Monday, March 26, 2012

The Months of Haddie

First Embrace - August 31, 2011 - 2 months
September '11 - 3 months
October '11 - 4 months
November '11 - 5 months
December '11 - 6 months
January '12 - 7 months
February '12 - 8 months
March '12 - 9 months

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

one week ~ missing haddie

My life is crazy-busy right now, so I am actually thankful that Haddie "decided" to take her kennel vacation per heat cycle at this perfect time. However, that does not mean that I don't miss her.

1. I am sleeping in since I don't "have to" get up for Haddie at a certain time for bathroom break and breakfast and grooming and playtime before she heads to a down stay while I busy around the house getting a teen and a tween out the door. But, as a result, I am not necessarily showered and ready for my day by the time the kids leave the nest in the morning, causing a delay in getting all my crazy accomplished. I honestly miss Haddie's schedule!!

2. Haddie's bed is positioned between our couch and our sofa chair in our family room which has direct views from all angles of our downstairs living area. Her sweet chocolate eyes and furry yellow no longer peak up and over the arm rests while she is on her bed. Miss her curious looks as I move about.

3. Haddie's tail can spin in all directions, including in a complete circle like a helicopter. Her tail can thump against the hardwood floor and against our walls like a professional drummer. Her happy is missed.

4. Haddie will allow us to kiss her nose and not return the favor. To some this may sound gross, but really for those that have not kissed a dry, soft muzzle should - it is sweet. I miss Haddie's compliance in receiving our kisses.

5. The hugs, the companionship, the shadow, the looks, the goofy, and rowdy, the naughty, the calm, the perfect - I miss it all about Haddie.

I received a report from the Kennel - yes, I did send them an email to check in, but only after she'd been housed for five nights; I think that is pretty good and not too helicopter-mommyish.

The report was all stars of praise for her behavior and sweet nature. She is doing great and thrives on their one-on-one attention to her. She has learned the use of a doggie door to go outside in her personal dog run, which is excellent since we have no doggie door for her to practice at our house.

Haddie is also the dog of choice to follow the owner around the indoor kennels while she cleans them out and washes dog dishes. I can picture it now, Miss Haddie being her shadow. Wish it were me, the shadow part - not the cleaning part (smile).

Haddie will not have access to the public or other dogs for the length of her stay (minimum three weeks), so the kennel's attention to detail for her will be key. Haddie is used to going places and having Cora around, so I'm glad to hear she is accepting the change in her environment in that regard.

One week - missing Haddie - but it really is perfect timing.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

4H News

It is bad enough to not have our cute, yellow four legged under our feet this week, but then to receive notification that 4-H may be cut in our area due to government funding was a blow we did not see coming.
3 mo old
The story is tangled and confusing, but the gist is that one of the biggest counties in our state have threatened (perhaps already decided) that they will no longer fund 4-H for their county. While this county is not where our 4-H group is handled, somehow because one county pulls out it affects all the counties. According to the 4-H or State guidelines, members can not cross county lines to enroll or re-enroll in another club in a different county.

Never mind the fact that we live in the county that is pulling their funding, and we have already crossed county lines to be part of the club that we are in when we original joined. Statements fluttering through the 4-H community is that we will not be able to register again for the upcoming school year because the county where we live no longer funds 4-H.

If the government decision becomes reality then the end result is that 2/3 of our club would have to exit 4-H come October. Therefore, knowing this part of the facts has caused our club to be diligent in writing to ALL the government executives and councilmembers that are part of this issue, and to the Department of Natural Resources and Parks for this issue.

Yesterday morning was a crazy whirl of email writing and Yahoo Group messaging. We are hoping to make our positive and stern voice be heard that ALL kiddos across ALL counties be allowed to participate in 4-H. We perhaps have a long, uphill battle to tangle with, but we are ready and willing to not give up.

Even though it is currently a negative topic, the process is a great experience for the 4-H Kids - hopefully, however, their voice will be accepted in the end.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fancy Pants

Haddie may or may not have tried on a pair of black men/boy underwear this morning (insert smile). My desperate attempt at getting her a chance to enjoy life outside of her kennel because ... Haddie is in Heat.


It is really amazing how much one can fuss with a well trained, well mannered, well behaved dog and the dog could care less!! Really, Haddie? You didn't mind the Hanes around your middle with your tail sticking out?! I didn't dare take a photo of you. I am not that cruel. You looked silly, Girl!! You are such an amazing puppy!!

It started on Monday just before I went into my longest stretch in teaching piano lessons. As a result she spent that time in her kennel, out for dinner and a quick Hurry, and then that was that until morning.

Today our Trainer contacted me and had a terrific idea. I so appreciate her awesome help that she always provides to all the members of our chapter. She is so giving and assertive in a very appreciative way.

See the deal in our area is that there are two kennel choices to board females while in heat for CCI. One is at the location that we use for our weekly classes, and with out giving any specific bad raps in Blogland, it's just not top-choice by many in our club.

That leaves the second choice - which is a total of 2.5 hours one way including a boat ride because it is on an island - from our house. I tallied my week and knew that Wednesday was the day to take Haddie, which meant that today was a day that I would just have to help her suffer through kennel-time at home - or underwear time (ha!).

Now let's add Snow into the mix of this schedule. That's right, March 13, 2012 it snowed in our neck of the woods causing a 2-hr school delay in many districts. My 5 hour commute round trip was not looking so awesome for tomorrow, but I vowed to not get stressed out or worry as 24 hrs could bring about a big change in the weather pattern.

As the snow fell out my window, as kids were buzzing about getting ready for school (yes, they had an extra 2 hrs to do so, but they left it all for the last minute per usual), I picked up the phone and chatted with our Trainer. She had a grand idea. There is a Kennel just two miles from her house, and Haddie would be the perfect female to give it a try.

The kennel has never taken a pup in heat - but they were willing to try it out for the sake of CCI (the owner has trained 5-CCI pups years ago - small world). Our Trainer wanted a gentle and sweet pup like Haddie to be a good representative for this first go-round. She is hoping the kennel will then agree to accept CCI pups in heat on a regular basis.

My Trainer lives on a different island about the same distance away from me - however - today is Tuesday which means it is 4H night. She said to bring Haddie to 4H, keep her in the car, and then after class we would  make the switch so Haddie could go home with the Trainer. Then tomorrow the Trainer will drop her off at the kennel two miles from her home.

Amazing?! Yes!!  So! Very! Thankful!

Three weeks out puts Haddie potentially able to leave the kennel on April 2nd. But ... we will be out of state during that week and we previously arranged for a Puppy Sitter (a fellow CCI Volunteer) to be with Haddie. No worries - says Trainer - she will pick up Haddie when she is ready and just keep her until our 4H meeting on April 10th.

Again. So! Very! Thankful!

In typical Team Haddie spirit of working so well together, I tip my hat off to Miss Haddie for this perfect timing. Looking at my calendar this month and all the items that we have scheduled - she will be much happier hanging out at the C.I. Canine Resort in her personal room with sliding glass door, her private outdoor run, and supposed television on the wall next to her raised bed. Ah - the life Haddie will enjoy for the next month!

She transitioned to the Trainer's car well, but I will admit I already miss her. Haddie's big, beautiful, brown Labby eyes looked at me as I put her in her kennel in a different car, latched her and said a quick, brave goodbye ... uhh, be still my heart. Calif is going to be torture.

Haddie and her Fancy Pants memory - I love that dog!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Presentations for 4-H

We are learning as we go about all the requirements of 4-H. So far it has been a fun journey learning in this fashion; I will admit that I am one that thrives on all the information at once. I like to be prepared well ahead of time. Our club has a philosophy of "learn by doing" (my twist on it - they have never come out and said that) and it is making me think out of my box, and so far so good. It is a nice change of pace.

Today the 4H kiddos had to present "something" (any topic) to a judge to be scored. With limited info about the ins and outs of this day, my son chose his topic and showed up ready to present. He doubled up on a project by presenting his 5th Grade Science Fair submission; one assignment with dual purpose - great!

His project was on the effects of different salts in an oatmeal cookie recipe. You can read all about it here on my family blog.

When we arrived he was given the score sheet and in he went to meet the judge. He learned after the fact that the judge was the director of the presentation program for our county and rumor has it she is a stickler. My son came out of the presentation room to the lobby of his 4-H club members with a Blue Ribbon and a score of 22 (three off from a green ribbon).

I saw the color Blue and thought - WOW! He did fantastic! You hear about Blue Ribbons for Fair as being the top dog (no pun intended). And the color still qualifies as excellent for presentations too, but there is an additional color of Green that the presenters all wanted to get.

The Trainers/Leaders of our club gathered around our son for a pep talk - he had the choice of going back in to present with a different judge in the room in the hopes of upping his scores to the Green Ribbon, or he could stop and go home. Two Green Ribbons would mean that he would qualify to Present at the County Level in May.

My son chatted it over like a good strategist, reviewing the comments to make the necessary changes, and said, "Okay, I'll do it!" So he went back in and was assigned two judges this time, and came out with a Green Ribbon with a 31.5 score out of 32! Whoa!

Wanting that second Green Ribbon to qualify, my son was on a roll and wanted to go back again to present to the last judge. Waiting his turn took a bit, but he finally presented and came out with another Green Ribbon with a score of 30. This time he had run out of cookies for the judges to taste test - so getting a 30 score with out his Attention Grabber (cookies) to start his presentation was excellent!
I am not sure if he will or will not go to the County Level in May. He was just happy that today he succeeded in a big way and that means a lot to him. I am happy that he didn't really know what to expect or how this all worked, and he kept pushing himself to make changes and do better. He had the choice to go home at anytime, and he didn't quit until he was no longer eligible to keep going. Yay-Son!!
Haddie came along for the ride as the whole family did to support and see what this was all about. It was fun to have her hang out in the lobby with our girl, and the other team members and their dogs. We have a great club. I am very thankful that we decided this volunteer role for our family.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Differences of strangers

Fellow PR's - ever have those moments during an outing where you see more about the human character of strangers than on the days when your pup is not by your side? Yesterday was one of those days.

I ventured into a local department store and was greeted by two friendly staff members. Haddie and I are not strangers to this location. They didn't say much to me, but they proceeded to talk to each other about their dogs, their friend's dogs, and seemed to have all the answers on training. No offense taken by what they said, but it did make me chuckle at their opinionated stance on how "it should be" when raising a dog as I browsed the aisles adjacent to their location.

Kinda goes along with the common statement of "I love dogs! I could never do what you are doing. I could never give them away." in that tone of voice that says they are better than you and some how I don't love this dog enough if I dare give them back. Right? Sigh. Every stranger seems to have an expert opinion about dogs when you have one by your side.

Deep into the clothing section a wee little tyke about age 4 came bounding from around the corner and squealed with delight at the surprised sight of Haddie. The mom, more consumed by the racks of clothing around her, casually told the child not to touch. I shared that it would be okay to greet Haddie; who was holding a nice sit with a wiggly behind.

I think the mom misinterpreted my invitation - she left her child with me while she continued to browse the racks of clothing. I am not even joking. I guess dog-on-leash-in-store equals babysitter?

By this time Haddie was wound-up! and my main concern was getting my child back in order as the stranger child continued to jump around squealing. My goodness!

Mom came back to retrieve her child, and I avoided them the rest of my shopping experience.

The highlight came about twenty minutes later; after Haddie had settled down and ignored the dashing child popping out from this way and that as I continued to turn circles the other way to keep moving. The highlight was when a sweet older-ish lady asked if she could see my dog.

Haddie stayed still in her sit position while the woman petted Haddie's head and stroked under her chin (Haddie's favorite when wearing her GL because it feels sooooo good to rub under that blue lead). The woman talked so gently and nice to Haddie, and then shared that her friend had trained many dogs for guide service.

She mentioned that she could never be a puppy raiser - not because she couldn't give them back - but because she would break all the rules and let the puppy sleep with her (insert smile). She didn't go into detail, and I wasn't going to ask for further info, but she said that she used to have a service dog of her own that really helped her. You could tell she already had a soft spot for Haddie as she said, "You got a good one here!" I had to agree.

She thanked me for the time with Haddie; saying it just made her morning and was exactly what she needed.

Aww - that BEST kind of stranger to meet!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

4H Friends

One of the perks of our local CCI Chapter is that we have a 4-H club associated with raising a Puppy, or having a Skilled Companion. It is a wonderful diverse mix of children, and four-legged-abilities. It is so fun to watch each child work with his/her dog, and see both the human and the animal grow physically and intellectually throughout the months. I love Tuesdays!!
Such a great team!
Tail Waggin' into a blur
Haddie figuring out
the loud noise
from the plastic
water bottle
filled pool
Last night my dear friend and her daughter joined us for class. They live around the corner and down two miles from the location of our classes. This is the friend that I posted about here; the one who I would love to be a Puppy Raiser too.  Having their sweet nine-year-old daughter come to class was not a calculated move on my part, honestly!! (wink).
I am so glad we get to share this 4-H and CCI journey with them. Our sweet friend was going to share Haddie with my son during class, but another 4-H mom saw quickly that the fun factor would multiply if our friend had her own dog to work.
An older 4-H member had arrived early for his class (4-H Club is one club, but we have two sessions to work the dogs by age group of the Handler), so rather than having his dog just wait around, this mom asked if our sweet friend could work her. He was super nice to agree, and off Freesia and our friend went for the next fifty minutes.
Our friends are animal lovers in general - supporting many animal organizations in a big way - but their heart lies first with cats where they love three at home; two are used for her and her sister's 4-H Cat Club. Last night was a new experience for our friend to work with a dog.
And she did AWESOME!! It was nice to see our Trainer step right in and give pointers where needed, and share some 101 basics with our friend. Our friend's authority improved and she handled the dog like a Pro!

Per her mother's email comment to me this morning, our sweet little friend went to bed asking, "Can we have a puppy?"  

HeeHeeHee- sorry, JH, but you have to admit puppies are soooo cute and your girl was a natural with all of them!  Maybe CCI will be in your future someday. Thanks for joining us last night ~ you are welcome back anytime!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Run, Haddie!!

My daughter and I seized the nice weather yesterday and spontaneously went over to my parent's house to Run Haddie. It was so! much! fun! It makes me miss a large, fenced backyard.

My parents live on a shy acre, fully fenced piece of property with all the perks that a dog owner would love. I could release Haddie and know that she would be safe to run her heart out - and wear herself out. I stayed outside with her simply to observe her. I didn't do much training.
I thought she'd be all over the yard exploring. I know that is what my Beagle would do.

No, Haddie was thrilled with their $1 Petco Frisbee. Over, and over, and over I would throw the Frisbee and she would fetch and come back. It was simple, but just what she needed. Her mouth was jet black with dirt and mud, and her tongue hung sideways vertical to the ground. She was so adorable even in that state of mess.
My dad was doing work in and out of his garage, and would come out to check in on Haddie. He took over playing Frisbee for awhile and I was so happy to see her working so well with him. I was curious how she would take commands from a "stranger" (meaning he's never ventured into training-anything with her), and she listened!!! I was actually surprised. She scored some points with both of us for her excellent behavior.

My parent's neighbor has a black lab that was playing ball with his owner in their own backyard. The fence between the two houses is black chain link with a bush-border. However, you can still see through the peak-a-boo sections here and there.
At one point the neighbor's dog went to the fence to fetch his ball - Haddie dropped the Frisbee as she stopped in her tracks to watch the property line. But rather than running to the fence to greet the friendly lab, she turned to look back at me, and then ran TO ME and sat next to me. She completely volunteered to check-in, even though she was technically on a Release and was allowed to check out the fence line - I had been staying quiet.
But, she did get a huge Chicken reward for making a great choice of checking in! I was so happy. I had brought the chicken reward as a backup in case Haddie decided that she wasn't through running when in fact I needed her to be through. Thankfully I didn't need to lure her back into the garage for her bath because she was dog-tired!! It was an easy, "All Done" command as I clipped her back to her leash with out any difference of opinion from her.
Then it was bath time. I had given Haddie a bath at my parent's dog spa when she was just little, and have been bathing her monthly in my walk-in shower due to time convenience ever since. I brought our bath supplies over knowing that she'd be a little rugged after a run on their property. Glad I did - her yellow legs were muddy brown. Sign of a good day!

She jumped on the platform and stepped into the tub in the garage, and reversed the order when we were done, as if she'd been doing it every month. I was pleasantly surprised. I am not sure why I internally doubt her so much - I guess never having a Lab that "gets it" makes me think she is starting from pet-status. I forget that she is bred to be smart and I don't have to work so hard in my mind to figure it out. Just let her do it!
After bath time Haddie did experience for the first time being looped into their dog grooming table. She was not too happy as she tucked her tail for the first few minutes and didn't dare move, but once she figured out that in fact she was not being choked she relaxed her tail and enjoyed the pampering.

And that's not all .... her learning adventure continued when my dad got out their dog ramp and had Haddie learn how to get in and out of the back of our mini-SUV. According to our trainer, pups should not jump out of the back of cars until after their first birthday to help avoid Hip Dysplasia.  In typical Haddie-style, it took her three hands-on tries before she was walking up and down the ramp by herself.
What a great experience for her! My dad insisted that I take the ramp home and continue to work with her to cement the idea of ramps. So sweet, thanks Dad! (okay, so I know you are really trying to save my back from lifting her out, but it does have a dual purpose). 

Such a FUN day! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the spur-of-the-moment Haddie adventure. She loved to RUN full blast at a longer distance than what she can in our backyard. Thank you!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

One Handed

I enjoy taking photos when Haddie and I are on outings. Even one little picture can flood my memory bank as if I were there all over again; even if it was something simple.

I wish it were not so difficult to take photos one handed, especially when using a phone as the camera. I dropped it during an outing this week and it went e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e ... the case, the backing, the battery. Splat! right in front of Haddie. Thankfully, it did not hit her head or break for good.

After I reassembled it, I figured I was done with camera-phone picture taking. The shots I had taken were fuzzy, or she was looking the opposite way, or I couldn't even get her in the frame due to technical difficulties one handed. I will have to add another thing to my CCI Fanny Pack; my small little camera which is much easier to maneuver one handed.

But during this trip we ventured back to The Ranch (aka: The Feed Store). We didn't have much time to spend as we needed to get to another commitment, but it was enough for Haddie to pull out her Rock Star behavior.

This store has been by far the most challenging for Haddie. She is over-the-top-excited and finds herself in correction mode with all of her pulling. But I also worked her in Commands to help break up the non-stop pulling, and get her to realize that we must work as a Team in this store.

She held her Sit command while I played with the toys. I know, no fair!

She held her Down command next to an open bin of yummy, real bones. I know, what torture I put her through.

She continued her Down command and continued to check in with me while two huge dogs walked by on leash - one barking the whole time at Haddie. I know, Rock Star!

Then, as if those exercises were not enough, I found popcorn on the floor from a little kiddo who had been missing his sweet mouth. I positioned Haddie next to the popcorn and had her do a Sit, and a Down, and she left the popcorn alone. In two separate locations. Ahh ~ love'in me some Haddie Character!!

All one handed ... and no photos to share.