Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Isn't Christmas great?  I love it!  There are lots of lights and happy sounds, and presents, and smiling people, and presents, and singing, and - oh, did I mention presents?  I am very thankful to my Creator for Christmas.

I'm thankful to Him for my grandma, too!  I love her!

What do I want for Christmas?  I already got my present (not that others are unwelcome) when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series!  When you live where I do, you've gotta be a Giants fan!  So lots of us have been celebrating Christmas for weeks!

Grandma and I have been going to Christmas parties, and I have a fancy Christmas collar to wear.  I won't complain about this costume (although there's a hat to match, as you'll see).  I like it, and so do a lot of other people.

My Christmas work has been mostly at the George Mark Children's House.  I've told you about that place (if you've forgotten, look at the previous post or two).  My "Uncle" Trevin (Grandma's previous dog) used to work there.  The people are soooo nice.  And the children with life-limiting illnesses who stay there are as sweet as they can be.

Including this one.  I think he meant to pat my head.  He was following me around to hug me and touch my face with his finger and say, "Ruff ruff."  But right after this picture was taken, his fingers missed and I got one right in the eye.  I was a good girl - I didn't say anything.  Everybody else was impressed.  (Is that worth an extra cookie bone?)

This little girl doesn't speak (or bark either), but she was sure excited to see me.

My CCI training sure is good here.  This move is called a Lap.  Some people can't bend down to me, so I go up to them!


Here's the Christmas party group picture.  There were handsome firemen and even NFL football players (yes, they beat the Broncos, but I can't help that).
See the lady peeking out of her door?  She started this whole place!  She named it George Mark in memory of her two brothers.

Here I am with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  My job description is "Elf."  But I bet you already guessed that... by the, um, ears.  (Sigh.  Just a small one.)

Mrs. Claus really digs me!

I sat for a family picture with a really neat baby boy named George.  I am sorry to say that he is very sick.  He has a feeding tube in his nose.  His mom and dad take very good care of him and, when they need to go away, the people here take very good care of George, too.

How could any dog not want to work here?  I feel as if I'm being given a special present each time I come.  If you'd like to know more, here's where to look:

Mocha, Muffin, Grandma and I wish you a Meowy Christmas and a Yappy New Year!  (Yeah, I know that's old, but I like it.)  We're going to.  In fact, I know what I'm giving Grandma for Christmas - but I'm not telling!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Thankful!

Ahhh... to be able to lounge on the down comforter with my good buddy, Mocha!  That's the place to start being thankful.  (If we look fuzzy, it's because we feel fuzzy - fuzzy and comfortable!)

But there's a lot more on my thanks list.  I may complain about all the costumes (and you'll see more of them), but they have a good purpose.  

At home I wear my own fur suit.  I help Grandma's friends celebrate birthdays... 

...and unbirthdays.

But when I go to work, it is often costume time.  I told you about the George Mark Children's House, right?  The children who come here have life-limiting illnesses, and the folks here help both the children and their loving families.  It's pretty cool, and the kids really like me to be there.

I thought I was in trouble with the Security man, but he just wanted to say hello (whew!).

Here's a friend of mine!  Blackie visits the George Mark Children's House, too.  He is a therapy HORSE (from the Sunrise Equestrian Foundation), and do the kids ever love him!

This costume is for my Paws to Read kids.  It is not my favorite.  But if it gets the kids to read, I can manage.

Sometimes I go without a costume.  My cape looks fancy enough.

Don't tell, but I didn't really want to know how to eat fried worms.  Peanut butter is more in my line.  But she did enjoy reading the book!

Another place I get to go is called Camp Arroyo.  Disabled children come here to take vacations... which gives their parents and caregivers a chance to get vacations, too.  (I'm squinting because the California sun is so bright.  But don't tell Grandma or she'll find me some silly sunglasses!)

This girl likes to takes me for walks.

Here's the team for this fall.  I have lots of two-footed and four-footed buddies here!

Despite the silly costumes, I'm thankful... both to my Creator and to everyone He has sent my way!  I'm thankful for my CCI education!  I'm thankful for my Grandma, who loves me and has given me such a wonderful home.  I'm thankful that I get my meals in a timely fashion.  I'm thankful that I have a yard to play in, and sometimes a warm fire to relax in front of.  I'm thankful that my MEE-YOWs put up with my occasionally (!) chasing them down the hall.  I'm thankful for the great toys Grandma keeps buying me!

Best of all, I'm thankful to be able to visit the children - whether they read to me to improve their skills, or whether I dress up to make them laugh, or whether I just visit them so they can talk to me and hug me and get smiles on their faces.

What are YOU thankful for?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Silly Time Again!

SOOO sorry!  I get so busy out here in California that I neglect my blogging.  Life is pretty doggone busy!

But I need to show you this.  Did you see it up at the top of the page?  It's another SILLY time of year!

You think that looks strange?  Take a look at Grandma!

But the costume is for a good cause.  I wore it at the George Mark Children's House last weekend.  I visited the sick children, the well children, the parents, the hard-working staff... and even a miniature horse named Blackie!  Maybe I can show you a picture of Blackie one day.

This is a pretty special place.  Very sick children come here, and the staff people take care not only of them but also of the whole family.  They give the parents a chance to be parents to their children and not just care-givers!  Sounds like a good idea to me.  I wouldn't want my grandma to be too busy or worried to take care of me!  But I'm staying healthy, thank you very much.

Want to know more?  Check out

You'll probably hear from me again when I have another, um, delightful costume to show off!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Too Busy to Blog! (or, Summer Tails)

Sorry to be so tardy getting back to you all!  I've had a great summer!  Some people wonder what happens to CCI dogs when they flunk out - er, don't make it through all the training.  Are we flops?  No way!  We just change careers.  That's not flopping.  Only fish flop (out of water).

I wouldn't have made a good service dog.  They have to be able to handle anything (!) that happens, and I get a little nervous sometimes.  But I'm fine right here.  I love Grandma and I love the way she spoils me.  She keeps me busy, too.

There's a children's hospital (UCSF, it's called) that just got a facility dog named Nilani!  Grandma's previous dog, Trevin, was such a good hospital visitor that they said, "We need a dog here all the time!"  A facility dog is a service dog who, instead of working for a person, works for a place.  Facility dogs are great with children!  

Well, Grandma and I went to a party for one of the hospital bigwigs.  I'll never be a Facility Dog, but I still want to help carry on what Trevin has started.  Everybody said I was lovely and well-behaved.

And I LOVE being in two (count 'em, two) Paws to Read programs!  If you have children or grandchildren, see if your library has Paws to Read.  

The children are so happy to read books to me out loud, and I like to listen.  Happily, Grandma also gives me some treats now and then.  

At the Pleasanton library, I have a whole set of equipment!

I also have a job with the Tony LaRussa Animal Rescue Foundation.  Mr. LaRussa used to manage the Oakland As baseball team, and now he manages the St. Louis Cardinals.  His foundation put on a program called "Dog Days of Summer."

Let's see, that's my green bandana.  I have such a wardrobe!

I've helped at Camp Arroyo, a summer camp for disabled children in Livermore, California.  Grandma is the Camp Coordinator (for the Valley Humane Society visiting therapy teams), so I'm the Co-Coordinator!  How do you like that title?  Here I am with some of the kids.

I even tried on somebody's sunglasses.

And here I am in a fashion show!  (And my PR Dad calls me "Big Ugly."  Ugly, indeed!)  It was a benefit of the Auxiliary to the John Muir Medical Center.  I modeled the scarf that they have for sale.

Grandma and I have done some entertaining this summer.  Here's my friend Aunt Sandy.  She gives the best paw massages.

Aunt Sandy is a police lieutenant, so I really have to behave around her!  (Just kidding!)

Ahhh!  I love sitting in the sun!

And then... there was the Pool Thing.

Grandma has a friend I call Auntie Joyce. 

 She gave a pool party for fifteen CCI Service Dogs.  These graduate dogs had a chance to take time off from their work and just be their doggy selves.  Some people would worry about fifteen dogs being together.  But there were no fights, because these are all CCI trained.  I'm a "change of career" pup, but I was invited as well.  All the other dogs played in the pool as well as around it, but I had, um, never been swimming.

So after most of the dogs had gone home, Auntie Joyce got me on the float.  Yikes!

I wasn't too sure about it at first... 

...especially when Graduate Dog Georgina insisted on swimming across the float, right underneath me.  It didn't help my confidence one bit!  (See her?  She's right under my tummy!  Not fair!)


But after a while I felt a little better.  A LITTLE better!

I'll try it again... maybe next year!  

In the meantime, Mocha and I have other challenging things to do!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kelda the Therapy Dog

Remember my saying that I passed the test for my Canine Good Citizen certificate?  Well, I've done more.  Attention, please:  Kelda the Wonder Dog is officially Kelda the Therapy Dog!

The proof is in the picture above.  (I have certificates, too.)

When you are any kind of service dog, you wear a cape.  That's so people know they can let you into their building.  (All dogs are too cute to keep out of any building, but there are rules.)  I'll wear the red cape for the Paws to Read program at the Orinda Library; I may have an adult day care job, too.  The Purple vest is for the Valley Humane Society Pet Therapy Program; I'll be in Paws to Read (yes, I like books) and hopefully some other activities.  The summer-yellow one is for Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation Pet Hug Pack.  I'll be part of birthday and learning-center parties that promote animal awareness, and other events, too - like Stars to the Rescue, where I may meet some celebrities!  Rrrrrowlf!  Is Rin Tin Tin still around?  Marley?

I'm going to love these jobs!  I can hardly wait to get to work!

Speaking of being official, three of my sisters have graduated from CCI puppy college and become Canine Companions:  Keilus, Kerris, and Kiwi.  Way to go, Special Ks!

Here's what else has been happening.  I have a friend at the fire department now.  We met at the Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival in April.  I don't know if that will make any difference if my MEE-YOWs should set Grandma's house on fire.  (But why should they do that?  It would burn up their dinners as well as mine.)

In May I went with Grandma to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, to meet my Aunt Lori.  We had dinner at the Cypress Inn, which Grandma says is owned by an animal-lover named Doris Day.  I'd never heard of her, but maybe you have. 

Carmel is a town that loves dogs.  Here I am on the famous Carmel Beach Walk (yes, that's really the ocean back there)... 

...and on the dog-friendly beach!

There was another special day in May.  It was my birthday!  I am now two years old.  My age count is half my paw count.  Once you read down to the bottom of the page, you'll see my official birthday portrait - complete with pearls.

I had a party with Grandma and my buddy Alexis, whose PR is named Deb.  We had permission to do Ups on her!  I received a "cool" collar (Grandma can soak it in water and it will keep me cool)...

... and the inevitable, um, hat.

Then I had a big surprise.

My PR Dad walked in the front door and said, "Hello, Big Ugly!"  I hadn't seen him since last August when I started puppy college.  (Don't worry about the "Big Ugly" business - he says that to any dog who is a Lab instead of a Golden Retriever.  We must forgive him for not being too bright.)
I got to sniff my car again, and even get in it (actually, it's my mom's car).  It had fragrances not just from Colorado but also from other dogs.  My dad had brought five CCI dogs out to California so they could start their advanced training.  Too bad I didn't meet them.

Then we had another party, and there was a cake just for me which Grandma had bought from Dog Bone Alley!  It was made with things that are yummy and safe for dogs to eat.  It was as hard as a hockey puck, but Dad pretended he was going to share it with me.

Then he helped give me more birthday presents that Grandma had picked out.  I love how she spoils me.

This is the best one.  It plays, "Happy Woofday to You."  Oh, wait... that's "Happy Birthday."  Sorry.

After my party, we went to my class.  Dad got to take me through my paces.  I don't think he expected to do that, but he remembered everything.  I taught him how to go around the cones.  That was new for him.  He did well, don't you think?

The summer should be fun - stay tuned!