Thursday, May 28, 2009

News Flash!

News Flash!

Izzo and I were invited to be ambassadors for Helping Paws by promoting their upcoming fundraiser (Saturday the 30th at Purgatory Creek in Eden Prairie from 9 am - 1 pm) on a local TV station (KARE 11) this morning. We were interviewed live by Tim McNiff, the morning news anchor.

We arrived at the studio about 20 minutes before we were to go on and Izzo waited very patiently with me outside the studio while I got the microphone attached and was given directions about where to sit and where to look during the interview.

When we walked into the studio, Izzo was very curious about the lights, the cameras, and everything going on around us. However, once we got seated she made herself at home and sat or lay calmly by my feet. (thank goodness she didn’t start gnawing the chair legs like she sometimes does at home!) I was very proud of her!

Her part of the interview was to look cute, which of course she did with ease. There’s a link on the KARE 11 website with the video footage (about 3 minutes long).

We’ll be at the fundraiser for a short time on Saturday at Purgatory Creek Park in Eden Prairie…. Then it is off to graduation parties! Should be a fun day.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Digs

Izzo has grown so much since the last update… at class last week she had doubled her weight since she came home with us – now at 22 pounds!

Our instructor suggested it might be time to get larger kennels for our puppies since they have grown so much. I hadn’t realized it but she was sure crowded in her puppy kennel… she could barely stand up.

No wonder the first thing she always did when she came out of her kennel was to lay flat on the floor and sss-tttt-rrrr-eee-tttt-cccc-hhhhh herself out on the floor.

The new kennel is a definite improvement! Izzo can now stretch out, sit up, and roll over to her heart’s content in the new one!

I’ll keep using the little one to transport her in the car until I figure out about a seat belt harness or something to hold her securely in the back seat.

The other highlight in Izzo’s life is having Jake and Miles moved home from college for the summer. I was kind of hoping that Miles knowledge and good manners would set the stage for Izzo to just start mimicking. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way… Izzo has to learn by repetition, repetition, repetition. It has given me new appreciation for Miles and how way smart he is and how good he is!

The other fun thing Izzo got to do last week was attend a “puppy party.” It was fundraiser for Helping Paws and 5 of Izzo’s litter mates were there, plus a bunch of the younger puppies from the Faith litter. There is nothing more fun to watch then a pen full of puppies frolicking around and having a good time. Very entertaining for the people and very fun for the dogs.

The puppies see each other in class every week but they normally get right to their homework and assignments… not usually time to play. So this was a treat.

Izzo’s litter mates are named:


At the party were Angel, Benny, Hudson, Boston and Nala. It is fun to see them outside of class where you could get to see their unique personalities. Some of Izzo’s littermates have blogs… I intend to post links to them soon!

(I've decided to end all my posts with sign-off Cheers (like the Brits do...) in honor of Izzo's mum named Cheers).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Getting Out AND Getting Outside

(Picture of Izzo after a wet morning outside)

One of the pleasantries of fostering a service dog is being assigned homework that requires us to “get out.” We are to socialize! Wooohooo – an excuse to go visiting and check places out. Having a cute puppy wearing a service dog vest is like having a magnet at the end of the leash…. People look. People stare. People approach us. Izzo attracts all kinds of attention from all ages of people.

I guess I knew it would be like this. I’ve seen Jake and Miles graciously deal with lots of attention these past couple of years. But it was always Jake and Miles who had to “deal” with it. Now it is Izzo and I.

I really do enjoy telling people how much a service dog can change someone’s life because I have seen it! I love educating questioners about what the dogs do for people with disabilities and explaining that I am getting trained on how to train Izzo at the same time as the dog is getting trained.

(I just don’t like being out in public for too long because you can really only explain, “It’s not a muzzle, it’s a gentle leader. We use it because it gives greater control of the direction of the dogs head versus the control a collar around her neck gives,” so many times before you start to go a little batty… )

Getting out – it really is fun. Izzo loves meeting people and I love showing off her newly learned social skills. Since we’ve brought Izzo home, I’ve also learned that, yes, there can be an upside to housebreaking a puppy if you just look for it.

As much as it has been a pain in the butt to take the dog out all hours of the day and night, (only to have her come inside and pee on the floor) there is a positive. I have been outside my house at more different times of the day and night than I have in a long time. I am hearing and seeing things that I never would have, but for housebreaking Izzo.

As a result of taking Izzo out to “go” I’ve been blessed to see brilliant stars and a thumbnail moon set in a pitch black sky in the middle of the night, while simultaneously being serenaded by the intermittent squeak of an old rusty windmill turning in the breeze at the neighbors house a half mile down the road.

As a result of taking Izzo out to “go” I’ve heard pheasant roosters cackling, turkeys gobbling, coyotes yipping, wood ducks flapping in our maple trees and Canadian geese honking. Sitting at the table waiting for my morning coffee to kick in, has been replaced by stepping out into the cool crisp fresh spring air and hearing a multitude of birds singing a joyous morning greeting.

As a result of taking Izzo out I’ve stood in the sloppy wet snow storms of late March and the drizzles of an April shower. I have a renewed appreciation for the warmth of the fireplace upon our return inside.

Thanks to Izzo – I’ve been getting out AND getting outside.

(video is our yard in the morning with wood ducks)