Wyoming Trip: The Public Access Test

Today was the big day. Today was the dreaded public access test.

The public access test is a set of standards Assistance Dogs International designed for their member organizations to follow when deciding on whether a trainee should graduate.

Robin felt Rogue, Sherman and Soleil were ready for the test, so asked her friend to conduct it. Robin’s friend assesses dogs for search and rescue, as well as, evaluates dogs for the AKC’s Canine good Citizen certification.

I was SO nervous!! I totally thought Rogue and I were going to flunk.

we didn’t though… We passed with flying colours!!!

We all drove to the mall around 10:00 and waited for Robin’s friend to arrive. We then had our dogs calmly exit the vehicle and take us to the doors. Once we entered Sears, we asked our dogs to sit and then did a mini sit-stay and down-stay exercise while robin’s friend watched. We then walked through Sears and stopped in the busy mall hallway. there, we had our dogs sit and then Robin’s friend came up and pretended to greet us and our dog. Rogue was very intent on getting a treat from me as often as possible, so continually poked me in the leg with her nose, which is her ‘look’ cue or eye contact since I cannot see enough to give her true eye contact.

After Robin’s friend finished greeting us all, we did a mini recall of each dog. We had them all go into a down and then stay while we went to the very end of their leash and then after a few seconds, called them over. Rogue bounded towards me with lots of enthusiasm, lol!

We then walked through the mall to a small fabric store, where Bill proceeded to push a cart around the store while we asked our dogs to sit, lie down and guide us with him walking by. None of the dogs seemed to care.

next, we walked to the Chick-fil-A for a drink. the dogs had to lie quietly while we drank our beverages and Robin threw treats around them. Each dog ended up picking up one of the treats, but left lots of them alone completely, so it was no big deal. Rogue had a treat sitting around her belly area, but left it alone. She ate the one that ended up underneath her though. Bill took a short video of this, so I am hoping I can post a link to it sometime soon.

Once everyone was done their beverage, we proceeded to walk back through Sears to the vehicle, where Robin’s friend watched us all re-load the dogs. the only test we didn’t do was the behaving around dogs because we had each other’s dog to work around and Robin’s friend had met up with us the evening before with her almost 2 year old Bloodhound, so knew how all of the dogs would react.

It was SO neat to see how well each of the dogs performed the tasks. I was surprised at how serious each of them were about their work.

In the afternoon Robin’s son, daughter-in-law and friends came over for a barbecue. It was raining though, so it was more of an indoor one.

I can be a bit shy at times, so I wasn’t really sure how it would be, but I ended up having a blast. Roxy and I talked a lot and practiced some finger spelling and she taught me some new signs. We also entertained Robin’s company by commenting on things and telling hilarious stories.

When we were getting our food, for example, we didn’t really intend to do it, but we kept referring to items on the counter in sexual terms. to give you an example, I asked Roxy if she could tell me what kinds of condoms there were, instead of asking about the condiments. Then I asked her to pass me a bun and rare meat (burger) because I didn’t like it hard and dry, lol! I really didn’t mean for things to sound so bad, but it just kept coming out and Robin’s son and daughter-in-law were laughing.

After Robin’s company had gone home, it was time for roxy to pack because she needed to catch her plane back to New orleans the following morning.

I’m here for 5 more days, so it will be so strange not having Roxy and the Sunshine Dog around.

Happy Birthday!!

guess who’s THREE…

RLR’s Babe In Total Control is 3!!

The silly puppy is gone.

A mature adult dog has taken it’s place.

My little Rogue Hurricane has been a dream addition to our family. I can honestly say she made it easier to say goodbye to Phoenix because she is a lot like him in ways that only make me laugh and smile.

Rogie, I’m not sure what we’d do without your enthusiasm in the morning or your numerous kisses throughout the day. You’ve enriched our lives so much and exceeded my expectations time and time again.

It’s been an awesome two years and ten months so far, I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for us as a team.

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY MONSTER!!

Four

HAPPY GOTCHA DAY CANYON!!!

I can’t think of anything really interesting to say that hasn’t already been said over and over, but I still wanted to acknowledge this special day.

Canyon, you changed our lives and we could never imagine life without you.

Happy Birthday Cessna!

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY CESSNA!!

Cessna stands in some colourful leaves.

Cessna lies amongst colourful leaves and twigs.

Cessna lies amongst colourful leaves and twigs.

Cessna sitting amongst the colourful leaves and twigs with her mouth open. It looks as though she's about to say something. You can see her missing lower incisors.

Cessna sits in the grass.

It’s hard to believe you’re already into the double digits. time really does fly way too quickly…

I hope you’ve enjoyed the past eight and a half years with us, we’ve certainly enjoyed our time with you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Cessnaroo!

Canyon, The Birthday Boy

Canyon sits on on a wooded trail.

Happy Birthday Canyon!

Happy Birthday Canyon!

I can’t believe you’re already four years old.

It feels as though you’ve been a part of our lives forever, but also, that the years are passing by way too fast.

I hope you are enjoying your life with us, as much as we are enjoying your company. We cherish your loyalty and friendship. Your humour and spark for life, are addicting.

I hope the weather is nice, so we can spend time outside playing fetch, because I know that’s your favourite game.

Canyon standing in the snow holding his favourite red rubber pheasant.

I also hope we can take a drive over to the pet store, so you can pick out a new ball.

Happy 4th Birthday Candy Man!

Life just wouldn’t be the same without you.

here’s to many more years of great adventures and long games of fetch with the most handsome Golden Boy.

Canyon poses for the camera. he is lying down and has a very serious look on his face as if he is trying hard to look good.

It’s Hurricane rogue’s Birthday!!!

guess what???

today is my birthday!!!

Today I am TWO!!!

I can’t believe it…I’ve been alive for twenty-four whole months now!!!

can you??

Let me tell you all about what I can now do…

I can guide Mommy through hallways;

I can guide Mommy around obstacles to my left;

I can stop at curbs;

I can find doors;

I can walk nicely at Mommy’s side (when there isn’t too much going on around us);

I can leave treats alone that Mommy drops on the floor;

I can stay in a sit or down for 10 whole seconds, while Mommy stands 4 feet away;

I can give her my attention (our version of eye contact) by touching my nose to the side of her left leg;

And, I can close cupboard doors and drawers.

I’ve learned so much in the two years I’ve been alive, so I think it’s time for a party, don’t you???

Rogue running through snow. She's wearing a lime green and black columbia winter coat.

Happy Birthday Aiden!

Guess what?

It’s Aiden’s birthday!

Today Aiden is 5 years old!

It’s hard to believe five years have already passed.

A 10 week old Aiden sleeps. The picture is taken from close up so Aiden's face fills the shot and you can see all of his puppy wrinkles.

Monkey Man, it’s been a while since we last saw you, but I hope you have an awesome day and continue to make us proud with the work you do for Kam.

Aiden watches Kam come down a blue plastic slide.

So Much Randomness

Grab a coffee or your favourite beverage because this one may be long…

Are you ready for some randomness?

here we go…

I just finished reading “11/22/63” by Stephen King. I’ve read some of his books before, but this one is so different from “Carrie” and “Pet Cemetery”.

*****

I finished my current online course. It was a very intense class. Not only was there a ton of reading, but the instructor was not very good at explaining herself in the assignment guidelines so I found the course frustrating. I did quite well in the class. I received one really poor mark, due to the vague assignment instructions, but I was able to make up for this in the other course components.

For the winter semester, I have signed up to take “environment and History”. I’ll be learning about: “the causes and impact of human-induced modification of the natural world in selected areas of the globe, the evolution of attitudes and ideas about the natural world over time and the growth of conservation/environmental issues and movements” (University of Guelph, 2012).

Sounds interesting eh?

*****

I’m sure I’ve written about it here before, Rogue has an issue with putting her head into things. It doesn’t matter what it is; a collar, the neck hole of her winter coat, the chest strap of her training vest, she hates it all!

I’ve been trying to work with her on this for over a year now. She still gets all weird about it…

So, Huib and I have decided to just deal with it and work on finding collars, working gear and winter coats that she doesn’t have to put her head into. It’s going to be a bit of a struggle at times, but so far we’ve found martingales that fully open with a plastic buckle, we’re making sure to completely undo her winter coat to put it on and take it off, and we’re turning an Outward Hound back pack into a guide harness.

On Wednesday, rogue wore the back pack for the first time. She didn’t try to duck, when I reached for her. She just patiently stood and waited while I placed the back pack onto her back and then did up each of the three plastic buckles.

For now, Rogue is going to wear the back pack without the guide handle attached. I want her to get used to the feel of the pack before I add another element.

It took a couple days of Google searches, but we’ve located a company in canada that supplies service dog patches and other equipment. We’ve ordered three different patches for Rogue’s pack – “Guide Dog”, “Service Dog, Please Ask To Pet” and “In Training”. I’m going to sew the guide dog patches onto the side pockets and place the “Service Dog, Please Ask To Pet” onto the back panel. The “in Training” patch will also be placed onto the side pocket, but we’re going to make it removable, since she won’t always be in training 🙂

While we wait for the patches to arrive, Huib is going to clip Rogue’s old training vest to his belt while we’re in public, so that strangers don’t think we’re bringing our pet dog into stores and restaurants.

*****

We’re pretty certain Rogue has at least a mildly soft trachea. If she puts any pressure at all on her neck, she begins coughing and gagging. After a bit of trial and error, we’ve found that using a martingale collar with her works well. In addition to working on keeping a loose leash, it seems as though the equalized pressure of the martingale prevents the coughing and gagging.

We’ve also stopped using kibble during her training because it was causing some coughing, and instead, use some homemade apple and cinnamon treats. Some dogs with soft tracheas cannot eat hard treats at all, but so far with Rogue it seems as though using slightly larger treats is going to work out.

*****

My little sister is engaged! She’s been talking about this for a couple of weeks now, but it finally happened.

Her fiance’s name is Mark. They dated a while back, but broke up because of personal differences. Brandi has always wondered if things could have been different, but she tried to move on. In June though, they reconnected and have never looked back.

I’m not totally sure how I feel about this right now. Mark is a really nice guy, but there are a few unknowns in my mind. I’m glad to know they’ve reunited after some time apart, so know what they are getting into and know what they missed, but I am not totally certain they are truly ready for the commitment of marriage.

As of right now, they are talking about a small ceremony in Niagara Falls in June, but my sister is always changing her mind, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

I think that’s everything for now. Sorry for the long-winded and random post, but I had a lot of news.

Happy Birthday Reece!

Today our second foster puppy from Autism Dog Services, turns four.

Reece is NOW four!

An 8 week old Reece wears a little grey hooded McMaster sweatshirt

Time sure flies…doesn’t it?

If time allows we’re hoping to get together with Reece and his family next week. If that happens, there will be new pictures!

In the meantime, HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY REECES PIECES!!!