Elbow Update

Reece had an x-ray done on his elbows last week and it was determined that there are no obvious signs of elbow dysplasia. He is still limping and there is inflammation so a decision is still being made on whether he should remain in the ADS program or be adopted out as someone’s pet. He will be going to visit another foster mom who is more experienced in dog health so she can assess his elbow and have her vet take a look. We are moving in exactly 13 days so I am hoping this assessment will happen soon so that we can have him back in time to go north.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Three Weeks In Kirkland Lake

Phoenix, Cessna, Reece and I just got back on Friday from a wonderful trip up north. Huib came to pick us up and we picked Aspen up from her breeder’s on our way back to Kirkland Lake. It was great to have the gang back together – I think Reece was the most excited because his surrogate mommy had finally returned! Too bad she went back up north with Huib yesterday though. The poor guy continually tries to get Cessna and Phoenix to play, but neither seem that interested in entertaining him.

While up north we took a trip out to the house we are planning to rent until our condo sells and then buy. It is small, only 2 bedrooms, but it has a lot of potential for expansion. It is situated on 73 acres of land surrounded by a whole lot of crown land. There is a lake just 2 minutes from the back door and a private dock. The nearest neighbours are probably a 5 minute drive or more. Huib will have a 30 minute commute to work, but with all the land and possibilities this house presents, we couldn’t say no. We will take possession around the end of August and begin to do a little landscaping.

On Canada Day we took Reece to see the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus tribute bands and wander around the kids area. Reece didn’t seem to mind all the kids running around him and didn’t even notice the bouncy equipment set up for them to play on. He even fell asleep in the grass after we stopped to stand and listen to the music. Later in the evening we took Cessna to see the Eagles tribute band and it was really good. Cessna was more interested in all the people coming up to say hi to her, she didn’t seem to care about the music or loud singing. We didn’t end up staying for the fireworks though. The concerts were over about an hour before they started so rather than just standing around, we took my sister home and returned to the college residence where we were staying.

On the Saturday following Canada Day there was a Tom Cochrane concert at the recreation centre. It was a good concert, except for the fact that people talked to one another all through the singing. I guess that’s part of living in a small town, everyone knows one another. Huib and I enjoyed the opening act the most – Serena Ryder. We even went up to get a signed copy of her newest CD when she was finished. Tom Cochrane was also good, but Huib didn’t find him as entertaining. He may have been too intoxicated to dance around or maybe just too old now, but Huib didn’t really like his performance as much. Cessna came with us to the concert. She was fine throughout Serena Ryder’s performance, but was a little shaky at first when Tom came on. But, we took her harness off and got her some popcorn which seemed to settle her down enough.

We didn’t really do anything else as exciting the rest of the time we were up north, but the dogs got tons of time to swim and run which they thoroughly enjoyed. I think Reece is finally getting the knack for swimming. Huib would throw the ball out for the girls to get and then throw a stuffed turtle for Reece to fetch. He didn’t throw the turtle as far out as he threw the ball, but a few times Reece actually attempted to go out for the ball with the girls. Phoenix swam a little, but spent most of his time rolling in the sand. I’m not sure why, but he seems to find it entertaining to get as dirty as possible!

Overall our trip up north was good. We got a few too many bug bites for my liking, but then I guess 35 in 3 weeks isn’t that terrible… We cane home Friday around midnight and joined in on an ADS puppy outing to the St. Jacob’s Market on Saturday. Reece did amazingly well – out of 4 puppies he was probably the best behaved. Ace is only 3 ½ months though so he still has time to catch up to Reece in abilities. We worked on stays and crowds most of the afternoon so by the time we were ready to go home the dogs were hot and exhausted. At home Cessna and Reece drank tons of water and then fell asleep until it was dinner time.

On Sunday Huib and I weighed and measured Reece. At 6 ½ months of age he is 66lbs, 22 inches tall and 22 inches long. I am not yet sure how big he’ll get, but judging from the size of his paws and wrists I would guess he will be either very thick and short or very tall and sturdy. He now has all of his basic obedience commands down and can walk on a loose leash 90% of the time. He still gets pully around other dogs and his nose likes to work a little too much, but overall he is progressing well. Our major hurdles right now are his chewing out of anger (when we leave him home alone) and his relieving in public (a HUGE frustration!!). Hopefully in a month or two he will mature more and stop these annoying habits. If he can get through these and if his shoulder stops acting up (hoping it’s a growth thing), then I think he will make a wonderful companion for a young child with autism.

“One of the best things to hold onto in this world is a friend.”

Where Has The Time Gone?


It has been a while since I last posted so thought it was time to update everyone on both Reece and Aiden. Reece will turn 6 months on Saturday and is pretty much the same size as Cessna and weighs over 55lbs!! Gone are the days when he was a little puppy that I could carry around in my arms. He has progressed well in his obedience training and is now heeling about 60% of the time without reminders – unless of course we come upon another dog. We have begun to work on his extended stays and he is doing well with reminders here and there.

Over the past few weeks we have taken Reece to several events where he has been required to behave for long periods of time. He has really impressed us, for his age he is able to calm down and relax pretty quickly. Even his trainer has commented on how well he is doing.

Aiden will soon turn 18 months (June 23rd) and has now been matched. He will be going to his family permanently within the month. I am so excited for him, they are the perfect family for his energy level and personality. He will be assisting an 8 year old boy from the Lindsay, Ontario area. He will live in the country near a lake and will have unlimited opportunities to play fetch and swim as his little partner in crime and older brother love to play with him. This weekend is the ADS family/raiser picnic so I will get a chance to say good-bye to my little monkey man. I have an album made for his new family and have made up a care package of all his favourite toys – I can’t wait to give them this. I am sure I will get semi-regular updates on him, so will continue to post these when they come.

Good luck Aiden and Kamaran!! May you both share a life full of happiness and memorable experiences.

“Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry.”

An Eventful Visit

Off to Kirkland Lake again…

Stopped on the way for a forest fire…

Moose just minutes from town…

Swimming & playing at the Quarry with our friends Jess & Glacier.

An end to a wonderful week (Guelph Penitentiary grounds).

Another Month Older


Reece and Aiden are both another month older – Reece is now 4 months and Aiden is 16. It has now been over a year since we began to raise puppies for Autism Dog Services. It has been a great experience, it has had it’s ups and downs, but we have enjoyed our time overall.

Reece has come a long way in the past two weeks. He now weighs 41lbs and if you look quickly in his direction you can actually mistake him for Cessna. His coat has gotten a little more wavy and his eyes are now more of a yellowish grey than bluish grey. He now understands the meaning of “stay” (sit), “down”, “come”, “leave it” and is beginning to “heel” – walking with a loose leash about 50% of the time. It is hard to believe that we have only had him 10 weeks, but looking back at his pictures we can see that he has grown a lot. His accidents are now only about once every couple of days and he has not had a poo poo accident inside in almost a month. I think it is harder for him to control his bladder compared to his bowels.

Aiden is still progressing well in his training and has now stayed with a family for a few days – as a tester for compatibility. I am not sure how it went, but from reading the Facebook messages of the family, it looks as though it went fairly well. This weekend he will be staying with another family, will keep you all posted on how that goes. Aiden is a real sweet boy, full of energy and personality – he will be thoroughly missed by our household (particularly by Cessna, who is still resisting Reece’s attempts to befriend her). I think her negative experiences with chocolate labs has made it hard for her to trust him, hopefully this will change with time.

Puppy Session At The Beaches


Yesterday we had an ADS puppy session at the Beaches in Toronto. Huib, Aiden, Reece and I went along with Stanley (a friend’s foster puppy from another program) as well as two other ADS moms. There were so many puppies and dogs at the session – probably about 20, with Reece being the second youngest and the oldest being a 3 year old golden named Spencer who is already in service. Aiden, Stanley and Reece were all pretty well behaved around the other dogs, but Aiden, for some reason, was not into doing his obedience or heeling.

We spent the first half hour split into two groups – 6 months and younger puppies in one & the older puppies/dogs in the other – doing some basic obedience and distraction exercises. Reece went with Huib and did surprisingly well, he is actually beginning to heel. Stanley worked with another family and performed pretty well, but Aiden stayed with me and had a pretty terrible session. He had been so good over the week and a bit we had him, so when we had this terrible training session I was left shaking my head. I am not sure if he was distracted by the sights and smells of the beaches or if he was just really excited to see Wade again, but one thing I do know is that he was horrible!

After the group sessions, we got back into a larger group and began to walk down the boardwalk towards the off leash dog area. The puppies and dogs all loved the opportunity they were given to run and swim. Stanley tried to swim out to the middle of the lake, but someone called him back…silly boy! Aiden played with the other dogs and made sure to swim as much as he could – he sure does love the water! Reece on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the water, he decided instead to follow another foster mom around the shore – soon enough little man, you will be swimming like a fish! After half an hour of play, we put the dogs back on leash and into jacket to head back down the boardwalk to the cars. It was a beautiful day for a walk and the dogs all got tons of exposure to crowds, bikes, water fowl, and other dogs.

Aiden returned to formal training after the session and we headed home with a sleepy Reece and Stanley. Aiden has not yet been matched with a family, but soon I am sure his trainer will find that perfect one for him. We will hopefully get our little Monkey Man back for a visit in May, but only time will tell.

A Wonderful Week


This week has been a busy one. Huib and I picked Aiden up in King City on Tuesday and headed off to Kirkland Lake. We looked at several houses while there and both Aiden and Cessna got a good run Wednesday morning. I think Aiden is going to start refusing to come visit us soon, as every time he comes we end up going on a long drive…lol! On Thursday Aiden went to school with Huib, it was his final day of school and Aiden was very well behaved – I think it helped that he didn’t get much sleep the night before…lol! On Friday we went to see Phoenix’s foster mom and then headed to the “All About Pets Show” in Mississauga afterwords. We met up with another foster mom and her daughter who were watching our little chocolate man. We thought the drive to Kirkland Lake would be too much for him so decided to see if a friend would take him. He got lots of different experiences and was a very good little house guest – at least that’s what I was told…hahaha!

The show was great, we saw lots of different cats, dogs, and birds. The boys (Aiden & Reece) and Cessna were really good. They got lots of treats and we even bought our cats a new litter box that looks like a doll house. Reece seems to really like bigger dogs, he tried to curl up with every one at booths where we stopped to talk to the exhibitor. On Saturday we went to Ren’s Pet Depot to buy the dogs each an Easter present – Aiden & Cessna got a squeaky tennis ball with a colourful canvas swirly tail (sort of looks like a comet), Aspen got a squeaky tennis ball with colourful little canvas ribbons, Phoenix got a toy that has two squeaky tennis balls connected with a canvas strip and Reece got a toy that looks like a fox skin with squeakers at the head and tail (called a Skinneez). They were all spoiled and have been playing with their new toys all weekend – except Cessna’s got killed in a game of tug so we put Aiden’s away before it met the same fate…lol!

Aiden will be staying with us until Friday or Saturday, so lots of time left for snuggles and long walks. He is such a bouncy guy, so full of personality and affection. His heeling seems to have improved a lot, but his energy level seems to have gone through the roof  He never needed as much exercise as he does now, hopefully he goes to a family with a lot of property or who loves to be outdoors or it might be an interesting placement. No matter what though, he will always be welcome to come home, whether it be for a visit or forever.

The upside to our long trip to Kirkland Lake is that we found a great house (lots of space inside & a large yard). We made an offer on it and after a bit of back and forth we settled on a purchasing price. As long as we are able to sell our current place within a month’s time then we will be moving in around June 18th! I think the dogs will love their new home and the cats will not know what to do with all the space they have to run.

Update From Here

Time sure does fly, Reece turns 15 weeks on Saturday and is weighing in at 31lbs! It is strange to think that he has already been with us for almost 2 months. He has grown a ton, now fits into his ADS puppy cape and can stand beside Cessna and no longer look tiny. His coat is beginning to become adult feeling and he is developing tons of waves on his back. His eyes no longer have blue in them, but are more of the typical chocolate lab colour.

We stopped our puppy classes with Dogs In The Park for personal reasons and have been continuing his training on our own using their techniques. Reece is doing so well for his age, he is already at a comparable level in skills to a 16 month old black lab who was donated almost a month and a half ago – way to go buddy! He knows all of his basic obedience commands – still isn’t a fan of lying down – and is slowly learning to walk with a loose leash. He knows the command “leave it” extremely well and is learning to take treats gently – he is a bit of an alligator when it comes to taking treats… He is curious about absolutely everything and rarely shows fear towards anything. I think he really has the potential to be an amazing autism service dog. We just need to work on his pushiness with the other dogs in the house and tame his exuberance just a bit. He behaves fabulously (for the most part) when his puppy coat is on, but when he is in the house he can still be a bit of a terror at times. Seeing the improvements he has made over the past few weeks in his obedience and behaviour in coat, I think it will only be a matter of time and patience before he transfers these manners into the home environment.

On another note, Aiden comes home for Easter in a week! He is doing great with his training and is learning to heel better. I still do not know if his trainer has decided upon a potential match, but seeing as he is taking his time to get to know Aiden and to know the possible families better I know Aiden will go to a wonderful home. My hope is that he will go to a child who will grow up with him and be able to benefit from all of his special abilities and skills. Good luck buddy and see you soon!

Training At Square One

Today we had a puppy training session at Square One. I have only ever been to this particular mall once or twice before, so was amazed by it’s size and variety of stores. We arrived about an hour into the session as we went to visit Phoenix’s foster mom before – she had a stroke in early January and is currently living in long-term care. After walking around a bit we found the rest of the group and the trainer asked if we wanted to go and get Aiden – of course we did! As usual Aiden was excited to see us and we made sure to cherish the short time we had. I am not sure how many more of these times we will have, so gotta make the best of the ones we do.

Both Reece and Aiden were well-behaved in the mall. They weren’t overly excited around the other puppies at the session, but they were quite interested in all of the smells when we decided to take them to PJ Pets for some treat shopping. I am not a huge fan of stores who sell animals in their stores, but I know that this practice will not stop until people stop buying them. Aiden, Reece and Cessna were quite interested in the puppies that were behind the glass, but when the puppies began to make tons of noise we made sure to leave the aisle in a hurry. After the pet store we went back to the group and did some down stays and proper greeting with the boys – as usual they were fantastic! I think Reece is going to be a wonderful little guy to raise, as was his predecessor. I am not sure if it is the puppies themselves who are born amazing or if the older ones in our house teach them great manners, but one thing I do know is that I am spoiled!

Reece had his second set of vaccinations yesterday and was given a pretty much clear bill of health. He has a minor ear infection, but otherwise he is doing well. He weighed in at 24lbs and we were told he is going to be another big one. He was so tolerant of the vet and her assistants checking him over and didn’t even care about the vaccinations themselves or with the thermometer being shoved up his bum – he was more interested in the treats! After the check up was all over and we headed over to the desk to pick up the ear ointment, Reece decided to settle back onto the scale for a quick nap – crazy boy! He will go for his final set of vaccines on the 14th of April along with Aiden who will be getting his yearly’s – oh what fun!

Back To Training


Aiden left this afternoon around 3:00pm to continue his formal training. It is so quiet around here without him. Reece and him spent hours playing together, now the poor little guy is curled up asleep. I am not sure if it is to catch up on all the sleep he missed while Aiden was here or if it is because he misses him. Aiden will be back for Easter though so it won’t be too long until our house is full of play once more.

On another note, Reece turns 3 months this Friday. He turned 12 weeks on Saturday and has grown so much since we got him 4 weeks ago. He now fits his puppy coat better and has pretty much grown out of his puppy collar. I think he will be a similar size to Aiden because he really seems to be following his growth pattern. He goes to the vet on Friday for his second set of shots so we will know then how much he weighs now.

Reece had his third puppy class with Dogs In The Park on Sunday and did very well. He knows how to sit with very little convincing and he comes as soon as you call him. On Sunday he began to learn the “touch” command and also began learning doggie zen– when the dog won’t take a treat in front of them until the “take it” command is given. He did pretty well with the doggie zen when we did it, but when someone else tried it he was happy to take the treat…lol! He still has 5 more classes to go though, so lots of time for more practice.