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Buddy

by Kyler Laird last modified 2010-03-27 17:00

Yorkshire Terrier/Miniature Schnauzer mix ("Schnorkie"), male

joined us: 2009-02-10 (3265 days ago)

This dog has passed the Delta Society Pet Partners evaluation and has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.


2009-02-12: busy February by Kyler Laird
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I was sick last week and have been non-stop busy all the time, it seems. I've been neglecting updates so it's time to recover a bit.

Sunday, February 1 started our first draft class at Klondike Canine Academy. I've been asked to help people start pulling with their dogs for years so KCA made it happen. I pulled out a bunch of vehicles and used Morgan, Bob, Dobky, Marley, and Bozo to demonstrate them. By the next class (February 8) students had received their custom-made harnesses so we put their dogs to work with various sleds. We instructed in the barn, taking turns with dogs connected to light loads, starting with empty orange juice jugs and progressing to plastic sleds and even the kick sled and car tire for the especially strong dogs. I closely managed the loads while Allison baited the dogs. Everyone did great! At the end of class we moved outside (beautiful weather!) and let some of the dogs drag some sleds around the agility area.

On February 3 I helped South Central Newfoundland Club Rescue with Rodney, a dog who had been stuck in the Gary pound for awhile. A kind couple met me in Rensselaer where they handed Rodney to me with the information that "He stinks but you'll get over it in about 20 minutes." I left the back windows open for the ride home and the smell was still strong. Rodney was a sweet guy though. At the kennel I let him stretch his legs out back and then I had some calls to attend so I worked on Rodney's matts in the bathing room. He was a little excited at first but after an hour he stopped squirming and I made fast progress. It was quite a hack job but I think I finally got all of the matts. The bath went smoothly after that and then Rodney returned outside to meet the rest of the dogs. Despite being a young intact male he has done well with everyone.

On February 5 GP joined me for an in-home visit with a physical therapist. His size and demeanor suited the situation well. It was relaxing to handle him.

That night we had a CGC class. Kitty handled GP while I took Huntley. Two Purdue students came to work with T-bone! I was talking to rescue about Rodney and was running very late so I just handed T-bone over to them cold but they did a great job of handling him. Peyton was also there with his family. His girls came to visit us a few times as I worked with Huntley.

I'm often greeted at the kennel by Jack standing up behind the grooming half-door, silently keeping watch over everything. His family takes wonderful care of him and it's been a joy to see his transformation from the crusted dog no one wanted to the beautifully groomed and loved dog he is today. On the sixth I came in to see him particularly well-groomed and his mom showed me that she had groomed his butt "poofs" into hearts. Oy!

On the seventh I finally brought my new kart back from the kennel to the house and took it for a test ride. It was freshly modified by a local shop to accept a wagon handle and I'd briefly demonstrated it in the training barn with Morgan pulling. This time I tried it with the team pole and added Dobky. I'm still not a big fan of the team pole configuration and we ran into some problems with it on this short test run but the kart generally pulled well on the street. A couple days later I made modifications to the team pole and harnesses and added Bob and Marley to the front (in addition to Morgan and Dobky in wheel position). We zipped around the Celery Bog Nature Center without any problems. I ran ahead anytime they needed guidance but generally stood on back. Grazie rode most of the way but then trotted alongside awhile. This is going to be fun!

Bozo spent some time in the kennel while Amy was out of town. He did alright but he was, as usual, bouncing off the walls. Although he got along well with Rodney at first, on Bozo's last night in the kennel he kept lunging at Rodney, even while I was holding both of them. Rodney always declined to engage but Bo tore into him anyway - as much as Bo ever does. Bo isn't out for blood so I didn't worry about Rodney's health but I wanted Bo to understand that it was beyond appropriate levels.

I spent much of Tuesday the tenth in Rensselaer with Dad. It was a trying day and I ignored phone calls and messages until I was heading out of town. I had a voice message from a rescue in Illinois who needed to pull dogs from the shelter there so I stopped and called. There were two dogs in the shelter who needed a transport but were alright for awhile. The third dog was with the rescuer's mother, north of Rensselaer, because the pup was quickly returned by its adoptive family and it was easier to drop him there. She already had dogs of her own and this little guy needed to go elsewhere. As we talked about this young male Yorkshire Terrier/Schnauzer mix I realized that he might be just what I'd been seeking. I decided to head north on I-65 to get him. His caretaker had become attached to him already so I tried to avoid stress by leaving quickly. I took him outside and got to know him a bit with a quick walk and some petting. As we left, she called to me that he already knows his name, Buffy? or Buddy?. I decided to go with "Buddy" as he was a good buddy on the way home.

At the kennel I quickly introduced Buddy to the big dogs. He didn't hesitate in the least and easily blended with them. He and GP did growl at each other a bit but that was brief. After they played in the yard awhile I brought everyone into the bathing room because Huntley was sorely in need of a bath too and I decided everyone could use an activity. I bathed Huntley first while Buddy got to know the other dogs better. T-bone was especially playful with him and GP was simply patient. Huntley was amazingly stoic and mellow during the long process of thoroughly cleaning all his fur. Buddy was just as well-behaved as Huntley in the tub but it only took a moment to bathe him and I used less shampoo and water than one of Huntley's legs requires. I took a call while I dried the dogs, then we headed outside briefly. I was already late for dinner with Kitty.

I really didn't want to have Kitty upset during this dinner with friends so I put a crate in the back of the car and left Buddy inside. Buddy didn't make any noise on the way there so I didn't mention him. I took him for a quick walk partway through dinner and then he was quiet on the way home. I left him in the car at home while I tried to figure out what I'd do with him. I'd mentioned to Kitty that I needed to transport some dogs and I asked if it would be alright if we hosted the Schnorkie for awhile. She said that would be alright so I got him from the car.

I brought the crate into the house first and pushed it through the front door into the pack who had already spotted Buddy. Buddy was tethered to me with a long stretch lead and after getting the crate inside I expected to turn and see a scared little dog pulling away from my pack back toward the car. Instead, I looked down and saw that he had walked right beside me into the house and went ahead to greet the pack. It was almost spooky how calm everyone was. Buddy definitely has a way with other dogs. He's getting the routines at our house and even picked up "down to eat" on his own. I crate him next to the bed and he only complains a little about going there. He seems to be house trained and shows no interest in escaping through the gaps in the fence.

Yesterday (February 11) another visitor joined us. Marty is a Poodle mix who has had some difficulties and can't stay with his family. He's been relinquished to IDOG and they've asked me to evaluate him to determine if he's safe enough for their people to handle. I visited Marty in the morning after I let the other kennel dogs out to play. Marty barked at me fearfully through the gate but quieted as I backed into him. I sat with him for awhile but he continued to growl at me most of the time. Finally I left because...

We had another visit to Mentoyne Elementary! We took GP, Marley, and Dobky. Waynetta met us there with Maddie Bea and a Purdue student joined us to handle Dobky. I kept GP most of the time and helped Kitty wrangle Marley. The dogs all did well and I especially enjoyed seeing GP make such a great impression. After our classroom visit we talked with the principal about other possibilities and he was very encouraging. As we talked, several interested students passed his open door and he would invite them to come inside to greet the dogs. Later we all went into the hall and talked with several teachers who stopped to enjoy the dogs. I'm going to enjoy working with this school. Thanks, Waynetta!

GP returned home with us and then went back to the kennel for Buddy's initial vet check. I tethered him to Buddy; GP makes a good anchor. It's rewarding to see GP do so well with a little (young intact male!) dog. After the checkup I let the kennel dogs play a bit and then I returned to Marty along with Buddy. Layla joined me and we discussed his behavior. I was finally able to loop him with a leash and we took him outside for a bit and then to the geriatric room for a little quiet time. Marty seems fearful but not otherwise aggressive. He was not at all disturbed by Buddy. I slipped a couple times when handling the leash and got "air snaps" as a warning when Marty could have easily bitten me. I took Marty out again at night after the other dogs were back in their runs. It'll be awhile before he's comfortable enough to evaluate but I can see him relaxing already.


2009-02-14: progress by Kyler Laird
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This afternoon Buddy and I attended the "Petite Pals" playgroup session for little dogs. It's quite a difference for me to be around the small dogs and I'm working hard to teach Buddy not to jump. Buddy does as well with the little dogs as the big guys. After playgroup we let the kennel dogs run with Buddy. Marty was still difficult to lasso but he did well out on-lead with the others. When I took Marty inside I tried feeding him by hand but he would only eat food I dropped on the floor near me. Anna is doing well with everyone although Rodney still gives her a bit too much attention.

At 3:00 Kitty and I took Dobky, Dexter and Buddy to meet two students and make the rounds at University Place. Dexter was highly driven but we did alright and they especially enjoyed playing in the courtyard.

After dinner tonight we headed back to the kennel. This time I let Marty out off-lead with the rest of the dogs. He is definitely warming to me, nosing me a couple times and also initiating play with me...from a distance. I wasn't sure how I'd get Marty back into his run but he followed us as we returned other dogs. I tried feeding him again and he readily took the food right from my hand gently. We're doing much better.


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.


2009-02-28: Saturdogs by Kyler Laird
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After working a bit this morning Buddy and I headed to Mr. & Mrs. Tire. I gave away most of the tires I prepared for the previous mushing class and another one starts tomorrow. I loaded six tires of various sizes while Buddy waited patiently in the Jeep. Buddy often trembles in the car but he always behaves perfectly and won't bolt when I leave the door open.

Next we headed to the Petite Pals playgroup at Klondike Canine Academy. Layla said she'd bring Chewie to work on his dog-dog interactions so Buddy and I retrieved Anna from the kennel. Anna is a big calm sweetie and I thought she'd be a good "big dog" for Chewie to meet. At playgroups there was some concern about Anna but that quickly dissipated. Anna seemed to love getting some attention inside on her own and mostly flopped on her side for a belly rub and she was perfect with all the little dogs who came to check her. Chewie was interested in Anna yet reluctant to approach her. He finally got close to her at the end of class while we were all talking together.

After Petite Pals I let the rest of the kennel dogs out in the kennel yard. Regular playgroups were starting as I put away the dogs so I left T-bone and Huntley out to help with evaluations. Later I also pulled Anna to help with evals. They all did a great job with a variety of dog being evaluated. I've not been to playgroups in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of evaluations. It's a thrill to see new dogs learn to play with other dogs and it's especially fun to watch my dogs interacting with them.

As the last evaluation was finishing I pulled Chewie for some play. He'd been away from the other dog since Petite Pals so we called him over and I coupled him to Buddy before putting them in the main playgroup area. It was a wonderful match; Buddy helped Chewie explore the area and meet other dogs. When Chewie fixated on a dog and started barking Buddy would wander away, dragging Chewie along. After a 10 minutes or so I uncoupled them and Chewie was fine.

As I left playgroups I pulled Marty from the kennel. At home I swapped Buddy for Dobky and then headed to University Place to meet the Purdue students who have been helping us. Kitty met us there with Grazie. They'd dropped in at the West Lafayette Public Library reading program. We all made our usual rounds. This is the first time I've had Dobky out in close contact with lots of strangers and he did very well. He sometimes sought interaction and sometimes avoided it but not strongly. He readily handled anything I asked him to do.

After UPlace I left Marty in the car while I fed the other dogs. Then Kitty and I took Marty to meet some friends who have been interested in adopting a dog. They happen to be Peyton's neighbors and were impressed by him so we thought we'd take the opportunity to show them our latest doodle. Marty is perfect waiting in and riding in the car. When we arrived, he was excited and pulled a lot on me but inside the house he was impressively relaxed. We sat and talked for awhile and I eventually unclipped Marty. He wandered a bit but immediately returned whenever I'd call him. We gave a brief demonstration of clicker training and Marty was a good participant.

We ordered pizza for dinner and it was just a few blocks away so we all walked there. I let Marty wander on the stretch lead most of the way but held him close when we arrived. It's going to take some work to get him to heel well but he did alright. Back at the house Marty had his dinner while ours was prepared. Then he settled under the table and slept through our meal. Our hosts were concerned that he'd beg throughout the meal if he stayed in the room so I think he impressed them.

It was good to see that Marty can do so well both as a therapy dog and a family dog. I enjoyed exercising him in these roles and he made it easy. Back at the kennel I released him with the other dogs for our usual night outing and he seemed content to return to his run.


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
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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.


2009-04-09: CGC testing by Kyler Laird

I spent much of the afternoon at the kennel, working with dogs. Kati took Huntley on a walk shortly before the CGC test.  I'd requested volunteers through our Facebook group and we had a bunch of helpers.

I took Buddy first and he breezed through the test just like the first time he took it. This time, however, he nailed the "supervised separation." He's still my "Velcro dog" but I've been working with him on long downs with me out of sight. I put him in a down and he did break it but he remained relaxed. Yea!

Kati had been holding Huntley and he was still very active. I took him into the ring and he quickly focused. Down and stay were problems last time he tested but not today. I was delighted with his performance and he passed with no problems.

Then we moved to the more challenging dogs... Tibby did well for me earlier but had been out playing and was completely loopy while we waited for another dog to test. Although he did really well with most of the exercises he completely botched the down stays.

I wasn't expecting much from Bozo but he did an admiral job. He was very interested in everyone (including the neutral dog) but he did well with the other exercises.

For kicks I tried Cody. If he could have just done a down he would have passed. Bummer!


2009-04-28: Jacks joins us by Kyler Laird
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Jacks has been at the Jasper County Animal Shelter over 45 days. I've visited him a couple times and he's always been surprisingly friendly to me and the dogs. The shelter was full last week when I visited but they said they could hold him for another week. This week I fell behind in my schedule and didn't think I could make it to get him but I was told they were full, getting a "momma and a bunch of kittens," and Jacks was at the head of the list to go. I pulled him.

I put Buddy in charge of Jacks but Buddy only had a collar vs. Jacks's harness and they're both about 10 pounds so Buddy had a hard time convincing him to come outside. I finally picked them up and put them in the car and they did great on the ride home. Jacks did eventually sneak from the back and lie on my lap with Buddy in tow, under my arm.  I usually try to keep Buddy in back but I let it slide this time.

At the clinic Jacks and Buddy were very social and greeted other dogs and people. Jacks is always very relaxed. We stayed at the clinic quite awhile to talk with Layla and then put Jacks in a wall cage in preparation for neuter surgery in the morning.


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!


2009-05-02: Tibby is a Pet Partner by Kyler Laird
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Tibby (T-bone) and I have not fared well in our tests. We've tried Canine Good Citizen and Delta Society Pet Partners but he wasn't the primary dog getting my training attention at the time and I neglected to give him the preparation he needed. I scheduled the test today in Indy thinking it would give me the incentive to concentrate on his training but the Dead Week Dogs event took most of my energies. Fortunately Kati took the initiative to schedule some training for Tibby a couple days ago after I took him to Tractor Supply Company for an outing. Tibby quickly learned to flip around to get a treat from me each time Kati walked near him and I called his name. I've been working on down stays when I feed Tibby and he was also able to do those vastly better than he had demonstrated in other tests (where he'd roll over and pop up).

Today Kitty, Buddy and I went to the kennel around 9:30. I let all my dogs there go out to play for awhile before loading Tibby. He was a bit restless in the car as we headed to Indy so I took a detour and let him run on a county road. At first I let him run off-lead but he quickly ran to some houses and I got to chase him on foot for awhile. Then I put him on the Flexi and he ran over a mile beside the car. He was ready to rest when he got back in the car.

At the church where the tests are held Tibby was still pretty excited but I worked with him right up to our turn. Kitty and Buddy observed right next to the testing area. I dumped my treats but kept my treat pouch attached just in case I needed to fake a treat but it wasn't necessary. Tibby was very active during the entire test but it was easy for me to get his attention. He loves to go to people so I had to manage his jumping (mostly by holding him up so he was right in people's faces). Mostly he rolled over on his back for belly scratches but I had no problems calling him away from those scratches for the recall test. Finally, Gayle was feeling evil today and used a stuffed black cat that makes "meow" sounds for the "leave it" test. Tibby had failed "leave it" spectacularly last time but this time it was easy to call him away from the cat. What a great dog!

We were the last test so we went to lunch with Gayle afterward. I was quite relieved to have passed and enjoyed getting to chat with Gayle a bit about both our programs. She was headed to a hospital visit with Charlie and mentioned she'd meant to trim his nails. I had my Dremel in the car so I quickly trimmed him while my guys continued to relax. After Gayle left I let the guys run a bit in the grass by the road. Buddy does great off-lead. I kept Tibby on the Flexi but he was still very responsive when I'd call to him.

Back in West Lafayette, we got the house dogs and headed to playgroups. We mixed in the kennel dogs and enjoyed the beautiful weather.


2009-05-20: Mintonye and the Farmers Market by Kyler Laird
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Dexter returned to us last weekend and it's been good to have him again. It's been sunny here but not dry enough to plant so I decided to take him to Mintonye Elementary. Kitty took Morgan, Waynetta brought Maddie Bea, and Buddy tagged along with me, of course.

Inside, Dexter was the social butterfly, straining to greet everyone, and doing a wonderful job of dealing with hard patting and young fingers in his eyes, ears and mouth. Outside, the class took a walk and I let Buddy run free which was great fun to watch. Morgan was a bit demanding, always wanting to do tricks for treats but he did alright. And Maddie is such a perfect lady as always, making our guys look like a bunch of...boys.

After our regular visit we were asked to attend a Winn Dixie party for another class. The kids had a snack and then visited with the dogs for a bit and were very polite and appreciative. It was a good, relaxing visit.

Later in the afternoon Stan and Kara joined us at the West Lafayette Farmers Market. Morgan and Maddie stayed home but we added Dobky and GP. Dexter was, again, very social at the market and all the dogs did great with lots of handling by children, especially Buddy. Kara took Dexter for awhile and he did so well that she decided to take him home for a couple days.

Tonight on the way to the kennel (with Buddy and GP) I took a crate to Kara for Dexter. He's been doing beautifully, even ignoring her cat. Huntley wasn't at the kennel. Christine had already gotten him and she reported "He ran back and forth across our back yard for a solid 10 minutes when we got him home. He was so happy."


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.


2009-06-26: Dexter goes to the library by Kyler Laird

Dobky has been so good at reading sessions that I've been spoiled. I was thinking it would be easy to take him again today. Kitty took Grazie last time and did well with her. Kitty's out of town so she suggested I take Grazie today. But I thought it would be fun to try Dexter. I knew he might be a challenge but his personality seems like a good fit for the task.

As usual, we were running later than I'd like but we arrived on time. Dexter was a little nutty (pulling hard) as we walked inside and encountered the automatic doors and tile floors. When we walked in the room Keowee hailed us and we greeted him briefly. I enjoy seeing Keowee do so well. I didn't want to distract him though so we took our position on the other side of the room.

Dexter quickly settled on the blanket with me and immediately fell into his role as the children arrived. Dobky is outstanding at simply holding a position and being present and Dexter did well at that but he showed more interest in the readers. With only the slightest bit of suggestion a couple times Dexter would watch the readers and occasionally push his head forward into them for petting. After about 35 minutes I could sense that his attention was waning but he did a wonderful job for the full hour.

I was so impressed by Dexter's performance that I decided a treat was in order. We stopped at Silver Dipper on the way home for a frozen yogurt cone. At first Dexter took the whole cone in his mouth. (I've lost more than one cone to Grazie when she does that.) I asked Dexter to "go easy" and he was incredibly dainty after that. He would even stop to take turns with me.

I had an errand to run at the church and I wanted to visit the administrative assistant, Karin, there. She'd just put down her big dog yesterday. When we arrived she was busy with someone else so Dexter and I handled my errand in the balcony. We were up the first flight of stairs before I recalled that Dexter had a problem with stairs in a foster home. Hmmmm...I can imagine there was some hesitation but he did fine. It didn't take long to fix the audio computer's problem and we returned to the office.

Karin had one of her little dogs with her and she was quite concerned about introducing her to Dexter. I naively suggested that she forego the leash and just let the two dogs meet. Fortunately Dexter was as patient as I expected him to be and Karin was relieved that her dog had another friend. We stayed for awhile and Karin appreciated getting her "big dog fix."

We returned home for awhile and then I took Buddy to retrieve GP. GP was on loan to a friend, Fritz, whose dog died recently. It sounds like GP has been doing great and I appreciate Fritz's care of him. He kept GP longer than I expected but Fritz is traveling this weekend and in the upcoming weeks so it was time for GP to return.

I decided it was a good evening for a little outing so I took Buddy and GP to Camille's. GP doesn't hold a stay like the other dogs so he required a bit of management. (Buddy tried with great might to hold him in place but I don't think GP even noticed.) GP was quite an attraction, of course, and we had several families stop to meet him and Buddy.

Back home there was the usual tension but GP didn't have any major contact with the other dogs. Before heading to the kennel I decided to take everyone for a walk. I connected Grazie to Morgan and let him lead us on the bungee lead. Buddy was clipped to my shoe as usual. I held GP's lead and used my regular chest lead for Dexter. Bob, Jarreau, Marley, and Dobky clipped to my skijoring belt. The dogs quickly settled into my rhythm and we enjoyed the beautiful evening. I was especially impressed that the Pyrs fell in trail so nicely; normally Dexter is pulling hard to the side.

The walk went without incident but when we returned home GP was still uncomfortable, especially with Bob. I decided to take him with me to the kennel. He was a bit growly with both the new dogs and his old cohorts but I protected him and avoided incident. I think he'll be more comfortable there for awhile.


2009-08-18: Buddy crosses mountains by Kyler Laird
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After four years of being away from the UC Merced campus where I work it was time for me to visit. I had to neglect a lot of responsibilities at home to do it but the trip went well. Taking Buddy with me required a bit more effort and planning but he was a great companion and kept me centered.

I had flown GP to Hobart, IN to stay with Amanda in Portage as a test flight. Buddy and I left Indiana on August 9 and returned August 18. Kitty handled the house dogs and arranged care for Bozo and T-bone at the kennel.  I think it was especially good for other people to handle Bozo; more people appreciate him now.


2009-08-25: first "Dog Day Tuesday" at Saint Joseph College by Kyler Laird
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We took the truck and trailer along with the eight house dogs, GP and Jacks to Rensselaer today. This was the first Dog Day Tuesday at Saint Joseph College. We spent much of the day at Counseling and Health Services. About twenty students visited us there.

We started the day with GP, who was just perfect. Dobky lasted the whole afternoon while we rotated through Jarreau, Bob, Morgan, Marley, and Buddy. I wanted to try Dexter but neglected to get him and I decided against using Jacks and Grazie today.

The dogs were all appreciated but GP, Dobky and Buddy were certainly the standouts.  I'm looking forward to trying Dexter and Anna.


2009-09-03: first visit to Cumberland Elementary by Kyler Laird

Kitty and I took Buddy, Dobky, and GP to Mr. Brantley's first grade class at Cumberland Elementary. Miss Edelen’s class joined us for a total of about 40 students. The kids were wonderful and the dogs did a great job too.

We gave some history of each of the dogs and talked about how to safely meet dogs. That week we made the class newsletter.

We plan to return with more dogs and gear. The classes will be studying the Iditarod and we'll use the dogs to enhance the lesson.


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


2009-10-07: LTDR appears on the front page of the Rensselaer Republican by Kyler Laird

Rescued dogs help students relax


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