Friday, December 31, 2010

The Evidence

I love a good mystery, and always try to piece together the evidence to find out “Who did it?” And so, as I look around my house, I find a LOT of evidence. Proof in fact. No doubt in my mind! Irrefutable! He was here.

Let’s start with my NEW sofa. “So Mrs. Harrison hmm, is that a band-aid?” “Oh, no sir Mr. Officer, it’s packing tape, holding in the holy chewed up spot.”

“And how about those walls Mr. Harrison?” “Um, yeah, uh well those are salt-licks, also known as drywall licks in these here parts.”

Taking a closer look at the walls reveals another clue…dangling paint chips!! The pieces are slowly coming together. “This is going to be a messy one to clean up,” said the nice Detective.

While pondering the clues, the Detective looked up and there it was, the final clue. Of course, how could he be so naive? The proof is always in the picture! The hole, also known as Let’s Throw the Toy for the Millionth Time Oops.

It’s a lot easier to do things now that he is older. For example, I can make the bed, the ENTIRE bed, without someone eating the foam or running off with a pillow. And, I even know which end is up, thanks to the chewed corners at the foot of the bed. Such a helpful dog he is. If I go outside to get the mail, or even down the street and around the corner, I can leave the house knowing that the boy is waiting at the window instead of shouting “Yee Haw, I’m free” as he chews up the plants and the pillows and the chairs, etc. Drop it now really means Drop it, not I’ll drop it when you catch me Drop it. There IS a difference you know. Of course, I did find myself telling another barking dog “No Noise” the other day. Oops, my bad….habits are hard to break.

As the months turn in to weeks, and soon to be just days left before the boy heads back to guide dog school, someone asked if we were going to miss him. Of course we are, I thought, but then chuckled thinking that he will be around for a long, long time after he leaves. From the hair in the car, to the many busy bags that came out of the laundry (not used thank you, left in pocket), to the frayed edge of the blinds, to the Kong marks on the kitchen cabinets, Trapper will probably be here forever!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Temptations of Trapper

After a very long morning at Jury Duty, I came home and decided to take Trapper to the pet store and Publix. I was going to take the boy to jury duty, but visions of "contempt" and a jail cell, made me think that might not be a good idea. Before we even got to the pet store, his nose was twitching and the whimpering began. WHAT??? My Trapper? Whining? I don't think so. "No noise..."

I park the car, and I find Mr. Fancy Britches has relocated himself to the seat while I went around to the other side. I open the door, and thankfully he waits until I tell him to get out. I figure he can go in the store without his coat, just like all of the other orderly good doggies. Pull!! Yaaank! Snniffff! Stretcccchhh! He was like that Rumba vacuum stop, start, turn, drop, sniff, suck, start, stop, etc. I grab hold with two hands and head for the store. I can do this I tell myself.

As soon as we get inside he is just quivering with excitement. Now Trapper is still intact, if you know what I mean, and I know that has a lot to do with his behavior. The scents must have been like dropping head first into Willy Wonka chocolate room or something of the sort. We weaved our way down the aisles and to the left is the aviary, otherwise knows as chicken nuggets on a branch in the doggie world. I see him take a big breath and hear a big bark coming so I quickly divert him with a "forward." Yikes he is lifting his leg! Oh my word, all I wanted to do was buy a stupid toy. We speed to the toy isle as fast as we can, grab our loot, and then the horror, we had to go in reverse through all of that temptation! I made it out, maybe with the right change, maybe a receipt, I think the toy I came for and my arms two inches longer.

We arrive at Publix and I open the car door and I hear "Excuse me mam, my name is...". I was praying Trapper wasn't going to leap out like Superman, or worse, Jaws. It was someone asking for money, and I politely told him now was NOT a good time. Danger averted.

I've learned to call in the meat orders at the deli since our deli line is always so long. And sure enough, today was no exception. Trapper knows right where to go, it's his favorite part of the store. The place is packed and he pulls, stretches, gooses someone in the crotch, sniffs someone's leg, oh good grief let me get out of here. I hear giggling as we try to maintain what little pride we still have and march away.

We head to the Benadryl aisle since poor boy got stung this weekend, of all places, in his private worlds. He has had hives and itching since then, and hopefully learned he better look before he piddles next time. Probably showered some little bee one too many times. On the way to the ice cream section he scarfs up some piece of food substance and drops it on command. By now I am sweating, and wondering if I could just leave him in the frozen section for a couple of days. Maybe they won't notice.

He settles down at the register, of course, since we are leaving, and was Mr. Manners himself. Sit, down, stand, forward, sit, no sniffing. We hop on the scale for our obligatory, make everyone smile, weigh in. He does that perfectly:) 72 pounds of lean machinery and out the door. Ring! Ring! Ring! Ringgggg! Oh no, the Bell ringer is going to town with those bells and there is no escape route. Ringaringaringggg! He hops forward to see if his bud Rudolph is around and "Agggghhhhhhh! I'm afraid of dogs!!!" I though her little kettle was going to flip right over. Meanwhile, the not so nice lady behind me is asking if she can get by. "No you can't get by until the lady in front of me moves", I said. I was thinking some other not so nice things by this time. We quickly cross the street and I am shouting the "find the car" command as quickly as I can. We find the car, load our measly one bag of groceries and head home to our humble abode!

Said all of this to say that while the boy is mostly very good, very obedient, and truly a joy to have around, he is still a puppy with a very good nose. Every shopping trip can't be boring, or I would have nothing to write about. We got his IFT letter last week, along with the rest of the litter. Looking through the list of things he should have done by the time we turn him in, we all realize yikes there are still a few things to catch up with over the holidays and we better get to work. I hope his little hive problem goes away too, as he was up itching and scratching in the night too. Maybe all of those things led his little mind astray today. Who knows? Until next time....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Approaching One Year

Gosh, it's hard to believe how fast the time goes! Trapper will be a year old in November. He has had quite a few adventures over the past couple of weeks, mostly not with us. We took a little trip to Wildacres in North Carolina, and Trapper spent some time with Drake, and David, as well as a nice play date with Melisa and brother Duke. Apparently he was pretty good, or at least they were kind enough to not tell us:)

Yesterday we took Trapper to a Serbian Folk Dancing Show. The music was very loud, lots of jumping and stomping, an accordion, a violin, drum, and a clarinet I believe, and he did quite well. Sat in front of our seat, and although I tried to take a picture, it was too dark. He is so big he stretched out in front of three seats! Every time we go somewhere like that, I try to imagine how he will ever fit on an airplane, but as our fellow puppy raisers have noted, somehow they do fit.

As time passes, I realize that I no longer have to say "no" as often, he mostly listens to commands, and all in all is turning into a very nicely behaved young man. I even made the bed this morning and he didn't eat the foam overlay! That in itself is a big accomplishment. He made a small move towards the towel yesterday, and after a brief "leave it", he walked away. Could it be?

He has a long list of things he no longer does, like chewing, mouthing, stealing (almost), and I realize that all of these changes eventually happen over time and repeated consistent instructions. He is still Velcro, but in a good way. It's a lot of work raising a puppy, and those first months are exhausting trying to keep up with the little tyke. I chuckle when I read the blogs of other raisers with their new puppies. But one day, they "get it". He even likes the cats, and they like him. Of course, from what I'm told, that's when you get the letter to bring your puppy in for training.......and then you get to start all over:)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Trapper Truly Traveled To Teach

We were very privileged and fortunate to be able to travel this week to St. Augustine to visit with the students at The Florida School for The Deaf and The Blind, FSDB for short. Founded in 1885, the school is part of the public school system. "The School has grown from three small buildings on five acres to 47 major buildings on nearly 80 acres of land" as per their website. Our audience also grew, from 8th grade students, to 6th, 7th and 8th.

The day started early as we had a long drive to St. Augustine. We put Trapper on a tie down in the back seat and that seemed to work better for all of us. Otherwise, he is shifting around the entire trip trying to get comfortable, while squishing my legs in the foot well.

We arrived at about 1 pm, scheduling our talk at 1:45. Our audience was about 90 students, as well as their teachers. We met in a small auditorium and were given instructions on the microphone, and the interpreters that were present. They would sign what I was saying to the students, and when the children had questions of us, they would interpret so we could understand. That part went so smoothly, I forgot I had an interpreter signing.

The students had LOTS of questions, and they were very good questions. Where are Trapper’s parents? What toys can he play with? How many hours a day does he have to wear his coat? How do you know he is happy? What happens if he can’t be a guide dog for some reason? What happens if the guide dog user dies? How did we get involved? What was our training? Can you show us some of his commands? Why does he have a chain on his neck? And…what would happen if you let him off leash? Hee hee, you don’t want to know.

Trapper did beautifully! He greeted 90 plus kids and their teachers, didn’t bark once, although he did squeak a little on stage. He was quite obedient when given his commands, but did become a little restless in the middle. Larry was chief puppy wrangler and had him do his puppy exercises, and even took a trip outside to get some of his energy out. When we asked him if he was happy, he wagged his tail obediently:)

The students were VERY good! They were all quite polite in taking turns asking questions which made the entire visit go smoothly. It is an interesting assignment for the students, and they are fortunate to have several components of the assignment come visit. The book outlines the raising of a guide dog, and then giving him back to the school, and his placement with a guide dog user. An actual guide dog user will be visiting to share their experience receiving a dog, and the author of the book will visit the school to speak to the students. I’d say the students are very fortunate to have all of these experiences, and Trapper was glad to be a part of it!

The last leg of our trip, we passed a carousel and stopped to see if we could expose Trapper. As w got out of the car there was a big NO PETS sign and I thought to myself, I hope we don't have a problem taking him inside, even in coat. We opened the gate and the manager of the ride says to his employee, "Now this is exactly what I was telling you about. These guide dogs, even when they are in training, have access to any place they want....if they want to ride the carousel, you have to let them including the dog". I was so surprised to hear him state things correctly, and complemented him on his knowledge. He asked if we wanted a picture of Trapper on the ride, and of course we obliged.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Social Butterfly

Larry and I have come to realize Trapper has a busier social calendar than we do. He spent a weekend with David and managed to go see the Rays and go out for dinner. Drake took him to the beach to play not too long ago. The Sessions took him to meet the St. Pete Police Department. And of course, he had a swimming soiree with his brother Duke.

I took him with me when I went for a massage earlier this week and he was WONDERFUL with a capital W. Of course when we arrived, everyone wanted to pet him. He has arrived at the "no petting in coat" age which is going to be a challenge at times. He has such a sweet "Yes I would love to be petted" look, I find folks are already bent over with their hand on his head before I have a chance to blink. The manager of that location looked at me with saucer size eyes and asked "Are you here for a massage???" Well yes, as a matter of fact we are. Actually, one poor woman asked me if Trapper was there for a massage, and I jokingly said yes. She went on and on about how massage is so good for your pet, which it is. But if I am paying for it, it is for me:) We went into the room, and of course, being the toweliban that he is, he spied a used towel on the floor. We quickly removed it and put him on his tie down. Then, you get ready for the massage, lie down on the table...quietly...unable to look at the dog....straining to hear any crunching noises, licking sounds, etc. Not a thing! He was quickly put to sleep by the music and we survived. Thanks to Ken at Massage Envy for allowing the boy in the room.

Today, we stopped at the Open House at Fire Station No. 7 and let Trapper sniff the trucks, boots, hoses, etc. of the firehouse. He did quite well and decided he still wants to be a guide dog, although the nice fireman would have had him stay on as the station mascot I am sure.

We headed downtown to the Saturday Morning Market. Lots of people there, and lots of dogs and different smells. There were big dogs, little dogs, hot dogs and brats:) He was exposed to so much, and he did great. He sniffed a few puppies, and of course he got sniffed. One woman approached us and said a friend of hers was on his third guide dog, they had changed his life. That is always nice to hear.

Trapper has a big excursion next week. We are going to St. Augustine to do a presentation to the Florida School for The Deaf and The Blind. Every year the school has an author come and visit. They usually try to prepare the students by reading one of the author's books. This year the author is Pamela Bauer Mueller. She is the author of several books for older children, including "Hello, Goodbye, I Love You" about the relationship between a guide dog trainer, the dog, and the visually-impaired person who eventually gets the dog. So, we are taking Trapper to visit the 7th and 8th grade students and allow them to ask questions about the raising of a guide dog. We are very honored to be able to have this opportunity. And to the students, if you are reading this, Trapper is very excited to be able to meet all of you next week! He is practicing his "best behavior" manners:)

And now? Off to Red Mesa for dinner...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My First Haircut and Other Tidbits

We went for our first haircut today. OK maybe I went for a haircut, and Trapper came with me. By the way, it sure is a little cooler out today. Trapper didn't drag me across the pavement as his feet are seared, so I know it's cooler.

I arrived at the salon, had him sit, told him to ignore all of the leaves and papers blowing around tempting him, and opened the door. We enter and WOOF, WOOOOF, RUMBLE, GROWL, WOOF!!! Not a real growl, but just how I should write that, I don't know. Under the table in the foyer is, of all things, a statue...of a kitty. OK Trapper, if it were another BIG dog, maybe a gargoyle, a raging lion, but a kitty? Where's your pride? For a million dollars he wasn't going to get any closer, until I knocked on it to show him it was nothing. And then he was fine, no big deal. Of course he barks at bags of garbage, too. Should I be worried?? :)

Walk farther into the salon and he sees another statue, this one oh maybe 8 inches high, of another dog. He started to do a repeat, but I could see him processing "Hmmm I did this once, and it was nothing. I'm going to bet on nothing and not bark." What a good boy. And he was great. I had my hair washed, and I'm assuming he sat nicely since my eyes were closed. Went to the station to get my trim, and he positioned himself under the counter and stayed until I was done.

We had a play date yesterday with his best bud, Duke, brother extraordinaire, and as I watched them wrestle and run and play, Melisa sent a picture of the boys at their first meeting.

She said not much has changed between them, except for 50 pounds or so. And it's true...they love playing with each other, and as an added bonus, are pooped (equals well behaved) the rest of the night! Thanks Duke!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Burglar in the House

Ok, not a REAL burglar but it might as well be. Trapper the Juvenile has arrived. I just told Melisa, auntie to Trapper since she has Duke, how well behaved he has been lately, what a sweet dog, sits at our feet calmly, walks so nice, etc. Lo and behold, not two days later, he hops up on the back of the sofa, two feet perched, and grabs my hair scrunchie...while I'm still using it. He isn't subtle either. He's a grab and go type of burglar, hopping and smiling "Lookie what I have"! Luckily he is responding nicely to "Drop it" and "Give". I put it back on my pony tail and Klop! Klop! Grab!, he takes it again, plus a few strands of hair. "Now lookie what I have! Huh? Huh? Whatcha gonna do?"

Friday was the Day of the Dish Towels. Not one, or two, or even three, but I am guessing seven dish towels were swiped by the boy right off of the counter. Rats! Be Right Back. So, just to prove my point, as I am typing this sentence I hear Klomp! Klomp! and here he is, towel in his mouth. Larry was using a towel and just left the house and in lightning speed, the Trappersaurus grabbed his towel. Ugh. I can't even take the pictures fast enough!!!

As I was retrieving the towel and heading for the washer, the little thief shows up with a book! As I retrieve the book, he is yanking on my bathroom towel! Oh, good grief!

Now, I know this phase is coming, so I'm not too bewildered. I look up on the Internet "how long does K-9 juvenile phase last?" Trapper is 9 months old now; we have had him 6.5 months. "The juvenile or teenage phase is at it's worst from 9 months (OK I know that) until 2.5-3 years"(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

What???????? You mean he will never be good again while he's with us???? I'll be digging scrunchies out of his throat for 6 more months????? And just to show he is doesn't give preferential treatment to my stuff, he managed to break off a piece of his blue nylatoy this morning (Klomp! Klomp! Krunch!).

I am hoping that is not the case, although images of other dogs this age at meetings come to mind. I survived three teenage sons, I am confident I can weather Trapper.

Hey, give me back my umbrella!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Finally! Brotherly Love...Sort of:)

We got Trapper in February, and this is now almost August. The boy is 8 months old and still a sweetheart. Except when it comes to my poor resident kitties, Angel and Gracie. Angel is a trooper, though. He weighs about 25 pounds,but that is another story in itself. He is very affectionate, quite the lover I must say. He has also been curious about Trapper since we got him. However, Trapper is like a kangaroo when he is around the cats and of course they look at him like "Have you lost your mind????" They then disappear and are not seen until Trapper heads to bed.

Little by little, we have let Trapper in "the room" where the cats live, with their food (cocaine to Trapper) and water, and of course the Kitty Krunchies, a.k.a. litter box. In all honesty, he has been pretty good about not scarfing the cat food. If a morsel has fallen out of fatso Angel's reach, he might eat it. But once he saw either cat, out came Capt. Trapparoo!

One day, Angel allowed Trapper to lick his head, and one day Gracie (the little witch in disguise) let Trapper lick her head. There was a rub here and there, and lo and behold, no one was running away from the other. But, the elusive brotherly love that I was looking for was still not possible.

This morning, Angel happened to be out when Trapper came back from his walk. As you can see in the first picture, Angel has a hidey hole under the table. After a few hops around the room, I guess Trapper thought about it and didn't he go and get his plastic ring toy and bring it over for Angel to play with? Awwwww, I know! That's what I said! He was so cute, nudging it closer so Angel could play fetch. Angel did a few rolls on it, but had no interest in playing fetch. But, they both managed to lay down quietly, near each other, in peace and quiet, as brothers should. So maybe they will be best buds...and then it will be time to go IFT:(

Friday, June 25, 2010

Velcro Dog

Velcro has been around for quite a few years. It is a handy little device created after someone was curious about the burrs sticking to their pants legs after a walk in the woods. It is actually a system of hooks and circles which are easy to open and close and used in many facets of our lives.

Velcro Dogs have also been around for quite a few years, and not everyone is fortunate enough to own a Velcro Dog, so we do feel blessed:) Just what is a Velcro Dog? It's a dog who is glued to your side for every, and I mean EVERY move that you make. A turn to the right? No problem for Velcro Dog. Gonna sit down? Velcro Dog is prepared to sit with you, in fact he'll sit ON your feet, just so you know he's around. Going to the ladies/men's room? "I shall follow", says the Velcro Dog. Trying to trick Velcro Dog into believing you are moving to the left with a swift "right about", Velcro Dog chuckles and assumes his respective position thinking "Now whatcha doing, huh, huh? Can I come? Here I am!"

Velcro Dogs do have a flaw or two, amazingly. The command "Come" for a Velcro Dog can fall on deaf ears. "Drop it", "Leave it" and "Give" still need a little work. Jennifer, our SEGD trainer says Trapper is probably needy. I'd have to say I agree. He needs to be with one of us all day, every day, for every move we make. I'd like to think this will make him a wonderful companion/guide dog for someone in the future. You certainly won't lose Trapper in a crowd...he'll be right beside you all the way.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Mother Lode of Distractions

"Eureka!!! I've landed in the promised land", thought Trapper as we entered the Florida Aquarium. Kids galore...big ones, small ones, curious ones, and of course, scared ones. Parents were everywhere. Lest you think that this was the highlight of the day....I'll tell you that was NOT the case.

There is a nice stroll, although rather long, just to get to the Aquarium from the parking lot. And the parking lot has a detour that takes you wayyyyy down around the old banana docks. A street Trolley passed as well as lots of cars and Trapper was quite interested in the cacaphony that ensued. We finally arrive and pay our dues for entry and are on our way. No one says anything about the dog at the entrance, or asks clarification if he is a guide dog, etc. I say that because at the zoo, they had to announce a code one niner or some other mystery code to let everyone know there was a dog in the park. OK there are a lot of other things WAY more scary than a dog at the zoo, but whatever:) We aim to please.

Trapper's nose was twitching as we passed the gate. His muscles were getting tense and I said to Larry, boy he is going to be tired today after all of this stimulation and scents. Tee hee hee, was I right or what? We entered the first part of the exhibit, which was the Wetlands area. Shazaaam, Trapper turned into a wild man! Holy moly, hopping and let out a bark and pulling and tugging. I was only glad that Larry had him instead of me, or we would still be chasing him today. There in front of us sat the mother lode of fish...and turtles....and swaying grass...and a shell (oh my!)...and great balls o' fire they were all moving this way and that. He could hardly contain himself and I worried we may have a busy right then and there!

He is distracted, and remember he is only 6.5 months old, by butterflies and moths in the yard. He'll stop a poop to catch a butterfly, honest to goodness. This must have looked like the biggest tank of butterflies and moths that he had ever seen. We passed the stingray tank, and POOOOF hopping and jumping, the rays bolted seeing his antics. They did come back for another look though, which was kind of amusing. Next tank, MORE fish, bigger than the last ones, and have mercy there were birds swimming on the top of the tank!!!!!!!! I checked to see where the defibrillator was since I was sure poor Larry was going to have a coronary with all of this yanking on his arm..and chest!

We didn't want to create a scene with the birds, so we moved around the corner to the next exibit and amazingly, it held fish too:) Who knew? And a group of people formerly listening to the lecture, and now watching as we try to tell Trapper "easy, drop it, leave it, good boy, bad boy, get me outta here boy"I'm sure were entertained. We had one lady tell us she had an 8 month lab and couldn't fathom bringing the dog to the aquarium and complemented us on his good manners.

It only took a couple of fish tanks and a good sit in front of the biggest group of fish we could find, to get him to settle down. There was a bench in front of a huge aquarium and pompano as big as my legs swam by, and then swam DOWN, as the tank extended below our level. That was entertaining as poor Trapper tried to figure out where did the fish go? He was sure he saw them go down under him but there was only carpet. It was a good exercise as he was able to sit and not be distracted by the end of our visit. He became disinterested actually and we realized it was time to leave while still in good favor with the nice staff of the aquarium:) Hi ho Silver as we press on to other attractions....and distractions.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flip Flop Fetish Found Festering Freely

Took me a while to come up with all of the "F" words.....but here is the story...and the photo to go along with it.

Trapper loves to lick. He loves sunscreen, arms, hands, fingers, and oddly enough, toes. I don't have a big problem with it, I figure it is better than biting or mouthing, which he doesn't do thankfully. It is a little annoying when I put sunscreen on and have to fight him off until it dries. You would think I put lard on, or maybe peanut butter. And we will have to break him of this soon.

Anyways, Trapper will lick and lick and clean and lick my feet, or anybody else who happens to wear flip flops or sandals. No love nips, or shark chomps but eventually I looked at my flip flops and realized that the boy has nibbled at the edges of both flip flops and now chunks are falling off like boulders! All very quietly and discreetly. He looks up with those big "I didn't do it" eyes, so sad, after a mother's heart and gosh darn if my shoes aren't chewed up like little termites ate them!!!! Luckily these are not fancy flip flops that were freely found fetished...but basic house shoes that I wouldn't wear in public.
He is usually obvious with his antics and naughty finds in the house. For example, he loves Larry's head bands, sweat included at no charge. Instead of quietly going off into the corner for a quick chew, he proudly runs in front of mom and dad, white headband bursting out of either side of his mouth and seems to say "Lookie what I got"! And then the forbidden game of Keep Away begins, us trying to get the unknown object, and Trapper doing the crazies around the living room. At this rate, I'll be a size 2 by the time we turn him back in for training:)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Catching Up...

It looks like it's been a while since a post. What's been going on?

Trapper finished his puppy boot camp with Diane Anderson and the very next week started a four-session course with SEGD trainer Jennifer. He's doing well.

The Florida heat set in so we walk early in the morning and late in the evening. He does well on his walks with some distractions such as sniping barkers from porches, other dogs being walked, birds, lots of bunnies, etc. He sits at all intersections very nicely and knows his right-rights and left-lefts. HIs walks are not wearing him out as well as they used to. He has to have a play session in the AM and PM as well. Throw the toy, throw the toy...on and on and on.

Since our development has a weight limit for dogs, there's been a little rumbling about his size. He's 60 lbs. So I now make a point to mention that he's a guide dog puppy in training. We'll see how that goes.

All in all he's a cheerful lad...right now doing what's called a "crazy Ivan" around these parts...zooming around the house like a demon dog. The reason for this is he decided to dig under some plants during our last "busy" visit out back. As a result he had to have a session with the hose. Yippee!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Obedience Class & Challenger Picnic

Trapper made it through his first SEGD Obedience class this week. There were several dogs there that we were familiar with, which is good, and bad for distractions. But all of the dogs did very well after a few minutes. Larry does all of the obedience work with him: Sit, stay, down, jump down, turn around, oh yeah...wrong story! I like to think he is "getting"his commands, and will test him at the door, for example, before he is allowed in. I can see him anticipating, and I'll make him stay, instead of charging through the door. He also had some good beach exposure/sand and promptly filled his nose up with sand. I wasn't quick enough to get a good picture of that.

Today we went to the Challenger League Annual Picnic. We met up with 14 year old Brody M who fell in love with Trapper. And I have to say, Trapper was very good with him. No jumping or using his paws, he was mostly a good boy:) Except for the dirt....Just had a bath yesterday, but today he was digging to China! It was a great event, all of the kids, parents and visitors had a fun time. And now........nap time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where's the Puppy?

Where did that little puppy go?

You know, the cute little puppy that had a hard time managing the kong toy...who fit nicely in a travel kennel and was swallowed up by the small, blue "Puppy in Training" coat...

Someone must have come during the dead of night and swapped him for this huge, yellow beast! Just over five months old and at 55lbs! Wants to have his nylabone keys thrown 600 times a sitting! Goes for two long walks a day and is a huge lump in the footwell of the car.

The dog left in place of that little puppy also insists on tipping over his food dish to eat the chow off the floor. It seems to taste even better when eaten off the rug! And just try to get some ice out of the machine without tithing a cube to the beast!

He's coming along nicely thanks to our leaders, the other raisers, Diane Anderson and soon Jennifer!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trapper the Student

Trapper is a student in Diane Anderson's Puppy Boot Camp. As you can see in the picture, he is very proud of his handlers who are getting smarter every day. He can't believe they can be so dumb about not figuring out his needs and wants.

Trapper especially wants to thank Diane for her efforts to get these two on track.

Friday, April 16, 2010


As Trapper's budget is, well, puny, he can't get good help. The last blog entry should also have included his travels to Ft. Desoto. While there he inspected the very long fishing pier. Word of his arrival must have leaked as many, many people were there. They were pretending to fish so their staring would not be blatant. But he wasn't fooled. They were there ONLY to see him!

During his stroll of the pier he had the chance to meet various fish being hauled over the rail. They were most excited at making his acquaintance and absolutely could not control themselves. He was almost embarrassed for their enthusiasm.

After a snack of various rocks, twigs and perhaps the odd truffle dug up while his handlers lunched at a shady picnic table, it was off to the beach! There were quite a few tasty morsels in the sand followed by a bit of a romp. The deep sand was a curiosity but not a huge distraction the first time around.
More recently, Trapper traveled to the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. His first adventure there was a pontoon boat ride down Pepper Creek. Since he was wise enough to direct his handlers to park on the far end of the creek, the boat was not overcrowded as it is coming from the visitor center to the park. The ride was interesting as he was fixated on the water flowing past.
Once at the visitor center, Trapper guided his people to the open tram for the ride back to the park entrance. That went well but there was a lot of clanking and groaning from that tram!
Strolling through the park was a different experience. There are a lot of sights, sounds and smells there. From Lou the hippo, past the densely populated gator pond, Trapper took it all in. The wolves and foxes noted his passage warily as did the eagles and other birds of prey. He and the flamingos ignored each other but he was captivated by a swan and a Sandhill crane. The Roseate Spoonbills were a bit wary of him and burbled their concern to one another as he passed.
The bears snoozed through his passage but not so the panther! It was razor eyes locked onto his furriness as he strolled past. He was curious as while the panther looked somewhat like the kitties he has at home, there was somewhat of a size difference. We decided to make haste away from the panther habitat as the critter started to dig at the bottom of its fence. 8-o
The bridge over the spring water gave Trapper a good view of a huge school of snook and ladyfish with a sprinkling of mullet and sheepshead. Then it was off to a shady bench to watch, of all things, a yellow lab repeatedly jumping from the bow of a pontoon boat to retrieve for his master. The pooch swam around to the back of the boat each time and climbed the ladder. It was entertaining.
A visit to the spring observation deck wrapped up this exposure. Trapper was interested in seeing the huge schools of fish that mill around the head of the spring. We got there too late to hear the manatee lecture but that was fine. It meant we also missed the busloads of elementary school students that were leaving as we arrived. We would likely still be there doing "greets"...
More later!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


It's been a busy stretch here resulting in the blog being neglected! (No, not THAT kind of "busy"...)

Let's see...where to begin?

At the April puppy meeting Trapper showed just how distracted he could be. The meeting was held in the side yard of a kennel so smells and sounds abounded. There was apparently "puppy cocaine" sprinkled in the vegetation underfoot since he could not get enough digging/chewing done. Luckily not much was asked of him in the way of obedience drills.

He had his first overnight with his family as he went to the Space Coast for the latest shuttle launch. It was decided the noise might be too much for him so he stayed at his aunt's house in his crate. As luck would have it, there was even a younger puppy (in coat) at the launch viewing site. His/her reaction to the launch noise was not noted.

Trapper entertained Buddha, a three-year old Lab mix, for Easter. They met previously and romped to no end then. This time, with Trapper being nearly as large as Buddha, he received only well-needed discipline. Buddha bared his teeth and rapped Trapper with his muzzle whenever the playing got too intense. It was good to see the natural process at work. Trapper eventually settled down.

Trapper is also a student now! He goes to puppy boot camp once a week. He seems to be "getting it" as his handlers are being trained.

Trapper also made his debut at the Lowry Park Zoo. It was quite interesting to see the zoo animals' reaction to him! The penguins were quite taken with him. Several came to the glass to have a look. They scattered when he couldn't contain himself any longer and lunged at the glass. The rhinos were very interested in him. As they were quite close to the visitor area fence, they had to keep turning their heads from side to side to bring each eye to bear on this curious, furry visitor. There was also a mom rhino with a two-week old little one. Mom was VERY watchful.

A Lions Club White Cane event welcomed Trapper and his folks to a local Publix supermarket. We sat outside a very busy store and he charmed the patrons out of most of their grocery money.

That should about catch us up on what's been going on. Until next time, as Trapper likes to say..."To infinity and beyond!"

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Shrinking Furniture

OK well my furniture only SEEMS like it is shrinking, since Trapper is growing like a weed. He still hits his head on the coffee table while running through the area, just can't remember to duck sometimes. We took him to obedience class this week, along with his littermate Duke and several other much bigger and smaller dogs. He was not very good at the end of class and nearly ripped my arm off while trying to travel through the grassy area. I am guessing it was all of the dog smells, or just the excitement of the class but before I knew it he was wrapped around the sign, hence the loud noise of his head clinking the pole, and the arrival of my husband to save the day. We did learn that he probably needs a lot more walking than we have been doing and have been consistent in walking him every day since.

The week before last, we left Trapper with Drake, a new puppy raiser, for a couple of days of R&R for us and party time for Trapper! He must have had a great time since he wasn't all that excited to see us when we got back. Drake took him on a few outings and to work and let him play in his backyard, so he was pooped by the time we picked him up. Thank you Drake if you are reading this! Trapper says he would love to come stay with you again:)

We are very blessed to not have some issues with him, like chewing and whining(a lot), begging, etc. Some things we still have to work on, like paws, counter surfing, and the poor cats. He just wants to play, but boy oh boy, they have given up on that one. Maybe when he calms down a little.....

Happy Easter to all and have a good weekend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

Sir Trapper had a good week. His main occupation at this point is growing...both his stature and a brand new set of teeth! At this point with front tooth loss a bit ahead of replacement, he could be mistaken for a hockey player...or a Miss Kentucky contestant (typist note: he MADE me type that...)

He's finding that shortcuts used previously around the house continue to shrink. He's not quite sure what to think of that.

As his raisers are going on a little trip next week, Trapper was introduced to his puppy sitter, Drake. They had a good meeting and seemed to hit if off nicely. No doubt Trapper will be surprised when he learns that Drake has a long history with Labs. If Trapper decides to truncate the "honeymoon" period, his nonsense will be met with the required discipline. Perfect!

So, why "Sir Trapper" above? That's because he found out about the Rennaissance Festival at MOSI and insisted on going. No doubt he heard that there was unlimited mulch on the menu. The weather was perfect and the site was crowded. His only complaint was that he didn't have his special "busy" place so he waited until he got home. But he greeted the masses and was easily as popular as the Royal Court.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trapper Buys a Boat

Well not really, but Trapper did go to the St. Pete Boat Show and looked at a LOT of really big boats, and a lot of people. Plus that funky grass they have there was an endless source of interest. Every time I opened his mouth I found little black beads, which better not have been fertilizer on fake grass!! He did manage to "busy" in that grass, although I won't tell you where. All was cleaned up promptly. It was a little challenging walking through since so many people want to come up and pet/scratch/hug/touch him. He has beautiful hazel eyes which are quite a lure.

Today we went to our Area meeting and Trapper met Duke again, and Pal. Pal is another litter mate who is black and again, smaller than Trapper. He was OK today, not as good as he is alone. And I suppose that is the point of the meetings, getting him used to other dogs, distractions, don't put your nose in the ants, drop it, leave it, etc. He is going to be big though. That's all we keep hearing from folks. Mikey was our houseguest before we got Trapper, and Mikey is BIG. He is a good solid 80 pounds and I'm guessing Trapper may be bigger than that. We'll see! We might need to buy that boat after all, for additional living space:)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Making His Way

Well, Trapper is coming along nicely. The only scary thing is that we can just about hear him growing. He has a vet visit coming up and it will be interesting to see how much he weighs.

He's got the routine down pretty well and is fairly eager to please until he decides we need some excitement. He's managed to have the artificial trees banished from the entryway and now has his eye on some African violets.

He is also learning that the tables (coffee and end) that he could run under when he first got here somehow became shorter. He was running with his new nylabone toy which he had to hold up a bit to keep from tripping. He was taking the shortcut into the living room under an end table and gave his head a good crack since he was galloping along. He spit out the toy and regarded it warily as being the source of his smarting head. They made up later and all is well.

Today he was visited by some new people and a five year-old Sheltie. He tried to interest Teddy in a romp but got a view of Teddy's dental inventory instead. No romping with that pooch!

But now that the weather is better the trips out back to busy are also a good opportunity to birdwatch while contentedly chewing a rock or stick. Walks around the block are interesting as well.

Life is good. Time for a nap.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Other Side of the Black Hole

I can't figure out if the two are playing or not, but as I said it is an endless source of amusement for both the cat and the dog...The Black Hole. The cats have pretty much decided the bedroom is a safe zone while the puppy is awake. At night, Trapper is pooped, and they sneak out of the bedroom one by one for food, bathroom break, etc. This is the usual picture though, Trapper on one side trying to squeeze his quickly growing body through the hole, and Gracie, the Wicked Kitty of the West on the other side beating him senseless:)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trappersaurus Redux

You might wonder why I chose "Trappersaurus" as a title for these posts.

Well, in working with Trapper to minimize barking/whining, we've pretty much convinced him that "no noise" is a good thing. So now he's decided that chomping at us is an acceptable form of communication. It's not so much a snap as it is a "clop"...complete with sound. Shades of Jurassic Park...

It's fairly expressive...and hard not to laugh at when he unleashes a half dozen or so!

Trapper's travels continue to entertain!

We're just back from a fun walk along a local marina. Sights and sounds included swimming ducks, gulls and a heron or two as well as kids fishing and light traffic of both cars and bikes. There was even a roller blader. Trapper met a 14 year-old female pooch who tolerated his lunge well. A Jack Russell about fell off the seawall trying to avoid him.

Then we stopped at the grocery on the way home. Of course he drew several crowds being irresistable and all. He did very nicely sitting at the deli waiting for our order.

Now he's chewing on an ice cube as an appetizer before dinner in an hour or so.


Well, the puppy "honeymoon" might be coming to an end as Trapper goes into the "I'm not listening..." phase. For the most part he's pretty good but one or two times a day he seems to decide that dissension is the order of the day. We work it out and life goes on.

Just now, for instance, he was sitting in front of me, leaning on my leg being sweet. Then he sauntered away and tried to make off with a length of PVC pipe that houses some electrical cords behind the couch. His mom put a small milkbone inside his kong toy so that is keeping him adequately distracted for the moment.

All in all things are going well...he sleeps through the night with no noise once we figured that out.

He's quite engaging during our's office, Home Depot, Rollin' Oats (lots of good smells there!), library...and riding very nicely to and from all of it.

Now, if he could only make a lasting peace with the resident kitties....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Hole

According to Wikipedia, a black hole is a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. Apparently that is what Trapper believes as he peers into Kitty Territory. Usually Gracie is perched just to the left ready for an ambush, of which Trapper apparently enjoys since he manages to stick his head in repetitively. The cats are without claws, but their hissing and spitting is an endless source of amusement for this little puppy. To me it seems he is putting his head in the shark tank, just checking to see if any might be around:)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Trapper Meets Duke

We headed out to our first official event with Trapper yesterday. The Dunedin Mutt Strut was on the schedule. We arrived at the Highlander entrance, bathroom break, put our jacket on and proceeded to look for the SEGD booth. Lots and lots of people, I'm sure they were all giants to Trapper since all he could see were feet. We walked a couple of blocks each way, stopping in the middle for a huge gathering of people who wanted to pet the puppy, ask questions, more petting, licking until finally we were able to move on. As we approached the end of the block, we asked two nice officers if they knew were the SEGD booth was located. Well..."you are at the wrong event." Ooops, lots more walking, driving, and finally we arrived at the correct place!

Surprises awaited as we approached the booth. One of Trapper's littermates was there, Duke. He is a little darker than Trapper, ginger colored, but just as sweet. They doggie wrestled for a bit, greeted some of the folks at the event, and then we were on our way home. Trapper, and Duke, did very well with all of the activity and attention! We both said we felt we had the best dogs SEGD had ever put out for training:)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Honeymoon

Trapper has been with us for about a week and a half so far. He is sooooooooo good, and soooooooo cute, and soooooooo obedient.....I've been told it's the "honeymoon" phase. "Just wait, you'll see". Well so far, so good.

I went out of town for a couple of days this week so Larry had to be the chief puppy wrangler. He says they had some nice "bonding" time. I expected to come home to a messy house, and the place was spic and span, Trapper was glad to see me, and everyone seemed happy.

Trapper had his first vet visit, of which we were told he is going to be a 100 pounder!!!! His feet are huge. EVERYONE says so. But he was a trooper at the vet, and it was off to his first dinner. He was so good, it was like he had done this a hundred times before. He went under the table and laid down, peeking out to watch the feet of the wait staff. Of course, they would go to the other side of the room where they could see him under the table and point him out to the other staff.

He is a "toucher". Very content to sit beside you, as long as something is touching. He has mastered a few of his commands so far, including the potty training which is great.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thank you and The Olympics

Thanks to the Mcleans for helping set up this blog. I could not have done it without their help.

Trapper had his first trip to Publix yesterday. We had to greet four different groups of people before we got in the front door. Puppies are conversation magnets for sure! This brief exposure was a lot of info for a little guy. Wheels, feet, noise, sliding doors, shiny floors, and then we headed to the deli where the overwhelming aroma of chicken, lunchmeat and fresh baked bread was overwhelming(for both of us!). He was so good and sat patiently waiting for our turn, and then it was time to leave. I knew he was ready when he hopped in the car all by himself for the first time.

A brief walk at Coffeepot Bayou for the afternoon, and we settled down for the night with an evening of Olympics. The TV is quite fascinating to him at this point! So far so good....more to follow!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

American Legion Paws for Patriots Event

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12th and 13th, Trapper attended his first official event as a guidedog puppy and he was adorable(as every mom says). The event was a bake sale and dinner benefiting Paws for Patriots, Many, many pettings and rubs and kisses later, we headed for home. He was so good, so calm and affectionate, wasn't excited at all about the attention. He was a model puppy as far as I was concerned. Thank you to all of the Legion members. The event was a big success!

Our New Pup!

After completing a day of puppy sitting with Wallie, we received a phone call from Chuck stating a new guide dog pup was ready to come home with us. Wow! Really? Wow! Oh dear! A week later, February 10th, 2010, we picked up Trapper, a yellow lab from a litter of nine, 26 pounds of fun. And so the adventure begins!

Our car trip home was filled with a little whining, trying to get up on the seat, etc. but overall, a smooth ride home. Trapper had a tour of the house, a meet and greet with Angel and Gracie, the resident kitties, and then it was naptime. Gee, this puppy raising job is easy:)

On Thursday, Wallie came over for one last day of puppy sitting, and a romp in the house with Trapper. Wallie is about 3 weeks older than Trapper, but they are about the same size. They played and played and played some more, and then they were ready for break! Lots of sleep, some water, lunch, and it was round two. Wallie left and Trapper was pooped.

All and all he was very comfortable in the house, and even learned to sit within a couple of hours! How easy is this job going to be???