Friday, December 12, 2008

The Twelve Doggy Dos and Don'ts of Christmas

I warn you that this is a long one. But, you see, I've been hearing about Christmas. It sounds good to me!

My PRs say Christmas is when my Creator came to earth as a human being. Personally, I think coming to earth as a dog would have been classier. But they say he knew what he was doing.

Lots of things are happening. I told you about the tree in the house. I have to leave the tree-sparklies alone so everyone else can enjoy them. I'm not to drink the water in the tree stand. Not even if I'm thirsty.

But I go to parties at other houses. Around the neighborhood, I see lots of lights; even deer have lights all over them. (My former neighborhood just had the regular kind.) At least, they look like deer.

I get to ride in the car more. I do lo
ts of shopping with my PRs. The Post Office people know me on sight.

There is another part to Christmas. I'm not sure of the name; it sounds like "Sandy Paws" to me. My four-footed friends say this part is important if you like toys and treats. But this Paws character is like your PRs and your puppy class teacher: you're expected t
o be good!

So, to help us all be good, here - according to my canine buddies - are some dos and don'ts for this season:

1) Do let people enjoy you. Be friendly. Shake your paw if you're asked. Don't jump on people, especially short people like puppies... er, children (you could hurt them). Do let folks scratch you behind the ears if your people say it's all right.

2) Do let the people, not you, sit on the furniture. It isn't just because of our impeccable good manners. They look stupid sitting on the floor. We look better. And we can get up more easily, too.

3) Don't whine if your people put you in your crate or tether you to a chair during parties (do you see my leash tied to the sofa leg?). Do just sit there sweetly, looking as cute and pathetic as you can. You'll get a lot of "awwws" that way!

4) Don't chase the MEE-YOWs around the Christmas tree, even if they tease you. Knock the
tree over and your people will be really upset. Do pose by it nicely, and someone will probably take your picture. If the MEE-YOWs want to get themselves into trouble, stay well away.

5) Don't eat the Christmas decorations. Sandy Paws might get upset. Your people definitely will. Besides that, you could get a major tummy ache. You don't know what those things are made of.

6) Speaking of eating (or not eating), don't eat tinsel or "icicles." Those are stringy things that some people hang all over the tree. It's a
ll shiny and looks like fun. But it messes up your insides big time. No matter how much you enjoy visiting your vet's office, you won't like that trip!

7) Don't eat electric cords, either. How can I explain this? There are tempting little chewy-plastic-coated wire thingies between each light on the tree. There are bigger chewy-plastic-coated wire thingies like that on the floor, too. Do not chew on them! You might suddenly meet your Creator in person, and your family will cry.

8) Do eat doggy treats; don't eat people treats. My PR mom loves a treat called chocolate, but she won't give me any. She told me why. For us dogs (and MEE-YOWs, too), chocolate is poison. Other poison treats are raisins, grapes, and macadamia nuts. Don't eat any of those, not even a little bit! See #7 for what can happen.

9) Don't eat string, ribbon, wrapping paper, balloons, house plants, children's toys, the new gloves your PR was just given, or sharp objects. Doing those things is just plain silly. (I'm not saying I wouldn't try it - I'm just telling you what my buddies say.) Do, however, save your wonderful mouth for those chew toys they are going to give you. People, you'd better come through on this.

10) Do - if your people want to give you a special food treat - ask for veggies. Veggies are good! I like carrots best. Baby ones. Cut julienne style, thank you very much.

11) Do ask your people to get you a Christmas bandana. It makes you look as festive as everybody around you. Don't thank them by chewing on it. Chewing on it only makes it look tacky. A bandana is good. That and a Nylabone. Chew only on the Nylabone. Maybe with a little peanut butter on it. Mmmm, yes.

12) Everything is more at Christmastime - sights, sounds, smells, people. Maybe we won't get as many walks or as many naps as we're used to. It's easy to end up with a big case of stress. Do... try NOT to! Our body language will tell. We delightful dogs don't speak people (and people don't speak dog), but we're probably getting stressed out if we yawn a lot, or lick our bottoms a lot, or drool a lot, or keep our ears or tail down, or have a funny look in our eyes, or chew things we know we shouldn't, or, um, do you-know-what in the house (!), or run out the front door without permission. Remember, Christmas is just for a short time, and life is still good! Soon everything will settle down and we can take our naps again.

Do you want your people to know more about how to make C
hristmas merry for you? They can try these online places for starters:

My four-footed friends and I wish you a Meowy Christmas and a Yappy New Year! (Yeah, I know that's old, but it's new to me, and I like it!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mother's Day in December

Look! Do you notice that my nose is turning pink?

I think it's cute. Pink is my favorite color, maybe. Except when I'm hungry. Then dog food is my favorite color.

(I have a glassy look in my eyes because I was tired. Supervising these people is hard work sometimes. I have to take them for walks. I have to give them other exercise - like picking up my toys in the back yard and putting them away. I have to make sure they go up and down the stairs (good aerobic exercise for them) to check up on what I'm doing. I have to make sure they feed me. I have to take them when they go on errands in the car. Sometimes I have to take them to the office. I constantly have to show them what good manners are. I'll admit that sometimes I wonder: can't they do anything by themselves?)

I said I would tell you about my mama. So I will. It's a pleasure.

A lot of people worry about dogs whose job is to have puppies. But Canine Companions for Independence wants their mama dogs to be as healthy and happy as their puppies are.

Here's Mama!

Isn't she beautiful? She has a pink nose, too. I hope I'll be as pretty as she is when I grow up. (Check out the prodigy pup who's wearing the puppy cape already. Maybe that's me. Or maybe it's my sister Keilus. I honestly don't remember.)

My mama was once a CC
I puppy just like me. When she got older - and smarter - she went to puppy college (advanced training), just as I'll do the end of next year. The teachers liked her there, too, just the way they liked my daddy. Not only was Mama smart and friendly, she was also calm - and very healthy. (Calm? How did I get related to her? Maybe I'll be calm when I grow up. Maybe pigs will fly. Maybe MEE-YOWs will fly. Maybe I'll get puppy treats whenever I want them. "No," my PR mom says, "just you wait," so I will.)

The teachers looked at her and thought, "Maybe she'll make a
good mama." So they checked her and double-checked her, mostly to make sure she was healthy. I have to be healthy, of course - and service dogs need to be healthy, because they have such important jobs to do - but my mama had to be super-healthy. That makes her Super-Mama! Happily, she passed all their tests with style. She didn't even complain (not even the way I was complaining at the beginning of this blog).

SO... instead of graduating and helping somebody with a mobility problem, she was adopted by some special people in Santa Rosa, California. They loved her right away and were delighted to have her in their family.

Mama had to live in Santa Rosa for two important reasons: 1) that is where the special CCI vet is, and 2) that is where the daddy dogs are!

When the vet thought it was a good time, Mama got to spend some time with Daddy. So then I was born.

And I wasn't the only one!

That's me, with the bright pink collar, looking around for something to get into or chew on.

My mama has had other pups at other times, too. The vet (as well as her family) always gives her lots of time to rest before she has puppies again. After just a few litters of the cutest, smartest puppies you'll ever see (of course), she will retire from her puppy job and spend the rest of her career supervising the family that loves her and that she loves.

So you see - you don't need to worry about my mama. She's just fine!

Interesting things are happening at home. My PRs brought a tree right into the house. And then they hung all these wonderful toys on it - and they won't let me touch even one! Sometimes it's a dog's life.