Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Wall support

Sure, it's entirely likely we used the lowest bidder to put up this office building of ours. What company doesn't do such frugal things?

But still, I think those walls will be ok for a little while longer, Euka.

Just relax and enjoy your not-a-cat nap.  Wishing you sweet dreams of full bowls of kibble and yellow tennis balls.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pet-it Jury Trial

Come inside they said. Have an adventure.
Licking toes is not against the law, Micron pleads his case to me. It's even extra legal during summer, right? I mean, if people didn't want a dog-spit bath on their piggies, then explain to me why, on dog's green earth, would they have them just hanging out there in front of me? Honestly, it's not like I need an engraved invitation.

Summer is indeed Micron's favorite time of year. So many toes dancing around in flip flops. Right there within tongue's reach, for dog's sake. Little girls in their pink sparkly sandals, women's waitress red pedicures in strappy wedges, guys with hairy hobbit toes in beach flip flops. Micron doesn't deign to discriminate. The dog's never met a nekkid toe that didn't need a quick warm up.

And the winter months are as bleak and gray for the yeller feller as it is for us human beans. Sure there's the occasional college student that walks around in flip flops with complete disregard of the temps, but these creatures are a rare sighting.

When Micron was a pup in training for CCI, I had to keep an eye on the furry fellow and remind him to pay attention instead of diving into someone's sandals. This was not a behavior becoming of a service dog, we'd tell him. Sure, we had some challenges with his golden personality, that pesky lack of work ethic perhaps the biggest.  But sandal diving was right there top of the list, too. He eventually reached the understanding that toe licking was something not to be done. At least in front of me. In his doggie noggin, it's only wrong if you get caught.

So my little problem solver figured this out - if he sticks his tongue out of the side of his snout, the side facing away from me, it takes me longer to catch him. An effective technique that. While I would be deep in some profound conversation with a friend dissecting last night's Downton Abbey episode, Micron would be in a solid Down. All is right in the world, until . . . um, Donna? Your dog's kind of a perv.

Sure nuff. Another Micronism: if the belly doesn't leave the earth, it's still a Down, isn't it? The goober has army crawled the three inches to reach those bare little piggies and yes indeed, there's a pink tongue poking out of the side of his mouth.

Like an addiction, I suppose. You have to want to quit. And Micron's made it clear he has no intention of changing this lifestyle choice.

And now that this wonderful dog is no longer a candidate for a service dog career, and is now my beloved pet, I admit I've dialed the toe licking corrections down a couple of notches. Still, it would be nice if the dog could exhibit some self-discipline. Maybe cut his ten-toe-a-day habit down to five or something.

That's Micron in the slammer. See his noggin looking out?
So when we visited the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery recently, we had a opportunity to take this differing opinion ("Dog Tongue Toe Baths" Micron: Yes, Me: No! Don't!) to a higher level. We were on our way to present some information about Animal Assisted Therapy to a group of kids putting together a service project. But first we came across the museum's courthouse.

Hmmm.





Hey, Micron, I say. Whadya say we involve the legal system here. Get a jury of your peers to determine just how messed up you are.

Bring it!, says Micron.  You're on, Food Lady.

Pet-it Jury Case

The Mighty Micron vs. Bare Naked Toes of the World

The trial gets off to a rocky start when the lawyers don't bother to show up. No matter, says Micron. Lawyers don't wear sandals in court. That would just be a waste of tongue.


I'm not well versed in this legality stuff, but I told Micron that I've seen on Law & Order or something that he can be his own defense council. He declined this right and wanted to just get on with this thing.

Instead, he does choose to testify on his own behalf. I didn't do it, yer honor! I was framed. he cries. It was the cat.  Oh shoot, I forgot. Dogs can't lie. Yeah, I lick toes.

But the cat did do some other stuff. Does that count?

Sometimes having a jury of your peers may not be the best thing, depending on the person in question. But for dogs, I can see how it could work in their favor.

zzzzzzz[snert], says the Jury. Wha? Oh yeah, it was the cat. We're unanimous on this one. We declare the defendant Not Guilty by Reason of Gooberness.

Now if the defendant was obsessed with licking
croc shoes, that would be a crime.

His Honor, Judge Gavel Eater, declares this trial as a done deal. It's always the cat, says the Honorable Judge Gavel Eater. Those things should be illegal in all fifty states. I declare a lunch recess. Who's buying? 

Can I get another gavel here, bailiff?

Well, justice was swift. I'm still not sure what happened here, though. I may have to appeal. I suspect there may have been some dog cookie pay-offs going on.

I don't know, but that judge looks like he could be swayed easily by a yellow tennis ball.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: River beauty


Euka II poses by the swollen Great Miami River at one of our spectacular metro parks. All that snow that had dumped upon us had melted, then because it's January in Ohio, it rained. A lot.  We're near Englewood Dam, one of the five dams built after the Great Dayton Flood of 1913.

I wasn't trying to get all moody with the black & white. The river was a sewer poop brown and was distracting to the beauty that Euka was exuding from her lovely self.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Let the Dogs Speak: a book review

[He] was the most sociable of the pups we've raised, by far. He was a total love sponge, climbing into our laps for a hug, often while wubbing on his favorite stuffed teddy bear.

He absolutely loved to carry things: shoes, keys, lunch bag, mail, water bottle . . . anything. Every morning he pranced into the lobby at work with something in his mouth and paraded around the room so everyone could ooh and aah at his cleverness.

He was a welcome addition to our family, providing smiles and silliness when we most needed it, keeping us firmly grounded in the present.  (excerpts from Let the Dogs Speak, Marianne McKiernan)

What do you think? Does this remind you of a certain goober dog? The passages above are not about Micron, but easily could be.  Proving nature over nurture in this particular fer instance, the words above are about his littermate Mars.

You know what I like so much about this volunteer puppy gig with Canine Companions for Independence?  Oh sure, there's that thing about satisfying the craving for puppy breath and Frito feet. That's a given, right?  What I didn't expect when I signed up was how much bigger my world would become. 

And I remain wondersmacked by it all.

Over the past four years I've managed to finagle my meager existence into a great realm filled with dog lovers and volunteers passionate about their work. So much so, that when I come across someone who doesn't understand/appreciate/like dogs, it comes as a surprise. I have to actually process that thought. And I try not to judge these folk harshly. I really do. But outside of having a bad experience with an aggressive dog, I just don't get these people. Not liking dogs feels like a character flaw.

It's remarkable, really, how saturated my world is with dog hair.  Home, family, friends, volunteer work and even my job are all things Dog.  Livin' the dream, I am.

And the people we've met on this journey! Holy cow, I just never saw this coming. 

I began an online correspondence with Marianne McKiernan when we were charged with raising our M litter puppies, Micron and Mars. And things grew from there. Being bloggers, the both of us had yet another thing to bond over. And now, a few dogs later, our friendship is still clicking along.

While I've known all along Marianne is a producer for KMGH-TV, I was just a little embarrassed to find out recently she is indeed a two-time Emmy award winning producer. I was completely unaware of that factoid until this month and have now promised to treat her with some decorum by referring to her as awesome instead awesomesauce. And like that isn't enough, her book Let the Dogs Speak  was released this month.

Let the Dogs Speak (on Amazon)
So while we're on the topic of awesomeness, I am completely jazzed to have the bragging rights to tell Everyone that I'm friends with a Published Author, y'all. A two-time Emmy award winning producer author, don't you know. Right here in my humble little world. How cool is that? I'll tell you exactly how cool.

You see a working dog in a cape and you wonder: Can I pet him? How did he get to be so well-trained? Is he happy? In Let the Dogs Speak! four puppies tell their funny, suspenseful, and heartwarming tales of just how it all goes down as they train for the opportunity to be service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence®. Follow Hudson, Parker, Ross and Mars on their journeys, with each puppy providing a uniquely hilarious spin on things. Which of the four dogs will make it? Readers can't help but root for the pups to succeed and graduate as service dogs.  (book description, Let the Dogs Speak, Marianne McKiernan)

Offered in a remarkably affordable paperback version, as well as for the Kindle and Nook, Let the Dogs Speak is an entertaining collection of adventures as seen from a CCI puppy's point of view. (All of the author's royalties will be donated to CCI). Of course, I highly recommend the tome to lovers of all things Dog. But hey, don't take my word for it.  Not when we have raving reviews by working dogs to support my hefty claim. Dogs don't lie. They don't know how, you know.
 
You trust Micron, don't you? If you've been following him here on the dog blog, you've surely gotten to know the yeller fellow over the last three years. He indeed has (is a?) character and, work ethic issues notwithstanding, he is surely a dog that can be held to his word.
 
And what is the word of Micron, you ask? Well, I tell you he speaks from the heart. Or the stomach. Some major and necessary juicy organ, anyway. His words are true.


"I love this book! It tasted like chicken."-Micron,
CCI Change of Career Dog
Right. So we can also turn to the blurbs as written by other more deep thinking canines, such as Hanlee (CCI Hearing Dog) and Harley (Guide Dogs for the Blind).  Their words come from their own juicy organs, most likely brains in this case.

Some cute, cute, cute illustrations by Penny Blankenship will keep you flipping through the pages, too.  And check out the teaser at the Let the Dogs Speak fan page on Facebook  to keep an eye out for a contest to win signed color copies of her artwork. I. Must. Have. One.

The stories as told by Mars, Micron's M littermate, start on page 170.  See if anything sounds familiar there [coughmicron] in gooberness personality traits. And I have to tell you this. I must. Something else in the Mars section, starting on page 213, just might bring up a nagging feeling déjá vu-ishness if you've been with us on Raising a Super Dog for a while. [ridiculously happy grin].

Holy cow, but I love my CCI world. It just gets more awesomesaucy all the time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First Service Dog Organization Salutes First Family - Canine Companions for Independence

Congratulations to CCI graduates, fellow puppy raisers and other supporters of Canine Companions for Independence.  We're proud of you and we'll be watching for y'all on Monday.

From www.cci.org . . .

On Monday, January 21st, Canine Companions for Independence will be marching in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade.

Canine Companions will have 132 marchers from 14 states, with nationwide participation including assistance dog teams, volunteer puppy raisers, National Board Members, CEO Corey Hudson, as well as staff.

"Canine Companions is honored to be chosen to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. We're grateful to be able to share in this historic day and to share our mission of serving people with disabilities worldwide," says Hudson.

Canine Companions was one of 60 organizations chosen from over 2,800 applications. The theme of the parade is "Our People, Our Future" and will be broadcast worldwide.

Click for full article:
First Service Dog Organization Salutes First Family - Canine Companions for Independence

CCI is scheduled to be in Division 4.  Full list of parade order is here. 


·         Canine Companions is one of 43 organizations chosen from over 2800 applications

·         9,000 participants total expected to march in the parade

·         Will be broadcast worldwide

·         Theme of the parade is “Our People, Our Future”

·         Canine Companions’ first Inaugural parade

·         132 Canine Companions participants; 16 graduates & 57 dogs

·         Marchers from 14 states, with nationwide participation, including assistance dog teams, volunteer puppy raisers, National Board Members, CEO and staff

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Some are more equal than others

Right, that's a fire extinguisher. In my kitchen.
It's not a reflection of my cooking skills. But I
 appreciate that you were thinking that.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”  George Orwell, Animal Farm

Bodine, benevolent ruler of Sword House, has commandeered the dog bed. A silent and bloodless takeover of prime real estate, which has left Micron to rest his weary bulk upon the kitchen tile.

To the left are three steps that lead down to the back door. Micron's head is pretty much hanging there in a passive-aggressive statement of his discontent.

I'm suffering here, Bodine, says Micron. Takin' one for the team.

Yep, says Bodine. [purr]






Sunday, January 13, 2013

She's got legs (or Euka at Four Months Old)

(Social media disclaimer. As I talk about Eukanuba, it is as an employee of P&G Pet Care. However, anything I say in praise of Eukanuba supports my personal belief that we make some great pet food now. No kidding, y'all. It's totally true)
 

She's got legs and she know how to use 'em. -ZZ Top


Yeah, she posed herself with that leg and off the shoulder gaze.
You can't buy this kind of sassiness.
It's getting harder to remember this leggy girl as the fuzzy cotton ball puppy we brought into our home just a few weeks ago.

Can you believe it? CCI's extraordinary E litter, born on September 14, will celebrate their four month birthday on Monday.

We met the E litter (Emma, Everett, Ella, Elmo, Euka II, Emily, Ethan and Eliza) as tiny hamsters on the Eukanuba Channel Livestream.  Immediately upon our first sighting of these puppies with their newborn eyes and ears closed, we watched in fascination as they nearly time lapsed into active eight-week-old puppies.  For those with a yearning to reminisce on that earlier time of innocence, the Livestream is still open with a video library of the Best of the E Litter recordings.

But holy cow, look at Euka now, will ya? At four months she's showing promises of being a noggin-turning beauty, isn't she?  The trifecta of brains, beauty and that sassafras attitude has us expecting big things of this girl.

When the Mighty Micron was this same age, we covered his early progress as a puppy in training for Canine Companions for Independence at A Fine Taste in Shoes.  And with a completely different personality, Yaxley's Four for Four showed us how this yeller feller was doing at a mere sixteen weeks old.

So how's the polar bear pup doing, you ask. Ah, a fine question that. I offer you Euka's Four for Four.

Good Eats

That's Euka on the dog bed. Eating one kibble. One.
We knew early on that Euka II would be assigned to us to raise for CCI. So we tuned in to the Livestream coverage with rapt attention on everything that was Euka.  From growth development (Look! She's walking! Well, kind of.) to attitude (huh. She's a little bossy, isn't she?) I was ridiculously jazzed to have this online version of "being there".  But observing her habits at the communal dinner bowl, I had a nagging bit of concern. Euka was just not showing herself as the voracious eater I'd experienced before with our CCI pups. I fretted over this. How does one train a puppy that is not food motivated?, I wondered. Not exactly driven to the point of hand wringing, knowing I had plenty of resources to hit with other experienced puppy raisers. But still, would this be a new challenge?

Ah, but it ain't no use use in putting up your umbrella until it rains. Or something like that. From the first food bowl served at the popular Sword House eatery, Euka has shown a completely normal appetite level for a lab puppy. By normal, I mean she finishes her meal in time to check out how the other dogs are doing. You gonna finish that? she wants to know. Then the three go in a musical chairs rotation to lick each other's bowls clean until all that's left is a spit shine.  Yep, that's our normal.

It's a Sign

Honestly, Food Lady. What's a girl gotta
do to get some attention around here?
While some folk admit a squee-worthy love of tiny puppies, they cringe at the thought of housebreaking the little critter. Especially during the winter months. Oh, but not me. Educating the proper use of nature-based toileting facilities is just a blip compared to all the other awesome stuff that comes with the puppy package. 

However y'all, I will admit it to be a happy day when the yow-gotta-potty neurons start firing on their own accord. Ever the clever girl, Euka has connected the back door with bladder freedom and will hang out there until I take notice. A soft whine, she knows, will get faster action. 
 
This week while working from home, Euka decided to kick things up a level. I will not be ignored, says Euka. She walked into the kitchen, picked up my snow boot by the steps, looked at me until she got some eye contact and then took the boot to the back door and dropped it.
 
Um. Wow.



 

That Adorable Head Tilt

The first puppy we raised for CCI, the lovely Inga, did the head tilt thing as a pup. Do you think she'll keep this behavior? I asked other puppy raisers.  Sometimes they do, they said. And she did indeed. We'd say In-GA to see the noggin tilt on the second syllable. Cute, cute, cute.
 
yoo-KA [sigh]

In many ways Euka reminds us of Inga, both in appearance and personality. And oh my, that head tilt. [sigh] I love it.

Corporate Office Material

Proving herself to be made of the right stuff, Euka made her debut at Eukanuba's corporate office last week.  A total success, that first visit, and I'm pretty proud of how she handled herself.  With held held high and tail wagging, Euka pranced about the place like the sizzlin' hot stuff she is. Hello, she said to Everyone. Do you know who I am? She absolutely loved recess time in the outdoor dog park we have for employees' pets (Ah, smells like beagle, Bernese and chihuahua out here. With a mushroomy nuance of Micron) and quickly positioned herself  into a play bow with a muddy tennis ball. Confidence abounds. 
Euka 1.0 and Euka 2.0 pose for their first photo op.
Euka also had the honor of meeting the original Euka, the retired VP of Canine Communications for P&G Pet Care.  You may recall, our Euka pup will not be following in the pawprints of Euka as an officer of the company. Instead, we've got some big plans for her as she prepares herself for her upcoming Advanced Training to be a service dog.

More on the back story of namesakes and career destinations are on the dog blog post Introducing Euka II: She's not a tuber.









Hey, I got this working hard thing down cold. When's lunch?

Hey, so there ya go.  Four things about Euka II at four months old. You're glad you asked, right? We're moving along quite nicely here, IMHO and all.  And more Euka adventures yet to come! I can't wait to see what's she's got for us next.

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Big girl chompers


Hot news of the week! Our little polar bear cub is getting her big girl teeth.

The upper two chompers have emerged as well as the four bottom in the front. I should be finding little Euka molars on the carpet soon. [sniff] She's growing up right before our eyes.

Ah, but the best part about puppy teething is the adrenaline rush from seeing blood splatters on playing puppies. But instead of checking for puncture wounds incurred by two playing puppies, we look into the dark abyss of a puppy maw to see who has bleeding gums from a newly missing baby tooth.

The second best part, I think, is how those top two teeth make her look like a Count Orlok puppy*.  Which leads us to the next obvious thought. If a vampire had a dog, what would they name it, do you think**? 

________________________________
*Movie trivia: Nosforatu 1922.   I'd apologize for the obscure movie reference, except this is a Classic, people. And the old fellow had some funny looking teeth now.  

**I recall in an Anne Rice vampire novel a German Shepherd adopted by one of her venipuncturing protagonists in New Orleans.  Bonus points*** if you know the name of the dog.  Extra bonus points if you can explain to me why my family wouldn't let me name my own GSD that same ultra cool name. Because I can't answer that one. 

***By Bonus Points, I mean Thanks for leaving a comment. We're on a tight budget here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's good to have goals, they say

I resolve to gain twenty-five pounds this year, says Euka
I gotta admit, I don't feel much like going on about that annual hot topic of New Year Resolutions. I never could seem to get my head around making these resolution things. Just holds no interest, doing fancy promises to myself year after year. Never done it and likely never will. I don't know, maybe it's all just too cliche for me.

Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Right. Instead, I'm a list maker. As a kid my mom tagged me with the adorable nickname of the Absent Minded Professor. Not because I looked like a buck-toothed Jerry Lewis so much, but I prefer to remember that as a child I was so lost in profound deep thought all the time that she had to paint the front door red so I'd remember which house was ours. Oh wait, that was Albert Einstein, not me. No, no it was because I'd [cue my mom's voice] forget my head if it wasn't attached to my neck.

So I make lists. Things to be done on the home front on one page, necessary and sundry grocery items captured on another. A special subset box for the places I need to go. Everything must be written down so it doesn't get shoved into the gray matter's junk room by all this awesome profundity that fills the noggin. Ah, just kidding. I'm a ditz. I forget things.

Even at work, we all maintain a Work Plan of our goals. Of course we don't say Work Plan; it's an acronym because we don't call anything by its real name there. To give you a brief taste of my office world, when I show up every day it's in a role of F&A CIM at the A&D level in PC R&D at P&G working out of MBC and LIC campuses, when I'm not WFH or OOO.  Did you ever notice it takes longer to pronounce WWW than actually say World Wide Web?  Yeah, we don't care either. It's an acronym or nuthin'.

Being a puppy doesn't excuse Euka from her 2013 goals. She's not going to worry about losing those stubborn twenty pounds this year, remembering to now write 2013 on her checks or other impossible feats.  We have loftier plans for her. Before the end of this year, she will have seen her first birthday and be a mere five months away from her turn-in to CCI's advanced training program. We have some tasks ahead of us, me and her. And even though I've been through the puppy raising thing before, I should probably write some of this down.

Play hard, but work harder

Don't laugh, people. It's not funny.
Ok, maybe. But it's not Euka.
So there's that.
The girl's a little puppy right now, not even four months old. So she plays like a puppy with her little puppy brain and does funny puppy things. As a puppy raiser, it's tempting to get caught up in this endless loop of adorableness. It would be easy to let the time pass and miss important growth milestones, so we need to be pretty darn diligent about encouraging good behavior. When three-month-old Euka puppy grabs one of my snow boots and starts tossing it around like a dog toy, sure it's stinkin' cute. Instead of laughing and grabbing the camera, I take it away and exchange it for an appropriate toy.  The boot goes back to its spot and any future attempts to capture it again are met with a hearty No.  This has to be now, not later after she loses her puppy looks.

We have thirty CCI commands to introduce and work towards proficiency this year.  The breeder caretaker of the E litter had introduced several of these behaviors, making our puppy raiser jobs a bit breezier.  You know how when you are learning something new that it sinks in more after an overnight processing by the brain?  Puppies too, it seems.  We introduce a command, perform it a few times and then end on a positive note before the pup hits the proverbial wall.  Tomorrow, same thing again. Over and over until you think this dog will never get this. And then she does. She gets it totally. Consistency and repetition will get you there.  Making it fun and successful gets you there even faster.

Learn us some manners

As volunteer puppy raisers we are responsible for the one thing that can't be achieved in Advanced Training. And that would be early socialization of the pup.  We get these puppies out and about in the real world to reach a comfort level with whatever gets tossed their way.  Expect the unexpected, as they taught us in Driver's Ed. Over the next months, Euka will be at my side as I go to work, shop at the grocery, see a movie and visit a museum.  She'll be on vacation with us and travel to exotic locales such as Indiana and Michigan. My task is to have her prepared to walk into any situation that her person would want to go and say, Yeah I know what this is. So what do you want me to do next? 

Before I make this sound like all work and toil to be done, let's be clear on this subject. Truth be told, taking a pup-in-training out to see the world, well, it's fun as heck it is. I love this part of the puppy raising journey.  Euka will be my constant companion as we learn together.  And I can't wait until she's ready.

Raise awareness of awesomeness

While we're out discovering the World, we are also representing Canine Companions for Independence. Puppy Raisers and their charges are ambassadors. And educators. 

When I decided puppy raising was the thing for me, CCI is the organization I chose to apply with. There were other service dog and guide dog organizations considered, all amazing, but CCI was indeed the best fit for us. So I want to share the word about this awesome organization with all who are listening. More important, I think, is that I want to represent CCI well.

We walk into public environments with the pup dressed in her working cape with the CCI logo. If it's been too long between doggie baths, she stays home.  A stinky pup is an unwelcome one, guaranteed for any venue. Strolling into the local Kroger with a dog on lead goes unnoticed by no one, of course. All eyes are on you and that dog. If you encounter a child that appears fearful of the pup, you move on to another aisle. When asked about the dog, you stop to answer questions with a smile. The trip, after all, is not about grocery shopping but socializing the pup. And making a solid impression of a service dog in public. The ten minute stop for a gallon milk doesn't exist in the puppy raising universe.  It's wonderful.

I resolve to be right here if you need me, says Micron

Enjoy the ride

This puppy raising gig is a roller coaster ride. Well, without all the screaming and stuff. Emotional highs and lows, successes and the occasional set back. But so exhilarating and rewarding that we get on to pull down the bar to ride it again and again. And like adrenaline junkies, we want to be in the first car every time.

It's gonna be a good year, people.  Just watch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Snow Camouflage











When the Favorite Kid was a toddler, I'd dress him in bright primary colors when we'd visit amusement parks and such. My New Mom Theory was based on the simple idea that the kid would be easy to spot if he toddled too far from my watchful eye. And should a helium balloon happen its way to us, he'd also get the awesomeness of his very own balloon tied to his wrist. Again, the thought was that a bobbing object in one's peripheral vision is harder to lose in a crowd. 

What? Is that weird or something? Nudging towards the dark precipice of paranoia perhaps? Well, I stand by this choice. I do.  Because I never lost the kid even once. Ok, there was that one time, but he was fourteen and we were at the mall. And I get the feeling he was trying to ditch me anyway, but that might just be the paranoia talking.

I was reminded of this after the recent snowfall here in Ohio.  The polar bear pup was just blending into the snowy backdrop a little too much for our photo shoot outside. The monochrome photos my camera was spitting out were simply, well, bland.

Red bow to the rescue! Kind of.  I didn't know it, but apparently the thing held some sort of superpower that makes puppies hyperactive.  As soon as I connected the velcro straps, she was BAM! out of the starting gate.  Running around with reckless abandon like a puppy in her first big snow.



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