Saturday, January 29, 2011

Down On The Farm

Honey visited the farm for the first time today. As you can tell Scotty was the photographer!

This picture describes exactly what Honey was thinking.. what are these other 4-legged things and why are they heading in my direction? They seemed friendly enough as long as they stayed behind that fence. When Honey met them out in the open, those donkeys were not so kind.
Lad and Honey, on the other hand, forged a new friendship (even if Lad was a lot bigger!)
Honey met some barn cats, watched them get fed and seemed unfazed. But for Honey the best part of the farm was the pond.
She had a blast! The video is even better but I do not know how to load that on blogspot (homework for me!). I cannot wait for Honey to get a little older so we can let her play in the pond without being on the leash. And maybe by then the water will be a little warmer!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roller Rink

Billy attended a birthday party at the roller rink from 5:30 - 7:30 and I thought it would be a great exposure outing for Honey. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! I was well prepared for Honey - water, clean up supplies, toys - I was not well prepared for what seemed to be 1000 kids skating, tons of food on the multi-colored patterned carpet and extra loud heart thumping music. Honey initially tried to jump on each child as they skated by but settled down after I bribed her with her peanut butter laced kong. She was, thankfully, unfazed by the music. She displayed her carpet fascination by trying to lick every square inch of each pattern. I would post some pictures if one of the two cameras I had with me worked. Considering the late start time, the length of the exposure and the amount of distractions, I think Honey did very well for a young puppy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Away For the Weekend

I thought one of my co-bloggers would have fulfilled my blogging duties while I was away for the past few days... but NO! Scotty took Honey (and Billy) to this weeks puppy meeting at Centennial Sportsplex. Diva, Honey and Honeys brother, Moose, had a great time at the pool and ice rink! Moose is a lot more laid back than Honey and Scotty is now hopeful our next dog will be a male.

Monday, Honey came to meet me at the airport. Sounds better than it actually was . Our flight was a little early and by the time Scotty got Honey out of the car, Michael and I were already out of the airport. She was VERY happy to see me (as was I to see her).

Today was DI group with Billy and six other 4th graders at my home. Talk about a crazy dog. I still have to ask Michael to take care of Honey since Honey gets too excited with all the kids here. The DI group meeting routine is as follows: say hi to Honey, eat snack, work hard and have fun. We must vacuum after the kids leave or else Honey would spend all evening scavenging and she would be too full to eat dinner. Billy volunteered to vacuum as I took Honey out for a quick walk. As I went to sit down for dinner I noticed a white paper on the floor and asked Billy why he did not vacuum the entire carpet. He assured me he did and upon further inspection it was not a piece of paper but one of Honeys molars! I had to soften the poor dogs dinner tonight so she could eat. I think maybe I missed her a little too much!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ever Have One of THOSE Days?

If I were ever to have another one of 'those days', today was going to be it. I had too many things to do and too little time to do it. To top it all off, school was cancelled due to snow again (1 inch). I was managing pretty well until Honey shared her newest trick. I do NOT like this trick. Recently she has been trying to steal trash from the can beside my computer. I could make life easier by moving the trash can but I (foolishly) thought it is good opportunity to practice 'leave it' and 'no'. Of course, in my head I am screaming 'knock it off already!' - but I digress. Today Honey garbage picked a discarded sock with a hole in it. I told her to drop it and she ran off - and kept running. I tried to step on her leash but she was too quick. There was no way I was going to catch her. Honey kept circling from the kitchen to the front hall, to the dining room, to the living room, to the recreation room, to my bedroom and back. For a change, I was thankful the boys were home as we zeroed in and limited her avenues for escape and cornered her in the butler’s pantry. It wasn't 15 minutes later when Honey stole my pajama top and repeated her earlier escapades. This time we wrangled her down in the front hall. Before dinner she stole a shirt I just folded off the couch. We pinned her down in the dining room. As if that was not enough, tonight she stole a dirty sock from the laundry room. Billy helped me capture her in the kitchen. While Honey may think this is a fun game, I am not enjoying it. Not one little bit. And before you start thinking ‘poor Honey’ let me assure you she is not a poor dog without toys. Scotty is on Honey duty this weekend (explanation to follow in Tuesday’s blog). I hope he can put a quick end to this new trick!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bell Ringer

After complaining about Honey not indicating her need to busy another puppy raiser suggested we bell train Honey. In theory, you hang a bell near the door and teach the dog to ring the bell when s/he needs to go out. We have huge sleigh bells we decorate with at Christmas so we thought we would give it a try. At first we would ring the bell and then take Honey out to busy. After a few days Honey was ringing the bell to go outside (not to mention all the angels she was helping get their wings!). I was a little worried that each time Honey heard a bell she would need to busy but my fear was unwarranted. Oddly enough, I am the one responding the bells as follows:
1) hear bell ring
2) immediately stop doing what ever I was doing
3) rush to put on shoes
4) put on coat
5) grab a leash
6) run to door
Sounds great, right? Not really. Honey has taken to sleeping at the back door where the bells are located. Sometimes when getting ready to settle down she accidently rings the bells. I leap into action completing steps 1-6 in record breaking time to find Honey asleep at the door. Honey hears the commotion, sees me standing there with her leash and fully awakens thinking we are going out to play.
One of three things needs to happen soon:
1) relocate the bells so Honey cannot accidently hit them (but that would then require her to jump to ring them so really not a solution)
2) find Honey a new resting spot
3) stop reacting like one of Pavlov's dogs each time I hear a bell ring
With a lot of my fb puppy raiser friends bringing their dogs IFT this past week, it made me think - I hope in the future I do not cry each time I hear a bell ring.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Miss Muddy Mess

Yesterday's rain continued through today which led to a huge muddy mess in the backyard. Before we knew Honey would be coming to live with us for a while, Scotty and I decided the backyard would be our next project. We started by determining if we wanted a deck (Scotty) or a new patio (me). Since we could not come to a decision we decided to clear out the 'landscaping'. (Too) many weekends were spent cutting down bushes, tearing up grass, relocating the the fire pit - brick by brick -, pruning trees, heading to Home Depot and Lowes to look at plants and bricks, purchasing bricks. loading bricks and unloading bricks and building a beautiful little wall to contain the new plants we never got around to buying. While I like the final backyard design the actual backyard is no where near finalized. The grass we tore up has not been replaced and with all this rain our backyard is a muddy playground for an active puppy. Even just taking her out to busy means at least 1 ton of dirt in the house (maybe exaggerated but not by much!). We were told one important thing to do with Honey was to make sure she gets use to having her paws touched. We started as soon as she arrived wiping her paws with a towel each time she came in from the wet yard. Luckily, she does not mind. The rain and the mud create a vicious cycle. As Honey grows so does the size of towel needed at the back door. The more it rains the more towels we go through. The more towels we go through means more laundry to do. The more laundry I have to do means less time to play with Honey. All I can say is the sun better come out soon. I miss taking walks outside with Little Miss Muddy Mess and there are only so many times I can throw a toy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rainy Day Dog

The snow has long since melted. Today brought a cloudy, drizzly, spitting rain kind of day. I was really not motivated to accomplish much but I had some errands to run (translation - more shirts to deliver) which took me and Honey out to one elementary school, one middle school and the dreaded trip to the market. I really believe today was the first day since Honey arrived that we had enough rain to create puddles. Honey, much like my children when younger, wanted to jump in each and every puddle.
Emily @ 1989
Thankfully none of my children tried to drink from a puddle as Honey attempted but her antics today brought back some fond memories of the kids playing in the summer rain, jumping in puddles and the magic of being young. Just another reason I am thankful to be a puppy raiser!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Dog With Many Names

It occurred to me that sometimes I refer to Honey by different names. Some favorites from the past include:

  • You Know Who - as in you are 'You know who wants to go o-u-t' which goes hand in hand with
  • Oh No You Don't - as in 'Oh no you don't look at me with those puppy dog eyes'
  • Apolo - as in Apolo Ohno the skater
  • Artemis - Sister of the Greek God, Apollo. Protector of the Vulnerable and animals. I thought this a little more fitting than Apollo since she is a female.
  • Athena - Greek Goddess of wisdom and achievement. And who said taking Greek Mythology in college would be a waste?
  • Missy - as in 'Get over here, Missy' - it's a southern thing
  • Stop Thief - see previous blog
  • Crazy Dog - as in you are not going to believe what the 'Crazy Dog' did today
  • Devil Dog - as in the wonderfully delicious Drakes Devil Dog snack cakes
  • Wonder Dog - when she breaks free from the tie down or otherwise amuses us with her antics
  • Numerous versions of Sweetie, Love and Good Girl

Her newest nickname is... Pinocchio. Her snout seems to be growing longer by the day! Maybe her face is changing since she is getting her adult teeth? I read a fun science fact a long time ago which stated human ears and noses never stop growing. I hope that is not true for dogs lest Honey's nose enters a room 5 minutes before her body!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tail Chaser

Honey has found her tail - over and over again! At first it was quite amusing to see her run in circles, now it has become painful. Honey will chase her tail at the exclusion of paying attention to anything else - including nearby furniture. On more than one occasion, she has hit her head into the table leg with such force I thought she may have knocked herself out. Thankfully, she has a hard head! She will stop for a nanosecond, shake it off and go right back to chasing her own tail. While I do admit, I like this exercise better than the run around the entire house at highest speed, I hope, for Honey's sake, this one ends soon!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Friday failure. I did not get Honey's pictures off the memory card, onto the shared drive and on the blog on Friday. So this week, instead of Friday Photo, I bring you Saturday Snapshot.

After looking at the pictures I learned a few things not to do next week....
1) Do not take pictures in my bedroom. Especially do not take said picture is my bedroom is a mess.

2) Do not use the flash while photographing a black dog - while her coat looks shiny the rest of her looks not so great.

3) Do not expect a puppy at 4 1/2 months old to stay still for a picture. It took a while to get these and they are not really even worthy of posting.

4) Do not take pictures with the bedpost in the background. It kind of looks like Honey has a wooden pole coming out of her head.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Delivery Dog

Honey came with me to a local elementary school today to deliver a t-shirt I made. You know how people say dogs are 'chick magnets', and that may be true for some, but for me I am pretty certain dogs do not make great t-shirt delivery assistants.
It started with Honey getting out of the car and having to busy - in front of every school bus and car rider. All I could hear is 'ewww' and giggles from every kid within a mile of the school. A quick clean up and we were on our way into the school for delivery - or so I thought. Honey has a special ability. She either
A) Makes children say 'awwww, she's so cute. Can I pet your dog?' or
B) Makes children run away. Fast.
Can I just tell you how challenging it is to require Honey to sit, not bite, hold a bag of Honey poop, answer questions and try to keep a t-shirt clean? It is not just challenging - it is impossible!
After much Honey wrangling, we finally managed to deliver the shirt. I think next time I have Honey as my delivery assistant, I will chose a less child populated drop off.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


A thief came into my home and robbed me. I noticed several days ago I was running low on matching socks. I thought it was odd a thief would only be interested in stealing socks. Well, today I caught the thief in the act. As it turned out, not only did I recognize the four legged thief I also know her name - Honey. When caught eating something inappropriate Honey will stop chewing and pretend she has nothing in her mouth. She tried that with the sock today. I saw Honey sneak over to the bathtub (which conveniently doubles as our laundry hamper), put her paws up on the tub, reach in and grab a sock. Immediately I was on her to drop it. She stopped chewing and looked at me with those ‘I am too cute to be doing anything wrong’ eyes. I could not help but laugh as she looked as if she had a sock goatee. I was too busy laughing and correcting to grab the camera but knowing Honey there will certainly be more opportunities to capture the sock thief in action. Either that, or I will learn to keep my socks off the floor and out of the tub!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No School Again!

Who is going to fall asleep faster tonight, me or Honey? I have been busy trying to work all day, held a quick 2 1/2 hour Destination ImagiNation meeting with half the team of 10 year olds, tried to keep the boys occupied with something other than electronics and tried to wear Honey out by playing in the soon to be gone snow. I figured out Honey has no 'I am exhausted' regulator. She just keeps going. But I do. And my regulator went off about an hour ago. Time for bed!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hot Dog Puppy #4

This is Jenny & I'm back at school now. I know I promised you kind folks that I would get a picture of Honey as a Hot Dog Puppy. (See adorable picture to the left or any of the other Hot Dog Puppy Posts.) Unfortunately, Honey just doesn't seem to have the aesthetic skills necessary to understand my artistic vision and decided that a better use of her time would be to eat the bread I placed so delicately and thoughful upon her head. She also didn't quite grasp the concept of standing on the bread either. Therefore I must admit my failure to complete this project. However, the next time I will be home, Honey will be a lot bigger and more mature, so maybe then she will consent to sit still for a few seconds with a piece of bread on her head & under her paws. Until then, I have made it my mission to find the item in the picture on the right. It's a Hot Dog Dog costume! Perhaps it doesn't showcase my artistic talent and Honey's skill to balance bread and stay still, but I think it is a fair compromise for now. And I mean come on, she's already 1. a puppy 2. a black lab puppy and 3. adorable, so dressing her up as a Hot Dog Dog will only add to her cuteness. If anyone knows where to find the above mentioned item, please contact me immediately.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Dog

Snow overnight + schools closed = lots of fun running and playing in the snow for Honey. The nice thing about snow in Tennessee (v. NJ, my home state) is the lack of blowing, gusting, freezing wind. It was actually nice to be outside in the snow. Honey is definitely a snow loving dog!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Just Your Average Joe

After attempting to make certain Honey's blog was completed each day as part of my 365 challenge (my original challenge was for me to blog each day but I was sick one day so I had Jenny substitute for me and considering how her blog was funnier and all around better I changed my challenge to just making sure someone wrote the blog), I have to admit it - I am Just Your Average Joe. I do not travel to exotic places. I do not fluently speak any foreign languages. I do not own a fleet of expensive cars, have a collection of rare wines or attend parties that require my husband to rent a Tuxedo or require me to wear a formal gown. I do not have my mother's wisdom or the patience of a saint. I am far from perfect. There is nothing really remarkable about me or my life. Honey, on the other hand, is quite remarkable! In just the past few days it seems Honey has matured from a crazy puppy to a less crazy puppy. She is now only trying to scavenge every other blade of grass in the yard, eat every other piece of mulch in the beds and pick up every other stray rock off the horrible Tennessee aggregate patios and sidewalks. She has yet to master 'No jump' or remain in a 'sit' for a greeting but she is listening better. She is distracted less. She understands our commands and follows them more frequently. I am thankful I am Just Your Average Joe, for if I were anything else, I may not have known the joy of being a Puppy Raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Puppy Push-ups?!

Today was puppy meeting day! Becky, our AC, planned the meeting at Costco, a warehouse club similar to Sams Club. A former puppy raising team, Paul and his wife, came to photograph the puppies as Paul's company donated money to SEGD and this was a great opportunity to show the company how the puppies get their exposures and early training. Sadly, Moose and Diva could not make the meeting so it was just Honey! Hopefully, Paul was a better photo journalist than I (it will become apparent from the photos below that I am not a photographer!).

Becky, me, Honey and Jenny waiting for Paul to arrive. Jenny was a little torn between staying with me, watching Billy play with the 3-D tv, following Honey around in Costco and getting on the road back to college (Jenny, we miss you already! And yes, I will try to stunt Honey's growth until you come home again!).

Bad Photo #1 - Forgot to turn on the flash...
Bad Photo #2 - Got the flash on but clearly I do not know how to center subjects in the frame (that is why I became really great at editing photos!)

We wandered around Costco for a while and Honey did very well with Scotty as her handler. While we knew to keep Honey on our left hand side and to walk on the left side of the aisle, we learned today not to move around people. Being sighted, we instintively move into the center of the aisle when we see an obstacle, such as another person approaching, thereby not keeping Honey 'straight'. Today Scotty practice making Honey walk on the left and not veering off the straight path Becky outlined. People moved for Honey instead of us moving Honey. I never really gave much thought as to how difficult it would be for a blind individual and their guide to navigate if they had to keep moving around obstacles. When Honey goes IFT at SEGD she will learn more about obstacle avoidance but for now she has to learn straight.
Bad Photo #3 - Focus in the dog food aisle
We treked down to the dog food aisle. The smell of the dog food was overwhelming but Honey did well not to rip open any bags. Actually, she did not even attempt it! Honey practiced Puppy Push-ups. Scotty had Honey sit, down and then back to sit. He mixed it up with a few sit, stands and several stand, sit, down, sit, stands thrown in for good measure!
Bad Photo #4 - The rawhide section
Honey cannot have rawhides as they are unsafe for her but Becky had Scotty move Honey close to them. Becky explained the smell of the preservatives in the rawhides - that leathery smell - has led some dogs to become 'career changed'. Becky said that some raisers take their puppies in training to the mall to go to Wilsons Leather so the dogs get use to the smell.
Bad Photo #5 - Practicing sit, down, stay while in the rawhide section
Again, Honey did great! I was so proud of Honey and her behavior today! Kind of made me think that Scotty is a better handler than I....
Of course, everyone in Costco wanted to meet Honey!
Bad Photo #6 - Honey is pooped out
Walking around Costco - which was jam packed full of people due to the threat of snow - and the puppy push-up workout led to one pooped puppy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Photo

Our week has been pretty uneventful. Honey is beginning to listen better and she is growing so quickly. She weighed in at 37 pounds this week! Here is her photo from her lazy day today…

Glad she is resting today because tomorrow will be a busy day!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Doggie Distractions

Tonight was a crazy night for both humans and dogs. Scotty is busy putting in our new cook top and there is a whole lot of noise from drills, vacuums and other tools. Luckily, the installation appears to be going well so there is no screaming or hair pulling. Honey is very interested in the hole in the floor and the cold air that is rushing in. More interesting is the air shooting out of the back of the vacuum cleaner. Honey was just sitting there with her nose pointing at the back of the vacuum cleaner trying to eat the air. If I weren't so busy laughing I would correct her. At least she is not biting people. After a few minutes of intense curiosity Honey has now settled into a nice nap half way between me at the kitchen table and Scotty at the stove. Hopefully Honey will one day watch the installation of a new DOUBLE oven and countertops (hint, hint). For today, I am thankful for a new stove, a handy husband and a puppy that is learning to survive in our crazy home.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Doggie Dreams

I am not sure what Honey dreams of at night. I like to believe that she is dreaming of her future partner and how well they are doing together. I know sometimes I dream that dream too! We have heard Honey bark once or twice, growl once or twice and whimper several times (mostly when she is around her brother, Moose). Other than those few occasions, Honey is not a vocal dog while awake...BUT while asleep last night, Honey was very vocal. I heard her whimper, then stop, then whimper again. She made herself more comfortable in her crate and then when back to being silent. She waited until we were asleep for the big dream - the barking dream. At first it was a little bark, enough to make me stir but not quite loud enough to fully awaken me. Then another little bark, followed by several more. Then came the big one. That bark I think shook the entire house and woke half the neighborhood. The curious thing was that Honey remained asleep. A minute or two later, she rolled onto her back and was quiet the rest of the night. It makes me wonder what dogs dream about…

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Marathon Dog

This is Jenny secretly using Mom's account because she had a double root canal today and isn't feeling well so she asked me to blog. Unfortunately there wasn't much going on today for little Honey. Being a runner myself, I have decided, after careful observation of Honey, she will be a perfect running dog. She frequently runs in circles for no apparent reason, which is just the beginning of her track & field career. (Even if the track is techincally an oval, not a circle.) If you give Honey a toy, she will sometimes grab it in her mouth and then run from room to room. Why? It's all part of her training. Hopefully she will start to pick up on her Guide Dog training such as "no bite" and "no jump" as well as she's been doing with her running. She's still nipping a lot.
Good night!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dr. Depressing

I took Honey to the back up vet today. Our vet, Williamson County Animal Hospital, does not offer the canine flu shot since the canine flu has not made it to Tennessee yet. My AC gave me the name of the vet she takes all her SEGD dogs to as her vet does offer the canine flu vaccine. Now I know why I do not go to that practice. The vet I had today was not the same one who gave Honey her first flu vaccine. Instead, today Honey had Dr. Depressing. He said that he did not believe Honey will make it to be a guide dog as she is ‘too unsettled and active’. I pleaded Honey’s case. Our conversation went something like this…
ME: She is just 4 months old!
DR. DEPRESSING: Nope, too hyper.
ME: She is new to this office and there are so many smells and distractions!
DR. DEPRESSING: She should be listening better.
ME: But you just gave her a shot and maybe she is just shaking it off.
DR. DEPRESSING: No, even more reason she will not make it. She should be much calmer after the shot.
ME: But there are dogs just walking around unleashed and Honey is not use to dogs. Until now she has not been able to get around other dogs since she was not up to date on her shots.
DR. DEPRESSING: Doesn’t matter. I hope she makes it but, from where I am standing, it does not look good.
ME: (In my head) YOU ARE CRAZY! I bet those diplomas hanging on the wall came from some internet “you too can be a vet in 7 days for only $3,500” school.
ME: (Aloud) Well, time will tell and hopefully time will prove you wrong.

As the exchange continued Honey settled down in a perfect sit, down and stayed until I gave her the ‘stand’ command. She then attempted to ‘find the door’ moved ahead at the ‘forward’ command and did a perfect ‘sit’ outside the door. I hope Honey was listening and is now up for the challenge to prove Dr. Depressing wrong.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sneak Eat

It has been a pretty quiet week. Scotty took Honey to the big park the other day. It is almost a mile walk there. Honey did great on both the walk there and back. Scotty took some really great pictures of Honey in the park including Honey's newest trick - the sneak eat.
Amy with Honey and the Sweet Gum pod sneak eat

I say sneak eat because Honey’s newest trick is to grab something quickly and pretend she does not have it in her mouth. She will not chew until she has removed herself from our watchful eyes, or so she thinks. A minute or so later Honey will start chewing whatever she has taken. So far that has included – rubber bands, napkins, the stopper to the door stop, paper, tissues, socks and anything else she can find. Now I know it seems as though we live in quite the messy house, but I can explain. The rubber bands were on the floor because as I was trying to place a rubber band on a roll of vinyl I was using, the band snapped and I needed another one. I opened the box to get one and put it on the roll, and in that split second, Honey grabbed a mouthful of rubber bands. I called her to me and she opened her mouth and it looked like she was vomiting worms. The napkin she grabbed as it fell off my plate as I was cleaning dishes. She quickly grabbed it and casually walked to a remote part of the kitchen and then started to chew. Needless to say, she did not get away with that one either! The stopper cap she nabbed was at the door we use to take her out to busy. And the socks…. Well, before I got into bed I tossed my socks on the floor and Honey grabbed them both and ran to the bathroom to visit Scotty. Snagged again. I do admire her intelligence in trying to hide the fact she has something in her mouth by not chewing it right away. Now if I can just encourage her to utilize her intelligence not to eat inappropriate things or master ‘drop it’ we would all be better off, happier and probably heathier too!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Honey through the weeks...

Although I have been keeping up with taking Honey’s pictures, I have not kept up with posting them here. And since we just had a lazy day today without much to report on Honey, here she is through the weeks so far..
Honey 11/05/10

Honey 11/12/10
Honey 11/19/10

Honey 11/26/10

Honey 12/03/10

Honey 12/10/10

Honey 12/17/10

Honey 12/24/10

Honey 12/31/10

Honey has grown so much since she arrived. She has more than doubled her weight, replaced too much of that fluffy puppy fur with wavy adult fur and lost 6 teeth (at last count). We hope the remainder of the time Honey has with us, she will continue to grow and learn the skills she needs to be a successful guide dog.