Tag Archives: service dog project

It’s my Birthday, Gonna party like it’s my Birthday!!!

Hi Friends –

As I often do, I wanted to share my weekend with all of you. This time our weekend started early mostly because Dad put off taking vacation time for a few reasons.  1. Mom doesn’t have as much time off as he does so he just goes to work. 2. He likes his job most days and forgets to take it. 3. He likes to save some days in case he gets sick. All of this makes me wonder what his problem is; humans are a strange breed. Take some advice from a working Dane: You should take more naps and play more! I’m only staying awake long enough to dictate this post. I’m tired! Why was I here? Ah yes, the weekend.

I have to say it started good. Dad rested in the morning before getting restless. If you know him this is an improvement because we don’t rest much. After we did get moving I helped him at the hardware store to pick up things he needed to fix a handrail that the human puppies helped to pull out from the wall. It took a couple trips because we didn’t check to see what was behind the drywall before we left so we bought anchors we didn’t need. (I know, I know an amazing amount about DIY work. That’s what happens when you are raised at SDP.) All is well though because we did get it right on the second trip and the rail is now safe again.  He says we need to make the handrail pretty now. I talked him down for the day and we just ran a few more errands and took it easy. The temporary rail and refinishing can wait. Dad seriously needs to learn to relax. We all spent a quiet evening at home

Saturday came and it was my birthday! (Mom made me wear the hat for the pupparazzi) I got a new toy and a new bag of food from my favorite store, Kibble-N-Stuff (It’s wonderful! We hit the door and the man inside smiles, puts a bag on his shoulder and gives me my food! He usually even carries it to the car, but this time mom didn’t let him because he had another customer.) after getting our morning fix of coffee (I only get sniffs, but I love me some coffee shop sniffs), of course (my family runs on Dunkin!). We just had to get out with such a clear beautiful fall day none of us felt chores were the priority. We talked it over in the truck with Mom and she was on board, so we decided to go for a short drive north and look at a piece of property that Mom & Dad fell in love with. To be clear, this is not something that we could decide is ours to move into tomorrow, but it is something that makes us feel good when we place ourselves there and imaging how it feels to live there. I feel good knowing that Dad can do this now. There was a time when he couldn’t allow himself to. It’s really good that he can be in the flow of the moment. This is something all your pets can teach you, by the way. If you don’t believe me, ask them two questions. 1. How much money do you have? 2. What time is it? If you tried it I bet they had no idea what money was or why people feel the need to accumulate it. (Dogs don’t worry our basic need can always be met) and as for time, their answer was simple: It’s now, the only time that matters. As you can see, I had to spend time training my person, it’s exhausting.

Looking back at it the next part of the day was just payback, a sort of train the trainer scenario. I didn’t see this coming. Mom said lets go for a walk. My tail wagged and Dad smiled so we did. Of all places we went to a cemetery. It was a beautiful 270 acre piece of land in the center of Hartford, called Cedar Hill Cemetery. I recommend it. If you’re not in the area you can see it online and from my Instagram feed.  As it turns out I was a little over anxious and pulled too much. This started Dad thinking, which is dangerous for sure. He thought: wait, no interruptions from admirers, plenty of space, this is a perfect place to work! I thought silly boy, there’s no wifi here…then we quickly started with the one step crawl. We one-stepped for the next half hour. Mom seemed to be so far away, and the only time we got close was when I walked with my ribs at his hip. I caught on quick and was happy when we loaded up in the truck. Oh great, Dad found a new place to train together. We were all tired after that but it was a satisfied tired.

Sunday came and I was convinced it was still my birthday, so I woke Dad for the morning walk and breakfast. I was so happy that he didn’t bother to correct me. We did get some of those chores done early that we put off but the fun was not over. The best part of the weekend was still to come. I love birthday surprises. What was to come was pretty amazing. We loaded up for another short ride, but this time it had nothing to with training and everything to do with FUN. You all remember my story that was on the news and blogs surrounding it? Well, as it turns out because of that Mom connected with Kristina, who read the blog. She has a Dane named Hiccup, from a breeder in Maine who donates some of her dogs to WALK and who is training with them to be a therapy dog. Dad drove us down to meet him. We could hardly contain ourselves from our cars. We were driving slowly on back roads so I convinced Dad to put the window down so we could track each other.  When we got to the park we exchanged barks to let each other know we’d protect our cars and people. As soon as we got out though the greeting was smooth and simple. We figured WALK and SDP are like family so maybe we are too. I can tell you this much,  when we were let off lead to play and run it surely was a happy time. We ran, jumped and played until we were exhausted. Hiccup is a little younger than me so I shared some service secrets, but we decided quickly it was time to play some more. We shared three or four long rounds of play.  Of course we kept checking back to ensure our people were getting along as well as we were.  I was so happy to find them bonding as well. There really should be no doubt, Dane people are Dane people, and we know how to pick good ones.  It’s still good to make sure. After we loaded up and napped (with doors & windows open) our people kept talking and promise to keep in touch. I’m really excited to have a new friend and can’t wait to play again soon. I slept all the way home. Another day of satisfied tired. I’m sure my humans are catching on to how abundant we all are. Let’s just call it another service this Dane provides for the small price of love and kibble.

written by DFS

New Experiences

Hi Friends –

I wasn’t planning on following up Mom’s PSA Monday post but there seems to be popular demand. There is also a point of view that I’d like to acknowledge.

There seems to be some concern on both sides of the argument over where I spend my time with my family. I am here to say first, Thank You. The mere fact that any of you have taken time to either agree or disagree with us in writing means that we are reaching readers and causing them to feel strongly one way or another and this is wonderful. You’ve heard Mom and Dad say how narcissistic this blog feels at times. Often one reason it feels that way because many of the responses we get to posts are positive and one sided. Don’t get me wrong I love to hear how wonderful I’m doing with Dad and how much everyone loves me, but there are times Mom and Dad need to know that people do not agree with them. We all appreciate opposing viewpoints, so don’t be afraid to speak up. I like to hear everyone.  Mom and Dad may not agree with me here for their own reasons, and that’s OK too.

Some of you may know that many still consider me TOO young to be a service dog. I appreciate that point of view. What some may not know is that my experience is different than many.  You see, I was not raised the same as many service dogs. Several service groups, especially the ones we’re used to in the Northeast, use what is known as “puppy raisers.” These volunteers take home pups that are about eight weeks old and raise them until they are 14 to 16 months old. During that time they do participate in training and socialization activities, but their formal training does not begin until that 14 to 16 month old milestone. In my case I was born, raised and trained on the same farm. My training started as soon as I began weening from my birth mother. It is a very intense program. Dad says it’s much like how he received his early education, at a technical high school, where you are held to a very high standard and essentially must learn your job alongside the standard growth and socialization of a “normal” high school. It is very intense but for some of us that is what we need to allow us to thrive. Others may chose a more traditional route of high school then college and that isn’t wrong either, just a different path. So, when you say I’m not ready I thank you, but respectfully disagree. I have, in fact, graduated my program and do have my service dog registration numbers and diploma to prove it. This does not mean that I don’t have room to grow; I do.  Does this mean that when you get your first job you don’t continue to learn and grow, or are you expected to know all the intricacies of your environment? My guess would be you are given the freedom to learn as you go. That being said, let’s move on to this past weekend and my perspective.

Many of our dear readers know that we love Salem, Massachusetts. We love the small New England town feel of it (even if you have to look for it at times) and we love Halloween so this is “one stop shopping” for Dad. Dad has been there in October several times and he loves the craziness that descends on the town.  You may not be aware that my Dad is the king of OK, (…it’s a rubbish title) and he has decided that failure is not something to be afraid of. He says he tried that in the past and it brought too much fear along with it. I don’t know if that makes me fortunate or not, but it is now a fact of my life. Mom and Dad knew what we were in for when we made the plan to go there. We did not count on the number of people present, but we think it’s great that either the economy is getting better or more people need to escape for awhile. What this did was provide training opportunities for all of us. There is no way for us to know that drums, bagpipes, rushing crowds, barking dogs or kids with balls throws me off my game a bit if I never experience them. Learning this would never happen if we just went to Dad’s office and stayed home all the time on the weekend. If this is all we did I’d be bored and so would Dad. History has taught us that the more opportunities I have to learn the better I am the next time in a similar situation. Dad may not be a perfect trainer but he is willing to try and fail, so that we can succeed in the future. As long as he is willing to take me out I am proud to stand by his side.

There will likely always be people who say that I’m not trained well enough to be in a certain place at a certain time (Editor’s Note: As a mom I feel I am allowed to say this, but most children are not trained well enough to be at certain places either, including our own sometimes, but that doesn’t stop parents from taking them!!) but Dad says it’s like learning to ride a bike, or drive a car, success may not come the first time or the fiftieth, but it will come. Please remember: if you believe you can’t, then you’re right. What happened the first time you thought you couldn’t and you did? I hope you learned that maybe you need to change your mind and decide that instead, you can say: “I haven’t yet” rather than “I can’t.”  I am as determined as my family to be a role model and if this means your first impression is that I’m not perfect then I invite you to see where I am this time next time next year. I challenge you all to be better next year than you are today. I will be.


written by DFS