Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Dognition Profiles

I say I'm a Stargazer, says Micron. But Food Lady
told me not to stare at the sun. She just doesn't get
me sometimes.
An Einstein or Maverick?  Charmer or Socialite? 

I'm curious which of the nine Dognition profiles will identify the mighty Micron's sunny personality.

In our last post, Micronition, we covered our experience in completing the first set of exercises in the Empathy set. 

We yawned and locked eyes and barked.  Well, the golden boy and me are bonded, to be sure. But maybe not that much. He didn't yawn and I didn't bark. But the eye contact thing indeed have us in a mind meld kinda thing.

The next section of Communication is coming up in our next Story Sunday post. But in the meantime, I'll share with y'all the options awaiting us when this is all completed.

Dognition will tally up the responses we've provided from each set of exercises and then give Micron his final assessment. Along with a detailed report, he gets a personality badge of sorts.   

Take a look here and let's see what you think.  I'm taking a wild guess myself at where Micron may end up. 

Drop a comment with your prediction.  I'm really curious to see where this all shakes out.

Dognition Profiles


From the Dognition website:

Why 9 Profiles?

Sunday, August 25, 2013



What can Micron do? asks a co-worker. How many commands does he know?
Well, I say. That's two entirely different questions now. 
Like many of my cube partners, she knows that in his prior life Micron was in the Canine Companions for Independence puppy raising program and went through an impressive three months of Advanced Training to be a service dog. Though he was later released due to . . .  well, I prefer to say that he just loves people too much.  CCI's official word was Micron exhibited a high level of distractibility.  He was unpredictable in his unpredictability, I was told.  If the golden boy determined that someone wanted to greet him, and who wouldn't, he would drag his trainer across the room to see said person.  Hi! he would say. I'm Micron-DON'T. And I think you love me.
And that, people, is not becoming behavior for a service dog.
So he was released from the service dog program and CCI graciously allowed us to adopt him as our beloved pet. But considering the eighteen months of raising him to be a service dog and adding in those three months with a professional trainer at CCI, you would expect him to recall the thirty-some commands he was taught.
And you would be mistaken. Because you see, recalling and performing are two different kinda things.  Micron has three commands he will do with proficiency:  Sit, Down and Extreme Down. 
Look at his back legs. No, I mean, just look at them. This dog is like a
Black Belt in Relaxation.
Naw, just kidding.  He knows Speak, too. And sometime you can get a Shake from him, if the mood strikes. Everything else requires inspiration in the manner of a dog cookie. Pull out a favorite treat and he's your wingman. Robin to your Batman. Tonto to . . . .well, you know . . . he's your ever-lovin' partner. Just putting my hand in my right jeans pocket, the magic treat pocket, allows him to instantly recall all thirty commands we taught him.  On his best days, he'll perform a series of them all in a loop, too.  Sit ... Speak ... Down ... Sit ... Shake ... Speak ... and so on until you give him the treat or he short circuits.  Either one.

Past experience suggests that problem
solving may not be his strongest skill set.
So we say that Micron has a hidden intelligence, even with hints that he is edging towards cleverness.  My co-workers share their beliefs that Micron actually worked it out to arrange himself the honorable discharge from CCI.  He wanted to be your dog, my cubemates say. So he flunked out on purpose. That's how smart he is.

Ah, my flunkie dog. Yeah, but we don't call it that in the CCI world, actually.  Micron is a Change of Career Dog. 

But are they right, my friends at work? Is Micron using more canine brain cells than I'm giving him credit for? 

Wouldn't it be interesting to take a closer look and understand more about how the neurons are clicking in that gorgeous golden noggin of his?

I think so.

So I signed Micron up for sessions with Dognition*, an online program designed with a set of activities with your dog to give insight on how they see their world.  This isn't just some silly personality test that you see on Facebook, I want to be clear on this. The developers of the program read like a Who's Who of experts in canine cognition.  My respect of these folk are giving this a solid dose of street cred, in my humble-ish opinion.

From the Dognition** website:

What is the Dognition Assessment Toolkit?
Each online Toolkit includes: observations you share about your dog through your canine personality questionnaire, science-based sets of games to play with your dog and a friend, and your dog’s resulting Dognition Profile report. The report details the strategies your dog uses to solve everyday problems and tips on how you can apply this new perspective. See more in How It Works.

The Dognition program has five components: Empathy, Communication, Memory, Cunning and Reasoning.  Each set can be completed in a comfortable time frame, but Dognition recommends breaks between. Even performing the activities should be spread over more than one day to avoid fatigue.  And on this I would agree. 

Dang, I hope there's no math on the test.

After completing Micron's profile and initial questionnaire, we got things rolling.  Empathy is the first evaluation.  No prob here, I think.  My dog's got him some mad empathy skills alright. He's a certifiable pet therapy dog after all. 

Micron has this remarkable thing he's done enough times to show that it's not just something I'm imagining. When among a group of people, he places himself nearest to a person who is stressed.  I've observed this in meetings when I've allowed him to walk freely about the room. He'll work the room, greeting folk for a few minutes, then will flomp his mass down on the feet of a chosen troubled soul. Even if they are a self-proclaimed "not a dog person." 

Sure, I have no idea if this is the most stressed-out person in the room, it's not like we're taking blood pressure readings or something. But the person is usually sharing their frustration with the goings on of corporate life.

And the dog knows. Even more awesome, he wants to calm them. Something in Micron's deep psyche is sensitive to human emotions.

You're gonna ace this Empathy session, I tell Micron. No worries.

Dognition is clear on this though.  There are no right or wrong responses to the exercises.  Ok, got it, I understand. The Empathy session starts off with the Yawn game which evaluates if Micron will catch a contagious yawn from me. We try this as I pull off a few rather impressive fake yawns when real one shows up. I caught my own contagious yawn. That's how empathetic I am, people.

The mighty Micron, not so much. He stares at me until he gets bored enough to lie down. But no yawn.

Now when I tell the kid, a double major in Psychology and Sociology, about this non-event, he tells me sociopaths don't catch other people's yawns. Because they can't feel empathy. And maybe Micron's a sociopath. I tell him that's not very funny and yet I wonder why my sensitive and he's-not-a-sociopath dog didn't pick up on the yawn.  A curious thing.

The next step in this session is Eye Contact. Oh, we're big on doggie eye contact around here. I figure if the dog is looking at me, then he is listening as well.  So I'm not surprised that Micron makes it through the exercises never breaking our staring competition. He did wink his left eye a couple times, which had me wondering if I should wink back. And about half way through, Micron got a little uncomfortable with thinking maybe he should be doing something other than looking at me.

I don't understand what you want!, he thinks. Maybe it's Speak.  Is it Speak you want me to do?  GerWOOF wuff wuff WOOF! Or Shake? You wanna Shake?  And he smacks my leg with his paw a few times. While barking.

The dog is confused on this one. To his credit though, outside of the occasional wink and blink, he never once looks away. 

Keep the coffee comin'. I'm gonna be up all
night cramming.
So is this proof enough of our bonded relationship?  I'm vexed he doesn't care enough about my feelings to yawn, yet he did feel compelled to lie down.  What could that mean? Well, we'll have to await the final results to see how this comes out.

Four more modules to complete for his Dognition evaluation.  Next up is Communication when we'll evaluate how Micron interprets my gestures for making choices. We'll use hand pointing and foot pointing to give instructions for his dog brain to work out. The results will be on a scale from Self-Reliant to Collaborative. 

What's my prediction for Communication, you ask? A good question, that.  Keeping in mind there's no right or wrong results, there's only Micron, let's say Self-Reliant is a 1 on the scale and Collaborative is 10.

I expect Micron to fall in at about a 7 on the Communication scale. I think the foot pointing, which is not something I do much in spite of my professional pedicure, will throw him off.

Stay tuned for the next blog post to see how this plays out.

No idea, really, how the dog will do, but
I should ace the Foot Pointing exercise
just for style alone, right?

* When I mentioned Dognition to the kid, he said it sounded like "ignition" like starting a car. Which led us both to making rerrrr rerrrr rerrrr growly sounds like a car struggling to start, but sounding like a dog too. She won't roll over, says my son.  We laugh and laugh like the geeks we are.  I know, you kinda had to be there.

**CCI puppy raisers and Graduate Teams, contact me if you think you want to sign up for Dognition. There may be a discount available for CCI folk.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hope there's no math on the test

Micron overheard something about a cognitive evaluation coming up for tomorrow's Story Sunday dog blog post. He's trying to play it cool, but I think he might be just a little bit worried.

I've tried to tell him that studying is not necessary.  He just has to be himself.

And besides, Micron reading about the derring-do of Rin Tin Tin is like me watching American Idol or something. 

We both can casually wave a paw or hand and say, sure I could do that.  But the truth is a harsh mistress. And like the proverbial "kept woman" she's a tough bird to kick out.

So, just be you, Micron.  And it will be just fine, you'll see.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Grasshoppa

Hey Grasshoppa, says Bodine.  Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.

Ain't gonna happen, says Micron.

No, really, says Bodine. When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.*

You know what, Master Po-dine? says Micron. The last time I tried playing tennis ball with you I got shredded.

Because you're too slow. That's all, says Bodine. You just need to practice more, my young student. Here, try to take the ball from me. 

Food Lady says I can't eat you because you're made of fat and gristle and you'd just give me gas, says Micron.  

Hahahaha! Wait, what?, says Bodine. Whatever. You have no competitive spirit, that's what's wrong with you, Microbe.  I need a challenge here.

Hey Jager! calls Bodine. Grasshoppa, quickly as you can . . .

*Kung Fu (1972-75) Back when we had four channels (2, 7, 22 & 45) to watch on television and you didn't need a remote to change them because that's what our parents had kids for.  Well that, and adjusting the foil on the rabbit ears.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Air conditioning doesn't come in a can

Micron representing Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association
at our home town annual Fine Arts Festival.
Um, Food Lady? says Micron. Do you have a minute? I don't want to complain. I mean, this is nice enough house and all, but I can't find the air conditioner vent to lie on.

House? Air con . . . what? I ask. I'm rummaging in the pockets of my tote bag looking for Micron's trading cards to set out for the kids. Micron, look around you for a sec, big guy.  We're not in a house. Do you see any walls?

Well, no but, Micron says as he looks up. We got a roof, so this has to be a house, right? A house has to have a woof, everybody knows that. And did you get a chance to smell this carpet? Seriously. Come down here and check this out. We should put this stuff in the living room at our place.  Lookit, there's crawly bugs and grass and [sniff sniffle snort] wet dirt! But it's too hot here, doncha think? Go ask if the people will turn the air conditioner up.

He pauses and closes his eyes. Or is it turn it down?

I always did get confused on that one myself. If you turn the air up, is that to raise the temperature to warmer? Or are you turning it up to be more colder? See, even basic grammar gets boogered on this.

Micron, that wet dirt of yours is what others consider common mud, I say. See where you put your paw on my knee earlier and left a mark? Do you really want to replace the carpet in our house and have everything all mucked up and stinky? Right, never mind on that. Anyway, this is a just canopy overhead to keep the sun off us this afternoon.

Well, that's the last thing I need a can of, says Micron, rolling his eyes. Why can't you get me a can of air conditioning instead?

I am, says Micron, a remarkable piece of fine art.
Out standing in my, well, you know. 
Because we're outside, you goober, I say. As in out of doors, in the fresh air, au natural.  Wait, maybe not that. Anyway, your job today is to greet people and help answer questions about pet therapy. Do you think you can avoid heat exhaustion for a little while? At least since it's only 75 degrees and we're in a nice shady spot with plenty of water for you working dogs.

Do you need me to drink lots of water to keep the canopy filled up? asks Micron with a straight face. Is he making a joke? I don't get dog humor sometimes.

With the assistance of his peers, Micron does his best to make a positive impression on folk coming by our meet and greet booth for Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association. It's just another gorgeous day at our hometown Fine Arts Festival and we found ourselves assigned a shady spot to set up our table and info material. I'm rather pleased to not have to drive far for once. This is just down the road from us, so to make up for what I'm saving in drive time I've volunteered to work the booth for both days of the festival. Yep, that's how my mind works.

A pre-meeting among the canines before
things get started up. It was a unanimous
vote for turning up the AC.
From top: Beamer, Zoe, Micron, Mazy
No prob for me, really. To take on a shift both days, that is. Pretty much because the dogs do the lion's share of the work at the booth.  Sure, I'm glad to field the occasional question between bites of an ice cream sundae, but it's Micron and his canine friends that have most the intel on what we do in pet therapy.

We human beans can talk all day about lowered blood pressure and finding that oh-feels-so-good sense of well-being when in the calm presence of a pet therapy dog.  But mere talking ain't gonna bring those happy hormones your way. You need to be there.

By that I mean, someone needs to be there to hold the leash. Because there's not much else to be done on the human end of the thing. This kind of work is all on the canine, like Micron. 

This isn't some sort of supernatural thing, this human-animal bond happening before us as the dogs greet one person after another.

Yet it is hard to understand it on anything more than a basic level. Well, at least for me. What is it that draws two strangers together, these people and our dogs? Is their love of dogs a remnant from a positive past experience and our furries bring up wonderful memories? Sure, maybe for some.

Cordell and Micron are all Team Golden at the booth.
But what about our dogs? What is it that's rolling around in Micron's brain that has him, fully equipped with a wagging tail and doggy smile, walking up to a individual he's never met before?

Hi!, says Micron. I know we just met and this is crazy, but here's my belly. Rub it maybe?*

Every blessed time. He has a golden gift, my dog. But then so does Cordell and Mazy and Zoe and Beamer and . . . well, all the dogs volunteering with mvPTa.  They are doing exactly what they're meant to be doing.

They do love their jobs. When I grab Micron's blue bandana from the kitchen counter, he does his special Happy Dance. Wherever we're going, whatever I'm going to ask of him, he's sure it will be the best ever. Because he gets to go somewhere and interact with someone who is craving his presence in their life.

Mazy and Micron have decided to do a Kissing Booth for
money. They'll pay you up to a quarter for each lick. A
full fifty cents if you're wearing sandals.
And I have the honor of being the chick holding the leash while this magic happens right before me. I must have done something right somewhere along this lifeline to be so blessed with this gift.

Ugh, but enough with the touchy-feely stuff, let me share something I learned in our pet therapy training. We were told - and reminded over the ten weeks of training - that our first responsibility is always the safety and well-being of our dog.

No exceptions. We are to be aware of signs of stress happening in the canine psyche of our beloved poocher.  To be honest, not such as easy task in the mighty Micron.  My dog will compensate for aches and pains, as well as stress.  His signals are frustratingly subtle. 

So during our Day Two shift at the booth, I see that Micron is not as engaging with folk. He'd rather be behind the table instead of seeking out that elusive belly rub from a stranger. And then, yep. 

There ya have it.  He turned away from a head pat.  Even in my distracted state of talking with folk, I see that one.

Put a fork in this hot dog, he is done.

Micron, I say.  Let's go home and get you back in the air conditioning. Ok with you?

Dibs on the AC vent in the kitchen, he says.

Micron, photo circa July 2010.  Three years ago, people.
Nothing has changed here.

* I should apologize for that one. Really, I know. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: What day is it?

Micron pauses to ponder the mysteries of the natural laws. Like gravity, fer instance.

The mighty Micron wishes you a Happy Wordless Wednesday here in the great dog blogosphere. 

Or perhaps for the likes of us as we prepare ourselves for another workday on the cube farm, we would send out Happy Hump Day greetings. 

My cube partner to the due south of my office is Mike. Micron's nickname is Mike. Micron goes to the office with me every day where we share our general space near cubemate Mike. I talk to Micron throughout the day, sometimes with cutey dog talk. Other times to correct a certain behavior.

The dog spies an anomaly outside the office window that is determined by the ever alert canine noggin as something needing immediate attention. A robust gerWOOF by Micron rings out the alarm. Meanwhile cubemate Mike is talking with someone at his desk.

Mike!, I say like I really mean it. Quiet!

[crickets chirping] 

bwahahahaha. This never gets old. It just doesn't.

So a Happy Hump Day to y'all today.

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike, what day is it, Mike? Wuuhahaha.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Time flies at the library

Read to me about the golden retrievers, says Micron.
Fly Guy vs. the Flyswatter? Really?, I say. I'm thinking this next question is going to be kinda sensitive, but yeah, here goes.

Um, does Fly Guy win? I ask.

Yeah, says our young reader, totally throwing the spoiler right out there. She turns another page in her book like this was nothing. Well, sure I asked for it, I guess.  The spoiler that is.

So, I say. Because I need to know more about this Fly Guy person. Is that a good thing then?  I mean, having flies in the house that talk to people is ok?

She doesn't look up; just turns yet another page and shifts her book to show Micron a picture. I don't know, she says.

Ugh, this is vexing.  I know it's been a while since I've immersed myself into children's literature, but really.  We want the flies to win now? Growing up on the farm as kids, we actually held time trials on who could swat the most of these pestilent creatures before we sat down to dinner.  If one was still able to buzz after a swat, those were only granted a half point. You know, the same basic rules that most families use.

Not sure how to get my head around this Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold about a boy named Buzz and his big eyed pet. With titles like There's a Fly Guy in my Soup and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy, my gray matter is dredging up some not so happy childhood memories.  But I don't want to get all judgey until I have a chance to read about this thing.  Trying to keep an open mind here.

It's a popular series with the kids, I find. And in spite of the subject matter, the books are clever and funny with a format intended as a smooth transition to chapter books.  Honestly, so long as kids are inspired to pick up a book to read for fun, I'll support just about any topic in children's literature.

Except maybe spiders. No, definitely eight legged freaky things are out. Everyone has their limits and I have to put my foot down on spiders. Real hard, too. Until you hear the harmonic symphony of the squish and muffled shriek.  Nasty little buggers.

Naw, I'm good. If they scootch over, we got room
for a couple more, I think.

Micron and his canine peers with Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association have finished their work with the summer Paws to Read program at our local branch of the Dayton Metro Library. For the last eight weeks, these awesome dogs have listened to stories about everything from talking aardvarks to the history of fire trucks. Some weeks we enjoyed as many as forty kids wanting to read to the dogs and it wasn't unusual to see Micron resting with his eyes closed as he took in  each story as shared by the five kids sitting around him.*  And it was the same for the other Paws to Read dogs, too.  Good thing these are canines highly trained to listen well.

Sure, that's an adorable golden puppy, says Micron. But I've
seen cuter, right Food Lady?  [wink wink]
Although, I gotta say that Micron and his friends seem to be just plain naturals with their mad skills of engaging young readers. This lot acted like they were born to do this very thing.  Fulfilling destinies here on the library carpet.

Because if there's one single thing that Micron is proficient at, it would be tamping down carpet fibers for long periods of time.  If the dog is in the room, rest assured the flooring is not going to go awry on his watch.

The Paws to Read library program is intended to encourage young readers to enjoy a good book among friendly canines.  Unlike those of us who are rather judgmental about talking flies, these dogs really don't have any concerns over plot lines or even individual reading styles of the narrators. It's a comfortable, welcoming environment with all the happy hormones that pet therapy dogs bring with them when they enter a room.

Paws to Read, not paws that read -- just to be clear on this.
We did take a moment of wonderment about the size of
Micron's huge feet.  
We stop here to make this all about me for a minute.  I have to tell you that there's some sort of nirvanical** feeling that goes with being in the same space as dogs and children reading on purpose because they want to. Just some things that make me very happy with the world at large. 

It gives me some hope for the future, it does. Well done, you parents of dog-loving children. You are awesome.

Fergo is retirement age, but he refuses to slow down. Not when
the kids still need him, he says.

No, no, keep reading. I'm listening, says Char. 
Just resting my eyes for a  . . zzz
Beamer says he's actually a fan of Fly Guy, thank you very much.  He can
listen to his insect misadventures all day.

*Hey, I learned something new in all this reading stuff.  We are no longer to refer to sitting on the floor with legs crossed as sitting Indian style. No, now it's criss-cross applesauce.  Huh, who knew?

**Right, I made that word up. So, it's not misspelled, thank you anyway, Spell Checker program.  It fits nicely though, right? I honestly can't come up with a better word to use there.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Jagerwarg

Text from Dog is on Facebook and Tumblr

I posted this Text from Dog on the Raising a Super Dog Facebook page earlier this week because ... well, because it reminded me of conversations with Jager. 

Just change "texts" to "blog updates" and I'm sure this exchange has happened between us.

So like a brick to the head, I have me a not so subtle prompt to include Jager on this week's Wordless Wednesday post.

Our original co-puppy raiser and Hunt Master of All He Sees, the awesome little Jagerhund certainly has earned the occasional spotlight.

To redeem myself, if only to toss my credibility right back with this next photo, we have our freaky little fellow in full Master of the Hunt gear. 

Um, You say. What is that on his back?

Why, that would be an orc prepared for battle.

Because our fierce fellow is a Warg, of course.  Oh c'mon, you know.  A warg.  From Lord of the Rings, remember? 

Here, does this help? 

Right?  You can see it now, can't you?

It's ok, just nod your head yes. It'll get me brownie points with the dog.

From the Wiki page

In a way they took the place of the more powerful Werewolves from earlier ages. Like so many foul creatures, the Warg may have first been bred in Angband by Morgoth, the result of mixing two animals to produce a true monster. Wargs were said by some to have been very intelligent predators; it is rumoured that they had a crude understanding of some orc words and their Black Speech. Wargs appear in J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit in which they attack Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the dwarves that are traveling to the Lonely Mountain (Erebor).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Smokey Bear and the Maidens Fair

The Maiden Fair

Smokey Bear and the maidens fair,
Euka and Emma
"Oh come" they said,
Oh come to the fair!"
"The fair?" said he,

"But I'm a bear!"

All black and brown,"
And covered in hair!" . . . 

Oh! sweet she was,
And pure and fair,
The maid with honey,
In her hair! Her hair,
The maid with honey,
in her hair!" *

You said we're going to the Ohio State Fair today? asks Euka.  That's cool. What category do you have me signed up for?
What category do I . . . um, what are you talking about? I ask.
What. . . cat. . . uh. . . .goree, she says slowly with the hope I might understand this time. For winning a blue ribbon, right? Surely, you're not thinking it's called a dogegory. That's just weird.
No, I wasn't thinking about categories, dogegories or anything involving winning a ribbon, I said. Actually, Euka my love, I'm concentrating on making sure I have everything we need in your Going Out bag. Your water bowl, cape and Gentle Leader and stuff.
And dog cookies? asks Euka.
Ok, just a few in my pocket, I say. But it's long past time to wean you off the stuff. It's like seeing a five year old kid still using a binky. But tell me, Euka, what were you planning on doing to win a blue ribbon anyway?
Oh, I don't know, she says, tossing her ears back. Maybe something like Best Looking Puppy Ever in the Universe or a special mention for my incredible intelligence. Is there a competition for having the biggest brain in the smallest head?
I don't think you'd win for having the smallest noggin, I say. About now I'm worried that you'll be able to fit that big head of yours into the back seat of the car. And I drive a full size.
I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, she says, totally knowing what it means. 

Euka meets Smokey Bear 

Emma and Euka
The Ohio State Fair is designed to be good family-style fun and we show up planning on a great time. Euka and I ride to Columbus with Emma's puppy raisers to volunteer at a Meet & Greet Table for Canine Companions for Independence.  Our table is set up in the space sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who gives us a warm welcome.  Plenty of room to put up the tri-fold display and set out brochures, bookmarks and the like.
And hey, speaking of bookmarks, I have to tell you traveling around with these E puppies is like being roadies to a rock band. Sometimes I'm just the chick with the car, driving Miss Euka from gig to gig. I'm her people.
CCI made bookmarks with the E litter for us to hand out at our Meet & Greet and various fundraising events. They're ridiculously adorable, photo courtesy of Chris Kittredge Photography.  No, I mean it.  Just look at this, willya?
Guess who the sassy pup is, locking eyes with the viewer.  Go ahead, guess.  That's right, envy me, y'all.  I won the diva lottery.  I know, I should have seen this coming.

Ok, but there's more.  Take a deep breath now, because you're gonna have a big d'awwww coming up next.

Told ya. Even I think that's stinkin' cute every time I see it. And I live with the puppy.

Did you make a yummy sound?
I called for a knight!
But you're a bear!
A bear! A bear,
All black and brown,
And covered in hair!*
Directly outside the pavilion is Smokey Bear** to greet fairgoing families. In the spirit of exposing the puppies to the new and different, we walk Emma and Euka over for a quick intro.

At over fourteen feet tall, Smokey Bear has been a fixture here at the Ohio State Fair since  the 1970's to test the mettle of young children. 

You see, not only is Smokey one big honkin' beast of a bear in Levi's, but he also moves about and talks. No, not like Godzilla moving around; he just rolls that head of his back and forth scanning the horizon and his hairy left arm is of the animatronic genre. Which is quite enough for some toddlers, I observed.  Dog forbid if the fellow starting walking, too.

Oh, and when he talks, he refers to you by name. Really. It's either magical or creepy, depending on your level of heat exhaustion for the day.

Hi Emma and Euka! booms Smokey. What beautiful dogs!

Euka enjoys the tunes of Loosely Strung
Free Bird!, shouts Euka.
In response the yellow girls give this ursine greeting a Say WHAT?! look.  They stare down the two story bear creature, deem it take downable should the need arise, and turn back to each other to continue on with their girly gossip conversation.  Emma's puppy raisers and I have already noted and agreed on this -- these two girls are the same dog in two different packages. 

Dominant, confident and smart.

Hey, Emma, says Euka.  I think that bear wants a bookmark or something.

Yeah, I know, says Emma. I'll tell my people.

If I don't graduate as a service dog, says Euka. I can do search and rescue.
Well, except for that thing where I don't like water too much.

It was raining when we arrived, which
had Euka worried. It was a such a
good hair day and all.
*Four alarm Geek alert, y'all. Here's the full lyrics to that song from Game of Thrones. Special bonus points go to those who knew that already. We speak the same language of nerdish, you and I. 
The Bear and the Maiden Fair
"A bear there was,"
"A bear, A BEAR!
"All black and brown,"
"And covered with hair!
"Oh come they said,"
"Oh come to the fair!"
"The fair? said he,
"But I'm a bear!"
"All black and brown,"
"And covered in hair!"
"And down the road,"
"From here to there,"
"From here! To there!"
"Three boys, a goat,"
"And a dancing bear!"
"They danced and spun,"
"All the way to the fair!"
"Oh! sweet she was,"
"And pure and fair,"
"The maid with honey,"
"In her hair! Her hair,"
"The maid with honey,"
"in her hair!"
The bear smelled the scent,
"On the summer air!"
"The Bear! The Bear!"
"All black and brown,"
"And covered with hair!"
"He smelled the scent,"
"On the summer air,"
"He sniffed and roared,"
"And smelled it there!"
"Honey on the summer air!"
"Oh I'm a maid,"
"And I'm pure and fair,"
"I'll never dance,"
"With a hairy bear,"
"A bear! A bear!"
"I'll never dance,"
"With a hairy bear!"
"The bear,the bear!"
"Lifted her high,"
into the air!"
The bear, the bear!"
"I called for a knight!"
"But you're a bear!"
"A bear! A bear,"
"All black and brown,"
"And covered in hair!"
"She kicked and wailed,"
"The maid so fair,"
"But he licked the honey,"
"From her hair!"
"Her hair! Her hair!"
"He licked the honey,"
"From her hair!"
"Then she sighed and squealed,"
"And kicked the air,"
"She sang: My bear so fair,"
"And off they went,"
"The bear! The bear!"
"And the maiden fair!"
**Yeah, so it's Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear.  There goes another childhood memory.
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