Sunday, April 29, 2007

Then There Were Three...

The past two weeks have been chaotic to say the least. We've always been a "one dog" family, so having Tai and Paige together took some getting used to. Then along came Voight.

There only being two of us, there were plenty of hectic moments. That being said, we are so honored and grateful for our relationship with Voight's partner that she trusts us enough to watch Voight while she was overseas. There is also something very special about having three of the four dogs we have raised together. Here they are, posing in their respective attire: Tai in his puppy in training "bib", Paige in her puppy in training jacket, and Voight looking mature in his harness (We had his harness, but obviously we did not use it when he was here. We only put in harness for the picture. When we took him out in public, it was in jacket like Paige, although his did not say "puppy in training".)

It was also interesting to have three dogs in that it put Voight back in our vocabulary. I was channeling my dad's mom for most of the time, going through roll-call before I got the right dog I wanted to call/ correct/ feed/ whatever. My sentences began "Voi-Pai-Tai - STOP IT", or whatever. Liam's and Mika's (whom I don't think has made an entrance into this blog yet) names were thrown in there too. I found myself echoing my Nana again - "If I'm looking at you, I'm talking to you".

So anyway, my inabilities aside, having the three posed a few problems, mostly that Voight does not like young males. Period. He was fine playing with Suki, a female only three weeks older than Tai. Voight is in no way a mean dog, but I think he gets a bit... jealous, competitive maybe? - with other males, particularly those who are young and intact. Add that to our Tai being a little instigator - subsequently, Tai ended up being farmed out to be puppy sat. We are supposed to puppy swap, and we do feel that this was a very good experience for him. He came home with glowing reports from both families who watched him (sorry, proud parent moment). It was also good that he was gone, because Paige was still recovering from her altering and Tai seemed to want to remove her stitches (consequently the little girl has staples in her tummy, but they will be removed tomorrow).

Voight was a pleasure to watch - and because he is someone else's dog, he comes with, shall we say, a certain disregard for uber-strict puppy raising rules? Voight sleeps with his owner ON the bed... it's a challege the first few nights to get used to an 80 pound Labrador who insists on being a cover hog. Voight also plays tug with his partner's husband - which we obviously never have, until now. There is a reason that we don't teach our dogs that - Voight nearly pulled Amy over on the first tug. Not a good thing.

Paige also benefitted from having an older dog around - she seems to be more confident and assertive with Tai, who came home yesterday. Paige would play and steal Voight's toys, and "teeth-rattle" or "sword fight" with him, and the benefits seem to be her being less of a softie when it comes to Tai. We caught her laying down last night with Tai, which we thought was adorable until we realized her noggin was holding his head down, along with her paw. He had this look on his face that said " 'Ello? Shishter? Can 'ou move your facsh? Pleash?"

So Voight went home to his mommy, and Tai is home with us. It was a hectic two weeks, but very much worth it... although we have a new appreciation for those of you who handle two or more pups on a regular basis!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Paige Update

Hi all, just a short note to let you know that Paige had her surgery yesterday, and will come home today about noon to start recovering. We've only had boy dogs before, so we now understand that altering a female is much more in depth than altering a male (as I recall, Liam came home bouncing off the walls). Please, your thoughts for a speedy recovery back to her very sweet Paigey self!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tai likes water

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Labrador Shuffle

Today, we did the Labrador Shuffle. Not the tuck-the-butt-and-run kind of shuffling madness that comes on all Labs occasionally, but the Tai goes here, Paige goes there kind of a shuffle.

Today, we got to have our first dog that we raised, our first graduate, Voight, come back for two weeks. We are so honored that Voight's partner trusts us with "her boy" while she leaves the country. So Matthew took Tai to another puppy raiser's home for a respite of Paige (Voight doesn't especially care for puppies), and Paige stayed home while Amy went to get Voight. He's nearly four years old now, but the same old Voight. It's so many memories flooding back - the very frantic kisses, the galumphing run, the intelligence.
For example, he ran to the back door (keep in mind, we don't live in the same place as where we raised him) and rang his bell (we tie a jingle bell to the doorknob) to go outside (we're trying to teach Paige and Tai, but they haven't got it yet). When Matthew pulled out the toy basket, he went straight for "Turtle", his favorite toy, shaking it with great satisfaction.

And how is Paige with this, you ask? Is she the same slightly jealous girl that plays with Tai? Well, (and Jenny, this is for you), if Paige could speak, it would have gone something like this:

"A BOY! You brought me an OLDER boy! I like boys. Boysboysboys"

Paige is in love, following Voight around, flirting and trying to take his toys.

And again, we are way behind in posting, but we had the urge to post tonight, to share that our biggest boy is back... for a little while, anyway.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Another Fateful Call

Yesterday we heard from the Guide Dog school. Louise, head of the puppy department was calling to let us know that Paige's hip Xrays had come back, and her hips are not good enough to be a breeder. She is to be fixed and will go in for training with her siblings on May 19.

I will confess sadness that she isn't going to be a mommy, mostly because with her experiences with Tai and other puppies, she showed great interest and aptitude, but I honestly believed that even being fixed, she wouldn't go in for this Turn-In. I thought they would wait, also because she is a rehomed dog. I was wrong. And to be honest, I'm not ready to go through our second turn-in in ten months.

So the next six weeks will be interesting, time for more intensive training, as well as that our first dog Voight, a working guide in Orange County, is coming back to stay with us for two weeks while his partner goes out of the country.

Please keep Paige in your thoughts during her surgery, as well as in her preparation to be turned in. She has come a long way since we got her in November, a 12 month old who barely knew how to sit. We believe in her - and more preparation too!

Monday, April 2, 2007

We Interrupt this Blog for One of Our Favorite Dogs

While we love our pups, we love other puppies too and we wanted to share this story, as it is one of our favorites, as well as involves one of our favorite "other" dogs.

A very dear friend of ours raised Dusty, who is now six, and a working guide dog. Dusty's partner has had some medical problems that are preventing Dusty from working as a guide, so Dusty (or the Dust-Bucket as she is affectionately known) has been home with her puppy raiser for awhile. In order to keep her in public, she went to work with Amy a while ago. Dusty, being a dignified lady, is a bit more aloof than these "hi-pet-me-please" young pups. In Amy's office at her junior high school, Dusty was less than impressed with the bells, the kids banging on the door to talk to Amy, and the eager hands wanting to pet her. She calmly took it all in, looked around, and promptly took a nap.

Toward the end of the day, one of Amy's co-therapists came in to say hi, and process some cases. The other therapist asked if she could say hi to Dusty. Amy released Dusty from her (self imposed) down-stay. The other therapist began to baby-talk to Dusty, but when she did, she reverted back to her native Spanish. The change was amazing.

Dusty's ears went up and tail began to wag (Dusty is very unique in that when she wags, her tail is pointed down and only the tip moves, but the happier she is, the smaller and faster the wags). She ran to bring her new friend a toy. She even gave very gentle Dusty kisses, which are few and far between for most of us. And then Amy remembered - Dusty's partner speaks Spanish also. Upon further investigation, Amy's co therapist and Dusty's partner are from the same city.

Dusty is bilingual.

Dusty now has a permanent place in the therapist's heart, but the story doesn't stop there. Dusty's puppy raiser took her to visit her partner soon after - and she told Dusty's partner the story. He loved it, but not only that, he shared with everyone around about his amazing bilingual guide dog. He is so proud of her.

Below is Dusty, with our little Tai. It almost looks as if Tai is asking Dusty for her guide dog secrets...

We're still here...

Well, we have been a tad busy lately, so we have quite the blogging backlog. While we get them written, we leave you with this:
Enough said?