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Calvin

Hero Dogs “Calvin” – September 2014

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Hero Dogs "Calvin"Happy autumn! The leaves are falling, it’s getting cooler, and I’m enjoying every bit of it!

I have some very big exciting news this month! My puppy raisers Christen and Brendan became my permanent puppy family and adopted me! You can see my adoption announcement video here.

I’m so excited that I forgot to tell you everything that has happened leading up to my adoption.

Since I was little I have been itchy most of the time. Sometimes I would chew myself and lose my fur, or my fur would turn orange. I went to Brookeville Animal Hospital a lot and took many different medications, but nothing seemed to help. Then, I went to see Dr. Jeffers at Animal Allergy and Dermatology to get a test to find out exactly what was making me so itchy. Well, it turns out I am allergic to a lot of things. The good news is Dr. Jeffers gave me some medicine and allergy shots to take and help me feel better. I don’t mind the shots at all. I rest my head on Brendan’s hand and then Christen gives me the shot and I get a treat! Really, shots are awesome because they mean food! My human, Christen, was tested for allergies too and she has more than I do! She gets allergy shots as well, but she has to get two shots each time! She gets shots one week and I get them the next week… We are quite the allergic pair!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"After several weeks of taking the medicine, my fur started to grow back and I stopped being so itchy! I feel better now, but Ms. Jennifer explained that because I need allergy shots for the rest of my life, it is too much for a veteran (who needs help themselves) to handle. Christen and Brendan said that although I would not become a service dog for a veteran, that I could still become something very special. They said that I am a great helper and I can help many more veterans and people as a therapy dog! Jennifer told us that Hero Dogs is starting a Therapy Dog program and that she would love for me to become one of the founding therapy dogs! I was so honored! I still get to be a Hero Dog after all! A Hero Dogs Therapy Dog! It has a nice ring to it!

To start my therapy dog journey, Dolley, Teddy, and I attended PAL’s (People Animals Love) therapy dog orientation to learn about being a therapy dog and to take a temperament test. We all passed with flying colors of course! After that I made several evaluation visits to the AFRH (Armed Forces Retirement Home) to visit human heroes and keep them company. Then I became an official PAL and Hero Dogs therapy dog! I wear a blue collar, leash, and harness now to match my spiffy new blue therapy dog vest and boy do I look sharp if I do say so myself! I even have a tag that has an anchor on it because I’m a Navy guy and on the back is my memorial to veterans! Christen got a blue treat pouch to match me too!

The best part of being a therapy dog is all the pets and smiles you get! I do “Lap” where I lay my head on a person’s lap and let them pet me, and I do “Say Hello” where I rest my head on a person’s hand! I’m a natural of course… it’s in my blood! My Uncle Sam is a therapy dog too! I can’t wait to tell you about all of my upcoming therapy dog visits with my therapy dog friend Dolley!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"A lot of other things have happened this month too! I got to see Brendan perform “Song My Dog Wrote” live! It was awesome to see him play the song we wrote together! (You can watch my music video here.) I got to play with my girlfriend Ceili and reminisce about puppy class too!

I participated in my first “Walk For Paws” event this month! I went for a walk around my favorite lake, picked out rubber duckies from a little pool, and won a prize using “Take It” and “Give.” I got my photo taken with my family and I even competed in my first dog competition! I won 2nd place for Best Trick! I showed the judges how I do “Leash” where I hand my leash to my human, and even though I do my “trick” all day every day, I won 2nd place! I got many goodies including new tennis balls! I ALWAYS need new tennis balls! I even received many cat treats, but I decided to give them to Betsy the Hero Dogs cat. I know many other “tricks” of course, but I didn’t let on how smart I am. It was a great day to just be a dog and enjoy spending time with Christen and Brendan.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Oh, how could I forget?! I went for my first bike ride this month! It was more like my personal chariot and Christen biked, but I LOVED it! I got to just sit there, with the wind in my face and smell the air! I can’t wait to go on more bike riding adventures with them!

I am so excited to tell everyone about the great news and I am so happy to be in my forever home! (Don’t tell Christen and Brendan, but I always knew I was already home.)

Much love and tail wags!

~ Calvin

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Calvin’s Adventures – July and August 2014

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Hero Dogs "Calvin"The last two months of summer have been great!

I started July at the Armed Forces Retirement Center in Washington D.C.! It was the 4th of July and I had a lot of fun meeting everyone! All the veterans loved meeting me, and did I mention I LOVE kids!? Some of the kids there I taught how to be mini trainers and do “touch” by holding the button and “take-it” by dropping the keys for me! We were in a very small paw-triotic parade too! At night we watched the fireworks over the Washington-paw-nument and I wasn’t scared at all. I was so tired I just wanted to go for a nap!

That weekend I got to play with my human cousin Ben with a football and the whole family got together to eat! I laid under the table and even enjoyed one of my frozen Kongs! Everyone said I was such a good boy!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Later that month Christen and Brendan celebrated being together for 11 years! I have only been around for one and a half years so that sounds like a long time to me! To celebrate we all went on what the humans call a “picnic.” I enjoyed going for a walk around the park, but they got to eat while I had to just lay on a blanket. I’m not sure why humans go on picnics or think they are unusual… I eat out of my Kong on the ground all the time!

August came and boy were my humans busy! Brendan’s birthday was in the beginning of the month, and to celebrate we took a long walk on the Trolley Trail in Old Ellicott City! I love walking there because it is nice and shady in the hot summer! Brendan’s brother, my uncle Nate, was getting married! That means he gets to be with his mate forever! Christen got this silly blanket that she wore and I kept going under it to check to see where her legs were hiding. She told me that wasn’t good manners and that it is called a “dress.” Then, they said I was going to have to stay with my grandparents for a little while so they could go to Indiana to see Nate get married. I had a great time playing ball with my human grandpa, and my human grandma took me on nice walks! They weren’t used to how us Hero Dogs eat out of Kongs or all our commands, but Christen told them everything I normally do and they did a great job taking care of me! They really enjoyed how I hand them my leash before we go out the door! My grandma says she is normally a small dog person, but I think I converted her with my big brown eyes!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"When Christen and Brendan came back from the wedding they were really excited about this thing called “Shark Week.” They kept watching the glowing box and talking about sharks! After watching them blab on and on about these ‘sharks’ I realized that they must be pretty amazing creatures. To my knowledge they like to swim around in the water… I LOVE the water! I bet they are really nice swim buddies! Well, anyway, during “Shark Week” Brendan’s sister Emily brought me a toy shark! I was sooo happy to receive such an amazing gift. I’ve tried over and over to sink my teeth into it and really get a good destruction going, but that shark is pretty tough! Since I couldn’t seem to destroy it, he is now my snuggle-napping buddy.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"At the end of the month after my humans came back we celebrated Christen’s birthday! I guess all humans are born in the same month? For her birthday I got new fish siblings and a bike trailer! Can you believe I got a gift for her birthday? Humans are so silly sometimes! She told me it was so I can go with her and Brendan when they go on long bike rides so I can go too! This way I can take a nap while they ride. They put it together and let me go in and out of it while it just sat in the house for a few days. Eventually I decided I liked it so much that I would just go and lay down in it during the day!

At the end of August I turned 20 months old! I have calmed down a lot more and I can’t wait for the cooler months of fall!

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Hero Dogs Calvin – June 2014

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I love summer! Although it gets pretty hot on my walks I always remember to drink water, dunk my head in my water bucket, and play in my pool! A lot of fun things happened this month!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"My puppy raiser Brendan went away for a while to a place the humans call “The Magical Kingdom” or something like that. He went there on business to play his music, but he forgot to bring me! I am great at songs! But that’s ok because my puppy raiser Christen and I had a fun time going on walks and playing together. It rained quite a bit, so we practiced a lot of my training inside which tired me out. My newest task I am learning to do is to pick up a credit card and hand it to a human without munching on it. I do pretty well most of the time, but once in a while I will chew it because the human doesn’t have a yummy enough snack or I’m just getting bored with my training. I was so excited to pick up Brendan at the airport! He even brought me back new ears!?! Doesn’t he know I already have ears?!?!

My human Aunt brought over what you call a pug. His name is AJ and he is a dog like me, but he was very loud when he breathed so I was a little confused when I first met him. We got along well, but he was not very playful. He kind of just sat around and snorted a lot, but that’s ok; I love to meet all sorts of dogs!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"During one of our classes this month, we went to this building the humans call “The Laytonsville Firehouse.” It was such a fun field trip! First, we all met a very funny dressed human with a covering over his face that made a loud air blowing sound. I didn’t mind him at all. I was much more interested in smelling the new place! I got to “HUP” on what the humans call a fire truck and I got to walk through an “Ambulance.” They said it was important for us service dogs to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells of firemen and fire trucks, because if our veteran ever needed human help we would be okay with going on the fire truck or in the ambulance with them. While Christen and I were sitting in the fire truck, a fireman closed the door and started driving the fire truck out of the firehouse! I was so excited to ride in the truck! I rushed over to the window to say hello to all my Hero Dogs friends outside! That is one trip I will never forget! I had the best doggie day ever!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"This month was the Hero Dogs Volunteer Appreciation Open House! I had a blast! One person had me pick up rubber ducks out of a little pool for kids to get a prize! That was so much fun! My human cousin Ben came to learn about Hero Dogs and what we do. I was so happy to show him and his parents around! He even got a tattoo of my picture on his arm! I felt sooo special that people could wear a picture of me and the other Hero Dogs on their skin! During the demonstration I did “leash” where my human drops my leash and I pick it up and hand it to them. That is pretty easy for me to do, except Christen dropped it right next to a piece of trash on the ground and I got distracted for a minute, but then I remembered and gave her the leash.

At the Open House, I also took a tour of the new Hero Dogs cabin where the veterans will stay while they are learning how to work with a service dog. It was very nice in there; I pulled all the cabinet doors open and I turned on a light switch. I couldn’t help myself and not try out the new place! James had my music video playing inside the training room, and I was so thankful! I even got a donation in my name, which is a huge honor!

Then, some very special guests came! My breeders Mario and Betty (Milltowne Labrador Retrievers) and my brother MJ’s parents came too! I had not seen my breeders in a year, but I remembered them and I jumped all over them while giving them hugs and kisses! I broke a couple of Hero Dogs rules, of course, but I can with them because they are very special! If it weren’t for them, my dog parents would have never met and I wouldn’t be here. After the open house I sat down with Teddy to try and relax. I have to tell you that Teddy is an expert at relaxing! I’m trying to learn from him! After a long day I went home to take a long nap.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I have been taking a lot of nice walks in the park and playing in my pool with my rubber ducky. Any time we get to play I always hope my pool will be full of water! I love to get things out of the water and have my humans throw things back in my pool! In the park we see new things all the time, and I work on my “Look” and “Watch” when dogs go by and try to distract me. Now that I am older I am a lot better at ignoring other dogs on my walk.

Ohhh! I forgot to mention! Christen likes to sit in her warm pool inside the house sometimes, and one time I thought it was like my pool so I tried to get in and paddle around! Christen didn’t seem thrilled. She acted like I had crashed her pool party, but I LOVE water! Also, if you take a shower I might just peek my head in to check on the rain INSIDE THE HOUSE! Christen said I look like a “creeper,” but I don’t really understand why she gets to go in the water every day and I don’t. It doesn’t seem fair.

I am now 18 months old! I can’t believe it! But I am still very much a teenager… you can ask York about that! I can’t wait for another month of summer and everything I am going to do!

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Calvin’s May Journal

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Wow! Boy has May been an exciting month! I have been very busy helping to spread the word about Hero Dogs!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"This month I released my first song along with my music video called “Song My Dog Wrote.” Everyone said I have a wonderful voice and that it was a very sweet song! I have to say that my puppy raiser Brendan did help me a lot with the song and Christen shot most of the music video because I don’t have opposable thumbs! Within a day of releasing the video, a TV show called “Right This Minute” contacted us asking to interview us on their show! I was sooo nervous! This was my first TV interview! I tried to do my best to represent Hero Dogs and I hope it helps people to learn about what we do. Right after the interview we had Hero Dogs practice, but I was so excited from the interview I could hardly concentrate… or maybe that’s what my puppy raisers said!

I went to my first Ophthalmologist exam! That’s where a human takes a bright light and shines it in my eyes! I didn’t find that very appealing, but boy do they have great treats there and a giant fish tank just like we have at home! This must have been check up month because I also had my yearly exam at Brookeville Animal Hospital! I passed with flying colors! I got all my yearly shots… After I get a shot I sit down and wait for a treat because I was such a good boy!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Most of our classes this month were centered on us practicing to march in our booties! I have to tell you that wearing things on my feet is my least favorite thing to do next to getting eye drops! At our first class practicing with them on I laid down in protest! I am a peaceful protestor! Ilene helped encourage me in my new footwear and I got the courage to get up; after all, the humans were just trying to look out for me by having me wear the booties. You see, we wear the booties to protect our paw pads from burning on the hot pavement. I practiced every day and I got lots of yummy treats on my walks when I wore them. Eventually, I figured out it wasn’t that bad.

After one of our classes we got to stay after and have a party or maybe it was a fun-raiser for Hero Dogs at Mama Lucia’s. I practiced settling under the table and they even were so kind to bring us dogs some water!

The next week we practiced in our booties again and we got to meet a bunch of other Hero Dogs volunteers! My puppy raisers’ got really nice T-shirts and hats to wear in the parade! I even tried some of it on! I like to accessorize sometimes!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"What is all this parade talk, you say? Hero Dogs was in the National Memorial Day Parade! It was the biggest event I’ve ever been in! We all rode in a big bus down to Washington D.C.! We met a lot of people while we were waiting in the shade before the parade started, including kids! I love kids! I wore an ice-cold patriotic bandana, my service dog vest, and my booties! They announced Hero Dogs as we came around the corner and everyone cheered for us! It was like we were true heroes! Christen and Brendan said I did such a good job! I didn’t lay down during the parade once! I ate a lot of yummy chicken too! At the end of the parade there was this giant blower thing that had cold water coming out of it! We all ran right into it and I laid down in the cool water. I got to take my booties off and we celebrated! It was so much fun and I would love to do it all again!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I am now 17 months old! I am so excited about summer and playing in water! I recently got a bucket to drink out of when I play outside and I love to dunk my whole head in it! I’d rather we had a bucket inside too!

One last thing! Ever since my puppy raisers uploaded the music video they have been uploading a bunch more fun puppy videos that often include Hero Dogs class or events! You can check it out at https://www.youtube.com/brendanb007 See you there!

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Calvin’s Adventures – April 2014

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Hero Dogs "Calvin"This month is a big month for me. It has been a whole year since I began living with my puppy raisers. Since then I have done so many things and gone so many places! I have to say my favorite thing to do is make people smile! I love to lie down in a goofy position just to get people to laugh!

We had our Quarterly Puppy Raiser Meeting this month and it was so much fun! Dr. Marcie came and helped us learn how to behave at the veterinarian’s office. I really like going and I like to practice my examination. I heard Franklin and a couple of other Hero Dogs are having a great time training with their veterans and I am so happy for them. They will have some great new adventures together!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I met the Easter Bunny… well, kind of! Brendan, my puppy raiser, dressed up like a bunny and gave me a basket with lots of toys and treats! I got a toy pig that oinks and I love it! I even got to dress up like a bunny myself and it was so much fun. There were bright colored eggs everywhere, but they were empty inside and not edible… or so the humans say. I got to meet my human Aunt and Uncle again and they brought my puppy cousin Chloe the labradane! She is very tall and we went on a walk together so I could teach her a few pointers about how to walk nicely on a leash.

In class I learned how to help a human get up if they fell down. I get in a “Sit-Stay” and then I “brace” which is where I don’t move while they pull themselves up using my harness on my chest and shoulders. (See the photo below!) It works very well and although I’m not the biggest Labrador I can help someone up that it is at least twice my size. We also learned two new commands: “Front” where I stand facing my human and “Lift” where I raise each paw for grooming or if my leash gets caught behind my paw.

Hero Dogs "Calvin" (with Hero Dogs "Ivy")Hero Dogs Ivy came over to stay with us for several days while his human was away. Puppy sleepover!!! It was so awesome! I taught him lots of things! It was fun to go on walks together, practice our training, chew bones together, wrestle each other, and wear our vests together! I was so sad to see Ivy leave, but boy did I take a big nap after he left. It was like a puppy party marathon! I loved being a big dog brother!

Now that it has been nice out I have been visiting different parks and going for walks outside a lot more. Every day when I see it’s bright and sunny outside, I am so happy to get out there and experience it!

I am now 16 months old! I can’t believe I am a big dog now! I know how to do most of my commands pretty well and I am doing great on my walks and ignoring distractions. I can’t wait for next month! I hear there is a big puppy parade for veterans and I get to be in it!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"

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Hero Dogs Calvin – March 2014

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Hero Dogs "Calvin"Happy Spring! This month I took it easy. It was doctor’s orders for me to be a couch potato because I had my first surgery! It really isn’t as scary as it sounds and you get lots of cuddles that make it all better.

Before my big day I did manage to get in one last playtime in the snow and it was so much fun!

I have been having a tough time paying attention when I’m around pretty girl dogs lately and Jennifer said we needed to do something about that. I don’t know what the big deal is… maybe they shouldn’t have such pretty dogs at Hero Dogs and then I wouldn’t be so distracted!

One day we went to Dr. Marcie’s and somebody poked me with some strange contraption. Then, a couple days later, early in the morning we went back to Brookeville Animal Hospital for my surgery to help me not be so distracted. A nice lady took us back to a small room and talked to my humans for a while, when all of the sudden everything went dark! All of the lights went out! Quickly the lights came back on and then Dr. Marcie came in to tell us that although they have a back up generator, they would rather reschedule my surgery and x-rays for another day! Haha! I escaped being neutered… or so I thought. I showed up to Hero Dogs class that day and everyone was surprised to see me!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"The very next week we went back to Dr. Marcie’s and did the same things again except this time a nice lady took me into another room and then I fell asleep. When I woke up I felt kind of woozy and kind of sore. But, the nice lady came and cuddled me and made me feel a lot better. The next day my humans arrived and took me home! I couldn’t wait to sleep on my comfy bed. I really wanted to lick where I was sore, but my puppy raisers put human shorts on me so that I wouldn’t mess up my stitches. I think they did that just so they could have a good laugh, but I don’t mind because I love to make people happy! For a couple days after that I took it easy… no jumping or running and I got a lot of sleep.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Once I was healed and had my stitches removed I was able to go back to class! Boy do I love class! Remember the incident I told you about last month in IKEA? Well, we practiced how to avoid something like that happening again. When my human goes into the bathroom I stand next to them while they “Get Busy” and then they use me to balance when they get up off the white “Get Busy” seat. The tricky thing for me is not laying down and staying in a “Stand” position… I get really bored so I just want to lay down, but my humans say that’s gross in a public bathroom. I don’t know what they are talking about because those places smell amazing and the floor tastes wonderful! We also practiced “Go” when we have to go through an aisle like in an airplane and go ahead of our human and maybe even sit at the end. That was pretty tough and I think I need to practice that more! When I’m really confused about a command I try to lay my head on my human or on any object or chair nearby because “Lap” and “Touch” are my favorite commands.

I am now 15 months old! I am so happy for the warm weather and spring! I love snow, but now I am looking forward to water, swimming, and more walks! I also hear there is a holiday coming up about bunnies and eggs, and I can’t wait!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"

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Calvin’s Journal – February 2014

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Hero Dogs "Calvin"This month was a lot of fun! I watched my first doggie sporting event, I went on several adventures, shared my love on Valentine’s Day, and I got to play in more snow!

The first weekend of the month was so much fun! My humans called it “Superbowl Sunday.” I’m not sure why… There wasn’t a giant bowl anywhere! I enjoyed watching Puppy Bowl X where puppies of all kinds get to run around and play! I cheered on all the puppies and squeaked my “Deers Bite” beer bottle toy. I wore my football jersey and celebrated all night with my football! My fish brother Poncho even got to watch the Fish Bowl! There was a little something for everyone that night!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Christen and Brendan needed some things for the house so I went with them on a little road trip to this great big yellow box the humans call “IKEA.” It was sooo much fun! First, I pushed the button for the elevator for the first time and it was awesome! Then, the humans got food and I practiced “settle” under the table until they were done. Christen needed to “get busy” so I went with her into the humans relief spot. I did really well except I might have looked under the dividing wall to say hello to the other human on the other side while Christen was trying to lock the door. I know I’m not supposed to, but there was ANOTHER HUMAN on the other side! Turns out humans on the other side are not very pleasant so I recommend you do NOT look under that wall! After that I decided to behave and wait for Christen to tell me what I should do. There was even a small human washing bowl right at my height! We walked around and practiced “back,” “side,” “heel,” and “leave it.”

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Would you believe it?!?! More snow came and I had so much fun playing in it! I even learned how to shovel snow… well sort of. The humans helped me build my first snowman and he looked really tasty, especially that carrot on his face!

I celebrated Valentine’s Day, a day of love, by dressing up in a bow tie and sending my photo to all the pretty ladies in my life! Did I tell you?!?! We have a LOT of pretty ladies at Hero Dogs! But don’t try your luck with Hero Dogs Libby because she is a strong independent lady!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I went to a mall this month called The Columbia Mall! It is this place where humans go to get all sorts of weird things and they eat there too! I went to a couple stores and practiced “leave it” where I couldn’t even sniff anything. I practiced “leash,” “take it” where I picked up keys, “side,” “heel,” and “watch.” I had a great time practicing my skills. There was also a giant water bowl with water shooting up to the sky. Too bad I was working or I would have totally jumped in and swam around!

At the end of this month I turned 14 months old! I am doing very well at many of my commands such as “take-it / paws-up” when I pick up an object and then put my front paws on a table or chair and hand the object to a human. I love helping out around the house, picking up dropped items or even pulling the laundry basket! Who said that was work?!? I love to help!

Oh, I almost forgot! I love to snuggle! I love being close to people! So if you come and visit me you might just get a cuddle or two!

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Calvin’s January Adventures

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Happy New Year! I have had a great lazy month. I did so much last month that I decided to have more fun, play in the snow, and cozy up by the fire. I still worked my tail off of course, but I got to relax in the warm house a lot more.

To celebrate my birthday I brought homemade dog cookies to my first Hero Dogs class that my mom made. They smelled really yummy because they had peanut butter in them!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I took my first trip to this huge place full of food and goodies! The humans call it “Costco.” It smelled amazing right as we entered, but I behaved myself and I didn’t even try to eat anything off of the floor. Now that I’m a year old I am a lot better at paying attention to my puppy raisers. I mostly practiced my training picking up my leash or keys, practicing “heel,” “side,” and “watch” where I look at my puppy raiser.

It snowed sooo much this month! I don’t know why the humans complain about snow… it is so much fun! My puppy raisers put a GoPro camera on me while we played in the snow and it was so awesome. I love being a camera dog! Oh and did I mention how delicious snow is? I love to eat snow, especially the icy bits! I love to run and play ball in the snow too! Snow is pretty much my favorite besides water.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"After playing in the snow I love to cuddle. I have been feeling pretty cuddly lately, so I snuggle on feet or if a human sits on the ground I like to rest my head or most of my body on their lap. My dad likes to play his guitar for me and I just love to cuddle up to him when he is playing. The music really relaxes me.

Hero Dogs had its quarterly puppy meeting this month and we practiced many things. We practiced putting our head on someone’s hand and staying still so they could look at our teeth and eyes. We also practiced getting our nails trimmed, being toweled off, standing on a scale without moving around, getting groomed and even getting a shot. I did pretty well, but I get really wiggly when I’m at Hero Dogs because I am so excited to be there!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I have been practicing my skills under the table this month. I went to a very yummy smelling place the humans call “Noodles & Company.” No one noticed I was there as I practiced “Settle” under the table and “Leave it.” This one nice lady who brought out the yummy food did notice me, but she thought I was well behaved. I didn’t get to eat any noodles, but because I was being so good I did get some of my kibble.

I met a new Hero Dog this month! He is so awesome! His name is Mitch. My puppy raisers were hanging out with him and I just wanted to smell him and play with him, but they told me he isn’t big enough to play yet. I hope he has so much fun in his adventure to become a Hero Dog service dog!

At the end of this month I turned 13 months old! I have been doing well with my commands. I can do “Lap” where I rest my head on someone’s lap, and “Paws Up”/ “Lap” where I gently put my paws on someone’s lap and rest my head on a person’s lap. I can also pick up objects, put my paws on a higher surface and hand the object to a human. I love to do “Bring” where I take an object and hold it until given a command to do something with the object. I love “Bring” so much that whenever my puppy raisers drop anything like a shoe or a glove I bring it to them. I even bring them other people’s shoes to see if they are paying attention!

I hope there is more snow on the way! I heard that next month there is a very romantic day the humans call “Valentine’s Day” where you celebrate love! I can’t wait!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"

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Calvin’s Journal – December 2013

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I have been very busy this past month! It was my birthday month!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"It all started with a visit to a very busy place the humans call Baltimore city. I went there to represent Hero Dogs at the Combined Federal Campaign charity fair at the US Army Corps of Engineers office. It was great! I went through a weird arch way again (security) and practiced “go through” until Christen met up with me on the other side. I met many people who loved seeing me perform my commands. After awhile I became so tired that I even fell asleep. Everyone mentioned how calm and well behaved I was. I really appreciate the compliments! It makes me feel good knowing all my training is paying off! I always like to do well knowing that I am helping Hero Dogs spread the word about service dogs. Although I must tell you I didn’t potty the whole time because Christen told me to “Get busy” on the pavement! I just looked at her like she was crazy (I don’t normally potty on the sidewalk at home so it was very strange that she told me that), but there wasn’t even the tiniest bit of grass or mulch anywhere in sight! She told me I have to learn to potty on all surfaces… Boy I love humans, but they can be really weird sometimes.

One Hero Dogs class this month proved that the humans are certainly silly. During class all I had to do was “sit-stay” or “down-stay.” That wasn’t the tricky part though! While I was laying down they turned on the loud sucking machine the humans call a vacuum, they had stuffed toys that made noise, remote controlled toys, wooden ducks, and they even had a loud alarm go off! So strange! I think they were having fun, but I sure was working hard to ignore all those distractions. I think watching Jennifer put a chicken on her head was my favorite! Silly humans…

My puppy raisers put a tree inside the house. Yeah… a TREE IN THE HOUSE! Then they put lots of lights and sparkly things on it. I decided I wanted to put something on the tree like they were doing so I put my paw in this gooey stuff and it left a print of my paw. Then they tied a string on it and hung it on the tree. They said that every year they would hang it up and think of me.

Now that I am getting older I had my second puppy meeting with Becca. This time we met in a grocery store. I didn’t know she was going to be there so when I first walked in I was a SO excited and distracted. She smells like kibble, Hero Dogs, and pure happiness! I proceeded in giving her kisses… then I got right to work. I practiced walking next to a shopping cart, “go through” where I go ahead of the human, and “follow” where I go right behind the human. I practiced “under” where I went under a table and laid down. I even got to wait in the checkout line. Becca said now that I am a big boy I can even hand my puppy raisers things on the counter to help them when they are buying things. She also mentioned that I could no longer interact with humans walking around who I don’t know when I am working. That is disappointing, but I know I must learn to ignore distractions and work hard to become the best Hero Dog I can.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"The very next day guess who I met!? SANTA PAWS!!! I couldn’t believe it! I really met him! I must admit I was a bit pup-struck… I greeted him just like I had seen him many times before! He had long white fur on his face and he smelled precisely like 67 other dogs. He asked me what toys I wanted and I told him ones that were round and squeaked! We even took a picture!

After that this fluffy wet cold stuff started to fall from the sky! The humans call it “snow.” I tried to catch it in my mouth, but it kept disappearing! I love catching snowballs, but they get lost easily. It’s so much fun to run in the snow as fast as I can… and then eat mouthfuls of it! I had to potty a lot after playing in the snow. Now whenever I look out the door and see snow on the ground I want to go out and play in it sooo bad.

My human aunt came to town one week and we had so much fun! I even brought her to Hero Dogs class! For class we went to Rockville Town Square. It was very busy there. There were big trees with shiny globes on them and people gliding around in a big pen of shiny floor stuff. We practiced “leave it” where, this time, not only could I not eat food on the floor, but also I couldn’t even sniff poles or anything. Then we practiced passing by the other Hero Dogs and pretended they weren’t there. I also practiced “sit-stay,” “down-stay,” “under,” “take it,” and “paws up.” What an intense class!

I went to the post office for the first time! I went there to drop off a present for my girlfriend for the holidays. My puppy raisers helped me get the package ready and then I dropped off the package myself! I received a package from her as well. She gave me new Chuck-It balls to play with! Boy the holidays are great… I get to give toys… and I GET toys too!

My puppy raisers got me this furry thing to put on my head. They said it was for taking holiday photos. I felt humiliated wearing it. After I saw the picture I realized they were trying to turn me into a reindeer! How strange is that?! I think the holidays make humans even sillier than they already are.

Hero Dogs "Calvin"One night the humans were just waiting around for something. I had my vest on in the house, which is unusual, and I had my leash on. All of the sudden many humans showed up and there were yummy smells everywhere. I got to show people what I could do… I felt like I was performing for an audience all night. They called it a “holiday party.” Then I was so tired my humans let me go take a nap.

One magical morning I woke up and couldn’t believe my eyes! It was Christmas morning and Santa Paws had come and left me new toys! I wore a red ribbon that day and my puppy raisers called me their Christmas Puppy… I felt so special! There were more toys then I have ever gotten at one time and I didn’t know which one I should play with first! I enjoyed my first Christmas very much!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I turned 1 year old on December 31st! My puppy raisers took me out to play for a LONG time. I wore a shiny pointy hat and Christen made me a dog food cake with a number 1 on it! I am a New Years Eve puppy! Everyone was celebrating my birthday and stayed up pretty late! My puppy raisers said they couldn’t believe I am already one year old. They told me they are very proud of me, and of all I have accomplished in one year. While giving me a hug good night they told me that I will make a great service dog one day.

I have many more photos of my adventures so be sure to check out my Flickr page!

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Hero Dogs “Calvin” – November 2013

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Hero Dogs "Calvin"Oooh it’s getting cold outside! I can’t believe how fast this month has gone! Not to mention how early it gets dark out. You would think because it gets darker sooner that my dinner would be earlier, but no such luck. At least I have the fire to keep me snuggly and warm.

At class this month we had a lot of fun… I mean work. We had a costume party and I dressed as Yoshi (of Super Mario Bros). Archie and Beau even came to big dog class as a hot dog and a turtle! We practiced many of our commands in our costumes and I practiced “Paws Up” where I put both of my paws on a bench or chair.

One day my puppy raisers told me that I would have to stay at home for a little bit because they were going to Hero Dogs Maverick’s graduation! Although I was disappointed that I had to stay home, I am extremely proud of him. Ethel, his human veteran, and Maverick have worked so hard together and they are a great team! I hope that one day I can be just as lucky!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"I went on my first Combined Federal Campaign event this month on my own… well, my puppy raisers came too. We met many friendly people at the Social Security Administration. I got to practice “Go Through” when I had to walk through a metal detector ahead of my puppy raiser, and then “Sit” and wait for her to go through. I love practicing my skills in real life! I sat through a presentation and practiced being quiet. Everyone wanted to learn about what tasks I could perform that would help my future veteran, and I showed them how I retrieve objects like keys and remotes, and also how I touch buttons to open doors or turn on light switches. Of course I am not even a year old yet so I am still learning, but I think my charm… or as my puppy raisers call it “puppy swagger”… brought lots of people over to our table!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"Later in the month we had class at what the humans call “The Mall.” It should really be called “The Yummy Smells Place.” We practiced “Leave it” where food would fall on the ground and I couldn’t eat it. If I left it alone I learned that I got my own treats instead and then I didn’t care about the food on the floor any more.

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving this month! It is an awesome holiday filled with yummy smells! My puppy raisers made me a frozen dog food pie and I loved it! There were even dogs on the big light box so I think this must be a holiday for dogs!

At the end of this month I turned 11 months old! My puppy raisers tell me next month on New Year’s Eve is my first birthday and I am so excited! I get the biggest birthday party around the whole world for my birthday! I enjoy being a New Year’s Eve Puppy!

I have been hearing rumors about Santa-paws! If what I heard is true I am really looking forward to the holidays and Santa-paws!

Hero Dogs "Calvin"

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