Saturday, March 30, 2013

Puppy Sitter Report Card

We got back from Santa Fe late Tuesday evening, and I went to pick up Coach from his pet sitter Kathy on Wed. morning.  Kathy is a retired nurse, who also was a Southeastern puppy raiser and who has a retired Visla breeder named Boo.  Boo is 13 years old.

Kathy and Coach in Kathy's family room.

Boo and Coach met me at the front door and Coach seemed happy to see me (which made me very happy) and Kathy said very nice things about the way he behaved (which made me very happy as well.   As we gathered up all of his things, I asked her how he did, really.

She said that out of all the dogs she has had, that Coach knows his commands the best.  That even when he was being crazy, if she told him to sit, he would sit.  That made me very proud, although after taking him to the last meeting on Thursday and having him act like a little jackass and having to sit out in the hallway WAY OUTSIDE the circle of obedience, I'm thinking that maybe she has only been puppysitting very young puppies who haven't had much chance to learn their commands.

She took Coach to church, where he behaved himself (woohoo!), and she took him to a Rotary meeting and did a presentation about guide dogs and afterwards took his coat off and let the members pet him and he was very good, she said.

She did say that Coach was a canine vacuum.  That he puts everything into his mouth.  The only good thing was that he was so sweet about it.  He never gobbled anything down or resisted having her open his mouth and take things out of his mouth.

So, we will be working on breaking his vacuuming skills. But we want to put a big shout out and thank you to Kathy for for keeping an eye on Coach, taking things out of his mouth, taking him out to church, etc., and in general keeping him safe while we were on vacation.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Saint Roch: Patron Saint of Dogs

by Cheryl
Drawing of St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs.  He has a black lab with him.
The lab does resemble Coach, slightly. Roch is smiling. Drawing created by artist Barbara Barratt.
Yes.  There is a patron saint of dogs. At least that is what I found out at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe and why would they lie?  I like that artist Barbara Barratt has St. Roch walking with a black lab.  Although, it does appear to me that the lab is looking just a little bit like he is begging for a treat, like perhaps, St. Roch keeps some kibble in his pockets and has a habit of maybe handing them out to good puppies every now and then.  That could explain why St. Roch has a small smile and a cheeky tilt to his head. He knows in a minute or two he is going to reward this good pup with a bit of kibble and a pat on the head.

What you can't tell from this drawing is where St. Roch is.  I can make a pretty good guess that he isn't in Santa Fe though.

No Dogs Allowed Sign at Tent Rocks.
Santa Fe seems to have this curious relationship with dogs.  While the townspeople seem friendly enough to them.  We see plenty of people walking their dogs.  The government seems downright anti-dog.

Take for example this sign we encountered this morning on our hike out at Tent Rocks National Monument.

The more detailed sign.

Then there was the more detailed sign that followed the huge No Dogs Allowed sign. It said in effect that dogs aren't allowed at the monument any more effective immediately.  There was a smaller sign that said something about dogs being a safety hazard.  But it was unclear.

We asked on our way out about service dogs and were told that service dogs with a vest or ID were gladly admitted without any problem at all.  The ranger was very cheery about it.  So, aggressive sign, but only toward regular dogs, not service dogs.

No dogs allowed on grass sign in front of city government building.

Yet not all Santa Fe government buildings are happy to see dogs.  We passed one on the way to the Kakawa Chocolate House that had this friendly message: No Dogs Allowed on Grass.  It was clear that what had been tearing up the grass was groundhogs or mice or rats or prairie dogs or some sort of vermin.  But did they have a no vermin sign?  No, they did not.  They just wanted the dogs to stay off the lawn.  And the lawn didn't look that great.  Holes, lots of dirt piles.

Nasty really.

Coach would have sniffed.  Loudly.  And then continued walking.  And probably nudged me.  Looking for a treat or a pat on the head.  Wondering why we chose Santa Fe when Tampa Bay is so much more friendly to all dogs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Of Horses and Dogs

By Fred
Cheryl and I have been raising puppies for so long now that we see most everything through the eyes of a 6-month old lab. If Cheryl does something noteworthy at work, I am likely to rub her head and say "Oh, what a smart girl you are." Likewise, she often just says "No!" to me, and this serves about the same purpose as an extended conversation.

It's no wonder that here in Santa Fe, after being away from Coach and Willow for several days, we signed up to go horse-back riding down in Cerrillos, New Mexico, just off the Turquoise Trail, up into the beautiful mountains nearby. We've gone riding before, but not for several years, and not since we have gained all our guide-dog puppy experience (making us animal experts in nearly all things), and we felt confident that we would have a special affinity with the horses, certain that they would obey us instinctively, even if they would not technically be able to do a real Sit or Down Stay. The horse wranglers would no doubt be impressed with us, etc.

My horse was Duke. "Good boy, Duke," I said and patted his head. But Duke didn't wag his tail or, to be honest, even seem aware of my existence. This was not Duke's first time down the trail.

We were soon on our way up the mountainside. By chance, the other rider in our group was a young movie actor named David, all dressed up like a bad-guy cowboy and wanting to sharpen his riding skills before an upcoming audition. Our guide, a funny cowgirl named Stephanie was in the front, then the movie cowboy, then me and Duke, and then, bringing up the rear, was Cheryl on her horse Danvers. "Good girl, Danvers," Cheryl said.

A picture of Stephanie, our guide, and the movie cowboy (for real).

Once on our way, it became clear to me that Duke had no interest (unless snorting with contempt counts as interest) in my instructions to him. He certainly did not intend to turn around and double back so that Cheryl and I could ride together. It turned out that Duke never let Danvers ride ahead of him or beside him. And Duke was prepared to deposit me on the ground if I didn't like it. Therefore, I didn't actually see much of Cheryl for the next two hours.

A picture of Fred, Duke, Cheryl and Danvers

We had signed up for the advanced beginners ride, which meant we'd do some cantering--a canter is the rocking-horse sort of gait between a trot and a gallop. On the way back we were cantering down this ravine and I could see Stephanie looking back at us with wide eyes and some real concern on her face. Apparently Cheryl was leaning to one side, perilously so, and was just about to fall off of Danvers. Her saddle was not on quite right, or maybe she could not quite stay on it. I'm not sure. But by this point, I knew that Cheryl would not be sad when the ride was over.

On the way back to Sante Fe we adjusted our opinion of horses (untrainable beasts) and horse riding (too bouncy and dangerous), and we felt more homesick than ever for our sweet Coach and Willow.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What If Coach and the Ghost of Georgia O'Keeffe Took Her Abiquiu House Tour

Yesterday we toured the Georgia O'Keeffe house in Abiquiu.  I was really excited about it because you need to make reservations months in advance and the way people have talked about it, my expectation was that it was going to be really amazing.  After all, it was the 5,000 square foot home of Georgia O'Keeffe, where she made so many of her iconic paintings.  It was the place that she happened upon and found as a ruin and saw a wall with a door in it and knew she had to have it.  She worked 10 years on getting that ruin and making it her own.

I can appreciate that passion.  I did much the same thing with my house.  Only I called it house stalking.  I drove by it every couple of months and I left them a note telling them to call me if they ever decided to sell their house.  They did, two years later.  With O'Keeffe, it is called artistic vision.  But I feel like I understand what she was going through when she saw that door and made the decision that she was going to live THERE.

And so it was with great pleasure that we arrived at the Abiquiu Inn ready to take our tour.


However, when we got there, we found that we were quite a bit early.  Like an hour and a half early.  It was about 9:26 and our tour wasn't until 11 am.  I looked at the printout from the museum website and started to get the first tinglings of worry:

"Please be aware that public restrooms are not available at the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio, but are provided at the Abiquiu Inn. (emphasis added.) If you have special needs, please notify us when making your reservation.  Note-taking, tape recording, or sketching anywhere on the property is not permitted. 

To protect this unique historic site, we respectfully request:
  • No food or drink except water.
  • No cameras (video, film, or digital).
  • No backpacks or bags including purses or totes.
  • No pets.
  • No note-taking, tape-recording, or sketching.
  • We assume no responsibility for injury or lost items."

Such a lot of restrictions!  And such worry about peeing.  Very odd really, but as a matter of fact, I had been drinking from the water bottle I brought and I did kind of have to go.  I looked at Fred.  

"Our tour doesn't start till 11, do you want to see if we can get in on an earlier one?"  He said yes, so we went in to the Inn and the gal looked at us with a mixture of dread and horror.

"Oh, you better run!  Next door at the blue building.  RUN!"

We ran. But why was she so worried?

When we got to the blue building it was 9:27 and we asked to get on an earlier tour, thinking 10 am, but evidently there was a 9:30 am tour, which they put us on.  Then Fred made the very bad mistake of asking the tour guide lady if we could go to the restroom.

She looked up at the clock: 9:28. Then she looked out the window: the tour bus had arrived.  She looked at Fred.

"No."  Fred sort of reared back a few inches and his eyes got a little wider.

I put my hand on his arm.  "That's ok." I said thinking of their printout and their dictatorial rules about "you better go before you get here." 

"We can wait."  

We walked out to the tour bus, but there were two surprises waiting for us.


The first surprise was that Coach had been magically transported to Santa Fe just to annoy this tour guide lady and was waiting in a calm sit stay for us by the tour bus.  The second was that the ghost of Georgia O'Keeffe was standing right next to him.

"Uh. Fred."  I turned to Fred as we walked towards the tour bus.  "Do you see what I see?"

Fred was busy giving the tour lady the stink eye, but a quick elbow to the gut got his attention.  "Oh my God. Is that Coach? And is that..."

"I think it is."

We came up on them and Georgia said hello.  I grabbed Coach's leash.

"I've always liked black dogs," she said.  I know now that she always had two black chows with her at Abiquiu. Coach looked up at her and smiled.  We all boarded the tour bus.  The tour bus lady gave us the stink eye, but didn't say anything because of the Coach's coat.

Once we got to Abiquiu and the tour guide lady started talking about how Georgia had found the house, Georgia snorted.  Then she started walking around the garden inspecting the grounds to see if they were still planting the things she had planted.  

When she returned we were all looking into her living room from the big plate glass windows.  We had been told that we weren't going to be allowed into this room because the floors were delicate.  Georgia snorted again.  

"So throw a rug down." She said.  "It's a floor.  Who cares."

We went into the courtyard.  She leaned over to me and whispered, "It's a shame you won't get to see the library.  It's lovely. All my books on gardening, cookbooks, health.  I even had some D.H. Lawrence first editions."  

Coach meanwhile was staring up at the giant elk head with huge antlers like it might be a dog chew toy that he should take home.  The tour guide lady was looking at me and Fred to see if Coach was going to do anything.  I had Coach on a short leash by my side.  I put him in a sit stay.  Good boy. We walked slowly away from the elk head.  I would swear it was watching us.


I turned to Georgia.  In a whisper I asked her, "Are we skipping rooms? This doesn't feel like 5000 square feet."

"Oh, yeah! The bedrooms and bathrooms!" 

"The bathrooms! I knew it!  They don't want us near any bathrooms.  They are bathroom nazis.  Honestly!  It's like they think we are going to pee in your toilet and ruin your historic Georgia O'Keeffe amazing toilet and only you sat on!"

She laughed.  A lot of people had said she had a prickly personality, but she seemed ok so far.  When we got to the kitchen, the tour guide lady started talking about Georgia and her relationship with Stieglitz and I could see her tense up.  Then the lady began to talk about her making the kitchen table and the dining room table and how amazing the construction was and how artistic the tables were.

Fred and I just looked at the tables and then we glanced at Georgia.  (For a glimpse at what kind of tables she made, click here.)  

"Is she kidding?" Georgia asked me. "It's plywood.  The table is a piece of plywood. Seriously.  It's like those critics with my flowers.  What did I say tell them? Oh yeah, you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don't.  She needs to look at the table."

Georgia got up in the woman's face.  "It's plywood."  She knocked on the wood. "Knock. Knock. It's functional.  That's it.  Like this kitchen."

I could see now why people called her prickly.  Coach was sitting a little closer to me.

I motioned to Fred.  "It's a good thing she likes us!" 

Our last stop was her studio.  They had the ropes back at the very end of the studio so we couldn't possibly see into her bathroom or think of going to use it.  Georgia was very happy to be in her studio.   

The tour guide lady spoke of how Georgia had installed the light carpet because her macular degeneration had made it difficult to see her black chow dogs and she didn't want to step on them and hurt them.   

Coach eased over closer to Georgia and she patted his head as best as a ghost can do. As the tour ended, Coach disappeared back into the ether of my imagination, but I think Georgia and her chows are out there in Abiquiu in the land they loved.

Georgia O'keeffe and her Chow
Artist: John Loengard

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travels without Coach

This spring break we are visiting Santa Fe, NM again.  For the fourth time.  You would think it would get boring but it doesn't.  The only bad thing is that we had to leave little Coach behind.  And so soon after he had been hit with his dietary indiscretion!  Of course, by the time we left, he was back to normal and zooming around the house like a madman, but still.  One misses the baby.

Photo of a TSA sign saying K9 units were in use.
It seemed that we were going to be reminded at every turn that we should have brought Coach with us. TSA would have had friends for him to play with.

Long distance photo of a man by a wheelchair with a german shepard dog lying down by his left side.

There was even a man with a service dog on our flight.  It was interesting to watch them go through security.  He did the way we practice it.  Handler goes through and then calls his dog.  So practicing those come commands is VERY important.  No leash!!!

Sign on a tree stump that says City of Santa Fe: No Dogs Allowed

However, when we got to Santa Fe, there were a couple of signs that gave me some pause (paws! 8-)

Photo of my by the sign which is also on a gate. I'm looking really sad!
This attitude made me really sad. So what if we had brought Coach. Was this the attitude of all of Santa Fe?  

Well, I think it was the attitude of the Cathedral of Santa Fe.  It was their graveyard and they really didn't want dogs walking on the dead or digging them up or, I guess, pooping on top of them.  That's all I can think of.  It was a little park area and the only things banned were dogs.  Strange.  

Photo of a Chile Ristra.

Elsewhere in Santa Fe, there were lots of dogs.  So I think Coach would have been welcomed in the restaurants, the shops, the squares.  People here have a different vibe, which is why we like it so much.

And the food is so good.  Of course, after Coach's dietary indiscretion, we would have been extra careful that he not get any chiles into his system!!!

Sign for Ojo Caliente.
The only place where I think Coach might have been a bit of a problem or where he might not have fit in quite as easily as we would have liked is the mineral springs.  I think he would have loved it.  He doesn't like to jump into water, so he would have been a good boy.  But I think management would have been very nervous.

I'll be posting some things about Coach that I wasn't able to get in a few weeks ago.  Until then, I hope you all have great spring breaks or lovely springs!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Sick Coach (now on the mend)

By Fred
The big-dog party Saturday night was pretty exciting, but our normally rambunctious little Coach was unusually quiet under the table all night--understandably, so we figured, after the long day at the walkathon (we must have walked 3 or 4 miles in all). But Coach was already sick. We just didn't know it yet.

A panorama shot of the banquet room.

So we drove home from the party and got right into bed. My allergies were colliding with a cold for a perfect storm in my head. And then, at around 1 am, I heard Cheryl talking to Coach--he had just thrown up.

Let's be clear. Cheryl is the one on middle-of-the-night patrol. When our puppies are little she takes them out for potty breaks at 2 am, and she is up like a rocket at the first sound of distress. Her little engine is wound up tight, while mine is not so much. So even if I had not been sick Saturday night, she still would have been the one to get up. But I was sick, and it is an essential fact for this narrative (if only to make me feel less like a slacker).

Coach threw up several times during the night and he was no better by Sunday morning, so Cheryl took him to the emergency vet. The diagnosis: gastroenteritis. She brought him back home. He was not at all well. Very quiet. Very un-Coachlike. By evening time he still wouldn't eat or drink despite all of Cheryl's encouragement, some of which was extremely creative and compelling (no wonder she can talk me into doing things). He was really sick, poor guy.

A picture of Cheryl encouraging Coach to have some food.

By Monday morning Coach still wouldn't eat or drink, not a bit, so I took him to spend the day with Dr. Woodman. By Tuesday, he was only a bit better, but he would at least sip some water and we could see some improvement, and finally today Coach seems more like himself again. He's eating and drinking, though he has a way to go still.

We don't realize what a bright spark is inside our puppies until that spark goes a little dim. Humans can reach out for sympathy and whine and blow loudly into tissues, but this little guy breaks our heart without trying.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Walkathon Was Great Fun!

Saturday was the Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon.  We had a group of six walking for Team Coach: Jan, Christina, Fred, me, Elizabeth and Carly.  Jan and Christina work with me in the library.  Elizabeth and Carly are my student library proctor leaders.  Everyone was played a major role in raising the $3640 dollars that resulted in our being able to name a puppy Dewey (after the Dewey Decimal System!).

The team at the start of the walk.
The team at the start of the walk. 
 We all wore our Team Coach t-shirts.  They were pale blue and had an artistic b/w photo of Coach on the front with Team Coach curving over the top.

Cheryl, Christina and Jan with Coach sitting at our feet.
Cheryl, Christina and Jan with Coach sitting at our feet. 
 The walk was perfect.  There was a slight cool breeze and it was sunny.  It was a lovely day.

Here we are stopped by the water's edge waiting for Jan and Fred to catch up.

A view from the back as we are walking to the finish.

Jan took a great photo of Fred kneeling by Coach.

Here's a photo of Carly, Elizabeth, Christina and Cheryl at the finish line.
 After we finished the walk, we went over to the blind walks where the trainers had some of the phase 3 dogs out giving walks.  Carly and Elizabeth took a blind walk.  This stage is the stage that Jam is at.

Carly starts on her walk with her new guide.

Carly and her guide are making great strides.

Elizabeth has a chocolate lab for a guide.
 Later in the evening, Raichell, of the other student library proctor leaders was able to join us for the walkathon dinner.  The fourth, Keebler, had play practice.

Here we all are dressed up for the walkathon dinner.
 It was really great for all of the girls to be able to hear from the people who would be benefitting from their hard work what it meant to the guide dog recipients: the freedom it gave them, the way it changed it their lives.  It was also nice to get to see friends from far away and reconnect and to be able to chat with friends who live nearby.  All in all it was a great evening.

Stephanie, Carolyn and Cheryl.  Carolyn is our group's area coordinator
and Stephanie is her second in command.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Team Coach

Saturday is the walkathon and we will be walking with some of our student library proctors who helped us raise the $3640 that will allow us to name our puppy next year.  We will be there at the beginning at 9:30.  The kickoff is at 9:45 and the walkathon starts at 10.

If you want to pick us out from the crowd, we will be in light blue t-shirts with Coach's face on the front.  Team Coach: Walkathon 2013! Woot! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MUN Part II: Puking and Cafe Murano and Finding the Room!

The conference lasted four days and it was very well run.  A trifle long, but well run.  I had brought one of Coach's nylabone's but had accidentally left it at school, so we did a Petco run after lunch one day and came upon a fabulous find: The Kong Comfort Wubba!

I had been searching for these all over the place.  Michele had looked for them, I had looked for them.  Tampa has no comfort wubbas! They are one of the only approved toys that is a not a stuffed toy, yet has a stuffed toy feel.  So I got three.  For future puppies!

Here's a photo of Coach with his green wubba.  It's a fuzzy kong with legs hanging down.  It does not squeak.
Here's a photo of Coach with his green wubba.  It's a fuzzy kong with legs hanging down.  It does not squeak.
Coach is standing in the wheel well of the van looking out the open door.
Coach is standing in the wheel well of the van looking out the open door.

 Getting in and out of the Berkeley van required that Coach become very comfortable with a very high step up and down.  He didn't have any problem with it.

So we headed back and Coach seemed content with his wubba.  We saw the kids off to committee sessions.  

Michele and Coach are sitting in the lobby area as two of our students stand and look on (Max and Jake).
Michele and Coach are sitting in the lobby area as two of our students stand and look on (Max and Jake).
After the kids went to committee, Michele and Tim and Claudia and I would find tables in the coffee shop of the Hilton and set up and do school work.  That's where the small incident occurred.
Michele at a table in the coffee shop with Coach underneath.
Michele at a table in the coffee shop with Coach underneath.
It started out as nothing.  We were sitting and chatting and Coach was between us and another table.  There was a teacher at the table next to us whom we knew and we were talking with her.  Coach had his wubba.  All of a sudden he stands up and looks at me and then looks down and does a little bit of a hunch hunch with his back.  

There is the faintest sound of gagging.  Just distantly heard. Like a dream almost.  I stand up.  Then I sit down.  Then I look at Michele.

"Coach is throwing up.  Get us some napkins."

"Please." I added this belatedly.

"Oh no!" Michele pops up and runs for the napkins at the coffee station.  

Now I have a decision to make.  I can try to run Coach out of the hotel, which would take us through the lobby and in front of the front desk.  Or I could leave him where he was: on tile, hidden from view and relatively quiet.  

I went with hidden from view and on tile.  The teacher at the other table looked on in mild horror as Coach very calmly puked up a green hairball.  It was the fuzz from the green wubba.  I grabbed it in one swipe with the napkin from the tile floor and set it carefully on the table.  I glanced around and not one person has noticed or heard Coach throw up.  

Close up of Coach under the table.
Coach looked up at me again as if to say, "I'm not done," and yakked up a smaller green fuzzball.  Then he went to sleep.  Wubba forgotten in his post-puking haziness. The wubba was taken away and disposed of.  Poor Coach.  Jam loved his wubba, he would chew on one leg and just get it soggy, never  damaging it.  But in Coach's case, he was a nibbler and the wubba wasn't a good toy for him.

Afterwards, the team went to Cafe Murano for dinner and we had such a fabulous dinner that we went back the next night.  They were wonderful with Coach as well asking if he needed a water bowl.

I did put together a little video of Coach's zoomies when he first got to the room, how he managed with all the foot traffic around him and how he quite amazed me with his ability to find our room.  I would say find our room when we got off the elevator on our floor and he would take me to our room.  He would do it even if Michele walked past the room.  He was great!

Here's a shot of the whole team.  They were a great bunch to travel with.  Very fun and always upbeat. You can't ask for more then that when traveling!  And we took home an award as well.  Yea team!!

The whole MUN team, Mrs. Timothy and Coach.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Coach's MUN Trip Part 1

Every year  I take our Southeastern Guide Dog puppy on a Model United Nations conference so that the puppy can experience a hotel room.  Usually we take them to the KnightMUN conference at UCF so that they only have one night in the hotel.  However, this year Homecoming was during KnightMUN, so we didn't go.  That left GatorMUN or FHSMUN.  These were all multi-night conferences.  Since Michele and I usually room together and she could only go to FHSMUN, we opted for the FHSMUN conference so that I would have a back-up person if I needed one.

Coach in front of the Hilton Altamonte Springs sign.
Coach in front of the Hilton Altamonte Springs sign.

We were taking two vans to Altamonte Springs, which is on the other side of Orlando, for this tournament which was going to take place in the Altamonte Springs Hilton. I would like to add a little note here that if you need to stay somewhere with your guide dog puppy, that choosing a Hilton would be an excellent idea.  When we arrived with nine students, four adults and one black goldadore and all of us trooped in through the doors (Tim had already checked us in) and decamped in the lobby for Tim to hand out keys, as kids started to peel out and head for their rooms, Michele and I and Coach became more and more visible. Yet at no time did one hotel employee do anything but smile and look welcoming.  In fact, the entire time we have been here, every employee has been friendly, welcoming and happy to see us. I highly recommend the Hilton.

Coach did great on the elevators (he's an old hand at elevators) and he was very excited to see the room.  He also enjoyed the full length mirror, but not as much as some other puppies have in the past. Because we usually do this trip in Oct, when we have a tiny puppy, we bring a crate for the puppy to sleep in.  This time we just had Coach on a tie down.  So the first night was quite a trip.

It began with Coach being a little confused about where was Fred? Because when he goes to bed at home he usually sleeps on Fred's side of the bed when he is on tie-down.  When we turned off the lights, Coach went into high alert.  Uh oh.  That's not good.  The light was streaming in under the hotel hallway door and shadows could be seen walking past the door.  Coach was watching.  Intently. Then someone went into their room. We could hear the door shut. Click.

Coach let out a loud big boy bark. EEEP went my heart.

"No! No noise Coach."

"Down."  I tried to get Coach to go down, which is very hard to do when you are lying in bed, yet half leaning out over the side of the bed trying to grab the leash and give a correction.  Hmm.

Coach jumped up into a sit. The air conditioner had just turned off with a thump!  Coach let out a half hearted mini-bark.  In my head all the people in our hallway had just poked their heads out and were talking to each other:

"Did you hear that dog?"

"It's coming from room 626!"

"We should call the front desk and tell on them."

"It's outrageous!!"

This is worse than the ukelele playing kid in the elevator!  And what the hell was he up to?  And where was his high school advisor?  And what were they thinking allowing him to bring a ukelele? Seriously! Oh, back to barking...What should I do?  Would I ever get to sleep?  Would he ever calm down?  Would people ever quit walking up and down the freaking hallway?

Wait a minute.  We have extra pillows! I got up and turned on the obnoxiously bright lights and took the multitude of extra pillows that they stuffed onto our bed and pushed them under the door so that all the light and sound was blocked out. Problem solved!

Photo of the three pillows stuffed at the foot of the door.
Photo of the three pillows stuffed at the foot of the door.

Coach sitting by the side of the road.
Coach sitting by the side of the road.
Coach relaxed and went down. I relaxed and went to sleep.

Tomorrow: Dinner at Cafe Murano and puking.

Don't forget! If you have been following the blog for a while and you have a favorite post, you have an opportunity to to nominate it for your favorite pet blog for the 2nd Annual BlogPaws “Nose-to-Nose” Social Media Pet Blogging Awards!  March 8th is the deadline.  Click on the following categories to submit an entry:
  1. Best Blog Design
  2. Best Blog Writing
  3. Best Humor Blog
  4. Best Bark Blog
  5. Best Meow Blog
  6. Best Wiggle Blog
  7. Best New Blog
  8. Best Cause Blog
  9. Best Video on a Blog
  10. Best Photo on a Blog
  11. Best Facebook Design
  12. Best Twitter Design
You will need to know: 
Blog owner: CD McLean
Blog owner's email address: 

Announcing the 2013 BlogPaws "Nose-to-Nose" Social Media and Pet Blogging Awards!

Nominations for the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Social Media Blogging Awards opened this week!

Hello McLean Puppy Chronicle Readers.  If you have been following the blog for a while and you have a favorite post, you have an opportunity to to nominate it for your favorite pet blog for the 2nd Annual BlogPaws “Nose-to-Nose” Social Media Pet Blogging Awards!

The “Nose-to-Nose” Awards is the only awards program in which pet bloggers and microbloggers are judged on their expertise, creativity, and performance in one or more of 12 categories.  The entries are then judged by a panel of experts, so it is not whether someone gets a lot of votes (popularity), it is whether the writing or design is amazing.

So if you have a favorite dog or cat or ferret or rabbit blog, please vote for them.  There are many categories, so there can be many, many winners!
Here are the categories:

  1. Best Blog Design
  2. Best Blog Writing
  3. Best Humor Blog
  4. Best Bark Blog
  5. Best Meow Blog
  6. Best Wiggle Blog
  7. Best New Blog
  8. Best Cause Blog
  9. Best Video on a Blog
  10. Best Photo on a Blog
  11. Best Facebook Design
  12. Best Twitter Design
Finalists will be announced on or about March 15th and the winners will be awarded during a live red carpet awards ceremony on Saturday, May 18th at the BlogPaws 2013 conference in Tysons Corner, VA. 
And if you feel Coach is worthy, he would be so happy, if you were to nominate his blog.  If you do, here is the info you will need (along with a big kiss from Coach!)!

  • Contact Name for Blog Owner: CD McLean
  • Contact Email for Blog Owner:
But don't delay!!  Nominations open at 12:00 PM EST on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 - and close at 3:00 PM EST on Friday, March 8th

Friday, March 1, 2013

Girl Scouts

By Fred
Last night Cheryl and I took Coach to a girl scout meeting along with eight or nine other puppies and their puppy raisers, all stuffed into a small room that was filled with the type of kinetic, silly energy that only puppies and girl scouts can generate.

A photo of girl scouts in the back, my wanna-be-a-girl-scout wife grinning impressively and posing with Coach in the middle, and some other puppies and puppy raisers

Then add the fact that at least two of our group's puppies are males almost 1 year old and still not fixed (Coach and Coastie). And at least one of the female dogs had really caught their attention, severely so, making them even more stupid than human teenagers.

The girls were sweet, and several of them asked for Coach's "card" (he has his own business cards).

Later we played doggie tic-tac-toe, where the dogs are supposed to sit in the squares like Xs (the black labs) and Os (the yellows), but the aforementioned hormones and pheromones had all the dogs distracted until the Xs and Os were all mixed up and scrambling into other squares until the games had to be declared a draw. Even our good-boy Couch could not sit still for a minute, if that can be believed. But it was all big fun.

Here's the closing ceremony.