Monday, July 30, 2007

Help Me Support a K-9 Team in Iraq

Want to lend a helping paw? Some of you know about my other volunteer involvement as part of Soldiers' Angels...well, in addition to my "formally" adopted Marine, Truman and I are also sending a care package (through to a Marine K-9 unit currently serving in Iraq. We're including snacks for the human part of the team, and some rugged toys for the dog part of the team -- Kongs, Nylabones, you guys know, all the good "big dog" stuff.

But what I often hear is that package recipients are equally excited to receive letters and well-wishing from home. Most of the readers of this blog are puppy raisers; you guys know how special the bond is between a working dog and his (or her!) handler, and these teams are doing very difficult, dangerous work. Think about your most stressful day as a puppy raiser, then think about how stressful it would be to be in charge of a dog whose job it is to locate explosives.... The dogs need play time and the people need a little morale boost.

So, if you'd like to send a little note of encouragement from you or your puppy-in-training (or working service dog) to the K-9 team, e-mail it to me, and I'll print it out and put it in the care package along with my letter and the rest of the goodies. You can even send a photo, if you'd like. I'll be mailing the package on Monday, August 6th, so send me any e-mail by Sunday the 5th if you're interested. Thanks for your support!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Expecto Pa-Truman!"

Truman accompanied me to the festivities at our local Borders bookstore last night in celebration of the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (for those of you who've been living under a rock or in an experimental underground Bio-Dome for the last year or so, that's the long-awaited final book in the record-breakingly popular series). Most bookstores in town were hosting parties replete with games and trivia contests and spelling bees, crafts and photo ops and themed goodies. I could not resist asking for a photo with these three little wizards, who stole the show at the costume contest.

I have come to the conclusion that my patronus, were I to conjure one, would be a decidedly ungraceful silver Labrador puppy, in full butt-tuck-and-run shuffle mode.

The final book is 784 pages long. Needless to say, Truman and I will be too busy to blog for a few days. Happy reading, fellow Potter fans!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Feeling Neuterrific!

"Keep puppy quiet for a few days so as not to disturb the incision site."

No play dates, no running up and down stairs. All the weapons in my "Make Him Tired" arsenal. Sure thing.

Meanwhile, Truman is asking, "Surgery? What surgery?" while he bounces around my apartment like Tigger with an extra tail. We've got a long week ahead of us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Truman's getting "The Big Snip" today, which will hopefully make his looming adolescence a whole lot easier for both of us. I'll pick him up from GDA tomorrow, all stitched up and sportin' a fancy cone. Stay tuned for late-breaking developments, and also for, what, another half-dozen or so posts that I owe you? I'll catch up someday, I promise.

Meanwhile, this is also his first overnight kennel stay. I'm praying he won't be so traumatized that he never wants to go back.

It was surprisingly hard on me, dropping him off yesterday in the knowledge that he was going in for a procedure rather than just a happy-go-lucky couple of days at Camp GDA. Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED that I won't be attempting to leash correct a seventy-five-pound intact male someday...but I felt inexplicably sad about it. He's such a little guy right now, and I feel like I'm somehow betraying his trust. I know it's ridiculous, and I know I'll feel better the second I pick him up and take him home for snuggling and ice packs, but it's still strangely sad to me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Half-Birthday

Truman is six months old today! He'll be having the time of his life all day, in a thousand-Labrador-romp at my puppy group leaders' house, while I'm in San Diego enjoying some Pre-Raphaelites and Dead Sea Scrolls. Here's a photo I took yesterday to tide you over until my next "have to catch up on my blogging" update:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Olfactory Overload

June 15 -- I love the olfactory cornucopia that is Bath & Body Works; after a few minutes of sampling scented lotions, I'm blissfully overwhelmed and in a fruity, floral haze. Can you imagine what it's like for a dog, who can differentiate between the individual ingredients?

Sure, maybe it's not the same level of joy for him as would be, say, Meat & Marrow Works. But when he accompanied me to the semi-annual sale, his sniffer was plenty occupied and he even pulled at the leash, which is not his typical way.

It was tough to get him to hold still long enough -- and to maintain composure on the slippery floor, at that -- for a photo.

Big T and Little T

June 11 -- Because Truman requires so much exercise to keep himself in check, I try to not only walk him two or three times daily, but also to arrange play dates for him with other GDA dogs. Trooper, who you may remember from this long-ago post, lives nearby and has just the kind of personality necessary to show Truman that the world doesn't revolve around him.

Lomax was always an agreeable sort, and Trooper was occasionally a little too rough for him. But Truman is made of springs, teeth and attitude, and even at the tender age of five months, he is not only a willing but a fearless playmate for our manly friend Trooper, who was career-changed for being "a lot of dog." In a few months, when Little T has grown a bit, it will be even easier for him and Big T to tussle.

Did I forget to mention that this Trooper is no relation to our littermate Trooper?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dog-Free at Disneyland

GDA has a rule about theme parks: puppies must be twelve months or older to go. So unfortunately, when we learned that Natalie was coming to the Happiest (and Most Expensive) Place on Earth, both Joanna and I knew we were in the same boat -- our little ones would be too little to attend. So while Camry was at a puppysitter's house and Truman was in his kennel at home for a few hours, the two of us headed to Disneyland to meet a fellow raiser from another country, with whom we've become acquainted via dog-blogging. (This is why the Internet is cool!)

I was dogless, which was a nice break for me. But one of the benefits of having a dog with you at Disneyland is that you don't really have to wait in line to go on most of the rides; you're treated like a "wheelchair party." Being wise to that principle, Joanna borrowed a dog for the day: Price, who just happens to be a littermate of the lovely Miss Paige. They look quite a bit alike, and Price is also, like his sister, a belly-rub beggar and world-class snuggler. Price's presence ensured our VIP treatment, and brought the requisite "ooh"s and "aah"s from passersby, who could not help but notice his handsome face and professional demeanor.

Though I only had a few hours to spend at the park (because my wee beastie can only spend so much time at home in the kennel), it was fun to meet Natalie and go on a couple of rides, to swap puppy stories and take a few pics and eat ice cream at the Carnation place (where Price could stay cool on the nice marble floor after a walk on warm pavement). I'll let Joanna give you the details, but I will say that Price did very well and managed the crowds with ease. I enjoyed taking the leash a few times and remembering what having a big dog is like.

It's too bad we didn't get to meet each other's dogs! Maybe Truman and Camry would like to go on a road trip to Toronto for a playdate with Fielder....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth!

It's been a pretty laid back day, as holidays go. When the Fourth of July is on a Wednesday....

I began my day by volunteering with Soldiers' Angels at the JP Blecksmith Memorial 5K Run. Truman got to sleep in, but was happily hopping around the living room with Amy by the time I got back. He had another nice nap while Amy and I went to see Ratatouille (which is highly recommended, by the way!) then spent the rest of the hot, humid afternoon lazing in the apartment with us. We just got back from a nice walk around the neighborhood, where we took the above photo (hard to find a REAL flag at an appropriate height for a picture) and enjoyed the sights and sounds of neighborhood family gatherings and a few bold daylight firecrackers.

The big local fireworks shows should start in about an hour, and I figure we'll probably just go out on on the balcony -- or maybe on the roof! -- to see what we can see, which gives us a quick escape route back to the apartment if it's too much for the little man.

UPDATE: We went up to the roof, where if you look carefully you can see as many as eight or nine different fireworks shows all over the southland, the closest of which is near enough to make some impressive light and sound. Truman could see that one, and watched, unafraid, for a good while before growing tired of the spectacle and returning to his preferred activity of sampling the delicious bird poop at his feet. My fearless little wonder. Good dog!

Happy Fourth of July!