meet amazing people I never would have without this dog at my side.

And we work hard, too, with the socialization and training. Some different doggie rules than the pet dogs have. And at the end of our time together, this dog we love so much, this dog who is not our dog, leaves our home and is entered into the advanced training program at CCI.

Every puppy raiser has their own reason for doing this stuff, for going through the hard work, the happiness and then the resulting heartache. Hey, I'm no philosopher, but here's my thinking. During the short time we have these fuzzies in our lives, we fill them with our love. It's not a conscious choice to be sure, it just kinda happens along the way. Then, with a kiss and a long hug, we send them off to share that love. So when they are placed with someone in the next part of their journey, well, they carry that very love inside them to give forward.

And indeed they do, so I'm told. Person after person, story after story, I hear. Pure altruism? No. But I don't doubt for a nano-second that what I'm doing with these dogs is totally where I'm supposed to be.

During the holiday season, I joined up in a card exchange with other CCI folk.  Puppy raisers, graduates and others involved with the CCI program. Rules were simple, really. Just make sure you send a photo of a dog or two with your card.

Oh, it was wonderful picking up the mail every day to see what dogs were gracing the photo cards that day. I couldn't even wait to get the cards in the house before opening them. Dogs in Santa hats, dogs in snow, dogs at the beach, dogs smiling. Then one day, opening the day's postal treasures, I find myself standing in the driveway with tears in my eyes.  It's a beautiful Christmas card from a CCI graduate, a young lady I've never met. Along with a photo of her and her blue-caped CCI dog, she's left a handwritten note inside the card for each of the volunteer puppy raisers on her mailing list:

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season. Thank you so much for all the time, energy, patience & socializing you invest, in order to give someone else more independence & a greater quality of life. Loving & caring for a puppy you know you will have to give back is such a selfless gift.
Thank you for everything you do.

Dogs and dog cards.  It's a blessed life, it is.
Now if Micron could just plant his blessed behind into a decent Sit.

So in answer to your question, Dr. Lichtenberg, is pure altruism possible?  You know, of course it is.  But I can't stake claim of it here.

Because someone gave back to me.  And I'm feeling especially blessed today.

The photo we used for the CCI card exchange.
"Santa? Stop him, Micron! 
He's goin' for the dog cookies!"

Yaxley, Micron and Jager share some
Christmas spirit.

Aw, is Christmas over already?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Dessert first

What's that on your nose, Mikey?  Ah, cat litter. Gotcha a snickers before breakfast, did ya?

I'm gonna pass on the full face lick this morning, Micron.  Now go drink some water or lick Jager or something.

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