Remembering Endora

Once upon a time in the sunny state of California, there lived a little female yellow Labrador retriever named Endora. Like other dogs before her, this little lab was preparing to make a difference in the life of a blind individual. She studied tons. She worked hard. She knew there was someone out there who needed her, and she was determined to make her mark on the world.

In September of 2002 Endora waited patiently in the kennels of Guide Dogs for The blind to be given her assignment. She had been pulling all nighters, trying to get the commands firmly implanted in her memory, she knew her time had come. There had to be someone in this class that needed her expertise.

Meanwhile…

In Nova Scotia, a determined young woman named Lynette, was boarding a plane bound for California. Lynette’s first guide dog, Aries, was not cut out for the job, so after years of trying to make the partnership work, she made the tough decision to retire Aries and give her to her parents. She knew it wasn’t going to b easy getting a new dog, but she also knew Aries was happier as a pet, so off she went.

Like Cessna and I, Endora and Lynette were a match made in heaven. They were matched both in size and determination. They had their struggles, and they had their disagreements, but from the beginning it was hard to believe they had not always been a team. Lynette found it hard, at first, to put all of her trust in this little power house, but almost immediately Endora showed her how wonderful it could be to work with a guide dog. She guided Lynette with confidence, and with care. she took her job seriously, and glared at anyone who dared to try and distract her.

Unlike Aries, Endora took her responsibilities to heart – this was what she was meant to do.

I met Endora shortly after Lynette brought her home and almost immediately nicknamed her the little snobby American Princess. She had no qualms about coming up onto the couch and cuddling with me, but if I had something to say, there was no way she was going to listen. Endora made up for her small stature in attitude. If Endora didn’t want to do it, then she wasn’t going to do it.

When Lynette texted me to say that Endora was not well, I was almost in tears. I couldn’t believe it was time for Endora to leave us. She was only 11 years old and still so full of life. But, I guess someone had other plans for our American Princess.

On March 19, 2012, Endora left this world to make her mark on another. From what the vet could determine, she was full of cancer. She had developed a lump around the bottom of her rib cage that was, at first, just a fatty tumour, but at some point it changed. Endora began licking and chewing at the lump, causing it to become severely infected and without immediate vet care, had gotten too out of hand for her poor body to handle. The vet thinks the infection is what caused her rapid decline, but that she had most likely developed the cancer months earlier. We’ll never really know if she could have been given a little bit longer, if it had not been for the infection, but I guess we should just try and be thankful for the time we had to spend with this amazing little yellow lab.

I will always miss her “bear rug imitation”.

When Endora was upset about something, she’d lie on the ground with her head lying flat between her paws, so it looked like she was a rug instead of a dog.

I will miss our games of tug.

Endora was an amazing tug of war player. She’d not only tug with all her might, but start growling and barking like she was about to eat the hand of whoever was on the other end. During one of our many games of tug, I actually had Aspen barking and growling at Endora because she was worried I was in danger lol! Aspen is such a big suck, but she will try her best to defend her family.

I do not normally develop such a strong bond with my friends’ guide dogs, but for some reason, Endora will always be special to me. Maybe it was her attitude that reminded me of myself. or maybe it was her fierce determination that inspired me. I’ll never know for certain why Endora left such a mark on my heart, but I do know that she will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace my little American Princess friend. Take care of Phoenix for me and remember that you guys will always be in my thoughts.

Huntsville to Chatham And Everywhere In Between

Last week Huib and I took the dogs to southwestern Ontario. I had my final examination for my Business and Consumer Law course, and Canyon had his third conformation event. My sister is still in a bit of a “my life sucks and everyone should feel sorry for me” mood, so instead of staying at her place Wednesday night, Huib and I decided to leave early Thursday and just quickly stop in to check on Dad.

After eating lunch with Dad and letting the dogs drink some water and stretch their legs, we got back into the Expedition and made our way to Guelph. On the way, my aunt called to see what our plans were for Friday night and informed me of the true facts surrounding my sister’s new mood and odd behaviour. I was under the impression that she was just going through her usual “poor me” phase because of not being able to find regular paid employment, but it looks as though it is more emotional and disceittful. My sister had been dating a guy around February who was not a good person. According to my Dad, he’s lazy, immature and has an explosive temper. My sister can be lazy and also has quite the temper, but we were all happy when she said that the relationship was over and asked us to have Dad come stay with us for a bit. Well, it looks as though this was not the case, or at least not the case for more than a few days because now I’ve learned that she has been lying to us and that she is still dating this guy. I have no issue with the fact that she chooses to date a guy who is not good for her, I don’t support the relationship, but I won’t tell her who she can or cannot date, but I do have an issue with her treating us like crap and lying to us, while continuing to request assistance financially. I’m not sure what will end up happening there, but I do know that we won’t be helping her out and that she will be finding new living arrangements.

In guelph, we stayed with our friends kelly, Ace and Archie. Kelly made a wonderful dinner for us and was an amazing hostess as usual. I love visiting her and her boys (Ace is a 3 year old male black lab & Archie is a 9 year old male orange and white tabby). Ace makes me laugh because he loves wrestling with Rogue and thinks all of the girls (Cessna, Aspen & Rogue) appreciate him mounting them, even though they tell him otherwise.

On Friday morning we woke up early to get Canyon ready for his show, and me ready for my exam. Huib dropped Cessna and I off at the University of Guelph and then took Rogue and Canyon to Chatham. Cessna and I spent most of the morning in the University Centre because I didn’t feel overly comfortable with walking around the campus with her. Even though I attended the University of Guelph with Phoenix for five years, I find my sight to be less since my troubles in January of 2011 so find it difficult to navigate even familiar places. So, Cessna slept while I drank a Starbucks latte, surfed the internet and did a bit of studying. Around lunchtime I decided to take Cessna out for a bit of fresh air and thought we’d see if we could find the hot dog vendor who has been a fixture on the campus since Phoenix and I were students there. I had Cessna walk along a path and then asked her to go along another one that I knew led to the hot dog guy. We never ended up finding him, but she did point out another service dog or puppy in training and got a chance to relieve herself before we returned to the University Centre. After eating a sub, I packed up Cessna and my stuff so we could head to the library where I was scheduled to do my examination. We found the building without too much trouble – Cessna needs to learn to walk in straight lines – and almost made it to the room where I had to sign in, but got a little turned around. Thankfully a nice woman saw us and offered to help me find the room. My exam went okay. I left the exam feeling as though it could have been good or bad, which is often a good sign since I tend to do horribly if I think it went amazingly well or amazingly horrible. After the exam my proctor (the woman who read my exam and filled out the answer sheet) offered to walk with me to Second Cup where I was meeting my aunt’s guy friend. Along the way, we let Cessna run a bit and had a good chat about her own pet dog, a 3 year old female australian shepherd. At Second Cup, she helped me get a drink and then offered to stay and wait for my aunt’s friend but I didn’t know for sure when he’d arrive so told her I’d be okay and got my computer out for company. My aunt’s friend arrived an hour and a bit later and we headed to London where I met up with Huib, Canyon and Rogue.

On Saturday we woke up somewhat early to head back to Chatham for the final day of showing. I was so glad to be able to attend with them because I got to see my friend Amy and her one year old female dalmatian who was also showing. Unfortunately Waverley did about as well as Canyon did, so it was sort of a crappy weekend for everyone. After both Canyon and Waverley had shown, Huib and I started the drive back to Guelph where Aspen was staying with kelly. On our way we stopped at a grocery store and bought some turkey, duck and pork for the dogs (we feed raw) since it was an awesome price, and then stopped at Ren’s Pet Depot in Kitchener to pick up Kelly’s house keyes. of course, we also picked up a few new toys for the dogs – a long pink monkey with brown hands, feet, tail and face that squeaks and is somewhat stretchy, as well as, a squeaky penguin and squirrel – and a new winter coat for Rogue since the RC Pets brand jackets were on for 40% off. We ended up getting her a coat that is grey with teal and white clover leaf like designs on it. She can wear Phoenix’s red one still, but I also wanted one that matched her teal training vest and one that she could wear outside while Cessna wore Phoenix’s red one when it was really chilly. When we got back to kelly’s house, Aspen and Ace were really excited to see us all. Huib took both Ace and Aspen for a quick walk and then we got ready to go for dinner with Kelly (who was going to be home from work soon).

On Sunday, Huib and I left Guelph just before noon to head back home. The Expedition’s bearings were making some odd sounds, so we wanted to start out early enough and take it slow so we got home safely. We stopped in Huntsville to see Dad and let the dogs stretch their legs and then continued our drive. About twenty minutes north of North Bay the Expedition started making a really loud clunking sound and Huib started to panic. he knew it wasn’t going to be good and he wasn’t looking forward to the cost to fix things. We pulled over and called CAA to come tow the truck to New Liskeard. When the tow truck driver arrived, he told us that he could only allow the labs into his truck because he felt there wasn’t enough room for the four dogs and because they were service dogs (Rogue is in training) he wasn’t going to refuse them. I was so angry! I couldn’t imagine leaving my goldens alone in the truck while we were safe in the tow truck. The driver wouldn’t change his mind though so I refused to talk to both him and Huib the entire ride, worrying about how the goldens would be affected. The driver was nice though, he made sure the Expedition was totally secured and stopped a couple of times during the drive to make sure the dogs were okay – of course, both Aspen and Canyon were true to their breed description and could have cared less about the arrangements. Rogue slept in my lap the entire drive in the tow truck and Cessna fell asleep at my feet after the first hour of driving. Cessna is a bit of a stress ball when it comes to loud noises and bumps while driving, which are both problems with trucks so it took her quite a while to settle. In new Liskeard our landlord met us at the Ford dealership and drove us all home.

It looks as though the Expedition has seen it’s last drive south with us. The mechanic at the dealership says something with the drive shaft is detached so it will cost over $2000 to fix and that doesn’t even repair the bearings or replace the muffler, so Huib and I have decided to get something new. We did some research and shopped around a bit on Monday and tuesday.

As long as all goes well, we should be picking up our brand new 2012 Chevy Orlando early next week 🙂

Whirlwind Travelers

Last week, as you all may have guessed, we packed up the dogs and headed to Southwestern Ontario.

Our first stop was Huntsville where we stayed Thursday night and spent some time with my step-dad. My sister had to work, so Huib and I took her a coffee and visited for a few minutes with her, but otherwise we didn’t really get a chance to see her much.

Friday morning we packed up the Expedition once more, and headed towards Windsor, making stops in Etobicoke to see Phoenix’s foster family and Guelph to drop off Aspen with Kelly and pick up Canyon’s new show leash. Phoenix’s foster family are doing well. Ray is still getting the occasional chemo treatment for the bladder cancer the doctors found over a year ago, but otherwise they are healthy and happy. In Guelph we did a little shopping at Ren’s because we had forgotten to get some smelly treats for Huib to use with Canyon in the ring and the dogs always need a new toy, right? The treats we chose this time were wild rabbit flavor ones by Zuke’s. Canyon absolutely loved them and we were able to get a larger bag, so have enough leftover for the Chatham show. After picking up the treats and a little stuffed bunny that squeaks, we drove to Kelly’s house and had some pizza and garlic bread.

Canyon’s show leash is beautiful! It has black, tan and reddish colour kangaroo leather braided together with beads in three different spots. Huib ordered it from a woman in Victoria British Columbia (Hitide Creations) who makes only show leashes.

After dinner, and once we knew Aspen was settled, we piled the other three dogs into the truck and headed to Windsor. It was a long day of driving, so we were relieved to finally reach our hotel room and crash.

Saturday morning we woke up around 5:30am and began our pre-show routine. First Huib took Canyon and Rogue for a walk. Then he put Canyon into the tub and began scrubbing and rinsing with lavender scented baby shampoo. On the first day, we usually always use baby shampoo since it’s cheap and does an awesome job at getting rid of all the dirt and odours from Canyon’s coat while still keeping it shiny and silky smooth. After the bath, Huib began to blow dry Canyon, which was totally not a happy time for the golden boy. First he tried jumping onto the bed beside me and hoped that I wouldn’t make him get off and return to Huib – but of course I did lol! Then he tried moving around, so that Huib would run out of cord length and stop, but that also did not work. We have to blow dry him so that we can comb his fur flat while it dries, or it tends to be a little wavy. Once his fur was three quarters of the way dry and his ears, tail and feet were trimmed, Huib gave him some banana bread the hotel had provided with their continental breakfast and took some time to get dressed himself. About an hour before the show began we piled everyone back into the Expedition and headed to St. Clair College’s gymnasium where the event took place.

Saturday afternoon we did some shopping at the Columbia outlet store and then met up with my friend Kris, his wife Tania and their daughter Olivia. I have not seen Kris in over six years so it was really nice to see him again. We used to go to the University of Guelph together and had regular movie dates until he moved to Windsor about ten years ago. We had left Cessna and Canyon at the hotel and just taken Rogue out shopping and for dinner, so it was a good opportunity for her to work around a young child. Olivia wasn’t totally sure about Rogue, but after a bit started to play with her and Rogue really enjoyed the attention.

Sunday morning we woke up a little later because Canyon’s ears, feet and tail had already been trimmed so he only needed the bath and blow dry. This time we bathed him with NuHemp’s moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, so that his coat didn’t get too dried out from the frequent bathing. We also decided to show up at the college half an hour before the start of the show since it was pretty busy and there really wasn’t a lot of room for us to move around. After his dismal showing, we began making our way back to Guelph – making stops in Cambridge to pick up some stuff at the Pet Smart and Kitchener to look for a black tie for Huib.

Kelly had dinner plans, so Huib and I got pizza and then treated ourselves to ice cream at Marble Slab Creamery. I had never been to this particular ice cream shop so had a tough time picking out which ice cream and topping I really wanted. Huib got white chocolate ice cream with bits of coffee crisp mixed into it, while I got cheesecake ice cream with Reese peanut butter pieces mixed in – it was delicious!

On Monday I had my appointment in London with the pain clinic. I was really hoping that they would be able to suggest something to resolve my constant migraine issues, but it ended up being a total waste of my time. First they had us fill out a 20 or more page questionnaire that asked questions about the types of headaches I was having, what sorts of symptoms each had, how long they lasted, how often they occurred, whether I lived my life around the ability to take pain medications, what medications I had or are taking, and a bunch of other questions I cannot remember. I’m thinking the questionnaire was meant to weed out people who are addicted to pain medications and that could be dealing with withdrawal symptoms. After the clinic nurse had taken my blood pressure and oxygen level, we were escorted into an examination room, where I was instructed to remove all of my clothing and put on a hospital gown. A medical student then came in to do a neurological exam.

He had me:
• Follow his finger with my eyes;
• Look straight ahead while he looked into the back of my eyes with a light;
• Touch his finger and then my nose;
• Raise my shoulders and not allow him to push them downwards;
• Tell him if I felt the same sensation on both sides of my feet, face and hands when he touched them with a semi-sharp object;
• Move my chin to my chest and then towards each shoulder; and
• Tell him if it hurt when he put pressure on various parts of my head.

I’m sure I missed some of the things he asked me to do, but I’m sure you get the point. After the neurological examination, he left the room to get the doctor while I got dressed. The doctor came in and pretty much just said he would send my family doctor a list of three different preventative medications he thinks I should try and that he doesn’t see any other reason for my headaches. He also eluded to the fact that some of my headaches could be withdrawal symptoms, so I decided to go a week without any medications at all and see where I got pain wise. I am now on day five and nothing really seems to have changed, except that I am tired and the pain is still the same as usual.

After the appointment, we left the building and walked over to the CNIB, which just happened to be across the road. I got my CNIB card renewed and then toured the gift shop, but found nothing that really interested me.

When we got back to Guelph we were so happy to see Rogue again. I had decided to give her to my friend Kelly for the day so that she could experience university life, and work a bit with someone else. Kelly said that her leash manners were horrible, which we already knew, and that she settled well in her classes, but that she seemed nervous of random people (no barking though) and of different spots in her classroom building. We weren’t completely surprised about her nervousness around random people, but we didn’t really understand her reactions to different spots in kelly’s classroom building. She said she had trouble walking through doorways and this shocked us because it was not something she had ever shown nervousness around before.

Since Kelly had to do some school work, Huib and I decided to take Rogue out to dinner with some friends at Eastside Marios. She was awesome. She fell asleep beside my chair without an issue, and when we first arrived she thought my friend’s boyfriend’s feet needed to be cleaned. After dinner we asked my friend’s boyfriend to greet Rogue and she showed absolutely no fear of him – good girl! We then all decided to walk over to the mall across the road to do a bit of shopping and grab a tea from a specialty tea shop. At the mall Huib got Rogue to approach a manikin and she showed no fear, but checked its hand to see if there might be a treat – silly girl! My friend also approached a couple of guys and asked if they would come and greet Rogue, which they did and Rogue thought this was great! Before leaving the mall we each picked out a tea and then drank them as we walked back to our vehicles – I got a chocolate mint one.

On Tuesday we packed up our Expedition and then left the goldens at Kelly’s house while Huib, Rogue, Cessna and I went to meet up with Carin, Steve and Trixie for lunch. It was great to see them because it had been such a long time. We talked about old times, we updated one another on people we both knew, and we laughed every time Rogue decided to lick Steve’s feet. After lunch Huib and I went back to Kelly’s house to pick up the goldens and then made the three hour drive back to Huntsville. We decided to stop in Huntsville again to stay overnight because it seemed to break up the long drive nicely. The only issue was that my sister was in a horrible mood so it was a bit tense and unpleasant, but my step-dad tried his best to be a good host.

On Wednesday morning we (with the addition of my step-dad) started our long journey back to the north and have been relaxing ever since.

Sorry for the long post, but I thought I’d share our journey with you all.

P.S. While we were driving to Huntsville the first day, I got a really unexpected call… An adoption worker from Child and Family Services called to set up a meeting to get to know us! I am really excited about this development and will keep you all posted.

Four years Ago

Four years ago today, Huib and I welcomed a ten week old male caramel coloured, wrinkle puppy into our home.

We named him Aiden, and raised him for Autism Dog Services.

Aiden grew up to become an autism assistance dog.

And still continues to influence our lives.

Even though things did not end up going the way we would have wanted, in terms of being told we were no longer needed as a foster family after raising Reece, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

We met so many new friends:
Kelly
and her former ADS foster puppy Ace;

Taz and Caleb;

Karen P., her pet dog Summer and her many ADS foster puppies and Lab Rescue
Fosters;

K-9 Crazy and her National Service Dogs
foster puppies;

Monique, Christina and their family; and

Many others who follow me through Facebook and/or read this blog.

And we learned so much about ourselves:

I can teach my dogs to do anything;

Huib is more of a dog person than he thinks;

It’s okay to be disliked by others;

We have the skills to raise and train Cessna’s successor;

Etc.

I never would have guessed, that a goofy fox red Labrador retriever could affect our lives so drastically.

Announcements

Our friends, L^2 and Jack, are preparing to do another online fundraiser auction and would appreciate our help.

As mentioned in a previous post, L^2 and Jack are raising money to sponsor a guide dog puppy
through Guide Dogs of America.

If you think you can help, or if you would like to participate when the time comes, go here to learn more.

I’m hoping this time around we’ll be able to help L^2 and Jack meet their goal!

I also wanted to remind you all to come join Jess and Glacier as they prepare to host their first Blogville Pawty.

City Adventure

On the Saturday (12th) of our trip “down south”, we took Cessna, Rogue and my friend Kelly’s Autism Dog Services foster, Willow, into Toronto on the GO Train. Rogue and Willow were awesome on the train ride, easily settling after just a few minutes.

After a couple of hours of walking around the city, riding the subway, street cars and meeting up with Taz and Caleb for lunch, Huib and I took the girls to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, to meet up with some LFC foster puppies.

Cessna really impressed me at the Royal. She only had to wear her newtrix for the first 20 minutes and she guided like a pro. She barked at a goat and some sheep, but in her defense, they also made noise at her lol!

Rogue on the other hand, was a monster! She pulled like crazy and sniffed everything! Poor Huib was happy when we were ready to return to the city for dinner with his sister.

Just Canyon & Rogue

Here are some random pictures from the past few weeks that we found on the camera.

It’s tough being a puppy…

Rogue, you’re supposed to be doing something…other than playing!

Isn’t he a handsome boy?

We’re Back!

Sorry for the long time away, but we’re now moved in and back online!! Thanks to Bell Mobility and their Turbo Hub, that works on the 4G cellular network, we’ve got even better internet than before!!

On June 28th, we packed all our belongings into a U-Haul trailer and drove to our new home. It’s only half an hour from our other place, but it sure took a while to get everything settled and all the utilities reinstalled.

Here’s what you missed while we were offline.

Rogue had her first three swimming adventures. We visited friends “down south”. And, we attended Red Labrador Retrievers’ Annual Reunion.

Since we no longer have direct lake access in our backyard, we had to find other swimming locations for the dogs. Huib did a bit of searching and found the perfect place, Larter river Provincial Park. There are a few different swimming opportunities there and best of all, it costs nothing to enter!

The first time we went, the dogs had a blast retrieving their new water toys from Christmas – a bright orange water dummy and a purple Jolly Ball. Phoenix just walked in the water, while Rogue would only get her paws wet before running onto shore for some exploring. We brought our cooler with drinks and snacks so I could read and Caleb could swim and collect rocks for his sword. It was a bit breezy though, so we didn’t end up staying much more than a couple of hours.

The next time we went, we brought the canoe. The water was still pretty choppy, so I refused to go with Huib and Caleb. I stayed on the shore with the dogs and read, while the boys attempted some fishing. Aspen didn’t really like the idea of Huib being out in the canoe without her, so she insisted on swimming along beside them until they pulled her in. Canyon and Cessna swam out once in a while to check in, but spent most of the afternoon with me on the shore, so I could throw their toy. Rogue was put on leash attached to the cooler so that I knew where she was and Phoenix just walked around, coming with me when I entered the water with the toy. He didn’t think I could handle being out there without him I guess. The neatest part of the whole trip was when Phoenix actually swam out to the canoe on his own. Huib and Caleb were paddling towards the shore and just happened to look out and see Phoenix swimming towards them. Once they said hi, he turned around and returned to me on the shore. Huib thinks he felt they had been out too long lol!

In Waterloo, we stayed with Karen and Wizard. Karen still has her foster from Lab Rescue so we weren’t able to do too much in the house, so we stayed out as much as possible. When we arrived on Friday, we first stopped in Guelph so Rogue could see Dr B. She was given a clean bill of health, but was a little wimpy when Dr B had her staff restrain her for some blood to be taken. Dr B. wants to follow a limited vaccine protocol to reduce the chances of Rogue becoming incontinent after spaying when she’s 6 months old. Therefore, she will not get her rabies vaccine until she’s older and instead of having her second set of puppy vaccines, we had titers done. She has sure grown a lot in a month, now weighing in at 19.4lbs or 8.8kg!

After the vet, we met up with another service dog handler for coffee. It was so great to see how well Patina had matured and settled into her work. I had gotten a chance to watch Patina learn the various skills she’d need to successfully work as a psychiatric service dog and grow from a tiny 14 week old puppy, to a beautiful (soon to be) two year old. Rogue had a bit of trouble settling during our outing. She wanted to play with Patina and found the patio environment to be a little too distracting. After coffee, we headed to Waterloo, where we met up with Karen and Wizard for a romp in the NCR baseball diamonds and later a dinner of sushi.

The following day, we woke up early and took Canyon, Cessna and Rogue to the St. Jacob’s Market. Karen and Wizard also joined us. At the Market Canyon showed off his newly acquired leash manners and behaved amazingly well for me. Huib focused on walking with Rogue while I got Cessna to work and had Canyon walk on my right. We really haven’t focused much on heeling with Canyon, but it seems as though he’s figured it out himself. He led out a bit like Cessna, but never put any tension on the leash. As long as Karen or Huib warned me of dogs coming our way, I had no issues redirecting either dog and found the trip to be quite exciting. We didn’t really buy much, just a taupe colour harness for Canyon (I would like to start teaching him scent work) and some turkey pepperoni sticks for Cessna and us to share. Rogue was a bit pully, but for the most part Huib was impressed. Around the end of our trip, Karen suggested we take everyone over to a set of open metal stairs for practice. The stairs are like metal grates with open backs and sides so we weren’t too sure how Rogue would do – she showed us!!! She bounced along with Huib and didn’t once consider the fact she was walking on something most dogs would find terrifying. Canyon even wanted to give it a try so I held Rogue’s leash and Huib took him up. He walked up with confidence until the third last step, paused a moment to assess what he had just done, and then continued walking up and then back down. Canyon never ceases to amaze me with his eagerness to try new things…

After the Market, we headed to Maidstone for Red Labrador Retrievers’ Annual Reunion. It wasn’t a great event, but given the circumstances surrounding Chris’ fall and then recovery shortly before, it wasn’t too bad. I think we’ll go next year, but if it’s similar, then we’ll probably forgo the rest. At the reunion, we got to see several dogs from other litters, such as a one year old female from Cheyenne. Rogue got to play with her brother Coal, who’s still with his breeder, and we saw Snickers (aka Sunny) from a distance. I wish we had gotten a chance to see some of her sisters, maybe next year they’ll come. After a couple of hours, we said our farewells and took a leisurely drive back to Waterloo. On the drive we picked up tons of fresh veggies and Huib showed me what wheat and barley looked like when still in the field. We really didn’t do much of anything after we got back to waterloo because it was late and Karen’s foster from Lab Rescue really isn’t great with other dogs.

On Sunday, we started our trip home. First we stopped in Toronto to pick up Caleb, Phoenix and Aspen. Caleb has been staying with us since June 15th, but has decided to come stay until the second or third week of August. Our next stop was the Bass pro Shop where we picked up a dehydrator and jerky maker, along with some fun travel mugs and a slingshot for Caleb. Then we stopped at Costco in Newmarket before heading to Bobcaygeon.

In bobcaygeon, we visited Amy at her cottage. She had two friends staying with her and Dave, so we made it a pretty short visit. While there, we met her new puppy, Waverley, and gave the dogs a chance to swim. Waverley is a female Dalmatian and seems to be a lot more timid than Rogue. Amy isn’t sure if it is the breed or breeder, but says Waverley seems to take a lot longer than her other dogs at getting used to new people and dogs. Waverley is just under a week younger than Rogue, but seems to be a little smaller and finds Rogue to be overwhelming lol! Monroe, Amy’s current LFC foster, really liked Rogue, but couldn’t play since she had just been spayed a few days before our visit. After dinner, we headed home.

This past week has been pretty uneventful, since Huib has had to work mostly night shifts. He’s had the entire weekend off though so on Friday, we went into New Liskeard with Cessna and Rogue to do some grocery shopping, as well as, to pick up some fencing supplies. Rogue has now started to walk on all outings so, we’ve had to really think about her relieving schedule and how to teach her about walking on a leash and leaving things alone on the floor. This was really our first official indoor outing where she’s walked the entire time, so we were able to see where exactly we’ll need to focus our attention. I think we’re going to pick up a walking harness to teach her leash manners so that she does not get used to pulling on the collar and so that she doesn’t sound as though she’s choking to death. Both her collar and first puppy coat are getting to the end of their ability to adjust, so we’ll have to get new ones ready for her soon.

Yesterday we did some rearranging and started to put up the fence for the dogs. Their fenced in area will be quite large with a ramp that goes from the deck into the area for Phoenix and a large gate for bringing in the riding lawn mower and any other supplies. Caleb and I helped Huib measure out, and hammer in the posts. Then, Caleb helped Huib attach the fencing to the posts, while I went inside with the labs (they also don’t enjoy the mosquitoes!). I’m really going to like having a designated area for the dogs to run, especially when Caleb goes home and I’m alone with them all. When the fence is all complete, we’re going to purchase some plastic stuff that goes along it to make it seem as though we have a wood fence (I’ll try to post pictures).

I will get Huib to help me load pictures from our last two weeks on to my laptop this evening and post them as soon as possible. Rogue has begun to darken a bit, so updated photos are needed here.

Introducing Rogue

It’s been almost a week since we picked up our little girl. I haven’t had much time to go on the computer for more than a few minutes, so I’ll start this entry by writing a little description of our visit to the breeder.

We woke up at 5:30am to feed and relieve everyone before leaving to get puppy. We decided to bring everyone along because at 2:00pm, we had to be in Guelph for their annual check-ups. We thought it would take about three hours to drive from London to Maidstone, but ended up an hour ahead of schedule so, stopped for some breakfast and then pulled in about twenty minutes early. When we arrived, the puppies were in an outdoor pen so we went over and looked at them all. Karen came out in her pajamas a few minutes later and told us we had arrived during feeding time. She ran inside to get dressed and let her husband, Chris, know we’d arrived. When she was dressed, we helped her carry three puppies into the house.

We put the puppies on the living room floor and observed. Karen had brought in “Pinkie”, “Coal” and “Violet”. We quickly removed “Violet” from the mix because she was more interested in exploring the house, than in interacting with us or the other puppies. Karen wasn’t totally sure which puppy was “Pinkie” so brought “Flower” in as well to double check that she had the correct puppy. The puppies had all chewed each other’s collars off and Chris and Karen hadn’t had a chance to microchip them yet, since they had just returned from a trip to California. “Flower” was cute, but also didn’t seem overly interested in us, so she returned to the outdoor pen for breakfast and play. Once we had it narrowed down to “Pinkie” and “Coal”, we just sat and observed, calling them over once in a while to see how they reacted. Both puppies came running when we called “Puppy, Puppy” and when we were paying attention to one, the other would be licking our arm trying to get some love too. We had a lot of trouble making a decision, but after 45 minutes of observing and interacting, we decided on “Pinkie”. We both really liked “Coal” as well, but Huib left it up to me and I really wanted a girl, so chose “Pinkie” and named her Rogue.

Rogue is the lightest in colour of the seven puppies and already weighs 10.6lbs. She is the colour of butterscotch pudding and has grayish colour eyes that will someday be either a medium or dark brown. She has a very cute face and shows lots of expression. For an eight week old puppy, Rogue is extremely brave and confident.

Once the decision was made. Karen got us to fill out some forms and Chris took Rogue to be micro chipped. Karen will be sending the CKC paperwork in for the puppies when they are sixteen weeks so that everyone has a chance to decide on a name for their fur baby. Before leaving, we met her dam and sire, and let Phoenix, Cessna, Aspen and Canyon meet Rogue. They sniffed her a bit, but only canyon really showed much interest. The girls were a little disgruntled with the whole situation and Phoenix just saw her as another puppy, so no big deal lol!

During our three hour drive to Guelph, Rogue laid in my lap. Some of the time she was looking out the window or watching Huib drive, while other times she was napping. Never once during the drive did she whimper or whine, but looked around when a sound caught her ear. Our first stop was to see Dr B for the older dogs to get their annual check-ups and vaccinations. Rogue hung out with the vet staff, while we were in the examination room with the others. It was a pretty long appointment, so around the one hour mark, Rogue fell asleep under Huib’s chair. We will be bringing Rogue for her first visit with Dr B in a month’s time, but for now we just weighed her and discussed feeding options – she’ll be starting on raw when her kibble from the breeder finishes up.

First Dr B checked over Phoenix. She decided against giving him any further vaccinations and said the heartworm test isn’t really necessary. She still isn’t happy with his ears, so cleaned them out and gave us a new medication to try. She seems happy with him overall, saying that one thing she knows he won’t die of, is heart failure, because his heart is extremely healthy for his age.

She then looked over Canyon. We discussed neutering and she said that her only advice is to get it done by the age of five since that is when most of the cancer issues seem to begin. He had his titers done for Distemper, Parvo and the other diseases that are vaccinated against, other than Rabies – the Rabies titer is extremely expensive so we’ll probably just continue to vaccinate for that. She said he looks great, but might be developing an ear infection, so has asked us to clean it for a week and see where that goes.

Aspen was also pretty straight forward and cooperative. She had her titers done, along with a Heartworm test. We discussed options for treating her incontinence and have decided to try “No More Leaks”, a mixture of different homeopaths that you can buy in a pet store. If that doesn’t seem to help, then we’ll look at other options.

Cessna got a clean bill of health as well, but was a little less cooperative. She really doesn’t like when people touch her paws or tail, so was quite rigid when Dr B went to try taking her blood for the titer and heartworm test. We will be starting her and Aspen on a daily Glucosamine supplement, since they will be eight this year.

After paying our $1,300 vet bill, we headed to the Kitchener Ren’s Pets Depot to visit with Kelly, pick up some toys and a collar for Rogue. Since she doesn’t have her final set of vaccinations, Kelly and her manager carried her around the pet store while we shopped. We picked out an orange, yellow and black collar along with a black leash that we will start using once she learns not to chew it – for now, we’re using two rope style leashes from the dollar store. In addition, we got her a little pink puppy kong, a puppy-sized kong treat bone and a light blue monkey that’s a ball with really long fleece arms and legs. Since it was Canyon’s birthday the week before, we got him two new JW Arachnoid Balls and a hedgehog that has a ball for a torso and canvas limbs that have squeakers in them. We finished off our shopping trip, by picking up some food for my sister’s cat, Branden, and Logan, our calico.

I’ll now do a little bit of point form notes, to start Rogue’s training journal. If you have any suggestions on things I should not have been doing or on things I should be adding to the journal, please let me know. I’m new to this, so am still in the trial and error phase.

Day One
• rode in the truck for almost 6 hours along Highway 401 (air brakes, squealing trucks, strange smells)
• visited the vet office (printer, strange smells, 4 staff members)
• briefly met my former long-term care resident (sounds & smells of the building)
• met four people at the pet store (tons of food & animal smells)
• had an accident on the floor mat of the truck, became wiggly so I put her down
• met two friends we were staying with
• ran to hide after being told off by Phoenix for jumping around his face
• saw a Great Dane & Shih Tzu while out for relief (no direct contact)
• had an accident while sleeping beside Huib on the couch
• used her nails to climb up mesh of play pen we were using as her bed, barked to let us know she was stuck between the play pen & air mattress
• slept 2 hours before needing out
• bounced half way out of play pen so we brought her onto the air mattress, where she slept another 4 hours

Day Two
• ate half a cup of kibble & did both outside 20 minutes later
• hid behind a table when Aspen barked at her
• met 2 teenage girls while being carried through Dollarama
• met manager & waitress & took about 10 minutes on a really short leash to settle under the table at Montana’s
• my cousin carried her around White Oaks Mall & we took a picture of her laying in front of some clothing at The Bay
• discovered my friend’s five bunnies & taunted them for about 15 minutes (play bowing in front of their cages & jumping back when they moved, briefly hiding when she bumped into a table leg)
• climbed on & slid off couch on to Phoenix & he just looked at her
• at last relief, Huib put her on the ground to walk into the elevator & 2 of her legs fell into the gap, Huib helped her out & she approached it curiously

Day Three
• truck broke down (alternator died) & we had to wait for a tow truck & then a stranger drove us back to my friend’s house
• played more with the bunnies, putting her paws against the sides & barking excitedly (Rue actually started playing back)
• rode in the child seat of a cart while we picked up snacks at Food Basics (first on bare wire & then on slippery cardboard)
• met a friend with the 2 Smooth Collies of ADS (hid behind Huib’s chair at first because the collies were excited)
• accompanied us at Dollarama, Giant tiger & Zellers
• rolled around trying to get Cessna’s tags off her collar (I’d put them on to find her easier)
• climbed over a baby gate we had used to block her in the kitchen with a bit of peanut butter in her Kong (we’d decided to leave her for 30 minutes while we got ice cream & came back to find her in the living room with the others)

Day Four
• slept 4 hours before going out for relief & then slept another 4
• met several people while Huib carried her around masonville Mall
• walked down 1 aisle at Costco before settling on a soft/squishy mat in the cart (met several people & had items piled around her)
• carried her around Pet Smart to find some bells for her collar (she’s learned I can’t see & will come just out of my reach & run when I move closer)
• fell asleep in front of a shelf at Chapters
• started keeping her on leash until she goes out because she’s begun relieving inside, even after going out

Day Five
• rode in truck from London to Guelph
• met a friend who has an SSD standard poodle (Kelly is hard of hearing & uses an electric wheelchair part-time)
• met my orthotics guy & his daughter
• went into the University of Guelph to hand in my application (walked up some short steps, rode in an older elevator & met a staff member who uses a scooter)
• stopped to pick up some chicken at Maple Lodge Farms (smells of slaughter house & processing plant)
• met Taz, Caleb & their landlord with her infant son
• Caleb showed her Sage (his Bengal) she barked a bit & wanted to play
• fell asleep under the table at the Lakeview while we ate some lunch
• rode in truck for 7 hours, had a little dribble on the seat after drinking too much water the stop before
• explored the house & chased the cats
• had 2 accidents in the house
• checked out the toys & played with bone that was bigger than her

Day Six
• slept between us, used a leash to keep her from jumping off
• slept about 5 hours before needing out, then slept another 3-4
• got her first taste of raw chicken breast, ate it before the kibble
• explored the house some more, had 2 more accidents
• tried to steal something off a shelf while we walked by at Value Mart
• hung out in the kitchen of the new house while Huib painted & we began taking apart the closet
• started introducing the clicker while feeding lunch (clicked & treated for half) around the 5th click, she started bumping my hand with her nose as if to ask for the noise lol!
• Sat while we trained & then wandered off when she was full, leaving about a hand full
• Attached her to a cupboard while I started pulling apart the closet with a crowbar, whined & barked because she couldn’t come near (didn’t return to her side until she was quiet for a few minutes)
• Laid in a semi-sleep position while Huib finished taking down the closet, banging down drywall & pulling out nails
• Introduced the canvas crate, she barked & cried the whole time she was in it (didn’t let her out until she was quiet for a minute)
• Cornered Laya & Logan because she wanted to play
• Got her head stuck under the china cabinet while exploring, cried until Caleb showed her how to get out
• Played under couch & chair with toys

Sorry for the really, really long entry, but I wanted to get everything down so I’ll remember. I’ll try and update the journal as frequently as possible (we’ll try daily, but no promises).

So far, I think Rogue is absolutely amazing! She’s a lot of fun to have around and extremely smart, so we’ll need to keep a close eye on her. We’ve already taken over sixty pictures, so I’ll begin posting them here.

Seminar & Other Stuff

This weekend, Huib, Cessna and I attended a breeding seminar with Amy from Me And My Pups. the seminar was being hosted by The Labrador Owners Club so of course their were several lab breeders in attendance, as well as, a table of West Highland White Terrier breeders, a Duck Toller breeder, a couple Wheaten breeders, a man who breeds Old English Sheepdogs, a woman who breeds golden retrievers and some others that I can’t remember.

Dr. Carmen Battaglia, a breeder, lecturer, researcher and author of “Breeding Dogs To Win”, was the presenter for the two day seminar. He taught us an easier way of understanding the pedigree of dogs through the introduction of “stick dog” figures, and a “symbols” pedigree. By using these two methods, breeders are better able to visualize the strengths and weaknesses of their females in order to find a stud that will help alleviate some of their weak traits or compliment their strengths. I found the seminar to be a bit on the more visual side, but also found it educational. Huib and I are not looking at getting a breeding female until Phoenix crosses the rainbow bridge, so have tons of time to collect pedigrees and learn all we can about the “missing” pieces of a traditional pedigree – such as the health concerns and structural traits of the ancestors.

On Sunday we began our journey home and experienced some problems with the truck around Oshawa. Luckily Amy was still with us, so we called CAA and had the truck towed to a dealership near her parent’s place. We stayed the night and had the truck examined the following morning. I was pretty frustrated by the lack of attention the dealership gave us, but was happy when they finally called to say we could pick it up around 5:30pm and head north. Phoenix, Aspen and Canyon had stayed with my step-dad and sister while we were away so I was eager to get home and pick them up. My Dad and sister are great with the dogs, but for some reason Aspen was stressed and having issues with her incontinence so I was pretty worried about her and annoyed that we would be delayed in returning. Aspen has had issues with incontinence since she was young, but for the most part it doesn’t happen often – just when she’s had too much water or when she is feeling stressed. While with my sister, she had about two or three incidents a day, which is unusual, so I really wanted to get back to her. Since we picked them up Monday night, she has not had an issue…

On Sunday I also sent an e-mail to the breeder who owns Canyon’s sire and brother to see how Phoenix’s (brother) clearances had gone. Judi was taking Phoenix to have his clearances done that morning, so I was eager to learn about his eyes. Well, it turns out that Phoenix also has scarring on the retina of his right eye in addition to folds. As far as I know, retinal folds are an issue common in the collie breeds (not so much in golden retrievers), but in Phoenix’s case, Huib is wondering if it might not be related to whatever caused the scarring in the two brothers. He is thinking that maybe Phoenix had the infection or whatever slightly worse in his right eye, causing inflammation that left the folds. I think it would be interesting to find out if their sisters also have the scarring, but since they are most likely just pet dogs, I don’t think we’ll ever know. With this news, Judi has begun the process of finding Phoenix a new home because it is not possible for her to keep a dog who cannot be in her program. I really wish we had known this a few months ago because I know Brandi would have adopted him for sure, but she now has Dawsen and doesn’t think she could handle another dog at this point.

Here’s a picture of Dawsen from one of our many walks in the winter.

Yesterday Canyon and I had our fifth training session with the Border Collie lady and again it went well. Brandi came along to watch so she could see what we were learning and if she would like to do something similar with Dawsen. We did some “lefts” and “rights”, practiced the “heel” position a bit more and worked on his “fronts”. Then, we started teaching him to “go around” so that in the summer he will be ready for Flyball lessons. I thought he would be too big for Flyball, but the Border Collie lady thinks that his obsession with balls will work well in this sport.

As an aside, I’m sort of getting the impression that she isn’t sure I will be able to be successful in agility with my dogs since I won’t be able to run the course with them. I’ve tried to explain that I could stand in the middle and direct them, but I’m not sure she sees how it is possible to be successful…so I guess I’ll just have to show her how it’s done. Does anyone else know of a blind or visually impaired person who has done agility with their dogs?

After the session was over, we talked a bit about the seminar I had attended on the weekend and she really thinks that we should show Canyon even once for the experience. So, Huib has said that if the Temiskaming Kennel Club has their show in new Liskeard this summer, that he would be willing to show Canyon for me – could I be rubbing off on him? Then, just before we were leaving the Border Collie lady asked my sister if she had a dog and Brandi told her about Dawsen. After listening to the concerns Brandi had, she asked if she would be interested in attending some obedience classes and Brandi said she’d love to. So, Dawsen will be starting his classes next Thursday!! Brandi wants me to come along, but Huib and I both told her that we think it would be better for her to do this on her own with Dawsen because part of the issue is that she worries about what others think and relies on us to help her, so it’s time they did some real work together and develop a more respectful relationship. I’ll keep you all posted on how their classes go…

Before I end this post, I thought I’d let you all know that our potential puppy is due on Monday (April 18th). Cheyenne is the dam of this litter and her breeder feels that one of her girls might be a good fit for us. They tend to be a little more independent minded and she finds them a little harder to place in homes because they need more experienced handlers and more stimulation. Our ideal puppy is exactly what she has described, so we’re quite eager to hear about the litter and to find out how well they score on the aptitude test. We’re still waiting for the pedigrees and clearances the breeder was supposed to send us, but are hoping that this delay isn’t a sign that we should be looking elsewhere. I think I’ll e-mail her again and give her my sister’s address in addition to the hospital’s fax number and my e-mail address in the hopes that it’s just our mail service that is the issue.