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by Kyler Laird last modified 2009-09-22 10:15

Saint Bernard, female

joined us: 2009-02-13 (4639 days ago)

This dog is in a foster home, has passed the Delta Society Pet Partners evaluation and has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

2009-02-13: flying dogs by Kyler Laird
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The rescue who contacted me about Buddy originally wanted help moving a couple older dogs from the Jasper County shelter to another rescue in Jasonville, IN. I was told we had a week to move them but the next day the shelter got a bunch of puppies and young dogs. They were full and were going to start euthanizing. The weather was looking good so I made plans to head south.

The weather was beautiful today and flight planning was fairly easy. I departed Purdue for Rensselaer after 2:00. It's been a long time since I've flown and there were a few glitches with the plane so the first leg was a bit stressful. In Rensselaer I left the plane to be fueled and walked to the shelter. The shelter kindly loaned me crates for the dogs and we transfered the dogs without giving them any breaks. I was told that yet another rescue near Jasonville would take "fuzzy and cute" puppies under eight weeks old so we also crated three six week old Husky/Lab. mixes. They were not happy to be separated but it was easier to load small crates in the plane. It took a couple trips for me to get all the crates to the plane and I was running a bit late.

The flight to Terre Haute went much better. The plane problems were resolved and I enjoyed the smooth clear air. I'd considered landing at a smaller field that would have been closer for the rescuers but all of the thawing and raining made a turf landing a bit too risky. It felt good to head to a larger airport with a radar facility. I hadn't landed at Terre Haute in many years but I had no problem finding parking. I propped the back door of the plane and went inside to meet the transporters. They drove their truck around and met me at the plane where we again transfered dogs into different crates.

I was running ahead of time now and called the rescue in Newburgh before departing for Evansville. I had some concern about this next meeting. This rescue has a female Saint Bernard, Anna, who needed an experienced owner/rescue. She'd been in the shelter for months and had some issues with a female Akita so she couldn't simply play with the other dogs. But she was great with people (and cats!). I've been thinking a lot about Harley and said I'd like to help if they were in a jam. They were.

The flight to Evansville was wonderfully smooth and I realized that I'd almost forgotten how easy it is to fly without layers of clouds and thunderstorms. Flying still demanded my concentration and allowed me to forget most of the constant stresses in my life. It was a relief to be in the air. I landed Evansville and called the rescue. They would be another half hour or so. I could have pulled out my computer but I decided to simply loiter. It was a treat to be unproductive.

When Anna and her rescuers arrived I could see immediately that she's a good girl. While she's certainly not Harley, I appreciated her slow pace and immediately started imagining how she'd do being trained by our new volunteers. She'll dwarf many of the children we see and she'll also be able to slide her head right onto a bed or over a wheelchair. Although I poked and prodded Anna, I already knew she was going home with me. We left her rescuers and she followed me willingly to the plane and then stuck with me while I made a few checks. I'd cleared a space in the cabin for her and placed a couple comforters. She hopped right on the wing after me and after I helped hoist her back end onto the wing she entered the cabin and settled in back without a fuss. I took my time getting started again to see if she'd react to the engines, etc. but she was calm and solid. It was getting dark as we left and I enjoyed the night flight home.

Anna was curled into a ball during most of the final leg but she woke as I descended. She was eager to get out when I opened the door but she wasn't pushy about it. I released her and she followed me into the hangar to get the tug. While we waited inside for the door to fold open I looked to see Anna relieve herself. Oops! She went just before we left but I neglected to give her time to go when we exited the plane. She'd found a sliver of dirt floor between the carpet and concrete in the hangar. Good girl.  As I pushed the plane into the hangar I encountered a problem with the tire on the tug and got frustrated.  Anna did not seem bothered by my frustration or the air compressor I ran to pump the tire.

The ride to the kennel was uneventful and Anna was relaxed as I completed her paperwork there. I took her to meet the guys and they all did well except Rodney. Anna recently completed a heat cycle and Rodney was just neutered this week. He was very interested in her but Anna set him straight...repeatedly. I kept Anna tethered to me outside and then put her away before moving on to work with other dogs. She's a sweetie.

2009-02-16: Anna's backstory by Kyler Laird

I often get very little information about the dogs who come into our program. Anna, however, made the news. I'm copying her story here so that it doesn't expire. It's especially interesting to me because I often complain about dogs in need who make the news and are saved at amazing cost while healthy dogs in the same community are killed due to lack of resources. In this case, Anna was saved but then she couldn't find a home.

Here's the original article. I appreciate that it was covered by the local news.

Animal Control called in to tend to ailing Saint Bernards


Vanderburgh County Animal Control officers Steve Bitter, partially visible at left, and Kyle Murray and Evansville Police Department officer Randy Rolley take one of four Saint Bernards out of the residence at 313 E. Virginia St. on Monday afternoon. Animal Control was called to the address to investigate a complaint about dogs not being properly cared for. Two other dogs and several cats also were found in good condition.

Evansville-Vanderburgh Animal Control removed four "severely emaciated" Saint Bernards from a home on East Virginia Street on Monday after receiving a complaint.

Monica Freeman, superintendent of Animal Control, said the home had lots of fecal matter and there was a strong ammonia smell.

Two additional dogs and numerous cats also were in the home but were in good condition, she said. The four Saint Bernards "... needed to be out of there immediately."

The two remaining dogs have different owners, who are removing them from the premises, Freeman said.

"The cats did have food and water and were of good weight," she said. "They weren't in immediate danger."

The Saint Bernards, all friendly adults, were seen by a veterinarian Monday. They are now at the Animal Control shelter at 815 Uhlhorn Street.

The dogs are receiving treatment for being severely underweight and having internal parasites. They also have some kind of skin condition, Freeman said. The results of additional diagnostic tests are anticipated today.

"The dogs aren't in good shape," she said.

Judging by the weight loss and skin condition, Freeman said, it had to be an ongoing process.

"This didn't happen overnight," she said.

Freeman said a healthy Saint Bernard should weigh 120 to 150 pounds. She estimated the weight of these dogs at 80 pounds.

The Saint Bernards will be available for adoption after eight days and when they receive health clearance. For information about adoption, call 435-6015. Kennel hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. weekdays.

Freeman said Animal Control can help prevent situations like this, but most people who can't or won't take care of their pets end up abandoning them.

The animals appeared to be living alone in the home but someone was supposed to be taking care of the them. Freeman added, there still was furniture in the home and someone was supposed to be moving back in.

"We will be following up on that," she said.

n Staff writer Libby Keeling contributed to this report.

2009-02-21: this week in review by Kyler Laird
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Sunday afternoon we had another pulling class. This time it was "fast wheeled vehicles" and we tried the trike scooters, recumbent trike and bicycle. I used Bob to demonstrate and also coax some other dogs around the course. There were many great photo moments but I had my hands full managing the dogs. I love watching dogs enjoy work.

Marty continues to surprise us. On Monday he started nosing me while out to play. The photos just can't express how delighted I was to have him interested in playing with me and willing to get so close. He still backs away if I make a movement toward him but the progress is promising. Marty also continues to be perfect with the other dogs. We were told that his behavior problems occurred as a result of being attacked by two large dogs but he always seems completely comfortable being in the midst of several dogs who are much larger than he is. I'm training Marty to return to his run to be fed at night. I don't always hand feed him anymore.

Wednesday Buddy and Anna had surgery. I enjoyed hanging out with them as we waited for the doctor to finish with other dogs. We collected blood for Anna on Tuesday so we wouldn't be rushed. She was such a sweetheart and was similarly tolerant as she got her initial injection before the surgery. When it was Anna's turn we dragged her on a blanket into the operating room and hoisted her onto the table. She barely fit so I pulled the table away from the wall a bit. I waited with Buddy during Anna's surgery and then tended Anna as she regained consciousness as Buddy lost it. Unfortunately I had to leave before Buddy was done but he was doing great when I retrieved him that afternoon. Anna, however, slept the rest of the day and was still soundly asleep when I came at night so I didn't disturb her.

While Marty had surgery Kitty and I took Morgan, Bob and Jarreau to meet Waynetta, Maddie Bea and a Purdue student at Mentoyne Elementary. The dogs all did well.  Bob was a handful but the student handled him well and he eventually calmed a bit. As we left the classroom we normally visit we got a request to visit another room. I love impromptu visits like this! We briefly introduced the dogs and the kids petted the dogs, told stories and asked questions. The kids seemed to especially enjoy when I asked Morgan to get on a table to catch treats. As we left a little girl even gave us a picture she had drawn of Bob. This school is well worth the long drive.

Thursday morning we headed to Carroll Elementary in Flora to meet Billie and Batman for Caring Paws presentations. Buddy, Bob, Morgan, Marley and Jarreau rode with us but we only used Morgan and Marley. After the presentation to the first graders they were doing so well that we just took them straight to the fifth grade presentation instead of swapping them. Morgan wore a sledding harness and pulled a small sled with some of our gear. He performed a couple of his tricks and was otherwise easy to manage except when we entered the fifth grade presentation; a police officer and his GSD were on their way out and Morgan was desperate for an introduction.

In the evening we had CGC class. Our two Purdue students continue to face the challenge of working with T-bone and I enjoy watching everyone's progress. Marty has been so good that I decided to work with him and he was amazing! "Sit" came quickly, "down" came without much work, and he seemed comfortable in a stay. The quality of his recalls was astounding. This dog has gone from growling and snapping at me, to darting away from me, to running into my arms when I call him in about a week. What fun! He also did well at other CGC test items like "neutral dog" and "supervised separation" so I expect him to do well in the test next month.

On Friday I took Buddy with me to Klondike Canine Academy for a session of making tug lines for the dogs in our mushing class. I tether him to my boot to keep him from jumping and he's improving daily. He is a perfect little dog; it's hard to imagine a better dog at any age but his youth (nine months) makes him especially impressive. When Buddy is not tethered to me or GP he's often off-lead, staying close to me at the clinic. He handles himself beautifully with the big dogs in the kennel and at home. His downstay at mealtimes continues to improve with little effort on my part.

After making lines I took GP and Buddy home. It's stressful to have GP in the house but the big dogs mostly give him space. After dinner I took Buddy and GP to church for the youth sleepover. I kept them close but they were both wonderful. During a movie, Buddy nuzzled with the kids on the couch while GP played the role of "big white beanbag chair," getting lots of attention on the floor. Our shift ended at 11:30 but I really didn't want to disturb the kennel dogs by returning GP so I took him home. He required management and I left him in the bathroom when I went to sleep but he woke me in the middle of the night and after everyone went outside GP remained with us. He had a minor scuffle with Morgan later that morning but they're both doing better and are more flash than bang these days.

Saturday I took GP and Buddy to Petite Pals. GP stayed tethered to me but was visited by all of the other dogs and had no problems. After class we released the kennel dogs.

2009-03-07: a full Saturday by Kyler Laird
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Marty visited us today while his family went out of town. He was very anxious at our house but finally settled in the corner behind the chair where I work. I took him with me when I headed to the Petite Pals playgroup with Buddy.

I kept Marty on lead during PP and worked with him. He is amazingly easy to train. We distracted all of the other dogs there to play and they were all following Marty's lead, looking for treats. Buddy was especially persistent; he has learned that sitting, not jumping, is a good way to get my attention and I often turn to see him sitting and waiting for me to notice him. Chewie is picking up this behavior also and is now looking for my attention instead of barking at dogs and people. At the end of PP I let Marty play with the other dogs and we soon migrated outside. Chewie and Buddy are a great team; I enjoy watching them zip around in circles around me. Marty was great with other dogs as always but he was a bit head-shy and uncomfortable at first. By the end of class he was relaxed and he's become quite comfortable with my occasional wrestling.

After PP we headed out to the "real" playgroups. I pulled all the dogs from the kennel then Amy arrived with Tanner and Anna. Finally, Kitty arrived with the rest of our home dogs. We had an active section but the dogs all did well together. I don't recall a single skirmish.

There were three evaluations during playgroups and our pack did very well interacting with the new dogs. Buddy continues to show his value both in greeting new dogs and helping Chewie be more comfortable. (They were tethered together again today for awhile.) Anna plays the role of "gentle giant" beautifully but barks loudly (from a down) to implore the little dogs to play with her. GP continues to impress me; he is gentle with everyone and tolerates Marty's frequent mounting without appearing disturbed at all. GP and Chewie had no problems together. Chewie has recovered well from the first time they met. Huntley and T-bone play together constantly and it takes a bit of management to ensure that other dogs don't jump into the middle inappropriately but they're a good source of activity.  Morgan kept a low profile, perhaps trying to stay out of GP's way.  Bozo looks great with his newly-blown coat and he played well with everyone.  Dexter and Bob even played together a bunch when everyone else was in the evaluation area.

After playgroups we ran home and quickly turned around with Bob, Marley, Jarreau and Dobky for a visit to University Place. We met Amy with Tanner and Anna along with five Purdue students. UPlace wasn't very active today but we did get to stop and talk with several appreciative residents. Despite having spent so much time at playgroups the dogs all seemed to enjoy running in the health center courtyard also.

2009-03-09: Saint Anna, CGC by Kyler Laird

I've been looking forward to the CGC test today but I've not found time to work on preparing the dogs. It's been frustrating. This morning I had work to do but in the afternoon I finally dropped everything else and started "cramming" for the test.

Buddy and I walked to University Place. It was the first time we'd simply taken a walk. He pulled at first but responded well to the clicker and treats. Soon he was heeling right beside me and he continued when we reached UPlace. Buddy often jumped on people for attention when he first came to us so that's been the main focus of my training so far. He's switched to sitting for attention and he's great at that.

At UPlace I worked with Buddy on "down." He's had to learn to down and stay for meals but I'd not had success asking him for a down elsewhere. It only took a few minutes with the clicker for him to get it. We rolled directly from that into stays. He certainly has a tendancy to follow me but once he understood what I wanted he relaxed and seemed content to wait for me. I didn't bother working recalls.

While at UPlace we visited several of the residents and got lots of attention in the physical therapy room. I got lots of comments about finally having a small dog and I enjoyed watching the little guy work the room. He was off-lead in the PT room and he behaved well. He did find a piece of gum in a wrapper on the floor. He brought it to me and traded for a treat.

I walked Buddy home and then drove to Anna's foster home to retrieve her. I entered to find that she'd not been crated and had made quite a mess. (I later learned that she wasn't out for lunch as usual.) I cleaned it a bit before heading back home and was running late. I walked with Anna to UPlace and she got better as we went along, pulling just slightly at first then settling back beside me.

At UPlace she was decidedly more to manage than Buddy. Anna is not at all treat motivated. I tried sticking a treat in her nose a few times but it didn't seem to interest her much. This would be a challenge. As with Buddy, I knew Anna needed help with downs and stays. I took a different approach with her, though. I used encouragement and motion alone to get her to sit and down. For the stay, I used coercion. As I'd see her start to rise I'd grab her collar and force her back to the ground. (O.k., I was also kissing the top of her nose as I did it but it's still not my preferred training technique.) It just took a few times doing that before she got the message and relaxed while I walked away from her.

Anna and I also visited residents and the PT room. She's tall enough to easily interact with people who are sitting and she was quite appreciated. I'd neglected to bring a towel but the staff in the PT room provided one and took turns with it. I think Anna has a wonderful personality but it still surprised me how much so many people appreciated her big, droopy, drooly face.

I took Anna to the health center courtyard to play a little and it was great fun to have her zip around me, bowing and darting. She did run into me once but it was not as bad as I expected. I enjoyed getting to spend some one-on-one time with her. Afterward we went inside and I took a business call while she rested calmly at my feet. We were running behind schedule so I asked Kitty to drive over with Buddy to meet us. I finished the call and jumped in the car just in time to get to the test.

Three dogs went before us, including Peyton. He passed! Anna had been lounging on the floor with me while one of Peyton's girls held Buddy so I took Anna first. She was incredible. We breezed through the test without a great deal of management. The evaluator appreciated her. She was a joy to handle.

Buddy went next. His quick attentive movements were a contrast to Anna's but he also flew through the test without a hitch...until the separation test. He whined a little bit throughout the test but went over the limit just before the three minutes was over. We failed the test and I was frustrated but I can certainly live with him being too focused on me. We'll work on it.

2009-03-11: Mintonye and Purdue Pre-Vet Club by Kyler Laird
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This afternoon we had our regular visit to Mintonye Elementary. Kitty and I took Jarreau, Anna, GP and Buddy. Buddy stayed in the car, Kitty took Jarreau, and our hearty Purdue student handled GP. We met Waynetta and Maddie there. Anna and I brought up the rear and immediately provoked a confrontation with Maddie at the door. Waynetta handled it well and I later took some time to properly introduce the girls. We had no problems after that.

It was Anna's first visit after passing her CGC test on Monday. She was a joy to handle and was attentive yet relaxed. Jarreau was a bit nutty as usual but Kitty controlled him well. Maddie was perfect, of course and so was GP. (As we were leaving I even heard one of the teachers say something like "Oh, that's GP. He's always so good.") I finally remembered to bring the brush from the car today and our most dog-fearful student brushed a couple of the dogs!

Anna came home with us. I thought she had settled but apparently Grazie gave her customary warning and got a vigorous neck shake. Anna didn't hurt her but it made an impression. Everyone gave her wide berth after that...except Buddy, of course. She relaxed at my feet while I worked.

This evening we headed to Purdue well before our presentation to the Pre-Vet Club. Kitty headed inside with Buddy while I walked Morgan, Marley, Bob, Dexter, Dobky, and Anna. It was fun to walk with them but I could sense that they expected a group run. We met some students outside and walked in with them, making friends in the hall and startling some VIPs coming out of the Dean's conference room.

We finally stopped blocking traffic in the hallway and met even more students in the lecture hall. We got a lot of wonderful attention. The students and the dogs all did beautifully. Waynetta and Maddie soon appeared and we had quite an impressive group. The dogs were excited to see everyone but settled when the meeting started and stayed in downs without much management.

After I was introduced I blathered on for at least my alloted 20 minutes and then answered questions from a couple students. We had a lot of interest in volunteer opportunities and I wished I had a menu of activities for the students to join. Instead, I encouraged them to tell us what they'd like to do. We're already getting mail and I'm hoping we can do well at tailoring our offerings to the students.

2009-04-05: rainy day catchup by Kyler Laird

It's been non-stop here for weeks (or months?). Whenever I don't have work to do there's something for the dogs. Today, however, it's raining and I feel like I can sit and write for awhile.

This morning Buddy went to church and was perfect as always. He slept on my lap most of the time, perking up at the performance of Four Dead in Ohio (The sermon was about Kent State.) but quickly settling again. He was very social afterward. I usually have him walk everywhere but there were lots of people so I held him the whole time and he seemed completely comfortable with that.

A bunch of us went to lunch after church and Buddy did fine waiting in the car. We drove directly to the kennel afterward to meet a couple students. Playgroups were canceled so we had the park to ourselves. We had a good gang. Our regular kennel dogs, T-bone, Huntley, GP, Bozo, and Marty were joined by friends Keowee, Ranger, and Meka. They played in the rain for over an hour without incident.

At home we're adjusting to Dexter's departure. He's joined a family in Ohio and I hope he has a great life there. It's always hard for me to see a dog go, especially to a distant home. Dexter deserves a great family of his own though.

Speaking of Pyrs, we have one I haven't even mentioned yet, Cody. He's an IGPR dog who needed a place to stay between foster homes. Cody's in a new foster home now but will return to us soon while his foster family leaves town.

LTDR foster dogs are doing great. Anna is learning to play with Tanner and making lots of little neighborhood friends. Aries came to University Place and Waynetta let me handle him while she took Buddy. Both dogs did very well there as has Tanner.

Dobky attended his first Caring Paws function and did a fine job as a reader dog at the new Klondike Branch library. He has a great personality for this activity. We continue to visit Mintonye Elementary and Dobky goes almost goes with us because I know I can hand him off to someone else and he'll be easy to manage.  The other regular at Mintonye is Maddie, handled by Waynetta.  Maddie is so perfect that I sometimes forget about her.

We completed our second series of mushing classes recently. Bob and Morgan were my class helpers/coaches. While Morgan tolerates the activity Bob revels in it. I love putting him to work pulling and I enjoy watching his spirit inspire other dogs.

GP received a wonderful adoption application recently and I blew it. I took too long to respond and the applicant found another dog. Although I hate that I botched a great home for him I do like having him available. Even more so than Dobky, I know GP can be handled easily by other people around visitors of any age. It sure is nice to have "easy" dogs.

And then there's the rest of the kennel dogs... T-bone and Huntley are full of spirit and love to play with each other. They're both regulars at playgroups and are often requested by name. Bozo doesn't go to playgroups unless I'm there but he's had lots of requests for walks. He's been on campus a couple times and he is easy to manage when he's dragging his tire. Huntley needs a tire but he's too young. He's started class with a volunteer though.

And Marty...oh, what a good dog he's become. It's been such a pleasure to watch him develop. He continues to do well with other dogs but he always circles around to me. He sits in front of me for attention and gets his head patted and his face scrunched. I play with him by shoving him round and round and pulling his tail if he doesn't flip around toward me quickly enough. He's turned from fearing touch to seeking it and it really shows when he's in a group of students. At first I was careful to warn everyone about his sensitivity but now it's not an issue.

There are lots of plans on the horizon for LTDR. I've flown to Wisconsin and Kentucky to look at trailers and I'm hoping to purchase one soon. That will bring us lots of possibilities for activities on campus and all across the country.

2009-04-29: Dead Week Dogs at Purdue by Kyler Laird
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Wow! We pulled off Dead Week Dogs and it was a great success. The dogs were wonderful, the students were a delight, and our volunteers made it all go smoothly.

I've been kicking around the idea of having dogs on campus as a study break for a long time. When the Windsor Hall and Pre-Vet Club students joined us I pitched it to them and got their support. Things happened quickly after that. Sarah Hanson at DRS helped us with reserving the RSC tennis courts. Christie Dewert of Windsor Hall handled the event planning form and got immediate approval. Kristin Bahleda arranged for Pre-Vet Club members to help. Suddenly all the pieces were in place.

Today it all went surprising well. I started configuring the tennis courts around noon. The tough part was securing the doors and after a few failed ideas I finally settled on a simple spring mechanism. It made opening the doors difficult but I was reasonably sure it would keep the dogs inside.

At 4:30 I took Huntley and GP from the kennel along with my gear and made the final preparations. Volunteers arrived shortly after that and we immediately had students descending on the dogs. I'd tried to imagine how to handle all sorts of problems but none appeared. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and enjoying the interaction. We stayed waaaaay late but I just couldn't turn away people who wanted to meet the dogs. Fun!

2009-06-21: LTDR participates in first Zionsville Pet Parade by Kyler Laird
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[more photos of the parade by Chris Bucher Photographs]

Jane Rose of Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue notified me that IGPR would be marching in the Inaugural Zionsville Pet Parade as part of “Pet Friendly month."  I delayed responding because I wasn't sure how many people I could bring but finally said I'd be there and listed off the dogs I'd bring. Jane suggested we have our own entry.

I decided to use this as a test run for the semi trailer. It was certainly an adventure. It took quite a bit of work to get everything ready to go. In the morning I headed to the kennel and loaded T-bone and Bozo into crates. It was already hot but the trailer's air conditioners made a huge difference. I drove to the house to load Kitty and the dogs in to the tractor and we on our way to Zionsville.

Amy drove separately with Tanner and Anna. She scoped out the parking lot and I was relieved to hear that it was empty. I quickly parked and started laying out equipment. I pulled the wagon, kart, and tire, then laid out the chain picket line I made last night. Finally I pulled each dog to go on the line. The line worked well but putting Buddy next to Bozo was a bit of a misstep.

While I harnessed the dogs, Kitty and Amy loaded the big red wagon with ice and bottled water. I connected it to Morgan first and Kitty was concerned that it was too heavy for him to pull on his sixth birthday (because she had a hard time pulling it). While I was hitching the other dogs Mo' walked off with the wagon a few times. I decided he'd be fine.

Morgan was solo on the wagon, T-bone and Bozo pulled a truck tire. On the kart we had Bob and Marley in lead, Jarreau and Dobky in wheel, Buddy and Grazie riding, and Dexter running alongside. We headed to the parade a little after IGPR left but we had to take the long way instead of trying to negotiate the stairs/ramps they used. Even though we blocked traffic on the main road for a little bit everyone was very kind to us. A policeman recommended that we take Main Street because it was already blockaded. In doing so we became our own "pre-parade" but as we arrived at the parade starting point I could see that everyone was heading our way so we veered off and went around the block to end up behind them. We were just in time to fall in behind IGPR. Fortunately Christine and Garrett had been there with Huntley and had already checked in for our entry (#34).

The parade was short but fun. The dogs had already gotten quite a workout and they were just becoming manageable. We put water down each time we stopped and it was good we had a wagon full. It was fun to halt the dogs; they relaxed and lots of people came to take photos each time. Then when I called "hike!" the dogs (especially Bob) would lunge ahead and I could hear spectators responding to it. While I wrangled the dogs on the kart, Amy walked Tanner and Anna, Christine walked Huntley, and Garrett graciously handled Bo and Tibby on the tire. I was so thankful for the great help; it was a lot of work but I think it impressed people.

At the end of the parade we gathered with other participants, including several Miss Indiana Pageant participants. I enjoyed talking to everyone and felt extremely comfortable there.

The IGPR folks were headed to Serenity for lemonade so we backtracked the parade route to join them. A couple boys were admiring the dogs so I asked if they'd like to ride and invited them to jump on the back of the kart.  I'm sure I should have gotten a parental consent waiver and provided them with protective gear but I just jumped on the side of the kart and called "hike!" instead.  The boys seemed to have fun and their father thanked me.

I parked the dogs in front of the restaurant and spent probably 30 minutes talking with folks who wanted to know more about them. Finally I took some of the dogs in to join Kitty and Amy. We sat and talked with a local family who'd called me a couple days ago about a dog. The restaurant owners also relaxed with us. Lots of people stopped to visit the dogs and chat with us. And we ate a wonderful Father's Day brunch! It was a delightful way to spend the afternon.

Finally it was time to head home. The dogs were exhausted so I ran back and drove the truck to them. A local officer informed me that there are "no trucks on Main Street" but told me to just be quick. I like this town...a lot.

We had a couple hiccups on the return trip but finally dropped off the dogs at home just in time. They were all about to burst. I headed straight for the kennel and relieved T-bone and Bo before kenneling them. They were more than ready for dinner.

Quite a successful day! It will be interesting to see what comes of all the wonderful people we encountered.

2009-07-26: Slayter concert by Kyler Laird
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Kitty was out of town but returned in time for us to see some friends perform a benefit concert at Slayter Hill. I dashed out to the kennel to relieve everyone there and then brought Anna, GP and Jacks with me. We arrived after the concert started but the dogs had no problems. (They went to another concert there recently.)

The dogs went to another concert at Slayter about a week ago and got lots of attention from kids. This time there weren't (m)any kids but we did get visits from a few adults. The dogs did beautifully although Anna panted hard the whole time despite the weather being gorgeous and fairly cool. Kitty even warmed up to Jacks, taking him with her when she deposited a donation on stage.

We stayed a bit after the concert to chat with friends and then headed to Puccini's for dinner. It took a few minutes to get everyone situated but then Anna and GP rested on their mat perfectly and Jacks relaxed under the table (clipped to my shoe) while we ate. It was a beautiful evening.

2009-09-20: three remaining dogs pass Pet Partners test by Kyler Laird

Caring Paws again held Delta Society Pet Partners evaluations at the Unitarian Universalist Church in West Lafayette. I scheduled three spots for the last of our dogs to test.

Bozo went first because he's always a handful. I've had some problems with him in previous DSPP and CGC tests but I modified my approach for this one. Instead of taking him out of the kennel for a long public outing and lots of exercise I just let him run at the park for awhile with the other dogs. At the test I made sure he went early so he wasn't stressed by waiting for hours. And most importantly, I fed him before the test. It took way too long but I finally realized that he was past his feeding time during other tests - not a good thing for Bo, who has a rigid schedule at the kennel.

During the test the big guy did a super job. He takes some management but he seemed fairly content. The most difficult part was the "neutral dog" but that was largely because the "neutral dog" wasn't so neutral on her first time in this role. Bo didn't even look at her on our second attempt. It's going to take awhile before I'm super confident with him in a crowd but I was quite pleased by his performance. I look forward to watching him improve once he's out of the kennel.  He'll be an especially useful asset during our visits to Cumberland Elementary when they start studying the Iditarod.

After Bozo's test I quickly drove him back to the kennel (where he really needed to relieve himself) and returned just in time for the next test. I'd wanted to take Anna next but I needed to spend some time grooming her so I decided to grab Buddy instead. Fortunately Kitty had been brushing Anna so she was all ready to go.

Anna was a breeze to test. Again, the neutral dog was a bit of an issue but she was just interested. Everything else was easy; she stuck right next to me without much management at all. And of course she loves getting attention from everyone.

I saved Buddy for last as my reward for a long afternoon. He was a delight and had no problems with any of the tests. We got dinged because I was having too much fun with him while walking and he jumped/pranced at my hand a few times but I like that and don't intend to discourage it.

We had lots of new volunteer helpers and I enjoyed getting to show such a varied group of dogs to them. The helpers were very appreciative of the dogs and we all had a good time. I'm excited that everyone has now passed DSPP!

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