Saturday, May 31, 2008

Puppy Time

Last night was our first session at Waggin' Tails and only the second time that all of the puppies have been together since they arrived in Edmonton. It is hard to tell who is who because they are all black. There are 3 boys and 4 girls.

Training with the Big Kids!

Every second Friday we have a training session with all of the pup's from Breton's litter. We get together at a business called Waggin' Tails where the owner kindly donates her business space to DWW for puppy training classes.
Breton got to prove her stuff to all of the older dogs (another litter who are 9 months old), because her mom (me) thought our training time was at 6pm, but actually, our session was at 7pm. Instead of coming back when our group arrived, we got to stay and practice with the big dogs! Breton proved that she belonged there and showed those teenaged dogs what an obedient girl she is!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Puppy Coordination

Aren't puppies the cutest when they stumble about!

Grandma's Backyard

Last weekend we visited Grandma and played in her backyard.

Becoming Good Friends

Bentley has been such a help in raising a puppy - especially during Breton's mouthing stage - she chews on him instead of us. He is incredibly patient with her crawling all over him and doesn't seem to mind her chewing on his ears (her favorite). We have begun seeing moments between them where there is a relationship forming that isn't just a pesty little sister/boring big brother dynamic. Yesterday, I got the first camera shot of them laying "together" (that was big moment) on Bentley's bed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Play Time

Dawn (DWW Puppy Coordinator) asked me to describe Breton in "one" word for the Spring News Letter. I said "Dainty" and she thought that was interesting because all of her sister's are real fire cracker's (so far). I told her, Breton has her moments too, but usually she has them with Bentley. It has been funny watching how good she is at keeping Bentley pinned to the ground.

Too Big for Puppy Bed

It's official, Breton is definitely growing.
Last week, I took her puppy bed and put it away as she can't stretch out in it anymore. I found she started sleeping on the carpet beside her bed at night, so I pulled out one of Bentley's big beds for her to have at night now. Thank goodness, the big bed makes her look small again.

Below is the puppy bed Breton slept in for the first month of her stay with us. It used to be Bentley's puppy bed, and as you can see, when I brought it out for Breton, he didn't want to share.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore". (Dorothy, "The Wizard of Oz", 1939)

We had a snow storm on Saturday,
April 19 that lasted for two days. By the end of it, our backyard was as full of snow as it had been all winter.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


8-Days after Clipper was gone, the puppy coordinator phoned again to see if we would board another pup from the same litter as Clipper. Their breeder in Nova Scotia decided to donate one more puppy from the same litter as Clipper, as she felt Breton was just too smart not to be to given the opportunity to earn her wings, and possibly become a future service or assistance dog.

I found myself back at the Air Canada Cargo terminal a few nights later at 11:30pm greeting the seventh puppy who flew the same journey as her brother's and sisters, alone (the chew toy she had been given for company, didn't make it). Greg chose to stay home because the lack of sleep from Clipper's arrival was still fresh in his memory. Myself and Elisa decided that of the two names left to choose from, Schooner or Breton, that we would call her "Breton"(after Cape Breton). Breton and I drove home from the airport together and she didn't make a peep from the kennel in the backseat all the way home. When we arrived, we spent 45 minutes in my backyard together becoming familiar with each other and I waited patiently for her to relieve herself in the crunchy, cold patchy Edmonton snow that hadn't quite finished melting yet. When the deed was done, I took her into the house and placed her on her bed that lays next to me on the floor of our bedroom. It is important as a service dog that she get used to sleeping beside her future master, and so kennel training is not allowed. Bentley sleeps at the foot of our bed in his kennel. I didn't quite know it at the time, but this was to be the first night of having her sleep beside me for what will now be the next 12-14 months.

Clipper Arrives and Leaves

In January, we agreed to volunteer for Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society by providing temporary accommodations to their dogs while their foster families were away. The time commitment we agreed to was 4-7 days every couple of months with a maximum 2-week commitment once a year. Towards the end of March, I received a phone call from the DWW (Dogs with Wings) Puppy Coordinator asking if we could board an 8-week old puppy for about a week, as they didn't quite have enough foster puppy raising homes in place for a litter of 6-black Lab puppies arriving from Nova Scotia on April 7. I was ecstatic about the opportunity and agreed immediately.
Greg and I met Elisa (Dogs with Wings Director of Training) at the Edmonton International Airport at the Air Canada Cargo Terminal at 11:20pm on April 7 to meet the much anticipated litter. An Air Canada employee wheeled out two kennels with three excited, tiny balls of fur in each, only 15 minutes after we arrived. CTV News was invited as well so that Elisa could give an interview about the urgent need for Puppy Foster Homes.
We were given a little female to take home and after introducing her to the yard, home and of course, Bentley, we finally got to bed at 1:30am. We were surprised at how quickly we had forgotten how exhausting having a puppy was as I was woken at 3:00am for a pee break, and by 4:30am as she had decided she had had enough sleep. Later that morning I received a phone call with her name - "Clipper". All of the pups had been given names that are associated with Nova Scotia. Clipper is the name of a ship from there.
The following morning, Elisa phoned to say a foster home had been found for her and by 12:30pm, I was saying good bye to Clipper as I took her back to Dogs with Wings and introduced her to her Foster Dad, John. Having her come and go so quickly was a whirl wind and I hadn't expected the feelings that came and lingered for the next 8-days. They led me to seriously contemplating raising a Foster Pup of our own, as I knew there were at least 3 more pups who still needed placing. Raising a foster puppy is a 24-hour, 7-day a week, 12-14 month HUGE volunteer commitment and since I hadn't been able to work due to the arthritis I had been managing for the last year and a half, I didn't think I could actually raise a puppy that demanded so much of me. After clipper was gone, I kept coming back to reasons of how I could do it and how fulfilling and rewarding it would be for me to raise and be a part of such a special gift for someone whose life would be changed at the end of the two-year training program.