Sunday, June 3, 2012

What's black and yellow and furry all over?

A group photo from last year's CCI Summer Camp event.  Who's that pup not in a Down?  Guess.

I'm reminded of Henry Ford's quote about that hot car of the days of yore, the Model T.

"Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."

And how 'bout yellow, Mr. Ford?  I'm kinda liking the black and yellow choices of things. A glossy black coat is a thing of beauty, to be sure. But ah, the ever happy color that is yellow. So many shades to enjoy, from a light parchment to warm caramel. Sometimes with a hint of auburn in those deeper hues.

Right, I stopped talking about the Model T after that memorable quote and moved right into the topic of dogs.

It's true we get a limited color choice with the Canine Companion for Independence pups. With our labs and goldens, and crosses of both breeds, the genetics don't offer up much diversity in coat color. Instead we see personalities that are unique to each furry one of these canines. Taking a moment with the photo at top, you will see each black and yellow critter up there has their own look about them, as well.  The shape of the head and how it's held. Ears up for attention or a relaxed flat to the head posture. A couple of the furries are completely focused and ready for the next command from their handler. Others are waiting for the most joyful of words, Release, so to continue their play session.

Body language is helpful in understanding personalities too, don't you think?  Like guess who's been told he's the Golden Child around our house about one too many times?  That would be the little lord Yaxley who, at that moment, didn't see the need to conform to the masses. In the little guy's defense, he was a young fella when this photo was taken, just six months old for his first big outing.  Honestly, I was just happy he didn't break his Stay while still in the afterglow of puppy playtime.

Preparing to line up for the Memorial Day parade.
That's boxer Cheech behind Micron.

Now this pet therapy gig is a whole 'nuther animal, so to speak.  Micron met his new therapy peeps during the Memorial Day parade celebrated at the Dayton VA Medical Center. We joined up with the Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association to honor our local veterans and to give out some free doggie lovin' along the parade route.

More than just black and yellow dog fur sticking to folk's shirts here. Our pet therapy friends are as wonderful as they are diverse. 


Once you can move your eyes from Grace, the great dane,
enjoy the collie in a patriotic tutu.

Flash the goldendoodle is a popular pup in the
Northmont Library's children's reading program
Beamer proudly sports the nation's colors.
The adorable Sophie has been blind since birth.
She brings smiles to folk at our local hospitals.

The morning was gorgeous, but to my dismay, turned out to be a steamy hot one. I completely misjudged how the mighty Micron would handle the heat of the day. [sigh] A lesson for me.  This dog o'mine spends most of his day relaxing in a climate controlled environment and I do believe I've turned him into a delicate orchid or something.  We stopped short of finishing the parade and relaxed with a bowl of water under a shade tree to enjoy the event as spectators. And thank you, thank you to a fellow handler for sharing your cold packs to give relief to my panting dog.

'Scuse me, won't you?  My limo is here.
It's air conditioned, right?

Moving into some air conditioning seemed a logical next step, so we accepted an invitation to join a couple of other pet therapy teams to visit some of our country's best in the VA assisted living center.

'Scuse me, sir?. We ask a fella in the visiting area. I have a dog with me today who wants to say hi to you.  Do you like dogs?

The fella looks up from his lap, sees Micron standing there with his tongue hanging out the side. He says, Yeah, I do!, which is all the invitation Micron needs. He's all over this guy, tail wagging and head resting on his lap.  As another therapy team approaches, we hear stories about times in the Navy and life during the months at sea. Memories of youthful adventures told with smiles and laughter.  And Micron is listening.

I think we're off to a good start here, with this pet therapy gig.


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