Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gamay, the Guest Columnist

(Note from Kelda: Gamay is writing this week's blog because she was me for a week! We traded Puppy Raisers. Fun!)

My name is Gamay! If you're old enough to remember a face soap called Camay, you won't have any trouble with my name. I'm a beautiful black Lab, the only CCI puppy being raised in Buena Vista, Colorado. My PR mom writes for the local paper, so I fill in for her sometimes. (It's nice to be needed.)

A few weeks ago I came to the Big City, and attended Zebrina's birthday party while I was here. My mom thought it would be good for me to get more learning outside a small town, so she asked if Kelda and I could trade places for a few days. So Kelda went off with my mom, and I got to stay here.

Kelda had told me about her MEE-YOWs, so I couldn't wait to meet them. It turned out they were perfectly willing to wait to meet me. They would have waited much longer.

All I wanted to do was play! After all, they don't seem to play with one another - why shouldn't they play with me?

This is Nonny. He's kind of old. He didn't want to play. He growled and hissed.

All of a sudden, out of the blue came Mr. Grey! He got between Nonny and me, and started using his claws on my ear. OUCH!

I never dreamed the MEE-YOWs stood up for each other!

(There's another MEE-YOW named Cetty but she wouldn't give me the time of day.)

I did other things, too. Kelda's mom was looking for flowers...

...and I helped her.

These smell good. Taste good, too - oops. You didn't hear that.

I took Kelda's dad for walks.

I made sure Kelda's toys didn't get lonesome.

Here I am talking to Gus, who lives next door. You can't see him. And this isn't really my best side.

And, over time...

I can't say the MEE-YOWs and I became friends, but they started to put up with me. A little.

The big city is really a lot like a small town, because you can only be in one place at a time. The CCI commands we learn are the same wherever we live. So we can practice anywhere. With Kelda's people I went to Home Depot, to Walmart, to church, to the grocery store. It was interesting seeing all the different people.

Kelda's mom took me to a thrift store. There were lots of nice smells and lots of nice people. But I couldn't figure out why that monkey was hanging around up there on that person's NECK. Was it waiting to jump on me? Yikes!

When the cleaning gals came, it was fun. They like dogs.

They also have noisy machines.

I had a great week! Kelda and I had the chance to talk (and sniff) when we traded people back.

We'll be going to puppy college together in August. But I hope we'll have some fun before that. Colorado Springs, like Buena Vista, is a good place for a CCI pup to be!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's official: I'm a big girl! No, I haven't put on weight. I haven't grown tall enough to play basketball. I haven't set a record for playing with MEE-YOWs.

I'm a year old!

Last year at this time (May 13) I was born in California. I have six brothers and sisters. Here's a picture (left) of Keilus - she lives in Maryland, where the crabs are.

If you have trouble telling us apart, there's a reason... we wear the same style of birthday hat.

I spent the beginning of the week with Auntie Phyllis.

She's not my real auntie (if she were, she'd have fuzzy ears and a tail). But she loves dogs so much, and takes care of them so well, that she's Auntie Phyllis to all of us.

She took me to the library (Zebrina was there, too) so kids could read to me. I wish somebody had taken pictures because not only did the children like me, but they also pasted five-pointed stickers on my face after they read each book! I always knew I had STAR quality!

On my birthday she took me to class, where my PRs met us. We CCI pups have class together every two weeks. Sometimes it's a field trip - maybe to a fire station or a retirement place - but most of the time, we practice what we're learning at home.

Here we are doing "cradle."

You lie down on your person's lap on the floor and let everything show. Not ladylike, but nobody minds. I don't like cradling much. That's why my dad has his hand on my chest to keep me where I should be.

My friend Augie would rather be bouncing around, too. He has the very best bounce I've ever seen.

But some pups just lie there and snooze - or smile. Here's Emmy!

This is my teacher, Megan, talking to Nara and her PR mom. We have a lot of little kids in class right now.

Everybody needs to learn to sit. This is Malin. It's harder to "sit - stay." We like "sit - get up - run around" better. But that isn't a command.

"Down" doesn't mean, "Get off the furniture"; it means we get all our feet and our tummies on the floor. This is a very good napping command.

Here's a harder one: "Stand." It gets boring. But you're not supposed to sit - you need to keep standing. I'm getting pretty good at this one.

"Roll" is good for tummy scratches.

We learn to walk beside our people in the right way - not too far ahead, not too far behind, not sniffing the floor as we go.

(This - well, this is what sometimes happens when the little guys come to class.)

"Jump" means to get on something above the floor - like maybe a table at the vet's office. I like "jump," but this counter is too slippery.

We even learn how to go through doorways with good
manners. This is cute little Rio.

This is "visit." You stick your face in your person's lap and look up adoringly. If you do it just right, you should get a treat - or at least an "Awwww."

We learn to take things in our mouths and then drop them when we're told. This is Sherwood. He's a CCI release dog. He's been a therapy dog for five years, and he knows all the commands perfectly! We all look up to him.

And here I am, starting to do a "lap." I think it should be half a lap, because only half of me should get up there. But then, that much of me takes up a person's whole lap. We learn this because maybe our person will be in a wheelchair and won't be able to bend over to give us attention. So we go where the best attention is. Very sensible.

After we did all our schoolwork (and there's more than this), we had birthday cake!

Auntie Phyllis made it out of people food that is all right for dogs to eat once in a while.

Mmmmm! My mom wanted to get a shot of me eating the cake, but she didn't move fast enough. Even the crumbs were good.

It was too rich for the little puppies, but we big dogs loved it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Queen Reports

I've been busy lately!

The latest thing I've done was to go with my PR mom when she got her latest mammogram. (No pictures, obviously!) New sights, new people, new smells, lots of attention... but I was a good girl and stayed in my corner, um, most of the time. My mom says annual mammograms are good for her health (and she was happy when we were done). But I'm sure glad we dogs don't have to do it!

So here is the most gorgeous Lab in Colorado posing on the deck on Easter Sunday. My PRs call it their deck. Actually, it's my throne room. From it, I, Queen Kelda the Magnificent, regard my vast domain. And now that the snow's gone, it's even more fun!

I entertained my cousin Zebrina on it. And off it. And around it.

She's my cousin because my PRs raised her before they raised me. She lives in town with people who spoil her rotten - and she loves it.

Here is what she looked like when she was a little puppy.

She didn't get to be a Canine Companion for Independence because she worries about things. Service dogs shouldn't do much of that because it keeps them from taking good care of their people. But now she has other people to take care of. She says it's just the right place for her!

She goes to the library! Here's a picture of her and another cousin, Olivia.

Children read to them! I don't know if they read back. As you can see, the sock monkey does, though.

She is a good citizen - yes, she is; both she and Olivia also passed their Canine Good Citizen tests. They have impressive badges to wear on their capes.

My friend Gamay and I went to Zebrina's birthday party at the library not long ago. (Gamay is the cute black Lab on the right.)

It sure was a good cake! (ZB shared it. She really did.)

Later on, she stayed at my house for a couple of days.

Cousins share!

What else have we done in my domain? We had a birthday party! Not for me - that's next week - but for my PR dad and some others of our family.

Here is Katie, one of the birthday girls. She likes me pretty well. Katie and her sisters stayed at our house overnight. That was fun!

Here is Megan. She's gotten tall enough to reach the door handle. Hey, I could do that, too, but there's no point. Doggy paws don't work well on doorknobs.

Here is Jenna. She used to be really afraid of dogs! She was afraid of Zebrina and Olivia and some of my cousins before them. But she isn't so afraid of me (unless I get really bouncy). My mom says it's because she is taller now than we dogs are. I say it's because I'm so cute.

The frisbee was fun! Tasted good, too. Um, I don't have it any more.

Oh well... the Queen still has a lot to learn!