Goodbye 2014

2014 is about to come to an end.

And, what a year it has been…

Here are some of the highlights:
We bought a house
Aiden came to visit for 10 days
Huib was promoted to Assistant Director of Nursing at the Village of Riverside Glen
I was accepted into the Health and Aging masters program at McMaster University
Rogue passed the Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test in May
Arizona joined our family in July
Rogue and I started graduate school in September
Canyon earned another point towards his Canadian Championship title in October
Cessna officially retired from guide work

We can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us.

From all of us at ruled by paws, have a very safe and happy new year!

Caledon Kennel Association: Way to Go Boys!

Shows and more shows…

Arizona and Canyon were entered into all three days of the Caledon Kennel Association conformation dog show at the International Centre. Normally we don’t like doing three days straight, but it was Arizona’s first opportunity to earn points, so we thought it was good experience.

Unfortunately, the judges did not like our Wild Child. She did not do too badly in the ring, but at all three shows she got last place. It was sort of close at the final show, but when the judge asked Huib if Arizona was out of coat, he knew it wasn’t going to end well.

Arizona is from a working/field line, so her coat isn’t as showy as most of the golden retrievers she is competing with. The fur on her body is pretty close to the same length as Canyon’s, but she doesn’t have the fox-like tail or the long feathers on the backs of her legs like he does. I am hoping her feathers will continue to fill in and grow longer, but I’m not sure she’ll ever blow the judges away with her looks.

Now, if she was being judged on personality…..I think she’d be bringing home the rosettes, lol!

The first day of showing wasn’t really Canyon’s day, he lost to a dog named Pro.

The next two days of showing went much better. He beat Pro on the Saturday and then beat pro and another male the Sunday. There were 30 golden retrievers entered at this show, so when he went in to compete for winner’s dog, it was definitely not happening.

It is really encouraging to see that judges like him though. It makes me optimistic that maybe he might still have the opportunity to finish his Canadian Championship. He has 6 points so far, and needs just 4 more.

In addition to his time with Huib in the ring, Canyon also did some Junior Handling with our little friend, Kira. There were a lot more girls entered at this show, so our golden boy and his buddy didn’t do well. At the end of the final day, Huib and Kira went to ask the judge for suggestions on things to work on. She told Kira that there really wasn’t anything, that the other girls were just a bit better.

I really hope Kira doesn’t get too discouraged by her experience so far. I think she did really well and she has her own show leash/collar, which is bright pink, so she can’t give up yet,right?

Our next show will be at the end of December: the Elora Gorge Kennel Club show and the Southwestern All Retriever Specialty.

Stay tuned for more showing adventures.

Georgina Kennel & Obedience Club: Second Place

The Georgina Kennel & Obedience Club had a show on November 9th.

Our friend, Amy, was entering her four month old dalmatian, Trinity, so we thought we’d enter Canyon and Arizona.

amy and Trinity walking around the ring

Trinity was the only Dalmatian entered, so after doing a quick walk around the ring, they went straight to the group judging. Unfortunately for Trinity, there was an adorable baby French bulldog, so of course the baby Dal lost.

Trinity lies on her blanket waiting for Canyon and Arizona to finish

Arizona and Canyon weren’t scheduled to enter the ring for a couple of hours after Trinity, so we spent time chatting and walked around the various booths. we bought Canyon a gorgeous blanket for his kennel and we looked at some cloth underwear for Arizona to wear when she is in heat. The woman didn’t have any in her size though, so we’re going to see if she is at the next show and pick up a few pairs to try. they are only $15 and have adorable patterns, like rubber duckies!

Around noon Huib and I walked over to the obedience area to see if we could find a couple that has 3 dogs from taygold.

ellie and Dave have: Fracas, Gyro and their newest edition, Shine.

Guess what?!

Shine is Arizona’s brother! It was so neat to meet one of Arizona’s brothers away from the breeder. I also loved talking to Ellie and Dave. They told us that Shine has been their toughest puppy from Taygold to raise. They told us about his first month of screaming in the crate and about all of the wild activities he’s done. It was such a relief to know that we aren’t alone and that even seasoned Taygold owners, whose dogs are freaking amazing in the obedience ring, were finding their Abba puppy tough to manage. I was really hoping to have a chance to let Arizona and Shine play together, but we had to run to the conformation side and they had to get ready to do some more obedience with Fracas and Gyro.

As a quick aside, Fracas earned his 89th High in Trial at the show!!

Meeting them has really sparked my interest in doing some obedience and stuff with Arizona. I feel as though I would be cheating her if I didn’t at least try it out.

Once it was our turn to enter the show ring, I held Arizona and Canyon went with Huib. Canyon did fabulously and we totally thought he was going to win, but at the last moment the judge picked the other dog. Who went on to lose to the Open dog.

Huib and Canyon walk around the ring

the judge checks out Canyon's back

when it was Arizona’s turn, Huib traded leashes with me and they were off.

Huib and Arizona walk around the ring

Arizona did pretty well. she needs to learn to keep her head forward when she’s walking and she needs to learn to stay still longer than a few seconds, but overall she did pretty well for her second time in the ring.

Huib and Arizona stand with the other two baby females and their handlers

And, as a bonus…she got second place out of three baby puppy females!

The judge checks out Arizona's head

Hopefully our next show goes as well or even better for her and our candyman. they are entered in the Caledon Kennel Association show at the end of November. Arizona will be competing as a Junior Puppy for the first time and able to earn real points. Canyon just needs 4 more before he will earn his Canadian Championship, so please keep your fingers crossed for them. We got our show listings and there are around 24 golden entered the first day and around 30 the other two days, it’s going to be a very tough competition, but who knows what could happen.

Canyon will also be doing some Junior Handling with Kira again on the Saturday and Sunday, so that’s pretty neat.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Elgin County Kennel Club: Winner’s Dog

Our final day of showing was a little more successful than the first.

We didn’t have to bathe or trim the goldens and we weren’t scheduled to enter the ring until at least 10:30am, so we got to sort of sleep in.

When we arrived, we touched up each of the dogs and then went to find a spot to hang out. We found a spot relatively close to ring-side, so we were able to watch the group progression.

When it was Canyon’s turn, I stayed with Arizona and our bag, while Kira went with Huib so that she could take some pictures and give me updates on how they were doing.

They did awesome. first they did their thing in the Canadian Bred Dog class showing, where they were the only ones, so they used it as their warm-up. then they went on to beat the Open Dog for Winner’s Dog.

Canyon Stacked for Best of Breed - October 19, 2014

Next, it was time to compete against at least 7 other goldens for Best of Breed. We knew it was a long shot with there being 3 male Specials competing, so we weren’t too upset when he lost. he did his best and had a good time.

And, the bonus is, he got one more point towards his Canadian Championship, meaning he just needs 4 more.

Close up of Arizona - October 18, 2014

While this was happening, I was busy trying to keep the Wild Child entertained. As time went on, she got more and more restless. I tried to get her to play with a few toys, no go. I gave her a lint roller and that kept her busy for a while. But, she got even more restless near the end, so when Kira came over to see how we were, I asked if she’d take Arizona for a quick walk up and down the nearby aisle.

Turns out it was a good idea I did because on their way back towards me, Arizona had a gigantic poop!! Kira was SO embarrassed!! She asked a guy to help her and he frantically looked for someone to clean it up. During his mission to find someone, two people stepped in it!! Then, finally someone carried a flower pot over and put it beside the pile, so hopefully no one else would step in it.

After a few minutes of waiting for the guy to return, Kira gave up and ran back to me with Arizona. She was just in time for Huib to exchange Canyon for Ari.

Arizona Walks Around the Ring - October 19, 2014

Arizona made her debut as a Baby Puppy. She did quite well. She was beat by the boy baby puppy, but he was also a month older, so we won’t hold it against her.

Arizona Gets Examined by the Judge - October 19, 2014

We have some work to do with her, but overall I thought her debut went quite well.

to give her and Huib another chance to practice before she becomes eligible to begin earning points, we have entered her as a Baby Puppy in the Georgina Kennel & Obedience Club show on November 9th.

This time we will remember not to feed her before the show 😉

Keith Urban

Brooke & Rogue posing in front of the Tiger Cats logo. Brooke is on one knee, wearing white jeans, a black hooded Roots sweatshirt, white roots baseball cap and black leather sandals, while Rogue is standing beside her in her red harness.

Last night Rogue and I went to see Darius Rucker and Keith Urban with Huib and our friend Sam. The new Tiger Cats stadium was opening in Hamilton and it was a pretty big event. The stadium was SO busy and loud, apparently there were like 20,000 people expected. Rogue was an absolute champ the entire evening. She walked beside me calmly when Huib guided me through the huge crowds, she guided me with confidence up and down the various stairs we needed to climb for our seats and during the concert, she slept under our chairs, where barely anyone noticed her. She wasn’t the only guide dog at the concert either, Huib saw a woman in the accessible seating area with her yellow lab guide that wore a brown harness. We chose not to sit in accessible seating because in my opinion it’s better not to use it if you don’t really need it – which I do not.

The concert was awesome. Darius Rucker played a lot of his newer stuff and a bit of his stuff from when he was with Hootie and the Blowfish. He has such an awesome sounding voice. Keith Urban was better though. He was so into making sure the crowd had a good time and interacted with as many people as he could. Even though Huib and I Originally weren’t too thrilled on going to see him, we are glad we did, he was just that good!

With this concert, Rogue has now attended 4 concerts and one musical. I’m not sure what our next adventure will be, but I’m sure it won’t be too far away.

Our First Day

I am now a graduate student!

On Monday, Rogue and I started our new adventure at McMaster University.

Rogue and I walk up concrete stairs. You can just see our backs and you can tell that Rogue is happy because her tail is sticking straight out.

I am doing my masters in the Department of Health, Aging and Society. This semester I am taking two classes and leading two tutorials. I am pretty nervous about all of the upcoming changes, but as long as I have my Roga-Monster by my side, I think I’ll be okay.

We got lost a few times our first couple days, but no matter what happened, Rogue did her job well and kept us safe. It will probably take me a few weeks to become comfortable with the various routes around campus, but as long as Rogue does her job, then I will work hard at doing mine.

If nothing else, this week has been amazing for Rogue and I. Having to learn to navigate a large, extremely busy campus has forced us to trust one another and Rogue has risen to the challenge. This week, she has shown me how ready she is to finally take over fully from Cessna – now we just need to convince Cessna that she is ready to hand over the reins.

Rogue In Action

After missing July’s tracking lesson, we got back at it.

And, Rogue was a freaking pro!!

Rogue searches for the scent. the picture is taken from the side, you can see me holding her tight leash and Huib walking closer to her head in case she needs some direction.

A front view of Rogue searching.

A front view picture taken from a lower point.

rogue is getting close to the end of the track we laid. She's pulling hard towards her prize.

Rogue has found her orange Orbi ball on an orange braided nylon strap. The picture is sort of taken from the side back and you can only see Rogue with her toy.

We laid two shorter (50 feet long) and three or four longer (130 feet long) tracks for rogue to do.

On the shorter tracks, we had the treats laid out every couple of feet, but once we got to the longer tracks she was only getting treats about every 10 to 20 feet. On the longer tracks, Huib would lay four treats a foot apart from one another and then walk 15 to 20 feet before he laid four more treats a foot apart from one another.

Rogue freaking rocked the tracking lesson. If we had not run out of treats, the instructor was going to have us start spacing the treats out to 25 or 30 feet – which is our homework.

Huib, Rogue and I stand together. Huib and I are facing the camera, but rogue has her side showing. Huib is wearing jeans with a navy blue hooded sweatshirt. I am wearing jeans with a teal t-shirt and navy blue vest, pink baseball cap and rogue is wearing her teal Silverfoot martingale and a brown leather braided leash.

Rogue made us SO proud! We are going to try hard to practice before the next session, when we’ll begin learning about tracking corners.

Weekend visitors

dexter, a 7 month old mini chocolate coloured poodle with tan markings sits beside my brother-in-law, Mark.

Dexter has grown a bit and is no longer scared of everything.

Brandi and Mark sit on the love seat on our back patio with Dexter sitting in between them.

My sister and her husband came to visit for the weekend. We did some shopping Saturday morning and then in the evening we all went to Mohawk raceway for the Pepsi North American Cup, it’s the biggest race for harness racing.

We didn’t lose too much, but we also didn’t win too many bets either. For the last three races, we had Rogue pick our horse and she won back our twenty-five dollars. for her winnings, she got a new martingale collar that is red and black with black deer in a hunter green circle and tan background – it looks really nice on her. She also got some liver treats.

We’ll have to take her to the races again sometime and let her pick for every race now, lol!

Since Returning

Rogue and I have now been home for two weeks. It has been a busy two weeks, but most of the time it’s been stress-free.

Rogue had a bit of a lapse in her work the week after we returned. she seemed to think Huib should be guiding me and also it got really warm quickly, so she was a bit iffy on her curb-work and her pace was slower than I feel comfortable with. I took robin’s advice and ignored Rogue’s protests. I began to speak firmer and also made her redo any curb she even slightly messed up. It seemed to work because her work got better the following day and then even better the next.

Now her work is back to what it had been in Wyoming.

I think it was hard for Huib not to step in and help us out, but he did a really good job at restraining himself.

I try to get rogue out working every day, even just for a short trip around the neighbourhood. I ask her to take me directly to the curbs, even if we are planning on not crossing. I think Rogue is beginning to understand the whole “barrier to barrier” activity. I think it will help us both with orientation in the end, I just need to remind myself not to begin relaxing things as we get further into our partnership.

This past Friday I had Rogue’s eyes tested. Our friend Sam had to take her French Bulldog to the eye vet for an appointment, so I joined her. I planned to set up an appointment for Rogue and Cessna to have their eyes tested at a later date, but someone had cancelled and Dr Whalen said he could check without dilating her eyes, so we did it. her eyes are perfect! I assumed they were fine, but I wanted to make sure things were good before I completely retired Cessna. Labs tend to begin having eye issues around 2-3 years of age, so it’s always good to check things out.

other than working, rogue and I have attended a couple of soccer games with our friend Sam. her daughter, Kira, plays soccer every Thursday, so we’ve been going to watch. Rogue is really interested in watching, but she gets cold and bored after a while, so we’ve started bringing a blanket for her to lie on or under, depending on what she wants. there always seems to be other dogs at the games, but Rogue really doesn’t seem phased by them. One of the dogs who attends is a puppy in training from Dog Guides, so it was cool to meet her and her foster family. Norma is about 5 months old.

Wyoming Trip: Time To Go Home

As Robin liked to say: “Bootcamp is over and your release papers are in”.

Around 8am, all of us woke up, had our coffee, fed the dogs and then got ready for our final breakfast together.

Once breakfast was over, I went to finish packing the rest of my clothes and then Bill came into the room to make sure I didn’t miss anything obvious. I was shocked, but all of our stuff fit back into the suitcase without the need of the expansion portion either. Huib told me the suitcase is stronger without the expansion part being used, so I tried to make sure I could close it without the need of more room.

Around noon we piled the dogs, my suitcase and backpack into the vehicle and set off for Denver.

Other than a quick stop for lunch in Longmont, we didn’t make any other stops and arrived at Denver International Airport around 2pm, two and a half hours before my flight – which is a good thing because I didn’t make it to the gate until 3:40.

When we finally found the check-in counter, the clerk told me that she would order a wheelchair. When I explained that I did not require one, I just needed someone’s arm, she said that my request was not possible, that they only had people with wheelchairs available. I asked to see her supervisor. I don’t like being difficult, but the clerk was being rude and stupid. There is no reason why an airport shouldn’t have people to escort me to the gate without me needing to sit in a wheelchair to get there. After about 10 minutes of waiting, I moved back to the counter and asked her again to speak to her supervisor. She said her supervisor was busy, but that she would check me in and take my suitcase while I waited. She also said that she could give Bill a boarding pass and he could escort me to the gate. I asked that both Bill and Robin be able to do it if that was needed, but Robin didn’t have her ID, so I told the woman that an escort was going to be needed – I didn’t want Robin to have to sit and wait for Bill to return. the supervisor finally came out after 20 minutes and apologized for being so long. She said they had some trouble with an Ice Air flight and she also apologized about her employee. She said the woman was newer and had not assisted a person with a disability before. She said that it was her who had told the clerk to order a wheelchair, but that once the clerk learned I was visually impaired, that she should have found me an escort to walk down with, not expected me to sit in a wheelchair – I had decided that if I was going to have to have someone take me down with a wheelchair, that I was going to put Rogue into it and hold the back handle, lol! The supervisor said that it was going to take about 30 minutes for an escort to come help me, which I was okay with, but Robin told bill to take rogue and I to the gate.

After getting his boarding pass, Bill, Rogue and I set off for our gate. After going down a couple of escalators we finally made it to security where Bill’s boarding pass refused to work. After about 5 minutes of waiting, the guy gave bill another one. At security, I took off my shoes and belt and took my laptop out of my backpack, then proceeded through the metal detectors and, of course, I beeped. The guard asked if Rogue’s harness had any metal on it and I said yes, but offered to take everything off and have Bill call her back through. I did this. I stripped rogue completely down and wearing nothing, she ran through the detectors back to Bill – I was SO proud of her! I then walked back through the detector and beeped, so they asked for a female screener to come do a pat-down. the screener was really nervous, she worried about hurting me and also worried that Rogue would mind her touching me. Once I reassured her, she did her thing. while we were with the screener, another woman with a service dog was in a couple slots down. Rogue alerted me to the other dog, but when I asked her to stay, she stopped paying attention to the dog and just stayed standing where I asked with her leash loosely between us. Bill said he saw all of this and was very impressed. Once the pat-down was done, Bill came over with my stuff and I got everything back in its place.

At the gate, Rogue and I said goodbye to bill and then settled between two guys that were really friendly. One guy was travelling with another man and the other guy was travelling with a woman and a man. After a bit of waiting, the one guy asked me if I was going to be pre-boarded and when I said yes, he said that someone would probably come soon because they were taking some people in wheelchairs over to the ramp onto the plane. When I said that I hoped they didn’t forget I was there, both men said that I didn’t need to worry because they wouldn’t allow the plane to forget us – Canadians are SO friendly!!

Once on the plane, Rogue settled at my feet and since no one was in the seat beside me, I put my backpack under the seat in front and waited for takeoff.

The flight was relatively smooth. A flight attendant offered everyone beverages, so I had a Coca-cola while I read. When we got closer to Toronto, a flight attendant came over and gave me a customs form. I explained that I was visually impaired and would need assistance filling it out. She said that no one had told the attendants I was blind, so she felt bad that I had not been shown the safety features personally. I told her I was okay.

When we landed, I immediately sent Huib a message to say we had touched down. He said they were waiting just past baggage. The plane had to taxi for a bit so a spot would clear for the pilot to park, so I didn’t end up getting to Huib, Dad and Cessna until about 20 minutes or more after I had initially messaged him. Rogue was SO happy to see Huib and Cessna was SO happy to see me. I gave Rogue’s leash to Huib and he gave me Cessna’s.

It was an awesome trip and experience for both Rogue and I. Hopefully someday we’ll get a chance to return and show Robin how much we’ve grown as a team.