Sunday, March 04, 2012


This has been a very exciting week here at the Mr. and Mrs. K's home. First the exciting news on   Wednesday about being accepted into Performance Psychology MSc program at the University of Edinburgh and then the lovely present Mr. K got me for being accepted.
Do you remember my list of five things to do to fight the winter blues? Well, technically there were six things that were a part of that list, but I didn't think my first number five was really an option, but apparently Mr. K thought differently.
Let me explain.
Performance Psychology is a fairly new branch of psychology. In fact, it's not even a part of the Psychology department at the University  of Edinburgh, but is a part of the Education department. Performance Psychology is used in relation to   high stress occupations, such as, performing artists, athletes and even in busy corporations. Performance Psychologists teaches people how to cope in high stress situations in   order to perform at the best of her/his ability. When you're an athlete you need to be "at the top of your game," despite there being loads of pressure on you and so Performance Psychologists can be very beneficial people to have around.
In the last term of the Performance Psychology MSc program at the University of Edinburgh students are required to write a dissertation; basically, a huge, original research paper. My intentions for this paper are to study the impact of animals on people in high stress situations and prove that having therapy dogs around can be a viable option of therapy.
With that in mind, I had been throwing around the idea of training my own therapy dog to take into hospitals, schools long-term care  facilities Etc. That way, I'd be more familiar with the actual application of therapy dogs and how all of that works; especially with regards   to access laws and such things. Because I am volunteering with the Labrador Rescue I thought that rescuing a Labrador would be the way to go. C is a very trustworthy person and I knew she'd pick out the perfect therapy dog candidate for us. Mr. K made a valid point though when he reminded me of how small our flat actually is and that having a third big dog may cause space problems. Not to mention, Glacier is super sensitive to other dogs and a big dog could very easily make Glacier feel displaced. That would certainly not do, especially since Glacier is my guide dog. So, I started researching smaller breeds that could potentially serve as a good therapy dog.
I spent so many hours researching.   I can't tell you how long I sat with my laptop and a cup of coffee, examining various breeds' characteristics and adding or removing them from my potential list. I explored the option of a beagle, as they would be the perfect size, but as a blind person I need a dog who innately wants to have good recall. I could probably train a Beagle to come back to me, but it is easier for a blind person if her dog already thinks that coming back is a good idea; just in case they get off the leash somehow. Not to mention, if we got one who was a good barker, we may get kicked out of our flat. These buildings are old and although very sturdily built, not so sound proof. A few other breeds were scratched off of the list because of this barking issue, including the Dachshund. I also wasn't sure if I had it in my heart to have another Dachshund after giving ours up so recently. Plus, Dachshunds are difficult to house train, and although it is not impossible as    ours were house trained,I just wasn't sure I was ready to go there again.
I looked at a Westie since they are originally from Scotland, but they have a high prey  drive. Some may not, but we couldn't take that chance with our  lovely Fiona, Yoda and plato; our Sugar Gliders.  Fiona Yoda and Plato lived here first and if a dog were coming into the home, he/she would have to learn to respect the Sugar Gliders; which includes not eating them.
When out on a hike with a friend, I met two Cocker Spaniels and so examined the Cocker and the Springer Spaniel. It was still an option that I was considering, but the Springer Spaniel, who was supposedly a bit calmer than the Cocker, got a bit bigger than what I was looking for. Again, both of these breeds were hunters and I wasn't sure how they would feel about sharing their home with a Sugar Glider.
I felt like I was running out of options fast. I like little dogs with big dog attitude   that is why I was originally drawn to the Dachshund, but I also needed a little dog who could reliably  behave itself.\
It was when I was browsing a breed list when I found, or rather remembered, the cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Mr. 'K's mom as always loved the breed and it was from her that I had first heard of them. The funny thing is, she's not even a dog person, but she always said that if she could have a dog, it would be a cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I  told Mr. K about them and we started researching breeders, with the idea of eventually exploring the option of getting one. That all changed when I got my acceptance on Wednesday.
Mr. K told me to go ahead and contact the breeder I had been in touch with and tell her we wanted a puppy from the litter they had just had. It was a litter of seven, with only one girl and I was so happy to find out that she was still there.  Mr. K, myself and one of our friends rented a car Thursday and drove over four hours into England to go and pick up our new little girl.
That is right: we have an 8 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel baby girl running about our flat now.
She is so tiny and just absolutely precious. She has a lot of personality already and has had only one accident since Thursday night. She responds well to learning and I am so excited to have her in our home. Glacier and Roscoe are a bit miffed, but Tenie and I took them for a 3 mile walk last night and I think that made it up to them at least a little bit.
So, I suppose wen I was yammering on about puppies the last few days, I was really hoping that I'd get one soon. Now, we have puppy teeth and breath galore and we're loving it. Even Mr. K has fallen in love with the little fluff ball. Tenie met her for the first time last night and she said that the puppy doesn't look like a real puppy because she is so cute.  I will definitely  get photos up for all to see.
So, this is my official welcome to Miss Hermione Sophia into my blog  and my home and heart.


pattib said...

Awww! My sister has a Cavalier King Charles, and she is very sweet. Best wishes to your new addition!

garthriley said...

Congratulations Jess!!! On both your acceptance into the Performance Psychology program and your new family member! Performance Psychology sounds really interesting and we love your dissertation idea. I'm a therapy dog and my therapy dog group visits our local law school every semester during exams to help the law students with their stress (and they are under a lot of stress). I also go to work with mom sometimes and she thinks that makes everyone in her office less stressed. I bet Hermione is very very cute - can't wait to see a photo!

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

HOW WONDERFUL... Puppy breath and teeth. Perfect way to describe what your life is like for right now. I love the Breath.. but oh those sharp teeth. OUCH.

I was wondering if I missed the final Valentine's Day Total for the Project? I hope that there was enough to really help getting the much needed Fence installed.

Jen said...

You lucky lucky thing! Mr. K sounds cool, being cool with having so many animals.
I loved your "get a puppy" suggestion and had my suspicions that you might get one.
I love your blog because its like your living the life i want in so many ways, doing so many things I find so interesting. I'll be fascinated to hear about the therapy dog training now. Its also something I'd love to do sometime.

King charles are lovely dogs. One of my aunt's has 4!

The Cat From Hell said...

Welcome to Miss Hermione Sophia and Concatulations to YOUS!

Torie said...

Awww class! I was wondering why you were asking puppy food questions lol.

I'm glad that Glacier shouldn't be sensative with her. She should get used to the gliders since she is coming in so young.

Oh and is there an update on the gliders per chance?


chicamom85 said...

Welcome Hermione!! I love King Charles, they have the sweetest little faces. I hope Glacier will adjust and show her the ropes. That is so pawsome

Loveys Sasha

Becky said...

Congrstulations on your acceptance into school! Wow. Sounds exciting!

Nola said...

Aww congrats on the acceptance and new puppy! I love her name!
Dachshund Nola

Casey said...

Welcome to the new addition! She's got a great name too. :)

Team Beaglebratz said...

From the mom - I am just now reading this post. Congratulations on your acceptance - Performance Psychology does sound interesting - hope you will keep us informed about how it goes. And I love your idea for your dissertation - both Shiloh'n Shasta are therapy dogs altho due to my vision problems and work, have not been able to visit much lately.

Welcome to Miss Hermione Sophia - she sounds really adorable. I love the King Charles Spaniel - there are a couple blogs I know of with King Charles spaniels.
(and yes, Beagles can be a challenge as therapy dogs although when they are at their best when visiting, it is great!

L^2 said...

Wow! Congratulations and Welcome Hermione! I hope the boys and the sugar gliders learn to love her quickly and without any major issues.

Your dissertation idea is great. Best of luck to you with the therapy dog training. That's something I had hoped to do with Stella, but it just wasn't the right job for her. So, I'm looking forward to hearing all about it from you. :)

Jason said...

Wehwhwhwhwhw that is awesome... and a huge congrats on getting into performance psychology, you'll be so great at that.