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.