"Not My Dog": Tales from Puppy Raising

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random thoughts, random pictures

One more day of Nettie being here ... I briefly considered taking her to Target tonight to work, but then realized: She knows what she's going to know. So we went outside and played ball instead, and now she's taking a nap.


I was listening to my iPod on shuffle last night while walking her, and it was kind of funny -- or maybe I'm just being sappy -- at how the songs seemed to be coming up with meaning.

-- "Instant Karma", John Lennon: Well, we all shine on ...

-- "I've Got You Under my Skin", Frank Sinatra: Well, clearly she did get there, or we'd have never come through that crate-barking phase....

-- "We're All Right", Mary-Chapin Carpenter: .. cross ourselves and hope to fly / No road maps, no signposts/ No North Star, no lifeboats / No cavalry coming in sight / But we're all right.



Finally, here are some recent random pictures from various outings.

This is from a recent playdate with Kessler, who's going IFT in March, and Sal, a release dog who belongs to our region coordinator.


This was taken last Saturday, when we went to meet Carol, who started Nettie, and Ginny, Nettie's half-sister. Ginny, who is 13 months old, is on the left. Aren't they sweet? They had many fans and many compliments working inside Barnes & Noble.


Finally, this is from recent practice at home. We were working on "bow" and Andrew decided to help demonstrate for Nettie!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If I knew then what I know now

Rarely do we endorse products at "Not My Dog," but I was struck the other night by the thought that I don't know how I made it through 1 1/2 Labs before discovering this grooming tool: the Shed'N Blade.

Don't adopt a Lab without one.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I need a nap

After months of no demand barking in crate, guess what I hear at 5:30 a.m.?

The plaintive whimper, the short investigatory bark and then finally a full-blown bark.

No way am I getting up to reward this, and happily, after about five minutes of barking, Nettie settles down again.

Of course, at 5:45, just as I am thinking I might get back to sleep, husband starts snoring loudly.

At 5:58, just as I am getting used to husband all over again, the baby decides now is a good time to begin practicing her soccer scoring skills.

At 6:13, I hear an imperious "Mama! I want to play Webkinz!" from Andrew's room.

I give up. I think it's a conspiracy. Luckily, they're all pretty cute. (* giving the baby advance benefit of doubt.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To IFT, or not to be?

It makes no sense that I would drive 5 hours after work on a Monday night to New York, stay in a hotel and spend a vacation day that I probably should be hoarding for maternity leave to watch Nettie take a test that takes all of about 15 minutes (and one that Guiding Eyes tapes and sends to the raisers).

If she passes the IFT test -- and I do think she probably will, though you never know -- it's no guarantee that she'll succeed as a guide dog.

If she doesn't pass the test, it's not like I can load her in the car and take her home that day to be our pet. (She'd have to get spayed and other assorted GEB processing stuff first.)

So it makes no sense at all, which is why it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows me that I've booked a motel room and asked for the day off work. So I'll be exhausted at the end. I'll live.

I'd been dithering on this, and Bob settled the matter, saying that I would hate it if I didn't go, because going and seeing it, in a way, wraps everything up and means that I'm seeing Nettie all the way through our training together.

He's right way too often.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Carpe diem, etc

Here's Nettie on Christmas morning, with the moose toy that "Santa" brought her...

And here we are later on Christmas morning, after Nettie had played very enthusiastically with the moose...
But if dogs can smile, I think she's smiling.
As of tomorrow, Nettie and I have 26 days left together, and that has me in a reflective mood, I suppose. I think this month will be one of making the most of the moments as they come.
One of the last quotes on my 2007 dog calendar was this: "My dog is usually pleased with what I do, because she is not infected with the concept of what I 'should' be doing."
Perhaps too often in the puppy-raising process -- or in life in general -- it's very easy to get the case of the 'shoulds.' I should be devoting more training time, or I should be more patient .. . I should be getting more done at work or being a better mom or a better wife ... I should have a cleaner house and a more organized approach to dinner.
I realized the other day that, while standards are great, and everyone needs some 'shoulds', that when I started mentally telling myself that I should be better about moisturizing, that maybe the thing I really 'should' do was cut myself a break a little bit. (Although as 40 looms, maybe I'll cut myself a break on the dust bunnies instead.)
I know I've been more relaxed about Nettie than I was with Murphy, and so far -- knock on wood -- it doesn't seem to have hurt her. We worked today in Gorham and went to the local coffee shop after an extended absence, and she walked in and behaved perfectly without missing a beat.

Just 26 more days to keep dancing the balance dance.