Sunday, March 30, 2014

This calls for the Class A uniform

Come a little closer. I can't lick you yet.

I reach for the light blue bandanna on the kitchen counter and turn to Micron.

Dress, I say to him.

My big yellow dog lowers his noggin and slips into the open loop. He looks up at me, expectant. The Tail of Wondrous Beauty is slowly wagging.

You know what, big guy? I say. I think tonight's event calls for full Class A uniform. Let's put your working cape on and get you all official looking.

Getting ready
Micron turns the dial on his tail from Slow to Oh Heck Yeah as I put the logo cape on him. He knows we have an adventure coming up. What is it? Micron has no idea, but from experience he's pretty darn sure this is gonna be a good time.

Because he's going to work.

Once attired in full gear, Micron runs to the Toyota and prances at the car door, looking back at me.

C'mon two-legger! Let's go! he says. We're burnin' daylight here.

And so I secure the therapy dog in the back seat, turn the key, and we hit the road to meet us some Cub Scouts to talk about the jobs of working dogs.

I didn't expect any real challenges for the evening. After all, Micron is a true professional, highly trained in the skills of pet therapy and the like. So with confidence and a loose leash, we strut our stuff into the entrance of our venue, an elementary school.

Ok, let's pause here for just a moment. So who has now, or ever, born witness to the entrance of an elementary school at the end of a long, cold winter? Yeah? So you know what I mean when I mention the ubiquitous sight that heralds Spring along with the song of the red breasted robin, right?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: I druther a head butt

If I had my druthers, Bodine, says Micron. I druther you doing a head butt than you being a ... well, you know.

I just happened to have the camera in hand to capture this tender moment between Micron and the Benevolent Overlord of Sword House.

For a good reason.

Hahaha, not really. No good about it. Just that I had put Micron's backpack on the cat while straightening up a pile of dog gear.  And Bodine rocked the look so well, I thought I'd snap a shot of him.

When I came back in the kitchen with the Canon, the two of them were all about this bromance thing.

The cat didn't see me coming. How could he with his eyes rolled back in his head like that? But once the sound of the shutter echoed in the kitchen, we got this.

And there ya go. All is as it should be.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Silence is yellow

Mums the word, says Euka.
Speak!, I say to Micron.

Boof! says Micron. Bawoof!

Good dog, Mikey, I say. Well done, big guy. I turn to Jager, Speak!

Yap, says Jager. Yap yap yap yap yap yap ...

Alrighty, that'll do, I say. Now Quiet. Please.

Yap, says Jager.

Euka, I say. Speak!

Euka gathers her color coded index cards, clears her throat and makes eye contact with her audience.

Good morning, says Euka. I want to thank you all for being here ...

Yeah, just pulling your leggings there, sister. Truth be told, Euka's response to the Speak command is the same as the Quiet command. She just looks at me with those root beer brown eyes and waits for me to start using English again.

And here we are. Got us an eighteen month old polar bear pup who has thwarted all attempts to teach her the Speak command. Euka hasn't been a very vocal dog, bark-wise. Oh sure, she hasn't lost that adorable squeak when she yawns. Been doing that squee-worthy performance since we met her at eight weeks old.

And sometimes when a play session with Jager escalates into a fracas of sorts, we might overhear an excited bark or two. But that's it. None of the other vocal misbehaviors we found so challenging in various other pups. Euka's offered up nothing like crate barking, vigilant alerts to weird noises or whatnot.

How do you teach the Speak command, ask a colleague in the office.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Link to Puppy Cam Livestream

Goodnight, fwends

Remember back when ...

If you were hanging with us in the autumn of 2012, you may recall that one magic evening when the tiny Miss Euka offered up a goodnight wave to her new fan base.

This was as we were intently watching the Eukanuba Puppy Cam that was livestreaming the ferocious acts of derring do of Euka and her E littermates. The E's were merely wee pups learning about life with their breeder caretaker.

Euka and her E littermates at dinnertime.
That's our girl on the bed savoring a kibble of her own.

So y'all, wanna do this again? Our fresh new followers, are you ready for some puppy awesomeness?

Well, I'm in anyway. Oh, but of course I am.

For the next eight weeks, Eukanuba is hosting a livestream of Canine Companions for Independence's Hero Litter. Tiny pups with a big destiny, these furries have just shown up to rock our world.

Here they are, people. Introducing the Hero Litter, courtesy of mama Taya and dad Zorba. And half-siblings to our Miss Euka, too, so there's that for a bonus.

Taya and her Hero Litter, born March 18, 2014
 (Photo courtesy of Eukanuba)

Check out the livestream of these kids on the Eukanuba Puppy Cam at from noon to midnight EST. Seven days a week for the next eight weeks.

Plus two other ways to keep up with the Heros.
Eukanuba's Facebook Page at
Canine Companions for Independence's Facebook Page at
And don't blink twice, y'all. They'll be grown up before you know it.

Just like Euka [sniffle]

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hurry on schedule

Dog help us, has this been the longest Ohio winter we've seen in years or what, people?  Ask anyone around these parts and they'll tell you we've had just about enough already.

We actually had a day last week of nearly seventy degrees to be welcomed by a snowfall the very next morning.

I opened the back door to let the dogs out to conduct their business and cried out something like Oh c'mon! Really? into the howling winds.

My visions of flip flops are replaced by watching Micron belly flop into making a snow angel. Well sure, at least the dogs are happy about more snow.

I'm lamenting to the Favorite Kid today that there must be someone we can hold responsible for this, right? I mean, lookit, Alaska has majestic scenery and moose and stuff. Otherwise what's the difference between living in this Midwestern snow blighted nonsense and being in Alaska?

Mosquitos the size of flying housecats, for one thing, says the kid. Alaska has 'em all summer long. Everybody's anemic up there.

He knows this because he's been to Canada with the Boy Scouts. And Canada is real close to Alaska.

So despite the dogs loving this harsh winter we human beans have been suffering through, it has been rather hard on them. Mostly because we've been putting more emphasis on the Hurry command.

Did you know about this?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Pin the bubbles

Darn you, Pinterest. You and all your stinkin' adorable puppy photos to find and pin. Which I do. Like a crazy woman.

And what I intended as inspiration for a photo shoot instead resulted in, well, the usual.

You see, there's this check-your-glucose-level-first shot of a lab puppy eating a soap bubble. I wavered my smartphone in front of my Favorite Kid's nose and said, perhaps a little too loudly, we're gonna do this!

We don't have a puppy, says the kid.

No matter, I say. We'll use Micron.

So while the neighbors peek from their blinds to see what the glorified heck we're up to again,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Princess Dudley Nose

Dudley nose

What did you just call me? asks Euka.  Did you say Princess Dudley Nose? Because I kinda like the sound of it, but I don't know if I should.

What I was saying, I say, is that the princess's nose is going dudley. Another reminder that you're not a little puppy anymore. 

Actually, I continue, You and your littermates will be eighteen months old next week. A whole year and a half. Who'da thunk the time would go by so ...

Wait, hold that thunk a sec, says Euka. Where exactly is my nose going? This isn't that mind bending game you play where you "got my nose" and it turns out to be your hooman thumb, is it? Because, Food Lady, that's just messed up. You need to know that.

raising a super dog
Auntie Flo arrives early
What? Your nose is going where? I say. I just said your nose is going ... ah. Ok, I see. No, Euka, you misunderstand. I just mean your boop button is turning pink. It's a coming of age for CCI pups. Well, at least you yellow coated ones.

But you said last October that I was what you called Of Age. says Euka. 'Member that? Because you were real annoyed with somebody called Auntie Flo when she came by to make me a wooman. Remind me, who is she again?

Right, I say. Nevermind that. Especially now that you've just jinxed us by invoking her name. I think we're due another visit pretty soon, if your girly calendar is working on the retriever time zone. 

Anyhoo, says Euka. Pink boop button, you say?

Yep, I say. Pink. As in dudley nose. It's nothing right or wrong; it's just genetics. And as you pups near your turn in time to the Advanced Training program Canine Companions for Independence, we usually see the first signs of the pigmentation change on your nose pads.

Not our little girl anymore

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday:

So you longtime readers, our fierce and loyal supporters, you may have noticed.

A bit of a face lift of for the dog blog this week. A nip and tuck job.

Oh, just some little housekeeping things to clean up the look. I'm adding a jump link to "read more" for those longer articles. And we tidied up the side columns to shorten the load of the home page.  

But you know, I'm rather excited to debut the new logo. Lookit, I'm not a fancy girl who needs fancy things. We know that already, right?  Still, I'm more than a little jazzed to have come across a cartoonist, Tony at TBToons*, who created an image of a little super pup in training for me. 

What's not different though? In spite of the occasional request, we have no interest in ads or product placements. This, people, is blogging in its purest state. Just stories and photos for all to enjoy as we do what we can to raise awareness of working dogs.

I invite you to feel free, when so inspired, to share our stories with friends and family. The more we stretch out, the wider this message of the magic of the human-animal bond is spread out. 


*Tony is on Etsy at TBToons where he'll create a digital pet portrait for you from a photograph. Super affordable and quality stuff.  Give his shop a look; you might just be pretty darn impressed. I sure was. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Do the Hokey Pokey

Micron poses at the P&G headquarters
He slaps a right shake in.
He pulls his right paw out.
He slaps a left shake in.
And then barks and barks about.
And so goes the Hokey Pokey, Micron-style.

Here's the recurring scene in the office. Someone has a cookie for Micron. He knows it. Nothing for free is drilled into his golden head, so he must execute one of his highly trained skills.

But in all the excitement he instead suffers a short-circuit in the memory neurons. Every. Time.

Shake! thinks Micron. I know this one! Give me five! No, wait! I'll use the other paw! What? Why are you still talking and not giving me the cookie! Did you want me to Speak? I know that one too! 

And the three actions - right paw Shake, left paw Shake and Speak - are looped until the cookie is finally and safely tucked away in the great Micron maw.

Doesn't he know any other commands? asks a colleague.

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