March 28, 2011

Pupdate: Report From Advanced Training

The other night, I had a dream about Ruby. She stood on a dock over a brilliant lake, eager for the water but timid to dive in. I encouraged her and she jumped, but then disappeared below the surface.

In the next image, I was watching her as if I were underwater too, but she couldn't see me. Her paws were still and she drifted straight down, her yellow coat fading against the darkening grey as she sunk. But she was more stunned than afraid, I thought. I wasn't able to call to her, yet I wasn't worried. I waited, then suddenly she found herself and paddled with all her little might, straight to the surface. Once she got there, she just kept on swimming.

The thin symbolism of the dream was no mystery, of course. But the timing of my subconscious was ironic – I received the first "official" email about Ruby from her organization, Canine Partners of the Rockies, the very next day. are you doing, little bathing beauty?

Making good progress! The notes said that Ruby loves to learn and she picks up new cues quickly. Her eye contact is great, she's very comfortable in public, always checks in with her handler, and her training on city buses went very well.

Our plucky Roo is holding longer down stays in meetings, great news! But she does need a little work on improving her chill skills.

She still has some issues with dog distraction (no surprise there); only time and maturity will tell. She also shares a litter trait with her crew – they all have some alarm/alert barking issues. I can't say that she was much of a barker when she was with us; she usually deferred to her big sister, Kiva, who always makes sure to have the first and last woof on strangers and bunnies.

What else... Oh, Ruby likes to get her toes done. Such a girl.

Most importantly, Ruby is ready to begin working on all cues while her trainer is using a wheelchair. Thanks to thoughtful Sue who often sends me Roo photos, I was able to get a glimpse of this training.

Whether Ruby ultimately becomes a service dog or she takes another path, this beautiful shot of her learning makes me so happy and proud of her. Will share more as I hear it!

March 13, 2011

Guest Post...From Roo (and Sue)!

Hi Mom,
Happy Belated Birthday! I had an extra treat to celebrate your special day. I know you're not "over the hill" but that's the only birthday hat I could find. :)

I'm learning lots at Fido Beta Kappa college. You will be so proud of me! Sending oodles and oodles of doggie kisses.

Love you...Woof,

As you can imagine, finding this in my inbox was the best birthday present ever. Many thanks to wonderful Sue. And the hat speaks the truth – I had to put on my brand new reading glasses to read Roo's letter! —Christine

P.S. On the last post, Miss Roo is on the right.

March 7, 2011

Birthday Quiz: Who's Roo?

Today is my birthday and I've been celebrating all week long with a bunch of wonderful Roo photos arriving from the lovely and talented S. This happy shot of Roo and her sister Racine fooled yours truly -- I guessed Roo as Race and Race as Roo! But Mr. Raiser got it right, of course! Can you?

March 3, 2011