Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Caption This #8

So I'm looking at the shots I took while Euka and Micron were doing that weird labrador mouth play game and this one appears on the the screen.

I dunno, I get the feeling that some covert information was being shared here. Like Micron is telling the kid No, don't look at her! Just act normal and listen up . . .

What?!  Telling her what?!  Surely they're not plotting against the Food Lady.

Are they?

What do you think Micron is telling the new kid?  If you can read those dog lips, drop me a comment so I can get a heads up on things, won't you?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Four point mutt

Where does this persistent optimism come from anyway? It's not like I'm bolstered by past successes. I'm not even an unnaturally upbeat kinda chick. Yet there we went into the backyard all confident - the pup, the big goober dog and me - accompanied by the Canon and two sets of reindeer antlers.  

Gonna get me some cute holiday photos for the CCI card exchange, said that child's voice of naivete inside my head. Oh yeah, this will be so awesome.

And if awesome involves repeated lamentations of aargh! quit knocking them off! then yeah, we got yer awesome right here.

Because if one wasn't shaking the antler things off his or her own noggin, he or she was pulling them off the other's.  Then Euka would take off in a full gallop of puppy happiness with the merry sound of jingle bells coming from the head boppers in her mouth.

Oh sure, I expected this. It's not like this is the first time I've put head boppers on a dog, you know. But I really want this to work out so I can get those holiday shots.

I set the antlers on the lawn, then pause to putz around with the camera settings. Then this.

Look closer. Do you see the antlers held oh-so-gently in that puppy maw? The look of daring in those brown eyes? It's like she knows.

We'll start with the mighty Micron. He's been through this fun before, so he's experienced enough to realize the sooner we get this party started, the sooner he gets the good-boy treat.

But Euka says Incoming! She leaps, Micron blocks. With one meaty, baseball mitt paw, he insists she keep her teeth to herself.

Minutes later, still only one dog is wearing antlers. Micron is savvy enough to recognize that I'm wearing down, which he knows will be followed next by seriously lowered standards. So with a hopeful tip of the head, Micron helps Euka to snatch off those blasted antlers. And she will. Or sever his carotid. Odds are pretty even here.

Alright, that's it.  Wiping dog spit and mud off the antlers, it's time to change what I had in mind. No, not defeat. That's crazy talk. Instead I need to call in for back-up.  What are you doing right now? I ask the Husband. Nothing, right? He sees the look in my eyes, sighs and turns off the lawn mower to follow me back to the dogs.

Ok, I want antlers on both dogs, I explain as if he's not been through this exercise with me before. And the puppy will be right here in front of Micron. See, like right between his front legs. Exactly like that. And both of them looking at the camera. Here's a dog cookie. Got it? What? Don't look at me like that! Ugh, all right, get the puppy in a Sit and put the stupid antlers on her.

No, they're looking at you and the dog biscuit! Fine. At least turn Euka so her body is facing me.

Well, that's not any better.  

At this point, we're like a badly choreographed dance. The husband's moving back and forth to plop the head boppers on a moving dog, then stepping quickly out of the frame. I'm circling the three of them, clicking the shutter with that one last shred of hope hanging by a loose thread to my fragile sanity.

And hey! This one's kinda cute.

And with my fresh, but healthier, lowered standards we go with that shot. And the Plan B shots of close ups of the two of them individually.

Euka II

The Mighty Micron

And that'll do. Dog cookies all around for a job well done. A glass of chilled white for the photographer and her assistant.

Now, where are the Santa hats? Oh, Jager ...I got a dog cookie for you ...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A geeky holiday greeting

Some geek humor from Micron and I this fine holiday morning.

If this photo brings a vague feeling of remembrance, we posted it originally on Turkey in the raw.  A minor alteration with speech balloons to update for Thanksgiving this year.

A Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours. Safe travels to those on the roads. And keep in mind that finding a dog hair in the stuffing ain't gonna kill ya.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Like Cub Scouts tanked on Mountain Dew

Well, we tried to get y'all a photo of the Ohio Four together.  And yeah, we kinda did too. But not the image I had inside my head to create.

I'm ok with this, though. Eight week old puppies are going to make a ridiculously adorable photo shoot no matter what they're up to. Here we have the action packed shots of Ella, Everett, Emma and Euka II from the Canine Companions for Independence E Litter.

We start with the countdown with four puppy wranglers. Ok, so 1. . .2 . . .3! Step aside!

Ella is first to bail out. Something amazing has captured Euka's attention; she's on the far right.

And on Emma's heels is Everett. Euka is still laser-eyed onto something.

 A kicky dance step by Emma shifts Euka's attention to the exodus of her peers.

Emma says  Hey! Wait for me, you guys!

And not content to jump step off the bench like the others, Emma attempts a full over-achiever style leap. Meanwhile, Euka is left to man the fort, the only thing holding her back is a pink leash and the knowledge that she now owns title to this piece of prime real estate.

I was told later that the best way to get the pups together and calm is to catch them right as they're waking from a nap.  When they're still in that sleepy huh? mode.

Not being aware of this photography advice, we went the polar opposite and tried to wear them out with a session of Play Date Extreme. So, what we ended up with were four very, very jazzed up puppies with the attention span of a goldfish.

That would be three seconds, you see.

Sure, there'll be more opportunities for the Ohio Four. And we'll capture all that adorable stuff and get 'em right here for ya.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Changes in latitude, changes in attitude

Alright! A good hair day, now that's a lovely way to start my morning. To my amazement, these ultra fine, straight-as-string hillbilly locks are tamed down and lookin' sassy. Now that's something to celebrate. I'm gonna video conference someone today, y'all.

Oh. [sigh] It's raining. Fine. I put the post-it note back over the webcam eye on the laptop to block it from any unintentional viewing.  I'll just go old school and phone people today, I think as I leash the puppy for the first of many potty breaks. 

It was a Work from Home Day last Monday. This was also Day Three of Euka and I getting to know each other.  I always seem to be four paws away from being an animal hoarder (how many mammals can I fit in this house and still be married?), so being vigilant to the changing homestead dynamics pays off big time.

Micron, our change of career and former CCI puppy, was rather unsettled to find he is once again in the position of shared attention. The first couple of days, Micron would agree to be in the same room with the little usurper, but he kept his back to all of us. Dog language for being pretty peeved about our poor decision making skills.

I knew he was really put out when treating the dogs during a training session. Everyone in a calm sit, attention on the handler. Good dogs, well done!  A puppy kibble is gifted to Euka, Jager and then Micron. Micron took the kibble, then opened his mouth to let it fall out. Not even the energy to  spit it out, but just let it drop. Good grief, you big baby.

This didn't bug me overly much. Just like when we introduced young Yaxley, Micron will process this change in his life and eventually warm up to the puppy. 

And as the week progressed, Micron finds comfort in knowing that he's still dearly loved and rides in the car haven't stopped. Meal times continue to happen on schedule, even though the puppy's exclusive noon meal is kind of a sore spot. So Micron's made a smooth transition from talk-to-my-back to tentatively sharing the dog bed, then finally full out play sessions in the backyard. Moving along nicely here, I think.

And Jager, our terrier All American mutt, is a pro having been through this puppy thing a few times. As a professional victim, he accepts his role as a squeak toy and pin cushion for needle teeth. He also knows that eight week old puppies don't climb stairs. The second story is Sanctuary for weary, gnawed upon older dogs. Well, for now.

Ah, but what about the cat and his visions of grandiosity, you ask? Honestly, I really didn't know which one to be afraid for.  Who will be predator and who the prey? I knew to keep a close watch on this new relationship.

To discourage prey drive in the CCI puppies, I don't want to introduce a cat that will allow himself to be chased. Which is one reason we have Bodine around here. This cat will stand his ground or he will until bodily shoved by three dogs moving through a room.  I've seen this cat weave between the legs of happy canines (You're home! You came back! say the dogs) only to get plastered to the kitchen wall in all the excitement. And the honey badger just doesn't care.  Hey, Food Wench, says Bodine, Sovereign Ruler of Sword House. My bowl's empty again. Fill 'er up, why doncha?

Now take a sec to check out this photo below with Bodine and Euka. What do you see taking place here? No, no, you're right. Bodine is indeed sitting upon a sheet of cardboard that I set out as a cat trap to keep him off my laptop keyboard while I'm working. Right, normal stuff. No big deal.

But an interesting turn when Euka grabs the cardboard cat trap and starts pulling it across the kitchen floor.  Tug-jerk-slide, tug-jerk-slide. The cat rides bumpily along like the dog is learning to drive a stick shift.

And look at Bodine's posture, that look of regal entitlement.  Mush onward, you smelly beast of mine, says Bodine. Deliver me to the royal kibble bowl before I fade to a skeletal state.

So what a busy week for this little critter, Euka. A flight from California to Ohio to be met by cooler temps, different digs, furry friends and her new puppy raisers. And she's taking it all in like a champ.

Ever curious and always moving, with the heart of a lion. This Euka is going to be a blast to have around for the next year or so.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A California Blonde in Ohio

Micron: Ow-ow-ow! Holy dog! Really? Ow!

Euka II:  Rawr! nom nom nom

And it begins.

We had started off our Saturday in the usual quiet, routine driven manner as we'd become accustomed. But with the full awareness that this was one to be savored.  In a few hours we were going to toss some drama into daily mix. On purpose and everything. The little polar bear pup, Euka II, was due to arrive.

After picking Euka up at the Dayton airport and giving her a short tour of our homey little burg, we introduce her to her new digs. Can you handle the steps to the kitchen, you precious little package? we fret. Concerned, we carry her into the kitchen and set her gently down upon the retriever-colored tiled floor.

And like a little furry cyclone, she changed the dynamics of our homestead in a matter of mere seconds.

Dang, says Euka. This place is boring.  Rocking your world in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .


While Micron and Jager play out the clingy love scene of "you love me best, right?" I've got one hand busy assuring my undying love for a forever dog and the other attempting to disengage shark teeth from a soft canine body part.

That striped kitty tail has become an instant favorite
for puppy teeth. Not sure what the husband is
about with his hand, but it appears to be a countdown.

The cat strolls up from the basement to see what the ruckus is about, because if there's to be drama in this house, it is his to own.

You've got to be [expletive deleted] kidding me, says Bodine, Sovereign Ruler of Sword House, as he faces off the polar bear. What the heck were you guys thinking? I didn't approve this.

Bodine is swift in asserting his power over this new little serf of his kingdom, but it is met unheeded. The cat finds it hard to maintain dignity, and that swaggy saunter, with the puppy nose vigilant in checking out where the feline nads of steel used to be. Bodine decides to move to a chair to continue his quiet displeasure on this turn of events.

I have the leash and so I now hold all the Power, says Bodine.  
You are mine to rule.  
Rawr!, says Euka. Gotcher tail!

But even an eight week old puppy can't keep up this level of energy forever. Long after the rest of us have decided to call it a day well done, Euka finally starts to slow down. I just need to catch my breath for a minute, she says. Ha ha, just kidding. Rawr!

But yeah, she does shut down. In a slumber so deep that can only mean a full battery recharge. As we move in and out of the kitchen, not a blink or twitch out of her. She's out.

Oh, but we've been through this puppy thing before. We know her batteries charge faster than ours. We use the quiet time to recover, get some things done, grab some dinner.

And just in time too.  Cuz she's up again. 

Hey ya sweetie, we say. Glad you're here, Euka. We needed some drama around this place, we did.


Sleep, puppy. Sweet dreams, little polar bear.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The E Litter performs Puppy Style

It's the Canine Companions E litter -- Puppy Style!

Be mindful if you have your speakers on as the puppies' antics are set to music. Which may or may not be to your taste. The music that is, of course we all love the E puppies, right?  Personally, I'm looking for a recording of Disney's It's a Small World hoping it's potent enough to kill the gangum-style ear worm embedded in my grey matter.

Ok, remember the puppies' collar colors?  Here ya go.  Eliza starts the show, then tags Euka II for her performance. But yeah, all the puppies get a shot at their three minutes of video fame.

Emma (red)
Everett (blue)
Ella (purple)
Elmo (neon green)
Euka II (neon pink)
Emily (brown)
Ethan (light pink)
Eliza (turquoise)

A heartfelt Thanks! to Canine Companions for Independence for making this video for all to enjoy. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Piece of my Heart

Jorja - this beautiful creature is returning to CCI on Friday to begin the
 Advanced Training program to be an assistance dog.

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."  -Anonymous

Ah, I love this bit of profundity. A worthy life goal courtesy of the ever prolific Anonymous. This has hit a chord with me and many other volunteer puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence this week. 

Puppy raisers will be turning in their charges this week, the pups they've raised for the past fourteen to sixteen months. And many of these same folk will also be picking up their next CCI pup to raise.

Jorja's puppy raisers are two of those folk. After the good bye hugs and a few tears, Jerry and Jerri will  pick up Emma to raise next. Their nineteenth puppy to raise for CCI.  

Kind of like the circle of life, but with more dog hair on your clothes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Family therapy

So, asks Micron, when's this new puppy thing getting here anyway?

Really, Micron? I'm so glad you're showing interest now, I said. I thought you were rather lukewarm on this puppy situation. What changed your mind?

Seriously, says Micron  
When *is* that puppy gonna show up?
Because you're obviously getting low on blog fodder. As I raise the camera again to focus, Micron knocks the Christmas head boppers off with a left paw and begins chewing on them. I'm tired of you telling me to [chomp chew] do something "interesting" so you can write about it. I'm not a trained seal, you know. To add emphasis to this point, he drops heavily to the ground making a flump sound.

Of course you're not, I say. You're a highly trained, um, family pet. Ok big guy, I admit I've been putting  a lot pressure on you over these past few weeks while we await Euka II in all her adorableness. . . .

I'm adorable, says Micron.

Right, I say. You are indeed my snickerdoodle.  All 85 pounds of you are nuthin but sugary sweetness. Ah, except when you get wet, then we're dealing with more of a mushroom soup sensory experience.

Yep, I'm like a cinnamon and sugar-coated, wait . . . what? Mushroom soup? I do not smell like mushroom soup, says Micron. Well, maybe.  But that's food so that's good too, right?

Sure it is, my love. I say.  Look, let me give you a break this week. I've been talking with the family of one of your littermates, Madden. They tell me he's now certified in Pet Therapy just like you are.  But with a different organization than Miami Valley Pet Therapy, since Madden lives on the East Coast.

I remember my brother Madden, says Micron. A squint as he tries to picture him.  He's a great guy and all but he's kinda, well, different.

I think the word you really mean is "unique", I correct him. Until your M litter came around I never saw a brindled Lab/golden coat before. He is the most striking dog I think I've ever seen.

[cough] says Micron. A tiny jingle bell rolls from his mouth.

Oh! Ok, let me be specific here. I attempt to clarify. Madden is the most striking brindle-coated Lab/golden cross that I have ever seen. Obviously the good looks run with wild abandon throughout the M litter.

Well, says Micron, tossing his head, it's not like we have a switch so we can just turn off The Handsome or something, you know. It's on all the time. 

Oh, I know. I say, rolling my eyes at him. Anyway, here's Madden's story as shared by his family, David and Regina. It seems you two handsome boys have more in common that just being a couple of irresistible chick magnets. The waters run deep here.

I'm thirsty, says Micron.

[sigh] I say.

Madden, in all his gorgeous glory.  I see the family resemblance, says Micron.

Madden - from the most beautiful litter in CCI history. Some of us were lucky enough to raise one of these sweet M's. We had high hopes for Madden before turning him back to CCI for advanced training. But Madden decided it was not the life for him, so he came back to join us as a pet.

But we sensed he really did want a job to do . . . just not be a service dog. So we joined Creature Comfort Pet Therapy which a fellow CCI puppy raiser Joan Baer created with Annie Murphy. Madden and I have been doing pet therapy and he just gets better and better each visit. Though not effusive, he just nestles into people and lets them know he is there for them.

He brings such joy. He has truly found his niche in life. Good boy Maddaroo.

-David & Regina
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