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GP

by Kyler Laird last modified 2010-03-27 17:02

Great Pyrenees, male

joined us: 2008-09-02 (3388 days ago)

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

all photos

We're currently handling this dog for Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue. Adoption requests should go through them.


2008-09-02: GP pickup by Kyler Laird
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 Just before Dexter found a foster home I got a request from Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue to handle another Pyr who was found stray in Starke County. I've been asked why I deal with such a difficult breed and it does seem like a poor investment but although the Pyrs in my life have been challenging they've also been very rewarding. I said I'd do what I can to help this guy.

It took a few attempts to arrange things but I finally met the new guy today at an intersection in the middle of nowhere NW Indiana. I needed to handle some paperwork so I jumped in the van with him. As the door opened I grabbed his collar thinking "I sure hope he doesn't have a collar problem!" He didn't. He was a sweetheart from the start.

We jumped out of the van together and strolled along the corn field at the side of the road before getting into my Jeep. He was easy to walk. Sure, he'd occasionally pull and sometime stop to smell things but he's not the least bit wild or stubborn. He jumped right into the back of the Jeep...or at least he tried. I gave him a boost and he settled right in like it was home. The hour long trip home was completely uneventful although he did like to hang way out the window when I had it down. (Yes, he was tethered.)

I had some business to handle at the clinic so he got to hang out in back with us for about an hour. He had no problems with the sounds and smells in back but he was a little cautious with the people sometimes. It was nothing bad; he just backed away a few times when he was greeted directly.

I uploaded some photos of him while I waited so that Waynetta could name him. I also checked him into the kennel and made an appointment for him to be examined and neutered in the morning. He hopped right on the scales and weighed only 77 pounds. He could stand to gain a bit of weight. Not having a name yet, I just called him the Great Pyr or "LTDR GP." I'd told Waynetta that he was a gentle guy and she suggested that we call him "Gentle Pyr" or simply continue with "GP" for short.

GP is matted down to his skin and his ears are in bad shape. Both have mites, I suspect, and one is swollen nearly closed. He's very patient with my prodding. The doctors are going to work on his ears while he's under anesthesia tomorrow and we'll shave him later. A bath will have to wait a week or so. That's a shame; he could really use one.

I'm looking forward to working with this guy. I don't yet have a firm grasp on his personality but it'll be fun to discover it.


2008-09-03: shaving GP by Kyler Laird
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This morning I headed to the feed store to buy a clipper. I was thinking that if I got a great one I could give GP a quick buzz and bath before his surgery. While at the store I got a call that he'd been bumped from surgery so I'd have until Friday. That gave me plenty of time to do the job...and I'd need it.

I started around 10:00, combing GP's head while I was on a business call. I didn't want to shave his head and I decided I'd done enough to keep it. I clipped at GP wherever he'd let me. Finally he was lying still and by 11:45 I had a small patch down to the skin. A lunch meeting with a prospective therapy dog person took me away for an hour but then I returned to clipping. I started to make good headway through the mats. It was dense and tough going. It reminded me of Neopolitan ice cream: a thick layer of dark dirty fur, another layer of bright white undercoat, and pink skin. The fur really needed to go.

We took a lot of breaks and things went well until the end - GP's end. He got very agitated when I clipped near his butt and tail. He doesn't seem to mind me holding or touching him there but anytime I started clipping, even with scissors, he'd buck. Finally I tied him and just hurried through it. I hated to bother him like that but it needed to be done before surgery, otherwise it would have to wait another week or so. Despite GP's displeasure with me bothering his bum, he never made any movements toward me even though he had plenty of opportunities to make contact.

GP was happy to climb into the tub for a treat but didn't want to stay there. He was even more distraught by the water but he did alright until I needed to do his head. We finished by 6:00 and GP seemed comfortable with his exposed skin. I turned him out in back for his final outing before returning him to his kennel for dinner.


2008-09-05: GP surgery by Kyler Laird

GP got bumped from surgery earlier this week and it's a good thing. Since then I noticed he had a rectal polyp and his fecal results finally arrived - whipworm and coccydia positive. Today the polyp was removed, GP was neutered, his teeth were scraped, a microchip was inserted and ringworm was discovered and treated. He's not a happy camper but I hope he's finally on the road to recovery.


2008-09-13: full day by Kyler Laird
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We've been staying busy and I've neglected to make updates so I'm going to catch up here.

On Friday I was contacted by Indiana Spay and Neuter because they were full of dogs. They have a striking blue-eyed white Husky but I'd decided I'm over my quota of Huskies. Instead, I decided to help an older doodle, Delaney. Delaney was dropped at the kennel Friday evening. I was told his face was caked with burrs so I went there this morning to shave him. By the time I arrived the groomers had squeezed him into the schedule and were almost done with him. They'd uncovered a weeping cyst on his chest and a substantial fatty lump/tumor/? elsewhere. A doctor had checked the cyst and said it will need to be removed so he'll be in surgery next week. Despite his problems I was told he was a nice guy by everyone who'd encountered him. (While at the clinic I also learned that GP has little interest in kittens.)

With Delaney's care covered I decided to get everyone out to play for awhile (including Maisie and Barouch, who are boarding) and then I bathed Judo. He'd been blowing his coat for awhile and really needed to be brushed but I put him straight into the bath. GP stayed with us to get accustomed to the grooming area. Judo handled the bath well and allowed me to use the blow dryer on him without complaint. I took Judo home after the bath and he got along well with everyone at home. Later I took him to the LayFlats festival for the Almost Home Humane Society. Well...I tried to take him but I screwed up and let him get loose while loading him in the car. He took a tour of the neighborhood with me in pursuit, refusing to come to me even when I was very close to him. Kitty finally got him while I circled to watch for him at the main road. He'd taken a dip in the pond so I hosed him clean(er) before departing.

At LayFlats Judo was the only dog with a van full of cats. He got some good attention and although it was very loud there he behaved well and seemed comfortable. As we were preparing to leave a young couple submitted an application to adopt Judo. It's time for him to find a great home where he's appreciated.

After LayFlats we returned home to feed everyone. Kitty helped Judo with the house dining rules (down stays). While hanging out with us Judo was great and even went into a crate on his own for awhile. We returned to the kennel that night with all the dogs and pulled the kennel dogs for a late play session. Although GP had not met the house dogs and Delaney had not met anyone there were no major problems. Delaney warned everyone that he was uncomfortable by growling at fast-approaching dogs. Also, when we left Judo got pushy with GP and got a bit of a smack-down but although it lasted awhile there were no injuries. I like GP.

After dinner we returned home by way of the grocery and all of the house dogs did well while we waited for Kitty to do the shopping. They got a bit of attention and handled the passing shoppers without a peep.


2008-09-25: night outing by Kyler Laird

We've been at the kennel late the last few nights. Yesterday and today we had a couple of my cousin's dogs, Bella and Bear, Lab. siblings, staying at the kennel.

Everyone is doing so well! Judo and GP had a little spat late in our visit but it was without injury. Delaney was such a gentleman, as usual. He has gotten much more relaxed with everyone and is just a delight. I need to get a collar for him but he's been so easy to handle; I often just let him wander and he'll follow me wherever I go and even get in his kennel on his own.

The new guy, Chewie, is finally out of isolation. I was told that he'd been eliminating in his crate and I wanted to get him out at night to give him a chance to make it to morning. When Kitty pulled him from his kennel he was clean! She brought him out after all of the big dogs and he was amazing. We kept him in the entry area and added a couple other dogs. I was concerned that Bob might overwhelm him. Instead, he slipped through the gate and straight into Bob!

Chewie is truly amazing. He never makes a noise and seems completely unfazed by much larger dogs charging him. He poked Grazie a few times and got some corrections from her but he didn't cower a bit. Kitty and I both held him a few times and he seems as comfortable in the air as on the ground. I'm always looking for little dogs who break the stereotype of being scared and yappy. This guy seems perfect. I'm looking forward to working with him.


2008-10-03: Friday playgroups by Kyler Laird
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Waynetta called me today to ask about bringing Aries to meet my pack. She wanted to keep away from playgroup times to avoid other dogs so we met at 3:30, just before playgroups. Aries, of course, did fine meeting everyone. We eventually added the kenneled dogs and Stan joined us. They were doing so well that we stayed for playgroups.  We had a good bunch of dogs and were joined by Sunny and his sister, Leia.

Everyone got along beautifully until the very end when we mistakenly tethered GP and Chewie to the same person to return to the kennel. I looked over to see GP holding Chewie in his mouth. I made my way through the gates to them and GP quickly dropped Chewie who ran off and squeezed through a gate. He was a bit scratched but did not sustain any major damage. GP had a bite on his nose. I wonder what happened.

We were all ready for dinner so I took our dogs and Aries home. I crated Aries and Dobky (separately), leaving the normally-crated Dexter and Marley free in the house with the rest of the dogs. Kitty and I joined Waynetta and Stan for dinner then returned to find the dogs all doing well.


2008-10-04: Saturday socialization by Kyler Laird
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I arrived well before playgroups to work with Crockett some more. We ran it just like the other times, starting with the Poodle boys, Grazie, then added Bob and Dexter. Dobky and Bob are both very confident with Crockett but there weren't any situations that couldn't be defused with some well-placed sounds.

Morgan and Crockett showed that they obviously recalled what happened last time the met. They were quite vocal with each other when Crockett initially arrived. I hesitated to bring them together again but decided I could manage them as long as no one else appeared.

I clipped Morgan to me in the main playgroup area stood behind the gate with him as I unlocked the gate. Crockett came through the gate looking for Morgan but I blocked him with a jacket. Morgan was not interested in engaging and Crockett quickly left to check out the new space. Crockett made a few more passes and showed some interest in Morgan but Mo seemed to get the message that I was in charge of handling the pushy young guy. In fact, he was pulling toward the gate to get into the other playgroup area, away from Crockett.

I decided that Morgan would not be a problem and unclipped him. I stayed on my toes and blocked Crockett a few times but let them get progressively closer. Eventually they were tempering themselves, making passes but not displaying aggression. (Crockett's hackles make quite a display when he's "on.") We ended the socialization and returned Crockett to his kennel without incident before playgroups started.

After returning Crockett I released Peyton, GP and Delaney to join us for playgroups. T-bone is still recovering from surgery and Judo is still on loan with Onyx. The kennel dogs were full of energy and Peyton was especially boisterous. We were joined by other dogs for playgroups, including Judo.  I discovered that Judo has been doing very well with Onyx, giving her nearly constant play. Although he hasn't hurt the cat, he has been chasing. We'll work on that.

I figured my pack had enough play already and I was trying to leave quickly but got delayed. Apparently Marley had a run-in with GP and I looked over to see GP grasping Marley's butt firmly in his mouth. Again, GP quickly released his grip when I reached him and Marley did not seem physically injured. GP did not seem at all bothered. I'm thinking that perhaps he's found an effective way to deal with pesky dogs. I'd like to convince him to use a different strategy. I'll need to be more protective of him.


2008-10-06: harvest begins by Kyler Laird
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We began harvesting today. Because we're doing soybeans and I have a spiffy semi truck now, I decided I should be able to handle it as the only driver. Kitty was home with our dogs so I wanted to take a kennel dog with me. I've wanted some one-on-one time with Crockett so I picked him up around noon. He was fabulous in the car; he stayed in the back, didn't make a sound and seemed relaxed.

I misunderstood when Dad was leaving for town so I was a bit hurried when I arrived at the farm. Crockett and I jumped in the truck with Dad for a lift to the shop where a grain truck had been repaired. Crockett was excited to meet Dad at first but once I got Crockett positioned he was fine. We bailed out at the highway and walked a bit to the shop. Crockett pulled, of course, but he seemed to at least have the notion of heeling and I encouraged him to hang back with me. When I went inside to get the key for the truck I don't think the woman behind the counter saw Crockett...until he put his paws on the counter. It didn't seem to bother her and Crockett was being good-natured. We hopped in the grain truck and Crockett again settled for the ride. He's remarkably relaxed for a dog who has been kenneled and not usually allowed to play with the others.

After dropping the grain truck in the field we headed back to the house to get my semi. Again, Crockett pulled quite a bit for the first half mile but then settled into a decent heel. At the house I left Crockett in my Jeep while I wrangled the semi into position. That took awhile but he seemed content. Crockett also got to meet Dad's dog. The boys had no problems with each other although they wanted to play more than my lead would allow.

Crockett made himself comfortable in the back of the semi and we headed to the field. We met our neighbor's dog there and Crockett did well with him too. We had time to wait for the other truck to be filled so I came back and settled on the bunk to do some work. Crockett joined me a couple times but was never pushy.

When the smaller truck was ready we took it to the elevator. I wanted to check on contracts after I dumped so I took Crockett inside with me. He pulled a bit but was easy to manage in the tight office spaces and, as always, kept quiet. Back at the farm we returned to work in the semi until it was full. I marveled at how well Crockett does. He's always quiet and relaxed, a great companion.

After I returned Crockett to his kennel that night I released the other dogs. I had a report that T-bone (wearing an e-collar) got loose and had a fight with GP (who was on a trolley line) that day but they were fine until they got outside. They got a bit growly with each other a few times but it was easy to manage. Both dogs seemed a bit desperate for attention so I tried to provide it. Peyton and Delaney were doing their usual - Peyton was zooming and Delaney kept checking in with me, just looking for an ear scratch. After I got the guys back in their kennels I pulled Crockett again for one last outing before going home.

I get frustrated when these guys get into fights but it's a joy to spend time with them. They're all such wonderful dogs who just need more attention. It will be a challenge to provide that during harvest but I'm looking forward to pulling one of them each day for awhile.


2008-10-07: rain day by Kyler Laird
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Today was GP's turn to go the farm with me. He's been scrapping witha other dogs recently and I get the feeling he just needs some attention. He seemed so happy to be pulled from his run. At first he wouldn't leave my side when I let him out in back to relieve himself. GP was perfect in the car. I can imagine he was relieved to be out of the kennel pack.

At the farm GP met our neighbor's submissive retriever. They got along fine and then GP and I went to the field. I was surprised that the semi still wasn't loaded but it gave us time to play. I let GP go off-lead for awhile because he has such a wonderful recall; it usually involves jumping and swinging his butt into me to rub.

I enjoyed playing with GP until the trailer was loaded. GP can't jump in and out of the semi like Crockett but he let me help him. Inside the semi he's completely relaxed. Mostly he curls up on the floor in the back and sleeps. (He did raise his head for me to take a photo.) I took him into the elevator just to retrieve the ticket and he had no problems. It started raining as we returned to the semi. The rain intensified on our way home.

That's it for the day - one load (955 bushels with room to spare). The combines were stowed when I returned. I put the semi in the barn and shuttled to get my Jeep. (GP waited in the semi but did want to join me. See photo.) Now I'm lounging in the back of the semi with GP. Despite being on hard plywood (where a new mattress will soon go) and being under a harsh fluorescent light it's a joy to have GP sleeping next to me as I type and listen to the rain.


2008-10-09: T-bone's turn by Kyler Laird
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I've been trying to avoid T-bone for awhile. He's been wearing an e-collar while he recovers from his surgery a week ago. I decided he needed some attention though and he should be pretty well healed by now. It was his day to go to the farm with me.

T-bone gets so excited whenever I see him. He often jumps on me so I try to maintain tight control of his collar when I greet him. I let him out for awhile and then we dropped Kitty at home and headed to the farm. T-bone behaved well enough in the car but he was panting hard the whole way. When we arrived at the farm I tethered him to me and started checking the semi. I wasn't paying much attention to T-bone but soon he was loose and running with Dad's dog. I still don't know how he became unclipped but as soon as I realized it I ran for the big open doors. I had one closed when I saw T-bone running toward the other door. I ran toward him, hoping he'd duck back in the barn but he scooted right by me and started zipping around the houses.

Ug. Not a good way to start the (late) day. I decided to continue preparing the semi because I knew I couldn't catch T-bone and I figured he needed some exercise anyway. As I backed out of the barn I saw the dogs zip past and was grateful that they hadn't headed for the fields or woods. I pulled behind the house and got the attention of Dad's dog. As I gave him a treat T-bone nosed between us and I calmly grabbed him while producing another treat. One more treat and he was in the semi.

When we got to the field a smaller truck was already full so we took it to town. T-bone continued his panting the whole way but seemed alright otherwise. I took him inside to grab our receipt and he was pulling like mad. He wouldn't jump in the truck so I had to help him again but he always backs away when I try to lift him. He's fine when I finally get him but he's not comfortable before that.

We took another small truck and then the combines moved to a new field. We followed with the semi and I got to sit in back with T-bone while I did some work. He continued to pant and he was a little restless but still well-behaved. It was quite a contrast to how GP just stretched out next to me and slept.

The combines opened the next field and then headed for home. The semi still wasn't full but it was too late to take a load into town anyway. We put the semi back in the barn and headed for home. I thought T-bone might relax a few times but he always came right back up.

At the kennel I put T-bone in his run and fed him then released the other dogs. GP and Peyton got to run loose but I kept Crockett tethered to me. Crockett is still growly with the other dogs when they get in his face and he pulls hard so I just held his collar. Outside Peyton zoomed while GP wandered. GP made several passes at us and Crockett wasn't being too growly. I was trying to use a lesson I learned at the Pam Reid seminar; instead of just addressing the behavior I want changed I've been trying to change the dogs' emotions. Even when they're growling at each other I try to stay jolly and continue to massage both dogs. It seems to work well. After awhile I decided to switch Crockett for GP.

Peyton is so active that I worried he'd trigger a response from Crockett but instead they had a wonderful time. I was thrilled to see them running figure eights around the yard. They had a glorious time with no altercations and oh, did they ever run. Crockett came zipping by GP and me several times but got no response. GP was enjoying leaning into me and getting massaged so much that he seemed disinterested in the other dogs. I had no problem handling all three dogs in close contact at once.

I eventually released GP but he mostly remained next to me. He started playing with me a few times. Each time, as soon as I'd react and return his play bow Crockett would come through and slam into GP. I thought it would trigger a fight the first time but they showed no interest. I wonder if it's because GP was having such fun with me? Shortly after that we returned to the kennel. What a great bunch of dogs.

I put Crockett away but Peyton and GP were still running around. Eventually Peyton came to me and went in his run but GP wanted to play. Fine, I allowed GP to be free while I took T-bone out once more but then GP came bounding over and the two had a spat. I'm not even sure what happened but it was more flash than bang. I grabbed both dogs and put them in their runs. I was done, a sour end note but still a good night with happy dogs.


2008-10-10: good harvest by Kyler Laird
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I took GP to the farm again today. It was difficult to decide who would join me. Although other dogs certainly could have used the outing I was looking for an "easy" dog today and I really enjoyed GP last time.

As before, GP was relaxed in the car. When we arrived I left him in the Jeep while I checked the semi but he made a fuss so I tethered him to me and he was content to follow. He was just wonderful all day. I even let him roam off-lead in the fields but he stuck pretty close to me. At the elevator we walked around a couple times while waiting. GP readily greeted some men who were admiring him. Once when I left him in a truck while I ran to get my receipt I returned to see him starting to climb through the partially-open driver's window. (The passenger window was all the way open.) I yelled to him and he immediately relaxed. I think he just wanted to find me.

At the end of the day we shuttled trucks, walking the return leg to the field. GP heels surprisingly well after a day of activity. He pulled a bit but readily repositioned when asked. Smells were very interesting to GP; he spent a lot of time with his nose in the grass. I kept thinking he should easily pass his CGC but I realized he might be bonding to me a bit too much to pass the supervised separation. Gotta work on that.

Back at the kennel I fed GP and pulled Peyton, Crockett and...Judo! Judo?! Yes, he returned today from his outing and yes, I was taking him out with Crockett. While Peyton and Crockett played like old buddies, I got to know Judo again. He and Crockett were definitely not comfortable with each other. Piloerection was dramatic on these two beautiful northern dogs. I worked them for quite awhile, touching them lots, "jollying" them, one and then the other, always holding one and letting the other roam. I'm developing a pattern for this. It's remarkable how easy it's been to handle very reactive dogs by keeping my hands and face between their pointy parts and diverting their gazes. I know we're making progress when the loose dog relaxes and presents for the dog I'm holding to sniff.

So...how'd these two "dog aggressive" dogs do (with feisty Peyton thrown in for zest)? They were remarkably good. There wasn't outright play like Crockett and Peyton enjoyed the night before but they all came in very close contact, sometimes at a run, without incident. I'm so proud of these guys!

Of course I had to go and push it. (There's a pattern.) I returned Crockett, Peyton and Judo then pulled GP and T-bone. Oh, boy, there was tension between those two. I did my usual but T-bone wasn't buying it. He kept his eye trained on GP whenever I was holding him. GP was fine though. I think I need to spend more time with T-bone before he'll trust me the way I need.


2008-10-11: long day by Kyler Laird
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As I was heading to the farm today I got a call that Fang had arrived at the kennel. Oh! I'd almost forgotten about him. I agreed to help IAMRA move a Malamute to Merrillville and asked that he be dropped at the kennel for me to transport when weather allows me to be out of the fields. I wanted to personally handle the intake so I stopped in to meet the transport. I enjoyed talking dogs for awhile and Fang ("Fangman") seemed to be an easy-going guy. Once the transporter left I decided to take Fang with me.

Fang was well-behaved in the car and at the farm. He got along well with the other dogs there. I was hoping to use him as transport from field to another but as soon as I jumped on my scooter he gave up interest in pulling me. Instead he trotted along behind me.

I wanted to return home in time to take Kitty to a festival in town. As I hurried to put away trucks I forgot to grab my computer. I didn't realize it until I was half way home so that made me even later. I dropped Fang in his run with some food and water and hurriedly grabbed the first three dogs in the line - Peyton, Crockett and T-bone. T-bone was just in a fight yesterday so I thought I'd hold him close to me while Crockett and Peyton played. It didn't work that way.

We were outside only a minute before Crockett came at T-bone. T-bone reacted and even though I had his collar we suddenly had a fight. My wrist was in the way but Crockett inhibited his bite (fortunately!). Unfortunately T-bone wasn't pulling any punches. As I'd pull dogs apart one would always come back for more - even Peyton was beating up on T-bone. I finally stopped the fight and noticed Crockett holding a front paw. Dang! He'd had a pad completely split open. It was bad.

I put dogs away and bandaged Crockett (with Layla's assistance by phone). I got him back to his run wearing an e-collar, wiped up most of the blood, and let GP and Judo out. They were so good! I love getting GP's attention. When I returned I found Crockett missing the end of his bandage. Grrrr.

I considered taking him to the emergency clinic but I know there's not a whole lot more they'd do for him other than start antibiotics.  I decided to bandage him again, being a bit more thorough.  I took Fang out for awhile and returned to see the bandages intact.

I finally got home, very late, but we took Dobky and Morgan to town.  The boys did well with the crowd and loud music.  Dobky is especially calm and got a lot of attention.  The food booths were closed by the time we arrived so we had dinner at Red 7.  The boys did downstays the whole time and Dobky only got up once (to be petted by a cute waitress - hard to blame him).  We also happened to meet an enthusiastic young man who is interested in using therapy dogs in a program with adults who have special needs.  I look forward to discussing that more.


2008-10-12: studying T-bone by Kyler Laird
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Oh, T-bone...we need to know each other better. I'm tired of his fighting so I want to figure out how to work with him. Soon after we arrived we were approached by a kitten. T-bone was very interested but didn't get completely nuts. T-bone panted hard the entire day but I made him work for it a bit. We took a quick scooter ride at first and he did alright so we later made a longer (~.8 mile) trip. He ran riefly but mostly trotted, staying on the road fairly well. Late in the day T-bone ran and hit the end of the bungee lead I was wearing and snapped his collar. I let him run while I shuttled a truck and when I returned I walked around the house for awhile calling to him. As I was about to give up he came zipping toward me for a body slam. I grabbed the harness he was still wearing and redirected him to the ground for a belly-rubbing session before clipping onto the harness and walking back to the car. I like this guy.

When we returned to the kennel I fed T-bone and checked on Crockett's paw. It was still bandaged! I took Crockett out on lead with Peyton but Crockett just hobbled around a bit. Once Crockett and Peyton were back in their runs I pulled Judo, GP and Fangman. I kept Fang on-lead for awhile but it was obvious that he was fine even with the boisterous boys. GP just wanted his butt rubbed and Judo was growly/pushy - the usual. Fang handled it like a champ.


2008-10-13: good night by Kyler Laird
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I rushed away from lunch with Kitty and friends so I didn't have time to pick up a dog today. I still stopped at the kennel on the way home though. Crockett was on the hospital side so it was just Judo, Peyton, GP, Fang, and T-bone in the runs. I wanted to let them all play together so I grabbed a wire basket muzzle Waynetta left for us. T-bone calmly sat for me and readily accepted the muzzle. That was fortunate because I didn't have time to do a proper introduction.

Wearing the muzzle, T-bone was a different dog. The other dogs were already loose and T-bone only wanted to get away from them. GP got in his face and they were both growly but I just grabbed them and headed for the door. Outside T-bone stuck right with me and was a bit rigid but the others were fine. Everyone took it easy for awhile and mostly wanted my attention. Eventually they roamed the yard more.

Peyton and Judo played like crazy. Occasionally T-bone would run over to check them but after reaching them he'd quickly return to me. All the dogs were on top of each other around me but T-bone took it in stride for the most part. Fang would roll on his back on one side of me while GP would back into me from the other side. T-bone was pressed in the middle and I wondered if he was getting it - that this is a safe situation that doesn't require defensive moves. I hope he did. I sure enjoyed these wonderful guys.

After returning everyone to their runs I visited the hospital runs and found that Crockett had already removed the Medi-Paw from his leg. I replaced it but he quickly shed it two more times during our brief walk so I just taped his wrap a bit more. The doctor sutured his pad with stainless steel wire today. It should hold up to some abuse but I really don't want him licking at it. I'll check on him tomorrow.


2008-10-14: dirty dozen by Kyler Laird
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We got a bit of rain today so we weren't in the fields. I spent the day catching up on work but when Kitty returned we took the dogs to the kennel to play. It's been a long time since they've been out to play.

After we unloaded I watched our guys while Kitty brought the kennel dogs. T-bone was first and I put him in the far play area to chill for awhile. Judo, Peyton, GP, and Fang followed and went in the adjacent play area. (Crockett is still recovering on hospital side.) It didn't take long at all to integrate that group with our guys. Fang is so easygoing and GP is just a sweetie who wants my attention.

Kitty took Morgan inside to have his leg wound checked and I strapped the muzzle to T-bone. I love the muzzle! T-bone is not thrilled with it but it's a wonderful tool. I brought him right in with everyone else and he was fine. There were several instances where I would have worried if he hadn't worn the muzzle but they weren't a problem at all tonight.

Dobky followed T-bone very closely and made frequent dominant gestures. T-bone mostly ignored him. Morgan and Kitty returned and Mo seemed almost disinterested in T-bone. I didn't expect that.

Everyone was doing so well that I thought we deserved some time in the big park area. I haven't had so many dogs out there in awhile. It was wonderful to watch them run. They picked up a few burrs but it was worth a little cleanup.

After returning the kennel dogs Kitty and I went to dinner with our pack. Dobky joined Morgan, Jarreau and Marley in a down stay (off-lead) and did well. Everyone was mellow during dinner. It was a good night.


2008-10-17: drizzly Friday by Kyler Laird
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It's been raining so I've not been at the farm as I was expecting. I took Mackey and Keowee out for a walk in the middle of the day and then I got to attend playgroups around 4:30. It's a good thing I got there a little early; only one monitor was there and we were getting a lot of clients. I took over the "big dog" section and my guys had a blast.

I'd gotten a call earlier from a couple friends we know from the Lafayette dog park who wanted to visit. They came and enjoyed seeing so many big dogs getting to play without anyone going crazy. I hope to see them bring their dogs soon.

It wasn't until others left at the end that I could pull the kennel dogs to play. I was expecting the mix of my tired guys and the fresh and nutty kennel dogs to be a challenge but they got along quite well. There was a minor scuffle between GP and Marley once when the dogs were all packed by the gate but that was all. T-bone wore his muzzle the whole time and seems to be doing alright. I'm in no hurry to discontinue the muzzle.

Later tonight I returned to the kennel to spend some time with Crockett. Poor guy! His left leg has been bandaged against his body and he's wearing a "no-bite" collar to keep him from bothering his foot. It reminds me a bit too much of my dog Garbo when he had osteosarcoma. Crockett will be better soon though and I'll try not to upset him in the meantime.  It was drizzling while we were outside so perhaps I'll get to spend time with him tomorrow too.


2008-10-19: CGC testing by Kyler Laird
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After church I drove home and got Morgan while Kitty prepared the testing room at church. Morgan and I returned well before the testing time so we joined Kitty at a congregation meeting. It was good for Morgan to relax for a bit before the test. I gave him a fresh rope toy that I grabbed on the way out of the house but he seemed content just to be out with us.

Just before 1:00 we headed to the testing room. We had lots of volunteers helping! Kitty and Waynetta have been fielding calls and it was good to see some of those people helping. Unfortunately Morgan and I couldn't socialize much with the "strangers."

Morgan and I were the first team of the day so the evaluator explained more to the helpers during our test. I enjoy working with Morgan and he was doing a good job for me. He even passed the "leave it" test! I'm so pleased with how the big guy does.

After our test we all jumped in the car. In 20 minutes it would be time for me to test with Keowee. I dropped Kitty and Morgan at home and picked up Keowee at his foster home. He was crated when I got there and I knew he'd be a little wound up so when we got on the side streets near the church I let him run alongside the car. He was still going strong when we neared the church so I took a detour and he finally seemed a bit tired for the last half mile. We arrived right on time and Keowee was much calmer than usual.

Keowee and I haven't worked together formally in a long time (or ever?) but he did well for me. We barely passed the "neutral dog" test though. He wanted so much to meet Pebbles, and she wanted to meet him too. But we made it! I dropped Keowee back at his house and headed to the farm alone.

On the way home from the farm I stopped at the kennel. I let Judo, Peyton, GP, Fang and T-bone (muzzled) out en masse. They are all so good. There doesn't seem to be any tension at all between them. Peyton and Judo played as usual while GP leaned on me. Fang is just a sweetie; he's everyone's friend. And T-bone...oh, he's a jewel! He's obviously bonded to me a bit but now he's venturing off to play with the other dogs. He doesn't get too worked up though and he always returns to me eventually.

T-bone seemed so comfortable with the other dogs that I decided to go ahead and remove his muzzle but I kept him tethered to me. Even though GP and Fang were constantly crowding us he behaved perfectly. Peyton visited a few times but Judo stayed away when I had T-bone. That concerns me. T-bone wanted to play with the others but I muzzled him each time I released him. I think he's going to be part of the pack soon though. It's a super group and I'm enjoying each one of them.

Everyone went back to their runs easily and I headed over to the hospital side to see Crockett. I could hear barking as I approached but I think it was the new Newf in another run. Crockett and I went outside but he didn't seem very interested. I decided to let him go off-lead; he's still hobbling on three legs so I figured he'd be alright but he headed straight for open water. I quickly looped him and encouraged him to relieve himself but we eventually just went back inside. (And, yes, then I took the Newf outside.)


2008-10-20: T-bone unleashed by Kyler Laird
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I visited the clinic on the way to the farm today to check on Crockett. He's been a challenge. We're still working on keeping him from picking at his pad sutures. It looks like he's already gotten one of them.

I've been so happy with T-bone lately that I wanted to continue working with him. He was wonderful! He's been off-lead a couple times at the farm by accident but I decided to release him today. It was fantastic to watch him run and play in the field. I feared he'd "make like a Husky" and head directly for the horizon. Instead he zipped around, circling back to me occasionally. He had fun! Once he did run off after a cyclist but he wasn't malevolent and he came right back when I crinkled a bag of treats. He got a treat each time he jumped into the truck after that.

I was so happy with T-bone that I tried letting him out with the other dogs at the kennel without a muzzle. Judo is definitely not happy about that but everyone was fine. T-bone finally got to play with Fang and Peyton; they went on for quite awhile. T-bone would try to join when Judo and Peyton played but Judo would always back off whenever T-bone approached. GP just stayed stayed close to me.  It was good.

After everyone returned to their runs I checked on Crockett.  His leg was free but he wore a newly-modified e-collar.  I took him outside for a bit but he didn't seem interested in more.  I think he's tired of being isolated.


2008-11-02: Crockett's outing by Kyler Laird

Today we dropped Bob at the kennel to rest and took Crockett to the farm with our other six home dogs. Crockett was muzzled for the ride and stayed on Kitty's lap. At the farm he ran with the other dogs and seemed generally alright although his pad still looks awful. It was hard to keep it covered all day even though he rode with me.

At the end of the day we left all of the home dogs in the semi in the field while we shuttled trucks. We returned after about ten minutes and I saw Morgan running toward me on the road. Then I quickly spotted the rest of the dogs in the field! Somehow the door to the semi had opened and all of the dogs were free - but Jarreau chose to stay in the semi. (Good dog, Jarreau!) Kitty collected the dogs as I struggled to muzzle Crockett. They all seemed happy to hop into the Jeep but they still avoided Crockett even though he was muzzled and tethered in the back.

We returned Crockett to the clinic and I released all of the dogs in the kennel. Bob stayed tethered to me as he hobbled about. Everyone else did their usual without giving Bob too much grief.


2008-11-02: corn harvest by Kyler Laird
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During soybean harvest I was able to take a breath every so often and write a bit about the dogs and Kitty stayed at home with our dogs there. Since we've been in corn I've hardly had a spare moment. Kitty and I take all of our home dogs (Grazie, Morgan, Jarreau, Marley, Bob, Dexter, Dobky) to the farm in the morning. On the way I pull up a gravel lane in the middle of a couple 'bean fields we've already harvested and I let the dogs run to the end of it where I collect them - except for Bob and sometimes Morgan, who get to chase us back to the road. The dogs are ready to relax a bit  after that.  We load them into the semi and haul grain non-stop all day. Kitty drives the semi and a tandem truck while I drive two tandems. Most of the dogs wait in the semi but we pull a dog or two to go with us in the smaller trucks. We head home well after dark and feed the dogs at home. Kitty and I often go out to eat before or after we visit the dogs at the kennel.

The dogs are generally doing well at the farm. Besides their brief morning run, they often get to run free in the fields and around the barns. The Poodle mixes do especially well and Dexter is doing much better.  Morgan got confused and started to run down the road after Dad's truck once but Kitty called him back. Once when I let the dogs out in the field Bob just started running. He'd obviously slipped into "Husky mode" and was not going to return. Morgan ran after him and they were gone, headed toward the barns. The crops were harvested in the area and I assumed they'd wait by the barns so I didn't worry but when we finally had a full load and headed that way I didn't find the dogs. I got the Jeep and drove all around the farm multiple times without spotting them. Finally I returned to the trucks in the field and there was Bob. I stood on top of the truck and saw a black speck moving my way on a road between a couple of our fields where I didn't even think to look earlier. Morgan was happy to jump in the Jeep when I reached him and I was sooo happy to have him return safely.

Bob and Morgan's instincts got them into trouble again yesterday. We had a bit of a wait for a load as we finished a field so we were all in the semi. It was warm and I had opened the windows. I jumped in the combine to talk to Dad and decided to ride with him as he finished, leaving Kitty with the dogs. Then I got a frantic call from her. I ran back to the end of the field to find Morgan and Bob playing "tug" with a rabbit. (The rabbits come out as we finish a field.) Bob was obviously injured. I think he broke a toe jumping out of the semi. Grrrr...

The kennel dogs are doing wonderfully. Peyton and Judo love to play every night. GP still snuggles close to me a lot but he ventures out more now. Fangman goes between hanging out with me and playing happily with the other dogs. And T-bone is a joy - he is playing well with the other dogs but he craves attention from me. I often call him and he immediately stops whatever he's doing and comes dashing to - and into - me. He is going to be a super dog.

Chewie and Delaney are staying with Layla. It sounds like she's found a home for Delaney but he's had a couple seizures so she's trying to address that before he goes. Chewie is doing well and has recovered from the rough handling GP gave him.

Keowee is still living with Allison and causing some frustrations. He's not doing well in playgroups these days. I had him out with my usual dozen over a week ago and he kept getting into fights. It was like a barroom brawl - as soon as he'd start something several other fights would erupt. There were no injuries but I did break the small camera I usually carry so I haven't been taking many photos recently.

Last Sunday was Dogtoberfest and it seemed to go beautifully. It was windy but the weather was otherwise good. I stayed out in the playgroup area the whole time with my dozen dogs. We were the "playgroup demonstration." All of the dogs were out there most of the time (three hours) and Maddie joined us for awhile too. They did remarkably well, especially for such an extended time and Maddie's first time with many of the dogs. We had some potential adopters visit Peyton and I think one made an application (through IDOG) for him.

The elevator doesn't open until noon today so we're getting a late start. I might swap Bob for Crockett on the way to the farm. I'd like to find a less-demanding foster home where Bob can recover. Crockett has been getting a lot of attention at the clinic, often hanging out in the office along with Chewie, but he's a little stir crazy. He got through to his second set of stitches and removed them Friday morning. We've decided to just let his paw heal on its own. He needs an outing though.


2008-11-06: busy days by Kyler Laird
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Harvest continues but things are happening with the dogs too. Yesterday the grain elevators closed early so I called Jasper County Animal Shelter about a Giant Schnauzer I'd promised to check. I had just enough time to drive over to see him before the shelter closed but when I looked at their online listing I didn't see him. The ACO told me that a breed rescue in Arizona had arranged for him to be pulled. (Yea!) While I was on the phone she asked if I knew anything about Newfoundlands...

Newfoundlands?! Why, yes, I've enjoyed a few recently. In fact, just the night before I was delighted to play with one of South Central Newfoundland Club Rescue's Newfs, Shiloh, at the kennel. She's a Landseer and I'd discussed her wonderful personality with her guardian who told me that Landseers have "the goofy gene." I had already been thinking about having a Landseer of my own. And it turns out the Newf at JCAS is a Landseer!

I arrived at JCAS and made my way to the Newf, Huntley. He seemed small and not so Newfish when I first approached him in the run. Then I got him outside and could see him from a distance. He's a beautiful boy - and very much a Newf, even though he's a bit small. Huntley came from a breeder in Missouri, is 11 months old, and was relinquished because his owner moved. I liked him from the start. He needs quite a bit of training but he's a good playful boy.

I hadn't told Kitty about Huntley and she was waiting inside the semi in a field with our six dogs when I returned. (Bob goes to the kennel for the day to take it easy on his toes.) The dogs were so excited when I got out with Huntley. I soon released them from the semi and everyone played in the field. Huntley got along well with everyone from the start. I was relieved because I didn't know how we'd get him home otherwise; I hadn't brought my usual gear (muzzle, etc.). Instead, I ran him a bit alongside the Jeep and then tethered him in back with the others. He rode home without incident.  Kitty even said that she liked him.

At the kennel I established Huntley in his run and sent Bob home with Kitty and the other dogs to eat. Then I pulled the other kennel dogs and Shiloh to play. We had to hurry a bit because Peyton's family was coming to visit! (Peyton was adopted through IDOG.) After they arrived I put the other dogs in the kennel and we set to work bathing Peyton.

I had to take a business call so I left Peyton's new mom and her little girls to bathe Peyton. Everyone did a great job and I decided it was time for Peyton to see his home. It was delightful to send him off with his new family.

Today it rained at the farm and we returned early enough for the CGC/Therapy Dog class at KCA. I called Peyton's family and they joined us there. The class was canceled but Peyton and his family got a quick clicker training intro.

After class I played with our usual kennel dogs and Shiloh. I returned Shiloh to her run and then got Huntley. (Shiloh and Huntley are both intact.) Again, Huntley got along well with everyone although GP was a bit stiff with him. Eventually I released him to play off-lead and he had a grand time trying to chase T-bone around the yard. Once all of those dogs were returned I pulled Crockett all on his own. I look forward to working him with other dogs again but not tonight.

When Kitty returned to take me to dinner we took a few photos of Huntley. My little camera broke awhile ago so I haven't been taking photos during the day. It was hard to get a good shot of Huntley inside at night but I wanted to share him here.


2008-11-07: short day by Kyler Laird

It rained at the farm last night so we got to sleep a little later this morning and catch up on chores around the house. The dogs at our house seemed to appreciate the rest but they were also excited in the afternoon as we prepared to leave. We didn't take them though; I knew it would be a short but hectic evening. Indeed, a couple grain trucks got stuck and I used a tractor to drag Kitty and her semi through the field after dark. It was good we didn't have dogs.

We finally made it back to the kennel around our usual time and I handled the dogs there while Kitty fed the home dogs. Last night I let Crockett out after everyone else and I think he got so excited about the other dogs coming and going that he made a mess in his kennel. And poor Shiloh; she made a mess after I put her away. So tonight I let both of them out first. Crockett was muzzled so after he and Shiloh got to know each other I released the other dogs. There was some growling but everyone went easy on Crockett. Judo really wanted to play with him and I did eventually let Crockett off-lead to run a bit. He seemed to relax with the other dogs but he was annoyed by his muzzle and bootie.

Shiloh is the center of attention these days. She's such a goof and T-bone adores her. T-bone and Judo still zoom around the yard even without Peyton. (I have a great report from Peyton's new family!) And GP, oh, my sweet GP; he just wants to be rubbed and loved. He has "puppy dog eyes" down pat and knows how to use them on me.

Fang is still with us and he sticks close to me looking for attention. It looks like he'll be heading to Illinois next week to meet his new family. Crockett's new family is also driving over in a couple weeks. That will be just in time for us to clear the kennels for Thanksgiving although we will still have a bunch of dogs to stow somewhere.

With that group all back in their runs I checked on our new guy, Huntley. He was neutered this morning and was asleep in a clinic run when I arrived. As soon as I got him through his gate he leaked a little but then held the rest before getting outside to relieve himself fully. He really needed to go and I'm glad I got to him tonight. Huntley is only 79 pounds but he's a goofy puppy and pushes me excitedly when we play. I enjoy him and appreciate the contrast between him and the "harder" dogs. I look forward to helping him mature into a great dog. It's hard to imagine him as a therapy dog right now but I catch glimpses of potential in him.


2008-11-08: getting to know Huntley by Kyler Laird

We moved to our last field at the farm and quit a little early due to rain. At the kennel we picked up Bob and Grazie. Grazie was in to have a toenail checked; one was missing, leaving only the quick. Kitty took the house dogs home to be fed while I played with the kennel dogs.

Huntley was neutered on Friday and is staying in the clinic where Grazie was so I quickly let him out so that he wouldn't get excited and make a mess in his run before I returned. He's getting accustomed to the routine and relieved himself soon after he was outside. We played a bit too. I'm trying to discourage him from mouthing and jumping on me (although he's very gentle).

With Huntley back in the clinic, I headed to the kennel. Crockett's run was clean and he accepted my placement of a muzzle on him. Then we grabbed Shiloh, the other rescue's Newf, and headed outside. Those two did fine together so I returned to release the others: Judo, Fangman, GP and T-bone. As usual, they all enjoyed the evening and didn't mind the cold damp weather a bit. Crockett continues to relax around the other dogs and is learning that they don't intend to harm him. The muzzle is a great tool for allowing him to safely interact with the other dogs.

After I returned all of the kennel dogs to their runs I pulled Huntley again. We recently got toys for all of the kennel dogs to chew but Huntley didn't have one yet. It took awhile to find an appropriate one but I finally gave an "Extreme Kong" a short toss for the pup. I shouldn't have encouraged this newly-neutered clumsy pup to run on the slick floor but it was a delight to see him. He immediately pounced on the Kong and returned it to me! I couldn't resist throwing it a few more times. Huntley seemed as happy to bring the Kong back to me and drop it as I was to watch him do it. What fun!  And yet, as excited as he'd get he would occasionally snuggle into me after dropping the Kong and just lie still while I massaged him.  I was tempted to take him home but I resisted.  Soon.


2008-11-12: 2008 Farm Dog Awards by Kyler Laird

Harvest is a month of waking early, driving to the farm, hauling loads of grain all day, and returning late at night. It takes a lot out of the people involved but it's also a challenge for the dogs who accompany us. The dogs get many opportunities to travel in various vehicles, run off-lead, and meet other people and dogs while investigating endless new smells. The dogs are also expected to be able to go from full-out running in the field or pulling a scooter on the road between fields to relaxing in a truck without disturbing the driver. The demands expose strengths and weaknesses of each dog.

All of the dogs have been a joy at the farm this year. Their presence is a complication but it also reduces the stress of harvest. They truly "pay their way" as it's farm income that pays for the care of the dogs. Here is a small recognition of some of these wonderful farm dogs.

Most Improved: Dexter p1020871 Dexter had a rough time at the farm at first. He broke a nail getting into the semi, he would pull like crazy on lead in the fields, he wouldn't get in or out of any of the vehicles without force... By the end of harvest I frequently let Dex run off-lead, he was leaping into and out of the Jeep and trucks, and he was a delightful companion. It's been very satisfying to see him go from being frustrated to being happy and confident in this environment.
Most Enthusiastic: Bob p1020833 Bob and Morgan jumped out of an open window in the semi to catch a rabbit. I was in the combine when Kitty called to tell me and by the time I ran back to them they were playing "tug" with the rabbit. (No, I didn't get a photo of it.) Bob managed to break two of his toes in the process and is wearing a splint for a few weeks.
Best Truck Imitator: GP p1040342 GP looks a lot like the semi: white with some black spots, burly and stout. He was a wonderful companion inside it also. I enjoyed having GP nuzzle alongside of me while we waited for loads.
Most Poised: T-bone p1040373 T-bone literally came straight from the shelter to the farm and he was always alert yet relaxed there. He did well on- and off-lead, out in the fields and inside the trucks.
Mr. Congeniality: Huntley p1020859 Like T-bone, Huntley came to the farm straight from the shelter. Huntley, however, immediately joined six of our house dogs for the ride home. Although he did not return to the farm, he showed a remarkable ability to get along well with others there.
Mr. Farm Dog 2008: Dobky p1020825 Dobky was quite a surprise on the farm. He has been so timid at the house but he blossomed at the farm. He fit right in with the other dogs in the semi but he was also happy to accompany me in the other trucks on his own. He always settled right into his seat and never complained, often snuggling his head against my thigh without being the slightest bit disturbed when I'd poke him while shifting. I quickly dispensed with using a lead for Dobky both at the farm and at the grain elevators; although he became more adventurous he would always stay nearby and return to me. Dobky has been extremely timid about getting into and especially out of vehicles since I got him but he now jumps in and out of the grain trucks with minor trepidation. If I notice that he's unsure I just place my hand lightly on his head and he immediately relaxes and moves confidently.

2008-11-16: weekend update by Kyler Laird

It's been a good weekend. Since finishing harvest we've been catching up on some of those things we'd neglected for the past month.

On Thursday I took Fangman to the farm with me and planned to take him to Merrillville to meet his transport to IAMRA. Unfortunately I blew my whole day when I got the semi stuck backing it out of the barn (into a hill...). Fangman must have barked for two hours while I worked on it - not a big help. Maybe he was cheering for me? Fortunately the IAMRA transport kindly drove the extra distance to meet me in Rensselaer since I was running so late. Fangman has been good at the kennel but people have already submitted applications for him so he'll be in a home soon.

On Friday Judo went home with Remi's family. He's going to help them see what it would be like to have a second dog. Originally it was a weekend trip but now it sounds like Judo might also take a Thanksgiving trip.

On Saturday Crockett's new family visited the kennel and drove him back to Minnesota. I think he's going to enjoy being an only dog with his own family.

On Sunday we had a long meeting after church. I came home part way through the meeting to let out the dogs and decided to bring Dobky with me when I returned. Dobky lacks obedience of basic commands but his personality gives me confidence that he can be unobtrusive. Indeed, after we arrived to church we joined a break-out meeting and he remained calm, quiet and nuzzled at my side. When the groups gathered together Dobky was absolutely solid in the crowd and nuzzled into me when we all sat in a large circle. The people sitting on our sides were both interested in Dobky and would occasionally reach down and give him a pat. I decided to let him decide how to respond and he was perfect; he would nuzzle and solicit more attention but then return to me when the other people disengaged. I am delighted with Dobky's personality. He's going to be an outstanding therapy dog.

Upon returning home we quickly gathered Dexter, Morgan, Marley and Jarreau (leaving Bob and Grazie due to their paw injuries) and headed to the kennel to catch the end of playgroups. There I learned that playgroups had been canceled (even though the weather seemed good to me) but there were a couple people and dogs there. I only have three dogs at the kennel now - GP, T-bone and Huntley - for a total of eight so it seems a bit sparse to me. Everyone seemed to have a good time though. Huntley and T-bone play all the time. Dobky tries to reign in T-bone, who does his best to submit but continue playing. GP ventures out a bit but usually wanders back to get attention from me. I enjoy grabbing his beautiful face and then rubbing his back while he leans into me.


2008-11-24: catching up by Kyler Laird
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Once again, things are going so well that I've neglected to write for
awhile.  The kennel dogs, GP, T-bone and Huntley are doing great and
were out for playgroups (with my house dogs only) Friday, Saturday and
Sunday.  GP hasn't chomped at a dog in awhile.  I've even been letting
Maisey (Cocker Spaniel) and Baruch(sp? small Poodle) out of the kennel
with the boys at night.

T-bone and Huntley are incredible buddies.  They can just play and play,
taking turns rolling for each other.  T-bone is so much faster than
Huntley but he takes it easy to give Huntley a chance.  Besides not
chomping on other dogs GP is simply an all-around dear.  He continues to
stick close to me most of the time, looking for a butt scratch.  I enjoy
snuggling his big ol' head.  Unfortunately the kennel dogs all seem to
be just a bit under the weather.  I've asked the clinic to check on them.

At home, we're mostly dealing with Bob.  It's been three weeks since his
paw was splinted and he went for a check today.  I'm told he had some
nasty sores but his toes are healing well.  He got a fresh splint,
antibiotics and orders to take it easy.  Bob has done an amazing job at
leaving his splint alone all this time and I feel terrible that he's had
these sores.  He's always a great dog but I can imagine he's even more
friendly since his injury.  He is often curled up at my feet and is so
compliant when I ask him to do something.

Dexter is a delight.  The Great Pyrs are such a challenge sometimes but
then they turn out to be such sweeties.  Dexter has "crate" down pat and
often goes into his crate on his own.  He's normally crated with Marley
because they both sometimes chew when unattended.  (I figure they can
chew on each other.)  Dexter's barking has diminished but he still
alerts for new people and vehicles.  During the day Dexter occasionally
walks up to look deep into my eyes and at night he curls up against me
in bed.  Dexter is great with the dogs too.  He and Jarreau are frequent
play buddies but Dexter will also tap at the door just to go out and get
thrashed by Morgan and Marley too.  Sometimes it escalates just a bit
too much and it only takes a small reminder from me for everyone to take
it down a notch.

The relationship Dobky and I have continues to grow.  As with Dexter,
there were times when I almost gave up on him but those are distant
memories, replaced by appreciation for his outstanding personality.  We
have a long way to go in our basic training but I'm confident we'll make
it.  In class on Thursday the instructor, Allison, brought Keowee but he
was barking a lot while she was trying to teach so I took him and left
Dobky tethered to the wall.  Keowee needed attention and Dobky was
content to stay there alone, watching me.  He even did a great "stand for
exam" and "clumsy/rough petting" all on his own.  Eventually I returned to him and
was clicker training him alongside Keowee.  Dobky is incredibly
resistant to any form of coercion - even leash pulls - so he forces me
to develop better ways of working with him.  It's a joy to see him gain
confidence and trust, and it's fun to have a dog who is so calm, quiet
and cautious in public.  Dobky continues to nuzzle against me at night.

Our family dogs are doing well with the rescues.  Grazie did get
crosswise with Dexter once (perhaps over a dropped piece of kibble?) and
made sure he understood that she's in charge.  Dexter's deference was
adorable.  Morgan has mellowed with age and is often content to take
abuse from the other dogs.  It especially surprises me how he lets Dobky
bark and chomp at him when Morgan is playing rough with another dog.
Marley and Jarreau get along with everyone and are often rolling around
with Dexter.

Judo is doing well with his foster family, playing with Remi.  Chewie
and Delaney remain with Layla.  Delaney is likely to be adopted by
Layla's brother-in-law but Delaney has had some seizures so he's under
observation for now.  Chewie has recovered from his stint in GP's mouth.


2008-11-27: Thanksgiving by Kyler Laird
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Dobky was groomed yesterday and Kitty reports that he did a wonderful job; he was calm in the bath, stood still for the groomer all day and even had his nails trimmed.  The groomer was especially impressed by how well he handled the power drier.  On the way home Kitty and Dobky met me on my way home from the farm at the WL Farmers Market where he seemed relaxed in the crowd.

I decided to take advantage of Dobky's recent bath and the beautiful weather by walking Dobky to University Place for a visit. We still need to do a lot of work on heeling but we'll get there. At UPlace we were greeted by staff in the hall and Dobky was solid as usual. He is incredibly easy to manage. He is not at all exuberent or pushy. He's very slow and deliberate but he does show an interest in people. At the health center we stopped to talk with some people who wanted to see Dobky and he was perfectly patient. He holds so still that sometimes I worry that people will think he's antisocial...and then he'll edge forward just enough to be petted. After our visits I walked with Dobky through the halls and let him roam the courtyard for a bit before we returned home. He's a joy.

Kitty and I were guests of Bastian's family for Thanksgiving dinner. As always, Bastian seems like he's lived there for years and his family adores him. It's extremely rewarding to be able to match a wonderful dog with a wonderful family.

After we returned home and fed the dogs there I headed to the kennel. It's full but my three are all still in runs of their own. Tomorrow there's only room for two of them. I'm working on that.

I let T-bone, Huntley, and GP out first. They all get along fine these days; GP's days of chomping on Huntley seem to be over. Maisey, Baruch and Ranger joined us. I enjoy seeing everyone get along so well and it's comforting that they all head back into their runs with little prompting.


2008-12-06: welcoming Bozo by Kyler Laird
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As I finalized arrangements for Fangman to finally continue his journey to IAMRA I was asked if I'd be interested in working with another dog of theirs. Bozo is a big male Mal who has been boarded for months. I was told that he's a nice guy who just needs some manners. It's just started to feel like winter here and I couldn't resist the thought of having a Mal in the stable.

Brendan and his son, Kyle, delivered Bozo to me today. The snow seemed appropriate for a new Mal but made driving difficult. I was half expecting a crazy Mal to jump from the van when they arrived but was relieved to meet Bozo. What a gorgeous guy! And he's a sweetie. Sure, he jumps a bit but it's just because he wants attention.

We all went out back and let Bozo run while we talked. Brendan has been visiting Bozo weekly and he has obviously developed a close relationship with the big guy. Bozo, however, hadn't had an opportunity to develop relationships with other dogs. That would soon change. I brought Huntley out and they immediately played like the couple of goofs they are. As we watched them I decided that he's a good guy, much better than I expected.

When we returned tonight I went for broke and brought Bozo out to meet T-bone and GP. I was more concerned about GP and handled him closely but T-bone was more growly. There were a few mildly tense moments here but that was it. GP warned Bozo when he flailed into him while playing with Huntley but that's all. I was so proud of all of them. Lilly, a friend's Great Dane, came out with the guys as she has the past few days and Bozo had little interest in her.


2008-12-07: 2008 Christmas Parade by Kyler Laird
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I considered entering the parade along with the clinic/kennel but delays pushed us beyond the deadline. Although I was disappointed I was also a little relieved. Then I got a message from a friend telling me about a parade entry open to all local rescues, organized by Patricia Wolff. I finally got in touch with her a few days ago and she was very welcoming.

I've been fretting about how to handle all of our dogs in the parade for quite awhile and it all came together today...barely. I finished modifying Grazie's old Radio Flyer last night; it has a new undercarriage and a modified steering tongue to fit a new DogWorks hitch I just received. Morgan took it for a test drive this morning and even though he hasn't pulled in ages he pulled like a pro. I spent the rest of the morning making lines for a sled, rubber sledge, and old tire. It was down to the wire when I loaded the house dogs in Kitty's vehicle and headed to the kennel.

While Kitty secured two parking places near our parade start position I let the kennel dogs out. I had almost decided not to bring Bozo but Kitty said she got some volunteers at church so I decided to load him also. The four kennel dogs (GP, T-bone, Huntley and Bozo) were a tight fit in the back of my Jeep but they got along well.

We parked and met our friends John and Sue who had offered to walk the Pyrs. They've had family Pyrs of their own and I appreciated having them available to handle GP and Dexter. My car full, however, was not easy to wrangle. I finally clipped Bozo on a tether in the car but in doing so allowed T-bone to escape. It amazed me; I've never let a dog get past me like that and this was a bad time for it to happen. Fortunately we had good help. Sue quickly got to him and almost had him in hand when a cat appeared and he was off again. Soon he ran my way. I think he was going to try to duck past me but I took no chances and dove at him for a solid tackle. He didn't seem bothered by the firm handling.

It took quite awhile to set up the wagon, sled, sledge and tire and get the dogs connected but we were blessed with fantastic help and it all just happened. Eventually we were on our way down the street. Morgan pulled the wagon with Bob and Grazie, with Rae trying to contain the riders. Huntley and T-bone, lead by Audrey, pulled the tire. Rachel walked Dobky. Sue took GP while John walked Dexter. Kitty handled Marley and Jarreau. And I hooked on to try to stabilize T-bone while guiding Bozo, who was connected to the rubber sledge which was in turn pulling a plastic sled holding a bunch of gear I brought. It was a rough start but we were starting to get the hang of it by the time we reached the starting position a couple blocks later.

The group had a truck pulling a flatbed trailer with bales of straw. Kitty quickly decided to ride along with Jarreau and Marley. Bob wasn't staying in the wagon so he went on the trailer too. Dobky went back and forth, giving Rachel a workout. Allison met us with Keowee and also handled T-bone, leaving me to guide Morgan and Bozo.

Although we arrived after the 2:00 start time we still waited another thirty minutes to move. It's good we didn't show up "on time!" Morgan was raring to pull the entire time and it was good to move. As we moved, the fire engines came in behind us. Yeow! They were very loud. Of our group, only Jarreau was bothered by it but Kitty remained in control of him. The organizers graciously switched us with a couple cabs so that we had a few yards of buffer and that made it much less painful.

Along the route everything went well. The dogs quickly settled into their roles. I was delighted to see Sue and GP working the crowd. From Sue's description, he's a natural, basking in the attention from the children. Huntley was also working the crowd but he looked a lot more awkward doing it. He certainly is enthusiastic! Bozo had quite a load to pull so he didn't cause me much of a problem and he seemed at home in the busy environment. Morgan, of course, pulled like he'd been doing it every day, weaving back and forth across the street as we waited for the slower moving traffic, with Grazie waiting patiently in the wagon.

At the end of the parade we loaded most of the dogs and gear onto the truck and trailer but I decided Bozo still had some energy so I ran back across the river to the car with him and Morgan pulling an empty wagon (except for when I rode in it a bit). They were both great on the return trip. It was a beautiful way to end a beautiful afternoon, full of wonderful weather, dogs, and people.


2008-12-15: Carroll Elementary visit by Kyler Laird

We've gone to Carroll Elementary School annually for a few years. This year there was only one other person who could go and I couldn't decide who I wanted so I took all the Pet Partner boys from the house: Morgan, Jarreau, Marley, and Bob. It was cold and icy but we got there in time for Jarreau and Marley to relax a bit while we waited in the library for the sixth grade classes. The boys were spirited and entertaining. It was a good group and I enjoyed getting to share the dogs with them Kitty graciously swapped in Morgan and then Bob. That added even more energy to the crowd but everyone handled it well.

Back home, the other boys, Dexter and Dobky, are doing well. Dexter is wonderful; he's easy to manage, he heads right into his crate whenever I need him there, he wants so much to learn, he looks deep into my eyes for silent conversations, and he comfortably curls up on the couch with Kitty and on the bed against me. Dobky is a bit more of a challenge; he still hunkers down whenever I need to quickly direct him to do anything, causing me to refine my approach to gently handling him. He's worth it though; he's almost always at my side, sitting beside me and looking for my hand on his head, lying next to me on the couch (like now), or snuggling on the bed. We have CGC testing this week and I'm thinking about testing with Dobky but his attachment to me is a bit of a problem; he does a passable job with most everything except the stay and supervised separation.

Usually Kitty goes to the kennel with me at night after we eat dinner out but tonight we just snacked a bit after a big lunch so I went on my own. The kennel is nearly empty again. It was a bit eerie to have it be quiet as I walked back to my guys. But then Bozo noticed me and started bouncing off the walls and calling to me. He's in a run with a top cover on it because he jumps so high. Although he hasn't gotten the workouts he deserves and has quite a surplus of energy he is learning to control it and rarely jumps on me anymore. He's discovered that sitting gets my attention much faster.

T-bone and Huntley aren't nearly as much in my face. They play on their own and don't seem to need my attention. I'd like to get them out on their own more but it is fun to see them play. Their energy is boundless and it feels like they would play forever if I let them. Bozo is in the mix with them now and they run around attached to each other like one big ball of fur occasionally punctuated with teeth. They all do well at playing with safely playing with each other. On Saturday we even used Huntley and Bozo to help with a playgroup evaluation of a big dog we know, Murphy. Everyone did a great job.

Finally, there's my dear sweet GP. GP is usually at my side at the kennel, wanting his back scratched. His fur has returned beautifully and tonight I brushed it a bit. Although GP and Bozo have had a brief spat or two, I now feel confident with them together. GP gets bumped by the other dogs when they're playing and hardly seems bothered at all. Kennel visits are stress-free and fun.

Oh, and our friend Lily, the Great Dane, is still at the kennel. She's really getting the routine and comes right out with the guys. Although she doesn't play with them she's much more comfortable being in the yard with them running around her and I think it's good for all of them to have her there.


2008-12-19: GP the TD by Kyler Laird
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I visited the kennel this morning to check on the dogs and discuss their medical treatments. Huntley got a lepto booster and then I let them all play for a bit. I was enjoying GP so much that I decided to take him to University Place for a quick visit. It was perfect! Everyone he met adored him. We roamed the halls, visited a room in Assisted Living, and walked through the health center to play in the courtyard awhile. We were also called into the physical therapy room as we passed. GP was such a natural everywhere but it really showed as he worked the room there. It's a joy to walk with GP as he heels nicely at my side but it's awesome to be with him as he works his magic with people who appreciate his attention. I look forward to working with GP. He's a great one.

I returned GP to the kennel and went home for some work and rest before taking everyone back for playgroups. Playgroups were canceled due to cold/ice but we had a young family interested in seeing Dexter again. I quickly mixed the house dogs with the kennel dogs and even though many of them had not yet met they all behaved well together. The dogs kept me busy with cleaning when the couple arrived to meet Dexter but Kitty got to talk a bit. Dexter was quite interested in them this time and was so sweet. We're planning to take Dexter to their house tomorrow afternoon for an intro.

After playgroups I dropped everyone but Dobky at the house. Dobky and I returned to University Place to meet Amy, Tanner, and Amy's mom. Tanner is always a sweetie on visits there and he seems to be relaxing more. He especially enjoyed playing with Dobky in the courtyard.  And Dobky is his usual - calm and deliberate, often seeking attention from the residents.  Dobky is even doing better on the elevator.

Kitty and I went to dinner with Amy and her parents. On our way home we let the kennel dogs out again. They all do such a good job and continue to do well with the client dogs boarding there who come out to mingle with us.


2008-12-20: Dexter's outing by Kyler Laird

This afternoon we took Dexter to the home of a young couple who are thinking about getting a dog. He did well there, even with the new baby, but he was a bit possessive with a rawhide bone. We left him there for a couple hours while Kitty and I had lunch/dinner. Dexter took a couple walks while we were gone and was relaxed when we returned. We all sat and talked for awhile and learned that Dexter's possessiveness with the treats continued while we were gone. That's a concern; I hadn't observed it in the absence of other dogs and did not realize it extended to humans. We'll be working on that.

We pulled a couple extra dogs from the kennels to play with our usual gang. Bizou, the Poodle mix girl, is becoming much more accustomed to our big guys. I also noticed Garbonzo, a smaller young guy who belongs to friends of ours. He was so excited to get outside but he pulled up short after bursting through the door into Bozo. Bozo really squelched Garbonzo's enthusiasm. It took at least ten minutes before Garbonzo became comfortable with everyone and seemed to understand that the big guys wouldn't hurt him. Before we returned inside Garbonzo was occasionally standing up to go eye-to-eye with Bozo.

T-bone and Huntley continue to play together constantly. Bozo joined them a little less than usual because he was clipped to me to keep him from pestering Garbonzo. Bozo is doing amazingly well on lead; even when he would leap to get to Garbonzo he'd spin around to look at me and then sit for attention. I enjoy being with Bozo and watching his progress. GP continues to do a great job with everyone and stays mellow. I let him get in front of me for a moment when he first met Garbonzo and it wasn't a problem at all. He seems to be vastly more comfortable and appropriate with new dogs and I thoroughly enjoy the big cuddly guy.


2008-12-23: Sakari stays with us by Kyler Laird
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Sakari's family is out of town for the week so Sakari returned to us this morning. I started him in the side yard and let out a couple dogs at a time to greet him but it wasn't a problem at all. He knows most of the current pack and he didn't have any conflicts with the new dogs. Soon he was cuddling with Kitty on the bed in my office while I worked. He seems to be doing well. (He's curled at my side as I type this.)

After Sakari was relaxed I headed to the kennel to take care of some business. I also received a wonderful card there from Crockett's family; I was delighted to get a photo of him surrounded by his family.  I'd heard that Bozo was a bit of a problem child so I took him out for a bit when I was done. It was time for the other kennel dogs to be outside so the big guy went into the park area with me. He had a great time galloping through the acreage and wallowing in the snow/ice. I walked him a bit in the clinic when we returned and his leash manners continue to improve. He's also charming and that goes a long way when meeting new people.

The kennel will fill tomorrow and I only have three spaces so I need to bring home another dog. (Yes, that makes nine.) I have a request for Bozo to stay with a family for a few days after Christmas so I might bring him here to get him ready. I'd love to bring GP home, of course, but it would be hard to return him to the kennel after cuddling with him at home. T-bone and Huntley would probably be the easy ones to handle but they seem to do well at the kennel.

Tonight the kennel was nearly full. Freezing rain was pouring when I was there but it was still pleasant to be out with the dogs. Bozo, Huntley, and T-bone played and GP was more sedate and interested in me, like normal. We also released our friends Garbonzo, Bizou and Sophie. Garbonzo and Sophie seem to be pretty much over their initial hesitation with the big boys. They still get overwhelmed after awhile but they no longer seem to fear the guys.

Bizou made great improvement tonight. She gets so anxious when I go into her run to get her that I've just been opening the door when I first let out the other dogs. Yesterday she didn't come out at all but today she wandered out to check on Kitty (who was cleaning Bozo's run). When I came inside I saw her at the door and invited her to come outside. It took a few tries but she went all on her own! Outside she still cowers when the pack rushes by her but she recovers quickly. She's getting so much better and I enjoy watching her confidence grow.


2008-12-24: Christmas Eve by Kyler Laird
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My sister, Renel, is at the farm with a friend. They brought Dad to Lafayette to meet me and Kitty for lunch today. Renel's friend is a dog enthusiast and wanted to see our pack so after lunch I headed home and took the house dogs to the kennel to meet everyone. The dogs did well with each other despite Sakari not knowing any of the kennel dogs. Huntley and Bozo were jumpy when my family arrived so we all headed to the park area so that the dogs could spread and run. We enjoyed walking the park but then I realized that the dogs had found the burrs along the fence. They were all a mess.

After my family left Kitty and I returned the kennel dogs and washed our eight. Kitty brushed while I washed. The Northern dogs were easy but the hair of the Poodle mixes held the burrs tightly. I was hurrying because we needed to get to church at 6:30. (Kitty had a reading in the service.) We just barely made it home in time to take quick showers (I was soaked.) and get to church.

After the service we were invited to join Bastian's family. There we enjoyed wonderful people and food, chatting and singing into the night. As always, it was a delight to see Bastian with his family. He is greatly appreciated.

It was late by the time we returned to the kennel but the dogs seemed to be alright from their earlier outing. We pulled Garbonzo, Sophie and Bizou and they all did well with the big guys. After I returned everyone but T-bone and Huntley I pulled Keowee, returned him, then pulled Mackey.  They are making remarkable improvement and both dogs initiated play with T-bone.  I felt like I spent all of my time cleaning and managing dogs and didn't get to play with them as much as usual. I'm looking forward to returning with more time to spare.


2008-12-25: Christmas by Kyler Laird

Kitty and I spent most of the morning and a good chunk of the afternoon in bed, covered with dogs. It's easy for me to justify lying still when I'm bolstered by dogs all around me so I think I caught a couple naps. It was a good way to spend Christmas.

I dropped Kitty at her parents' house as I headed to the kennel before dinner. The staff was taking out the regular boarders. I took Bozo, Huntley and T-bone to the bathing room for brushing. Bozo was quite a handful, bucking and spinning but never biting. I tethered him to the tie point in the bath and made quick progress. As I brushed he jumped on the bath, giving me easy access to his underside. He was still jumpy and after awhile he jumped all the way into the bath. I wasn't planning to bathe the dogs but since he was there I decided to go for it. He bucked like crazy while I washed his head but then he settled and was great. I got so wet in the process that I decided to go ahead and wash Huntley. He was a true water dog and seemed to enjoy the bath and the attention.

After Christmas with Kitty's family Kitty and I went to the kennel. While Kitty handled the heavy lifting inside I got to play with the dogs outside. Garbanzo, Sophie and Bizou joined us as usual. The girls were great! They played with each other and with T-bone. Bizou was the surprise of the evening though; she played with me! I was amazed at her transformation and enjoyed her immensely. Keowee and Mackey came out separately toward the end and both played with Sophie. GP was out but neither of them raised his ire. I think GP is vastly more mellow than when he arrived but the Husky boys are doing much better too.


2009-01-10: It's been a hard dog night. by Kyler Laird
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The CGC test at Klondike Canine Academy (KCA) has been rescheduled several times for weather but it was held today despite the ice. In preparation I bathed GP yesterday at the kennel and brought him home to spend the night. He wasn't an easy addition to our household of seven dogs. Although he's been around the other dogs he was still quite growly with all of them. I worked hard at managing and comforting him and he did alright. He seemed relieved to be out of the kennel and enjoyed sleeping while I worked. In the afternoon I took him to University Place to meet Lindsey with Sunny for a bit of practice for the CGC test.

Dinner was the big surprise; GP readily went into a down stay with the other dogs, ate his food, and waited until he was released. He was near the entry to the kitchen, however, and I diverted my attention after dogs passed him without incident but something happened when Morgan walked by him and they were suddenly in battle. I hauled GP away but Morgan still sliced his left ear (which has other problems already). Neither dog seemed too bothered by it and although they were obviously cautious I had them back together soon. At night I kept GP in the guest bathroom but after a late night outing I allowed him to roam freely. He curled up beside the bed, putting the other dogs on alert but we slept without incident.

This morning the dogs lined up for breakfast but everyone squeezed together far away from GP. GP broke his stay a couple times after he finished his food but before I cleaned the dishes. I returned him to his spot and finally released everyone but hovered over GP to prevent a skirmish. Morgan waited to move until I specifically directed him to leave the kitchen.

We arrived at KCA just before the test time of 11:00. After an introduction by the evaluator, Leslie, we watched a couple of teams test and then I ran Dobky. He did well with everything but my greatest worry was that he'd botch the "supervised separation." In practice sessions he only lasted seconds before crying out for me. I've noticed that Dobky "hunkers down" anytime I grab his collar and try to lead him somewhere so I grabbed his collar and lead him to the evaluator. He resisted a bit as I pulled him along and then I handed over the lead. I walked out of the room and he stayed relaxed for the entire three minutes. Dobky is a CGC dog!

Lindsey wanted to watch me with Dobky before she went so she was next. Sunny had been a handful yesterday at University Place and I didn't expect him to do well. He surprised me by doing an outstanding job and Lindsey handled him beautifully. It was fun to watch them working together. Another CGC!

GP had been snuggling against Amy during the tests and seemed relaxed. I took him next and I mostly hoped he wouldn't do anything too embarrassing. We had hardly worked on heeling, hadn't done recalls, and I'd only tried downs with him during meals. He did lead me during "out for a walk" but I was able to keep his attention and he even sat when we stopped. His sit was fine but it took a long time to work him into a down. (I finally asked for his paw first and then he gave me the down.) He broke the stay as soon as I rose to leave but when I placed him again I think he got the message that he was to stay. I was delighted at his recall but I think he amused the spectators because I energetically called to him (only once) and he slowly rose and lumbered over to me. That's just his speed. He had no problems with walking through the crowd, supervised separation or any of the other exercises. CGC! I enjoyed showing everyone what a great dog GP is.


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.


2009-02-21: 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.


2009-03-11: 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!


2009-05-20: 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."


2009-06-26: 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.


2009-07-26: 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.


2009-08-18: 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.


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