Well, my second week in my new home has been busy. We have gone somewhere every day except Friday when my partner wasn’t feeling so great. On Monday I got to go back to Hero Dogs and I played with Radar. Radar is cool. My partner dropped her phone (again) and Radar was all over it, picking it up and giving it to her before I could cross the room. Radar is fast. I was like “I’m supposed to do that,” but my partner was nice about it and told him thank you, so I was cool about it too. And, after all, it’s not like there won’t be lots of other opportunities for me to pick things up for her. It was great to see Ms. Jennifer and the younger dogs. Ms. Jennifer wanted to know all about my first week in my new home. I guess she doesn’t read my blog.
On Wednesday we went to Lakeforest mall and we went to the library before shopping in many stores. I was very good. Of course I had to be very good, because hearing dog Ms. Hope was with us, and she is very into proper service dog deportment. I had to do my partner proud, and I did. I wonder how Ms. Hope stays so calm with all the distractions? She really makes it look easy. My partner says it is because she has been doing it for a long time, and soon I will be just as cool and calm as she is. I have my doubts.
On Thursday we were back on the metro going to the VA again. I like riding on trains. People leave gum and other tasty stuff but my partner keeps telling me I have to leave it alone. Sigh. She gives me yummy salmon treats though to make up for it. I am pretty good at pushing the button for the elevator and doors. I have to be, ’cause if my partner tries to do it she always drops something. When I asked what she did before I came to live with her, she told me that a Labrador named Zoe took care of her.
My cat keeps trying to wash my ears, but it tickles too much so he licks my paws instead. He is a weirdo. We play bat the ball together. He is really good at it. My friend Benny is a golden doodle and we play king of the A-frame. Benny is a lot of fun.
On Saturday we were in a parade! There were horses and hounds and a band and lots of other stuff. The clowns liked me a lot, but I couldn’t play with them because I was working. All my friends from Hero Dogs were there too. It was so good to see everyone! I got a new red harness after the parade and a sweet cushy mat to lie on. My cat likes it a lot. I don’t mind sharing it with him as long as he leaves my ears alone. My partner says I get to rest and play tomorrow.
Until next time, keep your wings level!
Top Gun Maverick
Well, I have moved in with my partner, and I have to say it’s none too soon. She trips over everything if I am not there to warn her and to help her up and down stairs, curbs, roots, etc. She also drops things a lot. I helped her do laundry. I pulled the basket all the way to the washing machine and unloaded it for her.
We went to the grocery store and I was very helpful. My partner dropped her wallet at the checkout (no surprise) but I was there to pick it up and give it to her. Everything smells so good in that store but I had to keep my eye on my partner so I couldn’t sniff anything.
It’s okay, though. Every time I come back home I get brushed, petted, and fussed over which I like a lot. And get this: at night just before bed I get a massage! Man, that is the best . My cat tries to horn in on the action, but it’s all about me time.
I like it here. I have made new friends and I play with them every evening. My partner is nice and appreciates me. All of my school work is paying off. I will stay in touch and let you know about my adventures.
Next month Hero Dogs Top Gun “Maverick” will begin his advanced training with a veteran partner. Part of his training plan includes ensuring he gets the appropriate amount of exercise…even if his veteran is unable to provide it. Just as Maverick will help fill the needs of his veteran, teaching him to use the treadmill means that his veteran will be able to provide for his needs as well.
I have become a regular pro at turning on and off lights! I have learned how to help someone get up and down stairs, especially focusing on being patient and taking one step at a time. Right now, I am learning how to stop at curbs to help my person step up without tripping. I have also been trying to pay more attention to my person, because you never know when they may need you!
While I’m not busy working, I still love to be petted by all the great people that come to care for us! I am not as ball crazy as these Labradors I live with, but sometime I like to take one of the balls and run as fast as I can so everyone chases me! I sure do love a good game of chase!
Maverick is learning things that average dogs would consider tricks. The big difference is that Maverick does it in preparation to help a veteran live independently. That’s quite a responsibility, and Maverick wouldn’t trade it for the world! He’s looking forward to the day he can be one veteran’s very own wingman for life. Right now he’s working on basic mobility tasks, alerting to a timer, and working on turning lights on and off. He especially likes learning to open and close cabinets, because what he finds inside is always interesting. Maverick is so happy to see the Hero Dogs volunteers every day. He thinks they really ROCK!
Before you say it let me let you know that I have not lost my marbles. I know that December is not yet over, but my puppy raiser insisted on doing it today. Something about it being the last one for her to do. Anyway, here we go. December has been busy; in the first week I visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center three times, twice with Hero Dogs for a combined federal campaign event and once with my puppy raiser and her husband for a physical therapy appointment. I have been there before but only to the pharmacy and the lab area. I like it there! I always get plenty of attention from people and I have learned new stuff. I can now push the big button that opens the door for the wheel chair people and I can open the lever door handles to the bathrooms there too. My puppy raiser was soooooo proud of me. The Hero Dogs photographer took lots and lots of pictures, which is always fine with me. Here’s one of me picking up a quarter (and yes of course I gave it to Stacey).
The beginning of this week I went to a place called Baltimore and stayed in a hotel again. I am very good in hotels, I stay quiet and calm in the hallway and in the elevators. We went shopping, ugh. I mean its ok for food and stuff, but that looking for clothes is for the birds. Speaking of birds, there were plenty of them as we were near the harbor. I do not know what the problem is with looking at them, but for some reason Stacey wants me to “look” at her more. Its ok, I figured out I can look at them real quick as long as I look back at her real quick!!!!! I just finished another round of training with some of my other canine friends on Thursday evening. I got big hugs from my person at the end who said I was finally gaining ground on impulse control. All I know is that I stayed on that silly “place” while all chaos was going on around me!
Oh, and earlier that day, and I do mean early, Scotty and Libby picked me up and we went on a long car ride to the city to get our picture taken. It seems we are in another movie!!! This morning there was a long walk, lots of hugs, a trip to the vet, the drug store and the bagel shop. Hey I wonder what is going on around here today. Stacey has all my stuff out like I am getting ready to go to the puppy sitters or something, but there is no suitcase for them! She keeps giving me little kisses on my head and talking about boot camp and how proud she is of me and how she prays I will grow up and be a wonderful hero to one of our heroes.
Maverick and Uncle Sam celebrated Independence day at Baron’s K9 Country Store.
In July he also made trips to Pennsylvania and Virginia. In PA, he visited his favorite assisted living facility where he has great exposure to walkers, wheel chairs and seniors around whom he needs to be friendly yet very gentle. In VA, he visited a coffee shop, a small church, several restaurants and stayed at a hotel.
The biggest news for Mr. Maverick is that he turned one on August 3. Despite crossing this very significant milestone, he continues to have an energetic and playful approach to life. He amazes people with his polite out to dinner behavior.
In this quarter Maverick has really been focusing on the advanced commands and is thoroughly enjoying opening and closing drawers and doors. He loves paws up! We are continuing to work on the pushing of the elevator buttons; he wants to slap the paw on it rather than pin point with his nose. He is however a willing learner. In late August he visited a mega church and wowed me as he sat in a calm sit stay as hundreds of people poured out of the sanctuary.
In September Maverick traveled to Lancaster, PA to participate in a WWII Navy reunion. He was the hit of the party to say the least. He was an ambassador of good will and a wonderful representative of Hero Dogs.
All that I can say is this month started off better than last month ended; no little operation! It was a rather busy month for my puppy raiser, Stacey. I could tell because I got to do lots of sleepovers. My first one in the month was with Ilene. Ilene loves me very much. Funny thing is I don’t think those two dogs that are always at her house were so happy to see me. Go figure. Stacey explained later that I stressed them out. I had to leave Ilene, which made us both very sad.
I went to JoAnn’s house next; that is where Hope lives with two other dogs who are pretty cute. It is fun there for sure; always somebody to play with. Hope likes me fine, as long as I stay away from her special place.
The next good thing that happened is that I started Puppy II at Jennifer’s. You know I love class! Lots of playmates and lots of treats! It is a bit more work now to get some of those treats, but it is always worth either the effort or the sit/stay, down/stay I have to do. We started working on this thing Stacey calls “touch.” At first, all I had to do was touch her fist once and voila a treat; now I have to do it three or four times before I get anything. Oh well, it’s all a big game to me. We started working on a “trick.” I have to touch her fist higher than usual. Piece of cake. Now on our walks I have to “heel” or “side” quite a bit more than ever. I do wish she would make up her mind sometimes.
Also this month two of the “girls” came home for something called Spring break, one of them brought a friend with her. What it means is more fun for me. Next, Nancy came (she is Stacey’s sister). One day we went to a place called a cemetery to see “Mom”, I guess we never found her because all we did was wander around outside sniffing (just me of course). No loss for me though, it was a sunny day and the smells were great. After a short car ride we went “out to eat”. This is never a bad time for me. I do have to “settle”, “sit” and “down” for pretty long periods of time, but I usually receive “food” in copious quantities. Although, you know if I really think about it, the amount of food offered in these situations does seem to be getter smaller.
Stacey had another concert. All that means to me is a chance to sleep over again; this time is was with Jennifer. Speaking of Jennifer, I got to finish out the month at Chez See Spot Sit. Stacey’s husband had an operation, so she had to be at the hospital quite a bit. I sure hope he did not have the same “little operation” as I did last month!!!
On the 11th of this month, I took my friend (and sometimes puppy sitter) JoAnn to a Girl Scout meeting in a place called Gaithersburg. I have to admit, that I loved being the center of attention again!! I had not done one of these meet and greets for a bit; it felt good to be adored again. JoAnn did lots of talking and answering questions. Then I had to do my part, JoAnn called them skills. All I did was sit, down, come, pick up a couple of things, hold them for a little bit and then drop them into her hands. I even got rewarded for playing a bit of tug of war. Wow, what a life!!! At the end, the girls all asked to pet me.
Naturally, JoAnn said yes. Yippee!! Could it get any better, yes it could! Those precious girls had baked me cookies, Girl Scout Cookies!! There was a bunch of them and I got one to eat right then and there. In the car JoAnn told me I had to share the cookies with the other Hero Dogs (Libby, Ike and Teddy). I was the only dog at the troop meeting I thought it was a bit unfair, but my vote did not seem to count. I came home with just two of them. I got over it quickly.
Less than two weeks later, life took a down hill turn for me. They day was all wrong from the get go. I went outside and got busy as usual, but when I came in there was no water and no breakfast/training session. My walk was a bit shorter than usual, and not a single treat. Woe was me. We took a short car ride to the Brookeville Animal Hosp. Upon entering, my hopes were raised; I know this place, I have been here before. Surely one of these adoring staff members would give me something to eat! No not one, not a kibble to be found.
What I got what was a small prick and a very long nap. When I woke up my mind was a bit fuzzy (no smart comments please) and my legs were a bit wobbly. I had a large contraption around my head, and the distinct impression that I had “lost” something very important. I had to spend the night there too. In the morning, when all the people were back, I just knew there would be food finally. Nothing. By the time Stacey came to get me I was starving. I do not know what they told her, but I still had to wait to be fed once we got home and even then after 4 missed meals, I got short changed. Only ½ the normal amount until we saw how I handled it. Are you kidding me!
That thing on and around my head was such a nuisance. Stacey kept laughing at me when I banged into everything; she said poor boy but did nothing to get rid of it. Cody would not come near me for a week. I felt fine, but they kept treating me like such a baby. I had almost no freedom in the house (i.e. no running or jumping) and my outside time was spent only on the short leash. No long leash play sessions. I am also fairly certain that I missed at least if not two of my long week-end walks with the dog walking group. What’s that about?