Thursday, July 16, 2015

We've Moved!

Our faithful followers of Raising a Super Dog ...

The dogs have been after me to upgrade the blog image and have finally worn me down. You know how it is, right? You just try to say No to these guys.

So we're moving host platforms to give things a cleaner look with a format that is more interactive and reader friendly. It's all good stuff.

Stories and photos are now on a WordPress platform at: Raising a Super Dog (if the link doesn't work for you, the full address is

What you need to know, dear readers, is this.
  • Email subscribers will need to resubscribe at the new site to continue seeing our fur-sotted stories in your email box.
  • Bookmarks to the site will have to be updated as well.
  • All blog stories will be posted to the companion Facebook page. Give us a Like there to see updates in your FB newsfeed. 
We so appreciate everyone who has followed our journey this far. But we got more for you. Oh so much more. Hang with us a while longer, won't you?

One more thing. We've got a sign-on bonus for your troubles. Click over to the new site and check it out. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Can't we wait until summer?

Where can you live that you'll have to turn on the furnace and the central air all in the same week?

Yep, Ohio.

In an effort to save a few of those hard earned bucks of ours, I've been resistant to turn on the AC for the first time this year. The temps had been in the mid-80s for a few days when this photo was taken. This was even before the Memorial Day weekend, so you see my mindset here, right?

Fresh air is good enough for the likes of us.

But then this. These dogs. Oh, the silent suffering as they melt into the tile flooring of the kitchen.

Fine, you guys. You win.

I'll turn on the AC.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Watch Holly Grow: Thirteen Months

Volunteer puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence expect to have their young four-legged charges in their care for fourteen to sixteen months. For those of us who find it easier to toss out rough estimates, we have been heard to refer to this time span as just about a year and a half.

That's a long time, right? We have a lot to do over those months, to be sure. Loads of socialization and the training of thirty CCI commands. And a bit of falling in love with the puppy.

Just kidding. We adore this amazing critter. Who wouldn't?

So even though I train Holly with her destiny in mind, I don't usually start thinking about the countdown to turn-in time until somewhere after the puppy's first birthday.

Holly's matriculation to CCI's Advanced Training Program will be in November this year. 

Well, by my finger count, that's seven months from now. We have a whole summer and most of the fall season to go. Not bad. We'll keep plugging along here and see if we can reach proficiency on these commands of hers. 

And I'll just mark the calendar for another day to worry about turn-ins and the good-byes and good lucks that all go together.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blossoming beauty

The windows are open, allowing entry of the lavender's perfume from the south garden bed.

If you can get past the shoe-sucking mud season, it's actually possible to enjoy the change of wind that brings Ohio springtime.

And as our only blossoming tree, the weeping cherry is now in full swing. The thing is just gorgeous this time of year.

But it pales in beauty next to Miss Holly, amiright?

Holly isn't dazzled by the beauty of the blossoms, however. That attentive gaze is bee-lined onto a... well, that's a honey bee up there. So glad to see these critters are out and about doing their pollination work.

I captured a few adorable shots of Holly surrounded by these white blossoms and I think this one may be my favorite.

Being in a somewhat artsy mood, I ran this photo through Adobe Lightroom for some editing. A filter or two, along with a vignette gives this image a heavier, warmer feel.

Some folk prefer their images SOOC (straight out of the camera), while another may enjoy the mood coming from an altered photo.

What do you think? What is your preference ... Image #1 above or #2 below?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Stunt Double

raising a super dog

Take a pop over to our companion dog blog at Go. Do. Be Dog. for a product review of Lindy and Company dog treats.

Micron is asking me to update his resume. He wants to snag a job at this place. A career as a stunt double of the company's mascot, Lindy, is top of the list, what with the crazy good looks of these two goldens.

And sure, a security guard role as Keeper of the Bacon Treats is a solid career choice as well.

Maybe V.P of Canine Communications? The dog can bark your ear off if you let him.

Micron is so busy with his volunteer work, though. I really don't think he has time for a full-time job and we're not even talking about his lack of work ethic.

In the meantime, I'll distract him with a cookie or two. I think we'll go with a Peanut Butter but Better. Then it'll be his nap time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hero Bunnies

raising a super dog

Harvest and Holly pause in their play session to get into the bunny spirit of the season. A closer inspection of the image above will confirm that, yes indeed, that is mud on Holly's legs. But it's springtime mud, of course. Can't avoid the stuff.

How difficult is it to take a photo of two active pups wearing bunny ears, you ask. Good question. We'd say it's not too bad, really. Even on this particular blustery March day. We recommend an individual of persistent personality to be in charge of the ears and a second biped to keep a firm finger on the shutter button.

And just keep shooting until you get good enuf ...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Watch Holly Grow - the first year

G'bye Puppy Kibble

www.donnasword.comHere ya go, Miss Holly, I say. Your last bowl of puppy food.

Those are not words I like to hear in the same sentence, says Holly.  Last Bowl and Food. Wait, the world is going all fizzy. I think I might faint from lack of kibble crunchies. 

Maybe we can feed her the cat, says Jager. What? Don't look at me like that. I meant cat food. Feed her cat food.

You all are misunderstanding what's going on here, I say. It's a big day for Holly.

So I get a big cat? asks Holly.

Nobody is eating the cat, I say. Cut it out. No, Holly since you're turning one year old, this is the last of your puppy food. You get adult dog kibble after this.

Actually, I say. I've been transitioning you over to your big girl food all week. Adding a few more adult kibbles into the mix each day. You didn't even notice, did you?

Yeah, I noticed, says Holly. But hey, I'm not a picky girl. If it makes a tonk-tonk sound hitting the bowl, I'll down it. It's the Way of the Retriever.

Gotcha, I say. I've learned that over the last few CCI pups. Speaking of, here's a nugget of trivia for you. Even though you're a year old, you're still a Puppy by CCI lingo. 

But I'm huge! Bigger than Jager! says Holly. Heck, I'm even bigger than the cat now. I'm not a puppy!

But you are, I say. In a word, that is. Canine Companions for Independence considers all dogs in the puppy raising program as "puppies." When you enter the Advanced Training program in November, then you'll get to be called a "dog." It's a simple way to keep everybody clear where they are in their training.

Fine, says Holly. So long as I still get something to eat around here. So, are you going to say the word or do I just sit here and drool into my bowl until I dehydrate?

Right. Let's do that, I say. Holly, OK!

[crunch crunch crunch]

Monday, March 23, 2015

National Puppy Day

In recognition of National Puppy Day, we offer up a collage of the five little biscuit eaters that have christened our carpet since we started volunteer puppy raising in 2008.

Who recognizes, and can name off, those black boop buttons?

Friday, March 20, 2015

The price of springtime

Raising a Super Dog
Tell me the truth here. Is there a fish coming out of my neck?

Close your eyes. 

No wait, before you do that, let me offer a challenge of imagery. 

Take a deep breath. No, not like that. A deep breath. From the diaphragm, people. There you go. Now let it out slowly. 

And think about this ... what do you see when you imagine springtime? I'll give you a minute.

[going for a donut. be right back]

Got it? Ok, open your peepers again. 

What did you see on the back of your eyelids? Let me guess. Budding flowers, green grass and bumblebees, right?

Then you must not be from around here. Because on the first day of spring in Ohio, we got brown. Lots of brown. Intermingled with gray tones and some otherwise indescribable neutral shade of taupe.

But no matter. Because six bucks will score us some hot house tulips from the local grocer and there you go,simple as that. 

Springtime color. 

Miss Holly and I wish y'all a very happy First Day of Spring. 

And if you're from Ohio, remember ... it could always be worse.

It could be snowing.

Euka II
First Day of Spring 2013

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Healing by rescue

recovering from loss
Introducing Saxon Sword
Possibly the most epic dog name ever.
My mom and I tend to roll towards similar tastes, as many mother and daughter combos do. We agree on lifestyle choices like the preference of spending a quiet afternoon with a book over a shopping trip. We both enjoy the decadence of a rich cup of coffee with a side of chocolate cake as a favorite noshing opportunity. She loves to garden and I love to look at the gorgeous landscaped creations she brings forth every summer.

And Mom and I are fully aware that even though retro styles are the thing with young folk, there's really no way to bring sexy back to the mid-70's fashions. We were there together once and the memories of toe socks just won't fade.

And through my mom, this appreciation of All Things Dog is a value I come by honestly. We always had several canine companions at our home, most of them working dogs with a job on the farmstead. And as a young explorer into the wooded areas about our home, I would have a protector or two to share my adventures.

Mom and I know how dogs can be so much more than kibble eaters and couch warmers. Instead we live an ideal life of total immersion in this Human-Animal Bond thing.

Life is good, y'all. It's better with dogs.

So I was surprised when Mom and I had a philosophical disagreement on dog rescue.

We were going through the "how's everybody doing" roundup part of the phone call and the topic of my Favorite Kid was up next.  His dog had recently passed and he was still grieving the loss. This was his first dog he adopted since he ventured out to the world as a full-grown card-carrying adult. A tough loss on a handful of levels.

Will he adopt another dog then, asks Mom.

Oh, Mom, I said. He has to get over Elsa first. Seems like the next dog would be a rebound decision to me. He needs time, don't you think?

Every day he waits, said Mom. Is another day a dog is left homeless.

There will always be shelter dogs, I said. That's the way it is. It sucks, but he'll always have a choice.

It's not about his choice, said Mom. It's about saving a life. And he can do that now.

I see her point. I do. But my own over-protective mother hormones kicked in and I just wanted my kid to make this big decision only when he was ready. I wanted it to be right.

Let's be honest here. I wanted it to be perfect.

(Cut me a break here, people. He's my only kid.)

On my next phone call with the kid, I feel my feelings shift.

Ma, he said. I wanted to tell you. We're heading down to the humane society tomorrow.

Really?, I asked. Are you sure you're ready?

The house is too quiet, he said. It doesn't feel right.

And then he wondersmacked me with this.

There are too many dogs waiting at the shelter, he said. We can't save them all, but we can save one today. 

And I thought he took after me.

Which he does, of course. Much of the time, anyway. But it looks like my mom's genetics are carried onto this generation as well.

So we welcome Saxon into our dog lovin' family. An alumni of The Kentucky Humane Society, this fella can boast of the trifecta of looks, smarts and a high count of the snuggle factor.

raising a super dog

A great choice, my young son. And I would say the same to Saxon.

A rescue goes both ways, you know.

Well done, the lot of you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's snow fun in the midwest

The puppies of this Hero Litter are with volunteer puppy raisers across these great states of ours. And while the H pups in the Midwest are blissfully snowplowing their noses through the latest frosty precipitation, their puppy raisers are trying to be happy for the pups in California and Florida.

We are trying. But we have our challenges here. Because by the time we're white knuckling through these bitter February days, our daydreams of warm weather are getting rather desperate.

The latest Hero Litter update from the Canine Companions for Independence blog (click here for All Weather Pups) reminds me of these generous thoughts of happiness for others. From snow to sunny beaches, our Hero Pups are indeed made of Wash & Wear stuff.

And today, the Hero Litter celebrates their eleven month birthday. Holly poses for her monthly photo with the confidence of a puppy who is nearly full grown.

One more photo left to add to the Birthday Collage.

Let's all hope for a mild March.

Or I may be making my own beach out here with cat litter or something.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Be Mine

Be Mine

Happy Valentine's Day wishes from Holly.  She hopes you have the love of a dog in your life.

Or a cat, if that's your thing, of course.

But Holly is rooting for dog love, since the cat got her in trouble this morning.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Another unrealistic beauty standard

raising a super dog
Another unrealistic beauty standard
for dogs. 

Look at this gorgeous creature.

Just look at her. 

Only nine months old with the promise of a flower with impending beauty still yet to bloom.

Grace and poise, our Miss Holly.

But hold onto your toboggans, people.

Check this out ...

Here she is without her makeup.

raising a super dog
I'm no longer sad about the snow
 melting, Food Lady,
says Holly.

Now doesn't this make you feel better about your own dog?

Sure, you see the mud on her feet, right? Well, I have to tell you her nose pad is not naturally brown.

Neither is her tongue.

What a lab.

Ok, so the pet park at the office is a mud pit after the recent snow melt. Like La Brea, but without interesting bits like mastodons. So on the next business trip out to the park, I get smart.

Real smart, too. We grab a poop bag-to-go and head out for the picturesque nature path on campus. On a normal day I usually avoid this job perk, mostly because of the exercise involved in walking.

My life motto: People get hurt exercising.

But the nature path sure is pretty.

There's a lake.
raising a super dog

And landscaped waterfalls by a foot bridge.

raising a super dog
And this fella.

raising a super dog

This guy was peeved off, too. How do I know? Because it's only fifty degrees and he's cold-blooded and why is Ohio weather so flippin' weird and he just got stepped on by my size sevens and that's pretty much a kung fu striking stance for a snake who's totally prepped to open a can of whoop-butt on me and my little dog, too.

Just because Nature is so fascinating, I leaned in with my camera phone to take a photo of the thing with his mouth open, realizing just in time just how stupid that would be. Even by my standards.

But I still need a deliverable from Holly before we can go back into the building. What to do? I guess it's back to the pet park with the likes of us.

Well, there's worse things than mud. Besides how bad could it be, really?

raising a super dog

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Dino trouble

What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night.

Ooh, says Holly. Avenues of naughtiness I've not yet traveled.

Five more minutes, please, she asks. I'm doing some research. So let's see ... toilet paper, glue gun, ceiling fan ...Brilliant!

Hey, Food Lady! Do we have any glitter at the house?

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