Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Moose By Any Other Name...

I know occasionally other fellow puppy bloggers have posted lists of favorite nicknames for their respective pooches. GDA's company line is not to nickname the dogs, so for example, they might not want you to name your pup Victor, because they would be afraid it would turn into Vic (sorry, that one's taken anyway). That being said, EVERYONE we know nicknames their pups, which is a normal sign of affection. The only real difference is that when giving commands, we use their correct and full name (most of the time, anyway) So, without further ado, the not-official-nickname list for:


Paige-a-roo, RamPaige, Paiges, Yellow Paiges (yes, she's black, but you need to see her rolling in dead grass), Paiger, Moose, Delicate Little Flower, Ow-Get-Off-My-Foot, Gremlin, Big Love, Habibi (thanks to my wonderful Egyptian friend), You've-Been-Paiged, Paige-Ra (not like She-Ra, like Moth-ra), Baby Girl


Tainormous, Tai'erd (tired), My Tai, TaiZilla, Tai Chi (yes, we forgot to consider pun potential when selecting his name), Ox, Close-Your-Mouth-When-Kissing-Me, Barky-Pants, Bottomless Pit, Sir, Little Love, Bicious Veastie, The Dark Lord, Captain Ridiculous, Major Lee Ridiculous, Little Boy

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Dark Lord and Voldemoof

With all the Harry Potter hysteria going on - yes, I (Amy) finished the book, Matthew's speed-reading it right now - I take you back to a few weeks ago when we hosted Jenny and Truman over at our place for a little puppy shuffle time. Figuring that everyone was tired, we took Tai, Truman, and Paige to see The Order of The Phoenix.

We must refer you back to the LAST time that we took Tai to the movies, one of us has STILL not seen all of Pirates 3. We figured that that was a while ago, he's so much older, it will be fine.
He did not have an accident in the theatre. Yay. However...during the movie, Hagrid's dog Fang (a very cool looking Neopolitan Mastiff, BTW) barked on-screen.

So did Tai. So did Truman. Off-screen. (Paige lay there like a bump on a pickle.)

The poor people in front of us jumped (they must have thought they had surround sound), but at least they had a good sense of humor. And then it happened again. And again. Finally, Jenny and I got wise and decided that everytime Hagrid came on the screen, or any type of creature, dog-like or not, we would bend down, ready to give the quick correction.

We spent the last hour of the movie in the hunched-over position. So because Jenny had decided that Truman belongs in Slytherin (and we know that usually Houses run in families, Sirius Black aside) where else to put Tai than the House that spawned Snape, the Lestranges, and of course, Tom Riddle?

Sure, he LOOKS all sweet and cute, but....Tai is none other than.... The Dark Lord!

If He's Not Broken, Do You Fix Him?

Well, we asked. We asked again. I won't say that we downright begged, but I've considered it. Since Tai turned about four months old, we began asking the school -

"Are you going to fix this one?"

You see, with all of our dogs being left intact until at LEAST fourteen months, and two of those being male, it would be different to have a dog neutered early. Before the hormones. You see where this is going. We finally did get an email from the school, finally. "Sorry, guys, we're going to leave him intact for awhile". The school did schedule a "pre-evaluation" for him (and possibly the two remaining brothers) to go to the school this weekend, and come home next Wednesday. We're really not certain what they can to in such a short amount of time (being only six months and not fully developed yet, most medical tests wouldn't be appropriate), but hey! It's the will of the school, and heck, maybe we just aren't destined to have pup fixed early.

Lest you think I'm being hard on him, Tai's not a bad pup (he really is a good boy) - he's just BIG, and truly, hasn't developed any of the behaviors yet that would come from being intact. But as our obedience instructor said last night:

"He's six months now? In six more months, that's going to be a whole lot of dog to be intact!"

Our point exactly. So right now, Tai has two career paths, "options", as it were: be a guide, or be a potential breeder. But it might be easier from a behavioral standpoint if they were to remove his "options" sooner rather than later!

Monday, July 23, 2007


We did something 4th of July weekend that we had never done before with any of our previous dogs - we took both of them on vacation with us. Matthew's dad has a place up on Mammoth Mountain and so we met Amy's parents, brother, sister-in-law, and five month old niece Eleanor (Ellie) there for a long weekend.

The dogs did great - and boy, did they get dirty! We hiked to Devil's Postpile, a natural hexagonal rock formation, one of only two in the world (the other's in Scotland, for anyone who's interested) and from there, to Rainbow Falls. The pups had never been on trail before (and really, we had never taken a dog on trail before). They were out of jacket, and were allowed to free-range a bit on leash. They were so curious about EVERYTHING! "Oooh, look! A bush! Oh, look, a pinecone! Can I eat pinecones?" The way back was a bit much for Amy, who already had not been feeling well,... and a lot of the trail home was uphill. Well, let's just say that Amy can't say that Paige never did anything for her. During the more extended uptrail parts, Amy held onto Paige - and was pulled up the hill. Can you say uphill assist?

We hiked to Inyo Crater (which to Amy sounds like a joke, but seriously, that's the name), sat around the house and played games, cooked, and basically enjoyed being "away" for a little while.
Matthew, Tai, Paige, Amy, with Ellie and her parents above, at Inyo Crater.

The other really neat thing was seeing both the pups with Ellie. When the pups had seen Ellie the first time, it was Paige who was very solicitous of the baby. This time, it was Tai, barely more than a baby himself, who was facinated by her. He wanted to be near her, smell her, lick her hands and feet (and face, as we found out when he woke her up from a nap on her play-pad). The sweetest time was when we found Ellie asleep on her play-pad, with Tai asleep with his head facing the baby.

And of all of us, guess who were the two who didn't want to go home?

It made us realize that we could go to new places with both dogs, and have a good time too. Having two on vacation was an adventure to say the least, but with Paige going IFT soon, we can't say how glad we are to have gone.

Open House 2007

We know we're more than a month behind, but Guide Dogs of America's annual Open House was last month. Open House is a time where the public is invited to the school for tours, demonstrations, the silent auctions, while the puppy raisers come to help out, run their puppies through the "puppy trials" (an obstacle course, if you will, of combined distractions and obedience), and oh yeah, run the kissing booth.

This is the third time that we have had the...pleasure?...of running the puppy kissing booth (nah, it's not bad). Hey, puppy kisses for a dollar, what a great racket - all we have to do is get pups who kiss (which HAS been a problem from time to time - sometimes they get performance anxiety, or decide that they will NOT kiss another stranger)! Each pup gets a 15-20 minute shift each, although there are some that will get us through the shy or no-show pups (Mika, we're looking at you!). We usually rake in $200 or so, depending on attendance.

The puppy trials are always fun. Amy's dad has still not got over that often times there are hot dogs on strings, swinging from the trees. Basic obedience, distractions in many forms (goats, blow-up plastic pirates, bubble machines, popcorn and dog cookies...) as well as veterinary exams are rated. Neither Paige or Tai placed this year, but it's not about the ribbons, it's about the fun (and the learning, right?).
And did we mention that this year, the theme was "Pirates"?

Everybody say, "ARRRRRRRGH"!!!

We're baa-aack!

Sorry, all, we seem to post only in spurts. Everything has been pretty crazy with taking two dogs on vacation/ Amy getting a new job/ life in general.

So, just a quick update and we will get back to our regularly scheduled posting.

Paige goes in for training August 11. She has also gone through a transition, as Amy cannot take a pup to work - so Paige (and sometimes Tai) has been going to a puppy raiser friend of ours who is retired (and has a pup) during the day. A co worker recently asked "Do you have to pay for the child, er, dog-care?" No, it is through the generosity of friends that we are still able to maintain our two dogs until Paige goes IFT. So Paige has been making friends and being a friend to other puppies in training.

Tai is still Tai - ginormous and silly. His new thing is barking. It's not usually random, but in response to being startled or hearing a noise for which he cannot see a cause. However, it's "BARK!" and we tell him no, and then, under his breath "woof". Fellow raisers, you know what this sounds like - a quiet bark without a dog opening his mouth. The exchange usually goes something like this:

(random, generic noise)

"BARK!" "NO, quiet!"

"woof" "No!"

"woof" "no, quiet!"


He always has to have the last word. Tell us this isn't like having a kid.