Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are Breton and her Sister, Sydney, Communicating Telepathically?

I was aghast a few weeks ago when I read about Sydney counter cruising and stealing her human's dinner; "three" out of their four uncooked filet minot steaks! We had a repeat of Phew Puppy, a blog posting from July, where Breton ate her poo and puked it up all over our cream colored carpet in the wee hours of the morning, on the same night that Syndey ate poor Debbie and Don's dinner. The difference between our July incident and the December incident, was that poor Greg had to go outside into the freezing cold night this time to find the shop vac. in the garage. We had a rough night too.

I just read the newest blog posting about Miss Sydney. Today, she took poor Debbie's glasses and put a hole through the lens of her $300 glasses! The good news was, Sydney proved herself by giving them back when Debbie gave the command GIVE and, Sydney didn`t eat any of the glass from the lens either. Well Breton got up to some antics today too. I was wrapping gifts on the kitchen table and when my back was turned, Miss Breton put her little paws up on to the kitchen island and took the blade end of a paring knife into her soft mouth. I heard her when her paws touched back down on the floor, and when I turned around she looked at me with one foot headed towards the kitchen exit. Me, in my sweetest puppy voice too, said GIVE and thank goodness, with a tail wag, she too dropped the knife like Syndey gave back Debbie's glasses. Fortunately she didn't hurt herself and I'm not stuck with a bill for a new pair of glasses.

It seems like these two girls are in sync with each other's antics!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fire Station Visit with My Brother Rigger's Human, Andrew

Hiya, it's me, Breton! I'm helping my human with this posting cause she has been real busy this month. We've been shopping a lot, had lots of visitors and been to more restaurants than I could ever imagine. When she's busy, that means I'm busy too. I got to go for a weekend at the Hank's for a mini-vacation because my human turned thirty, what ever that means. All I know is that when I came back, there were a lot of new human smells in my house, flower smells in the kitchen and a bouquet of balloons in the corner of my living room. I was happy to party at the Hank's while she partied at home. The day we went to the fire station was her birthday and she said she will never forget where she was on her 30th birthday. It was pretty cool! Rigger's human, Andrew, is a firefighter and we got to go to his station to smell the trucks, fire suits, oxygen tanks/ventilators and equipment. We also got to hear a fire truck siren up close (a call came while we were there) and it was loud, but I just sat and watched. Andrew is a good guy for taking the time to help us from being scared of firemen later in our lives. It's also reassuring to know that his station has an oxygen ventilator for my kind too, so I hope if I ever need that kind of help, Andrew will get the call. Maybe other fire stations around Edmonton and the country will have doggy ventilators soon too. Thanks Andrew! Woof, woof, tail wags and wiggles,

Puppy Park

Some one deocrated a tree at the puppy park. I couldn't get the whole tree in the picture, but thought it was so nice that some one did this. When we were there, it was a calm, quiet, warm day. We had a great walk!

Terwillegar Park

Last month, Breton and I were walking back to the parking lot at Terwillegar Park, practicing loose leash walking when a very excited, young, English Sheep dog came charging towards us from the parking lot. When he got close and wasn't slowing down, I stomped my feet to get him to back off, but he went around us and then he was on top of Breton, growling with way too much energy. I let go of her leash, and all I could see was this big hairy dog on top of Breton, while I could hear Breton crying. The owner was able to call his dog off of her, and I examined Breton, and she seemed okay, just shaken up. It wasn't a moment later that another excited, young, Bernese Mountain dog who was in the background during the attack came barreling towards us, and of course, Breton who was nervous tried to run away, and the Berner, chased her and then was on top of her too. The Sheep dog attacked her, but the Berner seemed more playful, because he got off of her when she wasn't reciprocating play. I was shaken up too, but didn't want to share that energy with Breton. When she was safe in her kennel, I drove to Safeway and went in by myself and shopped alone so that I could calm down. It was a helpless feeling, not being able to stop the attack myself. The next morning, I noticed a big scab on Breton's shoulder and took her to Dr. Scott four days later, when the scab fell off and I could see a puncture about an inch deep. I have never experienced having a dog with a bite wound, and so after I let DWW know what happened, we wanted to make sure it wasn't going to get infected, or that she didn't need a stitch. I am so proud of how well DWW takes care of all of their dogs. Too me, it looked like she needed at least one stitch, but Dr. Scott said, nope, she's fine and that it will heal on its own, and of course he was right. She wasn't bothered by it at all, and it did heal completely fine. Unfortunately, she's been acting very submissive around bigger dogs at the off leash park and progressively worse, to a point where our girl pees, tucks her tail and or runs away from big dogs. I've been trying to ease her through it on my own, but in the new year, we're going to hang out with some of the dogs at the office and build her confidence up again. For now, we aren't going to Terwillegar Park anymore either. Maria doesn't want her to associate the negative experience she had there, with other dogs there. Eventually, Maria and I will take her to the puppy park with some of DWW dogs to help her feel confident. So, for now, we're going to hang at the puppy park (when it warms up)!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Play Day with Schooner!

I had the pleasure of puppy sitting Schooner today. Having three dogs in the house, two of which are still puppies, made for an exciting day! I had visions of all three of them laying quietly on their dogs beds while I decorated the Christmas tree, and although I did get in 45 min. of stringing lights on the tree, the rest of the day seems to be a bit of a blur. The cold spell over the weekend had stopped us from getting the dogs out for their regular exercise, and so all dogs were in fine form for a day of wrestling, tugging and romping around the backyard. The weather is still bitterly cold outside, so even the play time they had outside had to be watched as their paws got cold so fast (funny how they get cold faster when they are outside by themselves though).

Around mid-morning, I tried to get them to all relax on their beds with a nice raw hide to chew on that Leah brought over as a treat for them. The only one who was in to that was Breton, being in the comfort of her own home, and on her doggy bed, she had no problem settling in (and stealing Schooner's bone for a chew when he wasn't watching). Unfortunately, Schooner wasn't quite settled in enough to get in to the "chew zone", so every few minutes, he would get up and see what I was doing (trying to relax on the couch) or watch Breton chew her bone. Mr. Bentley was too grumpy to handle chewing with the group, so he had his morning kennel time instead (part of his routine anyway).

In an effort to drain some of Schooner's energy, I piled on the layers, warmed the van, dug out the dog booties and decided to try and take them for a quick game of fetch in the field behind our house. The temperature had warmed up to -19 with a -28 Celsius wind chill which was "better" than the -35 wind chill earlier in the day. When we got to the field, Schooner had no problem with wearing dog booties, but Breton on the other hand wasn't so sure about having "socks" on her dainty little paws. I threw the ball twice before it was lost and had the dogs back in the van, racing away from the field with numb finger tips (they still hurt) straight to Starbucks for a much needed pick me up. Schooner sat like such a gentleman on one of the captain's seats in the back seat of the van, and as I kept looking back at him in the rear view mirror, it was all he could do to keep his heavy eyes open - but he did! When we got home, he was relaxed enough to chew his rawhide. I offered Breton half of another one to keep her busy, but instead she "buried" hers under the Christmas tree and curled up for her first nap of the day. When Schooner finished his bone, he fought back sleeping, and woke Breton up for another wrestle. The three of them spent the last 45 min. of the play day tugging outside with warm up and water breaks inside in between.

I had the best day with them! I am shocked at how similar Breton and Schooner's mannerisms are. After spending the day with this good boy, I can see why he is loved so much. Come back any time Schooner! All four of us will have a good sleep tonight and the Christmas tree will wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Breton is 10 Months Old Today!

time n. 1 the unlimited continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and time 2 time will tell the truth about something that will be established in the future.

timekeeper n. 1 a person who records the amount of time taken by a process or activity.

time-lapse adj. (of a photographic technique) taking a sequence of frames at set intervals to record changes that take place slowly over time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two of her Favorite Love's

She Follows me Everywhere

Breton opening the door to the bathroom so that she can be with me.

UH - OH! Busted!

As I was coming out of the kitchen into the living room, right before my eyes, Breton jumped up on to the couch as if she had done this many times before, and curled up on it like she even had a "spot" there. Breton is not allowed on any of the furniture, and we have been so diligent about keeping "four on the floor", always. Recently, we began teaching her the command "raise", where she will put her two front paws up on surfaces about as high as a bench (or couch). The idea is, she is to learn only to do this when asked, and eventually she will use this skill for jobs such as handing a casheir her owner's credit card if need be. I had the camera on the kitchen counter, so as I was telling her off (notice how she's looking away from me), I had to sneak a photo. Doesn't it tell two stories? Bentley is permitted to sit up there (only since we adopted Breton) and she is laying in his favorite spot! Ha ha! The couch is his safe spot from her puppy ways.

Early Fall Pictures

Our river otter, fetching a stick

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Breton is 9 Months old Today!

This month Breton was a busy girl!
  • She went on vacation to the Hank's for 12-nights
  • She participated in a Rodeo
  • She attended the 2008 graduation ceremony and gala for this year's "Dogs with Wings" graduates
  • She went with me to my niece's horse riding lesson and she got to sit by the horse while he was groomed and had his riding equipment put on.
  • She got to play in the first snowfall of the season

We continue to practice her on and off-leash walking, her recall and stay command. She is getting good at the command "leave it" and this makes going to the grocery store easier. She hasn't gone up the escalator yet, but we keep trying very gently. She enjoys walking right up to it but isn't quite confident enough yet to put her paw on it. I think it's coming though. Maybe next month I can report that she can do escalators now. She came with me to my night class last week and was quiet and slept most of the time - good dog!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breton, Sable and Forester getting their YEEHAW on at RODEO MAGIC!

Sisters, Breton (left) and Sable (right)

Breton in a down-stay. Look at all of the distraction going on behind her! Good dog!

Sable - "There's a mouse in here some where, I just know it!"

Farmer Forester

Forester - Handsome boy

What a fantastic morning we had at Rodeo Magic! The Canadian Finals Rodeo 2008 is here in Edmonton this week, and we got to be a part it! Rodeo Magic is a private event for children with special needs. Each child gets paired with a CFR contestant and they get to participate in a number of rodeo style activities. The dogs were happy to receive lots of pets, treats and attention from the kids! Breton and Sable (sisters) are shown above, as well as Forester who is from the F-Litter and is one month younger than the girls (you wouldn't guess that by their size difference). Caper who is just over a year old, was there too but I missed getting a photo of this good boy. Caper is from the same breeder in Nova Scotia as Breton and Sable and was a very good role model for the younger dogs. Yeehaw!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Now you See me, Now you Don't . . .

We had a fantastic dinner at Bob & Elaine's on Sat. night. There were two other couples who like us, bid and won this special dinner at a silent auction for charity, at Greg's work. We haven't been out bid for three years in a row - it is a dinner one can not afford to miss.
Breton came along with us this year. Elaine was the only one there who had met Breton previously, but she and Bob are both fond of dogs and said it would be okay to bring her along.
When we arrived and we were doing introductions, a spouse of one of Greg's co-workers asked me,
"how do you know that she isn't going to have an accident in the house?"
I found myself thinking, what do you mean accident, she's almost 9 months old - easy question and so I replied, confidently,
"she's house trained and she doesn't really do that any more."
I am still cringing from saying this, because I should know so much better than that.

We ate exceptionally well that evening, from appetizers to an outstanding three course meal, followed by Bob's renowned coffee. All the while, Breton slept famously beside me on the floor, or under the table. Occasionally she got up to go to the kitchen, or follow myself or Greg if we got up to use the bathroom. We took her out for a pee break every hour we were there. I wasn't taking any chances after boasting so highly about her well mannered self, not if I could help it.

Twice, we watched Breton from where we sat at the dinner table take a tour down the stairs to the basement and both times, she she came right back when called. The first time, faster than the second...

Greg called me this morning after he got to work and after having a good laugh with Elaine. Evidently, Bob & Elaine found a present in their basement from Miss Breton after we left. I know it was extra special too, because she left it for them without eating it.

Humbly yours,
Shannon & Breton

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Breton is 8 Months Old Today!

Hi there! It's me, Breton. My human got me up this morning and before I knew it was having me sit-stay and down-stay all over the living room while flashing that thing at me that she puts in front of her face. It's a good thing she had cookies to keep me focused cause other wise, that mean looking kitty sure looked like a good chew toy. My other human picked me up and weighed me on the scale and both humans were laughing because now I "weigh" only two pounds less than my foster brother, Bentley. Here's an update about this month:
  • I weigh 48 pounds!
  • They call me a chew monger cause I'm growing more teeth at the back of my mouth. My bone is so soothing.
  • My working vest has been adjusted twice to fit me. Don't you just hate it when your vest straps are riding up your chest?

Today is a party cause I get to go back to the Hank's for vacation! I'm so excited to see them. Mom and Dad are excited too, but I'm not sure why. Anyway, catch you later!

- Breton (tail wags and wiggles)

Friday, October 3, 2008

An Update from the Nova Scotia Puppies

“See our Vest”
By Shannon Northcott
Originally: Beauty and the Beast – “Be our Guest”
By Walt Disney

See our Vest! See our Vest!
Put our service to the test
Strap a jacket around our chest
And we will do our very best

Treats du jour
Watch that curb
Our vest means, do not disturb

We are learning
Don’t believe us? Ask our puppy raiser, so discerning
We can sit, we can down
After all we are renown, the best in town

Verbal praise
Loose leash walk
Wait and forward, around the block

We’re not gloomy or complaining
In fact, we are entertaining
We love to play and do tricks
Especially when we intermix

8 Months old and behold
Breton, Sydney, Sable, Clipper still going two-fold
And uphold, Schooner, Rigger, Digby are wonderfully controlled

See our Vest! See our Vest! See our Vest!
Get your worries off your chest
Our Command is your request
And we are doing our very best
For your safety and your ease
We do indeed, aim to please

Life, it is so unnerving
For a puppy who is not serving
We strive to leave it, stay and come for someone
So deserving

Independence, companionship
Guidance, freedom and protection
We work for your affection

Alas, we are yearning class by class, one by one
Until they sing, “you’ve earned your wings”
And all will raise their cups
But for now, we keep on learning as we are still pups!

See our Vest!
See our Vest!
See our Vest!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Loose Leash, Food Distraction and Recall

I believe Maria said that those are the three most important skills for a guide/assistance dog to learn. Today we practiced food distraction by putting a small amount of kibble in a container on our deck and some tasty wieners in my food pouch to reward her with. As I placed the kibble in the center of the deck, Breton watched me or actually, the kibble very closely while drool bubbles leaked from the corners of her mouth. We practiced by walking in a large circle around the kibble, and as she would look towards the kibble, I would say "leave it" and then reward her with pieces of wiener from my food pouch. After bringing her inside, putting the kibble away and praising her for what a good job she did, she went back outside to find that the darn bowl of kibble was gone. It had been sitting there so readily for her to gobble up too, "what the heck Mom, what the heck?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today, I Got the Funniest Picture of You . . .


(Click on photo to have a closer look)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy First Day of Fall!

I took numerous pictures of them posing like this and decided to put this one up. It's not perfect - neither one of them is focused on the camera, Bentley is falling a sleep and Breton is intent on believing there is still one more piece of wiener on the step below her. I had to post this one though, because this one is the most real of all the photos I took. Happy Fall!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Then & Now

May 1
Sept. 19