Saturday, April 9, 2011

Good Old Days With Melanie

I decided to take Melanie to watch the parade which kicks off Good Old Days in PG. It starts only blocks from where we live, so I thought I'd see how Melanie handled all that noise, crowds and dogs. She did great. She seemed to really like looking at all the activity around her, the noisy parade with fire engines, motorcycles, marching bands, floats, and horses. She seemed more comfortable in the "down" position than sitting, but her ears were cocked and head moving. There were many dogs on leashes walking past us, but she behaved herself beautifully. On our walk home, we took the quieter street and about 6 horse riders were coming toward us in the middle of the street (which had been blocked off). They had been in the parade and were heading toward the downtown area. Melanie was so excited to see them, she seemed fascinated by their size; so I just stopped on the sidewalk and let her get her fill of the sight. One of the riders gave us a cheery hello. After they passed we made out way home. Melanie has been in a great mood all day, just fun and loveable like a little kid who went to the circus. The weather was perfect, clear, sunny skies and a little cool. If I feel comfortable tomorrow, we might go downtown and check out the music, booths, etc. It will be really packed with people and dogs, but I'm feeling more confident with the way she's been handling herself, so, we'll see. Anyway, today was a fun day for both of us.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Luncheon and Table Scapes

It was a busy week for Melanie and me. On Tuesday, we attended the BVIC's fellowship luncheon, held every Tuesday. This day a reporter and photographer from our local Monterey Herald newspaper was there to interview staff, volunteers and members of the Tuesday group to get the word out about what the BVIC does for the community. Of course, Melanie and I were part of the interview and she got her photo taken. Not sure when the article will be in the paper but will keep my followers informed. On Wednesday, we took a two-hour walk to my doctor's office to pick up some paperwork. I wanted her to get a lot of her energy out before we attended the fundraiser in Pebble Beach on Thursday. Thursday was the day Table Scapes was held, an anuual charity for the Boys and Girls Club. Other non-profit agencies create an attractive table highlighting their own organization, as did the BVIC. This year Melanie and I came hoping to lure more folks to our table to pick up brochures, check out some low vision items and get some freebies. It was a pretty big room and the tables were full and many people came. We were at one end of the room and the FEMA service dog table was at the other end of the room, just so things would stay calm with Melanie around. One of the ladies from that table came over and said they had put doggie treats near their dogs on a low table where they could get them, but were trained not to touch them. Well, I can only hope that Melanie would have that self-control when it comes to food. But, really, she was her calm, loving, friendly self to all who wanted to see and/or touch her (with permission, of course). It was quite a long, busy week for us and we fell asleep exhausted last night. Neither of us had much energy today, even though we still went for a brisk walk in the morning. This weekend is Good Old Days in PG and I'm thinking of walking downtown to view the booths and street shows; however, many people bring their dogs so I'll have to decide if we're ready for that type of fair.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kisses for the Kitty

Melanie is a real kissing fool. Now she's after our youngest cat, Minime. The other day, while I was working on the computer and had Melanie on her mat beside me (not tied down), the cat was in her usual place at the end of the bed. Minime is pretty comfortable with Melanie now but still doesn't quite know how to interact with her boundless energy. Melanie got a little restless, as she usually does when I'm not paying attention to her and decided to get up, walked over to Minime and kissed her on the nose. Minime didn't move and I reminded Melanie to be careful and quiet. Melanie did, but again went over and kissed her on the nose and Minime gave her a little hiss, nothing serious, just "what the heck are you doing". I told Melanie to sit so she wouldn't look so big to Minime, which she did, but, again, gave her a little kiss, and another hiss from the cat, but she still didn't jump off the bed. Melanie settled back in her bed and I gave her lots of praise for being such a sweet big sister. Yesterday, while Melanie was "sleeping" in her mat by my arm chair, Minime came in, tiptoed over to Melanie and pecked her on the nose. Things are getting just too sweet around here. She ran off, but today, Minime was in the kitchen doorway and Melanie went over to her as gentle and quiet as she could be and gave her a big lap on the top of the head. Melanie's kisses are pretty wet and Minime ran off; however, the other cat came out of the closet and looked at Minime and they seemed to be talking over what was going on. A little while later I checked on Minime and touched her head and, yes, it was still a little sticky from Melanie's kiss. I'm thinking of putting a booth outside the house and charging $1.00 a kiss from Melanie. At this rate, we could be millionaires in a month. Love that dog!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dancing With Melanie

Life with Melanie is beginning to be more routine, with our daily walks, sometimes, visiting a store, a doctor, etc. Always, we work on some of the same issues, ie., dog distractions, pace and pull, and many other smaller things. Today, was "pace and pull". Due to so much rainy weather, even though we've gone out just about everyday, the weather cleared beautifully today, and she could hardly contain herself. I finally had to put her "gentle lead" on for more control and kept halting and having her sit to take a breath (me, that is). Some days she forgets she's a Guide Dog and thinks she's a sled dog, just pulling me along. So, we had to slow things down today on the rec trail and, finally, after about 5 sits and stays, I was able to push her harness handle forward so she would understand that the pace needed to be slower. She walked on her tip toes for about half an hour doing the "Melanie Dance", but it helped our pace and pull to something very comfortable for me. On the way home, we stopped at the PG Police Department and picked up a copy of the citation report on the dog who attacked her a couple of weeks ago. I just wanted it for my records as I knew we'd be going up there again and want to be sure we don't have to deal with that problem again. The stramge thing is that the dog who came after her was a black Lab, guess he was just jealous of her dancing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Melanie Kisses and a New Chip

According to my husband, who sleeps in later than I, says Melanie should come in the bedroom to wake him up with her kisses and, amazingly, she loves it too. So, just before we go out for our morning walk, I walk her to the bedroom door (without her harness or leash), tell her she can go in by herself and to be very careful. She looks at me, says "Sure", and then flys through the door and laps his face all over and falls down on the floor beside him. During the day, they play tug with her Kong tug ring and he really believes it's helping heal and strengthen his arms since his surgery a year ago. Actually, he's madly in love with her and laughing at her antics, he's just a happier person since Melanie came home. I call her the family rehab dog and she seems to love her job.

Also, we took her to the vet today and had a tracking chip inserted, even though she had tattoos inside both ear flaps and 3 dog tags (4 now). I happened to read GDB's web site where they stopped doing tatoos in favor of the chip one month after we graduated. If she gets lost now, she did it on purpose. Can't bear to think of her not being in the family.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Melanie Update

I got a very nice, concerned, email from Melanie's puppyraiser. I let her know that Melanie and I went out walking as usual today and she was her happy normal self with dogs and all other manner of Guide Dog issues. Coincidentaly, the animal control officer saw us walking and stopped to ask how we were doing. She said she talked to the dog's owner (a hardware store, not the water shop) and saw the dog. She said the dog had no history with them and that she's extremely gentle with people but does harrass dogs, but doesn't bite. She said the owner was very apologetic and the officer instructed him to have a dorr closing device installed on his front door so that when customers come and go, the door won't stay open. All in all, the situation was handled well and apparently the article I wrote for our BVIC newsletter entitled "Guide Dog Etiquette/Responsibility" came out in the nick of time. Fortunately, because we live in a small city, the police are only minutes away and the officer said she has seen Melanie and I out walking on a regular basis. However, the next time I have to go to that particular shopping area, we'll walk on the other side to get to the beauty salon. Oh, Dear, what we do for beauty!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dog Attack on Melanie!

Unbeliievable, but totally not unexpected, according to the GDB info. As Melanie and I were leaving my hair appointment in the shopping square between Safeway and Trader Joe's in PG, we had to walk around a truck parked in the driveway area and without warning of any kind a dog about the size of Melanie came out snarling and growling trying to attack her. The owner of the dog came out of the store (a water store) and had to restrain her dog twice (without a leash) to get her away from Melanie. She said her dog tended to be aggressive to dogs outside and she usually keeps the door to the shop closed, but this time it was open. We checked out Melanie for any bites or injuries, but she appeared to be okay. However, a man came over to me very upset and said he saw the whole incident and had immediately called the police. I thanked him and another female came over who also saw it. The man thought I might also have been injured because of the way the handle of the harness had beenh wrenched from my hand; however, I did still have her leash and I was okay. The police (animal control) came and interviewed the witnesses and me and said they would interview the owner of the attacking dog and a report would be ready for me to pick up in a couple of days. Apparently, PG animal control are aware of not just physical injuries that can happen to a Guide Dog but the emotional trauma, mentioning that if the dog had to be retrained it would probably have to be paid by the owner of the attacking dog. At that point, I left and Melanie and I walked to a local store I had planned to stop in and picked up a couple of items. Quite frankly, dear Melanie, seemed none the worse for all the commotion; in fact, seeming to wonder what all the fuss was about. She is not a timid dog, but certainly not aggressive in any manner. I'll be taking her out again tomorrow to see how she does around other dogs and going around vehicles. I think she'll do just fine. I did call GDB to alert them to this matter and was told that unless a criminal complaint was filed or if I just needed to express my feelings about this, there really wasn't any need to report this type of interference.

Well, Melanie is on her mat next to me having a siesta after her evening meal and just being her wonderful self.