Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Went to a movie today...

We went and saw Sherlock Holmes today, since we got some gift cards for the movies for Christmas. John wanted to see Avatar, but that was sold out. It's been a while since we've been to the movies...but I was a very good boy. Mom brought me a comfy bed (I got a new one for Christmas!)...and I settled in, after a few pieces of popcorn (what's a movie without popcorn!?!)

I did really like the Kraken monster in the trailer for Clash of the Titans...but then I fell asleep through Sherlock Holmes.

The movie was sold out also, and there was a teenage boy sitting in the row of chairs near the accessible spot. So John pulled in, got me settled, and we asked if he could move, so we could all sit together. He wasn't sure what to do...but once his friends/family all showed up, they very nicely found another set of seats.

After the movie, we went to Starbucks so John could get a hot chai. A woman near the doorway said, "oh, how did the dog like the movie?" John said, "he slept through it...he usually does." She explained that her son was in the movie theater with us, and saw me...and told his mom about me. John was very nice and let the son give me some petting...as they were very polite. I enjoyed the petting! I love saying hi to people!

Now we're home, and I'm crashed on the couch next to John...it was a busy day!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Holidays!

We're a little late this year...our Christmas cards got stuck in the mail due to the snow...but here's the photo for the card this year.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season and a wonderful 2009!


(L to R) Inara, Score, Figment (on top), Ripley (on bottom), Xander and me...Sawyer!

Happy Holidays from all of us!

After our long winter's nap...


See, John gets really cold, really easily...so he doesn't like to go out much in the winter. But I get bored at home, and start going stir-crazy. I don't like to go out and run around with the other dogs, unless John is out there. So we both sit on the couch all day not, or lay in bed. Not a bad life, but a dog does get bored.

So Mom is kicking us out today. She said, "There is no snow, the weather is milder, go OUT!" We're going to head to the library and then maybe go wander around Wal-mart or something...somewhere big and warm.

It's been a while (almost a month) since I've worn my cape and vest...of course I'm always working in the house...but I do like to get out and about!

Wish us luck!
~SDS (ready to rumble!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Opening Secret Santa gifts...

Happy Holidays everyone! Sorry to have been so absent lately...I know I keep saying that. I hope 2009 was a good year for everyone...I know it was for me! John and I did a lot of fun things this past year. :)

I figured you'd all enjoy this little video of me n' John opening a Secret Santa package for me. I love Christmas and getting goodies!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Toxic chemicals in pet products

This just came across an email list that we're on...(Mom n' Me). I wanted to share it with everyone...it lists different pet products that this group has tested for toxic chemicals. Scary!


See ya soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We love tea!

Hi everyone,

We just had to tell you all about our favorite new place to have tea: Sweet Simplici-tea. We all went there last week for John and Mom's birthdays...and we love this place. (though they didn't give me a taste at ALL!) The owners were super nice to me, and even offered me a bowl of water! (I didn't get any...I rarely drink in public...I'm weird)

Anyway...I wanted to post about this place, because we're going to be there on Saturday...because they're having a fund-raiser for Muscular Dystrophy (MDA). Since this is what John has...he was very excited. Mom's going to be out of town, so John and I will be going by ourselves. If you're interested, give the tearoom a call and make reservations!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's hot...

John and I have been trying to stay inside and stay cool lately. It's hard on all of us when the weather gets hot like this.

Me n' John checking out a big rig at the county fair!

Mom said that I should put out some heat-related reminders for those other Service Dogs out there...things to remind your human partners about!

*Watch out for the asphalt and other surfaces! Any human who has gone barefoot on black-top knows how hot it gets...(Mom remembers walking on the painted lines on the road to avoid the heat as a kid). If you are an assistance dog, chances are, you'll be in parking lots and on sidewalks a lot with your human partner. Remind them that you shouldn't have to stand too long on those surfaces...it's hot on a dog's feet too! Have them put booties on you if being on hot surfaces is unavoidable for long periods of time!

*Bring lots of water! (and bowls) John and Mom always have water in the cars, and John keeps a fabric water bowl in his scooter pack at all times. This way, I can get a drink if we're out in the heat. Since I'm not good about getting a drink in public, Mom also gets me flavored powders to mix into my water to make it taste good! (like those little packets that Mom carries for herself...mine are hot-dog flavored instead of lemonade!) If we're out for a long day...Mom will fill a short, squat thermos with water, so the lid just has to be removed for me to drink my fill. John carries that on the floorboard of his scooter! (handy, isn't he?)

*Watch for signs of heat exhaustion Some of us are prone to over-doing it when we work or play. We dogs don't always know when to quit. So #1 is for our humans to keep an eye on us and make us stop before things go wrong! #2 is to watch for signs of heat-related problems and #3 is for our humans to read up on such problems and know what to do if something occurs! Here is a great site with lots of info! Dogs and Heat Stroke

*Protect the eyes! If you spend a lot of time outside, and it's bright and sunny, you might want to have your human get sunglasses for you. I have a pair of Doggles that John keeps handy for him, in case we're going to be out in the sun. It keeps me from squinting a lot, and since I get lots of attention and treats when I wear them, I don't mind so much!

Any other ideas for staying cool and comfortable in this heat? Feel free to post them in the comments section!

~SDS (lying on the couch in the air conditioning!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A fun therapy visit!

Sorry to have been away for so long! It's been a busy summer!

I wanted to tell you all today about the fun visit we did last night! Mom and I went to Kennedy Krieger for our monthly therapy dog visit. I've never done this visit, Rip and Xander always get to go instead. But mom says that maybe I'll get to go all of the time from now on...because I was so good at it!

We left John behind with Xander to help him at home...and we went off to bring some smiles to the kids!

There were a lot of kids there that were very excited to meet us...and one kid in particular got a kick out of my retrieving skills. Mom gave him a fabric key chain to throw for me...and he'd send it flying across the floor...and I'd run to get it and bring it back to mom for a treat. What fun! I've never heard such squeals of delight! Then he wanted to walk me...so mom let him hold the leash down by my harness, as she held the handle end...she pushed him around the room in his wheelchair, while I walked politely by his side. We did lots of loops, and mom made him say "Watch Your FEET!" to me every time (I mean, I know how to watch out for the wheels...but mom made a game out of it...for the kid!). If I lagged a bit, she told him to say "Come on BEAN!" It was so much fun!

I love that I have two fun jobs...Service Dog first and foremost, and Therapy Dog second. It was so much fun to use my skills as a service dog to bring smiles to the kids' faces. I can't wait to go back next month!

*all worn out from last night*

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're on vacation!

John and I are out in Ocean City for a few days...and we're not near a computer. So no pics yet...but hopefully there will be some to post when we get back. We're having a great time...though we've had some accessibility issues with the campground. (who doesn't put in a ramp in this day and age?)

See ya soon!
~SDS (rolling on the sandy beaches!)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The end of the fight?

We finally heard back from the Social Security office this past week. The supervisor called and apologized to John (no formal written apology), and said he'd take John's advice about using the ADA definition of Service Dogs from now on in the office. Everything sounded good and he seemed to be getting a clue about Service Dogs...but then he had to go and ruin it by saying, "Yeah, and next time you come in, just give us a call firs, so we know you're coming." Um...why? *eye roll*

But we did hear from the main SSA office...who were extremely apologetic, and also said that they'd use the ADA description from now on also. The office of the Inspector General had called them after getting John's complaint. So the wheels are turning slowly, but they are turning...and the parties involved are calling to apologize.

Things are looking up. Now we just have to "lose" John's Social Security card so he has an excuse for going back into that office...with no phone call in advance of course.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why people, animal lovers, simply cannot move on from what Vick did...

I'll be back this weekend with more Service Dog stuff...but for today...a post from the BADRAP blog about *Why people, animal lovers, simply cannot move on from what Vick did...*


The following quotes are directly from the BADRAP blog.

A blog reader writes into the BADRAP blog with this question:

"Hello. I have been following the Michael Vick story and am wondering where BADRAP stands. I didn't see anything on the badrap.org web site. I read in the news that the HSUS has met with him. Since BADRAP took in so many of his beautiful dogs, I thought you guys would be worth listening to on the topic. Is there any indication that he is sincere and recognizes how bad his actions were? Has he actually done anything to show remorse for his cruelty to the dogs you took in? My gut-reaction is to be very dubious. There's just too much money at stake for him if no NFL team will take him on because of this. I think that any public-service ad he does for the HSUS is too little ... too easy. But, I'm just an observer in the whole mess. You guys saw it up-close and I would trust your judgment on the current situation."

This is Donna's, co-founder of BADRAP, an organization that took a good number of the Vick dogs, response:

"From me (Donna) - I admit I'm stuck on this one because I just can't get myself away from the swimming pool in Vick's yard. I first learned about it while riding in the back seat of a federal agent's car that sweltering Tuesday back in Sept 07. The agent was assigned with escorting us to the various Virginia shelters so we could evaluate "the evidence" otherwise known as 49 pit bulls - now known as cherished family pets: Hector, Uba, Jhumpa, Georgia, Sweet Jasmine and the rest. I'm not sure if sharing insider information with us was kosher, but you know how driving down long country roads can get you talking. I imagine she just needed to get some things off her chest. She said she was having trouble sleeping since the day they exhumed the bodies on the Moonlight Road property. She said that when she watched the investigators uncover the shallow graves, she was compelled to want to climb in and pick up the decomposing dogs and comfort and cradle them. She knew that was crazy talk, and she was grappling with trying to understand such a surprising impulse.

Her candor set the tone for this entire saga. Everyone we worked with was deeply affected by the case. The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. Most of Vick's dogs were small - 40lbs or so - so tossing them in would've been fast and easy work for thick athlete arms. We don't know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.

I wear some pretty thick skin during our work with dogs, but I can't shake my minds-eye image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water ... screaming in pain and terror ... brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get ahold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I'll be looking for ways to pull that dog out for the rest of my life.

So that's where I'm at. A second chance for Vick?

An HSUS sponsored spokesman for ending torture? In my mind's eye Vick is still in the shadows at the side of that pool. As many times as this scene plays out my head, he hasn't yet moved towards that dog to pull him out. Not there yet."

So for all of you who can move on and support Vick, good for you. I won't take that away from you. BUT don't you dare, for one f**king second, judge any of us who CANNOT and WILL NOT forgive and forget so easily.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flyballin' at Fort Meade!!!

Hi all!

First of all, there hasn't been any progress on the SSA issue...I'll keep you posted on any new developments...we're not giving up!

Secondly...we'll be FLYBALLIN' this weekend at Fort Meade! Those of you that are local to Fort Meade need to come out and cheer us on! I'll be racing, along with Score, Inara and Ripley (and hundreds of our closest friends!).

There is a big Pet Expo going on this weekend, and the flyball tourney is part of that event. Family friendly, dogs are welcome...what more can you ask for?

More info:
Fort Meade Pet Expo

Hope to see some of you there! I'll be on the lanes doing my thing...feel free to cheer me on! Come see what Service Dogs are made of!

~SDS (rrrrready for flyball!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Access DENIED! Part 2

Sorry I haven't gotten on here to post lately...to catch everyone up on the continuing drama with the Social Security Administration. John's been hogging the computer and talking on the phone. He's been very busy talking to lots of different people regarding this debacle.

For those that didn't know...here is the law that covers Assistance Dogs (and Assistance Dogs in Training) for federal buildings. It is not the ADA, but the General Services Administration.
Here is the law for federal buildings owned or leased under General Services Administration(GSA) The first one is:

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 41, Volume 2]
[Revised as of July 1, 2002]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 41CFR101-20.311]

[Page 212]



Subpart 101-20.3--Conduct on Federal Property

Sec. 101-20.311 Dogs and other animals.

Dogs and other animals, except seeing eye dogs, other guide dogs,
and animals used to guide or assist handicapped persons, shall not be
brought upon property for other than official purposes.

The second is from www.regulations.gov , search for GSA-2005-0041-0001.

[Federal Register: November 8, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 215)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 67785-67860]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

GSA's real property policies contained in this part and parts 102-
72 through 102-82 of this chapter apply to Federal agencies, including
GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS), operating under, or subject to,
the authorities of the Administrator of General Services.

Sec. 102-74.425 What is the policy concerning dogs and other animals
on Federal property?

No person may bring dogs or other animals on Federal property for
other than official purposes. However, a disabled person may bring a
seeing-eye dog, a guide dog, or other animal assisting or being trained
to assist that individual.

(This means that they couldn't kick Mom and Denver out either.)

Let me tell what's been happening since I last posted:

John called and filed a complaint against the SSA office that denied us access...via the SS Fraud Hotline. He then called the local office and asked to speak to the supervisor...the one that was "out" when we were there. John was told that he'd call back, but after waiting all day, John called again and asked to speak to him again. I was next to him the entire time, and was listening intently. The supervisor got on the line, and apologized for not getting back to him sooner. John went over the situation again for him. He gave him the info on the law that covers federal buildings and Assistance Dogs ( and asked that they review their "policies" regarding Assistance Dogs and asked also for a formal apology. Guess what happened next?

Mom and I were listening to John's end of the conversation, and we were expecting John to say something along the lines of "Thanks, etc" Instead we were surprised to hear John defending himself and me again! The supervisor told him that there was a question as to John's disability (though he did say "I know I can't ask you what your disability is!")...and a question as to what he needed the dog (meaning me! of all things! hmph!) for in the SSA office. John explained what he needed me for (in case he dropped something, etc)...and told him that he didn't know anyone that hopped in a scooter and drove to the SSA with their dog, just for grins and giggles. The guy kept insisting that he didn't NEED me (the dog, remember?) at the SSA office. John was not pleased when he hung up the phone.

He then called the SSA Office of Inspector General, Senator Barbara Mikulski's office and the ACLU. We're waiting to hear back from all of them. The ACLU was interested, and will be discussing the situation at their next meeting...and will be getting back to John on Thursday.

Right now it's a waiting game...I'll keep you posted when we know more!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Access DENIED!

We got denied access last week...for the first time in a LONG time. It was surprising and unpleasant. Where was this backwards location that didn't know that Service Dogs were the same as Guide Dogs?

Our local Social Security Administration office. A government building. Seriously.

Here's the whole story...

Mom and John needed to get new Social Security cards...so they cleared their schedules for Friday. We all got in the van, and drove up to Westminster to our county's SS office. It was me and John, and Mom and Denver (service dog in training). We all got out of the van when we got to the office building. Mom and Denver stayed outside to close the van. John and I went inside. There was a security guard in the small lobby.

She asked "What kind of dog is that?"
John said, "He's an Australian shepherd."
She then said, "No, what does he do?"
John responded, "He's a Service Dog."
She asked, "So he's not a Guide Dog?"
John said, "No, he's a Service Dog."

She got up and left her post and told us to take a number and wait in the lobby. Mom and Denver came in while she was getting up from her desk. She asked if Denver was a Service Dog also. The guard then went through a doorway leading to the back offices.

The guard came back with another woman who proceeded to tell us that dogs were not allowed in the building. John tells her that in fact, yes, we are allowed...as I am a Service Dog, and Denver is a Service Dog in Training. Usually at this point, people back down...even if they grumble a little bit. This woman just said..."They both help you? What do they do to SERVE you? You don't need both of them in here." Mom and John explained further about what I do for John, and what Denver will do in the future. She just kept getting more and more angry and getting closer and closer to to me and John. She said that the supervisor's policy was that only Guide Dogs were allowed in the office. We asked to speak to him...but he was "out".

This woman proceeded to keep getting closer and closer to John and me...and was very angry. I jumped up onto my hind legs because I was upset. (I did not touch her, btw) She jumped back and said angrily..."See! This is why we don't allow dogs in here!" Mom was very annoyed by this especically, and muttered "OH SHUT UP!" (Mom says hopefully only Denver and I heard that.)

At this point, Mom handed her a card that they often carry, the "I am a Service Dog" cards from sitstay.com, and recommended that she call the number on the back. These cards have a 1-800 number for the DOJ's ADA hotline. You can call and ask questions about the law, and ask specifically about how it pertains to Assistance Dogs. The woman takes the card and walks into the back offices. We hear her ranting back there too...though it wasn't clear what exactly she was saying. She was gone for a while, and we sat in the lobby waiting. Of course John and Mom were mad, so they were saying things like "Oh, so if I close my eyes and pretend I'm blind, it'll be okay?" We were all really annoyed...I didn't want to lie down and relax...I knew something was wrong with this situation. The only one that kept calm was Denver, he was asleep under the chair.

The woman comes out a while later and says that she talked to the folks on the ADA line, and that they couldn't help her. Turns out that because the SSA is a federal administration, they're not covered by the ADA. (HUH???) So she tells us that we have to leave. John is annoyed GREATLY by this and tells her that no, that's not going to happen...as we need the cards done today, because this is our free day to come to the SSA. She tells us that while we might have all day to stand here and argue, she doesn't...so she'll compromise. (good thing, because we DID have all day to stand there!

Her compromise is that Mom and Denver leave the building and she'll help John first. Then John will go outside and watch Denver while Mom goes in the building alone. Since John and Mom weren't sure about the rules regarding federal agencies and dogs in training, they agree to this. Mom goes outside with Denver...John and I go up to the counter. Then we went out, and watched Denver (who was asleep again)...and Mom went in by herself. Mom also found some Fidos For Freedom cards and gave them a stack. (the mean lady took one and gave the rest back) Honestly, the time it took to get the cards was much less than the time it took for her to argue with us and call the DOJ.

John said he's truly amazed at this attitude...he has personally been on demos with Fidos to the Social Security Administration main office in Maryland many times. Now he's been working on finding out what law or act covers federal offices and Service Dogs if the ADA does not. More on this in the next post! John's got a project...and he's not giving up!

(Who knows HE has no rights in this matter...but is still upset!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Photo dump

I'm working on a long story, which I think you'll all be interested in...but I'm taking a nap on the couch at the moment. So I'm turning the blog over to Score to post some random pics. Enjoy!

Hi Guys! Score here! Mom said I should post some pics of the critters...so that's what I'll do! We've got some new critters...I'll introduce you to them.

Here's the new bunny...his name is Castle. He's a tortoise mini rex. He's really F-A-T. He likes to climb the stairs. He climbs the stairs better than some of our doggy friends (like WhoBe).

Fry and Pippin are best buddies...

Thorn is the Queen of the house...

Fry likes to snuggle with all of us...

Fry snuggles with everyone...

Me (Score) n' Pippin taking a nap.

Loooooonnnnng cat:

See you guys later!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Roo's Super Brownies!

Mom made a new up a new batch of treats today...with a recipe that she came up with. They're so good, I wanted to share the recipe with you all. She named them for Xander (Xanderoo-roo) because he LOVES peanut butter treats. They're his favorite. He drools when peanut butter comes out of the cabinet...he even blows big drool bubbles (it's really gross). So Mom said that they're his Super-delicious brownies...but we can all have some too.

Even Xander's Giant Black-Tri Doppleganger, Jordan the Monster Aussie can have some!

Roo's Super Brownies:

2 cups Quick-cook oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
dash cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 mashed banana
1/2 cup peanut butter (melted in microwave)
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. molasses

Set oven to 350 degrees. Whisk wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Spread on a greased cookie sheet and back for 15 minutes. Cool, cut and serve or freeze.


No Denver, you can't have any!

(Mom says he does get some...no matter what I say.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Speaking of names

Mom thought I should clear something up about my name. Now, you all know me as Service Dog Sawyer, and my name is Sawyer. My "registered" name is Herart's Once Was LOST...as I was named for a character on the TV show LOST. But when you see me in public, John usually calls me "Bean".

Just don't call me late for dinner...

He's not crazy, no worries...it's just one of my many nicknames. Mom started calling me "Soybean" after I first came home. That's evolved into just "Bean" nowadays. Sometimes it's "Beanie" or "Beanie Weenie" or "Beaner" or "Beans". Sometimes when Mom is silly she calls me "Soya Bean Cake" because she saw that once at an Indonesian restaurant. *eye roll*

I think it confuses people sometimes, when they hear John talking to me, calling me "Bean" and then saying "His name is Sawyer" when someone asks. I don't think John and Mom are concerned about people's confusion however, they usually just laugh.

Mom is a big one for nicknames, she says she choses each name carefully for its nickname potential...can't have a bad nickname for anyone! I think it's because she doesn't really have any nicknames herself...she's addicted to them for us. We all have our "official" names because Mom likes to have a big long name for us for flyball certificates and such. Everyone but Ripley has the prefix of "Herart"...that comes from Mom's art stuff...when she makes stuff it falls under the name of H.E.R. Art designs. The name comes from her first three dogs: Harding, Elwood and Ripley.

Ripley is officially Ripley U Better Believe It. However, he's usually referred to as Rip or Ripples. From there it goes crazy...he's also Reeples, Rip Torn, Reepicheep, Weeples, Fluffy, Fluffy-butt, Fluffy McFlufferstein, Floofy, Fluffles, Fluffer-nutter, Mr. Fluffy-pants, Fuff, Fuffy-butt, Fuffy Fufferstein and more.

Xander is officially Herart's Demon Lover. (Buffy fans will get that reference) However...he's often referred to as Xanderoo or Roo. Then we go down that crazy slippery slope of Mom's crazy nicknames...Xanna-woo, Woo, Woo-woo, Woobie, Xanna-moo, Moo, Moo-lips, Moo-moo, Moobie, Moofles, Moo-man, Moof, Moofy-lips, and Mr. Mandamoo. We can't forget Big Head Todd...another nickname.

Inara is Herart's Serenity Companion (again, Firefly/Serenity fans will get this one). She is usually just called Pretty or Pretty-pretty. A far cry from her first nickname of Pure Evil. (she's come so far!). She's also called Inna, Pretty Inna, Crazy Woman, Girlie and Truly Scrumptious (yes, Mom sings the song to her).

Score is Herart's Makin' Trax. He has a lot of nicknames too...Puppy, Brown Puppy, Big Brown Puppy, Pupple, Scorzle, Scorble, Scorgeous, Scar, Score-pup, Toast, Solid Pack, Snuggle Puppy and Baby Puppy.

I think the nicknames have something to do with how attached Mom gets...Dove (our former SDiT) was Dovelet and The Chocolate Shark during her short time here...and Mom really liked Dove. Bryce was here for a while...but only got one nickname...Baby Anteater. Gibbs puppy is our foster, and Mom likes him a lot...he's Superbad, Giblet, Chocolate Puppy, and more. Denver doesn't have any nicknames really...I think Mom is trying to detatch from him...as he's closer to moving on than the rest of the dogs we usually have here.

Did I hear my name?

What nicknames do your crazy humans give you? Any embarassing ones? Do tell!

~SDS aka Bean

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Upcoming flyball events...

If anyone in the MD/NoVA area is interested in seeing some FLYBALL...we'll be competing during the last two weekends of May. The first tournament is the FBI tournament in Manassas, VA at the Prince William County Fairgrounds. The second one is at Fort Meade in MD...part of the Pet Expo that Fort Meade is having. Both are open to the public, and everyone is invited! For more info, click the links below!

FBI Flyball Tournament @ the PWC Fairgrounds

Scallywags Flyball Tournament @ Fort Meade

I'll be there both weekends racing full-time...and everyone says that I'm a sight to see when I'm racing. People who have seen me in full-on Service Dog mode can't believe how crazy I get in flyball, and on the flip side, people who have seen me in crazy flyball mode can't believe that I can calm down and behave in public places as a Service Dog! I know how to keep my work and hobbies separate!

For anyone who still don't know what flyball is...here's a video explaining the sport. My teammate made the video...so there's a lot of ME in here!

What's Flyball?


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Re-naming...(and introducing "Denver")

Mom has a new SDiT (Service Dog in Training)...named Denver. He's part of Fidos For Freedom...the organization where Mom volunteers as a trainer. (We also volunteer our time for Therapy Dog work...me, Ripley, Xander and John too) Denver is a great dog...he's gonna go far. He's a lot like me, Mom says. She is very impressed by his ability to stay calm no matter what's going on around him. A lot like me. So far nothing has ruffled his feathers when Mom's been working him in public...he even works next to her when she borrows John's second scooter.

But there is one problem...he doesn't retrieve on cue. Now you all know...that Service Dogs have to retrieve on cue...that's a LOT of what we do for a living.

When Mom puts an object on the floor and says "Fetch" or "Pick it up"...Denver ducks his head and looks away. Even if she says this in a happy voice...he still does the same thing. If the object is handed to him, he will take it (sometimes)...but still looks away.

Now on the other hand, he will pick stuff up off the floor of his own volition...and carry them around happily. He carries his metal dinner bowl upstairs from his crate every morning, and will carry around shoes, clothing, and of course toys. But when you go to take that object, he ducks his head and often will drop it on the floor.

Mom has her work cut out for her...as he obviously enjoys carrying stuff...no matter what it's made of: metal, plastic, material, etc. So she's started a new campaign of re-naming these tasks. From now on...there is no F-E-T-C-H...there is "Get It!" (along with a big party). She's still thinking of a cue to replace T-A-K-E for things being handed to him. She says she'd call it P-I-C-K-L-E or W-O-M-B-A-T for all she cares, but since he's going to someone else...it needs to be something that makes sense to the average person. She says maybe she'll use P-L-E-A-S-E...as that would be cute. (whatever, Mom!)

When she's used "Get it" the past few days, Denver has happily been going for the object. She's also using clicker training to get him back on track...starting with just touching objects with his nose and then progressing to actually picking them up. The pressure of training though often shuts him down...too intense for him to work one-on-one with Mom when she's seriously training. Part of what she's been doing to work on this is to make his training part of his day. I mentioned that he carries his bowl upstairs each morning. (isn't he a goof?) Now she's been handing him other objects as he comes out of his crate all happy and silly. The past few days, he's carried shoes and leather leashes upstairs in the morning...all with a big happy grin on his face...and he easily turns them over to Mom (to hand!) in return for going out the back door for potty/playtime. Ya gotta do what works!

Mom's a big fan of re-naming...she's re-named all of us dogs (except for Ripley who had no name...) Xander was "Boomer", Inara was "Daphne" (seriously? I'm gonna tease her now!), Score was "Deeogee" and I was "Maverick" (Service Dog Maverick...nah, can't see it). She says that there is a lot of meaning to names...whether it's a cue word or a name for another living creature. So she puts a lot of thought into each name.

If there is a bad thing associated with a name...that word has to go. Some trainers call a cue with a bad meaning a "Poisoned Cue". For whatever reason the subject (dog, human, cat, etc) associates that word to mean something bad. Mom changes our names just in case...get rid of any unpleasant memories that we might have...new name, new life. A fresh start. That's what she's doing with Denver. He stresses about certain cues...so she's starting over with new names...instead of forcing him to work through the task.

She says it's often more simple and easy to just change the word. I just hope she finds something better than Wombat.

~SDS (not Service Dog Maverick)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We won an award!

Thanks to our friend, Inara (not my sister, Inara) over at Pit Bulls Make the World Go 'Round...for giving me my first award!

Here’s the description of the award, and the rules:

“The award states that “This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time, and relationships!”

In other words, “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I'm awarding the following 8 blogs with this award: (all the links can be found on the right-hand side of my blog!)

1. Hearing Elmo - the blog of one of our favorite Hearing Dogs (Chloe) and her mom Denise

2. "Speak" - a blog that chronicles Belle a former Assistance Dog in training

3. Stale Cheerios - Mom's new favorite blog...training, behavior and fun stuff

4. A Service Dog's Journey - All about Logan the Service Dog (like me!)

5. My Heart Dog - Borias the GSD Service Dog and his artist mom...it's always a joy to read this blog

6. It's a Dog's World - Assistance Dogs in Training...a blog from their point of view

7. Ask Dr. Yin - another new find of Mom's...great training and behavior advice from Dr. Sophia Yin DVM

8. TB Friends - a daily blog by a horse rescuer...sometimes sad, often happy...always charming

Thanks again pit bull Inara!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Self-control...how to get it!

Mom says that I should be more specific in how a dog can gain self-control. Of course I was just born this way (I'm cool like that), so I'll have to ask my sister Inara for advice. Since she used to be totally crazy, she should have plenty of help. So she's taking over the blog for today. Enjoy! ~SDS


Hey all! It's Inara here! Stupid Sawyer said that some dogs might need some help in the self-control department...and that I could write the blog. I don't know why he gets a blog and not me. I'm the prettiest one...it could just be a blog about how pretty I am. Wouldn't you all read that? I could have mom help me post pictures of me...who doesn't want to see pretty pictures all of the time?

Okay, mom says that I have to get back on topic...now that I have a longer attention span, she says I have to stay on track. *pretty pout*

Here's a fun game that mom loves to teach in puppy class and to her clients. This is one of MY favorites too.

The Off-switch game.

*First grab a bunch of really good, smelly, soft-bite sized treats.
*Then work on getting your dog to sit or down on cue, if he/she can't already.
*Then the fun begins!
*Get really excited and silly around your dog...jump around, wave your arms, run in circles, shake a toy...whatever gets your dog up and acting silly too. Stay excited for about 10-20 seconds and then stop and freeze. (when working with kids, Mom will actually yell out "FREEZE!")
*Wait for your dog to settle into that sit or down...use the cue if you need
*Say "YES!" or use your clicker...and give a treat
*Start all over again!

Another thing Mom does to help us learn self-control is to make sure we earn everything. We have to offer a behavior (usually sit, down or stand) for every resource we want access to: food, petting, outside, walkies, car rides, etc. Our foster puppy sits for everything, and it's going to make him so much more adoptable because of this simple training. Sitting or down becomes a default behavior that we fall back on if we're not sure what Mom wants from us.


Mom also reinforces heavily for us working around distractions. From day one, any puppy that comes to stay with us has to learn to work around cats, other dogs, rabbits, rats and guinea pigs...as well as John's scooter. Everyone that stays here learns that it pays off BIG-Time to work around these distractions.

Everything is done with postive reinforcement and clicker training...so learning self-control is fun!

I hope this helps some! Now for more pics of me! *giggle*



~Pretty-pretty Inara

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's all about the self-control...

Mom says that's one of the first things she looks for in a Service Dog. She thinks it's so important to have self-control in this line of work. We Service Dogs experience so much...we have to be prepared for anything and everything.

How do we handle ourselves in the face of big distractions? Do we bark, lunge, whine or do we just hang out calmly with our human partner.

Very few things get me excited when I'm working. I really get excited about flyball...but when we're out on the lane for the meeting before racing, I can stand there calmly next to John. I don't start barking until my SD cape and harness come off, and my flyball harness goes on. That's because I have self-control.

Dogs and other animals don't get me excited like some dogs. I don't go crazy to see other people. When I'm working, I'm only happy to be with John.

Mom's new SDiT, Denver, is a lot like I am. He's calm and collected when he's out in public. Nothing ruffles his feathers, so to speak. Mom loves this...it's so much easier to work with him when he's not pulling to say hi to someone...or whining because he sees something exciting.

We dogs have to be taught self-control...but some of us have more of it naturally. ;)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where do I go?

As a Service Dog, I can go pretty much anywhere...because I help John. I can't imagine being left behind...I hate being left out. I think that's one reason I make such a good SD, my overwhelming desire to be a part of whatever John is doing.

Of course John always makes sure that I'll be safe...he's not going to walk me across broken glass, or a dangerous grate in the sidewalk. I look out for him, but he also looks out for me. We went to the National Zoo a few years ago...and went to go into an aviary of sorts...with monkeys loose inside. The girl at the desk told us that we could not go inside. John asked why. She said because of the monkeys. John told her that I wasn't going to eat a monkey...and that we assumed that the monkeys weren't going to eat me. She went and asked a manager...and he said, "sure". So we went inside.

Didn't see any monkeys.

Would Mom have seen monkeys if I hadn't gone in? Perhaps. But that's the risk she takes...going along with me and John. No monkey viewing.

John is my advocate...he speaks up on my behalf if he thinks the "no dogs" verdict is silly. He didn't get rude...he just wanted to know why she thought it was bad idea. Some folks with an Assistance Dog might have just said, "Okay" and walked (or rolled) away, and not gone in the aviary. Not John. He wants to enjoy everything that other people get to enjoy. I can't think of any place so far where he's hesitated about taking me. Of course, he's got lots of experience with having a SD...so that might be it...he may have fought these battles previously.

Like I said in a previous post...the partnership is a two-way street. I work for John, but he also works for me. He keeps me safe, happy and allows me to work to the best of my ability. I stay by his side at all times, and he keeps me by his side at all times. No turning around and saying "Okay" for him. He ventures into unknown territory with me by his side. That's what it's all about.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rules of Punishment...food for thought...

Mom ran across Steve White's 8 Rules of Punishment from last year's Clicker Expo...and has been pondering it lately. It's next week's discussion for puppy class too. Here is the list...more thoughts on this later.

Eight Rules for Using Punishment:

1. The punishment must be something the animal dislikes and something the animal does not expect.

2. The punishment must suppress behavior. (This is, in fact, the very definition of something that is a punisher.) If something is being used for punishment, but it does not suppress behavior, it’s ineffective and often just plain abuse.

3. The punishment must be of the perfect intensity. Too much and there will be negative fallout. You’ll end up hurting your relationship with the animal and loosing more than just that behavior. Too little and the punishment will only serve to desensitize the animal and build resistance.

4. The punishment must happen immediately after the behavior it is to be associated with. Otherwise, a clear enough association between the wrong behavior and the punishment will not be made.

5. The punishment must be associated with the behavior, but not with the trainer. Otherwise, the trainer becomes part of the punishment and the animal starts fearing and disliking the trainer.

6. The punishment must happen every time the behavior occurs. If punishment does not happen every time the behavior occurs, the behavior gets put on a variable schedule of reinforcement. Depending on the behavior and how often the punishment actually occurs, the animal could decide that performing the behavior was worth the risk of getting punished.

7. There must be an alternative for the animal.

8. Punishment must never be used to the extent that punishment outweighs positive reinforcement (from the animal’s perspective, not yours!)

If you can’t follow all 8 of these rules, you’re probably better off avoiding the use of punishment. Heck, even if you can follow all 8 rules, you’re probably better off avoiding the use of punishment, as punishment can result in so many unintended and undesirable side effects.

~SDS (Who is glad Mom tries to avoid punishment!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Right Fit

A partnership won't work well if the fit isn't right. Sure, there are always ups and downs in any relationship...but overall, a good relationship has two willing partners that work well together. The relationship between a dog and his/her human partner is no different...especially if that dog is an Assistance Dog.

There is a big difference between a person that uses a dog for help, and those people who have pets. Mom uses our talents as Service Dogs at home, but she doesn't have to (she's lazy). She's not relying on us to go about her day. If she drops something, or is clumsy getting a door open, it's not a big deal. If John does the same thing, it's a big deal in his day. Many things in his life cause him to struggle...and that's why I'm here to help. If I can save him time throughout the day, to make his life easier...I'm doing my job. But as I said, that fit has to be right for it to work.


Mom knows people who are waiting for dogs...dogs that can help them...dogs that can make their life easier. Some are waiting for program-trained dogs, some are searching for a dog that they will train themselves, and some are training dogs that they already have. It's a long-road, no matter which way you chose. John was matched with Charlie (his first SD) for 10 years...it was good fit. They worked as a seamless team for all of those years. In between Charlie and me was another dog...who was not a good fit for various reasons. I came along, and it was a good fit from day one. What made me a good fit for John? I'm an active dog...and I like to move fast when I'm out. John likes to put his scooter in rabbit mode (as opposed to "turtle mode") and zip along. At the same time, I also like to snuggle and have no problem with down time. John has a lot of down time...when he parks his butt on the couch...he stays for a while. I'm okay with that too. I'm adaptable...so I can go anywhere, anytime and not worry about anything. I'm smart...and learn quickly...which is good because John doesn't get too committed to training. I pick things up after a few repetitions and some click/treating. So John doesn't have to spend a long time teaching me a new behavior. Also, I make great leaps in my training...and don't have to be shown step-by-step...so it makes training easier for John. Teach me to pull the drawer open? I'm go a couple of steps further and do a paws up, tug out your pants and bring them to you.

That's teamwork!

We know a lot of Assistance Dog teams...and we love to see a good pairing. That's part of the fun of working with dogs like me, according to mom. Finding that good match. A slower person that shuffles along...does not need a fast, active dog. That person that zips along in a scooter does not want a dog that pokes along. The person that has trouble getting up off the floor can't be helped by a small dog. A dog that LOVES to retrieve hopefully will go do a person who drops a lot of items... So on and so on.

The right fit is important with any dog...no matter if they are working or not. Makes me think of those AKC commercials they played on TV for a while...don't get a basset hound if you like to jog, for instance. :) Don't underestimate the importance of the right fit.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Did everyone get their corned beef and cabbage tonight?

Mom made us dog treats made with corned beef lunch meat and mashed potatoes...yum! She and John went to the local volunteer Fire Department for a St. Patty's Day dinner...corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, ham, green beans, carrots and dessert! It looked delicious, but they didn't give me any!

I was a good boy though...and laid under the table quietly...with people coming and going all around me. John answered lots of questions about me...but he's used to that. ;) More often than "What does he do for you", he gets "What breed of dog is that?" lol More and more, we run across people that know what Service Dogs do...a woman tonight told us that she'd just watched a TV show all about raising Assistance Dogs. That's good to hear!

We've been busy lately...a couple of flyball tournaments in a row...come up and see us in Gettysburg, PA this weekend if you're in the area!

Mom is getting her new Fidos Service Dog in Training next week...so you'll be meeting "Denver" soon!


PS...yes, I wore green to dinner...no pinches for me!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Finally some good weather...

John doesn't go out much when it's cold outside...so I've been a bit bored lately. With the deep snow, it makes things worse...so we haven't done anything. Nothing much to write about. I don't even like to go out with the other dogs and Mom if John doesn't go. I did play with Mom in the snow a little bit this past week...I was desparate!

I bounced right out of the frame!

Finally now we have some good weather...and I hope it sticks around. Mom said something about raiding the piggy bank and going to a movie this afternoon...that'd be cool. She said Watchmen...whatever that is. I can sleep through any movie...action or otherwise.


Catching snowballs!

Maybe John will go outside and through my Orbee ball today! Paws crossed!


See ya!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

They grow up so fast...

For those of you that don't know...Mom is the Puppy Coordinator for Fidos For Freedom. That means that she's in charge of all things Puppy at Fidos. Arranging to bring in new puppies (sometimes testing them herself), teaching Puppy Class for the Puppy Raisers, talking to new Puppy Raisers, taking in new pups until a Puppy Raiser is available, and so on.

So she sees a lot of puppies. We (the dogs @ home) see a lot of puppies.

The puppies that Mom has worked with along the way are now getting matched with clients...and starting off on their new working career. Mom does feel proud to have had a hand in all of these matches, despite not being "officially" part of the new team. It makes her tear up a bit to see those hand-picked puppies and dogs going about their new life...and helping someone. Each puppy touches our lives...sometimes in a big way, sometimes in a small way that not many people realize.

A big goofy golden retriever boy, Jacob, just started his one year probation with his partner at Fidos. What part in this did my Mom play? Jacob was in the first Puppy Classes that Mom helped teach (she was the Assistant Puppy Coordinator at the time). She remembers back when he was just a little fella. She helped teach his Puppy Raisers...advised them, sympathized with them, and laughed with them. She's not on the "list" of people who helped raise and train Jacob...but she is part of his new partnership nevertheless. And she's proud of him.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Handicapped Parking Fraud.org

Someone sent this website to Mom, and we want to pass it along to everyone. We love this idea. Basically, it's a website that you can report Handicapped Parking fraud on...idiots who don't need the spot that park in them anyway. From the site:

HandicappedFraud.org was launched as a place for community based reporting of handicapped placard abuse and fraud. Unfortunately, there is wide spread abuse of the blue placards issued to the handicapped, and there simply aren't enough police officers to issue the tickets.

Handicapped Parking Fraud

The site also has a lots of other resources for disabled individuals. :) We love this site, and we're going to be reporting abuse here from now on...and trust me, we see a LOT of abuse of handicapped parking spaces. Even cars that have placards or tags, but park into the hash marks...grrrr. Some of us need those hash marks for wheelchair lifts! Mom always says that people must think that the hash marks are there so they don't have to park straight.


Thank you Premier and Laurie Luck!

This past Saturday, Laurie Luck, a trainer in the area...and a Premier rep came to give Fidos For Freedom a demo on Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses. She brought equipment for everyone, and we all learned how to fit them properly.

It was great...all of the loose, ill-fitting equipment got tightened up and fixed. My Easy Walk was a bit loose, because I'd lost some weight over the winter (I don't do as much in the winter...so Mom dropped my food intake down...guess she dropped it toooo much). Mom was happy, as the equipment that she fit was given the okay. *Click!*

The demo was extremely helpful...as Mom learned some great ways to simplify the explanations on how to put the equipment on...so she can help others better. I think everyone was pleased. I myself showed off...Laurie fit my EW on me in front of the group...and I stood there like a good boy, and even gave her a little kiss. Such a ladies man!

Then we went to lunch next door at the deli with some of the other Service and Hearing dogs and their humans. The humans had a nice time talking about training and Fidos, while all of us dogs took a much needed nap under the tables. It's always fun to see all of us crowded under a table like peas in a pod.

All in all, it was a great demo...thanks again to Laurie and Premier!
~SDS...snazzy in his purple Easy Walk

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Title!

Hooray for me!

We went flyballin' this past weekend...and I was able to earn my newest title. I am now a Flyball Master Champion (FMCh-15,000 points). Whoohoo!

I ran really well over the weekend, and even gave up some runs to a teammate. Since I have bad knees, Mom doesn't really mind letting me run a little less than normal. :)

No pics this time, the building was dark...maybe Mom will snap some pics of me with my new ribbon soon though.

See ya

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mom's been sick...

Mom's been sick, which means John has been hogging her computer, and I don't get a chance to write in my blog! *pout*

So just a bit of humor for you all today...I'll be back later to write more!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Inara and Bryce photos

Mom says that the blog is boring with no pics...and since I've been sleeping on the couch a lot, that I need to share my blog with my siblings. So I'm gonna post a few pics of Inara and Bryce. They're a few weeks old (Bryce has moved on to his new puppy raiser), but I didn't think you all would mind! (remember, Inara is c-r-a-z-y)

Inara loves to be the one to teach the puppies how to tug and play. She likes to get all herding bitch on their butts...like so:

"Ho-hum, teaching puppies to tug is so boring"

"Be careful puppy, or I will smite you with my Crazy Eye!"

"I can roll a puppy from across the room...with one glance"

"Then I crush him"

"Yes, it's all going according to plan"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pet Expo

We went to the MD Pet Expo today...it was crazy as always. Lots of people with pet dogs, and pet everythings...parrots, cats, rabbits, even farm animals. But nothing bothers me, since I live in this zoo, errr...house.

The only thing that bothered me was when I saw the demo that our friends, Greg and Katrina (Metropolitan K9) put on at the Expo. They did a protection sport demo (bitework, obedience, narcotics detection) and I always get excited when I see the dogs swinging around on the decoy (the guy in the bitesuit that "catches" the dog...well, catching meaning "letting the dog bite you"). Mom thinks I want to try biting the decoy too...but John says we do enough stuff. It is fun to watch though! John had to feed me treats to keep me from whining and barking. (haven't I got him well trained?) Mom got to help with Katrina's youngest Malinois, Nemo...and I think she re-discovered her love of Mals...I hate to tell her that she's stuck with us Aussies for a while longer!

It was fun to walk around and see everything...and John of course had to take me into the "No Pets Allowed" cat show area. John's daughter was along for the weekend, and since Mom held Score, it was up to John to take her into the cat show area. Someone told him that dogs weren't allowed, but he told them of course that I wasn't a pet dog, so I could go in. I don't think the cats cared at all...the people were more worried. I have to say though, that the sign that was posted did have the proper terminology on it...it said "NO PETS ALLOWED". Quite different than "NO DOGS ALLOWED". So kudos to the Expo staff on that sign!

We didn't see any other Assistance Dogs, which was surprising...but it was still fun.

Sorry no pics though...Mom was busy wrangling Score. lol


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

DOJ ADA Leak...Only Dogs to Be Service Animals

There's nothing official yet...this article was posted by someone that got a leaked proposal from the DOJ.

Click the title above to go to the full story.

Basically, the Dept. of Justice is revising the ADA to specify that only dogs can be service animals...and there will be no grandfathering. What happens to the people using other animals already? Ugh. This is a mess.


FREE STUFF! "After You Get Your Puppy"

You have to download this now!

Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, animal behaviorist and dog trainer, has declared January to be "Shelter Dog Prevention Month" and has decided to allow a free download of his book "After you get your puppy" in order to help prevent people from giving up their dogs due to behavioral issues thatcould have been prevented by proper training and handling. Here is the link. Feel free to download!

After You Get Your Puppy

This offer is only good through January...so download it now!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Day tomorrow

It's exciting, we're getting a new president tomorrow. I feel like we had a hand in this, John and I...as we went to vote for the first time. What a great feeling.

However, this Inauguration Day stuff is crazy. We live near Washington DC, and things are getting wild around here. Schools and roads are closed because of traffic getting into the city. I'm glad we don't have anywhere to go tomorrow...and we're closer to Baltimore than DC.

I hope that no Service Animals are dragged down to the city tomorrow...as it's going to be crowded and cold. No big bags mean no way to carry supplies for Service Animals...and I'm sure there will be few places to potty Assistance Dogs. I hope everyone keeps their pets at home too...it's going to be rough going for the people!

We'll be watching at home, warm and snuggly on the couch!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Big Night Out

With the help of some friends, we got the van started yesterday...so John and I could join the girls on the Night Out we had planned.


We went to the Cancun Cantina, a local bar and dance club, to celebrate a friend's birthday. We hadn't been there before, so we weren't sure what to expect. They had to get us in a side door, as the front door had a step up...but that was okay. The guy checking IDs at the door was concerned about me though. "Will he go to the bathroom on the floor?" is what he asked. I was a bit offended by that, but I didn't let it show, I just stood there calmly as everyone explained that no, I wasn't going to do that inside. After that, he was quite chatty, telling me that I was very handsome, and so quiet. He did however ask if I was of age...and when Mom told him that I just turned 4 years old, which made me 28, he laughed and said that I could go inside! He kept saying, "I've never had a Service Dog come in before!" and asked John what I did for him. It was nice...he was friendly.

Then we went inside the club part...and found out that the floor was concrete and cold, so Mom went back out to the van to bring a bed in for me. John parked the scooter and put me between a heavy table and the scooter...so no one would step on me. I curled up and went to sleep. I slept through lots and lots of dancing, really loud music, fog machines, lights flashing, disco balls and everything else you see at a dance club. It was kinda fun! We didn't get pics of course, because Mom was a little bit drunk, and it was dark. When we left, it was soooo crowded, so we found a bouncer to clear the way for John and me...people were so surprised to see me coming through the crowd. I usually get behind the scooter when going through a crowd, but last night, I amused Mom by pushing through the drunks and shoving my way through the crowd. I was awesome!

But I'm always awesome...


Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's cold and we're stranded

There are other parts of the country that are much, much colder than we are right now...but it is cold enough to strand us here at home. John's van runs on diesel, and we found out that 17 degrees is the temperature that gels diesel fuel. So until it warms up, John and I can't go anywhere. Well, I could go with mom, but what fun is that? I'd be worried about what's happening at home.

So we're here, not going anywhere for the time being...unless someone with a wheelchair lift miraculously comes to take us for a ride. But we're okay, we're warm, there's food, and the TV works. We can't complain tooooo much. Mom is going out tonight without us...she's mean that way! *grrrr*

Maybe I can convince John to play with me later...I love to play with his hands...

Stranded at home...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Soybean!

The Soybean turned 4 today! :cheer:

He was rescued from the mean streets of Kansas City, MO, taken in by a kind-hearted vet tech, and spotted by me on an Aussie Rescue photo page...and transported to me sight-unseen, by a friend on an Aussie board...all the way to Maryland. He was all of 8 months old. I gave him the birthday of January 15th.

First Day Home

He was an awful little man, who chewed everything in sight (I have a box of all the remainders of the weird items he ate...including a piece of wood about 1"x1" that is finished on one side...still don't know where that came from! Sawyer and I never completely clicked, but we enjoyed each other to some extent...he loved playing flyball and frisbee and stuff.

Early Bean

Sawyer needed a job obviously...and he found his partner in John. I jokingly gave him Sawyer one day to try out as a Service Dog...since he could somewhat retrieve stuff. John had retired his first SD, and his second one had temperament issues (bit a woman)...and he was a bit desperate. Xander liked working in the house, but wasn't crazy about going EVERYWHERE with John. So I told him..."Try Sawyer." Being an obstinate fool, he did try Sawyer. We just threw him into the job...took him to the mall one day. Sawyer LOVED it. (I do not recommend this to ANYONE...lol) Did everything perfectly, and after that day did not have much to say to me. His mind was made up, he was John's dog. :| Okay. :) They've been working together two years in November...and Sawyer's never been happier. (and he still loves playing flyball and frisbee...but only if John's around!)

Happy Birfday Sawyer-bean!

Love, Mom

PS...no worries, Sawyer will be back blogging soon, he's taking a break by laying on the couch with John for his special day (it seems to the same as any other day, but that's what he wanted...along with devouring the contents of my bait bag and eating a bunch of cat food...what a day!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A New Year's Exercise For Grownups

This link is from clickertraining.com...and is one of the letters from Karen Pryor.

A New Year's Exercise For Grownups

Basically, the article talks about humans making an effort to reward other humans in every day life. Taking the time to tell them that they did a nice job. With clicker training, humans try really hard to focus on the good stuff we dogs do, rather than correcting/punishing us for the bad stuff.

Mom has been trying to set this human-human reinforcing in her puppy class that she teaches. They give each other raffle tickets for things they saw the other human do that they liked. It seems to be helping, as most everyone has lovely things to say to each other. It's funny, as there is a always a kid or two in class, and people have no problem telling the kids "good job" or "well done on teaching that behavior", but are often awkward when they tell other adult humans the same thing. Why is that? Why do humans get so awkward when dealing with each other? Humans are so weird.

(Who loves to reinforce humans..."Yes Human! That butt scratch feels wonderful!")

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Almost my birthday!

I hope they don't make me wear a pointy hat again this year. I wonder where I'll get to go for my birthday...and I wonder if restaurants will bring a free dessert to the birthday boy if he's laying under the table. So many thoughts today!

It's a lazy day, no plans at all. Maybe John and I will watch a movie while Mom does something else (we don't really know what else she does, except periodically get in the way of the TV with a broom in her hand). It'll look like this later:


Right now though:
Inara is upside down on the futon couch, completely asleep.
Fry is sitting on the computer (mac mini) watching the small birds on the feeder...and the crows walking around.
Xander is asleep in the other room.
Score is curled up on the couch, sleeping.
Ripley is outside sleeping under the bird feeders...or watching the crows also.
Thorn is upstairs asleep somewhere...who knows what cats do when they're not in sight.

Sounds like the start of a good day, doesn't it?
Happy Sunday to everyone!

Don't Get a Dog.com

Mom found this site, and though it made me sad...I wanted to post the link...

and they have posters you can download and print...

Don't Get a Dog


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Enjoying every little thing

Mom says that a great thing about us dogs is that we can enjoy every little thing in life. Well, she usually says it in a sarcastic manner...and actually says "They're so easily amused". Same thing, right?

One thing about being a Service Dog is that you have to really enjoy the job. I may not enjoy every little thing, but I enjoy the majority of it. I posted the other day about Hogan, the former Service Dog. He wasn't cut out for the life of an SD...because there was too much that he didn't enjoy.

I love being a Service Dog. I love being "On-call" for John. I love being with my human all day, every day.


Part of that job is going out in public, which is a big problem for many dogs. I love it. Being an Aussie, I love to have a job of course, and I love to keep busy. I can entertain myself even on my down-time. Here I am people-watching at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore...the humans were having lunch, and I was under the table watching everyone below me.


A good Service dog is confident, happy and enjoys the little things.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

A nice update...

We heard today from one of my former "brothers". Hogan is a large standard poodle that was in the Fidos program...he was being trained to be a Service Dog. He lived with us for many months during his training, a few years ago, and we all loved him! He was such a nice guy to have around...(mom particularly loved his ability to do a nice stand and brace so she could get off the floor easily.

Hogan however did not want to be a Service Dog. Sure, he did everything he was asked, but his heart was never in it. At home, playing ball, being "just a dog" he was happy, tail constantly wagging, smile on his face. In public, working, his tail was down, no smile, just trudging along doing his job. Certain things freaked him out a bit too...nothing he couldn't have worked through, but combined with his apparent lack of interest in working...well, he had a change of career.

He got adopted by a wonderful couple in Pennsylvania...and lives the life of luxury. He gets to be loved on by all the kids in the neighborhood (we hear that the kids come ask if "Hogan can come out and play")...he gets spoiled by his new mom and dad...he gets to be happy.

Here he is telling Santa what he wanted for Christmas!

Mom says that Hogan is the one she truly misses...he was such a good boy! But she knows that he's loved dearly...and that he is the center of attention in his new family. He's got everything a dog could wish for!

Good to hear from you Hoagie!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!


Wishing you the very best in 2009!

~SDS and John