- Name: Hero Dogs Stars and Stripes – “Stella”
- Breed/Color/Sex: Spinone Italiano, brown roan, F
- DOB: August 10, 2016
- Current Status: Facility Dog
- Donor: PennyLane Spinone (Karen Thompson)
- Puppy Raiser: Stacy N.
- Puppy Sponsor: Chesapeake Collision
- Puppy Scholarship: ProAssurance
It has been too long since I have shared anything about my progress. My raiser refers to this time as “Stella’s Sleep Away Spring". She is grateful to all of those who stepped up to help when she was out of town or taking care of her husband after his surgery. We was to say thank you, so here goes! Thank you, Meyers, Lusk family, Kelly H, Vanessa V., Bantleys, and Dr. Xu; thank you for exposing me to new people and places. Thank you for loving me and caring for me and for helping me work towards my goal of being a true Hero Dog!
Summer is here and that means hot weather and summer fun. After class several weeks ago some of us Hero Dogs went to play in Jennifer’s field; this is always fun. This time was especially great because I met the new golden retriever puppy, Raymond. I also was able to demonstrate to my friends my cooling off in the bucket trick. I stick my head in the water bucket, blow bubbles and then come up and shake my head back and forth. I love it ! I still have not figured out why all the two legged critters seem to run away when I do this.
The grand babies came for a short visit during the July 4th week end. The boy one that used to use four legs to move around now only has to use two of his legs! It was fun to have them both here; we went to the tennis court and the playground together. I am getting better at remembering that the girl does not face licks; I practiced sitting calmly near her. She’s not so good about sharing her toys with me. Stacey seems happy when I pick up something and bring it to her; grand baby girl makes a loud high pitched noise when I try and share her toys. She has a lot to learn.
On July 4 I went with my family to a picnic at Lake Needwood. It was fun; but I was in my vest so it was not exactly “a walk in the park”. They were grilling burgers, hot dogs and ribs; sadly, for me it was kibble only. Stacey said she was so proud of me. She said leave it and I did; I stayed quietly under the picnic table. We took a walk past all the other groups of people eating and playing; there were lots of kids and other dogs. It is not easy for me to ignore other dogs, but I am trying. I like children; I like them to pet me but I also know that it is important that I not play with them like I would play with a four legged friend. Sometimes I lay down for them to show them that I will not hurt them. I play with a boy who lives next door and his dog Ginny; I never have to wear my vest there. I can run and play freely and I have learned how to “trot” beside him calmly.
Last Saturday I went to Damascus Motors for a fun event that also benefited Hero Dogs; Hero Dogs Zeke was there as well. There were lots of noisy cars and loud music; sometimes I could not even hear what Stacey was asking me to do. Stacey spoke about Hero Dogs, Zeke and Charlie demonstrated some of the awesome things we HD puppies can do. I confess I found it difficult to ignore two dogs who were close by in the “audience”. Stacey did say I was very brave and she was pleased that the loud car noises did not scare me. I was also willing to do paws up on several very strange looking vehicles.
Every Sunday, I go to church with Stacey and on most Sundays we do children’s church together. I love the kids and they love having me there. I am doing very well at sitting quietly while Stacey talks and laying down nicely even when the kids are doing art projects right next to me.
I go to HD class once and sometimes twice a week; I love the class. Despite the fact that I do get very excited to see my HD friends and its hard for me to concentrate, I know that I am learning important new skills! The journey is fun and the goal is important.
Until next time,
The highlights of the month for me were largely or at least loosely connected to the weather. At the beginning of the month after big dog class at Hero Dogs, several of us pups went to play outside in Jennifer’s field; it was chilly but yummy. Maggie, Ivey and I arrived to find that Scotty and Sammie had come to romp as well. It was crazy fun! We chased each other, we wrestled, we chased balls, played stick tug of war and even tried to take some pictures before we all left. The two legged ones thought it would work since it was at the end of our playtime. As soon as we would all get lined up in either a sit or down stay one of us would move. Ok, so I confess I had a very hard time staying still for more than a nano second. The blurry grey pup in the pictures is me.
Several days later, as we headed out for a walk, Stacey said we were going to take a different walk today. We started off in our normal direction, I live on a dead end street so for a walk of any length there is only one to go to start. Anyway soon after turning off our street we stepped onto a path leading into the woods Almost as soon as we entered the path there was a creek to cross. Stacey kept her feet dry by stepping across on rocks. Cody and I splashed right through the water. Fun. It was an awesome walk on a beautiful warm winter day. We scrambled up and down small hills, around rocks and over fallen tree trunks. On one longer hill Stacey laughed and said I was strong as a sled dog. We were on this lovely path for an hour and right at the end before we had to turn back towards “civilization “, there was one more creek. I thought about jumping in, but decided to check it out carefully before doing so. Stacey said perhaps next time, if its a bit warmer, I could take the plunge.
Four days later I work up to find white stuff all over the grass. It was not the first time I had seen this stuff on the ground or falling from the sky, but it was most certainly the first time there was enough of it to play in. After my initial surprise, I was excited to romp around in it with Cody. By the next day it was no longer soft but hard and very slippery. I was not so thrilled about that, but I did what I had to do to go about my day. Stacey said she was proud of me for being a brave girl. She did laugh at me several times when I slipped and ended u;p spread eagle!
The next week end, I stayed with Jennifer for several days while Stacey was out of town. I went to something called an ice rink; yes, I did go out on the ice It was slippery but fun. I think the practice I had on the crusty slippery snow was helpful for my first adventure on straight up ice. Stacey is hoping to see video or pictures soon. Honor came to Jennifer’s and we played together in the snow also. Great fun!. I also took several rides in Jennifer’s van some in the front and some in the middle seat. Stacey was pleased to hear that I did lay down on the floor in the van.
I think that is it for this month’s weather related experiences. On a different note, one day at HD class there were several small four legged critters in cages all over the classroom. There was at least one rabbit, a kitty, a bird , some kind of rodent. I do not remember everything that was there that day. My brain was kind of on overload. I was the most concerned about the bunnies, especially when they “hopped”. Even harder than being relaxed around the small four legged friends is working on my skills with my bigger four legged HD friends. I can’t help it; I get so excited to see them.
What we are working on now , in terms of my on leash behavior, is paying attention to Stacey in spite of the most distracting distractions. Normally I am good at listening to “easy”; I either stop and look back at Stacey or just slow down a little bit. When I do this she is happy to keep moving. Recently however, when I stop paying attention or suffer from a sudden onset of complete hearing loss, Stacey suddenly changes direction and goes the opposite way from where I was going (or should I say sometimes, actually pulling her towards). After a few of those quick moves I figure out that it is more comfortable and more efficient to pay attention to Stacey. So much to learn!
The last thing I want to mention is some what related to weather again. I made another visit to the assisted living facility in Pennsylvania; it was a chilly day so we went to see a movie and then for a meal. It was a great deal of indoor time, with only one long line ball chasing session. Stacey was very proud of my self control at such a young age.