"Not My Dog": Tales from Puppy Raising

Monday, July 30, 2007

How smart is this girl?

We've had an exciting weekend, with a fun training outing every day. I love having Nettie's jacket!

The funniest moment was in Nettie's first trip to the mall. We were doing great and she was trotting around like she'd been coming there all her life. We were walking past Express, and suddenly she shied to the side.

At first I couldn't figure out what had startled her. Then it hit me.

Headless mannequins. My puppy is smart enough to know that "people" should have heads, after all. And you know, the more I looked, they started to creep me out too. :-)

The good news is that Nettie is quite resilient. After her initial startle, she wanted to go investigate further (by wanting to jump on the glass.) We settled for doing a sit-stay and checking it out, and then she willingly walked by again.

The other funny incident was that we were providing the entertainment for a dad and his two kids, probably junior high age. I could see they were watching me work her, but I didn't really pay them much attention. Then I looked up after I'd moved to another area and they'd followed us to watch! They weren't interfering at all -- they were quite respectful and stayed back -- but it was still funny.

On Saturday, Nettie came with the whole family to the Gorham Days Parade. What didn't bother her: a huge rig blasting its air horn as it passed us, about 20 feet away; the Gorham fire trucks, with sirens and lights; the local dance school dancing by; a Model T's Kazoo-like horn; or the delegation of 3- to 5-year-olds from Andrew's preschool, many of whom were shrieking and waving at Andrew.
What we did have to work on: The black Lab puppy watching the parade a few families down.
(Sidenote: Not that I wasn't ready for dog distraction. I have often said that in Maine, they practically issue you a Lab when you cross the border.)

Sorry, no pictures! I have enough on my hands w/o photo, and Bob did forget the camera at the parade.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Peace and not so quiet

We're back from a long weekend away, which was very relaxing and enjoyable. I had Friday off, and so that morning, I took Nettie to our town's library, where she can go now that she has her jacket. She was awfully good; she showed some signs of wanting to whine or bark, which she does sometimes when stressed, so we didn't stay long. (That's a great way to get asked back!) Then we went and met our area coordinator, who was keeping Nettie for the weekend, and another raiser, Janet, and her pup, Obie, who is 16 weeks. He is so adorable! I worked him and Janet worked Nettie.

Nina, our AC, always keeps the dogs hugely busy, so Miss Nettie is exhausted. She has barely been awake since I brought her home after work!

But my big excitement today, other than Nettie coming home, was that I got a letter from Murphy's owner. Even though he'd said at graduation that he wanted to keep in touch, I was still very relieved to actually hear from him!

He said that Murphy is doing great, and that their trip home went well, even though they were delayed 3 hours. His retired guide -- as befitting an older girl -- apparently ignores Murphy in the house but will play outside with him. She also did go through some issues of wanting to still be Lance's guide, but it sounds like all that is working out.

He said that his local paper is going to do an article on Murphy, which he'll send to me, so I will post it once I get it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gratuitous puppy pictures

These were taken by Andrew, who's almost 6, on Sunday, the day after Nettie's 11-month birthday.
Yes, they're a tad impressionistic, but it captures the energy of the romp.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A great day!

I'll post a picture soon, but Nettie had a great evaluation! She got her jacket, and our puppy evaluator was so pleased that she even hugged me!

(This is a new experience for me, after Murphy's evals, where usually we had some sighs and looks of concern. ... but he showed us all!)

I do think that this is the "second child" philosophy at work: all of my friends who have 2nd children (of the human ilk), are so much more mellow with #2. I am definitely much more relaxed with Nettie, and I think that translates at evals. I used to get so stressed with Murphy, and I'm sure, in hindsight, that it got passed on to him.

But Nettie was a doll. She walked nicely on loose leash and stayed in tune w/ me; she sprawled out calmly while we sat on a public bench. I was so proud of her!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Last Murphy story

I wrote a follow-up story for my paper on Murphy, so here's a link to it, as well as to a multi-media photo gallery with narration.