Thursday, March 31, 2011

As you can probably guess, things are a bit crazy around here as of late. With wedding planning (which, thankfully is pretty much done), mine and Glacier's retraining, applying to Grad school and working on moving to Scotland, things can seem a bit overwhelming at times. Leader Dogs for the Blind emailed me back and said that they wanted Glacier and I to come in from April tenth until the twenty-second. That will give us about ten days of training, if you exclude travel days. That makes me feel a bit better about the whole thing; just knowing that we'll be there a bit longer than a week.
The other big change is that Mr. K and I have decided to find new homes for our Dachshunds. This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. These little guys are our family and I didn't want to just give them up. I sort of felt like I had failed as a Dog Mom. I mean, I want to open a rescue one day and here I am giving my dogs away. However, maybe that is even more motivation to open a rescue. I can't tell you how many times my eyes have sprung a leak the last couple of days, but we are really doing what is best for everyone.
Our reasoning for rehoming our dogs is simple, if I retrain with Glacier, or have to get a new working dog, I have to give that new relationship 100 percent. I cannot be giving love to other animals or attention for that matter. Glacier and I are already so rocky, reducing the factors that may cause us to not work out as a team is probably the best idea. If I get a new dog, we have to bond and that means giving that new dog all of my attention. That could even be applied to Glacier and I. We have been together for two and a half years, but this retraining is our opportunity to bond again as partners and having the little guys around will just be a distraction for both of us. If Glacier was just a pet, this wouldn't be a concern, but he or the new dog are responsible for my safety. Some guide dogs can have other dogs in the home and that could be the case if I et a new dog, but I think having to share me does not work for Glacier. His confidence is so shaky that I think the time and attention I give the Dachshunds make him even more insecure. Also, I will be starting a brand new program, in a new city at a new school. Did I mention it was in a new country? All of these factors have the potential to create new challenges for the bonding process. It also is not fair to Aria, Balloo and Doc if I am not able to give them the love and attention they deserve. Dachshunds are a  fantastic breed if you love little cuddle bugs and I love cuddle bugs, but I would not be equipped to snuggle them as much as they would want or need. I'm not sure if I am explaining this well.
The good news is that we have found homes for everyone already. We wanted to keep them in the family or in our circle of friends so that we know how they are doing and also  know how they would be treated. We have two people lined up to take Doc, who was never supposed to be ours in the first place. We are going to meet one of the potential adoptees tomorrow. He is a friend's Uncle who is a widower and has had dogs pretty much all of his life, but after his wife died so did his dogs and he has been without dogs ever since then. When he heard that we were rehoming Doc, he jumped on the chance. If he meets Doc and decides that the little guy is not what he wants, one of the vet Techs at our fabulous vet clinic said that she wanted him. You can't go wrong with a vet tech adopting your dog. :)
Balloo is 99 percent going to one of my best friends who lives in the town where I grew up. Originally, Mr. K and I had agreed that I would take Balloo with me for the two months that I am gone just because Balloo is a Mama's boy and it would be easier for Mr. K to handle his school work load with two little dogs instead of three. That plan turned into Lindsay agreeing to meet him and decide whether or not she wanted him. She has been in the market for a small dog and after talking on the phone last night, I think Balloo will go to live with her. She has already applied for a "New Puppy" kit to welcome him into her family.
Aria also has two options for her new home. We have asked Mr. K's mom if she would like to take Aria because she is a single woman and she loved Aria so much when we were visiting at Christmas. We know she would be well looked after there, but if she decides that she works too much our friend from down here has called dibs. Aria already knows him and loves him because he takes her for car rides. I actually think she would be quite happy going to his house. There are quite a few people living there, so she would get a lot of attention and there is another Dachshund named Precious. Precious is six years old and a bit out of shape, but two weeks of Aria living there and Precious will be losing the weight her family has wanted her to lose. I like that Aria would have another dog there because she has always had another doggie companion.
Our decision to re-home them was quick. We decided on Tuesday night and people have stepped up since then to take them. It eases some of the guilt knowing that there are loving, caring people out there who volunteered to take these dogs and love them forever. We have made the agreement with them, though, that if anything comes up, they are to contact us first if the notion of giving the dog up ever crosses their mind. Moving them into a new family once is probably stressful enough and if the situation wasn't what it is, we wouldn't even dream of finding them new homes. But it is what it is and I have to do what is best for my working relationship with either Glacier or a new guide dog.

And The Winner Is...!!!

VIP Products
Before I announce the winner of "What's This Wednesday" give away for the month of March, I would like to thank everyone for their participation on Wednesdays. Without your guesses and descriptions, this wouldn't be nearly as fun. :)
And the moment you've all be waiting for!
The winner of the VIP tug ring, complete with three squeakers is...
Oh, wait I forgot something...just kidding. :)
Glacier picked your name out of the bowl. It was quite comical. Have you ever seen a gigantic labrador with his head in a bowl snuffing about? The papers were flying everywhere and one eventually stuck to his nose. So, we went with that one.
Congratulations! Send me an email with your address and I'll try to have that mailed off to you before we head off to my parents' on Saturday.

Again, thanks to everyone who played and stay tuned for April's exciting give away.

A special thanks goes out to VIP for donating such a great toy!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"What's This Wednesday?"

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is the last Wednesday of March and that means we will be giving away VIP's Tug Ring. If you would like to be considered for the give away, please let me know in your comments. Glacier will be our picker this week: I will put everyone's names in a hat and hopefully he picks just one. :)
Happy Wednesday and remember to visit VIP if you get a chance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All or Nothing

So, it has finally arrived; the email I have been waiting for. It says that Glacier and I will be returning to Leader Dogs for the Blind for retraining on April tenth for approximately a week. I'm not sure what that word "approximately" means-perhaps longer than a week if they think we need it-but I am so grateful to be given this opportunity. I also want to commend the Leader Dogs staff for handling my request in a very quick and efficient manner. I sent my first email of concern in on Friday after business hours and just received a second email from them confirming that we indeed are going in for retraining.
I am so nervous and excited. I'm nervous because they have also told me that if the staff determine Glacier needs to be retired, then they will retire him after our week of retraining. All I can do is pray and keep doing what I am doing now to ensure that Glacier and I stay a working team. He and I bonded so quickly when we first met, that I am willing to do whatever it takes to get us back on track.
This upcoming Saturday we will be back in the town where I went to university/college and I will get a lot of working in. That will also help me to determine more accurately where our problem areas are and whether or not I feel like he can be retrained.
The improvements I have seen in his demeanor and attitude just from being on leash and having more one on one time with me in the past three days, tells me that he can do this. We both need to rebuild trust and the week at Leader Dogs for the Blind will allow us to focus on just each other and hopefully that is all we need.
This is a happy Jess signing off for now. :)
PS: Thank you again for all of the encouragement we have received from you wonderful people.

Cloth Monster On Wheeeeeels

Herro: Aria here.
I have stolen Mom's Laptop so I can clarify for you and Balloo what the "big cloth monster on wheels" is.
I used Google of course, because I wove Google, and I looked for pictures of cloth monsters on wheels. It took some very careful detective work, but I have learned that cloth monsters on wheels are called suitcases. Did I mention I wove Google?
Little brother Balloo thought that Mom fell in the suitcase and that he had to save her, but Mom was just getting more coffee. I'm not sure why he worries so much because I, Aria Marie, am always on high alert and will make sure Mom does not get eaten by suitcases.
There is one thing about this suitcase that concerns me though. There is only one and there are only Mom's stuffs in it. Where is Daddy's stuffs? Where is my stuffs? Balloo's coat is in there. I saw it! But there is no coat for me. Where is Mom going without me?!
Oh! There is a squiwwel. I hear him in my front yard! I must go see if I can figure out how to open this window thingy because I must catch him! He must not escape!
Oh, I almost forgot, Mom said something about getting Canada, or maybe going to this Canada thing a treat? I will have to Google it, but first squiwwellies look out! Ready or not, here I come!

Mama! What Are You Doing?!!!!

This is Balloo the baby typing to you. I neeeeed to type to you today because something veeeeery strange is happening at my new house. Mama has started running about washing, and folding, and repositioning things and sticking them in that big monster on wheeeeels that eeeeats her clothes. At first, I was thinking that we were moving into a new house again, but there aren't any paper crates being filled. Then, I remembered in my little puppeeee brain about the last time that cloth monster on wheeeeels came out of the closet. Mama packed big sister Aria and I up in our crate, made us ride in the car for a veeeeeery long time and then took a veeeeeeeery long ride on a big shiny beast that was noisy.
Am I going on the shiny beast again? I am thinking that that is just not natural. Birds aren't shiny and they fly, but they aren't as noisy as the shiny beast. I don't think I can ride them either. Actually, I kind of want to chase them. I can't help it. My little puppeeee brain stops working and my feeeeet take over and I start running. And running and running, soooooooo fast!Oh, but I was typing to you about the shiny beast. I think I have to ride it again. Hmmmmm. I am thinking I don't know if I like this, but if I don't ride the shiny beast, will Mama leave me heres? Oh, we can't have that! Next time Mama starts putting her under pears, erm, under bears...hmmm, under thingies in the cloth monster on wheeeeeels, I will get in it so she does not forget little meeeeee.
Mama? Where did she go? Mama! Oh no! I am thinking the cloth monster on wheeeels got her. I must go save her!
Mama!!!!! I'm coming!!!! Don't let the under pears suffocate you....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Massage Monday: Sciencey Stuff

"What do you have a blood pressure thing for?" A friend asked me Saturday night when he walked into the living room and saw my blood pressure cuff sitting on the Hope chest my Grandpa made for me.
"I have to take my client's blood pressure." I explained. He paused and thought about it.
"You know how to do that?" I was a bit baffled, but then stopped to think about where he was coming from. Up until I moved down here he had not really been exposed to massage therapy and I had to remember that a lot of people's opinion of the therapy is still a bit outdated.
In Ontario, the powers that be, like the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and various other organisations have been working hard to solidify massage therapy's validity as a scientific and therapeutic practice. In the eighties the word "Masseuse" was replaced with "massage therapist" in an attempt to differentiate massage therapy from massage parlors. Licensing and regulatory boards have also been implemented in order to change the reputation of massage therapy. The curriculum for massage colleges in five out of the ten provinces of Canada was also readjusted in order to address more science related material. It was hoped that by making these changes to the education that perspective massage therapists and the massage therapy industry as a whole, would gain more respect and some over due acceptance as a viable form of therapy.
The program I attended was a 2200 hour program that ran over a course of 18 months. We were bombarded with Regional Anatomy, Anatomy and Physiology, Neurology, Pathology and other such courses all of the way through. In Regional Anatomy we learned everything from what kind of joints our body has, how they move and how they are constructed to the itty-bitty parts that are on a spinal vertebrae. In the second Regional Anatomy course we took we spent half a semester learning the venous system, including what vessels run into what and who they supply. Anatomy and Physiology taught us about each vital organ system of the body, its parts and functions and many other things. We even learned the layers of the eyeball and ear. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be massaging someone's retina, but I can tell you where it is, what it does and all of its neighbours' positions and functions. Neurology was incredibly in-depth as well and Pathology was my favourite course, but probably one of the hardest ones because of all of the information available. In one Pathology lecture we covered the structure of skin cells, five different kinds of skin cancers and their manifestations. Plus, close to twenty different types of skin conditions ranging from common Acne to weird conditions that could or could not be contagious via touch.
Basically, the Anatomy classes we were taught are the equivalent of pre-med. At one point I could tell you the name of almost every muscle in the body, its action, whether it was a helper/mover/stabilizer (with more sciencey names of course), what direction the fibers ran, its attachment points and which muscles worked with or against it. During clinic nights, which was once a week, a supervisor-already licensed massage therapist-would come into your cubicle where you were working on a client and ask you questions. You were graded on your knowledge of the Anatomy of the condition you were working on, your technique and other relevant information the supervisor could glean in a five minute visit. Even with all of the question asking, you were expected to keep massaging your client and ensure your client care was still good. It was an incredibly intensive program, but I'm glad I was educated at that particular college because I know I am well equipped for the real world of massage.
If you walked into a cubicle a common sight would be pens, lotion bottle/holster, clipboards, extra pillows, heating packs, towels and yes a blood pressure cuff and thermometer. Before every new client we were required to take their blood pressure. We were taught what a high blood pressure was and were expected to report it to the supervisor if it was over 130/90. There were times when I had clients whose blood pressure was so high, I had to refuse treatment. I had to suggest that they go to see their physician and have their blood pressure checked and that they could only come back with a note from their doctor when it had been regulated. There was another time I had to tell a client to go see his/her physician because he/she had been experiencing migraine-like pain for a month and a half and nothing was helping-including some very heavy pain killers. I had to refuse to massage someone because they had just taken a high dose of pain killers right before treatment. A classmate had a client walk in four hours after receiving a suspected concussion from a hockey accident. She had to refer him to the emergency room because he was in such bad shape. I also had a client whose Diabetes was so bad he/she could not feel me touching his/her toes or fingers. All of these cases required decisions on my part that I would not have known how to deal with without the extremely detailed education I received. I knew that massage therapy was science based, but I really had no idea until I went through the program. There are different considerations for each client and particular do's and don'ts based on specific conditions. Even within the same condition or situation, techniques have to change in order to benefit the client. For example, I would not massage a woman who is nine weeks pregnant the same way I would someone who was 29 weeks along. The physiological changes in the body require specific attention and again, without the science background I now have, I would not be prepared to make those decisions or understand why I made those decisions.
So, just for future reference, most massage therapists are quite knowledgeable in the sciences, depending on what program they have gone through of course, and NEVER call a massage therapist a Masseuse. :)

Out For A Walk

After I posted my blog from this afternoon, I did some digging around on the internet and emailed a few other guide dog schools to see what their procedures are in relation to getting working dogs over to the UK. Mr. K also suggested that I go for a walk with just Glacier and I over to Subway to buy a sandwich and see how he did. I didn't want to. In fact, I was quite resistant, but after a hot shower and a pep talk that I gave myself, we went. I'm glad we did.
On the way there, he did quite well. His shoulder work was good and he paused at curbs the way he is supposed to. I had to verbally correct him when he forgot to step closer to the shoulder at one point but other than that I tried to keep the short walk positive. I used my "happy, let's go" voice and was overly dramatic when he did something good. We made it to Subway with not a whole lot of issue. The only thing is that he was a bit hesitant and was a bit too light in the harness at points. Once in Subway, he found the counter no problem and didn't sniff the chip bags that were displayed right at his face level. I continued to praise him excessively. When leaving I asked him to find the door and he found a table near the door instead. I gave him a light leash correction, but then happily asked him to find the door. He got it the second try.
Our way home was good too. I did a lot of encouraging and talking. He didn't jump curbs and the best part was that he traffic checked. Let me repeat that...
He traffic checked!!!! I set him up, but he did it!
We had a party for that one. I heard a car coming parallel to us and waited to see if it would turn. When it sounded like it was going to pull in front of us, I asked Glacier to "forward" and he refused. He even shifted his weight back to his back legs, letting me know that under no uncertain circumstances was he moving.
When approaching the house he decided the neighbours' house was more interesting, but after I got Mr. K to come out and yell, Glacier found the house no problem. He got a small correction for trying to go up the neighbours' stairs instead of going straight like I asked him, but it was a fairly good trip. The best thing was the traffic check. He was confident and even though I asked him to go "forward" he planted his paws. I was testing him and he passed.
It's definitely not where I want it to be, but it's an improvement and it makes me feel like he can be retrained. And I can be retrained. :)
I did two things differently than I have been more recently.
1. I didn't put his New Tricks on: that is a head harness that gives you better control over your dog...kind of like a Gentle Leader or Halty with a better design.
and 2. It was just the two of us.
Mr. K made a good point. We quite often travel together as we are usually headed to the same places. He wanted to see how Glacier would do just the two of us and he did much better. Again, not fantastic because I am a social person and like meeting people for coffee and such, but promising because it shows that he probably can be retrained.
All in all, it was a confidence booster for both of us I think. Tomorrow I will pick another simple route-with no street crossings-just to go get us out and working together; build up our trust and confidence. Now let's just hope Leader Dogs for the Blind will want to retrain us. I also think that having him on leash has already made a difference. He's listening better and his response time is much quicker. Baby steps right? :)
PS: Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement and suggestions. The next little while the blog will probably be full of Glacier updates, so bare with me. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where Do I Go From Here?

It's funny how things are always changing and nothing ever turns out quite the way you thought it would. Not that that's always a bad thing: I have had some amazing life experiences because things didn't go as planned. I met Mr. K for example. I've actually sort of come to expect it and enjoy the curve balls I'm thrown, but the latest one has got me all sorts of confused and a little overly emotional.
I have come to the very difficult realisation that Glacier and I are not working properly as a team. We have had ongoing issues since day one at Leader Dogs, but when I raised my concerns I was reassured that they were just growing pains that come with a new working team and that eventually they would all work out. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. In fact, things have gotten worse. I have four main concerns and when I sat down to write them out in an email to his trainer, I concluded that the situation was much more serious than I had originally thought. Upon completing the email, I reread it in order to edit and I was taken aback by what was written there. If a friend had sent me that email, I would be genuinely concerned for the working team's safety. I knew then that drastic steps had to be taken in order to keep both Glacier and I safe when we were out working together.
First of all, here are his issues in a nut shell so you can see what I am talking about.
1. Glacier was one of the best traffic checkers when we were at Leader Dogs for the Blind. Traffic checking is when the dog uses Intelligent Disobedience and refuses to cross a street/driveway/sidewalk if a car is coming. Since moving to here, Glacier has walked me out in front two cars. The first one I didn't even hear and it was traveling at very fast speeds. Thankfully Mr. K and his friend were with me and able to stop us. The second car was moving much slower and I actually heard it after we stepped off the curb and I was able to correct him and get us back up on the sidewalk before anything happened. In this second situation, Glacier had not even stopped at the curb like he is supposed to and had just leisurely wandered out into the street.
2. Glacier basically stops guiding. It's like he gets confused or just doesn't care and stops walking in his harness. The dogs are supposed to stop if there is an obstacle in front of you. This allows the handler to assess the situation and direct the dog as to what the next move should be. If he stops for obstacles I often don't know and can't praise him because he stops too frequently for no reason at all. He also gets very light in the harness when we are going somewhere he doesn't want to go. This means, he is just walking beside me as if in a "heel" on a loose leash even though I am holding the harness handle still. I cannot read his body language this way and thus I am not being guided. Sometimes Jetta would do this, but I could get her going again by being all happy and it was more towards the end of her career, which alerted me to the fact that she didn't want to work anymore. That said, some days he is spot on and blows my mind, but the problem is I need a dog I can rely on. I can't be guessing as to which Glacier I'm going to get.
3. Glacier's "shoulder" work is also a problem. Shoulder meaning the little strip beside the road that we walk along if there aren't any sidewalks. If he is between me and the curb he is fine, but if I am the one next to the shoulder, he walks down the middle of the road. I use the proper cues to move him over and these just seem to confuse him. He quits walking and looks around all dazed.
4. He is also overly sensitive to collar corrections. If he didn't need them, it wouldn't be a problem, but if I give him an assertive collar correction, he shuts down and stops working. If I make him rework a corner so that he gets it right, he shuts down. It's like his confidence is very shaky and I'm not sure why. (Collar corrections for you non-guide dog people means that we use the leash to make the chain collar make noise. We are not trying to choke the dog or violently jerk them. The quick snap of the leash is to make the chain collar go "zing." It is like if you were to shake a jar of pennies or clap your hands sharply if your dog was doing something you didn't want it to. The most important thing to know is that it is about the sound and we are taught at guide dog school how to perform these properly so that we are making noise and not physically hurting the dog. Leader Dogs for the Blind uses chain collars with particularly large links in it to ensure the noise is effective and that there is more of that and less choking going on). With Glacier I could gently collar correct him and he just ignores me, but if I am a bit more assertive he stops walking and won't move until he's recovered. Again this depends on the day. Some days, I can collar correct him for sniffing a bush and he'll snap back to attention and move on, other days I could correct him the same way for the same thing and he'll slow his pace down and pout.
Needless to say, something has to be done; especially since I am moving to another foreign country at the end of August and will be trying to navigate a university campus for two years. So, with the help of Mr. K, I implemented a plan and explored some of my options.
My immediate plan has been to go back to Leader Dogs for the Blind's home Routine 101. This means, Glacier is now attached to me by a leash at all times. This teaches the dog not only to watch what you are doing, but it helps you bond. I can praise him more frequently when he does something I ask him to-like "sit" when we are standing at the kitchen counter and I need to pour my coffee-and it creates a sense of concern and respect that is mutual. It also keeps the dog from being able to do whatever he/she wants to. I believe this sense of "I can do what I want when I want" is causing a lot of our problems. This new leash regiment started today and we'll see if it helps or not.
When at guide dog school, all students are taught a sort of obedience routine. It is used to keep the dog's skills sharp and encourages them to listen to their handler. It can be fun and a positive experience for both handler and dog. I have been a bit relaxed with this routine and will be making sure that we do it at least twice a day. It only takes a few minutes, or it can go on for a while. So depending on time constraints I can adjust it. I will also make sure we get a good play session in afterwards to reinforce our bond. Mr. K and I purchases some high end wet food and three small Kongs last night so that the puppies can have some down time in their crates while Glacier have some time to ourselves.
We have also vetoed all furniture privileges for both Glacier and Roscoe. Glacier and Roscoe don't sleep in our bed, but they were allowed to be on the couches in our house. When we visited other people, that was not something they were able to enjoy because we both felt if it's someone else's furniture, then our dogs didn't need to be on it. Mr. K agreed to keep Roscoe off of the furniture as well just to make it easier for me to show Glacier that it is not his right. I think some of the problems we are having is because I have become lax with some of the more stricter practices. Not anymore! Glacier is no longer allowed to greet people at the door or be petted by others. All of his positive attention has to come from me so that he only looks to me instead of seeking out loving from others.
I've also decided that I have to get meaner when people talk to Glacier in harness. I will say something if people pet Glacier when he is working and even then, I don't always speak up. If it is just a quick pat, I carry on because it is less hassle than stopping and explaining to someone. That said, I don't say anything when people talk to him in harness and that is not a good practice. People patting their legs, calling his name excitedly or "puppy" happily is just as bad as someone petting him. It is distracting for both of us and I think it is contributing to his concentration problems.
I know some of his issues have gotten worse because I have been complacent. If he would go into a "down" I didn't give him crap if he sniffed the spot on the floor in front of him. I figured, "oh well. He's down." This is not a good attitude to have. Give him an inch and he'll walk all over you. Now he immediately goes into a "down" even if I ask for a "sit" and swings his massive head about sniffing like a fiend. I think I got emotionally invested in Glacier way too soon and instead of being a handler, I became a dog mom. Well, no more Mrs. Nice Mom. There will be no sniffing even if he is in a pretty "down" and when I say "down" he must "down" even if he very cutely puts his gigantic noggin in my lap for loving. It will be "down" first and then ear rubbing.
That said, I know where my faults lie, but what about his? This is a partnership and his diagonal street crossings were something he came with. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention those. This is also unsafe. Guide dogs are trained to cross straight from curb to curb, not veer out into traffic and pick which corner they feel like going to. He doesn't always do this, but that brings me back to the inconsistent behavior that makes me nervous. So, besides my own behavior modification, Glacier has some behaviors he need to have re-trained as well. That is why I contacted Leader Dogs for the Blind and proposed two options to help rectify this situation.
1. Glacier and I return to Leader Dogs for the Blind and go through training class. That way, he gets retrained and so do I. The trainers can catch our bad habits and give me pointers on how to get the results I want. Maybe they can also work with Glacier as well and reteach him traffic checking.
and 2. I retire him and get a new dog. This is NOT what I want at all. Retiring him not only complicates life greatly, but I love this dog and do not want to give up on him. We've hung in this long, there has to be a way to retrain us both?
If worst case scenario occurs, I would want to find Glacier a home with family or friends so that I know where he is and how he is doing. That said, I have no idea who would take him. If I have to get a new working dog, Mr. K and I will probably have to give up all of our Dachshunds because I will have to be focusing on a brand new relationship and will not have the time or energy to give to Aria, Balloo or Doc that they deserve. We love our little guys: they have become our fur babies and the thought of giving them away breaks my heart. Also, if Glacier has to be retired there is the question of where to get my next dog from. I would have to research and see if any of the schools in the United States or Canada perform the Rabies Tider tests on their dogs automatically. If not, then our move to Scotland would be either postponed for six months and I miss my Graduate program start date, or I will have to get a dog from the UK. Then there's the joy of learning a new city/country with a new dog. There are so many things to take into consideration and my over active imagination is not making things easier.
I am hoping Leader Dogs for the Blind will be quick with their response and I hear from them tomorrow. I emailed them Friday after hours and they do not open back up until Monday morning. What I hate the most about this is not knowing. There are so many "what if's," the biggest one being "what if Leader Dogs doesn't want to retrain him," or "what if they do and it still isn't working? How will I know when to throw in the towel?" I am a bit stubborn-I prefer persistent-and that can cause problems for me sometimes. :) But until I hear from Leader Dogs, there is not much I can do; except keep the "what if's" at bay and continue my stricter, more structured regiment with Glacier.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fun Fact Friday

TGIF everybody! I thought today we could learn a little more about Balloo since he was the second Miniature Dachshund we brought into our home.

Fifteen Fun Facts About Balloo

1. Technically speaking, Balloo is called a Black and Tan Piebald, but in reality there is not a spot of tan on him. He has the coolest black and white markings, but according to Dachshund standards, he is not ideal for showing or breeding because they typically don't like the unique markings.
2. Balloo was born August 22, 2010 and we brought him home in November of 2010 when he was about twelve weeks old.
3. Balloo's favourite pass time is sleeping. He will have little ten minute bursts where he races around like a crazy man, but then he jumps up in my lap and passes right out.
4. Speaking of can do pretty much anything to Balloo when he is asleep. He sleeps like the dead. I take this opportunity to trim his claws because he doesn't fight me at all.
5. Balloo is a burrower. He usually sleep sunder the covers at night. He may get hot and come out for a while, but you can be sure that in no time at all you will feel a little nose rooting under the edge of the blankets looking for an entrance.
6. One of Balloo's nicknames is "The Kissy Monster." He loves to give kisses and if you get him really excited he will kiss you so much and so fast that you can hardly catch your breath. The harder you laugh, the faster he kisses.
7. Balloo is uncommonly quiet for a Dachshund. Usually Dachshunds have big barks for such little bodies and aren't afraid to use them, but not Balloo. Two days ago he actually barked and Mr. K and I were shocked. We're not complaining about his lack of barking though. Aria and Doc make up for it.
8. Just like his big sister Aria, Balloo prefers the big dogs' toys to the little ones. He drags the two to three pound elk antler we have around like it is a fluffy, light pillow. When he gets it to where he wants it, he settles in for a good chewing session. I just can't believe he can fit his mouth around it enough to chew.
9. Balloo is a Mama's boy. He follows me everywhere and gets very upset if I leave him. The funny thing is that we got him as Mr. K's dog because Aria was supposed to be my little girl and now I can't even go pee without Balloo busting in on me.
10. Balloo is a grunter. He will snuff and grunt when he is trying to find a "comfy" position and once he's situated he lets out the biggest snuff/sigh I have ever heard come out of a nine pound dog.
11. Balloo is a short haired-or smooth coat-Dachshund. This means he gets cold much easier than Aria and Doc. That may be why he is always under the covers. Mr. K and I bought him a little plaid coat for our upcoming trip.
12. Balloo is a shy boy until he gets to know you. If someone comes to visit, he gets all excited, but comes to see me and bestows his "welcome" kisses on me instead of the new arrival. Once he gets to know you, he will be your best friend. He's not aggressive, or stand offish, he just needs to come to you on his own terms.
13. Remember last week how I told you that Aria has two speeds; fast and faster? Balloo has two as well. Faster or sleeping. He runs everywhere and is quite quick. I think Aria may be a bit faster, but they both can keep up with Roscoe or Glacier if they are jogging.
14. Neither of our Retrievers will retrieve in our house, but Balloo loves fetch. We used to play it all of the time before Doc came to live with us. Now that there are three dogs though, if I throw something they would rather chase each other instead of bringing the toy back. That said, get Balloo alone and he will fetch.
15. Balloo also comes with a plethora of nicknames, some of which are:
-Balloo Bear (of course),
-Squirt (because he does the submissive squirt thing when Mr. K makes him nervous),
-Chompers (he has a nice set of teeth on him and he "chomps" when he eats anything),
-Nom Nom (because he goes "nom nom" when he is eating or trying to lick your face),
-Balloo Clancy (he inherited his Dad's middle name)...the list could go on and on.

So there you have it: a small introduction to the wonder that is Mr. Balloo.
Happy Friday

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Under The Gun

I'd like to start today by saying thank you to Hawk (AKA Brown Dog) and his Mama. They awarded "At A Glacial Pace" the Stylish Blogger Award and we really appreciate it. I love reading her blog and I am positive her pictures are fantastic to look at. ;) So, if you get a chance, head over there and take a look see.

So, why am I "under the gun?" Well, don't worry, no one tried to rob us. In fact, this is a different kind of gun and I am at its mercy by choice. Actually, I've experienced this kind of gun four times already and even though it isn't exactly pleasant, I seem to keep going back for more.
If you haven't already guessed it, I am probably going in for my fifth tattoo. When written like that, it sounds like a lot and maybe it is, but each of my tattoos have been symbolic for me. I also don't like flashing mine about. I get them for me and they have meaning for me, so they're not something that I feel everyone wants or needs to see. That said, I know people who place their tattoos specifically so that they can be viewed and I don't have a problem with that either. It's all personal preference really. Now, the next logical question would be "why would a blind girl want tattoos for herself that she can't see?" This question is harder to answer.
As I said, they are symbolic and are a marking of something significant happening in my life. For instance, my second tattoo is of Jetta's paw print. We placed her paw in Play Dough and let it harden. Then we took the impression into the artist and had him use that his stencil. The bond between human and dog is strong and it's incredibly strong between human and working dog. I wanted something that was Jetta's that I could keep forever.
My fourth tattoo was of three, palm sized dragon flies flying up my side. I have always loved dragon flies and admired their versatility in the wild. Dragonflies are also a symbol of luck, strength and happiness in the Japanese culture. I got this last tattoo just after I retired from swimming and was about to start a new chapter in my life. It was hard going from being an elite athlete to an every day citizen. I had to redefine my social role and when I read the meaning of the dragonfly, I knew that I needed a constant reminder of my own inner strength and the happiness that was ahead of me without swimming. A little luck never hurt anyone either. :)
I also thought it was fitting that I got a tattoo after my swimming career had come to an end since my first piece was done in honour of swimming. I had a Maple leaf bursting out of water done on my hip. The waves were drawn to represent the waves that a Breast Stroker creates when they are swimming: that was my best event. My second tattoo was of a fairy with quite a bit of 'tude. I was a young, disabled woman trying to assert myself in the world and I think she symbolically represented that for me. I also had her wings drawn much larger than the original picture because flying was something I thought would be the ultimate freedom.
The other reason a blind girl would want tattoos is because despite my lack of vision, I am an extremely visual person. I love when people describe images to me and I love colours. I think I own one white shirt and one black one. Everything else has rich or vibrant colours. I think if I could see I would have probably been a painter or a photographer. I love making jewelry and I think it's because I get to make something with my hands and use my ideas of colour scheming in a productive way. I don't know how to explain it, but for some reason I have a strong instinct for what colours should go together and which ones should not. Quite often I will walk into a bead store and pick a piece for the centre of a necklace I am making and perfectly match the complimentary beads to it. Of course I have to ask what colour the beads are that I am touching and I am sure it is a tedious process for whoever goes with me, but I have some pretty patient friends. :)
The point of that random tangent was that I love art and I think tattoos are art: it is a form of art I can be a part of. I have been told that I should sculpt because it would be an artistic medium I could participate in and those people are right, but I've tried that. I sculpt something and then I want to paint it; give it some colour. LOL In high school I sculpted a turtle and then insisted on painting him green and orange. That was a satisfying mess. :) Sure sculpting is enjoyable, but for some reason it doesn't really appeal to me as much as playing with and matching beads. I am getting away from my main point again.
Life is changing around me very quickly right now; good changes. Some of them make me a bit nervous, but also very excited. I want something to mark these changes so I have decided to go back to the tattoo shop. This time around I want a painted turtle.According to the First Nations, turtles are respected for their healing properties and as well as for their resciliance. Moving to Scotland, embarking on yet another educational journey and having a wedding all seem like big moves to me. Very exciting moves, but big nonetheless. So in honour of these changes, I am going "under the gun." :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"What's This?" Wednesday

Another Wednesday is here and with it comes "What's This" Wednesday. I have selected one photo this week for you to view and then guess what it may be. Based on your guesses, I will hopefully be able to tell you tomorrow in the "comments" section what it actually is. :)
Also, don't forget that

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Kyo Update

Some of you will remember Kyo and his short stay with Mr. K and I. If you don't know him, or need a reminder, read

this post
He has been gone from us for almost five months now and I had not heard from PAALS in a few months. I was beginning to wonder how he was doing and whether or not they would be keeping him in the program. Usually, I volunteer with PAALS and would often see Kyo, or get an update because I was around, but with us moving, getting out to the PAALS location has become even more difficult. I sent an email last week to inquire about him, but didn't hear anything back. This concerned me, but yesterday J phoned me with some good news.
Kyo was temperament tested over the weekend. Dogs are temperament tested when they first enter the program, if they are a donation, and all of the dogs in training are temperament tested at about a year and a half years of age. We're not entirely sure how old Kyo is, but he under went his year and a half old test over the weekend. According to J she was "pleasantly surprised" by him and he passed. This means Kyo will move on to advanced training. Advanced training means that his skills will become more specialised and he will gain public access. Watch out SC, there will be a Moose in your malls. :) (For those of you who don't know, Kyo's nickname was Moose when he was with us).
J says that there are a few things he still needs to work on, but hopefully with time and maturity, he will outgrow his bad habits, or be willing to be trained out of them. She told me yesterday that he went counter surfing in a mall. I nearly bust a gut laughing: that sounds like our Moose. She said that they have never experienced anything like that before. If nothing, at least he's been a learning experience for the PAALS trainers. :) J also said that he still has a hard time calming himself down once he gets worked up. Both of these issues we had with him as well, but as she said, perhaps with time and maturity he will improve. I can only hope and pray that this works out for him. Even if he doesn't become a service dog, I will just be glad to know he had that chance and I will feel better knowing that PAALS will find him the perfect family if he doesn't graduate.
So, here's to Mr. Moose and his hopeful future as a service dog. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Massage Monday: T-Touch

Have any of you ever wanted to bond better with your dog? Maybe you have a high strung dog or a senior dog who just needs a bit more TLC. T-touch is definitely a good way to go. This post is written completely from experience as I do not have any certification with T-touch: it was something we learned at guide dog school that I think is beneficial for any dog owner. If my descriptions are not clear enough, there are graphic demonstrations that can be found through your preferred search engine.
T-touch is a type of massage that is performed on dogs. There are other kinds of dog massage out there and you can take courses that would go into greater detail. These courses would also allow you to sell your trade as a dog massage therapist, but as I said above, a dog massage therapist I am not. :)
T-touch is a simple series of strokes that a handler performs on their dog in order to encourage relaxation and bonding. Touching and talking to your dog develops trust between dog and handler and therefore promotes healthier relationships. T-touch can be done either silently or with quiet, soothing remarks made by the handler. The first step is to create a relaxed environment, free from distractions. When I was at Leader Dogs for the Blind, we were encouraged to practice T-touch in our rooms with our dogs lying comfortably and quietly on their sleeping mats. We had single occupancy rooms and so it was easy to find quiet time.
After you have your spot picked out, let your dog settle in. You may have to start the first few sessions with the dog on leash in order to keep him or her from wandering off before you can get started. The key is never to force your dog, but in the beginning they may be more interested in licking your face and hands than staying put. Without physically forcing them into a down, or sitting on them to stop them from moving, gently convince them that this is a good thing. Perform the strokes slowly and gently even if they aren't quite sure at first and would rather sniff about. If your dog is good at a down stay, try giving this cue and then administering T-touch.
Now that you've got your spot and you are not sitting on your dog, let's go through the strokes of T-touch. You can use all of these, pick the ones you are most comfortable with or, most importantly, use the ones that seem to relax your dog the most. The easiest of the strokes is performed with the dog lying down. The handler starts with their palm flat and fingers relaxed. With the relaxed hand, the handler starts the stroke at the top of the dog's head and very slowly draws the hand down the dog's body, stopping at either the base of the tail or the end; depending on what your dog likes. It's like you are petting your dog, but very slowly and with one smooth stroke from nose to tail. The key to this one is the speed. If you do it too quickly you would stimulate the dog instead of relaxing him or her and the dog could become more energetic. The pressure you use is completely up to you and your dog. Experiment with differing levels of pressure. Maybe your dog likes a firmer touch because he or she is ticklish,  or perhaps your dog likes feather, light touches. You can even move in a smooth, slow stroke from the dog's shoulder/hip down the legs to the paws. This particular maneuver works well on Glacier. It makes him pass right out.
Another technique you can use is kind of like hair pulling, but it is not aggressive. You can very gently take hold of the dog's fur close to the roots between your thumb and fingers and gently pull. Some dogs like this, some don't. Glacier was kind of impartial to it. You don't have to go in any kind of pattern; just move around the dog's body tugging lightly on their fur. Make sure you get close to the roots though as that keeps this technique from being painful. If you want to know what it feels like, pull your own hair. Test it on yourself until you know what feels nice and then try it on your dog.
You can also do something similar to your dog's ears. You are not pulling the fur, but gently tugging on the ears. You start at the base of the ear and very gently run the ear through your fingers from base to tip. Again, the key is slowly and gently. Lightly squeezing different parts of the ear between your thumb and forefinger can work as well. Again, experiment with the pressure, but remember that the dog's ears are sensitive and he or she probably won't like a whole lot of pressure.
The last technique is a basic stroke that goes in a counter clockwise motion. This stroke is a bit more complicated in that it requires a bit more concentration on the part of the handler to remember to finish the stroke. I always had to think more when performing this technique. Your fingertips are held loosely together and you let your hand fall wherever it wants to on the dog's body; behind his or her ear, on top of the head, above the tail Etc.  Then you make your full counter clockwise circle with a semi-counter clockwise circle to finish the stroke off. So it's like you make the circle and continue half way  around again. On the face of the clock you would make your way from 12 to 12 and keep going in one fluid motion from 12 to 10ish. Does that make sense? :) The pressure you use is completely up to you or your dog, but remember with all of these techniques that we are trying to relax our dogs. Fast, vigorous strokes will stimulate the dog and he or she probably won't like techniques that are performed too deeply.
Learning T-touch at Leader Dogs for the Blind was a great addition to mine and Glacier's training experience. It really helped us bond. It got him used to my touch and voice and the day he fell asleep while I was performing T-touch, I knew he trusted me. I think the key is to enjoy what you are doing and let yourself relax as well. Don't worry if you only do it for five minutes or twenty. Just do what works for you. If five minute sessions throughout the day fits your schedule better, then go for it. If you know you can sit down and designate a half hour once a week, or every day, do that. It's your time together so take advantage of it. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

and the exchange goes on

This was the woman's response, she not only called me by the wrong name but also CCed the person I was supposed to be volunteering with in the e-mail. All I can say is Shameless. (also note the comparison to a child in the Email).

Hi, Jennifer.  We are so sorry that you take offense at our concern and
care. You prejudge us which we feel is narrow minded. I don't know if it
could be called discriminatory, but I guess it could.  However, I don't want
to insult you and call you names because I don't know you.  I had wanted to
get to know you, though.  It's just a shame that you have taken our attempts
to volunteer with you and turned them into something unkind and negative.

Just to let you know, we ALSO do not bring new volunteers who are quite
young to Sundays because of our need to focus on the immediate attention of
a large number of customers with dogs of various personalities. We don't
want a young person to get hurt in the hurry and crowd...because we know
what the atmosphere is like, and because we care. We are not being
discriminatory, just smart.  We are supportive of our volunteers.  We want
them to have an enjoyable, rewarding experience.  It is our responsibility
to help them volunteer in ways that will be rewarding to them because we
know all of the different volunteer avenues we can offer.

As owner of Wescott Acres Luxury Pet Resort, I have the responsibility to
separate that company from Wescott Acres Pet Rescue so that both run
smoothly without danger or disruption to anyone.  Sundays are always very
different than the rest of our week for Wescott Acres Luxury Pet Resort.  We
have never had more than one volunteer on Sundays to help with pet
adoptions.  Anne is fairly new and still learning about volunteering on
Sundays.  She is doing a great job on her learning curve, and we appreciate
her very much.

It appears that we have been misjudged by you, and that is such a shame.  We
are compassionate about all pets, and we have a large volunteer base.
Wescott Acres Pet Rescue has depended on volunteers in many capacities for
10 years. Volunteering is a mutually respectful, partnership relationship.
We had wanted to have that relationship with you.

Kindest regards,
web site:

Examples of Southern Hospitality.

This is Mr.K posting for my beautiful, talented and amazing wife. Some MORON decided to assume what she was capable of handling in regards to volunteering at a dog rescue. The person didn't ask any questions about what Jessica might be comfortable doing or what she thought she was capable of, just dismissed her because of finding out she was blind and asked her to donate money and walk in a one time fund raiser. Here is the e-mail and Jess and I's collaborative response.

Thank you for your response. I will be passing on any future involvement with your organization. Assuming that I can or cannot do something because I am blind is a narrow minded and discriminatory assumption. All of the things that you mentioned are things that could be easily handled and accommodated with little to no effort on your part but you did not even take the time to ask what I would be able to do you just assumed. Thank you for your consideration before finding out I was blind.

On 3/19/11, Laura Mitchell  wrote:
> Thank you both for volunteering your time to assist in finding homes for
> rescued pets.  Anne, you have been kind enough to assist in volunteering on
> Sundays 4-6pm at Wescott Acres, and it has taken you months to be able to
> learn where the pets are and how best to handle them in the busy environment
> that Sundays offer.  As you know, there are dogs that bite whom you must
> avoid.  Jessica, you would not be able to see the signs indicating that
> particular dogs are potential biters. That would be dangerous for you.

> In the two hours we are open on Sundays, we send home about 50 dogs with
> their families.  Things are hectic, crowded and fast-paced. This environment
> is not safe for you.  Many dogs that we are sending home are fussy, and
> expect you not to get too close to them.  You would not be able to see
> someone walking toward you who expected you to move over for them and their
> large dog to pass.  There are so many people in this area for two hours,
> that we all struggle to move around.  This would definitely be a crowded,
> confusing situation for you. 

> Had we known that you were blind, we would not have suggested that you
> become involved in the Sunday afternoon volunteering at Wescott Acres.
> There are many opportunities for involvement in our rescue group that would
> be comfortable for you.    Would you volunteer as a foster home for young
> puppies, or kittens who need to be bottle fed?  Or, Would you be willing to
> foster an older dog or one that just needs to get a little healthier in a
> "home environment" before coming to Wescott Acres to be adopted?   

> Would you be interested in joining our team efforts in Bark To the Park? We
> need volunteers to help get others involved!  We need recruiters!  There is
> a $25.00 registration fee to join a team and walk on Saturday, April 8th to
> support Pawmetto Lifeline and their efforts to save lives of shelter pets.
> Plenty of details are on our FaceBook page and Pawmetto Lifeline's web site!

> Let us know how you want to be involved! Thank  you!
> Laura
>  Laura owner
Wescott  Acres Rescue/Pet Luxury Resort/Grooming Salon


What do you do when you are unemployed and waiting to get into a Master's program? You learn a musical instrument and that is exactly what I have decided to do. Music isn't a new thing in my life, but when I was younger I had to make a choice between swimming and music. I chose my sport and it was probably one of the best decisions I have made in my life, but a small part of me always wondered "what if I had learned to play the guitar/violin" or had stayed in voice lessons? I am at a point in my life where I have the time and definitely the motivation to learn and learn I will.
When I was only four my parents put me in ballet lessons. I loved it, but by the time I was eight, I had had enough. That is about the age that I think, subconsciously, I started to recognise that I was different from the other girls. Soon, it wouldn't be cute for us to hold hands during our recitals or dance in partners, so I decided that I wanted to play in an orchestra. Nor did I even choose an instrument. I didn't contemplate the hours and hours of practising I'd have to do. I wasn't even concerned with lessons. I just thought that a person played in an orchestra; kind of like you just went to work.
My parents patiently explained to me that I needed musical instrument lessons. I picked the violin and my parents put up with three years of squeaking from the violin and protests from me to practice. I loved music and I loved when I finally figured out how to play something, but I just did not have the patience at nine years old to put in the effort. My dabbling with musical instruments did not end there.
At age twelve, I decided to attend a school for the blind. I wanted to play sports and the public system was hesitant to let me even be in gym class. The school I attended had an extensive sports program, but there was an entire wing of the school building devoted to music. There was even an auditorium complete with piano, stage, orchestra pit and pipe organ. There was a room full of stringed instruments like guitars and next door to that was a recording studio and the drum room. The halls were lined with little practice rooms that each had their own piano. Choir was part of the curriculum and there was a Senior choir that practised on Tuesday nights. I tried to join everything, I was so overwhelmed with my many options. I didn't want to miss a thing. Outside of sports, Students' Council, the Cheerleading squad and the Year book (which was a tape or CD that had different audio clips of happenings from the entire year), I settled on guitar and voice lessons and Senior choir. I loved to sing; the guitar not so much. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get the hang of it. My parents bought me a guitar for Christmas that year and I promised to stick with it, but after leaving the school for the blind at the end of grade nine, I just couldn't seem to find the time to practice.
Upon my return home, I tried to take guitar lessons and voice lessons at different times, but swimming just took up too much time. All I wanted to do was sleep and eat when I was training hard, which did not leave room for the practising that needed to be done. So, finally I made a decision to focus solely on swimming with the notion that I would come back to music.
I tried to come back. In university I thought about joining the university choir, but didn't enjoy the stuff they were singing. I also took voice lessons for six months, but again swimming won. I graduated from university in 2008 and competed in my last Paralympic Games that September. I then jumped right into the two newest relationships in my life; Glacier and Mr. K. In January of 2009, massage therapy college began and I hardly had time to do my own laundry. The program was so intensive. I graduated from there in June of 2010, still with an itch to sing or play something, but it never really came together. I would watch different singing shows on TV enviously, wishing I could even just sing in a choir, but those things cost money and Mr. K and I were in the middle of moving. That said, music never really was ever far from my mind. I would sing to the dogs when cleaning the kitchen; when I was feeling down I'd listen to music loudly on my Ipod; when exercising I always need a good song to keep me going. Last week, Mr. K called and asked me if it was all right if he bought a banjo. I laughed, but agreed because it's something he's been talking about since we first met. He's played guitar since he was a teenager and was in a Metal band when he was in high school. Last night we stopped by a music store that had people just sitting outside jamming. There were three guitars, a fiddle, a banjo, harmonica and a stand up bass. People were singing and foot stomping and I sort of felt that twinge again, but wasn't sure what to do about it. Voice lessons are expensive and that would be one of the only things I wanted to do, but today when we were out at yet another music store looking at banjos for one of our friends, a funny thought occurred to me: I wanted to learn how to play the bass.
Our friend kept bugging me that he was going to buy me a tamborine, to which I replied,
"if I am going to lay an instrument it better be a real one." I remembered my guitar teacher saying once that he thought I'd be better at the bass, but at twelve I didn't want to hear that. You couldn't sit around a campfire and play a bass and have people sing along. But today, standing in the music store, it just sort of came to me that I was going to play the bass. Mr. K and I talked about it and I walked out of the store a proud owner of a new electric bass.
I would have busted it out as soon as we got home, but I took the puppies out to potty first and slammed down a bottle of water since it was a hot day. After my Dog Mom duties were finished, I opened the box and pulled out my new baby. I was surprised at how small the Amp was, but the sound is still good. Mr. K downloaded me lessons that are designed specifically for visually impaired people and I went through my first few lessons which consisted of learning the bass's body parts, how to tune my bass and the first pattern of bass playing called "Pop rock" pattern. I stopped the lesson there and practised the pop rock pattern until the fingertips on my left hand hurt.: the fingertips on my right hand were beginning to get sore as well from plucking the strings. The strings on a bass are much thicker than a guitar and that makes it harder to push them down. Mr. K also had to teach me how to hold the bass because I had assumed it was the same as a classical guitar; apparently not. Despite the burning fingertips, I looooooove it and plan on becoming the most famous female bass player out there! Oh, right, you can't be in the orchestra without an instrument. :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fun Fact Friday

Inspired by a comment I received on Glacier's Fifteen Fun Facts, I thought that for the next few Fridays, I will do fun facts on all of my dogs; just to give you guys an easier and interesting read. I thought I would start with the Dachshund that started it all.

Fifteen Fun Facts About Aria

1. Aria weighed 1.8 pounds when we brought her home at the age of eight weeks.
2. Aria's birthday is June 10, 2010.
3. Mr. K found Aria on a website through Pet Finder. The woman selling her said that she was selling all of her puppies and breeding stock because she and her husband were now expecting a baby. We met them in a parking lot and took Aria right away and realised later that she was riddled with worms, but a quick visit to the vet the next day solved that problem and she quickly began gaining weight.
4. Aria now weighs a healthy seven pounds and thinks she is the boss in the house.
5. Aria has green eyes.
6. Aria barks at cats/squirrels and I think she thinks she should hunt them. (Made for a very interesting trip to my parents' at Christmas as they have two cats).
7. Aria's favourite pass time, when she is not running as fast as she can, is climbing. She will scale couches, climb piled boxes and managed to figure out that if she used the lattice work of the little pen we bought them to stick her little paws in, she could climb out of that too.
8. When Aria is not running or climbing, she is shredding paper. She even tried to shred an empty box that we had left over from our move.
9. Like a typical Dachshund, Aria is a burrower. Once everyone is settled in bed, she finds a place in the blankets where she can shove her nose under and wriggles her way deep into the blankets.
10. Doggie toothpaste is one of Aria's weaknesses. If I am brushing anyone other than Aria's teeth, I have to put her in her crate or outside because she will try to get into their mouths so she can have toothpaste.
11. Big dog toys are the only ones Aria wants. She carries around beef femur bones like they are toothpicks and lays claim to most of the big dogs' toys if they happen to show interest. That said, she is not toy aggressive and knows "drop it" and "leave it." She will also share when she wants someone to play with her.
12. Toys are not the only things that Aria has plenty of. She has at least five nicknames I can think of off the top of my head. They are:
"Fluffers," because she is a long haired Dachshund
"Fluffer Nutters," because she is a crazy long haired Dachshund
"Puppy Love," the first nickname I ever gave her
"Aria Marie" used when she is in trouble
"DJ Pee Pee Pants," given to her by Mr. K when she was still a tiny thing and learning how to potty outside and not in her crate.
13. She is a very tough little thing. When she was maybe two and a half months old, she was playing with Kyo, her most favourite of her brothers. She bit him with razor puppy teeth and he jumped back from her, but when he came back down from his leap of shock, he accidentally landed on her; all 80 pounds of him. I was not home, but Mr. K thought she was dead, but within a few hours she came around and is still completely fearless.
14. Aria has the smallest  tongue width wise, but it is very long and if you are not paying attention, she will dart it up your nose. Yuck! :)
15. Aria is not only our only baby girl, but she is our little Snow Queen. Not because she is cold and frigid, but because if there is snow outside, she is not coming back inside until every inch of her little body is covered in ice. She'll even wait for you to put her coat on if it means she can stay out and play in the snow longer.

Now you know a little bit more about Aria. Isn't she fantastic? I may be a bit biased, but it's impossible not to love her; even when she is pulling Doc's diaper off in an attempt to shred it. (More on the diapers later). :)
Have a great Friday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dog's Eye View: Now in Effect

Dog's Eye View: Now in Effect: "I'm assuming most of our readers already know this, but I thought it was worth noting here anyway... As of yesterday, March 15, 2011, the ne..."

I Got to Thinking...

This past Tuesday was "Adopt the Internet" with Pet Finder. I had also visited Pup Love's blog where she encouraged bloggers to do a week long blog hop that revolved around promoting adoptable animals, but wasn't able to participate because I am still figuring out the wonder that is my Mac's operating system. I just learned how to cut and paste yesterday! :) You can find her here:
Pup Love
I am also a huge fan of Dog Foster Mom's blog and have been a fan of adopting animals from rescues. I adopted Kyo from a Humane Society in Ontario Canada and also got my parents' dog as a puppy from a local Humane Society. When I was in university, my roommates  and I adopted two cats from a cats only rescue organization. In high school I volunteered with my hometown's Humane society, playing with cats and walking/grooming dogs. So, as you can see, I'm a huge fan of no kill rescues and feel very strongly about giving to this particular cause. But ever since I moved to my current location, I haven't been able to get involved with animal focused organisations to the extent that I would like to; mostly due to transportation issues. I sort of put that stuff on the back burner and just assumed that I wouldn't be able to do any volunteering until we moved somewhere more accessible. But after reading Pup Love's blog and witnessing the enthusiasm for "Adopt the Internet," I became inspired and decided to get creative and find a way to volunteer. I started searching local rescue groups and found two that appealed to me.
The first I liked because it is fairly close to where I am living. I figure that if all else fails and I can't get a ride from someone, I can take a cab. I have sent emails back and forth with the head of the rescue and although she seems in need of volunteers, she seems a little overwhelmed. I have volunteered with this kind of organisation before, where there is hardly any structure and everything is helter-skelter. I am a little hesitant to get involved again because the volunteers just get shunted along and no one knows what is going on.  She even told me that they  don't have a volunteer co-ordinator. Perhaps that is a job for me?It also took me contacting her twice before she would commit. Originally, she said that I could come by the facility and meet the animals and get a feel for the place, but in the most recent email she said that she is glad I am volunteering with them and that I have been placed on their volunteer emailing list. I am a bit confused. What happened to me coming in? Doesn't she want to meet me? What if I am not the sort of person they want representing their rescue? I liked this organisation because I read on their website that some work can be done from a volunteer's home. This would work for me and save some cab fare, but I would like to have a bit more information first. I'd like to meet the person in charge too.
I understand that  she is also running a boarding facility/grooming salon on top of the rescue and so perhaps she is crazy busy, but I have volunteered twice to go out there and meet her in person and nothing has come of it. Is this odd to anyone else, or am I just being paranoid? I think I may email her back and say that I want a face to face interview or at least introduction before I commit.
The second rescue organisation is really cool and I am excited to work with them. The person I have been in contact via email asked e to fill out a paper volunteer application, but once I explained that this was not possible, she offered to call me instead. Their website is extremely organised and this person seems a bit more on top of it. I think she is busy too as her emails are quite brief, but they are not impersonal and I feel more comfortable knowing that there is an actual application that you actually have to fill out. I also feel better knowing that I am going to be talking to someone over the phone.
This rescue is breed specific and places their dogs in foster homes. I don't believe that they have a kennel, but I could be wrong. They list a lot of what they need help with on their website and have a full list of the adoptable dogs up.
The organisation rescues Border Collies. I honestly haven't had a lot of interaction with the breed, but it would be neat to get to know another kind of dog. I know they are incredibly intelligent and usually have a herding instinct. They also have a high energy level, which is why most of them get surrendered. Mr. K has talked about us getting one in ten to twelve years-when our fuzzy family has crossed the Rainbow Bridge-but I want more exposure to the breed before we go off and get one. I hadn't had much interaction with Dachshunds before we got ours. I only knew what I had read and although I love these guys with all of my heart, I still think I am a big dog kind of person. I'm not only blind, but deaf in one ear and I can hear big dogs much better than small ones. It's easier to know what they are up to. I also think it would be cool to train a dog from scratch for either Rally or Agility. A Border Collie would be perfect. So, it's with the future in mind, and a really big urge to to do more than just write about how wonderful rescue dogs are, that I have decided to apply to work with this organisation.
I love dogs and know that we can't take on anymore-I would go crazy-but I want to try to help dogs in need in a different way. There were so many Border Collies that were on the website that had been surrendered due to financial changes or people moving into places that would not allow dogs. I have the time right now, so why not use it in a more constructive manner?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"What's This Wednesday?" Second Photo

"What's This Wednesday?" And Happy Birthday Glacier!

It's that time again. The time where I post photos and you try to guess what's happening in them. I have two photos for you today, so have fun. :) (Except, the second one is not showing up now, so I may have accidentally deleted it LOL).
The prize for March's give away has also arrived from
VIP Products. It is a Tug Ring from their Toughies line and it is fantastic; complete with three squeakers. VIP Products can be found here

And the thing that we all have been waiting for!...The photos, or maybe just photo. :)

Happy Wednesday and a very happy birthday to Glacier.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting To Know Glacier: Fifteen Fun Facts

Since I am probably going to be bombarding you with Pet Finder/rescue posts today, I thought I'd write a quick, easy to read post about Glacier.

Fifteen Fun Facts About Glacier

1. I had no intention of letting Glacier on the furniture, but just two months after bringing him home I ended up in the hospital with a bladder infection. I was worried about our bonding, so the nurses said he could sleep on my bed. To this day, he is a great snuggle partner, but he asks to come up on the bed by placing his chin on the edge and staring intently at me. At least he has manners right? :)
2. Glacier hates swimming. A Labrador who hates water? ! Actually, Jetta hated it too until she retired. Maybe Glacier will change his mind when e is done working as well. He'll splash up to his belly, but he is not going any further.
3. He rarely ever barks and I am not sure I have actually heard his full bark. He does like to talk though. If we are out somewhere and he thinks it is time to get moving he will sit up and make he most pathetic sounding whine I have ever heard. He also makes this noise when waiting for the bus and he thinks it is taking too long. Apparently he was never taught that patience is a virtue. :)
4. Glacier's harness handle is only 14 inches long, whereas, Jetta's was 18. He's a fairly tall guy.
5. Glacier had to go to the emergency vet's just one and a half months after I brought him home because some horrible person left a bag of chicken bones in the dog park and he ingested them without me knowing. I learned from that lesson that blind people should not attend dog parks by themselves.
6. When we were in training at Leader Dogs for the Blind, Glacier's favourite game was "chase the Nylabone." Of course I wouldn't throw it, but rather would slide it across the slippery floor for him to chase. We did this game on an extended leash as our dogs were to be on leash at all times. Sometimes I got over zealous and accidentally slid the Nylabone way too far and Glacier ended up giving himself a collar correction. Woops.
7. Remember Glacier's "oral fixation" I posted about a few days ago? Well, if someone comes to the door, Glacier is very excited to see them. So, he will grab whatever is closest to him and carry it around proudly; showing the new visitor his prize. It can be anything from a Nylabone to my shoe. He never chews the shoe, just carries it around.
8. Glacier and I almost stayed an extra week at Leader Dogs for the Blind because we were having street crossing problems, but we got them worked out and we left after just 21 days of training. He liked to take me to the opposite street corner, which is dangerous, but we got it all worked out.
9. Glacier likes to chase strange things. We were out for  walk on a trail once and I was so proud of his guiding. He was ignoring birds that fluttered in front of him and chipmunks that scurried across his path, but a hopping frog was just too much for him. When that little green guy came a hopping, Glacier started hopping after him. We did some obedience to refocus him of course, but I had to laugh after.
10. Glacier likes licking lotion off of my legs. I think this is actually something that quite a few dogs like to do, but it's a problem when you are a massage therapist and your dog wanders over and starts licking the massage lotion off of your client's arm. Thankfully, it was one of my friends and, after I told Glacier to return to his spot, we both had a good laugh. It was a good thing to know though and I always keep that in mind when I am working on someone.
11. Glacier and I are both very fast walkers: Jetta was as well. Quite often I will have friends/family members tell me to slow down because I have rocketed off somewhere on them. I guess as a blind person-at least this is how it is for me-I am just walking to get to my destination. The faster we get there, the less likely it is that we'll make weird mistakes and get lost. Plus, I like to exercise and it feels good  to just move. If you are a fast driver you'll know what I am saying. It's sort of the same thing.
12. The first winter I had Glacier I had to buy him a winter coat because it was so cold that when we were waiting for the bus to go to school, he was shivering. Thank you Canadian winters. :)
13. When I first got Glacier he weighed 68 pounds. He now weighs 73, but is very healthy and muscley. :)
14. Glacier was the biggest dog in our class of 22 dogs. Mr. K always said that a dog of Glacier's height would be better for him, but Glacier and Mr. K's personalities would not have worked together. :)
15. Glacier loves going on trips. Car/bus/train rides, even airplanes. He just likes going places.
And now you a bit more about Glacier.

Kol's Notes: Some BS about BDS: A Black Dog Blog

See? Cole's Mama did a much better job than me. LOL Look at all of those beautiful dogs waiting for their forever homes.Kol's Notes: Some BS about BDS: A Black Dog Blog: "Mama and I are huge advocates of rescue. Felix is a rescue and Mama says he is the sweetest, most loving and happy go lucky pup she has eve..."

Adopt The Internet With Pet Finder

In honour of their fifteenth anniversary Pet Finder is holding an event called "Adopt the Internet." People are encouraged to feature pets on their blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and whatever social media a person may have at their disposal. People are also able to take a pledge that they will tell at least one other person about an adoptable pet on Pet Finder. This pledge not only may help an animal in need of a forever home, but also gets the participants registered for a crazy good pet vaccuum. There are also badges and other fun techy things that I am not able to put up because we all know I am not so technologically inclined, but I wanted everyone to know that I support Pet Finder's Adopt the Internet.
I was hoping to feature an adoptable pet, but again my lack in Mac knowledge is coming back to haunt me. :) That said, you can go to Pet Finder here:
and perhaps find an adoptable pet of your choice. I searched for Dachshund within 100 miles of my zip code and was shocked to find that there were over four hundred results, all ranging from babies, mixed breeds and adults.
So, let's band together and Adopt the Internet and help some of these wonderful animals find their forever homes.
Happy anniversary Pet Finder: may you have fifteen more fantastic years.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"We're Having A Party. Everybody's Singing.."

All right, we might not be singing, but we are having a party. On Friday we will be having a birthday party for Glacier at a local dog bakery. There is a room designed specifically for pawties and so Mr. G will be celebrating in style.
The reason I am telling you is because I am extending the invitation to any of our Bloggie buddies. The party is designed for a certain number of dogs and we have a few open spots. I realise that people and dogs may live too far away to attend, but if you don't, or you feel like a road trip, you are invited. It is a public venue with treat bags and puppy birthday cake provided. You don't have to bring anything but yourself and your four legged friends.
If you are interested please send me an email.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. :)
P.S. Email me for our location if you are not sure where we live. I have not changed our "location" on our profile page.

Getting to Know Glacier: Picture Perfect

Usually today would be Massage Monday, but since it is our week to get to know Glacier, I will save Massage Monday for next Monday. I thought a few photographical illustrations of my big, yellow guy would be fitting: you even get a glimpse of Jetta.  :) So here they are.

Glacier's favourite chair!
Jetta & Glacier  having a rest with me!
Glacier's 1st Xmas with his new bone!
Glacier on the cat walk (new winter booties)!
I want to hold you're hand mom!
Baby Glacier , courtesy of  his puppy raisers!
1st picture of baby Glacier with puppy raisers family pet!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crossed Paws: Kissing Booths!!

I know most of you who read my blog are actually up to be kissed, but if there is anyone out there reading this who hasn't gone to Crossed Paws yetplease support this worthy cause. If you are too shy for a kiss, then bid on some of the great items at the auction.
XXXXXXXXXXX :)Crossed Paws: Kissing Booths!!: "** HOW TO BUY  YOUR SMOOCH - IMPORTANT ** To enjoy a special smooch all you have to do is simply browse through the bevvy of gorgous ga..."

Getting To Know Glacier: Mr. Jaws of Steel

Most of you will know by now that Glacier seems to be able to chew his way through anything. It's hard to keep toys in working condition around here. I'm not entirely sure what his fascination with destroying toys is, but I have a few theories.
At Leader Dogs for the Blind, and several other guide dog programs, the guide dogs are only allowed to play with the traditional Kongs and nylabones. I think this is to prevent dogs from getting injured through ingestion of a squeaker and other such things. Monitoring your dog may be difficult for some blind people and so I think they have made it an all encompassing rule. With that in mind, it is no reason Glacier doesn't know how to play nicely with other toys. If he is given Air Kong products, he will sit down to de-fuzz the toy first and then crack it in two with his gigantic jaws. I attempted giving him a stuffing free skunk that he promptly started ripping to shreds until I intervened. He just has never been taught, from a young age, to be gentle with toys.
I also think Glacier has inherited the oral fixation that a lot of labradors come with. He has improved with age, but just six months ago he ate seven Brillo pads. I was freaking out. I didn't even know the house we were in had them where he could reach them and was not aware he had ingested them until it was too late. I searched grocery stores frantically for pumpkin, but it was not in season yet. When dogs eat things they shouldn't, pumpkin, if eaten, will form a smooth casing around the foreign object and help them pass it. I monitored him closely for weeks, but was not rewarded for my efforts until three weeks later when he threw up an impacted ball of Brillo pad. Someone was watching out for both Glacier and I because the eating of Brillo pads could have been fatal.
So, as you can see, Glacier just likes to eat things. He's even powered down velcro. Yes, velcro. I don't even know how that feels good going down, never mind taste. The frustrating thing is that everything that Glacier has managed to munch that he shouldn't, haven't even been my things. So as proven by the Velcro and the steel wool, Glacier is an eater and his toys suffer for it.
The moment that I was allowed to give Glacier toys I knew that i had a chewer on my hands. Brooke and her husband Huib from Ruled By Paws came to visit me when I was in training at Leader Dogs for the Blind. They asked me if I wanted a toy for Glacier and I said he could use a Kong since the school provided us with a Nylabone. Upon arriving at my room we gave Glacier the King black Kong to see what he would do. Destroy was what he did. Within fifteen minutes or so of having the black Kong, he had the top ripped off. I took the pieces in for a refund and the clerk said,
"well, what kind of dog did you give this to?"
"That one." I replied pointing down at Glacier lying calmly at my feet.
"Oh." Was the response and I was given my money back.
I think another reason Glacier is a toy murderer is because of the size of his jaw/head ratio. Dogs usually have a strong jaw because of the width of the back jaw. Glacier's is particularly large. If I place my hand under his jaw, my hand is about three quarters of Glacier's jaw width. He's got some chewing power back there. His nicknames range from "block head" (lovingly given to him by my Grandpa), "fat head" (my doing), "bobble head" (given to him by one of my friends), and some other variation of "huge head dog." I've seen dogs with bigger heads than Glacier's, but it's the width of the back of his jaw that impresses me. When I first met him, I said he looked like a chipmunk because his cheeks stuck out so far due to his jaw structure.
With all of that power it's no wonder he can crunch through a hockey puck in less than seven minutes; crack beef femur bones in half with one chomp; reduce elk an antler that is supposed to last three weeks to splinters in 25 minutes; and many other toys/objects that he shouldn't have been able to ruin. I am always when we go to visit other people's houses that have dogs because I don't want to have a fifty dollar toy bill just because he managed to munch up most of their dogs' things. I've just learned that I have to monitor him closely and take toys away that I know he will shred.
VIP Products, which is the sponsor for this month's "What's This Wednesday" give away has a toy tester program that I have joined simply because I want to see what toys will withstand Glacier's pearly whites. Depending on how many toys you get a year to test, the price of the toys are significantly reduced. We usually have to replace a toy once a month anyway, so I thought that I would sign up for the monthly program. This month's toy was the Toughies Square ball that seems to be alive thus far. Glacier has managed to put a little tear in one of the seams and the toy has sort of lost its shape because he and Roscoe were playing tug of war last night, other than that it is holding up well. That said, once Glacier is done chasing/rolling/tugging with the toy I put it up because it is when he is done playing this way that he lies down and goes into destructo mode. So, if there is ever a toy that you want to know whether or not it is durable, send me an email. If we've tried it out I'll let you know how it held up to "Fat Head's" Jaws of Steel.
Even though he might prove hazardous if you are a toy, Glacier is a great dog who probably wouldn't hurt a fly. I retract that statement: he loves chasing bugs. I always told Mr. K that I am glad Glacier's energy has been channeled into a positive thing because if it wasn't he could cause some real damage. Anyone read Marley and Me? :)

Getting To Know Glacier: His Vocabulary.

Today was an incredibly busy day for Glacier and I. We were picked up by a friend at 10 AM and didn't return home until almost twelve hours later. I thought that since we did a lot of harness work today that I would tell you about a few of his cues. These cues are used between the handler and the working dog. It is expected that a well seasoned working dog probably wouldn't listen to anyone else issuing the cues. Let's start with our morning.
This morning we took my wedding dress in to get altered. It did not need to be hemmed, but the sides were in dire need of being lifted up a bit. Plus, some bustling definitely was in order. When we got out of my friend's lime green bug, I put Glacier's harness on and told him "forward" and then "find the door." "Forward" is exactly what it sounds like: you ask the dog to walk forward. Glacier has many "find the..." cues. I use "door," "curb," "counter," "stairs," "elevator," "escalator," "chair" and many more that I have taught him along the way. When we were at massage college, we would set up our tables in random fashion and I would spread a blanket out for Glacier to have his own spot. If I left to go to the bathroom or something, upon returning I would ask Glacier to find "your spot." Regardless of where I had set the blanket, whether it was on the left side of the room or the right, the back or the front, he always found it.
After entering the alteration place, I asked him to find the counter and I spoke with the seamstress. She told me to go get changed and I again asked him to find the door. This can be a bit confusing for the dog. I asked him to find a door to come in. He has to decide whether I want to leave or if I want him to find a different door. I knew the general direction of the changing room, so pointed vaguely with my right hand hoping to help him out a bit. He took a hard left and walked right into the little curtained off cubicle. I was pretty happy with him, but what made me the proudest was when I left him there completely untied and walked out to be made into a walking pin cushion. I left the cubicle telling him to "stay" and walked about five feet away with my back turned to him. Many dog trainers will tell you that as soon as you turn your back it is showing your dog that they aren't submissive to you anymore and that this action could potentially cause them to act out. Glacier didn't budge. He laid still for twenty minutes or so while the seamstress scooped and pinned the wedding dress's skirt and train.
After the wedding dress alterations we headed over to my friend's house. She told me that her and her mom had a surprise for me and when I arrived, I found out that they had bought my wedding shoes for me. They are beautiful, but this post is not about my lovely blue shoes. It is about Glacier's brilliant behavior. After my surprise, we headed out for lunch where Glacier was asked to perform some of the same cues, but also a few different ones. We were seated at a booth as we were meeting Mr. K, Roscoe and another friend. At Leader Dogs for the Blind the dogs aren't taught a certain cue to "get small" or to scoot out of the way. So, I started using the word "under" with Glacier when I want him to squeeze under a table or a bus seat. I don't even really have to tell him anymore. I just drop the harness handle and if he sees me preparing to slide into a booth, he slithers "under." I still say the word though to keep reinforcing it. Besides, I am a very vocal handler. I noticed it at LDB and most recently have noticed it at our Rally Obedience classes. I talk away to him and praise like crazy or verbally correct him and most of the other handlers hardly make a peep. It's interesting to see varying handling styles.
After lunch we did a little browsing at a few stores and Glacier had to "find the counter" again when I used the bathroom and needed to wash my hands. He found a couple of curbs going into and out of stores and even traffic checked in a parking lot. I think I have explained traffic checking before, but basically it means the guide dog stops if there is a car coming that the handler didn't notice. He was having problems with this a week or so ago, so I was over the moon when I felt him screech to a halt. It's pretty hard to move 75 pounds of labrador when he thinks something is unsafe. I told him to "leave it" as well in the store. This basically means no sniffing or quit looking at what you are looking at; pay attention you gigantic furball. :)
After our little shopping trip, Glacier spent the rest of the afternoon at my friend's mom's house just being a dog. I went off to get a pedicure, but not before I used the cue "park," which is Glacier's word to do his business. I've been told a few times by LDB staff that "park" was used because it is "crap" backwards. Whatever the roots of the cue may be, I kind of like it because it is different and someone can't just come up and try to get your dog to potty. It's also a bit more discrete than singing out some of the other "potty" cues. Did I mention that I am a very vocal handler? Jetta even had a "go park" song I made up to try to encourage her to do her business, but that is for another day.
Glacier obviously knows the basic obedience cues like "stay," "sit," "down," Etc. He has a few other directional cues like "left or right," which mean a hard turn to that direction. If I tell him "left left," or "right right" that means slide over a bit to that side, or make a gentler turn. If I say "Glacier left left shoulder" I am trying to encourage him to hug the left shoulder of the road. He has also learned "where's Roscoe," which means find Roscoe and Mr. K. As I have said before the LDB dogs, and most other guide dogs for that matter, are taught "follow," but Glacier does not follow so well. He responds better to direct communication between him and I and no amount of familiarity with the person he is following will keep him following for long. Even in malls he will just randomly stop following Roscoe and then I, or Mr. K, have to try to find each other. We've had security guards reunite us after asking one or the other of us, "are you looking for the woman/man with the big yellow/black dog?"
Despite his lack of interest in following, I was very happy with Glacier's work today. It is really amazing the words the dogs learn and remember. I had named a bunch of different classrooms on campus when I was attending university and Jetta usually could take me to which ever one I named. Glacier and I haven't gotten that far in our working relationship yet. We have moved too much, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the university campus in Scotland.
I hope you have enjoyed learning some of Glacier's cues. Just remember though, that these cues are only to be issued by the handler and each guide dog school changes certain cues. "Go park" may be "do business" or "get busy" somewhere else.