Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Before I run out to my humans-only costume dance and leave Truman to his well deserved nap in our quiet apartment, I thought I'd take a moment to tell you how very well he did on a walk through our neighborhood this evening. I didn't take photos because I wanted both hands free, so...sorry about that.

But Truman has impressed our entire neighborhood! After dinner, just as the sun was dipping into the Pacific, I leashed him up and took him to see all the cute little kids in costume and to find out how he would react to strange sights and sounds. He was shrieked at by random sound effects emanating from overly decorated houses, offered bites of candy by well meaning princesses, and assaulted by toddlers dressed as cows. He maintained composure for the most part (though the minuscule bovine WAS a little scary), sitting when asked and greeting nicely. The only thing he really wanted a piece of was a yappy little "Toto" dog who accompanied a teenaged Dorothy -- and I'm sure that was more about playtime than about anything serious.

Everyone who walked past us told him how very handsome he is, and told me how very well behaved he is. We met neighbors, we had a nice walk, we enjoyed the festive decor, and we even benefited from the generosity of people who recognized us from our daily strolls. I got a candy bar from a nice man with a table set up outside his house (who, incidentally, once adopted a career-changed German Shepherd from GDA), and Truman scored a huge dog biscuit from the couple down the street who see us walk past their house on a regular basis. Maybe next year we'll wear costumes....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Zamboni Is Not a Fancy Dog Biscuit

Truman and Tai attended their first Kings game this evening. Here they are with us outside Staples Center, putting on their game faces (and their Terminator eyeballs).

I hadn't been to a hockey game since the unfortunate demise of the Long Beach Ice Dogs, who had always been gracious and welcoming when the South Bay group brought a sizeable contingent of four-legged fans to an annual outing. So I was thrilled to "suit up" in a borrowed jersey from Matt and Amy (even though it rendered me and my fifty-eight bulky I-am-a-wuss-in-the-cold clothing layers a bit too reminiscent of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man). Because how can you not show a little team spirit when you are sitting...NEXT TO THE BENCH AND FOUR ROWS FROM THE ICE?!?!?

No joke, we were this close, thanks to a friend and fellow puppy raiser who works for the venue and had some unused company seats to spare. Close enough to hear the skates on the ice. Close enough to see the blood when one dude's face got skated on. Close enough to read more than the jersey numbers of the superstars. What's up, Cammy!

Our proximity meant that the experience would be all the louder for the pups. It was a good test. Truman has been in crowds before, but not for this sustained amount of time and intensity. The first time or two that the puck (or the people) smacked the wall in front of our section, Truman sat up to investigate, but he settled in after that. He didn't seem to be bothered by the cheering, the music, the lights, the people chanting "Oilers suck! Oilers suck!"...but what would happen when the Kings scored?

A really loud *horn* is what would happen when the Kings scored. And Tai was not too pleased about it, sounding as it did like an oncoming train. Again, Truman was startled the first time. But luckily, the Kings gave us plenty of opportunity to practice (sorry, Edmonton!) the third and fourth goal, Truman just lifted his head for a second then went right back to his nap on the nice cool floor.

The boys were very well-behaved and impressive overall, and of course garnered the usual attention from nearby fans and event staff alike. Our handsome lads attracted more "hockey ho's" than the players did.

We celebrated the 4-1 win by heading back to Matt & Amy's house for sports report highlights and some delicious forbidden cat food.

Okay, that last part was just Truman. I guess everyone's got their game day traditions.

Friday, October 26, 2007

No Jacket Required

We all need a little break from work once in a while. Occasionally, I let Truman go naked at the office.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This One's For "LW"

Someone has a little crush on Truman!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Halloween Meeting" Part 2

In order to convince people that Truman was dressed as President Harry S. Truman (and NOT as Harry Potter), I made sure we had some other identification with us. Not only was he sporting an authentic American flag lapel pin I purchased for him on a recent trip to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, he also accessorized with a replica of the famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" 1948 election outcome as erroneously reported by the Chicago Daily Tribune.

The President was also seen with his Secret Service detail, Tai, who did an excellent job of protecting him all evening.

"Psst! Don't be alarmed, sir, but there's a scary ghost right behind us."

The President's aide adjusts his tie before the briefing:

Even when Secret Service has to go to the bathroom, the President is always protected:

"Ladies and Gentlemen..."

"...The President of the United States."

That's right. President Truman. More to come....

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Halloween Meeting" Part 1

Poor Truman, so young and naive. No idea what was in store for him at the October puppy raiser meeting: the annual dog Halloween costume contest. No clue whatsoever concerning my notorious infliction of canine indignities past, of elaborate costumes such as Lomaximus, Mighty Roman Centurion. But we'll get to Truman's costume in our next post.

For now, please enjoy a few of the evening's other fine costumes!

Paging Dr. Soren! You're needed in LABaroscopic surgery:

With a name like "Virtue," is there a more appropriate costume?

SuperGrady (brother of Geo):

Little Pumpkinhead Emury:

"Scariest" costume prize went to Hedda, for her portrayal of Hannah Montana:

"Most Creative" costume prize went to GoldenDoodles Carlee and Cyrus as Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion:

However, "Most Creative" was a tie between them and two other dogs. Bet you can guess who! Stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Calendar Boys!!

I got the news last night: Truman and Tai will be featured during the month of October in the 2008 GDA South Bay Puppy Raisers calendar!

We don't yet have a fully printed sample calendar for me to show around, but they're very nice quality -- and the photos are, of course, stunning. :) We're hoping to sell the calendars at the same low price ($12) as last year. If any of you are interested in purchasing a calendar, please e-mail me so I can get a pre-order list started, and I'll give you details as soon as I get them. Those of you who get the GDA "Partners" newsletter (downloadable in PDF version on the website) will hopefully see a blurb about it in the next quarterly issue; you may even be able to order it through them (wherever you buy it, all proceeds go to GDA).

I called this post "Calendar Boys" -- plural -- for a reason. Imagine my elation in discovering this year's "cover dog" is none other than the exceedingly handsome Guide Dog Lomax!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Truman as Rock Star

October 1, 2007 -- No, I'm not talking about his Halloween'll hear about that soon enough.

Truman's first "fun" kennel stay (i.e., no neutering, no "procedures," no poking or sticking or snipping), was a great success. The little man spent five rambunctious days and nights at Camp GDA while I was in Minnesota for a conference. He probably ran and shuffled and tussled and wrestled and wagged and flipped and flung himself about as much as he possibly could, because as you may discern from this photo, he was pretty sacked out when I got him home.

For about a day, that is. Truman's batteries recharge quickly.

But the best news of all is that his evaluation went incredibly well! I admit I uttered a quick prayer before opening the envelope with his name on it, but I apparently had nothing to prepare myself for.

According to his evaluator, Truman "played well with others," was "interested in other dogs but easy to control," "walked nicely with a loose leash," "did not require many corrections," "laid quietly" in establishments, "responded quite well with a new handler in an unfamiliar area," "responded well to obedience commands," and is an "overall nice boy!" He isn't even scheduled for a second evaluation, which is a good sign.

I also admit I laughed out loud when I read the assessment of his energy level as "moderate," but I did factor in the reality that he'd been at the kennel for a day before going out for his eval.

Truman is still a wild and crazy puppy at times, but he has definitely had an epiphany of sorts in the last month or so. We often speak of the light switch going on...this isn't the BIG light switch, but there has been a significant change in his demeanor and maturity. I'm quite pleased.

I would say I'm giving him extra hugs and kisses these days because I'm so proud of him, but that would imply the possibility of giving him more than I already do.