Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dog Lips!

For the last couple of weeks, I've been puppysitting Ingrid the Labradoodle, littermate of beloved Ike. Her time with me thus far has been mostly confined to the usual: work at the office, obedience and walks in the neighborhood, Sunday mornings in church, outings to restaurants and coffee houses and the like. This has been a terrific opportunity for me to get to know her, because Ingrid isn't in my usual puppy group (someone from GDA asked me if I could watch her while her puppy raiser, Mary, is out of town for a few weeks tending to some unexpected family business).

She's quite a good girl! She settled into my apartment and my pseudo-schedule immediately and seemed to make herself right at home. Mary warned me that Ingrid has some dog distraction, though, so I thought a day at the annual Long Beach Walk to Save the Animals would be good practice (I took Lomax last year; it was our first GDA event together, so I was feeling a little nostalgic today). And since the event is in our area group territory, the South Bay Puppy Raisers always attend, so Ingrid got to meet some of her brother's friends.

This year we even put up the kissing booth! While it was thoughtful of the woman on the microphone to promote our little dollar-a-kiss fundraising booth, and even funny that she said, "who KNOWS what you might get for twenty," I would have appreciated it more had she made it clear that it would be the PUPPY giving the kisses.

I did get a few looks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, I drove to GDA to watch Joanna take Lomax through puppy class, and to take the leash afterwards and bring my puppy home.

Here he is, freshly bathed, with the first toy I bought for him. Many thanks to my roommate's mom, who took a bunch of great photos of us on his first night living in my apartment. Happy anniversary, Lomax!

I Couldn't Take It Anymore

Yes, I got the post card. But I have really been missing my Little Yellow Man the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to see if I could ply the puppy department for more information, so I broke down and e-mailed Louise.

Louise is not one to gush and offer specifics, typically. She's too busy, and too smart, for that. Can you imagine thirty puppy raisers getting wind that you have all the inside scoop on their beloved pups-in-training? "How's my dog? How's my dog? Is she stressed? Is he eating? What's he learning this week? What time does she go to sleep at night? Has he had enough play time? Did she get the toy I sent? Does he still pull to the left when he sees a Volkswagen?"

It's best just to say "how's he doing?" and be satisfied with the answer you get, no matter how brief. So I asked, and I got.

"He is doing great. Very willing to please and taking to the guide work."

And that's all I needed. I can imagine Lomax, looking handsome and working happily in his harness -- the special hinged one they had to make to accommodate his wiggling, of course.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lomax!

My boy turns two years old today!

When I drove up to the school on Monday to pick up Ingrid, I took birthday presents for the boys: a Jolly Ball for Liam (from his puppy raisers) and a linked ring tug toy for Lomax. Hopefully, they'll play nice and share with their sisters Luca and Lara as well (no word yet, by the way, on the three sisters still under breeder evaluation).

I also baked Lomax's favorite cookies for the kennel, vet, training and puppy department staff.

The note I attached read: "In honor of Lomax's birthday, please enjoy these indicators of his discriminating palate: they're the only thing he ever stole off my kitchen table."

UPDATE: Want to see some Lomax baby pictures? Joanna has some on her blog!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You've Got Mail

I got a postcard in the mail today:
Dear Mom,

How are you all doing? I'm great! I'm learning how to walk with a special black & white harness on. Boy do I look handsome. Next we will be learning right and left turns. Hope you guys are great! Take care!

Wags & Kisses,


My little man's doing well in school! Between all the partying, that is.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering a 9/11 Hero

Do you know the story of Roselle, the guide dog who led her partner Michael Hingson to safety down more than 70 flights of stairs at the World Trade Center five years ago today?

Michael and Roselle are scheduled to appear on the Larry King Live show tonight (9PM Eastern, but check your local listings).

Fellow puppy raisers, this is just one more reason we do what we do -- one more thing to remember when your heart is breaking on turn-in day. Your sacrifice means independence for someone else, but it might also mean life itself. Kiss your puppy and say a prayer for the person who will receive him, and may you all be blessed today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Princess Wrio

Aside from the snoring, Wrio's the most feminine dog I've ever watched; even her little barks are girly.

Her puppy raiser recounted a swimming pool adventure in which Wrio, instead of splashing about and belly-flopping in like many a boy dog would do, daintily paddled from the shallow end to the deep end, pulled herself up onto an inflatable raft and floated around as if she owned the place.

So my roommate decided Wrio needed to wear the proper attire while I was acting as her servant.

"What is this 'sit' you keep demanding I perform, peasant? It displeases me."

"The princess prefers lying down. Now fetch me a cookie."

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Wrio Wreport

This is Wrio. For only five months old, she's very good. Still in that precious (and useful) "I'll just be sleeping here most of the day, thanks" phase, little Wrio spent much of her time with me doing exactly what you see here. And, of course, shaking the cubicle walls of my office with her magnitude-seven snoring.

I found myself unnecessarily tiptoeing around her when she was snoozing under the desk, because I'm so used to a dog who was perpetually ready to spring into action. Seriously, I would move my office chair two inches to the left to reach for the stapler, and Lomax would be on his feet, awaiting further instruction. Wrio, however, seemed unphased even by my leaving to make some copies or send a fax or hop on a plane to Africa. As long as she was comfy -- and I think you can see by my choice of photos that she's quite practiced in the art of comfy -- she didn't care what I was doing.

All week long, at work and at church, I heard, "She looks like a smaller version of Lomax!" I suppose it's true from the perspective of someone who didn't live with him; there are only so many variations on a yellow Lab theme, after all. But the differences are obvious to me, and not just physical differences. Wrio is calm with her greetings, tolerant of snuggling, unlikely to lick an ear off the side of your head. And boy can she chew...doesn't matter what, as long as it's within reach.

She may look bigger in these shots, but she's a petite pup for sure. I can pick her up the way you'd pick up a lamb. It felt weird hugging someone so little, and having to bend down to pet her head when she was standing next to me.

Wrio isn't just a pretty face, though she is certainly that as well. My area leader even "borrowed" her for a few hours to take her to a GDA fundraiser, because we all know it's true: the smaller the puppy, the bigger the donation. How can you resist something so tiny, so adorable, so talented and well behaved? It's like having Dakota Fanning on a leash.

She's just so lovable. In her desire to remain right at my feet, Wrio would squeeze herself between my shins and the cabinets when I was standing at the kitchen counter or bathroom sink. It was less endearing, however, when she'd squeeze herself between my leg and the dashboard while we were on the freeway.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lomax Update: One Month Down

I can hardly believe he's been IFT for an entire month; somehow, it feels like forever and no time at all.

There's been no word from the school, which is good. What I do know through the grapevine is that Lomax and Liam are still roommates (sometimes they move dogs around if the match isn't quite right), and neither has yet been expelled for partying too hard.

The running joke I've enjoyed thanks to Liam's puppy raisers is that our enthusiastic boys by this time have surely founded the Lambda Alpha Beta chapter of the Delta Omega Gamma fraternity up at school. A flyer tacked to each kennel states that all dogs are invited to rush on Saturday during playtime, and new members will be initiated by drinking from the Lixit for five minutes straight.

Liam's majoring in harness science with a minor in jollyball mechanics. Lomax? A double major, in harness science and, of course, tap dance.