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Dog's Eye View

Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant.

Updated: 2018-03-06T05:32:10.132-06:00


Our New Website


One of the projects I have been working on this summer is a new home for blogging. As most readers probably know, the contemplation of making a new website started earlier this year due to the impending Blogger interface change. (No, my account still hasn't been switched permanently yet - which I'm incredibly surprised about - but my dashboard now says it will happen "in the coming days".) However, it is worth noting that Google is claiming they have addressed some of the accessibility issues that screen reader users have had with the new Blogger interface, which is perhaps good news for all those who will soon really be forced to use it.

As I have said before, I was disinclined to move this blog, because Blogger has been its home for the last eight years - I, sentimentally, feel like it belongs here. Also, despite my frustrations with the new interface over the last six months to a year, I wasn't ready to abandon my blog and thus probably give up on blogging completely. So, in the end, what persuaded me to actually go ahead and start the transition to a new blogging platform back in July was a generous friend offering me a domain name purchase and server space where I could build a website of my very own using; transfer all of my various blogs' content there, and continue to blog comfortably knowing that I am no longer at the mercy of Google's whims. This was an opportunity that I ultimately could not turn down.
So, even though the new Blogger interface is supposedly working better (at least according to Google), Guide Dog Jack and I are going ahead with the plan and getting settled into our new blogging home over at L-Squared.Org. While it is still a bit of a work in progress, I think the site is now functional enough and presentable enough for us to officially welcome our friends there and start using it regularly. Thus, Dog's Eye View readers won't find us posting here on our Blogger blog any longer. We invite you to please adjust your bookmarks/feed-reader subscriptions accordingly, and join us over at our new, as-of-yet untitled, website.

Farewell Blogger!
L^2 and Guide Dog Jack

Name in Food


We haven't had Super Skilz Sunday posts for the last couple of weeks, because we haven't worked on anything interesting enough to video. However, we have seen many of our pet, in-training, and working dog friends doing this food challenge lately, so today we finally took the time to do it too. Verdict: easy-peasy! The chocolate boy started out all sprawled out on the floor, but as I began spelling out "Guide Dog Jack" in the spaces between his limbs, he pulled his legs in closer to his body - not going to touch that food at all without permission. LOL Good boy!

Take a Bow


Since we showed you (almost) all the basic tasks Jack already knew for Super Skilz Sunday last week, this week we have to show you some of his new skills. Most of the new stuff we've been working on over the last few weeks are things that are based on actions Jack already does quite often in his daily life, because I thought it might be fun to try to get him to do these things on cue.

One of these new tasks is bowing. I'll admit that this one probably isn't the most useful/practical task, but Jack spends a lot of time, during play, snuggling, bone chewing, etc. with his front quarters on the ground and his hind-end elevated. So I've been attempting to teach him to "take a bow" on cue. After only a couple of very short practice sessions this week he is doing it very reliably now. So next week I'll probably confuse him all over again if I try to change the physical cue for it to something more "showy". Haha!:

src="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420">
(video embedded above. Watch on Youtube.)

Another one of these newly named tasks is to do a full body shake, which can be useful after bathing, grooming, etc. This one we've been working on for a while, but it is definitely still a work in progress. Here's a clip I shared yesterday on Twitter when he got it right on the first try!

src="" title="Telly video player " class="twitvid-player" type="text/html" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480">
(video embedded above. Watch on TwitVid/Telly.)

We have also continued to work on Jack's "under", "circle" and "fix it" cues, because they are a few tasks that could use some improvement, but since you can see him doing these things in last week's video, I didn't film more of them this week.

Fourth Birthday Fun (by Jack)


Hello Efurryone!Thanks for all the Twitter, Facebook and bloggity birthday messages! I had a fantastic fourth birthday. I spent as much time as I could on my birthday playing with my new toys or chewing on my new bone. But I did get out and about a bit too. I did some toe warming duty under the table at my birthday lunch date, because I know my girl is always cold. As predicted, I didn't get any tacos at lunch, but the restaurant employees did give my girl 2 bone-shaped treats for me! One just because they think I'm awesome and another because my girl's Sister told them it was my birthday!Afterward my girl's Sister had a surprise for me. We went to the store and visited the toy aisle again, where I got to pick out a toy as a gift from her! Thanks for the awesome Hedgehog stuffy, Talon and family!!!Later, after toy shopping and grocery shopping, I snoopervised as my girl made my BONUS Fun Thing: Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Yogurt pupcicles! She changed the recipe a bit from the one linked in yesterday's post. She only used one 6 ounce container of plain, unsweetened yogurt; 2 Tablespoons of all natural, low sodium peanut butter; maybe a third of a raw banana (smashed); plus 4 of my Natural Balance grain free bone-shaped treats for the "handles". My treats turned out excellently! I had one on my birthday; I shared one with my little friend Riley today, and there are still 2 more in our freezer! I also ended up having my birthday kibble cake for supper instead of breakfast (because we were running late in the morning, and my girl wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to enjoy it.)And if that wasn't enough treats, my girl's Mom came over to visit and brought me a big bag of freshly home-baked grain free, all natural peanut butter treats! It was an experimental recipe - She used potato flakes instead of flour, since my ears get a little unhappy when I eat grains - but they turned out great! I got to try one, but the rest went into our freezer to use for clicker games later. Yes, I was full of birthday treats, but I got lots of exercise having fun working and playing on my birthday to burn off the extra calories. :o)[...]

I am Four! (by Jack)


Hi every pup and peoples,I get to write on the bloggity today, because it's my special day. It's my 4th birthday!!!!As you probably guessed from the photos above, there have already been a few exciting events today, most notably gifts! One of the things I showed my girl when we went down the toy aisle at the store last week was a silly beaver(?) toy, and this morning she surprised me with it! Its head/body has a squeaky ball inside so it bounces around all over the place when I drop it, and its long tail is full of loud squeakers too. So fun! I also get to have a knuckle bone for my birthday. I haven't actually gotten to chew on that yet (because I've been having too much fun with my bouncy beaver), but I'm sure I'll get to it soon!In other birthday-related news: my early-morning kitchen activity snoopervising led me to discover that there is a special frozen kibble birthday "cake" chilling in the freezer (made from my breakfast kibble serving, plus water and 4 star-shaped treats) for my first meal of the day. So, I'm definitely looking forward to breakfast in a little while.And because I must have Four Fun Things for my fourth birthday, my girl and I just got back from a fun (non-working) walk together around the neighborhood. I was hoping for a birthday swimming adventure at the river like last year but our home area is in a drought so there probably isn't enough water (and we don't know anyone with a big pool I could swim in either). A regular just-on-leash walk was still lots of fun though, because I don't get to take those very often. (I did still try to guide my girl a little bit though, because I didn't think that Sugar cane of hers was doing a very good job.) I have also heard talk of a possible BONUS Fun Thing for my birthday... if the store has what we need when we go there after my lunch date with "the girls". Note: I used the term "lunch date" very loosely since, even though it's my birthday, I won't get any of their yummy-smelling taco lunch. Anyway, if we can find appropriate ingredients, there may be another small homemade frozen treat (similar to these Frozen Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Pops) chilling in our freezer for me to enjoy this evening! I'm not sure what else we're doing today to celebrate, but so far, it's shaping up to be a great birthday!Love and chocolate birthday kisses!Guide Dog JackP.S. This morning my girl (jokingly?) told me again that I am not allowed to get older after this birthday. She says I am at a good age: mature enough to do my job very well and still young enough to really love doing it. I am willing to give it a try, so does any dog know how to do this "not get older" trick?[...]

Super Skilz Sunday


A while back some Twitter friends started doing Super Skilz Sunday to help motivate them to continue having fun teaching their dogs new tricks. This weekly event was inspired by the Do More with Your Dog site and their "Trick Dog Title".Looking over the list of tricks for the Trick Dog Title, I realized that Guide Dog Jack already knows a lot of tasks. He could probably get his Advanced Trick Dog Title easily, (though I doubt I'd ever fill out the paperwork/spend the money for it). And, of course, Jack knows a whole lot of important guide work skills that aren't on that list too.Although we have continued to review all of his tasks, I can’t take credit for teaching Jack most of the skills he knows – his puppy raiser and his trainers at his guide dog school deserve the thanks for teaching him – but he has picked up a few new things since coming into my life. Since Jack wasn’t originally trained with a clicker though (and neither were any of my previous dogs), we are both still pretty new to using the clicker (and treat rewards) for task training. At first, I introduced the clicker and treats with tasks he already knows. But in the last few months I have begun using shaping and/or luring to teach Jack a few new fun and possibly useful tasks. I know neither of us is doing everything right 100% of the time yet, but, in my opinion, the important thing is we’re having fun using a more positive way to learn new things. Jack has been very responsive to this new method of training (of course, he’s a Lab, so he LOVES anything that involves food). And Super Skilz Sunday has been a good motivator to keep practicing.I have been meaning to get a participation post up for weeks now, but I needed to get video of Jack performing his tricks. Unfortunately, videoing isn't my strong suit, so I put this task off for several weeks. Then, last weekend, when I finally got motivated to get out the camera and tripod to attempt to make a video, what I ended up with was way too long/big to upload and my video editing software (on my poorly aging computer) had trouble dealing with it when I tried to cut it down to a more manageable size. So, we had to scrap that and this week we re-filmed everything in short clips which I attempted to piece together into one long video for your viewing pleasure.NOTE: Turn DOWN your computer/phone/tablet's volume before you watch this video. I forgot to adjust the volume levels when I was making this, so it’s very loud. src="" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420">(video embedded above, watch on youtube)Video description: Dark brown chocolate Lab Jack performs a whole bunch of the basic skills he knows in the various rooms of our apartment (not necessarily in this order): sit, down, stay, formal come, stand, heel, leave it, touch/target hand, roll over, shake paw - right and left, high five - right and left, kisses, go to bed, rug, kennel, circle, up, off, watch me, here up, push in/out jump in/out, dress, take it, give it, drop it, fetch it, etc.), and we tacked on some clips of a few games too: hide and seek, treat on a string, treat under a towel, and treats under cups.For those who might be curious and/or concerned: No, I do not plan to incorporate clicker training into Jack’s guidework anytime soon (if ever). I have a whole lot more to learn before I would even ever consider doing that (and Jack is still fairly distracted by the fact that there is kibble in his presence during our training sessions). So, for important things like guidework I think it is safest for us both to stick with what we already do/know best. But our brief "clicker games" every now and then at home add a little bit more fun to our downtime together. [...]

Assistance Dog Week


Happy International Assistance Dog Week!
(August 5 to 11, 2012)
Since IADW is about honoring all those devoted, hardworking assistance dogs who help individuals with disabilities, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few of the pictures I took of my sweet Guide Dog Jack during a recent impromptu early morning photo shoot that followed an even earlier morning walk after my body decided to wake up for no good reason at O'dark-thirty.

The 8th ADBC: Marching to Your Own Drum


Just a quick note today for anyone who might be interested in reading:The 8th edition of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival has been published by this round's host, Brooke at Ruled by Paws. There were 17 posts submitted this time - including my Continue to March post. I'm very glad that more people are participating in this fun quarterly blogging event again. And I highly recommend taking time read about the various interesting ways assistance dog handlers and raisers are marching to their own drum.

Continue to March


The theme for the 8th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, hosted this time around by Brooke and the gang at Ruled By Paws, is “Marching to your own drum”.This has probably been the most difficult carnival topic so far for me to write about, because while everyone likes to think they are unique (in a good way), compared to some of my awesome assistance dog handler friends, I am a fairly “by-the-book” kind of handler. I mean, for starters, both of my guides have come from programs and I ended up choosing to get my current dog from one of the few programs that is known for still almost exclusively using “old-school” methods for training their dogs (i.e. metal chain slip collars and leash corrections instead of martingales or head collars and treat rewards/clicker training). For the most part I use the program-provided equipment while working my dog. And, to top it all off, I continue to feed my dog kibble (albeit high quality, grain-free kibble) instead of a raw diet.Of course, there are numerous minor ways that I have chosen to march to my own drum, as far as my guide dogs’ care and training are concerned. I mean, sometimes there is the program's recommended way of doing things, and then there is the way that actually works for your specific, unique dog. So, in this post, I had originally intended to discuss at least some of the ways my care and handling of my guides differs from what guide dog programs typically teach, suggest/recommend, or in some cases even require, like how I use less-harsh head collars and/or martingale style collars; allow the dog to play with the ball-like toys and stuffed squeaky toys they love best; use clicker games/treat rewards; train new fun/useful tasks; made the switch to better quality food; and occasionally use “people food” as rewards, etc. However, my completion of this post was delayed about a week due to broken internet, and now that I am finally back online again and sitting down to finish this post, my mind is pushing me in a different direction.Why? Well, because, on an outing to the store earlier this week during which my dog and I encountered a few somewhat frustrating people, I was once again reminded that the very act of choosing to work with an assistance dog is in some cases a way of marching to your own drum. Although obtaining an assistance dog is becoming a much more popular choice, it is an option that not everyone - in fact, I’d go as far as to say most people with a disability - don’t choose, for a wide variety of reasons. And, perhaps because it is not an option that every single person with a disability chooses, it seems like a lot of non-disabled people have not ever encountered any assistance dog teams, so they can be over-exuberant, utterly baffled, and/or incredibly judgmental when they do actually meet us.In my small home town, as far as I know, I am THE ONLY guide dog handler. Granted, small as it may be, I don't know everyone in this town. However, I haven't come across any other guide dog handlers during my many, wide-ranging outings with my dogs in the last 10 years, so I think it's a safe assumption to make. Likewise, while there is a high ratio of elderly people in my community who are likely "legally blind", I did not and still do not have peers here who are blind. I was the only person with any sort of visual impairment in any of my classes from pre-school through University. The only blind people I knew, lived far away, and I had met at special events like Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students and much later on in my first guide dog training class. So, some people around here didn’t know what to do with me, how to interact with me, etc. Thus, when I was growing up I always kind of felt like I was a Lone Ranger of sorts - walking my own path, figuring out what worked best for me and going with it. Just wit[...]

Back Online Again


It's just my luck that when I'm finally in the mood to blog and I have several ideas for posts that I'm ready to make right NOW - not to mention, a new website project to finish (more details on this coming soon!) - that's when my home internet suddenly dies and isn't fixed for a week and also my phone internet decides to run too slowly for Dictation to be of much help in getting wordy posts written with a mobile blogging app.

Well, anyway, Jack and I are finally back online now. Yay! I may be publishing at least one or two more back-dated posts here this weekend (See: Stella is Eight). Also, I will hopefully get my entry for the 8th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival finished and posted before the deadline on Sunday.
FYI: This round's host, Brooke at Ruled By Paws, is offering a bribe prize to participants! The names of everyone who contributes a post for the 8th carnival will be entered into a drawing and one lucky participant will win a $25 Amazon Giftcard! So, if, like me, you haven't gotten a post written for the ADBC yet and you want to be entered in the giftcard drawing, you still have a couple of days to submit an assistance dog-related post on the topic of "Marching to your own drum".

Stella is Eight


Today we want to wish a very happy birthday to my former pet dog Stella and her 7 yellow littermates who were born 8 years ago today.
Unfortunately, last I heard, Stella is starting to really show signs of aging. She’s starting to move slower, not be as perky/playful all the time, and one day this past spring, I received a call from her distressed owner after Stella had what the Vet suspected was some sort of age-related seizure. It makes me very sad to think that the always-full-of-too-much-energy, silly, happy girl I shared my life with for nearly 6 years is getting old, especially because 8 really isn’t all that old for a Lab.
Anyway, I don’t mean to depress everyone on Stella’s special day. We hope she is feeling well today and that she has a wonderful birthday.

What’s Up, Pups? (by Jack)


Helllloooooo!!!Did all my bloggity friends forget me? I know my girl and I haven’t blogged regularly here lately. So, here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to this summer... I’ve been being cute, of course:And a little bit silly too:I've been giving lots of chocolate kisses, and getting tummy rubs:I’ve been guiding my girl carefully but speedily on walks all over town for important things and/or just for exercise:And I've been enjoying car rides to some fun adventures with family and friends:I’ve been having squeak-a-thons:And chew-a-thons:I’ve been taking plenty of naps:And snuggling with my girl every once in a while:I’ve been playing hunger games:And retriever games:And some clicker games too (Okay, I'm not in this picture, but these are my clickers - my girl says she needs more hands to be able to get photos of me during our clicker games):I’ve been visiting that little rescued kitten:And I've visited a rescued turtle too (Well, I'm not in the picture with it, but I was right there peaking over the tub's edge at it):I've been assisting my girl with shopping for my favorite fruits (and lots of other boring stuff):And occasionally getting to eat a few bites of that yummy fruit too:I’ve been snoopervising my girl while she does chores, searches for jobs, prepares meals, and works on some super-secret projects:I've discovered that it's fun to hang out in the closet when my girl leaves the door open:But I've learned that I don't like to play in sprinklers:I've gotten a bath shower with the hose (since I was already soggy from the failed attempt at sprinkler fun). And I've enjoyed sunbathing while my fur dried:I've watched (well, mostly slept through) some fireworks displays:And I've helped do some special birthday graffiti:Oh, and I've sniffed noses with a cougar at the zoo, but otherwise mostly ignored all the strange, sometimes noisy wild animals there:And most importantly I've been trying to prevent my chocolatey self from melting in the 100+°F heat:I hope all my friends are having a good summer too!Love,Guide Dog Jack[...]

Dog Bless America


Happy Independence Day! Hope everyone celebrating has a good, safe 4th of July. (I took the fireworks photos at my town's little annual fireworks display last night and I taught Jack to hold the flag this morning).

Ten Years Ago


I know I'm overdue on a few updates around here, and those might come eventually, but I couldn't let this special day pass without a blog post. On this day 10 years (and what seems like a lifetime) ago, I met and began working with my first guide dog, a sweet, spunky little yellow Lab girl named Willow.
Willow wasn't a perfect guide dog, but she was a great first guide dog for me. I learned so much from her and benefited greatly from having her in my life. Little Miss "I'll try anything once" had her issues, and we had our struggles in learning to overcome or at least to live with those issues, but all things considered we made a pretty good team. She has always been a very unique dog. She could always make me laugh, and because our bond was so strong, there were moments when I'd swear this sometimes-too-smart-for-her-own-good dog was reading my mind. Our challenges, failures and triumphs as a working team have helped my second guide dog and I become an even more successful team.

Although Willow retired in March of 2010, after nearly eight years by my side, I will probably always continue to reflect on our Gotcha Day anniversary. After all, as I wrote on this day last year, it's not just Willow's and my match day, but it is also the date in my life history that I tend to recognize as the day I truly became a guide dog handler. Yes, my training class had begun 3 days previously (and we didn't "graduate" as a team for another 3.5 weeks), but this is the day when all those lessons (that sometimes felt silly) with the imaginary "Juno" dog finally became real and my life was forever changed. And that's something I think is worthy of celebration now with Guide Dog Jack and with any successor guides that may come in my (hopefully far) future.

A few people have asked about Willow lately. Unfortunately, it has been quite a while since I have heard anything about her from her "retirement home", but I continue to run on the assumption that no news is good news. I have no doubt that she is happy and loves her new family (she was always full of joy and always had lots of love to give) and I know she is well loved by them too.

P.S. I also want to wish a very Happy Anniversary to my friend Jess, who is also celebrating ten years as a guide dog handler today! For those who don't know, Jess and I were roommates when I got Willow and she got her first guide, Jetta. :-)

In the News


Happy Summer, everyone! Long time no blog, huh? Well, Guide Dog Jack and I hope your spring/summer has been treating you well (or your autumn/winter if we have any readers in the southern hemisphere). We are fine. Things just haven't been terribly exciting around here lately, which is partly why there have been no blog posts from us.But today, there are some important links I wanted to be sure to share with everyone:First of all, our blog-friends Becky and Guide Dog Cricket have been dealing with an access denial at an Ann Taylor store in their city that has garnered much attention around the interwebs this week, especially after the company lied about what happened. The company has since retracted their first (false) statement, claiming to have been "misinformed" and are reportedly now trying to make amends.I had considered dedicating a full post to this ridiculous injustice - I mean, come on! It's 2012. The Americans with Disabilities Act has federally mandated access for service animals in public places since 1990 and guide dogs have been trained to assist the blind and visually impaired for over 80 years. This kind of thing should not still be happening! - but since I've failed at writing any of the other posts I have intended to make lately, and since many blogs and news sites have covered the ordeal as the story unfolded, I decided to just share the above links to the Consumerist's articles detailing the story. And, of course, I should note that Becky has also detailed the event on her blog (linked above) as she continues to strive to educate the company's employees, rather than to pursue a lawsuit. I truly admire her for her efforts to "find lemonade" in this situation. I have never experienced an access challenge/denial that has gone quite this far (thankfully!) but if I was in her shoes, I don't think I could maintain the level of positivity she has tried to keep throughout the last few days.In other news, the 8th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival was announced today. This round's host is Brooke from Ruled by Paws, and she has chosen the theme of "Marchin' to your own drum". The deadline for post submissions is July 29th.As always, every blogger is welcome to participate - you do NOT have to be an Assistance Dog handler/trainer/raiser to join in the fun; your blog post just needs to be related to assistance dogs and the chosen theme. For more information about this fun, quarterly blogging event, please visit the provided links.And last but not least, earlier in the week I stumbled upon an article weighing the pros and cons of using Mini Horses as guides for the blind instead of dogs: Mini Horses... to Guide or Not to Guide. I found the article very interesting since I have fielded a few questions about guide horses versus guide dogs over the years - probably in part because I live in a more "rural" area of the U.S.. I personally cannot foresee myself ever wanting to obtain a guide horse instead of a dog (mostly because I'm just not that big a fan of horses in general), but for the right person in the right living and working situations it sounds like a guide horse could be an option worth considering.[...]

Rescued Kitten Visit


One of the greatest qualities I admire in my parents is that they are animal rescuers. I have posted here numerous times before about how my parents have taken in and cared for all kinds of injured/sick/unwanted/abandoned animals over the years.. In fact, just last September I blogged about them saving a little, half-dead, starving kitten who has since made a full recovery and been awarded a permanent place in my parents' home.

Well, Saturday evening my Mom called with the news that she and my Dad are once again nursing a small kitten back to health. The weather was very hot (99°F) and extremely humid Saturday afternoon when my Dad walked near an open window and heard what he thought sounded like a kitten crying outside. He went out to investigate and discovered a tiny female grey and white, lethargic kitten laying out in the hot sun in the front yard. And, of course, animal-lover that he is, my Dad just couldn't leave the kitten out there to suffer in the heat.

We went to visit her yesterday afternoon and she really liked Guide Dog Jack:
The kitten appears to be very young (a few weeks old at most) and very skinny - much too young and small (only weighing 7.25 ounces) to be away from her Mom. So my Mom is giving her milk-replacer formula every couple of hours to keep her hydrated and nourished. The kitten also appears to have a slight cold or something, with dirty eyes and a sneezy, drippy nose. I hope she's not seriously sick, (like a contagious respiratory infection or something), but only time will tell... since it's a holiday weekend, my parents weren't able to get her in to see the Vet until later today at the earliest.

Since I didn't take the kitten from last autumn, certain family members are again hinting that this kitten should become Jack's little Sister. However, despite the cuteness (and the fact that she's not at all afraid of Jack), I'm not entirely convinced that she should be ours. I'm not really a cat person (even though cats usually seem to love me - at least they do if they also like dogs) and I'm a bit allergic to cats (and dogs). Plus there's the big financial aspect of adding another family member, and the problem with being able to find a landlord/rental house that allows cats if I ever decide to move from my current pet-friendly living space. So... we'll see.

Memorial Day 2012


Thank you to all the men and women who have served or are serving as soldiers for our country on this Memorial Day, and every day. We live in the land of the free because of the brave.
(image) We hope all our U.S. friends are enjoying another long-weekend of freedom, and we hope that, like us, you have taken at least a moment today to remember what others have done for us.

Melty Chocolate Dog


Carnival, Crochet, Award...


Did you catch the annular solar eclipse last night? I had to watch it via the internet, because we didn't have a good view here (the sun was setting and thus very near the horizon here while it was happening and there was too much city "junk" in the way), but it was still pretty cool. Here are some screen shots I took of a camera's view through a telescope in California.I was given this pot full of large, spiny cacti today. It scares me a little. Haha! I foresee some thorn-extractions in store for my sensitive skin (or a curious Chocolate dog's soft nose), if we're not careful.The 7th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival summary post is up over at Plays with Puppies. There were only 5 entries this time around, but there are some moving, honest posts that are definitely worth a read.Earlier this month I finished crocheting a Sea Breeze Top to replace the one in my lost suitcase. I posted details on the project over at Crocheting Blind for those who might be interested.A few weeks ago I finally got the measurements and yarn to make the custom dog sweater that Service Dog Ruby won in our Fundraiser Auction back in March too. It's a bit small on Jack, but he attempted to model it for pictures anyway. Speaking of the auction, if you haven't yet received the items you won in our auction please let me know ASAP so I can try to find out what's going on. It's been over 2 months since the auction ended, so you should have received everything by now. I have heard from several people who claim to not have received items yet though, and I have to say I am disappointed and extremely frustrated that again this time around there are issues with this. :-(I have another fundraiser event for my sponsorship project I was hoping to start this month, but I don't feel like it would be right to start something new until all this auction stuff is taken care of. I feel like it reflects badly on me and my project when what was promised isn't delivered, and since the money I raise goes directly to GDA, it's going to be extremely tough for me to be able to provide a refund if these "lost" auction items never arrive at their intended destinations.On a lighter note, Brooke, Cessna, Canyon, Aspen and Rogue at Ruled By Paws gave Jack the Liebster blog award recently. There are some rules for passing on the award to other bloggers, but Jack is going to be lazy this time around and just say thank you!I'm not the biggest fan of coffee, but I do like some coffee-flavored treats. Thanks for the yummy Mocha Latte Lollipop, Sis! :-)Oh, back to crochet again, the other day I crocheted a dish scrubby out of strips of netting for my Sister's friend. HERE is the writeup (with pattern) for this project, in case anyone is interested.[...]

Jack at Disneyland


Over the last few weeks my friend Denise has been emailing me pictures she took of Guide Dog Jack and me during our day at Disneyland together last month when we were in SoCal. I don't like to post pictures of myself on the blog, but I thought I should at least share a few of Denise's great photos of Jack (and a few I took of him too) with our blog readers.

Many people were surprised to hear that Jack rode the rides with us. Here are some shots of him enjoying a few of the many rides we went on (and waiting for me when he couldn't ride):

Jack loved meeting Pluto and flirting with Minnie:

Here are a few shots of Jack having fun while cooling off when he got a bit warm in the afternoon:

And, last but not least, Jack modeling mouse ears/hats:

Thanks again for all the fun pictures, Denise!

Talon is Ten


Happy birthday to our buddy (my Sister's dog, Stella's Dad) Talon who turns ten years old today! It's hard to believe this big guy is ten already; I remember him when he was a young, goofy puppy way back during the same summer when I got Willow. But, even though he's showing his age, Talon is still young at heart. The whole family visited him tonight to deliver home-baked pupcakes made by my Mom to celebrate his special day, and Talon loved them. He was keeping a close eye on the cupcake container near me - hoping for more - when I took the above picture. :-)

Mothers Day Fishing


I do not eat fish, and I am not a fan of catching animals for the "sport" of it. But I think my Mom - who was the only one to actually catch a fish (a trout) - thoroughly enjoyed her Mother's Day fishing adventure today. My Mom, Sister, Jack and I went to a nearby town's "lake", had a picnic lunch and basically spent five hours feeding our bait to the resident fish.
When we finally gave up feeding the fish, we attempted to find a couple of Geocaches in the area. We couldn't find the first one, located outside a museum that had lots of neat metal sculptures on their lawn. But we found the second one located outside a racing museum. Then, the humans in our group enjoyed some very chocolatey ice cream on the patio of a restaurant before we headed home again.
As I have said before, I personally don't really consider myself to be the Mom of Guide Dog Jack (or my previous dogs) and more than likely I will never be a Mom to a human kid. But to me, Mothers Day is not just a day for blood relatives, but a day to show appreciation for all the great women who take on the responsibility of caregiver and role model to someone else. So, Happy Mother's Day to my Mom and all the other great Moms and Mom-like people out there.

Stone Arch Bridge


We had fun day with my Mom and Sister today. After having a quick lunch at a newly rebuilt fast food place in town, we loaded up in the car and headed over to visit a nearby Stone Arch Bridge. The bridge was originally built in 1899 and was last used in 1950. In the 90s it was repaired and designated a historical landmark for the area. The bridge and surrounding area was quite overgrown when we visited (of course a guy showed up to mow, just as we were leaving), but we still had fun checking it out and taking lots of photos. Jack did a nice job of carefully guiding me down the incredibly rough limestone steps leading down the side of the bridge from the top to underneath.
Afterward, we came back to town and browsed through a friend's new gift shop (which Jack found pretty boring. LOL). Then we dropped Jack back off at my house where he enjoyed a frozen Kong while us girls took a quick 5.5 mile bike ride together, and then visited baby bunnies and chicks at the farm store on the way home again.

In the Greenhouse


We spent some time wandering around the garden center greenhouse today, checking out all the new summer plants and picking out some flowers for my Mom for Mothers Day (next Sunday). I couldn't resist taking a few photos along the way....
In case you're curious, we got her the Giant African Marigold in the bottom right corner of the photo collage. :-)

Riley is Four


Happy birthday to our little, obsessed with ball-fetching friend (my Mom's dog), Riley who is four years old today. We visited Riley tonight to give him his birthday gift of another toy that can be used for retrieving games, after a belated birthday dinner for my Dad with the family. And, of course, as his visitors arrived, Riley ran to get his ball so he could play fetch with all of us. :-)