Sunday, July 29, 2012

I'd know your face anywhere

As I'm duck-walking to the nursery window [ow-ow-ow], a dark cloud of doubt is strolling smoothly behind me. A good mother would recognize her own baby, of course. So in about thirty seconds I'm going to find out what I am. A Good Mom or should we go ahead and call Children's Services now?

I'm tense with anxiety. Will I know at first glance which bundled nugget of baby goodness belongs to me in that room? Or will I stand there like an idiot, just pretending like I'm admiring all the beautiful infants that came into the world the past evening?

Right. I've gone with Option 2. Or rather, none of these squalling and wrinkled human beans look like something the Husband and I made. Well, that's just great. Now how to best handle this with the nurse walking towards me?  Which one is mine? is something I can't seem to force into intelligible words.

Instead I say, My baby's not in here. Where is he?  Because really, I don't see him. He's not in the nursery. My mommy radar is telling me this. That dark cloud has turned from doubt to concern and preparing to dump a rainstorm of panic about my head.

Oh, Mrs. Sword, says the kindly nurse. Your son is in intensive care for observation. We kept him there overnight just to keep an eye on him.  Let me get him for you.

We had a bit of rough go of it, the night my Favorite Kid entered the world. In the end though, all was well.  And some of the health worries we had over the past nine months turned out to be no big deal after all. The worst of it was a broken nose on the poor baby bean, which made a pretty gnarly first photo, I do admit. 

We were then, and still today, truly blessed.
_________________________________________

It's this blessed life that got us into this puppy raising gig with Canine Companions for Independence.  Sure, I love the part of bringing a new puppy into my home about every year or so, but I also get that feel-good thing about playing a small part in making someone's life better in a profound way. More about this is on a post from earlier in the year at Not Purely Altruistic.

Because CCI uses Labradors and Golden Retrievers, and crosses of these two breeds, we can get the pups in two colors: yellow or black. And people have asked me, don't they all pretty much look the same? How can you tell which one is your pup-in-training when there's a bunch of them together in one photo?

A puppy raiser knows, is my reply.  And we do. We can identify our pups at a glance - it's their face, their posture, how they move.

And honestly folk, even to the casual eye, isn't it easy to see each dog is unique in their own beautiful way?

Let's use the photo below as a fer instance. We're at the Ohio State Fair this weekend raising awareness of CCI at our meet-and-greet booth. Good for CCI and some great socialization training for our pups. These furries are different ages, even varying shades of yellow, but we'll look deeper into appearances than that. 

From Left: Yaxley, Hana, Oneida, Van, Natalie and Frankie in front.
The position of the head tells us quite a bit; three have solid eye contact with their handlers. The light lady in the center, the black-coated chick on the end and the big fella in front. Oneida, Natalie and Frankie are wearing blue capes identifying them as assistance dogs. Each has eyes locked onto their handler and they are not going to let their person leave their line of sight.

It gives me chills to see this devotion and their canine sense of responsibility.

The other three are pups in training. This photo op reminded be of the paparazzi moms taking pictures of a group of teenagers posing in Prom attire - the kids never know which camera to be smiling at. Yaxley is on the left looking at the puppy raiser to my immediate right. Eight month old Hana seems zeroed in on me and wondering if I'm good for a biscuit treat.  And Van is between a dog and a hard place back in the corner and yet handling himself well.

Just when I get myself all confident in doggy ID, I find this on the camera's memory card. Two yellow pups.


Ok, so one is Hana, the other Yaxley.  Both got each other's back for greeting passersby.  The pink leash helps me to pick out Hana without actually looking at her name badge. And Yaxley has her by a few pounds, too, so there's that.

Here's Oneida who is working a little harder than the pups. Here's how to properly greet people, young ones. Pay attention now, she says. A fully trained assistance dog, she shows her stuff by engaging folk with adorable hand shakes.


Just look at Frankie, here.  No ordinary pet, he has old soul eyes, don't you think? The wisdom of the ages on this six year old fella.


Alrighty, now a challenge for y'all.  If you've been following Yaxley for a while, this should be an easy one for you. Let's put your Puppy ID skills to the test.

Eleven pups in the litter, but we can take the two cutie patooties on the lower right out of the equation.  Nine yellow pups to select from here.

Which one is Yaxley, do ya think?


Hint: he's yellow

Drop your guess in the comments.  I'll let y'all off the hook with the answer in this week's Wordless Wednesday post.

Good luck and may the odds be in your favor.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: It didn't taste like chicken


And that, Yaxley, is the neighbor's cat, says Micron. Sure, it looks like something you'd want to roll around in your mouth for a minute. But I'll tell you, young Grasshoppa, it's a really bad idea. [shudder] 

'kay, says Yaxley.

And so begins the lessons from mentor to student. A photo from March 2011 showing a teensy Yaxley (the training cape goes all the way down to his adorable bottom) and Micron going all guru on him.

Twenty four days left on the Yaxley countdown.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Poptarts: not just for breakfast anymore

Next, please.
What did my sister mean when she told you guys "no poptarts in the car"?, I ask my two nieces. They've handed me a huge bag filled with various and sundry snack items. Goldfish crackers, fig newtons, cheez-its and other major food groups. So what's the deal with poptarts, I gotta wonder.

My query is answered by a robust giggle explosion. Oh, I see. The phrase pops into my head "dry as a popcorn fart."  I've driven enough cub scouts around town over the years to know to keep the windows cracked (we're cold, Mrs. Sword) and today I get the nagging feeling this two hour drive to the Kentucky Horse Park is gonna seem a bit longer than perhaps it should.

But I have to know. So, how did this get biological phenomena get the name of poptarts, I ask the girls. Amid more giggles and snorts, they tell me. In unison and I think another language. I get none of the back story. But the essence is there. Ah, but hopefully not literally.

And so begins our annual Kentucky Horse Park trip with the nieces. The trunk is full to bursting with the essentials of an overnight trip with two young ladies and an older chick, plus one yellow dog. Yaxley joins us for the adventure, his last big road trip before turn in to CCI next month.

Yax went with us last year as well and we shared some of our stories at Freshly Baked Road Apples. As I read this post from last summer, I see I made mention of Yaxley's problem of dog issued poptarts in the car. So we have a running theme here, I guess. Yep, envy me y'all.

I kept an eye on the weather reports for this weekend. I wanted to bring Yax along for more exposure to crowds and novel items, but not if it were to be paw searingly hot. But reasonable temps in the Lexington forecast, just a threat of a thunderstorm or two. I have no worries about thunderstorms and this dog; he's absolutely solid there. I got caught in a particularly nasty storm while driving a couple of months ago with Yaxley and Micron in the car. I pulled into a parking lot to wait it out.  Just in time, too. A thunderclap hit so intense it shook our car and set off the car alarm in the vehicle next to us. The two dogs were laying in the backseat calmly wondering when dinner was going to be. Nice. I've had storm anxious dogs before and this is a welcome break from that drooling drama.

I've stopped telling people ahead of time that I'm taking the nieces to Breyerfest in Kentucky because it sounds too much like a hillbilly family reunion. (A briarfest, huh? Y'all got a big family to have a whole festival.) But it's really a pretty prestigious event. Over the years, I've patted the velvet noses of such celebrities as the Hidalgo the movie horse, and William Shatner's All Glory. Some great shows in the covered arena and full access to the horse park.

It's a bonus to have Yaxley with us again this summer. With his CCI logo cape on, he is a rock star as we walk around, eclipsing some of the guest horses with his canine mini-celebritydom.

While the nieces take a few minutes to paint some horse models, Yaxley builds up his fan base.


Instead of watching paint dry, we set aside our tiny masterpieces and head off to find some novel objects for Yaxley to experience. We make our way to the petting zoo and are greeted by a welcoming committee. So what kind of welcome do you get when you bring a pooch into a petting zoo?

Not necessarily a warm one.

B-a-a-a-d dog.

This doesn't seem to bother Yaxley awful much. He's a little busy trying to get his head around the huge tortoise lumbering his way.


Ok, the thing is not a threat, per se and all.  But it does fit into the "that ain't right" category of the dog noggin. If you can't play with it, sleep on it, chew on it or eat it, then what use is it anyway?

The Museum of the Horse is a favorite on our list for the annual tour, as well. Because it's blessedly air conditioned and pleasant way to wait out a thunderstorm. Oh, by the way, you know how when you get flip flops wet they make that weird, wet squeaking noise when you walk? And if you call them poptart flops it can cause young girls to nearly need a change in shorts?

The museum volunteer welcomes our pup-in-training and we stroll on through. Folk we met earlier in the park greet Yaxley by name as we meet again. We begin to feel like entourage to the dog. We're not asked our names. Ever. Roadies don't need names, you know.

We stop for a photo op with a horse skeleton. A pretty novel object to check off the socialization list. You're welcome, CCI.

Before and After of the racehorse, Lexington.
 [We pause our story here for an Awww moment.]



And we're back.  Ok, so last year we took basically the same shot below. Except I lifted Yaxley into the chair with the girls. Ain't happening this year. He's safe on the ground and my back is still intact.


The theme this year at Breyerfest was British Invasion. Which brings to mind such things as the Revolutionary War or perhaps even The Beatles. But when you think of the British Isles and horses, don't you make the natural connection of jousting competitions?

No? Well someone did.  Here we have a couple of brave knights decompressing after rugged swordplay and thrusting about lances at each other.  My attempt to get a nice shot of a Sir Knight and his noble steed went terribly awry.

You know, I think there's a poptart joke in here somewhere.

Just four more weeks on the Yaxley countdown, folks. We have a few more adventures to fit in between now and then. Check back with us to see what's next.

Creating barriers with fake service dogs

In a world of chaos, it's no accident of fate that this humble blogger like to keep her writing all sunshine and rainbows, with the occasional unicorn reference. However, I didn't actually mean to just write about myself in the third person in that first sentence. How geeky is that, anyway?

But in some amazing twist of fate, I was asked to be a guest blogger on Beth Finke's Safe & Sound blog.  I went all spouting off in a comment on one of her posts about how fake service dogs are creating barriers for those who truly use dogs as a means for independence. Yeah, that's right. I can get passionate about a topic. And this particular one gets my hackles up, so to speak.

So I went outside my comfort zone and wrote up something that didn't make me laugh at my own lame jokes.

I got serious, y'all.

I am flattered to have been invited to share my thoughts on Beth Finke's prestigious blog. She's pretty much a big deal and all.  Beth's About page tells us:

NPR commentator Beth Finke is an award-winning author, teacher and journalist. She also happens to be blind.  Beth’s memoir, Long Time, No See was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s favorite non-fiction books for 2003 and made the Book Sense 76 Top Ten list of university press books. Her children’s book about Seeing Eye dogs — Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound– was published by Blue Marlin Publications in October, 2007 and won an ASPCA Henry Bergh Childrens Book Award in 2008.
But you know what else is uber cool about this guest writing gig? It's generating some conversation. Comments are coming in from polarized viewpoints. You don't see this stuff with sunshine and rainbow posts.

Honestly, I don't know how Beth does it. I don't have the stamina to think that deeply for very long. To agree or disagree and stand by my choices, post after post. She's pretty darn amazing and I'm honored to now have this connection with her world.

Do check out my ponderous pontification and profundity at And now, a word from a puppy raiser.  It's not a very long post, my brain was ready to leak before I was done. But absolutely read the comments to get an idea of the passion folk have about the topic of fake and under-trained service dogs.

If so moved, drop a comment yourself.  Beth reads every response, I promise you that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Please don't eat the coneflowers


Brought out of the archives and dusted off, here we share one of my favorite photos of the lovely Inga

Our first CCI puppy on her first morning at our humble abode. Eating my fading coneflowers while looking directly into my eyes. And our first hint at the challenges to befall us as novice puppy raisers.

Friends and co-workers, would it surprise you to hear that Inga just celebrated her fourth birthday on July 9?  Four, y'all.  The lady's been a Skilled Companion Dog for nearly two years now.

Time passes by so quickly, we know.  But sometimes it happens in a way that warms the heart, it truly does.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tired paws


That's shredded car tires under those webbed toes.
Life is all about choices. Stuff happens and most times there's nothing to be done about that.  Our attitudes and how we choose to deal with the stuff makes all the difference of how satisfied we are with our lives.

Agree?

Right, so I could choose to continue on in this happy state of mind that includes three amazing dogs in my life. Or I could decide to deal with the fact that Yaxley will be matriculating into Advanced Training at CCI in five weeks. So, that old character flaw of mine rears its procrastinating head to smile its toothy grin at me.

Queen of da Nile or Master of my Fate?

Naw, it's ok.  I'm all over this one. I've hitched up my pants, cowgirled up and all that. We're gonna get this pup ready to rock the world.  Because it's not about me, is it?

A shared a checklist a few posts ago (Goal is a Noun) on some things to work on with Yaxley to prepare him for CCI college. Socialization topped the list. And bottomed the list. It's a pretty important part of this puppy raising business. We want to reinforce confidence when faced with new experiences.

Last summer we took the dogs to Myrtle Beach. The young Yaxley was very unhappy to find sand shifting under his toes. The ground is moving! he cries. That ain't right!.  But a good sensory experience for him and he eventually was able to process this through his puppy noggin just fine. In fact, he's developed a fascination for cat litter, but I'm not sure if these two things are truly related.

We don't know if he'll encounter a sandy beach again when he begins his new career, but it is likely he'll be asked to walk over grates in sidewalks and other odd surfaces that aren't smooth under the paw pads. So it keeps me on the lookout for unusual surfaces to walk upon.

The photo at top is a playground with a shredded rubber ground cover.  Even I found this rather, oh I don't know, creepy to walk on.  But with a Let's Go, we did a smooth transition from lawn to concrete to rubber and back.

And here on the playground equipment, the steps and the landing are grated surfaces. A solid Sit/Stay and I release him before his bottom starts to dimple.

We go all out and bump it up a notch by practicing a few commands in this funky environment. The Up command is to put front paws on a surface (park bench, stone wall, big red plastic slide) and hold until released.  Some Sits, Downs, and Unders has Yaxley looking like the working dog he's learning to be.


A couple of errands to run this day as well. Yaxley grants an audience to his fan base at the local library while I pick up a couple of books on reserve. I admit this isn't new for him. We make regular trips here, but we still walk around to discourage curious sniffing of shelved books and small children.

Lessee . . . V. . . W . . . X . . . ah, here. Y.
This is where my bio will go. Right next to Yeager, Chuck.

Ok, this one is new.  Somewhere I get this genius idea that I can make my own dog bandannas. You know, like customize them using whatever fabric I want. And maybe even be cheaper than the ready made store bought ones.

Jeezey Pete, where the heck did that thought come from anyway?  I don't even have a sewing machine. And even if I did, I'm completely clueless as to how to use one. Ah but no matter, we pop into the fabric store anyway to look around. 

Winnie the Pooh fabric, you say?
Sounds like he's got a serious problem to me [snort]
I did find some cute fabric designs and bought a couple yards. It's right here on the dining room table looking at me. With a cat on top of it.  I should start a pool to see how long it will sit here on the table until I stuff it all back in the bag and put it in the drawer with the rest of my inspired craft ideas.

Or I could use it to line Bodine's cardboard hillybilly cat bed!  That would jazz things up, wouldn't it? 

Hey Yaxley, I gotcher Winnie the Pooh right here, buddy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Dear Mr. Bean

Check it out, y'all. I scored me some Labrador flip flops! Aren't these totally cool! Are you as excited as I am?!

Naw, it's ok. I'm jazzed enough for the lot of us. I found these in the L.L. Bean catalog and put them on the Must Have list.

Then I was thinking. Chocolate Labs are nice and all, being named after an essential food group. But how about some yellow Labradors, please? Perhaps on a . . . oh I don't know . . . blue background?

Like the colors of Canine Companions for Independence?

I was so inspired by this amazing idea that I actually wrote to Mr. Bean's company with my suggestion.  I received a response that same morning.

Dear Ms. Sword,

Thank you for contacting L.L.Bean.  Customer comments help us to improve L.L.Bean products and services. I have passed your suggestion on to our Corporate Office.

While our Product Developers are not able to reply personally to suggestions, they do incorporate comments from customers when developing or improving products. The reputation of L.L.Bean products is largely the result of our listening to our customers over the years.

I also want to mention that our Web site at www.llbean.com now allows customers to also rate our products. Our product pages let shoppers "Write a Review".

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions, we are available 24 hours a day either by email, live chat or phone.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend Ms. Sword.

Sincerely,
Stacey S.
L.L.Bean Customer Service
800-441-5713
llbean.com 

It's lovely that the product developers may pay attention to this amazing design request. But I'm only one voice in the wind.  Fellow CCI supporters . . . do drop Mr. Bean a note if you want to help inspire the flip flop designer people.

And yes, I know Leon Bean has been gone for about fifty years or so. But his adventurous spirit lives on, right?

Click here for the path to the Labrador flip flops.  More designs available. But they're just stupid flowers and stuff. Not dogs.

 

Addendum June 2013

The Summer of 2012 has come and gone. And as we find ourselves here in June of  '13 getting a second season out of those rockin' Labrador flip flops.  Regrettably, L.L. Bean answered the call of other consumers this year. No yellow Labradors nor the lovely black version of this awesome breed.  Instead the designers came up with pointers on a pink background. 

Sure, pointers are great dogs. But not the canines of my chosen lifestyle. [sigh]. Holding out for next summer.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hey there hot stuff

It's a Gentle Leader, people. See? I can still
stick my tongue up my left nostril.
I trudge up three flights of stairs to be met by a museum security guard. 

Excuse me, ma'am, she says, stepping into my path of the exit. We were wondering why your service dog is wearing a muzzle.

Ok, that was three flights, chick. Up. To claim I'm out of shape would imply that somewhere in the recent past I was once in shape. I am intent on breathing through my nose so that I won't actually pant like a black dog in the sun. But great. Now I'm expected to talk in a coherent and sane manner.

And I just hoofed it up here because I got the gotta-potty-please look from Yaxley. We're on important and urgent business here, security guard person.

But wait . . . just a sec here. Who is this "we" anyway? We were wondering . . .? So the collective security guard force has been talking about me and the dog? Huh.

Isn't he a handsome fella?, I start off with. Because it's true and I say this to everybody. You know, he's not wearing a muzzle. Actually that's a head collar, a Gentle Leader.  It's a training tool we use which gives the handler better control of the dog by controlling the head.  

Ok, now read that again, but pause between every three words or so. I'm making a sincere effort to not suck in air like I've had my head held under water. Which is only making it worse, really.

See?, I hold open Yaxley's mouth to show his pearly whites. He is still able to eat, drink or bark with the Gentle Leader on. It's not restricting in any way.

Oh, we've had the Gentle Leader 60 Second Training session many a time. Every CCI puppy raiser has, I would wager. Instead of being frustrated with the muzzle doppelganger issue, I try to see this as an educational opportunity.

As in I taught someone something today! My work here is done, kinda thing.

The security guard is an all business gal, but polite enough. She assures me that she's not being confrontational. (I do believe she may have misunderstood my labored breathing as some sort of panic attack.) And continues on to share stories of small dogs smuggled in purses and attempts to bring ill-behaved pet dogs through the museum because it was too hot to leave them in the car.

I'm courteous in return, wanting to keep things all sunshine and rainbows here. Yaxley and I strive to be good ambassadors for CCI.  But this valiant effort will be all for naught if I don't get that sloshing canine bladder out that door rather soon-like. I'm anticipating a double-duty event, actually.

Double. Duty. #2 doody, get it?  Bwa ha ha [snort]. Alrighty then, moving on.

We make our apologies to the security guard. I could stand and talk about dogs all afternoon with her, really I could.  But I need to toilet the puppy, won't you please excuse us and all that kinda thing.  No worries though, Yaxley and I have a system down on this toileting thing with body cues and mind waves and stuff.  We make it in plenty of time, bag it and tag it, and are back in the museum refreshed and ready to roll onward.

With our final weeks together quickly coming to a close, I thought it good to walk Yaxley through the multi-sensory environment that is the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.   I was especially interested in checking out the Day in Pompeii exhibit that had been enjoying some rave reviews.

From the Cinncinnat Museum Center's website: 

The Roman city of Pompeii was frozen in time by the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Pompeii's archeological treasures rarely leave Italy, and this national touring exhibit marks the first time that these rare treasures will come to the region. Room-sized frescos, marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, gold coins, and hundreds of priceless ancient artifacts join body casts of the volcano's victims, eerily preserved in their final frantic moments. Don't miss this glimpse through a unique window into the ancient past.

So a double-duty trip, so to speak. Ugh, no not that duty. You know, checking off two things in one event. Honestly, people.

Yaxley was his usual rock star self. Staying by my side and alert for what I needed him to do next. Sit, Down, Let's Go, all that went well. We watched a short film on the destruction of the city of Pompeii by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Complete with a surround sound effect of booming noises and vibrating walls. Yaxley? No problemo. I can't say he's bomb-proof, but he should be pretty stable around a volcanic eruption.

Is it hot in here or is it just me? heh heh

The last feature of the Pompeii exhibit leads us into a darkened room with the body casts of victims from this disaster of 79 AD.  Rather somber and serious in this room. I've read about this event over the years in various magazine articles. I recall the striking photos of the natural  phenomena that created these ashen body casts. It was more than surreal to be standing in front of them now. I could have reached out to touch each one. But I didn't of course. Not with the security team already whispering about me on those little headsets of theirs. That just wouldn't be prudent.

The room was blanketed with an eerie silence as folk moved through. A reminder that it is a tomb of sorts. I noticed that Yaxley showed a sense of curiosity here. He observed everything, his nose twitching as I stopped to read each placard. What does a dog think when in the presence of such things? I wonder.

And then we came to the dog.  The brave creature that was chained to his post as a guard dog to his owner's fuller shop. The body cast revealed the studded collar, the chain that held him to his fate. All the funereal body casts were hard to look at and I found this just as hard to process for what it was. An image can be found on Wikipedia's Pompeii page.

I saw that dog, Food Lady. I need a hug.

In the silence, a voice. Don't look! she says, looking at Yaxley. Ah, humor. Thank you kind lady, we needed the break. I shield Yaxley's eyes and we move along.

The exhibit ends as all have before them. Into the bright, clear lights of the gift shop.












Ha! I'm stepping on our house. And Canada gets a special view.
Full moon tonight, eh.

As the day's still young, we have time to explore the Natural History side of the museum as well.  On to the Ice Age for us for a meetup with a prehistoric wolf.

Back off, ye dire wolf. One more step and my
laser eyes will vaporize your shaggy self.

We slip further back in time to the cretaceous period for a face off with an ankylosaurus. Sure it's a plant eater, but just look at that beak, willya?  Even get tagged by a cockatiel or some other pet bird? Yeah, times that by about fifty and you're gonna lose more than a fingertip.

But that's nothing to the brave Yaxley. He's all bring it on, parrot head.


Because I'll just shoot my laser eyes at ya [pow pow] and you'll be stuck dating Barbie.



________________________________________

The Husband, Yaxley and I enjoyed the company of my favorite kid and his lovely girlfriend. Derek and Sam pose in front of the Cincinnati Museum Center, formerly the Union Terminal.  Yaxley is between them to keep an eye out for ill tempered dinosaurs.

If you have a nagging feeling about that familiarity of that art deco architecture, then you may have to embrace your inner geekness for all to see. This design was indeed the inspiration for The Hall of Justice for the Justice League (DC comics). 

Which I think is way cooler than it probably is.



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, white, blue and yeller dogs

Sorry no, actually we can't dial down the good looks.

Got me some gorgeous dogs, I do. Natural good looks that just love the camera.  And oh so well-behaved for their Fourth of July photo shoot.


Naw, just kidding. They're goobers, the lot of them. With no puppy wranglers at hand this morning, it was just me, the dogs, and a handful of dog cookies. To capture the two portraits above, I now have a memory card filled with blurred images and doggie misdeeds.









Stuff like the obligatory bandanna removal shot.







And the terrier forgoing the Sit Stay because I was taking way too long to hand out that dog cookie. See ya losers! says Jager.





You know how dogs twist their heads hard enough to slap their ears? whap whap whap. We call that little phenomena head farts.








Most favorite word in the whole world?

Release!














And Bodine the cat wants you to know that it is indeed possible for a feline to rock the awesome with a patriotic bandanna as well. 

He suggests you put on your shades so as to not get too sunblind with the blazing cat handsomeness.















And he invites Yaxley to stick that tongue out just . . . one . . . more . . .time.













What!? This was Jager's funky bandanna?, cries Bodine.  Phew! I thought the drain had backed up again. Oh My Dog, get this flippin' thing OFF OF ME!

Bodine employs the Claw of Death to neutralize the thing.

Wordless Wednesday: Grins


Micron and Yaxley wishes everyone a safe and wonderful Independence Day. 

Check out those cheesy smiles.  These two are no strangers to the camera, ya think?

We're ready for our close up, Food Lady.

 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Doggie nirvana smells like Westie spirit


Ow!, cries Yaxley. What are you doing? Brain surgery? Hey, I think you missed the frontal lobe this time.

I pause with the cotton ball and level my eyes with his. Will you hold still a second and quit that whining, you pansy flower. Cleaning your ears does not hurt, I tell him.

Yeah, he says. At least it's not supposed to.  What's with all this grooming and fussing anyway? I feel like the cowardly lion at the munchkin spa. He lifts his right paw towards me and turns his head . Just buff my nails, will ya? No polish.

Yax, my love, I patiently remind him again as I clean between his webbed retriever toes. We're entertaining guests today here at the office. I want you smelling your best for your visitors.

His eyes brighten at this news. Right! Yaxley says. My friend Preston is coming in today. Do you think he remembers me, though?  It's been a few months since I met him at BlogPaws last fall. 

Well, you guys talk online quite a bit, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see if he remembers what you smell like, I say. What about you? How well do you remember Preston?

Oh! I do!, Yax closes his eyes and his nostrils twitch. He's all dog cookies, attitude and adventure. He smells a lot like a terrier, actually. 

Yup, that makes sense. Preston is indeed a Westie, I tell him while brushing out his tail.  A West Highland Terrier. And he's kind of a big deal, with that blog of his at Preston Speaks.  So I need to see some mature behavior . . . don't you roll your eyes at me, mister . . . and make Preston and his brother feel at home here, I say.

And as I'm wetting down a cowlick on that yellow noggin, I see that Preston and Elvis are on their way to our cube.

Yep, just a I remembered. The scent of attitude and adventure.
Hey Preston! Long time, no smell!, says Yaxley. Welcome to my work. C'mon in and I'll show you around. See? Here's my bed, and my chew bone and my water bowl and . . .

Alrighty, Yax, I say. Let's give the boys a chance to settle in. We'll give Preston and Elvis a tour of the pet friendly office area and later we'll have a pool party for you guys outside.






Elvis has that added nuance of cuddle-bug aroma. Preston, meanwhile, looks a bit violated from the sniff fest.

Southwestern Ohio certainly has not been exempt from the massive heat wave hitting across the contiguous states over the past week. You'll note in the next few shots that the grass in our pet park is a shade of retriever yellow. Yaxley is darn near camouflaged out there in that crunchy expanse of lawn.*

Our forward thinking pet care team (thanks Jen!) had our guests in mind today and put out a wading pool for the boys. Preston had a great time cooling off, but Yaxley just wouldn't have any of it.

He would, however, drink some of it.

You know, he kinda tastes like attitude and adventure, too

In a vain attempt to outsmart the yellow dog and get him into the pool, I toss a high value squeaky toy into the Westie bath.

Yax is patient as he awaits the squeaky to float to the edge.



And he grabs the thing and takes off running and squeaking.


And he's happy. And dry. So who am I to mess with that?

Got me a SQUEAKY!

A parting shot to show that Yaxley says, yes actually, it is all about me.  Yaxley photobombs my shot of Preston in the pool. His tail makes a clever framing for this shot. At least that's what I'm going with anyway.



Read more about the adventures of Preston and Elvis at Preston Speaks, a blog from a Westie's point of view.  Preston just finished a tour of the great states and he'll be sharing all his derring-do in upcoming posts.

__________________________

*To demonstrate the definition of irony, just as we're all lamenting about needing some serious rain, we did indeed get exactly that. A massive storm came through later in the afternoon. The high winds whipped areas of Ohio taking out trees and creating power outages in the tens of thousands. So the lesson here is, it's ok to do a rain dance, people, but let's keep it to a waltz and not a breakdance or something.
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