Friday, December 27, 2013

Dewey Update: Leakage, Puppy Sitting and X-Rays

About two months ago, we noticed little drops, that we thought were water, around the water bowl and kitchen.  Mind you, we have three big labs and a ginormous water bowl.  We suspect that Jam is a dipsomaniac and Dewey likes a long drink in the evening as well.  They both are NOT tidy drinkers.  It's a bit like living in a frat house, so thank goodness, it's just water.  At least, that's what we were thinking when we noticed the little spots here and there and thought that the dogs were dripping from their mouths and should have used napkins.

Then the drops disappeared.  Before you know it, the holidays were upon us.  Soon it was the Wednesday before we were leaving for Christmas break with my mom and dad in Scottsdale, AZ.  And all of a sudden, those pesky drops were back.  We saw drips in the kitchen (understandable) but now we also could see them on the upstairs landing.  Fred and I had a whole discussion where we had to figure out which dog was leaking.  Turns out it was Dewey.

We got clearance from Southeastern Guide Dogs to take him to Dr. Woodman to check for a UTI. And at the Vet's a very strange thing happened: when the vet tech came in, Dewey peed, something he has never done before in his life.  He's never been an excited pee-er. EVER. But he did it there.

No UTI. Nothing in his pee.  What is next?  We were told it might be an ectopic urethra, although that is mighty rare in a male puppy. In order to make that determination of a physical abnormality Dr. Woodman needed to do X-rays, specifically, contrast X-rays,  to see if the urethra wasn't draining into the right spot. Scary.  Although Dewey wasn't scared.  He didn't know what was going on.  We set up the X-rays for the next day because we were leaving town.

However, because there was a problem with the X-ray machine, we had to put off the X-rays until the following week on Thursday (12/26/13).  This delay meant that we couldn't bring Dewey with us to Arizona, nor could we be with him when he went to his appointment on Thursday.  Plus he might still be leaking (I had to special ordered a belly band from In the Company of Dogs).  It was the holidays.  It was last minute.  Who would possibly take a leaking dog at the last minute?

Yes, Virginia, there are still angels in the world.

I still kind of choke up to think about when I talked with Al on the phone.  Al is the husband of Rita.  Rita and Al are new to our group and said they only wanted to be puppy sitters (Fred is predicting that Dewey will change their minds and will want to have a dog of their own!).  When our AC Stephanie called and explained the situation, they said they had a Florida home: all tile. No problem.  When I called and explained Dewey's situation, Al said, "We had a 14 year old dog that we lost last April and for the last year of her life she was in diapers.  We know how to  take care of a dog."  I got a little teary.  We had found the perfect couple for Dewey!

Dewey standing in front of his crate at Al and Rita's
Dewey standing in front of his crate at Al and Rita's.

And they have been wonderful.  More than we could have asked for.  Al has kept a daily log of what he and Dewey have done and I have taken the liberty of condensing it down for you here. I've put his original quotes in italics.  

The good news is that Dewey quit leaking a few days before we took him to stay with Rita and Al, and they tell us he hasn't been leaking with them so far.  Keep your fingers crossed there!

And the best news is that the X-rays haven't shown a clear physical abnormality.  We are still waiting on the radiologist's report; however, Dr. Woodman feels it may be a behavioral problem, which means we may be able to fix it with training.  So, please take a gander at Dewey's holiday travels.  He and Rita and Al have been having some fun.

Fred told Rita and Al that they HAD to give Dewey back.  Rita said, I hope we are still in the same house when you come to get him!
photo of dewey lying down on a dog bed in front of their couch
Photo of Dewey lying down on a dog bed in front of their couch.

I THINK she was kidding.  She was kidding! Right?!

Dewey Log


Dewey gets a taste of Starkey Rd traffic and motorcycle noise. The motorcycles are a bit distracting for him.


Dewey and Al take some more fun walks and Dewey gets to meet some of the denizens of the neighborhood: pigeons (interested, but not aggressive) and neighborhood dogs.  Even though Dewey was charged by the small dog, he sat when asked and was rewarded with a treat.  The small dog's owner stopped him before he reached Dewey.

They took a trip to the grocery store as well.

Dewey and Al with Toto in the front.


Dewey greeting Rita and Al's granddaughters.
Dewey interacted great with the neighbors.  He was able to greet them while remaining in the sit position.
Rita and Al took Dewey to visit their son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters and their Yorkie/ Maltese: Toto. The granddaughters fell in love with Dewey and it appeared the feelings were mutual. Even though Toto tried to stay aloof, Dewey eventually won him over. Dewey was extremely patient and well behaved - all went well. 


More walks, and command work.  However, in the evening, things get interesting: 
Neighborhood walk. Long and slow as a result of what follows. I believe the honeymoon phase has come to an end. Prior to walk Dewey decided to run up and down the stairs and into and out of each room at a high rate of speed. Wild and unruly would fit. Dewey picked up my reading back rest, a pillow and a neck support and attempted to pick up various other items. We hid our laughter and made the appropriate corrections. He gave up all items quickly and without a fuss. Doors closed and items of temptation now removed. Fortunately Dewey respects our short (low) puppy gates so we are able to limit his access. He is currently asleep at my feet.


Rita and Al take Dewey to the vets. 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM Dye injected and x-rays taken. X-rays to be further reviewed by Dr. Woodman and an additional review by a radiologist. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Yearly Pinecones, as Decoration Exposure

For the past four years I have been using the list of exposures as a sort of guideline of what we needed to include as suitable places/events, etc. to take the puppies to get them ready for guide dog school. And every year my gaze would land upon PINECONES, AS DECORATIONS, and I would think, "What?"

It was great when we had Bingo and HRH Berkeley, because we went to my mom's house and she was a nut about Pinecone trees.  Poof and done, as my friend Michele would say.  But for the last several years we haven't traveled.  Wah, Waaa.  

That means, that I have had to build up my pinecones, as decorations, collection so that I have an adequate exposure in which our guide dog puppy can choose to go rogue or not.  Jam, our crazy man, did not.  Coach, ever the gentleman, did not. And now, Dewey, our gentle, never barking, loves a hug, sweet natured boy, has gotten his turn at the horror of horrors: 

The Pinecone, as Decoration Display.

A compilation of photos of various parts of the pinecone, as decoration display.  Large and small pinecone balls and a pinecone tree.
I put the pinecone trees on the floor (they are normally up high!) and let Dewey take his time sniffing and becoming friends with them.  Pinecones aren't really the friendly sort, being a bit prickery.  He quickly became uninterested.  

We took a quick photo.

Dewey is staring intently at the camera as he sits between two pinecone trees.
I think his intent stare is a bit of annoyance at me for not having any cookies for the posing part of the game.  Usually for photos cookies are involved.

Fred went to get cookies and his sweet face came out.

Dewey, Jam and Willow in front of the fireplace and the pinecones, as decoration.
May all your puppies be as nonchalant about pinecones as Dewey, Jam and Willow!

Happy Holidays! And remember, when not actively supervising puppies, place pinecones, poinsettias, tinsel, and other holiday decorations that might be dangerous, poisonous or just plain "IDK - maybe a bad idea?" up high and out of the way.  When in doubt, play it safe.  Who wants to be in the emergency room when you could be at home sleeping and waiting for Santa?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dewey Comes Home From Camp

By Fred
I picked up Dewey from puppy camp last night. He wasn't exactly overjoyed to see me. On the way home he wouldn't even talk to me. The real surprise came when we walked into the house from the garage. There stood Jam with a confused look on his face--I had left with Marcia but returned with... not Marcia. Dewey returned Jam's cold stare. No tail wagging. No jumping. Awkward.

Just a few hours earlier Jam had been playing in the backyard with Marcia. She was sweetness and light. But now Marcia was gone.
Jam chasing Marcia.  He's grinning ear to ear. 

And just a few hours earlier, Dewey had been in the hypnotic presence of Carly, the sleek and irresistible Carly, loved by all dogs and humans. The adolescent male Dewey had been in her presence for almost two weeks. Agony.

This morning Dewey, Jam and I were back at work in my office, just like normal, each of us chewing on a bone. (At least their work has some tangible results.)

Were they dreaming of Marcia and Carly?
Dewey and Jam back at work in my office, chewing bones and dreaming of other things. 

I thought that Casa Tinas for lunch would cheer up Dewey for sure, but he sulked under the table. Little does he know that Coach had the same crush for Carly and ended up with the same heartache.
Dewey giving me the stink-eye at Casa Tinas

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marcia Meets Pre-K for the Wrap-In

Friday morning Marcia thought that it couldn't get much worse: reindeer antlers.

Marcia is not enjoying wearing the reindeer antler headband.
But, the day did get better for her.  We had drawn the lucky straw and were matched with Pre-K for the wrap-in.  The Pre-K kids are always super fun as are Mrs. Fruit and Mrs. DePew.

Here's my advisory with their presents before we head over to the wrap-in.
Marcia and I are in front.
My advisory is, of course, the most awesome advisory, so they were super fabulous with the Pre-K kids.

There was just one item of business that we had to address: the Pre-K kids didn't know about Dewey or Marcia!  So I had to explain EVERYTHING.

The kids swarmed us with questions.
 We had the kids form a semi-circle around Marcia and use their quiet voices.  They were very good about being gentle.  They were also good about moving out and letting the next child into the petting circle.  Sharing is a big concept in Pre-K.

Q&A with Pre-K

Marcia was very, very good. She stayed in a down stay.
 This lasted only a couple of minutes as we needed to get the wrap-in started, so we shooed everyone off to their chairs. Then I began to make the rounds with Marcia.

Marcia went table by table saying hello.

Some children were more enthusiastic than others.

 In the end, there were a couple of middle school kids who loved Marcia to pieces and happened to find that happy place on her tummy that made her say, "Ahhhhhhh."

Marcia is being petted by three middle school students. 
The three students seem to have found a special spot on Marcia's tummy.

Marcia's leg is a blur as one student scratches her belly.

Nice job Marcia! Great job kids! Excellent wrap-in. Fun was had by all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Marcia Learns to Like Open Stairs

 On Monday, everyone did a double take as I walked by with Marcia.

"What? Did Dewey get a dye job?"

"What happened to Dewey?"  There was a lot of explaining about puppy camps and where Dewey was and, yes, he was coming back to us in two weeks. However, to her credit, Marcia is so sweet, she pretty much won everyone over with just her little waggy tail.  It wags quite a bit!

Marcia getting comfortable in my office.
On our walk around campus I discovered that Marcia was a bit nervous about the open staircase near the history classrooms.  She was a brave girl and was able to come around to going down the staircase
fairly quickly, but I wanted to come back to the staircase today and spend some time getting her more use to the railings and the staircase.

Marcia staring out at the open railings.
 When we first got up to the hallway, which is bordered on both sides by open railings, Marcia didn't notice the railings.  So, I walked us closer to them.  Then she noticed them and veered away.

Marcia says, "I don't like these!"
 At first, she wanted to be by the wall.  But after a little bit, she would come to the center of the hallway and do a sit stay.  There was lots of praise.  Gradually, we got a little bit closer.

Marcia, with her back to the railing.
She was becoming more and come comfortable with the railing.  She even decided to go up to it and look out.

Marcia, looking out of the railing.
 That was quite a leap!  It was now time to approach the open stairway.

The open stairway opens up to the pool and can be a bit disconcerting.
Marcia slowed up upon approach, but not as much as she did yesterday.

Marcia at the landing.
We did several approaches and then went down the stairs.  It was a little fast, so we went back up and tried it again more slowly. Perfect.

Marcia, being perfect.

Marcia looking out through the non-scary railings.
 By the end of the exercise, the railings were old hat, the hallway was a normal, everyday thing.  No big deal.

Now, on to winning the hearts and minds of all the kids in school.

Marcia with Darryl and Tomi.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Marcia Does Mexican

We have a cute little guest for the next couple weeks, she's a sweet, tail-wagging female named Marcia. Dewey is away at puppy camp, learning what it's like to be in a normal house instead of our ongoing circus.

Marcia and I had a pleasant lunch today at Casa Tina, though I did have to explain about Dewey--the waitresses are already dreading (as am I) the day when Dewey goes in for training (IFT). Oh, well.

I had no doubts about Marcia today, she's a good girl, but I was curious to see how Jam would react to our leaving for lunch. He is doing so well lately. Whenever I leave him alone I always exit out the rear French doors so he can see that I'm gone (but that I'm not really gone). I stand outside the doors for a few seconds and talk to him through the glass. He doesn't jump anymore or have the wild, fearful look in his eyes.

But today I was leaving with a brand new dog. I imagined Jam might wonder Why are you taking her and not me? But no, he just sat down by the door and began preening himself casually. Just go...

Marcia (sweetness) at the Restaurant

And when we got from lunch back all was well in the house. Jam was calm. After my usual inspection of the house (during which he follows close behind me), I gave him and Willow praise and treats. Jam is really, really pleased when this happens. Even if I go outside for a few seconds, I inspect the house and give Jam credit for not destroying it.

Had there been something on the floor, I would have given Jam and Willow a long, boring lecture about how things should not be on the floor. No yelling and not angry, just a stupid boring speech. I can be pretty boring even when I'm not trying, so I'm guessing that my monotone is big-time punishment for dogs, much worse than yelling.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes from Dewey

On Monday we were having the freshman crossfire debates in health class.  They have been quite a fun research project.  This year has been really fun with the freshman because I have been able to get to know them much better.  I don't know whether that is because of Dewey and instagram or because we have had a long world history project or a combination of the two, but whatever the reason, I'm all for it.  It makes for a nice, friendly year and helps me know the students better!

After one class, Marie came up with her friend Jennifer and asked if she could come back after school and take some photos with Dewey.  I said sure as the freshmen seem to consider him their dog.

After school, she and Jennifer show up, right on time and she has a big bag. They sit up by the comfy chairs and I take Dewey's coat off. 

Marie and Dewey. Dewey has a sign around his neck that says I heart pie with a big pie underneath.
Marie opens the bag and inside she has about 10 different Thanksgiving themed outfits/signs for Dewey to wear in photos.  She has a pilgrim hat on a stick that she can hold above his head, a sign that says "I heart pie", one that says Happy Thanksgiving, and more.  

I was amazed.  I asked her if she made it all.  

"No, I just went to Michael's," she said.  Later, I asked her big sister who told me that she had spent a considerable amount of time putting all the stickers together to make the signs.  They are sooooo cute!

Marie and Dewey with the Happy Thanksgiving sign.

I told Marie that she was now in charge of all of Dewey's holiday photos.  She smiled.  Expect to see more cool photos in the future.

Have a relaxing and calorie filled holiday from us to you!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our Dog

 We've had a Southeastern Guide Dog at Berkeley for five years now.  It's become a way of life for us. I knew that, but I didn't REALLY know that.  This year, I instituted an Instagram account to try and make Dewey more a part of things.  I wasn't sure how it would work.

History class with Dewey.
One of the first things I tried was taking photos with my research classes.  That was fun!  The kids seemed to like it too.

Sort of by chance, Dewey got very involved in Homecoming. We won't go into ALL of the details. 8-)

But he is so sweet and well liked that one of the 9th grade boys wanted to use him as his invitation to homecoming.  That's never happened before! (She said yes!) 

Fans would stop by to see him. Dewey with three freshmen gathered around him.
He also developed a habit of picking someone during my research classes and sleeping next to them.  Most everyone wants it to be them.  So when I walk around and help people they are hoping that Dewey stops and falls asleep!  I get more questions, anyway. 8-)

Dewey next to his choice for the day.
 He has joined after school clubs like the Faculty/Staff Book Club.

Dewey being held by one of the members of the book club.

And while his conversational gambits are not necessarily clever and witty.  He usually doesn't whine or cry or bore us either.

What I didn't expect was what happened yesterday afternoon as I was leaving.  I had taken the long way around and had stopped to talk with the digital photography teacher about whose selfie I still needed to receive.  All of a sudden a little girl from lower division, Julia, runs up to me and says:

"Can I pet him? He doesn't have his coat on!" This is, of course, the danger when I go home of walking him to the car without his coat: that I will be mobbed.  But it was late, after 5.  Her mom ran up after her carrying her backpack and essentials and was a little out breath.

"Sure you can."  Dewey was almost asleep already on the ground.  She knelt down and started petting him.

"He's so soft.  And nice." 

Her mom looked at me. "She saw him from across the quad.  What do you call it?" We told her it was called the mound.  "She saw him and said, 'There's our dog.' And took off running."

"Well, it is our dog." She was still petting him.  She looked at me.  I agreed.  "He's Berkeley's dog."

Her mom laughed, "And your dog." I laughed.  "And mine!"

But I felt really good that as a community, we all had a Southeastern Guide Dog puppy in training that we thought of as our own.  That, for the kids, the feeling went that deep. It was a sweet moment.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dogs of Anarchy

Jam has separation anxiety.  So, we try to frequent restaurants that have patios that allow dogs so that we can bring Jam and Dewey with us when we go out to eat.  Dunedin Smokehouse is a favorite.  We just found a new one in Safety Harbor called the Nantucket Bucket and it was great.

We were all excited to try out Rumba on Gulf to Bay and Keene because we heard that they also had a big patio and allowed dogs.  How nice! How close and convenient to our house!  What a find! And, evidently, the food was good too.  The whole package.

Sunday, we took the plunge and went there for dinner.  Now, one of the things that I am a little bit proud about is that our dogs are very well behaved.  They do a quick down under, under the table and pretty much go to sleep.  If people come over to see them, they are sweet and polite and then they go back to sleep.  There isn't any wild jumping and barking.  There isn't any peeing on chairs.  There isn't any wandering around.

Are you sensing a theme?

We walked up to the big patio of Rumba, which features a huge bar, and noticed several dogs right away.  The nice hostess was going to seat us by one of the dogs, but we requested a table on the opposite side of the patio.  Foolish, foolish me.  I picked the wrong side.

Two tables down from us were two guys wearing Sons of Anarchy shirts (one of Fred's favorite shows).  They seemed like nice guys.  And then their friend Grizzly Adams showed up.  Grizzly walked in with his dog Buddy, who didn't have a leash OR a collar, but better yet, he didn't respond to any commands.

The first thing Buddy does is run inside the patio, find a palm tree and claim it as his own.

Wow.  Inside the patio, Buddy has peed.  Major balls on Buddy.  Grizzly Adams hasn't even noticed as he is walking towards his friends.  Great.

I'm watching Buddy pee, I'm watching Grizzly Adams walk away and I'm becoming very concerned that Buddy is going to, wait, yep, here he comes.  Right over to us.

Inside my head I am screaming.  I will not share those words with you.  They were not polite.  Instead, I put my hand out to stop Buddy from coming next to Jam and Dewey.

Grizzly approached.  "Oh, hey."

"Yes, take him away." The lack of leash has taken away any surface courtesy I might have possessed and I am at irritation. From zero to 55 in about 5 seconds. Grizzly picks Buddy up and walks him over to his table of friends AND DEPOSITS HIM IN THE CHAIR AND STARTS TO FEED HIM AT THE TABLE.

Buddy in his chair, staring at me.
I am outraged.  I am now the embodiment of the stereotypical middle-aged woman from, probably, Sons of Anarchy, that they hate.  I'm sure I'm looking at their table in shock.  I probably just said something like, "They just broke every health code in the book!" And to make matters worse, I am secretly hoping that the manager will come by and tell them to make Buddy sit on the ground like a normal dog.  Or better yet, kick them out for not having him properly under control.  But no.  None of that happens.

It's like a little nightmare for responsible dog owners.  First, Grizzly Adams is mobbed by what I can only imagine are half wits, as it seems to be a steady stream of people who are delighted to see a dog sitting in a chair at a table in a restaurant eating food!  They crowd around, cooing over Buddy.

The crowd of halfwits around the table.
 Finally, Buddy can stand the adulation no more and jumps down to wander around at will.  Grizzly Adams doesn't care and lets him.  Where does he go?

One guess.

Our table.

He walks behind Fred and lifts his leg.  He pees.  Fine.  Whatever.  I see Grizzly Adams get up and start to search for Buddy.  Once again, I have Buddy pushed back and away from Jam and Dewey. He finally finds Buddy and picks him up and takes him away. Again.

I cannot leave this restaurant fast enough, I thought.  While we were waiting for the check, a woman wandered over.

"Can I pet him?" She said pointing to Dewey.  Fred told her no that he had his coat on, but said she could pet Jam.  She wasn't thrilled by that option.  "We wanted to make our boxer a service dog."

"Oh, did you?" Fred asked.

"No.  But he's a little old now."  Fred asked how old.  "Twelve or thirteen."  She looked a little vague on the details.

"Better not to bother with the training then," I said.

She nodded.  "And he has cancer."

"Well, there's that too."  I said.  I looked at Fred. He looked at the ground.  The lady walked off.

Oh my.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Coach's Latest Report Card: November News

We were hoping for completely positive news, but Coach is still dealing with some issues. Our boy is still in the program, though and he is fighting the good fight.

Coach smiling next to some red flowers.

COMMENTS: Coach is still a very loveable boy.  He has started to show  signs of kennel stress again and because of that has been going to a volunteer home periodically to help with the anxiety.  He has mild separation anxiety when in the crate but otherwise has had impeccable manners.  His harness work is going very well at this point.  He really thinks ahead and is good at problem solving when working through a difficult situation. I really hope that we can get his anxiety under control because he is a very nice working dog.  I have really enjoyed getting to know him and training with him.  He also loves his puzzle time during kennel enrichment. :)   

If you have a moment, think of Coach and send out some calm, positive energy his way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Invisible Dog

When I tell the lower division about Dewey, I usually preface it with how Dewey's coat is like Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility, you can't see him, you shouldn't call his name.  He isn't there.  Most of the kids get it and will just wave to me.  There are some kids who take it VERY SERIOUSLY.

During US History, Dewey picked Jake as his favorite and sat by him.
Yesterday, I was walking with Dewey to AP US History and took the elevator up to the second floor.  I was working on the "find the elevator" command with Dewey.  When we got off the elevator, there was a line of 4th or 5th graders who were coming out of their building and heading down the stairs.  As Dewey and I came out of the elevator and turned right, we started to walk beside them.  

I could hear some of the students talking:

"There's Dewey!"

"It's Dewey!"

"Look! Dewey!"

And then, there was one little boy who said, in a very loud voice, "You don't see HIM."

"It's Dewey," someone else said.

"You don't SEE HIM!!" he said louder.

"Oh Dewey."

He could stand it no more: "YOU DON'T SEE HIM!!!"

Can you have a heart attack in fourth grade?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dewey Stars in the Homecoming Film

Since you have all heard about the almost POOPCIDENT at the mall, I thought you might want to see what the filming produced. After all, Dewey was the star.  Well, that might be overstating it just a little! The students are the stars.  Dewey has a very small cameo at the very end of the film and he only needs to do one thing, and he doesn't really do it.  I have to help him out.  Dewey can be a little stubborn about being told what to do.

I think it was the pink wings.  He was hoping for blue. 8-)

But the film turned out really cute (in spite of my atrocious acting).  The dance was truly lovely with all the amazing decorations that Kendall's mom made for us and the kids decorated that gym so that it was gorgeous.

Not so fall Florida - Homecoming Premiere 2013 from Nathan B. on Vimeo.

So, enjoy Dewey's debut.  It's probably his first and last debut on film!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Coach's Latest Report Card

We were a little worried about Coach given his roommate problems, but his latest report card came back with good news:

COMMENTS: Coach is a very sweet and smart boy.  He is doing better in the kennel and really enjoys his play time in the field.  He is doing very well with his harness work and seems to really enjoy it.  :)  I have really enjoyed working with him and look forward to more.  

It looks like things are evening out and Coach is back in the groove again.  He is mostly a mellow boy. Let's hope he can keep that up!!

Go Coach!!
Photo of Coach in the car staring very directly into the camera.  He was always a very serious boy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Papparazzi: Who Knows What Makes a Star?

Jam and Dewey are two very different dogs.  Jam is fast, exuberant and filled with charism.  Dewey is slow, cautious and sweet. Jam is Dewey's uncle.  Very, very different boys. And yet, there is a strange attraction to labs.

Photo of Jam running with a frisbee.
 On Friday night after I got home from the Homecoming build, Fred and I took Jam and Dewey to the Smokehouse for dinner.  Turns out that the weekend before Halloween is the Halloween parade for kids and the place was packed! The street was jammed with kids in costume walking with their parents and lots of people waiting in line for a table outside at the Smokehouse.

So, we put our name on the list.  And we waited by the wrought iron fence watching the children walk up and down.  Fred had Dewey and I had Jam.

I once read a story about Marilyn Monroe that I think Susan Strasburg told.  She said that she was walking with Marilyn down the street in New York and no one was paying any attention to her.  Susan asked her about it. Marilyn said she wasn't making any effort to be seen.  Susan asked her what she meant.  Marilyn said, "Watch."

"It was like she turned a light bulb on inside her," Strasburg said. People stopped and stared and then they mobbed them and Susan and Marilyn had to take a cab to escape.

Jam with his light turned off
Jam is a little bit like Marilyn.  He has a little light that shines and on Friday night all the children were drawn to him.  

"Can I pet your dog?"


"Can I pet your dog?" Over and over again.  Several times Jam was completely encircled by princesses, hobos, pirates, batman, and fairies who just wanted to pet his handsomeness. Parents, too, were drawn to him.  While everyone ignored Dewey.

But if Friday night was not Dewey's night, Sunday morning was.  We were down in St. Pete having lunch and a 4th grader and her mom came up and asked, "Is that Dewey?"

"As a matter of fact, it is. How did you know." I asked.  Well, she recognized me, from school. Turns out she is a big Dewey fan and she really wanted to pet Dewey.  Jam, not so much.

Yea Dewey!  Dewey might not have this bright light like Jam, but he inspires love and devotion just as much as Jam does.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dewey Skypes: Thank You Galloway School!!

On Friday, during my lunch hour, Dewey and I had an amazing experience.  We got to skype with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders from the Galloway School in Atlanta. It was pretty awesome.

Actually, everyone was more interested in Dewey than in me, but that was ok. I didn't take it personally. My friend Amy, the lower division librarian at Galloway, who set it all up, was very clever and told the students that they were going to have a unit on Dewey. Boy were they surprised! 8-)

For three days they studied the Mclean Puppy blog and learned about guide dogs and what they do in different situations (or what not to do!).  Of course, they read supplemental material as well.  They learned all about Southeastern Guide Dogs program for raising puppies.  And then on fourth day, they skyped with me and Dewey!

I think the best question was what was Dewey going to be for Halloween?  I don't know!!  They are going to send me suggestions!  I can't wait. 8-)

Some of there other questions were:

  • What does Dewey eat?
  • Where does he sleep?
  • What is his day like?
  • What happened to Bingo?
  • How is Coach doing? (They were very concerned about Coach!)
All in all it was very fun.  Dewey was very tired because it was during his nap time and I had to keep waking him up and making him pose in front of the skype camera, but the kids seemed to love it.  

I wish I had some photos for you!  

We did get an amazing thank you present from the students at Galloway!!  A very generous donation to Dewey's walkathon fund for Southeastern.  We were so surprised and stunned!  Dewey says thank you, I say thank you and we both give a big Woof, Woof to Galloway School and the students there for having us talk about guide dogs!! 

If you would like to help Dewey reach his walkathon goal, please donate at I also have raffle tickets.  You will have to purchase those directly from me ($5 for one, or 5 for $20).

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dewey Takes Flight: Taking Your Guide Dog Puppy on an Airplane

Disclaimer: This blog is written purely for entertainment purposes. It may contain excerpted and abbreviated accounts of events and should not be construed as a reenactment of the actual event. Author is prone to exaggerate for comic effect.

Our last meeting was at the St. Pete Airport where Dewey was able to experience the wonders of travel, without the crowds (or expense!).  It was a major meeting with all for puppy groups from Pinellas County showing up.

Some of the raisers walking with their puppies down the hall of the airport.
We met at baggage claim and then we all proceeded to security where we lined up to be scanned.

Fred and Dewey wait patiently to go through the security scanner.
Dewey was paying very close attention to Fred, which was a good thing as going through security you need your dog to be focused on you and the commands you are going to be giving them.

Dewey is watching Fred intently.
Here is the process for taking a guide dog puppy through security.

  • Leave the collar, leash and coat on. 
  • Put your dog in a sit.

  • Tell your dog to stay.

  • Walk through the scanner yourself.  Your dog should remain on the other side in his stay.

  • Ask your dog to Come to you. 

  • Depending on whether they have a buckle collar or a martingale or training collar, they may need to be patted down.  Have them hold a Stand while the TSA agent does this.  Try to prevent any licking! 8-)

Most of our puppies, like Dewey's sister Bridget, made it through security just fine!!

A close-up of the lovely Marcie, a yellow lab.

Fred walking Dewey out to the Allegiant plane.

Melisa, Brian and Fred and their pups in front of the plane with the sun in the background.

Melisa, Brian, Fred, Blair and Julie and pups in front of the plane.

Blair walking Sheba up the planes ramp.
We also all got to board a plane and have the dogs sit in a plane and experience walking down the aisles.

We had the pups experience the loud baggage claim area.  Dewey did great!  He wasn't scared at all of the noise or the turning belts.

Dewey staring at the baggage claim belts.

Dewey sitting by the baggage claim belts
It was an amazing meeting.  Great exposures and wonderfully organized!!

Here is some other info for flying with your dog that we have gathered over five puppies:

 We have had several experiences flying with our Southeastern Guide Dog puppies
and even thought the airline was the same, it really all came down to the personnel.  We always used US Airways and for the most part, they were great.  It was the return flight that was generally the problem (they weren't used to service dogs like Tampa people were).  However, we just recently had a raiser in South Pinellas group who had an incredibly bad experience with Southwest Airlines, that I just have to share: No Fly Zone!  

The TSA also has a general list of rights and guidelines of what their handlers can and will do when you and your service dog are going through the line.  It would be a good idea to make a copy of this webpage and have it in your purse/backpack if it seems the TSA agent is unsure how to pat down you or your dog.  It never hurts to be prepared.

I always have copies of shots and a note from the vet stating that the dog is good to travel.  This info is not required, but is nice to have on hand just in case. In addition, you can request an airline access letter from Southeastern (ask Katie Young) and that will detail you and your dog's credentials.  This letter must be requested at least 2-3 weeks in advance of your travel date in order to give them time to prepare and send it to you on letterhead.

Another thing I have found to be very helpful is knowing where the relief stations are.  It used to be that you could ask for a supervisor to escort you and your pup out onto the tarmac just before the fight and they would take you (they did this with Bingo, but not with Berkeley because of the Xmas underwear bomber.  They won't do that anymore in most cases.)  It was nice, because a lot of relief stations are back behind security!!  Now someone has come out with an app for finding those relief stations!  The app is called Where to Go.  It was created by Working Like Dogs and there is an app for the iphone and the android. 

So, if you are making reservations and you are taking your pup, be sure to do the following:
  1. Send in a request for an airline access letter to  the appropriate person at Southeastern Guide Dogs at least two to three weeks BEFORE you plan on traveling.  She will be able to get you a letter on official letterhead attesting to your status with Southeastern, your dogs credentials, etc.
  2. Don't choose Southwest. 
  3. Do choose United/Continental who officially supports Southeastern Guide dogs in training or US Airways (I've had good luck with them).
  4. When making your reservations, tell them that you are bringing a service dog so that they can indicate that on your reservation from the very beginning.
  5. Download the Where To Go app
  6. Make sure you have all your documentation and also have duplicates in some other location as well.
  7. Have a back up plan in case something doesn't go right at the airport.
  8. Relax and enjoy your vacation.