Monday, March 31, 2008

Gradual Introduction to Disneyland

January 18 and March 8, 2008 -- Truman is old enough now to go to Disneyland (and other theme parks and major large-crowd locations and events), but knowing his historic tendency toward getting overwhelmed with excitement, I've decided to introduce him slowly.

In January, I took him with me when I upgraded my Disneyland annual passport, where he let me know what he thinks of the current park admission price:

We didn't actually enter the park, even though it seemed like a light attendance day. Instead, we spent a little time walking around Downtown Disney and taking photos in the area between the two parks. We did briefly go into California Adventure just to sit in the ice cream place (well, okay, HE just sat...I had a waffle cone), but that was just like taking him to a restaurant, so it was no big deal.

Then in March, a friend of mine from high school was in town with his family, so Truman and I met them at the Magic Kingdom for a few hours. As it was Saturday around Spring Break time, the place was packed. But Truman navigated the crowds with little concern, and behaved like a gentleman while we ate lunch outside during a very rowdy game of musical chairs, hosted by the Mad Hatter.

We only tackled a few of the rides, but he even seemed to handle the Haunted Mansion with a reasonable amount of calm (you just never know about the end of the elevator ride where the lights go out and everyone screams). He seemed to enjoy the train, too, or at least the view from there....

But I think Truman's favorite part of the day was making a new friend -- while he liked Steve and his wife Michael and little Kennon, he and Shaughnassy hit it off the best, right from the moment they met. Maybe it's because she's smart and funny and very good at remembering the etiquette about how to act around a service dog! Or maybe it's because she was wearing a Cheshire Cat on her head....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why We Love a Nice Long Kennel Stay

March 1, 2008 -- The good folks at GDA encourage us to kennel our dogs at the school as often as we can, so they get used to being in that environment and will be less likely to stress out when they go to live there for six months or so of formal training.

It's never been tough for me to take rambunctious Truman up to the school for several days. I know he's in good hands, and the people there know him, and it gives me a nice break every once in a while. However, as Truman gets older -- and therefore closer to the day I will take him up there and not get to pick him up a week later -- it's been harder to make myself schedule those visits.

But as a dog owner, you just can't beat this deal: free room and board for your dog for as long as you like, and at the end of his stay you get to take home a worn-out, freshly bathed canine who's had a vet exam and a good time with his friends.

Truman came home this time and put himself to bed almost immediately, cuddling up with his blankets and his Nylabone. They're awfully cute when they're sleeping, aren't they?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Cat got your tongue?

This is one of Truman's silliest toys: a little rubber ball with a huge rubber tongue attached to it. My mom and dad (who sent it to us for Christmas) had asked me for a picture of him playing with it, but it's been a challenge getting one...because Truman usually picks it up and chews on it from the wrong end!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Not Exactly Truman Cottontail...

...though there was plenty of hippity-hoppity happening this lovely Easter morning.

This time last year, Truman was still a small and feisty pup who hadn't yet had all his shots OR mastered the art of appropriately-timed piddling. Consequently, I didn't get to attend my favorite sunrise service on Will Rogers State Beach. But this year I was determined to take him!

Last week, I realized he hadn't ever been to the beach, and I wondered how he would do walking on the sand. So at our obedience class, where there is a sand pit full of playground equipment, I tested him. Two steps in, and I had a dog spinning in circles at the end of the leash, butt tucked in and shuffling madly. Then he peed.

Okay then.

We did a bit more walking for practice, until I was confident he'd be able to handle the service. And this morning, he did well! We arrived in the dark, made our way to an open spot and sat down on some beach towels. He was a little antsy for a bit, ears on high alert and fidgeting to get comfortable, watching birds and children, sniffing the salty air and snorting up sand, but he eventually settled in for the sermon. Good dog! It was a fine test of his self control.

This is not to say he was not right on the verge of shuffling his way back to the parking lot after the service, back legs hopping wildly in the sand as I gripped the leash with both hands and ushered him quickly back up the walkway...but we take what we can get, especially for a first time.

And now, after some time at a friend's house for post-church breakfast and fellowship (thanks again, Kristy & Emily -- and Truman would like seconds on the belly rub, please), we are filled with joy and pancakes, sleepy from a day well spent. Happy Easter, everyone!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Happy Trumanversary

One year ago today, I was outside the puppy nursery at GDA, meeting this little blank slate of a canine who would be my charge for the next year and a half or so. So cute, so sharp-toothed, so moody:

As of today, we've written a year's worth of experience on that slate, and I can hardly believe so much time has passed. Truman is still cute, and still moody. Thankfully, though, his angry little shark mouth has been replaced with a more mature face full of big-dog teeth. Here we are now:

And here he is with his Amy:

Happy Anniversary, Roo! Smile!