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Sarge/Bob/Calder

by Kyler Laird last modified 2010-03-27 16:59

Siberian Husky, male

joined us: 2005-06-04 (4889 days ago)

This dog is available for foster care, has passed the Delta Society Pet Partners evaluation and has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

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more photos

written by Kyler Laird

I retrieved Sarge from Huntington, IN for Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue in 2005. I had to fly to California almost immediately so he spent his first few weeks with another foster home where he was demilitarized to "Bob". Well, he only spent a couple days with them before he broke a crate, terrorized the cat, ran loose through the neighborhood, and...you get the picture. After that he was banished to a kennel.

When I returned I biked to the kennel, harnessed Bob and let him run me home. We exercised like that nearly every day. When Morgan arrived it got even better. They worked together beautifully, running me for miles. Bob did great with people of all ages and was a fun part of our pack. (He's the one getting petted in the photo on the rescue's main page.)

It took a record 10 months for us to find a suitable home for Bobby. The young man who adopted him, Mike, even bought a Trikke like mine to use with the newly renamed "Calder". It was a great match and they have done well together. Unfortunately Mike needs to travel too much for work and has made the difficult decision of returning Calder instead of kenneling him frequently.

Calder should be here before the end of May. I'm looking forward to showing him all the new facilities and toys (and dogs!) we've amassed while he's been gone.

2008-05-27: I flew to Raleigh, NC to retrieve Calder. He had been boarded at the animal hospital since Mike had to leave earlier in the day. When Calder arrived I was happy to see that he was still in shape and fairly relaxed (for a Husky!). Back at the airport we had some issues with the services that were to have been performed on the plane and waited in the lobby. He eventually settled into a down and got a few appreciative comments from people passing (especially the girl at the desk who adopted her Husky). Out at the plane Calder jumped right into the rear cargo door when I opened it despite there being a bunch of bags back there. I remember how hard it was to get him up there the first time I flew him! This time he got to ride in the front though. After I checked the plane I called him into the cabin and tethered him to the back seat. He quickly settled without any issues while I handled the departure. It was a difficult journey home but he was fine until the last half hour when we were flying low in rain. He would poke my arm and I'd occasionally give him a piece of granola bar. That kept him distracted until we got on the ground (and he immediately relieved himself when he got outside). At home, Calder already knew Morgan and Grazie so he needed no introduction but the doodles were new to him and he endured their exuberant greetings well.

2008-05-27: No problems overnight. Calder didn't eat this morning but I'm sure he'll get into the rhythm soon. It's so nice to have a dog I can trust in the house right from the start.

2008-06-05: Just a quick update. Calder fits in well with our pack and has had no problems at home. I crated him once or twice at first but not since and he's quite mellow at night. He's getting accustomed to our routines of eating in down stays and sitting to go outside. He's been to the city dog park once and to Klondike almost daily. He still has a lot of energy but it hasn't been a problem. He's gotten along well with all the kenneled dogs too. He's due for a vet checkup but I don't expect any problems.

2008-06-23: Alright, we can't help it; he's "Bob the Husky" to us. Bob's a great dog. Today he went to University Place. Kitty brought him after Waynetta, Mary and I had been there for awhile with Maddie, Marley and Winston. He was a little wound at first but then I didn't notice him so he must have done well.

2008-06-23: Bob has mellowed so much since we first had him. He's content to just have an outing at the park with the other dogs every day but he'll survive if we skip a day. He's curled at my feet tonight as I write this. Bob has been great in our playgroups. He's active but not problematic. He's even been working well with Joe, a Newf who has some dog aggression issues.

2008-07-04: Bob went to a family reunion with us today and got a lot of attention from the kids there. He was a favorite for walks and he did great with all of the kids and other dogs. I hear a lot of comments about how beautiful he is.

2008-07-06: I'm way overdue (as usual) to trim nails and Bob was nearby when I was ready today so I grabbed him. His dewclaws were really long and pointed so I lopped those off while driving to the reunion a couple days ago using my pocketknife scissors. That didn't seem to bother him but I figured the grinder would spook him a bit. He surprised me. He made it so easy! He even lifted his other front paw when I switched. It's another bit of the routine he remembers from when he was originally here. Bob is cool. He's lying on my foot and "dreaming" as I type this.

2008-07-14: I've neglected training Bob but tonight I ran him through an AKC Canine Good Citizen test and he did a great job. He passed! Yea, Bob!


2008-07-15: AKC CGC test by Kyler Laird

Klondike Canine Academy offered AKC Canine Good Citizen testing tonight and I said that I'd use whatever time was available at the end to run some of the rescue dogs. I haven't done any formal work with most of them and I've been too busy to prepare recently but I wanted to get an idea of how close they were.

Harley was first. He was wonderful as usual and did a great job at everything...except the stay. He kept getting up to come to me. That surprised me, especially because I knew he was hot and tired. It'll be easy to teach that though.

Bob was next and I thought he'd be a little nutty but he did fine. He passed!

Since I had just brought Keowee back to the kennel I decided to try him. Another pass! He was surprisingly good.

I was prepared for utter failure with Judo but he surprised me too. He did much better than I expected but still failed the stay and he also bumped someone with his nose when walking through the crowd. It will be easy to train for those.

I was delighted by how well all the dogs did and amazed that Bob and Keowee passed. Good dogs!


2008-07-28: friends visit by Kyler Laird
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We invited a couple of Kitty's friends to bring their children to meet the dogs. One family might borrow Bob soon.


2008-07-30: Peyton's bath by Kyler Laird
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I arranged to meet some people to introduce Peyton today. I knew that he wasn't smelling great so I loaded the dogs from home (minus Marley who was already being groomed and Grazie who went with Kitty to the farmers market) and headed to the kennel to bathe Peyton.  Wrangling the other dogs took about as much effort as bathing Peyton.

Peyton was clean when I got him so this was his first bath with me.  He was easy.  It was a pleasure to work on him.  The other dogs also did a remarkably good job of waiting while I bathed him.  Then we all went out to play!


2008-07-30: Norwood family visit by Kyler Laird
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It's been awhile since the Norwood family visited us. The boys are growing! They got along beautifully with all the dogs. They especially liked Conner and plan to borrow him next week.


2008-08-02: "152 nails to trim..." by Kyler Laird

"152 nails to trim.  152 nails.  Grind one down.  Move to the next. 151 nails to trim!"

I've been neglecting nail trimming.  I didn't want to try the new dogs until I felt more comfortable with them and I was really reluctant to handle the crazy-long double rear dewclaws on Harley and Dexter.  And I'm lazy.  But Grazie, Marley and Bob have Pet Partners tests tomorrow so I decided to do them.  Then Kitty helped so I decided to do the rest of the dogs.

O.k., it wasn't quite like that.  I was trimming Bob first.  We were outside and I put some pieces of raw venison medallions on the table.  Bob is so easy that I didn't grab any meat treats for awhile.  Then I heard something and turned to see Harley coming off the empty table.  Grrr...  So I decided to switch to Harley.  He struggled a bit at first but Kitty gave him lots of treats (Ewww!  Meat!) and I sat on him.  It took quite awhile to grind down over half an inch from each of his four rear dewclaws.  By the time I finished he was lying on his side and relaxed.  I was sweating.  I cuddled with him for awhile before switching back to Bob.

Bob makes nail trimming so easy.  It's remarkable how calm he is about it.  Since Grazie is testing tomorrow I did her next.  She was happy to get treats during the trim.  Marley tests tomorrow too so I did him next.  That was a breeze, especially with his recent haircut.  He's such a sweetie.  (He's lying on my leg as I type this.)

I was feeling refreshed after Marley so I decided to try Dobky.  He tends to "freeze" whenever he's stressed so I was hoping he'd just hunker down and let me trim.  He was a bit more active than that but he did well, especially for his first time.  He got a lot of meat.

Another set of long dewclaws remained.  I've been wincing whenever I see Dexter's rear dewclaws and it was time to tackle them.  I was expecting it to be quite a chore but Dexter was a doll!  He was so good about letting me grind and grind on him.  He even remained standing the whole time.  I was impressed.  Dexter was the big surprise of the evening.

Jarreau...oh, Jarreau.  He's a handful.  Nothing new.  I finished on Morgan because I can always count on him to be solid.  I'd say that he's stoic about nail trimming but I'm not sure it even bothers him.  He's so confident and trusting.  It's a joy to work with him.  And that's it!  No more nails to trim...except my own.  I really gouged a couple with the grinder.


2008-08-03: first adoptable therapy dog! by Kyler Laird

We've had two dogs, Maddie and Marley, pass their Delta Society Pet Partners evaluations after being adopted.  Today one of our adoptable dogs, Bob, passed his DSPP evaluation!  Kitty tested with Marley, Kyler tested with Grazie (for renewal) and then Kyler tested with Bob.  All of the teams passed!  Grazie did a great job but the boys barely made it.  Bob was quite social and had no problems with people but was doing too well at being a Husky (tight leash) and showed much more interest in the neutral dog (a Corgi mix) than he should.


2008-08-03: loaner dog weekend by Kyler Laird
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Judo returned from a two-night outing today.  I understand that he did a great job inside.  When he stays at our house he never has to ask to go outside because I am letting the other dogs out frequently so I was surprised that he clearly asked to go out during this visit and had no problems relieving himself on a tie-out.  He went on some walks with the family's other dog.  I was also told that he distinguished between dog toys and other things (pillows, etc.) on the floor and only chewed on appropriate toys.

Bob visited a family with small children after passing his therapy dog test today.  We retrieved him after dinner and got a good report.  He pulls too much to make walks pleasant but he did well in the yard and house.


2008-08-07: jogging to campus by Kyler Laird

Yesterday I took everyone but Grazie (3 family + 4 foster dogs) for a quick jog around University Place.  Harley had a seizure early the next morning so I thought it might have been too much for him.  Today I went on a longer jog to campus with only six of the dogs (3 family + 3 foster).  It was comfortable.  I kept my guys on the left and the fosters on my right and they all did well.  Bob, of course, lives to run and always pushes me.  Dobky is often in trail but sometimes comes up with the others.  I keep a close eye on Dexter because I always wonder how he'll do with others on the trail but we passed and were passed  a few times and he ran right along like a gentleman.  O.k....there were a couple bunnies and a squirrel that ran in front of us.  That did cause a bit of excitement but it was easily managed.

The dogs do fine even though we're running in 80F weather. We stopped half way and had some drinks but most of the dogs were not interested. (Dobky was happy to drink from my bottle.) I'm looking forward to going on longer runs as the weather cools and the dogs get the rhythm.


2008-08-08: playgroups by Kyler Laird

Kitty and I took all the dogs to playgroups, as usual.  The kids were walking Dr. Banker's dog, Zeus, out as we arrived.  He got mobbed a bit but everyone handled it well.  He's getting so big!  But he still acts like a puppy.

Judo, Keowee, Peyton and Conner were already out of the kennel and had been playing for awhile when we arrived. Keowee was too much for a Dalmatian in the large area but Judo was still playing there. Layla ushered us down to the agility area to help with evaluations of a couple Yellow Labs. Grazie, Jarreau, Dobky, Peyton and Dexter quickly entered there while I worked on the gate so we could use the playgroup area with a tree. The dogs roamed while I worked on the gate. Morgan joined Judo in the big area and Harley was invited into the adjacent playgroup. By the time I fixed the gate I had only Bob and Keowee. I wandered over to check on the evaluations.

Everyone in the evals was doing remarkably well. I expected my guys to be a little high-energy for the Labs. There was one outburst. I didn't see what started it but I did see Dexter getting chomped by a Lab a few times and he kept moving away. I called him and he came to me. The Lab had a bunch of white fur in his mouth. I was so proud of Dexter!

During evals a guest joined us to see Dobky. He was more social with her than I expected and she took him for a walk in the playgroup corridors. I was impressed that he did so well.

After the evals I moved my dogs into the area with the tree. We were adjacent to some very small dogs and Dexter was especially interested in them. Eventually I took Dexter on-lead to see them. There was a Boston Terrier with his owner and a smaller terrier(?) girl, Morgan, who was "stay and play." Conner was also in there but he didn't come to see us. Dexter did great with the little dogs. After the Boston left I let Dexter go off-lead with the tiny dog. (We joked about taking a photo and calling it "stay and pray.") Eventually I just opened the gate and let tiny Morgan meet the rest of the big dogs, including Harley who had joined us by then. There were no problems at all.

Oh!  One more brag on Dexter.  We've always had to help him into the Jeep.  Today he jumped in all on his own both to and from playgroups!  I think he's lost a bit of weight and is feeling more comfortable but I'm sure that the peer pressure (literally!) of seven other dogs shooting/squeezing past him helps too.

Good people. Good dogs. It was a good day.


2008-08-09: jogging by Kyler Laird

I played volleyball this morning, then went to a birthday party in the afternoon and had a jazz party in the evening - all without the dogs. I needed to give them some activity but I didn't have a lot of time...and then I got a work call and had even less time. I decided that I'd jog with the dogs to our evening party to meet Kitty and I'd grab the Jeep and drive home to shower so Kitty could be there on time and we'd end up with only one car. It didn't work that way though.

I took only six dogs again, leaving Grazie and Harley at home. I ended up with the skijoring belt I use to connect the dogs on top of the waist pack I wear to carry water, my phone, etc. It seemed a bit more comfortable there so I decided to try it for this trip. We took the path along Lindberg, through the Celery Bog and as we came up the hill we passed a young lady with her dog. For some reason Dobky was having trouble right then and was dancing out it front of me. I tried and tried to just pull him back into position without stopping because I wanted to keep up the speed as we passed the other dog. And then Dobky's collar snapped open. It's no fun having a loose dog at the side of a busy road, especially a new dog who doesn't yet respond to his name. Fortunately he stayed close and checked out the other dog. I asked the dog's owner to grab Dobky and she did. As everyone mobbed her dog I looped a lead around Dobky's neck and we were quickly jogging again.

It wasn't until I was waiting to cross Salisbury that I realized I'd lost my phone. I flipped around and retraced our steps. I kept thinking that it must have happened during the Dobky incident and I was relieved that when I reached that area it was there in the grass where we'd pulled around the other dog. (I'm guessing that the skijoring belt pushed the phone from its spot when I was twisting and bending.)  We went straight home and Kitty got one of our collars to replace Dobky's faulty quick-release collar.


2008-08-12: general update by Kyler Laird

I've hit an especially busy time and I've been neglecting the dogs and my updates. I'm going to stuff this entry with updates.

On Monday I took Grazie and Bob to the clinic for their Delta Society Pet Partner health screenings. I took Harley along because he's still drinking amazing amounts of water. Everyone seemed in good shape so we decided to test some more samples from Harley. (Kitty submitted those samples today.)

For a long time, I've been feeling like the dogs need more than just "free play." Taking them all for walks is difficult but six of the dogs at our house are getting quite comfortable with jogging. (I've been leaving Grazie and Harley at home during our runs.) We've been doing a 5-6K path that loops into campus. I'm trying to get the dogs accustomed to being in public and especially on campus before the students return. They're tired enough and "in the groove" when we reach campus so they don't react much to people around them. I'm hoping that this will be such routine that they'll be comfortable when students return.

Dexter...oh, Dexter. He's rolling on the floor with Jarreau as I type. Marley is in on it too; Kitty just removed a big glob of white fur from his mouth. They are all such great playmates. Dexter frequently initiates play with them and they go for hours.  Dexter is doing great at eating from my hand every meal.  He goes right into his crate when we ask and he doesn't bark when we leave or return.

Dobky is standing into Kitty to be patted right now. He'll do that for several minutes. I haven't worked with him beyond the general stuff around the house and during our runs. I'm trying to get him to be comfortable and confident before I push much more on him.

Bob delights in our runs. He's always in the lead. Such a Husky. Then he crashes at night. I love tired dogs.


2008-08-13: short jog by Kyler Laird

Kitty took Marley to the West Lafayette Farmers' Market this evening and then they went to a friend's house for dinner. With only seven dogs at home I decided to take everyone for a jog but I didn't want to push Grazie and Harley so we just went across the road and around University Place. We ran into some residents in back and when we stopped to talk I think the entire dining staff came to greet the dogs. It was good to see everyone and the dogs behaved beautifully. I am especially pleased that the foster dogs are so social without being overbearing (although Dexter does like to thoroughly greet everyone).

Allison wrote that Keowee is staying with her again and keeping Mackie active. She also told me that everyone's samples came back "normal" today. That means we're still trying to determine why Harley drinks so much. I'm taking him to the clinic for another blood draw tomorrow.


2008-08-15: playgroups by Kyler Laird

The weather was beautiful this evening - sunny but not terribly hot, especially in the shade. We arrived at 5:00 with all eight of the home dogs and the four kennel dogs were already out. Judo, Keowee, and Peyton were playing in the main area while Conner was in an evaluation with a tiny Pomeranian in a small area. Conner was his usual - relaxed and off to the side.

We mostly milled around the corridors for awhile. Layla requested a big dog to introduce to the Pom so I sent Jarreau. He did beautifully, of course. Eventually I also sent Grazie, Morgan and Harley to meet the Pom. I also took Dexter on-lead at first but he did a great job and I quickly released him. Dexter provided a wonderful example of how barking is not always aggressive. Layla narrated as Dexter did a full play bow and barked repeatedly to invite one of the small dogs out from under the chairs. Although he's a bit overwhelming he's always careful with the little dogs.

Bentley, the Dalmatian, arrived soon after we did. Peyton was a little too much for Bentley so Peyton got to join the house dogs in the second area while Judo, Keowee and Mackey worked on Bentley. There were several heated exchanges and the monitors had their hands full keeping control of the situation.

Peyton wanted so much to be with his buddies that he popped the (weak) gate a few times so that he could run in the corridor along the main area. It's not that he's "mean" - he's just so active and driven. He needs someone to give him a lot more attention. I had no problems retrieving him and the others each time and herding them back into their area.

Dobky didn't get any special activity. He obviously would have enjoyed sticking with me the whole time but I wasn't yet comfortable putting him with new small dogs. It's not that I think he'd do anything wrong but I just don't feel like we know each other well enough to ensure that he'd behave appropriately. He's really gaining confidence though. He often goes head to head with the other dogs, not fighting so much as just asserting himself. Morgan has been incredibly forgiving of this behavior. Although Morgan has given Dobky some corrections they've all been minor.


2008-08-16: students return by Kyler Laird

I played volleyball at Purdue for a couple hours this morning. We had a date for disc golf in the evening so I took the dogs for a run in the afternoon. I extended our route a bit; we went on campus, circled the IM fields on the bark path, went around the RSC, and then along the street in front of Tarkington, continued the bark path around the track, headed up the hill and returned home. Due to construction we had some tight spots on the path and Dexter went wide once, catching a pole and snapping his collar. Oops. At least he was easy to grab. Everyone did a great job running and no one seemed bothered by all of the sounds and activity of students arriving on campus. We're also getting the hang of drinking from the bottle I carry. Everyone can now drink from it without "gacking." And oh, how they did drink. It was warm and they cleaned me out quickly. I might need to switch to my two-bottle pack for these runs or refill along the way.

As we entered Blackbird Farms Kitty's mom motioned for me to come help her. It's garage sale day and she'd sold her grill but the gentleman who bought it needed some help. Kitty was there with Harley and Grazie but her mom must have really wanted me to help with the grill because she wore my belt with everyone attached while I worked. They were mostly in down stays but I was still impressed both at how well the dogs did and that she'd handle all of them.

After disc golf I got dropped at home to feed the dogs and then bike to meet everyone for dinner. As I was feeding Dexter (by hand, as usual) I saw Bob nose over a couple of times as Dexter was waiting to take the food in front of him. When we started doing this such an incursion would have gotten at least a lip curl from Dexter but tonight Bob even nosed Dexter's paw and Dexter just moved it a bit while continuing to watch me, waiting for his command to take another handful of food. I am so delighted that he trusts me to handle the situation.

We returned home late and I had some work to do on the computer but now it's about 11:00 PM local and I'm at the bar with most of the dogs passed out at my feet. I think the dogs have had a full day despite me being gone so much.


2008-08-17: meeting Oscar by Kyler Laird
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I was contacted a couple days ago because a foster home was having trouble with a biting dog. Uh oh. I really didn't want to get involved with a dog who bites but this was a special situation. I was told that the dog only "play bites"; he bites without puncturing skin when he's excited. It's not an aggressive behavior.

I rode my trike to Celery Bog with Bob to meet Oscar. Oscar was all snarls and snaps about Bob. Bob was wonderful though! It is not his nature but Bob backed off and trusted me to handle the situation. We muzzled Oscar and still he came at Bob. I wrestled him in an attempt to quiet him but he wouldn't discontinue. Finally I got him in harness and in position to run.

It took a few tries to get him moving forward instead of at Bob but once he started to run the issue with Bob disappeared. We ran about a mile to Wal-mart and on the return leg I decided that he'd had enough of the muzzle. I reached over and unclipped it while we were moving at a good pace. No change. Eventually I decided he'd be fine and pulled it completely off of him.

After a couple miles Oscar seemed to have his fill. We stopped in the shade and he was panting hard. He had no interest in Bob and he seemed happy to take some water from me. His pads were wearing and tender so I decided to just walk the dogs home after a long break. Oscar didn't seem to have a "slow" setting though. He ran/trotted the rest of the way home.

At home I hitched him to the car and brought a few bowls of water to him. He quickly drained them. I decided to delay introductions to the other dogs until later because I need to get Conner to the shelter. I realized, however, that after the initial meeting (when I was wearing gloves!) he showed no interest in biting at me.  (I wouldn't say that he was biting at me initially anyway.  He was just interested in Bob.  He had plenty of chances to bite me but he didn't, even when I put my hand in his mouth.)


2008-08-18: library run by Kyler Laird

We didn't get to run yesterday so I was especially longing to hit the road today. Then, of course, I had an afternoon meeting that ran long. I was hoping to run six dogs to the library to meet Kitty and the other two at a concert there. I fed the dogs late and we were way behind schedule. I didn't want to run them right after eating but after 45 minutes I had everything in order so we went!

This would be a test of how well the dogs do in public. We took the path along Lindberg through Celery Bog and then joined Northwestern at Cherry Lane. There was a fair amount of road and foot traffic but not nearly as much as there will be in another week. The dogs did well. They quickly get the rhythm and Bob is doing well at playing the lead dog and following my calls. I rarely get tripped...unless my shoe comes untied (as it did today).

Coming through campus was a non-event. The dogs pretty much ignore other people. I can usually keep them in line by just picking up the pace if they get distracted. It was a good quick run to the library and then I picked up Harley from Kitty and walked to the restaurant while Kitty drove with Grazie. Kitty got a parking space right by our table so I put the foster dogs in the car with Grazie. The boys stayed on mats by us while we ate. Jarreau and Morgan did great but Marley was constantly breaking his stay. The dogs in the car got a lot of attention from passers-by.  Although Grazie hides in the driver's footwell, the other dogs seemed fine in the car - alert but content and not at all bothered by the busy area.


2008-08-19: dog dinner by Kyler Laird
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Four of our friends came over for dinner and brought a Great Pyrenees and a Standard Poodle puppy. Things went pretty well but the Pyr was a bit overwhelmed by all the dogs. Marley and the puppy, however, had a glorious time playing by themselves.


2008-08-22: playgroups by Kyler Laird
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I returned from the farm just in time to load the dogs and head to the park. The kennel dogs were already out playing. Bizet was with the little dogs. We joined the bigger dogs in the main area. All the dogs there were cool so I brought Bizet over to join us.

Dobky and Bob were a bit too interested in Bizet. Once, when Dobky was chasing Bizet Peyton broadsided him. I could imagine that he was "splitting" - trying to diffuse the situation.

Some young friends joined us and did a great job with the dogs. It was a good night.


2008-08-23: Purdue students visit by Kyler Laird

Toward the end of last semester some Purdue students contacted me about working with the dogs. What a wonderful opportunity! I've always had this hope that I could get students involved with working the dogs and I know there are students on campus who miss their own dogs or wish they could have their own but can't because of their housing, schedules, etc. The students took a couple of the dogs out for tours of campus last year and did a great job with the dogs. I looked forward to their return - and today I got the call!

The ladies were already at playgroups when I arrived. We talked about the current group of dogs and some of the changes coming to the group. There's still a lot to resolve but I'm excited about getting more people involved and getting dogs on campus for socialization. There are wonderful possibilities.


2008-08-23: more students return to campus by Kyler Laird

I caught a brief nap after playgroups and then fed the dogs. After waiting an hour we still had some sunlight so I took everyone for a run to campus to get a glimpse of the weekend before classes start.

We take the trail along the golf course and then through the IM fields to Purdue West. I could hear the band playing as we approached. They were practicing right where we turn to head toward the RSC. Even though they made some startling sounds and were milling around the trail, the dogs did well staying with me and keeping pace. We needed to go off-trail a few times due to traffic but the dogs didn't get spooked by any of the activity.


2008-08-28: another run for Harley by Kyler Laird

I've been getting fairly comfortable taking six of the dogs for a run most days. Harley has become so much more active lately that I've been considering taking him with us. I wasn't going to take him tonight but he was so excited I just couldn't leave him again.

Harley was pulling hard at first but then he settled back after about a mile. Then we ran around campus and he was really dragging. I stopped a couple times to check on him but each time he'd start pulling again so we'd resume. As we approached Slayter Hill Harley just dropped. I wasn't about to push him to continue. Kitty was out with a friend so I asked them to provide sag wagon service. Waiting with all of the dogs at the busy corner was a good experience. Everyone seems comfortable with all the activity except Marley is spooked by skateboards.


2008-08-30: busy Saturday by Kyler Laird
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There were a couple evaluations at playgroups today and we were also short on staff so I went for the whole time. Well, I arrived a bit late but I made quite an entry. I unloaded my dogs from the car and was mistaken about one of the new dogs, Lough, (for evaluations) being through the second gate. Instead, he got swamped by my guys in the entry area - quite an initiation. He handled it well, though!

Playgroups were uneventful after that and I had time to talk with Onyx's owner. I had completely neglected her request to try a playmate for Onyx. At first I was thinking that one of the doodles would be good but then she asked about Dexter. Of course! Dexter lived with a cat, has great housetraining, and his original owner was also a young woman. Dexter went home with Onyx. I neglected to mention that Dexter has difficulty getting into cars and I realized it just as I watched him start to enter her car. Then he high-tailed it out of there as I headed for him. I gave him a boost and it sounds like he did fine after that.

I visited Dexter later and took his crate and some food. He'd been doing fine with Onyx and seemed relaxed in the fenced area with Onyx. I just set up the crate and tried not to bother him. I look forward to hearing how he does.

I had Harley and Dobky with me and we headed straight to Global Fest in West Lafayette. Even though it was finishing as we arrived they got lots of attention and they did beautifully. Afterward a bunch of us went to a restaurant in Lafayette. Harley and Dobky got lots of attention while waiting for everyone to arrive and then I hitched them to the fence near the restaurant entrance. They continued to get nearly constant visitors throughout the evening.

I was amazed at how well Harley and Dobky did with all of the people, smells and sounds. I've traveled the country with lots of great dogs for many years so I have fairly high standards when it comes to being in public. Although I would expect my family dogs to maintain downstays in public without being tied, these guys were awesome and didn't seem to mind be restricted by their tethers. They were rock solid not spooked and social but not pushy. These are wonderful dogs. It was a delight to have them with us and they were fantastic representatives for our program.


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.


2008-09-17: first visit for first adoptable therapy dog by Kyler Laird

Yesterday I was asked to take a dog to Wabash Valley for Caring Paws. I needed to rearrange a meeting so I didn't agree until late but the scheduler (Billie) made it work. I thought quite a bit about which dog to take and it suddenly hit me that Bob was now eligible to go on Caring Paws visits. He has a high energy level but he loves to work the room. It would be a good place for his first visit.

I brushed and brushed Bob in the morning but the fur kept coming. Finally we left in time to arrive right at 10:30 We only waited a few minutes for an escort but I tried working Bob on simple commands to see how he was doing. He was marginal and obviously interested in everything around him. It's not that he was making noise or moving a lot; he just wasn't focused on me. That's not such a terrible thing for a dog who is going to visit people.

We took the elevator to the second floor and Bob was steady yet interested in the other riders. When we arrived in the activity room full of people he immediately started making the rounds. He was a natural. While he visited with everyone I told the story of his time with us and talked a bit about the rescue operation. Everyone was kind to Bob and most seemed interested in learning more about him.

On my way to the hospital Kitty had called to say that she was ready to take a break from grooming Marley and wondered if I'd like another dog. I requested Jarreau (who was groomed last week) and they arrived about 15 minutes after Bob and I did. I'd prepared the group for a Giant Schnoodle and Jarreau made a good impression despite being excited about Bob and a little timid about everyone else. Jarreau was easy to manage and it was good for him to have a short visit.

We all went to the back lot afterward and enjoyed watching the dogs run. It was especially interesting for me to see how these two behaved on their own. Usually we have many more dogs in the pack. Jarreau demonstrated his "calming behaviors" each time Bob would zero in on him. And then they'd be right back to running.

There were several Purdue nursing students observing and one asked about getting involved. It sounds like several students would like to work with the dogs. We need to finalize plans and have a callout soon.


2008-09-20: Trails of Hope camp by Kyler Laird

Kitty and I took our two newest therapy dogs, Bob and Marley, to Trails of Hope camp this year. They both did well and never seemed the least bit disturbed by the many kids who wanted to greet them. Bob was always very alert. We were invited to join a group for their after-lunch activity but it started with a relaxation exercise and I realized Bob's heavy breathing was not helping. We left in search of more activity. Lots of campers and staff welcomed us and we enjoyed touring the facility. Bob and I even tried the slide!


2008-09-21: Art on the Wabash by Kyler Laird

Kitty wanted to attend Art on the Wabash after church but I knew the dogs were in need of a run. We hadn't been out for awhile so I ran with the boys while Kitty and Grazie drove to Tapawingo Park.

I decided to take a "short cut" through Happy Hollow Park, starting at the pedestrian entrance from Salisbury. We immediately encountered a walker with his older Husky. We talked for awhile and I hope to hear from him again. Then we ventured into the park...I didn't realize how challenging it would be. There were lots of steps and then the path turned to single-track on steep hillside. I experimented with trying to run ahead of the dogs and then letting three go in front and three behind me. Splitting worked well.

Dexter had been a bit of a pain, always pulling hard to the right, so I connected him to Bob. That usually works well but he got a little loopy a couple times and once he even fell off a small bridge, dragging Bob along with him. They were hanging by their collars (but able to stand) for awhile as I tried to get the other dogs stable. Bob slipped out of his collar and I was horrified to think of trying to chase him through the park with the five other dogs. Fortunately he quickly returned to me! I gave him some water and tightened his collar. After that incident it was fairly uneventful. We had a pleasant run downhill and along the river to the park.

I stopped at the edge of the park to call Kitty but we were already starting to draw a crowd. That's how it was the whole time; we could barely move because people were constantly wanting to pet the dogs and ask about them. I enjoyed it and I think the dogs did too. Lots of children came to greet the dogs and everyone behaved beautifully. We saw some other dogs and a little one visited us. I don't know how much of a difference the short run made but I couldn't have asked for our pack to have done better.

After Kitty had her fill of art I ran the boys to Puccini's to meet her for lunch. The dogs all seemed ready to get into the Jeep so I left them there while we ate with friends who we noticed were also eating outside. Our waiter was generous with water - the dogs quickly drained a couple pitchers.


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.


2008-10-01: a day of firsts by Kyler Laird
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What a day! We had a lot of firsts. Dobky had a hair cut when I got him but it's always blocked his eyes. Kitty took him to be professionally groomed and he looks great! She said that he did well with being bathed, clipped and dried. I love seeing his eyes and he's so handsome!

When dapper Dobky rejoined us we pulled T-bone for introductions. He quickly became comfortable with the Poodley boys and Grazie. I was a little concerned that this young intact GSD might not do well with the rest of my guys but they all did a wonderful job. Eventually T-bone joined our entire group. I was impressed with how Bob and Dexter readily accepted T-bone. Morgan even approved of him. I am delighted to have T-bone in our crew.

After such a great success I was quite hesitant to pull Crockett but I wanted him to get to be part of the pack. Again, I started him with Jarreau, Marley, and then Grazie who he'd already met. (He took a hunk of fur out of Grazie's head yesterday but they were fine today.) I watched carefully as Dobky entered. He can be a bit pushy but he held back with Crockett...for awhile. They stood against each other a few times and neither would relent. I just needed to step between them or give a vocal distraction to break the tension though.

Dexter was no problem at all with Crockett and so I moved on to Morgan. I did not expect Mo to be so quick to forgive the young punk so I put on a glove and held Morgan while everyone entered the main playgroup area. Crockett did not even show an interest in Morgan for quite awhile. When he did approach it was not an issue. I finally let everyone play freely and it went surprisingly well. Crockett was careful but joined in playing and did not get over-stimulated by some of the big guys running and playing a little rough.

As I was getting ready to leave a playgroup was about to start and some of the monitor's dogs arrived. One of the little dogs was very excited and ran along the fence creating quite a stir. I was too far away to reach the dogs before Morgan and Crockett bumped into each other and had an extended spat. It lasted a long time but was fairly controlled. I stood in the middle of it but they both stayed clear of me.  Finally I wrapped Crockett's neck and he immediately stopped without any struggling, almost as if he was relieved to be done. He showed no aggression toward me.  Morgan's leg was injured but I think he'll heal easily. The dogs were fine together as we left.

We had time to return home, feed the dogs and then go to University Place to meet another handler with her dog, Tanner. I took Dobky and Kitty took Marley. Normally we crate them and Dexter while we're gone so I decided to leave Dexter free in the house. That seemed to work alright.

The boys were great at UPlace. I enjoy seeing Dobky's eyes and it was fun to have two freshly-groomed Poodle mixes. We chatted with several residents while waiting for Tanner. He's a big guy and seemed anxious during the visit but was well-behaved. We visited the room of one resident in Assisted Living who saw us on our way into the building and called to request us. It was a perfect introduction to UPlace. After that we headed to the Health Center and after a couple visits in the hall we let the dogs play in the courtyard. The boys had a great time and Tanner did well at getting them to run.

Despite my failure to control the situation with Crockett it was a banner day. I think T-bone is going to be a great dog and I'm confident that Crockett will learn to relax around other dogs. Marley and Dobky did a beautiful job at politely visiting people. (Dobky seems to be a little spooked by the elevator and bathroom. We'll work on that.) It was so much fun to be around Tanner! He's a big boy and gets a lot of attention and he's very well trained. Although harvest is starting soon I'm going to try to get back into regularly visiting UPlace.  I enjoy sharing it with new teams.


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.


2008-10-05: church retreat by Kyler Laird
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We've been staying busy and have not participated in the church retreat this weekend but we wanted to at least be there for the Sunday service. We loaded the house dogs and made it just in time for the start of the service. The dogs stayed in the car and did well waiting for us.

After the service Kitty and I took the dogs for a walk to the nearby campgrounds. The dogs were excited but did alright walking at our slow pace. We returned and put them into downs while we ate lunch. They're not like our old pack; instead they were constantly breaking their stays, mostly to get attention from the many adoring people who surrounded them. I couldn't fault them for that so they got a lot of slack. We had large and small dogs, and people of all ages visiting them. They did well with everyone. I was especially impressed with the foster dogs, Dexter, Bob, and Dobky.

I'd pulled out the Trikke for the kids and before we left I put Bob and Morgan on it. They did a great job of pulling, even taking commands at a great distance from me.

After lunch we drove to a nearby Niches property for a hike. It was a narrow track so I let our three dogs lead and the foster dogs lagged behind me. Kitty took Grazie.


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.


2008-11-02: 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.


2008-11-08: 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.


2008-12-07: 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.


2008-12-14: AHHS Santa photo by Kyler Laird
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After church, a meeting and lunch we rushed home to grab the dogs at the house and get them to Almost Home Humane Society for a photo with Santa. The dogs were all tightly wound and I think they expected to go to the park to play. Instead they had to behave among other dogs, people and...cats! It was challenging but we pulled it off with plenty of help from the AHHS staff and the wonderful photographer, Karen Weatherwax, who touched up this photo (we didn't all fit in the normal space) and supplied it to us electronically.


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.


2008-12-23: 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.


2009-01-17: a busy week by Kyler Laird
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I've been neglecting to write but we certainly did a lot this week. We finally got some decent snow and on Wednesday I took out the big sled with Morgan and Dobky in wheel and Bob in lead. We just went a couple miles, down Lindberg and back, but it was fun. (Well, except when Bob veered off the trail into oncoming traffic a few times.) The three dogs were just about right for pulling the sled on the hard packed snow . I'd dressed to run with them but I got to ride almost the whole way.

Much of the snow on the trails was quickly cleared and I kept hearing about record cold temperatures so I was inclined to stay inside for awhile. We still made it to the kennel every night and it always seems pleasant there when I'm dressed appropriately. On Thursday I bathed T-bone and Huntley at Klondike in preparation for a visit to University Place. I took them home with me and they did alright but I got distracted and allowed T-bone to mark a couch.

We met Amy at UPlace and she brought Bo. He's a handful - two handfuls, even, so I took him while Amy and Kitty handled T-bone and Huntley. These three all have a lot of energy and are difficult to focus but they're still wonderful and have outstanding potential. It takes a lot to keep them from jumping on people but it's fun to see them interact with the residents and the dogs get appreciative comments constantly.

Yesterday, Friday, I decided it was time for another run. I've had an ice fishing sled that I've been wanting to try for awhile. Work was a little rough and I didn't get to go out until it was getting dark but I'm so happy I did. I ran with the six boys like usual but this time I clipped Bob and Marley's harnesses to a line connected to the sled. Grazie rode in the sled atop a cushion. She was tethered to it but she didn't seem to have much inclination to leave her perch. A long stretch of bungee eliminated major shocks and seemed to give her a pleasant ride. It was good for the dogs to have something to pull.

Today we volunteered to be at the West Lafayette Public Library with a sled after the Caring Paws reading program. I didn't know how to get the big sled and all the dogs there so I sent that sled with Kitty. (She went on campus before the library.) I wanted to tire the dogs a bit so I ran with them to the library just as we did yesterday. Grazie rode almost the whole way, jumping out once to relieve herself on the trail and again so that she could run alongside as we went through campus. At the library I connected Morgan, Dobky and Bob to the big sled as a demonstration. We had several children come out to see all of the dogs and check out the sled. I enjoyed the opportunity.

Tonight we returned to University Place with Bo, T-bone and Huntley. Again, they all took a lot of management and yet they were so very appreciated by the residents. We visited a couple rooms on the second floor of Assisted Living we'd not had time to visit on Thursday. Everyone did well in the elevator and we had a great time hanging around on the second floor.


2009-01-19: two more CGCs by Kyler Laird
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We've been working hard with the new dogs in preparation for the Canine Good Citizen test. They have been great at interacting with everyone at University Place but I was not feeling confident at all with their ability to pass the test. It takes constant management to keep them on the ground and in a heel position. I decided that Bo would be too much to even manage at the test and concentrated on T-bone and Huntley. I pulled them from the kennel this afternoon and brought them home for a run with Bob and Marley pulling Grazie in the sled. Only Bob and T-bone pulled. Huntley was crazy to run and pulled hard against his collar the whole time. If he was a bit older I would have put him in harness. He'll be a great draft dog someday.

I met Waynetta and Aries before the test and Stan soon joined us. Aries played well with Huntley and T-bone but they were all still full of energy when we headed into the barn. It took a lot of management just to keep them somewhat still and quiet during the test. Waynetta and Aries went first and did an amazing job. I was surprised to look up and see that Waynetta did not put Aries into a sit when she met the "stranger with the neutral dog." Aries crossed to greet the other dog, failing that exercise. He got through the rest of it, though, including "supervised separation" which had been such trouble for him earlier.

I decided to try with Huntley next so I could get him back to the kennel and concentrate on T-bone. Huntley did surprisingly well. I was so impressed with him that I was a bit shocked when he wouldn't hold a stay. Of course we hadn't worked on this so I should have expected it. I hope I wasn't too pushy with him before I stopped the exercise. We continued with the rest of the test and the only problem he had was...again...another "stay" ("supervised separation"). He pulled hard as soon as I left the room. We'll have time to work on this as Huntley matures.

Jack and Cheyenne tested and made it look so easy. It's obvious that they've worked together and developed a close relationship. Watching a dog from such a rough background flourish as a beautifully groomed family member is a joy.

Finally it was my turn to test with T-bone. It was remarkably similar to Huntley's test; T-bone was attentive and did well at everything, staying at my side, dropping into sits, and lunging into downs. He amused the crowd by rolling over on his downs but I got frustrated because he'd pop back up and follow me if I left. I gave up on the exercise but we continued with the rest of the test and he breezed through it. I was told that was especially well-behaved during the supervised separation.

Aries and Waynetta had an opportunity to retry the neutral dog exercise after everyone else finished. They passed this time, of course. Aries showed an interest in the other dog but that was all.

Two more LTDR CGCs! I'm not just delighted to have these dogs do so well, it's also a treat to have more dogs covered under our insurance for LTDR events.


2009-01-25: Pet Partners tests and Windsor Hall callout by Kyler Laird

I was out late last night providing technical support for a concert and then spent a long time at the kennel letting out some client/friend dogs. I'd considered bathing and doing some last-minute training of Dobky and Dexter before their tests today but I decided sleep was more important.

After church (and a carry-in) I had plenty of time to go home and let the dogs play as much as they wanted. I returned to church with Dexter and Dobky for the Delta Society Pet Partners testing sponsored by Caring Paws. I was happy to run into Amy and Tanner who had gone first and, of course, passed! (Yea!)  I'm excited to have them as part of Caring Paws.  Amy has been integral to LTDR and has done an outstanding job of fostering Bozo the Malabrute.

When it was time to test with Dexter I realized I needed to hand off Dobky to Kitty, who was in a meeting. After a quick jog through the church I was back to test with Dexter. He was so social! I think he thoroughly greeted all of the volunteers and they were all very patient and kind to him. This was an immense help to us as we settled into the test. Dexter did alright during the test and I was especially pleased with how well he followed my lead. Although it was slow compared to other dogs, I even felt good about his "down," something that had concerned me. The most challenging part of the test was meeting the volunteer with the neutral dog. We did it twice and I realized during the first pass that it wasn't the dog who had his interest; he wanted to greet the volunteer! I really stayed on top of him the second time and he narrowly passed.

I got to rest a bit while Allison tested with Keowee. It's been awhile since I tested with Keowee but I was confident that he'd do well for Allison. I heard from a volunteer that he was very attentive to her. She has given him much-needed attention.  They passed!

Dobky and I were the last team of the day. I've learned to love Dobky's slow, controlled movement and thought it would serve us well in the test but I worried that he might simply freeze and blow one of the exercises. Indeed, he was a joy to handle but he zoned out for awhile as I tried to get him to "down" and then he was enjoying getting patted by a volunteer so much that at first he ignored my "come" command. It took a few tries but I was amazingly relieved when he finally rose and ambled over to me. Whew - another pass!

We returned home and I caught a quick nap on the couch with Dobky curled in a ball against my legs. I didn't want to move but I was excited about the callout we had at Purdue's Windsor Hall. Kitty and I took Dexter, Dobky and Bob to Windsor at 6:30. We arrived right behind Waynetta and Stan who had Maddie Bea and Aries. Amy followed soon and we were escorted inside. Bob was the most energetic so I took him and Kitty took Dobky. That left Dexter for Amy, who I thought was a good match for him. I brought up the rear of the group and heard a commotion as I entered the building. It was Dexter - he wasn't handling the slick floors and stairs well. I grabbed his lead and pulled him alongside Bob. He came along but it was obviously a challenge for him.

Downstairs, we gathered in a large room and our hosts cleared some tables and arranged a lot of chairs (20?) for the presentation. I wasn't expecting to see all of the chairs filled but the students just kept coming and soon spilled out into another section of seating. It was a great crowd! Not only were there many students but they were all wonderful with the dogs and very engaging, showing great interest in the dogs.

I rambled on about therapy dogs and University Place for about 30(?) minutes and afterward we again got to meet many of the students as they enjoyed the dogs and spoke with us about their interest in volunteer opportunities. This was an impressive group. I'm looking forward to working with them.

After the presentation we took our dogs home and met Amy, Waynetta and Stan for dinner. I got a couple e-mail messages about volunteer opportunities as we spoke about how exciting it was to work with these students. We have a lot to learn but we see great possibilities in this program.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2009-02-22: last session in first mushing course by Kyler Laird
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While making lines on Friday with some of the students in the mushing class I heard some of them talk about wanting to bike with their dogs or take them scootering. At least one person was thinking of buying a scooter (for several hundred dollars). It worried me that students might try activities (like biking) without proper equipment or delay their enjoyment of mushing due to the expense. I decided that we would concentrate on an inexpensive activity for the last session in this first series: tire pulling.

Amy brought Bo's tire to one of the first classes and I got the feeling that students wanted their dogs to pull it without realizing how much strength it requires. I put away the tire and concentrated on using the lightweight sleds instead. Today I hoped to re-introduce the tires as a safe and enjoyable exercise by using smaller tires for solo dogs and teaming other dogs.

I was late getting to Mr. & Mrs. Tire on Saturday and they'd already closed. Their tire racks outside were empty. Oops! Kitty called around for another store that would give us junked tires and found Tire Barn. They were very kind to us and provided eight tires in a variety of sizes. I dropped them at Klondike Canine Academy that night.

This morning I decided that I really wanted to reverse engineer some of the newer tug lines I purchased. I was impressed with how they're woven but hadn't figured out how to replicate it. I finally solved the puzzle and became obsessed with making lines using the new method. I finished ten lines before 1:00 and then packed everything off to KCA. After unloading I attached eye bolts to each of the eight tires. Total cost: $1/tire.

Students started arriving for class very early so I talked about what we'd be doing and began formulating my plan for grouping the dogs. While inside, we tested the dogs pulling the tires and then we all went out to the parking lot and gave it another test. I noticed that the two Huskies who were teamed to a medium tire were a little hesitant so I paired them with Bob and Morgan pulling a large tire. They got the gist of it very quickly.

The students had made a couple rounds already and the Huskies were doing well so we led everyone down the road and circled through the trailer park. I tried to go slowly but my team was in high gear. We stopped to let everyone pass us half way but then they were off again, and Bob led them through yards and over logs to go around the other teams. Everyone else did great! It was a thrill to see so many dogs enjoying this work and I was pleased to see their owners working with them, encouraging the dogs and giving them a boost when necessary.

We dropped the tires in the parking lot and returned to the barn for "request time." I had a wagon ready and a few dogs tried it. It's a lot to ask a dog to step into a wagon and pull, especially in a confined space, but they did well. We also took sleds outside and the little boys in the class got to ride in them.

I got a lot of encouraging reviews from the students and am confident that they will be able to put the experience to good use immediately. It was especially fun to hear students talk about meeting up to let their dogs pull together. I encouraged the students to take a tug line and a tire with them and many did.

The participants in our first class were all wonderful; it could have been very stressful had they not been so enthusiastic and good with their dogs. I'm looking forward to using what I've learned to help the next class. Our next class is already full (nine dogs) although I might make room for more because three of the dogs came from LTDR and two are from the same family.

I treated the first class very much as a "sampler" and tried to give students a taste of lots of possibilities so they could decide what best fits them and their dogs. I still want to do that but I also want to use the class to start families on a pulling routine. Next time I want to get started quicker and provide basic tools (harnesses, lines, juice jugs, etc.) right from the start so that participants can have a common experience and develop the habit of working their 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!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2009-08-23: Bob, ambassador to the house of Windsor by Kyler Laird

Windsor Hall's tour guide coordinator, Kristin, took Bob for the afternoon. I was so happy for someone to want to take him out; he's been so good lately yet I haven't had work for him. He was perfectly suited for today's outing which included both running and meeting students.  I was a little anxious about sending him on site without me but I was not surprised that he did well.

Kristin writes, "we ran for an hour and except for the occasional squirrel he was very good. After that we went to Windsor and he was very sweet with the kids especially the manager's two year old. After that we walked around West Lafayette for 2ish hours and ran a bit more. Overall it was a blast, and I would love to take him again."


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.


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