Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boo! 2009

It is that time of year again when we all dress up like crazy ghosts, goblins, and gorillas! It is Halloween time and for our puppy club meeting this past week, we held our annual Halloween Party. We had costume contests, games, and tasty treats! It was tons of fun and everyone loved to dress up the puppies in adorable outfits. Here are a few of my favorites:

Raelyn made her appearance as a high-profile international soccer star.

One of our new puppies as a hot dog with accompanying condiments.

Roman paying homage to his namesake.

Nutella looking cute as a pumpkin.

Our resident artist Picasso.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Raelyn at 8 months!

Raelyn has been a part of our household for 6 months already! In some ways it seems like she has just arrived, but in others it feels like she has been around forever. The most exciting (in a bad way) thing that happened this month was she actually destroyed the first thing of value EVER. She has never shown interest in chewing on anything except her toys. She will leave the kitty toys and random power cables alone so nicely! However, a new power cord was utterly irresistable. Luckily it wasn't plugged in and she only managed to eat a small amount of plastic and copper wire before I caught her. No complications or lasting damage was done, so WHEW! We still went through the worrying and calling the puppy leaders and a really helpful vet tech who is a member of our puppy club. With all of their help, it all worked out fine.

Besides the random chewing on power cables, life with Raelyn has become so normal. She is picking up on our habits and knows our routine.
-She definately knows when it is feeding time.
-She knows when we are going to go on an outing and what she has to do before we leave.
-She knows when she has to go in her kennel for bedtime.
-She knows how to be patient and sleep in the car even for long periods of time.
-She knows when she has to behave not pay attention to people and walk without pulling.
-She knows how to curl up quietly under the restaurant table.
-She knows how to sit quietly through biology lectures and labs.
-She knows to relieve in her relieving spot and not indoors or randomly during outings.
-She knows she isn't supposed to sniff people's crotches, but she'll still slip every once in a while.

Even though she has learned to do and knows so many things, she is much the same dog as she was when we first got her. Happy, stubborn, headstrong, fearless, and most of all FRIENDLY. She just loves everyone and everything. She wants to go home with everyone we meet and wants to play with any fuzzy creature on 4 legs.

She is a joy to have around and is a very positive presence. During the next month, we need to work on some behaviors that are not very becoming of a respectable guide dog. We are going to work on not jumping and getting overly excited when meeting new people/animals. We are going to work on not chasing the kitties around the house and leaving them alone. We are going to work on her ability to sit and stay in once place without getting restless when not on tie-down or in her kennel. We are going to work on the whining when the alarm goes off or when Raelyn is frustrated in her kennel because she can't come see us.

Overall, things are going really well and we have made much progress. To avoid worrying too much or getting overly stressed out, my new mantra is that we will do the best we can with her and the trainers will fix her weirdness once she gets recalled! :)

She couldn't get enough of the box we hid all of her toys in. She had so much fun sliding it around and sticking her head in to find the toy she wanted then pulling it out after much effort.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The dreaded in-laws...

We have been a borderline boarding house for these past few months. Lots of fun house guests staying and visiting. Recently, Dale's parents Dena and Dave (the dreaded in-laws) came to stay with us for almost a week. Even though I threatened to take them back to the airport a few hours after they got here (completely joking of course...), we all had a great time. The weather was fantastic, so we were able to get out and show off our new neighborhood.

Out of all of us, Raelyn had the best time hands down. She LOVED all of the attention that was showered upon her and with new playmates to keep her busy, she was in hog heaven. Dave especially was her new BFF and would follow him around the house constantly dropping toys at/on his feet.

We were able to show off Raelyn's calm behavior and all of the awesome skills she has learned in her first 7.5 months. She didn't bark or make any noises (other than her usual groaning and occasional whining). She followed all of her commands, even when given by our new visitors. She came to a restaurant with us and everyone forgot she was there until we found her wedged underneath the booth seat. Her toughest challenge was on our visit to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. There were so many distractions with the crowds of people and lots of dogs both on and off leash. She so badly wanted to run around and play with the little Chihuahuas that were zooming around us. She was a bit all over the place not surprisingly, but she remained reasonably calm and did great considering the circumstances.

It was a great visit and everyone had a blast! We enjoy having people come and stay with us as it always forces us to get out of our routine and have fun doing something different. So thank you Dave and Dena for FINALLY coming to see us! :) You are welcome back anytime, unless you won't let me win at cards...