Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just Elfin' Around

To celebrate Lucky's good health, Lucky and I decided to go wild and crazy and elf ourselves tonight! Check us out getting our groove on at Office Max's very cool Go Elf Yourself site!

May We All Be So Lucky

My buddy Lucky has once again lived up to her name!!! She had surgery on Monday to remove a growth on her tongue. My puppyraiser was worried that the growth may be cancerous. However, the biopsy results showed that it was benign! This news came just a few weeks after the vet thought Lucky may have lymphoma... and those results came back negative! When she found out the good news, my puppyraiser gave Lucky a big hug and said to her, "You sure are one lucky dog!"

Lucky was given her name when, as a puppy, she was about to be dropped off at a pound, and my puppyraiser saw her and took her on the spot. The name Lucky came from the fact that she didn't have to spend a single night at the pound.

Over the years Lucky has lived up to her name repeatedly. She once ate snail bait, which a neighbor had carelessly strewn all over his lawn... much of which ended up falling into my puppyraiser's backyard! Lucky went into shock and ended up in the emergency center. The vet said it was a miracle she lived.

She was attacked twice in her lifetime by other dogs. In both situations the other dogs were off leash while Lucky was on leash. She miraculously came away from both incidents completely unscathed! She once jumped out the back window of a moving car to chase a squirrel. This act left her without a single injury... but boy was she in troubbbbllllle! She was also quite the escape artist in her younger days... escaping from the backyard so that she could roam her hood. But, she was always found unhurt. She's bounded off high mountain rocks, swam out of strong river cross currants, eaten chocolate (and the foil it was wrapped in), and was chased by a flock of big crows who were very pissed off at her. She bounded back from each of these incidents as if none of them ever happened.

Long live Lucky! May we all be as lucky as she!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

In the spirit of the holiday season, and with all of the hallmark words floating around, I thought that today I would write about patience. The saying "patience is a virtue" are my words to live by. Case in point - gaining access to a much-wanted nylabone.

Lucky will often pick up the largest, yummiest looking nylabone in the house and settle down for a chew fest. This used to be very upsetting to me because I would want that particular nylabone too (even though there are other nylabones and an assortment of toys to choose from).

But, I learned that if I were very, very patient, the coveted nylabone would eventually be mine. All I have to do is lay quietly next to Lucky as she chews on the nylabone. I put my head down between my two front paws and stare intently as she chews... and chews... and chews. Finally, after what seems like forever, she finally stops. But, the nylabone isn't mine yet. No, I must be even more patient for Lucky will then rest her head next to the nylabone... and I dare not take it at this point. But, in time, Lucky will get bored and finally walk away and the nylabone will be mine, mine, mine! Ahhhhhh!

So, as you are dealing with the holiday madness - waiting in security lines at the airport, waiting for long lines in the shopping malls to move, waiting for Santa to finally arrive - remember this: Patience is a virtue... and, if you are very patient, eventually that "nylabone" will be yours.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Thoughts

I've been thinking today about all of the things that I have to be thankful for...

I'm thankful for being an assistance dog in training. I get to go to places that most dogs only dream of going to, I get to be with my puppyraiser all the time, and I get to grow up knowing that some day I will be able to help someone in need.

I'm thankful that I get to go to training classes every week and that someday I will go to college (aka advanced training).

I'm thankful that my puppyraiser is always encouraging and helps me through those times when I'm a little scared or unsure of something.

I'm thankful for soft plush toys, nylabones, balls, and kongs.

I'm thankful that my puppyraiser leaves her socks on the floor, where I can pick them up and create sock piles.

I'm thankful that Ashley, the parrot, drops food on the ground. And, that my puppyraiser sometimes doesn't notice me picking up the food... until after I've already eaten it.

I'm thankful that Lucky greets me and my puppyraiser at the door every day when we come home from work.

I'm thankful that my puppyraiser calls me "sweet boy" instead of "lil' sh*t"... which is what she sometimes called her last CCI dog in training (who had a tendency to REALLY get in trouble).

I'm thankful for sticks, butterflies, rose petals, acorns, and all those other fun things that I find out in the backyard.

I'm thankful for movie nights when I get to snuggle with my puppyraiser.

I'm thankful for camping trips, road trips, and well... any kind of trip.

I'm thankful for kids with food covered fingers.

I'm thankful for long summer days when I can bask in the sun, as well as long winter nights when I can bask in the warmth of a fireplace.

I'm thankful that people are so happy. They always seem to smile at me every time I walk by.

I'm thankful I'm a dog and I have a blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow! May your day be full of thanks and giving, as well as play, sleep, and good food. Hey... that sounds like a typical day for me!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dare to be Different

A few weeks ago during dog training class we were working on the "up" command. "Up" means that you have to put your two front paws on something and you have to keep them there until your puppyraiser gives you another command or says "release". I'm getting pretty good at doing "up", but class was kind of tough because were doing scary "ups"... we had to do them on a rod iron fence... that moved!

I was towards the back of the line of dogs. So, I watched one dog after the next walk confidently up to the rod iron fence and, after their puppyraiser said "up", each of them effortlessly placed their two front paws on the top bar of the fence. They even held it as the fence swayed to and fro. Then, it was my turn. My puppyraiser and I walked up to the fence. My puppyraiser said, "up". I looked at the fence thoughtfully. And, finally I did what came most natural to me. Instead of doing what all of the other dogs before me had done, I slowly placed each of my paws on the lowest bar of the fence. I've gotta admit that this wasn't exactly an easy thing to do cause my head hit the bar above it. But, I still held my position proudly until my puppyraiser told me "off".

I was a little worried that maybe I didn't do the command right. But, my puppyraiser bent down, gave me the biggest hug, and said, "Carlo, you are such a good boy!” It made me so happy!

Later that day I told my puppyraiser that I felt like I wasn't as good as the other dogs because I did the "up" differently. My puppyraiser said that I did exactly what I was supposed to do and it didn't matter if I did it a little different. She said it would be a mighty boring world if everyone did things the same way. She said if dogs all did things the same way, they would not have done the things they did to change the world...

My puppyraiser said that if I dare to be different, I may very well change the world... or, at the very least, make a big impact on someone's life. My puppyraiser can be a little overly dramatic sometimes. But, I do love it when she rambles. And, it was fun researching all of the famous dogs. So, to show my appreciation, I wagged my tail and planted a big wet kiss on her cheek.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No Lions, Lots of Puppies

Yeah, yeah... I know. The video I tried posting yesterday of the lion never made it on to my blog. I tried several times to get it up there, but it's just not working. What can I say? I'm an assistance dog... not a computer geek!

So, to make it up to all of you, here's something else cute for you to look at. My puppyraiser took this photo. It doesn't have a lion in it... but, it has lots of puppies! What can be cuter than that?!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hugs and Kisses

A lady that my puppyraiser used to work with sent her this video today. The lady retired not too long ago. I really miss her. She used to wear black all the time and I liked to rub up on her clothing so that I could highlight her clothing with my golden blonde hair.

Anyways, I wanted to share this video on my blog cause it's really cute. My puppyraiser keeps trying to explain to me that it's a lion in the video... and not a dog. Whatever he is, I'm hoping that my puppyraiser will invite him over to play with me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

When I was a little puppy, my puppyraiser used to put a baseball cap on me and tell me that someday, when I was older, she would take me to a baseball game. This past summer I was finally old enough! I went to my very first baseball game with my puppyraiser and her guy friend. What an adventurous night it was!

A smorgasbord of food smells permeated the air and floor. I'm talkin' peanuts, cracker jacks, cotton candy, pretzels... and best of all, hotdogs! Of course, since I'm in training to be an assistance dog, I could have none of it. What a lesson in self-control that was!

There were some people down on the field playing with a baseball. They would throw the ball and catch the ball and run around. Dang, it looked like fun! But, the weird thing is that of all of the people at the ballgame, only a few were actually playing. The rest of the people sat up in the stands and just watched! It didn't make sense to me at all. I thought that maybe all of these people were in training to do something like me... maybe they were going to be assistance people. My puppyraiser tried to explain to me that this wasn't the case. She said the people in the stands were just watching the game for fun. But, I still didn't get it.

Towards the end of the game, we were walking around and my puppyraiser and her guy friend started talking about how cool it would be if they could get a photo of me with Dinger. I had no clue what a Dinger was, but I thought sure, why not. After all, I'm always up for a photo opp. But, then before I knew it, a GIANT... and I mean GIANT cat walked up to us. It was the biggest, scariest cat I have ever seen in my entire life! I'm talkin' nightmare-ish size! I took one look at that thing and ducked behind my puppyraiser and no amount of coaxing was going to get me to come out. My puppyraiser finally mumbled, "uhhhh... never mind... the photo is not going to happen" and we walked away. But, I kept looking back to make sure the giant cat monster didn't follow us.

I've been to baseball games a few times since then. And fortunately the giant cat monster wasn’t anywhere near us. Although a few times, I thought I saw him gyrating and dancing around in the distance. To this day, I sometimes have nightmares about him. I’ll be sound asleep at work, and start dreaming he’s chasing me. I start groaning in my sleep and my paws start moving like I’m running. My puppyraiser then gives me a little shake and tells me it’s ok and I can hear her co-workers laughing in the background. I stretch and yawn feeling so relieved it was just a nightmare. Then, I fall back asleep and start dreaming about happier things, like hotdogs and peanuts and playing with baseballs. And, the happy ball game song plays in the background...
"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, your out,
At the old ball game."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Spiders, Bees, and Cats

My puppyraiser works on some kind of a team called a Web Team. Between naps, I've been trying to figure out exactly what they do. To be honest, I'm still not really sure. It seems like they are always either at their computers, at meetings, or at potlucks.

Meetings are kinda nice for me because I get to nap. Sometimes I try to get my puppyraiser to join me under the table. I give her the invite by putting my paw on her foot or I gently bite her shoe. But, she never does join me. So, I have to go back to napping cause there's nothing better to do. Sometimes I lay awake listening to everyone talk at the meeting. Let me tell you... BORRRRRING! I honestly don't know how my puppyraiser can stand it. A few times I haven't even been able to stifle a really loud yawn, which everyone at the meeting can hear.

Anyways, I'll let you know if I ever figure out what the Web Team does. All I know is that for Halloween they all wore black t-shirts with a spider on them. And, I wore a spider costume. Come to think of it, a lot of people at work wore costumes that day. There were some really weird people running around in bee costumes who kept chanting "buzzzzz... buzzzzz". And, I even saw some people dressed up as cats! I can't believe that anyone would actually want to look like a cat! The people at work sure are a strange bunch... but, that's what's makes it so much fun to go with my puppyraiser to work every day. I never know what I'm going to experience next!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Crazy Bird and Movie Nights

In addition to my puppyraiser and Lucky, I live with a crazy bird named Ashley. She's an African Grey parrot. She came to live with us this past summer. Another puppyraiser needed to re-home Ashley and my puppyraiser being the sucker she is... errr, I mean nice person... took her in.

Ashley's not all that bad... but, she can be wayyyyyy obnoxious, especially during movie nights. Movie nights at my house are the best! My puppyraiser rents a movie, pours herself a glass of vino, and sits down on the floor next to Lucky and me. Lucky likes to sleep on her pillow. But, me? I snuggle right on up next to my puppyraiser. And, now that the weather is getting cooler, my puppyraiser usually shares a big cozy blankie with me. Awwww... total bliss. However, just when I'm on the verge of falling into deep puppy slumber... I hear "CHIHUAHUA!" I awake with a start. Hearing nothing further, I stretch, yawn, close my eyes, snuggle a little closer to my puppyraiser, and then I hear, "SPEAK! WOOF WOOF! QUIET! HELLO ASHLEY! LUCKY... LUCKKKKY". And, this goes on and on and on. And, then my puppyraiser, in noise competition, turns up the volume of the movie. It makes me just wanna yell, "SERENITY NOW!". But, instead, I just drown out all the noise, bury my head deeper in my puppyraiser's lap, and add to all the noise by sawing some Zzzzzzzzs. Dang, even with the crazy bird, movie nights sure are the best!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Top Dawg

Yesterday I mentioned going on a walk with Lucky. Lucky lives with my puppyraiser and me. She’s been around a long time (about 13 years) and she’s the top dawg, alpha, boss dog, and queen b**** [side note by Carlo: my puppyraiser just told me I couldn't use that word because while it's acceptable in the dog community, some people may take offense. People are way too sensitive!]. Anyways, Lucky is my pal and I love her. She totally rocks!

When I was little, I used to be kinda scared and intimidated by her because she would growl and bark at me if I was bugging her too much. But, then I discovered that she was just teaching me how to be a good boy instead of an annoying, pestering "twerp" (her word, not mine). And, Lucky learned that I was more than ok that she was the top dawg. Being top dawg would be way too much responsibility for me.

Our favorite game is when Lucky stomps her feet and barks at me. I then go running around and around the tree in the backyard. My long ears flap in the wind, and I act like a complete goof. And, when I stop, Lucky stomps her feet and barks, and I run around the tree some more. It’s great fun! And, my puppyraiser laughs and laughs when we do this... which makes us wanna do it even more!

My puppyraiser takes Lucky and me on lots of fun outings together. Usually I'm not in work mode on these outings, meaning that I don't have to wear my yellow CCI cape. This summer, we got to go camping in Tahoe and Yosemite! We even got to ride in a motor boat around Lake Tahoe. Here’s a photo of us on the boat. My puppyraiser made us wear life vests, but fortunately, we didn’t have to use ‘em! I laughed when I saw Lucky bursting out of her vest. She looked at me annoyingly and told me that when females age they sometimes become gravitationally-challenged.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What’s Up with Working on Sunday???

Today my puppyraiser had to go to work. And, since she had to go... I had to go as well. As we were driving to work, she asked, “What’s up with working on Sundays?” She didn’t even wait for me to respond before she grumbled something about a deployment (whatever the heck that is) and then started rambling about how the word “Sunday” is probably a portmanteau of “Sunny Day” [side note by Carlo: she read the word portmanteau the other day and now can’t stop using it]... and that she can’t enjoy a sunny day, when she has to be stuck in a building all day... blah, blah, blah [side note by Carlo: I didn’t hear the rest because I fell asleep].

I really don’t know what she was griping about. She took Lucky and me on a long walk on the trails before heading to work [side note by Carlo: I’ll blog about Lucky in a future post]. And, once at work, I got to take a really nice long nap! On top of that, there was no annoying bird to keep me awake while I napped [side note by Carlo: I’ll blog about the noisy bird in a future post as well].

[side note by puppyraiser: I didn’t get to nap at work. It must be nice to be you!]

[side note by Carlo: It sure is!]

College and Career Choices

Where’d I leave off yesterday? Oh yeah, college. My puppyraiser told me she will be very sad when I go off to college because she will miss me so much, but she is happy that I am going to be embarking on such an exciting new journey.

As for me - to be honest, I don’t know what to think about college. I’m kinda nervous about it, but kinda excited too. My puppyraiser tells me that I will live in a dorm-like environment (aka kennels) and that I will have a roommate. I guess that will be ok as long as my roomie doesn’t snore too much. She also said that I will be assigned to a CCI trainer and that person will teach me all kinds of advanced commands, such as how to turn lights on and off and how to retrieve things. I sure do hope my trainer will be as nice and encouraging as my puppyraiser.

My puppyraiser also tells me that I will have to be on my best behavior (aren’t I always?) and that I will have to work really really hard in college. She says that college is very competitive and that only about 40% of dogs actually go on to graduate! She said that the rest are released (that's sort of the same thing as flunking out). The idea of being released really freaked me out until my puppyraiser told me that if that were to happen, I could come back and live with her FOREVER! She told me that while I’m in college, I will have to decide whether I want to be an Assistance Dog or whether I’d prefer to do something else. And, if I decide that I don’t want to be an assistance dog, I will become what is called a change of career (COC) dog and she will help me figure out what to do with my life. She said that I'm way too good just to be a stay-at-home dog. So, she would want to see whether I could get certified to be a therapy dog, where she could take me to visit patients in hospitals.

So, it's a win-win situation for me! I'm either going to graduate and become an Assistance Dog. Or, I'm going to get released and come home to my very own personal career counselor! How cool is that?!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Very First Blog

Hi. My name is Carlo, I'm a dog, and this is my very first blog. To start things off, I'm going to answer a few questions:

How can a dog blog when a dog can't even type?
Well, duh... of course dogs can't type. Unfortunately, humans didn't make keyboards big enough to accomodate paws... especially big yellow paws like mine. So, my puppyraiser is going to do all of the typing.

Just go with it. Or, this blog will never go anywhere.

Ok... so, who or what is a puppyraiser?
My puppyraiser is the person who takes care of me. She feeds me, and loves me, and teaches me stuff, and takes me EVERYWHERE! She's the best!

Everywhere? How can she take you everywhere when you're just a dog?
Watch it buddy. No dog is "just a dog". Would you call a human "just a human"? I didn't think so. According to Wikipedia,

...dogs are valued for their intelligence... dogs have lived and worked with humans in so many roles that their loyalty has earned them the unique sobriquet "man's best riend".

[side note by puppyraiser: this should be "person's best friend"]
[side note by Carlo: my puppyraiser is obviously a woman]

Anyways, the bottom line is that I don't think you should be calling your best friend, "just a dog".

Ok, ok, I'm sorry. But you never answered the question. How can your puppyraiser take you everywhere... when most dogs aren't allowed to go everywhere?
I'm kind of a special dog. I'm from an organization called Canine Companions for Independence. This is national nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of children and adults with disabilities by providing highly-trained assistance dogs. So... until I head off to college, I get to live with my puppyraiser. She helps socialize me by taking me to work, restaurants, malls, movies, EVERYWHERE! It's great!

How long do you get to live with this puppyraiser?
About a year and a half. I'm actually heading off to college this Feb.

College? Dogs can't go to college.
You certainly are narrow-minded, aren't you? This is a special college just for dogs from Canine Companions for Independence. It's actually called "Advanced Training". My puppyraiser tells me that I'm going to be there from 6 to 9 months before I graduate.

Dang, that's not a very long time to be in "college". Why only 6-9 months?
Because dogs are really intelligent. [check out wikipedia]

I see. So, how does your puppyraiser feel about you going off to college?
Ummmm... my puppyraiser just told me that she needs a break from typing...

Oh, ok. Well, I'm looking forward to your next blog because I've got a whole lot more questions.
All of your questions will eventually be answered. But, keep in mind I've got a busy life between sleeping, training, hanging out with my puppyraiser, playing, etc. etc. etc.