Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Posts over at the New Blog

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Friday, May 6, 2011

We're Moving!!

The blog is moving to a new home at Please update your links and bookmarks, and be sure to Follow us.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1st - A Day with Many Meanings

When I woke up this morning I thought to myself, "Yay! It's May!" Then I started thinking about the significance of May Day, May 1st.

Back in high school I learned that May Day is also known as the International Workers Day, or Labor Day, in many countries. It is a day to commemorate the fight for the 8 hour work day. According to Wikipedia, "The idea for a "workers' holiday" began in Australia in 1856; after a stonemason's victory in securing improved employee rights, April 22nd was declared "Eight-Hour Day", a public holiday. With the idea having spread around the world, the choice of May 1st became a commemoration by the socialist Second International for the people involved in the 1886 Haymarket affair." Living in a city that has demonstrations for just about anything you can name, we almost always have one for May Day. I'm sure it'll be on the news tonight.

I like to think of the more colorful and festive ways to celebrate May Day - dancing around the May Pole and crowning the Queen of May. We don't see that happening too often, but back when I first started teaching, I worked at a small, private school that celebrated this. All of the girls wore beautiful white dresses and the girls from the lower grades danced and wove streamers around the May Pole. The girls from the upper grades participated in the crowning of the Queen of May. Parents were invited and there were flowers galore.

In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day - a day set aside to celebrate the culture and music of Hawaii.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the sun is shining, and it's supposed to get above 70 deg for the first time since last summer. I think we'll celebrate by getting out for a walk, working in the garden, and breaking out the new barbecue grill.

How will you celebrate?

It's also Pet Blog Hop weekend.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Aloha Friday

Thanks to An Island Life for hosting a Friday blog hop. It's Friday and it's Peeps Show day here at work, so we'll keep this short.

What's your favorite thing to do with Peeps?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Becoming a Delta Society Pet Partners Team

Kendall and I have been a registered Pet Partners team for just over a year now. I don't blog about our volunteer time as a Pet Partners team very much, because it just seems too personal sometimes. Every time we visit, whether it's at a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or at the Read to the Dogs program at the local library, I'm amazed at the response of every person we encounter. People's eyes light up and their faces break into great big smiles at the sight of Kendall coming down the hall proudly wearing her green Delta Society vest. Some of you have asked that I blog about how Kendall and I came to be a Pet Partners team and what goes in to getting registered with the Delta Society.

From the time we picked out Kendall chose us at the breeders I knew that she had a temperament that would lend itself nicely to working with people. She's a happy dog who hasn't met a person she doesn't like. In a gathering of people and dogs, it's the people she'll seek out rather than play with the other dogs. She thinks that every person we meet is going to shower her with attention. We worked hard to socialize her in lots of different environments around lots of different people so that she would not be bothered by things like elevators or men with hats. I once read that your dog should meet 100 different people before they're 100 days old. That can be difficult when you're working with a puppy who really shouldn't be out until the full run of puppy shots are finished, but we were creative. We had people of all ages, including young kids, come over to visit.

The day she chose us

We also spent a lot of time working with her on obedience basics. We went to puppy preschool and worked with her just about every day. She has sit-stay down pat. We're fortunate to have a place where we could take her for supervised small dog play hour. I'm not a big fan of dog parks where you never know what kind of dog (or owner) you're going to encounter.

Kendall and Riley, her brother

There are two things your dog has to have in order to make a good Pet Partners dog - the right temperament and the ability to follow your commands. Your dog has to be under control at all times.

Once Kendall was over 1 year old, I started looking for a program to help move us along the path to allow us to visit in hospitals and nursing homes. I found the AAI program through the Oregon Humane Society. They are an affiliate of the Delta Society. I signed up for their day-long training course and ordered the necessary manual. You have an option of taking the class over the course of a few weeks, taking it in one looooooong day, or taking it as a home-study course if no courses are offered in your area. After we completed the course there was still a lot of work to do.

Every Pet Partners team hopeful needs to go through an extensive evaluation where they evaluate the human and the canine ends of the leash. There's a skills test and an aptitude test. There are even volunteer actors who play the role of clumsy people or people in wheelchairs to see how you and your dog will react. There's no room for error and a kiss from Kendall disqualified us the first time we tested. We were offered the opportunity to retest two months later, so we worked really hard on our skills. We went to the local mall countless times to meet and greet as many people as we could so that we could work on meeting new people without having her jump up on them. I'd like to say that Kendall is good at not jumping 100% of the time, but I'd be lying. I'm just very careful in how I handle her when presented with that situation. We passed the evaluation with no problem the second time around.

Ready to volunteer

The work doesn't stop there, though. I'll blog later about what it takes to get ready for a visit, what happens during our visits, and all of the other wonderful things that go on when volunteering as a Pet Partners team. If you're interested in becoming a team with your dog, you can find out more information on the Delta Society web page.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Before...and After

It's been 8 weeks since Kendall's been to the groomer because our vacation fell during the week of her regularly scheduled visit. She was looking a little bit ragged around the edges even though she's had a number of baths during those eight weeks. Here are her "Before" pictures. The sun was in her eyes, hence the squinting.

Long ears, curly head, and hairy feet

Just look at those curls
And here are her "After" pictures. Of course, she came in the front door and immediately got a drink so her ears are wet. Then, she ran out the back door and around through the bark dust just to add a little dirt to her too clean coat.

Pink bows for the the not-so-girly girl

A little shorter all over

We try to keep her trimmed fairly short so she doesn't pick up all kinds of dirt when we go camping. Do you trim your Cavaliers?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things We Love to Blog About

I learned of this great tool from Charlie the Cavalier's blog. Isn't this fun? What are you blogging about?