Together Seven Years

Boy, does time fly…

Seven years ago, I was partnered with an 18 month old spunky, little female black lab.

From the first moment I met Cessna, I knew she wasn’t like every other guide dog.

Over the years, we’ve learned to work together and respect one another for our differences.

I no longer try to change Cessna and mold her into the “perfect” working dog.

Cessna no longer worries about upsetting me.

I respect her decisions and together we navigate the ups and downs of life.

It’s hard to believe that seven years have already gone by.

Cessna is still a little firecracker and loves to chase squirrels.

I am still struggling to find my place in the world.

Cessna no longer wakes me up at 5am.

I no longer believe in compulsion based training.

Cessna is a little more silver around the muzzle and chest areas.

I am a little more willing to just sit back and relax.

Time has changed us both, but neither one of us has had to become someone different.

Happy 7th Anniversary My Little Cessnaroo!

Let’s see if we can make it another seven years together.

Pawty Time!

Today is Hurricane Rogue’s 1st birthday!

It is so hard to believe that our little caramel monster is already a year old. Even though we haven’t had her an entire year, it seems as though she’s been a part of our lives forever. She is definitely maturing, but she’s also a little party animal 😉

Since we were heading to Southwestern Ontario for the weekend, Huib and I decided to give Rogue her birthday toy early – a pink bunny that you can put a plastic water bottle into. As soon as I handed her the toy, she ran around the house like a fool, shaking and tossing the bunny around. Unfortunately though, Canyon also felt the bunny should be his, so as soon as she stopped running around, he went over and stole it from her mouth. In addition to the pink bunny, we got Rogue a new collar and leash that is a light grass green and different blue colours in a sort of hawaiian pattern (I think) and a big pillow bed for her kennel – both of which she has had for about a month. Then, because our little caramel monster is a coffee lover, we got some chicory root and made some coffee flavoured treats for her to enjoy. We weren’t sure how the cookies would turn out, but during and after baking, they smelled quite deliciously coffeeish.

Today I have a final examination for my Business & Consumer Law course, so Rogue is gone to Chatham with Canyon and Huib. I’m sure she’ll have a good time with them and I know she’ll be spoiled.

Happy 1st Birthday my little Hurricane, may you have a day to remember. You have brought so much love and laughter into our lives, that I don’t know if I could ever imagine life without you.

Before I sign off, I’d also like to wish Ruby, Snickers, Josie, Cody, “Flower” and “cole” a very, very Happy 1st Birthday!

Eleven Months Old

Hi There!
It’s Banana! or for those who do not yet know my new nickname, it’s Roagie!

Today I am 11 months old!

Mommy says my first birthday is really soon.

I’m not sure what all the excitement is about…but Cessie says I’m going to get presents and special treats, so I’m thinking that means party time!

I can’t wait!

I look forward to any opportunity to go bananas!

Happy 11 Month Birthday to Ruby and all of my other siblings! Soon we will all get an excuse to go bananas!

Ten Months Old

Today I’m 10 months old!

I really do love coffee!!

To commemorate my 10 month birthday, Mommy has helped me to post ten pictures which illustrate why I’m the Rogue Puppy.

Mommy and Daddy should have known naming me rogue was going to be a bad idea…

What else did you expect me to do? I was tiny and scared…

Phoenix was such a patient friend…

There’s no way Mommy and Daddy are going to leave me behind!

Did you know that these things are useful for more than just reading?

We all need a little fun in our lives…

Nothing Mommy and Daddy ask me to do is too hard or scary for the Rogue Puppy!

See? I told you there isn’t anything Mommy and daddy ask me to do that scares me!

Oh…it’s tough being a Rogue Puppy.

Is this some kind of joke?

Mommy says she is sorry she doesn’t have too many newer pictures, but that she hopes to be better about keeping up with my antics from now on.

I’m not sure if many of my siblings read our blog, but I know Ruby does, so…

Happy 10 Month Birthday Ruby, and to the rest of my sisters and brothers!

Married Six Years

Today Huib and I celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary.

I feel as though I’ve written everything possible about our wedding and can’t really think of anything new to add, so I thought I’d share six pieces of advice that have made our relationship work.

I’ll tell you now, our relationship is not perfect by any means, but these are some of the most important pieces of advice we were ever given.

1. Never go to bed angry.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
3. Never let a problem become to big to handle.
4. It’s not always necessary to be right. It’s okay to compromise.
5. Make sure to take time to just enjoy one another’s company.
6. Dinner doesn’t have to be on the table when you get home from work. We live in a time of shared responsibilities.

LOL, I made up the last one because some of the other pieces of advice we were offered aren’t really PG.

but in all seriousness, the other five I listed were given to us by some pretty amazing couples, so hopefully by following them we can be just as wonderful.

The past six years have been wonderful beyond my wildest dreams, so I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Huib, I know you don’t read this blog often, but thank you for asking me to be your wife and thank you for continuing to provide me with never ending love and support.

Another Month Older

Rogue is now 9 months old!

It’s hard to believe that in just three more months, we’ll be celebrating her first birthday.

As of today, Rogue is 21 and a half inches tall, 19 inches long, and weighs 56lbs. She is now the same height as Cessna, but an inch longer and weighs just seven pounds less.

I’m not sure she will grow any taller or longer, but Huib is guessing she’ll end up a bit heavier than Cessna because she seems to have more of a compact build. Cessna is dainty, whereas Rogue is small, but not so small-boned.

I’m glad she has ended up at least as tall as Cessna because if she had been any shorter, I’m not sure she’d work out for guiding since I’m quite tall for a woman. Right now, I use a 19 inch long harness handle with Cessna and do not think I’d get enough information from a longer one.

For Rogue’s nine month birthday, I thought I’d share nine Rogue-isms.

1. When Rogue is nervous, she finds comfort in climbing onto the back of the couch to hide behind me. She will lay her head on my shoulder and watch the world around her.

2. If Huib, my sister or I say hi to Rogue in an excited voice, no matter what Rogue is doing, she’ll run full-force towards us and give us tons of kisses, while wagging her tail wildly.

3. If Rogue gets cold at night, she’ll burrow her way under the blankets and sleep there for hours.

4. When it’s mealtime, Rogue knows that she must be in either a sit or down before we will put her bowl down, so she’ll immediately get into position and quiver, trying to control herself.

5. If Rogue wants to play, even when the others are fast asleep, she will silently stalk them and then pounce! – Huib loves watching her do this.

6. When it is night time and we’re all settled down in the living room, Rogue must always be able to lay next to me, or she will pace and make moaning and groaning noises until I make room.

7. When playing with a toy, Rogue will shake it wildly and make little growling noises.

8. Rogue absolutely hates being dressed up. She has no issue with wearing her winter coat, collar, puppy in training jacket or vest, but if we try to put a Halloween costume, booties or the Newtrix on her, she’ll hide and sulk for hours afterwards.

9. Even though Canyon growls when she climbs into his crate with him, or Cessna growls when she tries to snuggle up beside her, Rogue is not deterred, she’ll just give them a look and settle in for a nap. She doesn’t understand why canyon cares whether or not she uses his bed when he’s not, or Cessna dislikes her attempts to cuddle.

As you can see, Rogue provides us with hours of entertainment.

Life just wouldn’t be the same without our little Hurricane.

A Wild Ride

Since today is the final day of 2011, I thought I’d look back at what has happened.

2011 started out with Phoenix recovering from his acute onset of Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. Even though it technically happened at the end of 2010, he was still in recovery mode at the beginning of 2011. All of us, both two and four legged, were grateful to be able to begin a new year with our faithful friend.

Unfortunately, for me, the year did not start out as smoothly. After dealing with migraines and their auras, my vision went almost completely for the first two weeks of January. I was pretty scared by this sudden change, but thankfully it began slowly returning. My vision did not return to the same level of acuity as it had been since the age of 13, but the deficits aren’t too life-changing. The doctors still do not know why it went, or why it returned, but are almost certain it will probably happen again.

In February Huib and I took Canyon and Cessna to have their eyes tested and were given some unhappy news. Due to a virus during the first six weeks of life, Canyon has scarring on his retinas. This does not bar him from breeding, he will not pass it on to his offspring, but because goldens are not a rare breed, we have been advised to forgo using him as a stud since it would be highly unlikely that another breeder would want to use him with such a defect. To add to the sadness, we also learned that Cessna is beginning to develop cataracts on both eyes. She has two tiny ones on one eye and three tiny ones on the other. At this point surgery is not an option since the scarring from the surgery would be larger than the cataracts themselves, but maybe in the future. We will have her eyes tested again this spring and are hoping that the cataracts will not have grown.

With the news regarding Cessna’s eyes, Huib and I decided to seriously begin our search for her successor. After researching and then e-mailing numerous lab breeders in Ontario, we settled on Red Labrador Retrievers in maidstone (which is near Windsor). On June 10th, we picked up a 10.8lbs, butterscotch colour female, we named RLR’s Babe In Total Control or Rogue for short.

On August 11th, Huib, Rogue and I said goodbye to our faithful old friend. Phoenix had begun refusing to eat around the 11th of July and went progressively downhill from there. Dr. B offered to run some tests and put him on pain medication, but she felt he had already made the decision for us. It was a sad day, but we also knew Phoenix left on his own terms, just the way he had lived his life.

In September I started an online course through the University of Guelph. It was a bit of a transition getting back into the whole student mindset, but overall I did well. I would have done a lot better if I had not had to take the midterm, but was satisfied with my final mark of 76%.

lastly, after talking about showing Canyon for over a year, Huib and I finally did. Canyon made his debut at the Elora Gorge Kennel Club’s Conformation Dog Show on December 27th and came home with three wins and three second place ribbons. At the Retriever Specialty Huib and Canyon defeated the dog who had been beating them during the All-Breed Shows, and went on to receive Winners Dog and Best of Opposite!

As you can see, 2011 has been a year of mainly downs, but we’ve all made it through with just a few minor bumps and bruises.

Everyone seems to think 2012 will be the year for improvement so, let’s hope for that.

Until next year, the ruled by paws gang, would like to wish our friends and followers a safe and very Happy New Years Eve!

Aiden’s Four!

Today our first foster puppy for Autism dog Services, Aiden, turns four.

This is so hard to believe!

It feels like just yesterday we handed off his leash to the Carroll family forever.

Aiden was such an amazing puppy to raise and train. He had so much life and enthusiasm. I think this is why Huib and I love rogue so much, she reminds us of our big caramel goofball.

We get almost daily updates on how our boy is doing, but I really have nothing new to report. He continues to attend school with Kamaran, still loves apples and to play fetch until he can’t walk.

We’re hoping to get together with Aiden and his family in the new year, but until then, here are some of my favourite Monkey Man pictures.

Happy 4th Birthday Aiden, Amber, Teal, rody, Libby, Taz and Marley!

Reece Is Three!

Today our second foster puppy for Autism Dog Services, Reece, turns 3.

We haven’t had a chance to connect with his adoptive family in over a year, but have gotten a few updates from friends who see them once in a while. I’m hoping we can get together with Reece and his family in the next couple of months and post some up-to-date pictures on the blog.

Last year I wrote an entry which explained a bit about raising Reece and why we decided to forgo adopting him. Reece was a wonderful boy, but he just didn’t fit into the pack and Huib couldn’t overlook all of the issues we’d had with our big chocolate boy.

I miss Reece tons, but know he’s been adopted by a wonderful family and that he is just a phone call away if I want to check in.

Happy 3rd Birthday Reeces Pieces!

Part Of The Pack

As of today, Canyon has been with us for two years. He fits into our family so well, it feels as though he has been with us forever.

I can’t believe how much he has matured over the past two years.

This year started out a little rough with the news that he has scarring on his retinas and therefore cannot breed, but Canyon has shown us that there is so much more to him than his looks and temperament.

Even though we will not be breeding our golden boy, Huib has entered Canyon into a three day conformation show December 27th until the 29th. I’m not sure how they’ll do since Kitchener is golden retriever central, but Kelly and Canyon’s co-breeder are coming to watch so, I know it will end up being a lot of fun no matter what. So far we have bought a hair dryer, tan slip collar (the only style we’ve been able to find) and a hunter green leash. We still need to get a new comb for his show kit and probably a really fun toy for a reward, but we’ve got time to find those. Canyon’s co-breeder has also been giving us some tips on how to groom him, so hopefully that part will go well.

It’s taken us two years to get him into the show ring, but we’ve done it! Even if he doesn’t end up with any points at the end of the three day event, we’ll be able to connect with other breeders and receive some advice on how to better our chances at receiving points in the future. According to the rules and regulations of the Canadian Kennel Club, Canyon needs to accumulate ten points in total. From what I understand, the points need to come from three different judges and he has to win at the breed or group level at least once (if I am wrong, please do not hesitate to correct me in the comments section). Dr. b wants us to neuter him by the age of five in order to avoid testicular and prostate cancer, so we’ve got two years to get his Canadian Championship title.

Candyman, it has been a wonderful two years so far, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.