Monday Madness

Vacations are a funny thing. Somehow being on one, even if you aren’t going anywhere, puts you into some limbo of time wherein you can never quite figure out what the day of the week is. Even if you are vividly aware of the date because, for instance, your birthday is three days away.

Yancy shoving her head between the legs of a lawn chair Nerys is under, as Yara looks onBut moving on, the big event for today was heading off to the mall in Manchester to get my glasses fixed and meet up with Megan, the instructor who placed Yara with me. Beforehand, though, we’d had the puppies and Yara play for a bit. At one point Nerys and Yara were tugging on a chew toy and it was just too adorable for words. See for yourself:

I’m always very impressed with how well Yara plays with puppies and/or smaller dogs. Even though she’s fully capable of roughhousing and giving a real tug of war, she tones it down for the puppies and mostly just stands there and lets the smaller dog tire herself out. It just cracks me up.

Yara and Nerys in a tug-of-warWe met up with Megan at the mall later in the afternoon. It was very awesome to see her and catch up. Not surprisingly, we talked quite a bit about puppy raising and dog training. At some point we wandered over to Dairy Queen and got some Oreo sundae things. They were huge and I barely touched mine it seemed. The dogs were both very good. Yara spent most of the time people watching and Yancy just slept. Before we knew it, though, FOUR HOURS had gone by and we’d been completely oblivious to it. Megan left to feed her dogs soon after and Raechel and I rushed Yara and Yancy outside to relieve and then finally went to LensCrafters to get my glasses fixed. We ended up waiting a long time for someone to be free, but she did the adjustments and replaced my nose-pieces for free so yay for that. Then we grabbed some food quickly at the food court and raced home to give both girls their very late dinners.

Considering my day consisted of hanging out at the house and chatting at a mall, I’m ridiculously tired. But feel free to check out the growing number of photos we’ve taken. More tomorrow!

Tea Time!

Yara curled up inside Otis's small crate with Otis and Scarlet off to the sideTo the left is a most interesting photo that I took this morning. For no reason I can really determine — other than blatantly disregarding me telling her “no” — Yara crammed herself into the very small crate belonging to Raechel’s pug, Otis. Honestly I can’t believe she could fit herself in there, let alone manage to turn around. But she did. Initially she was going after his water bowl, which I’m sure was empty since Dasha generally cleans out any leftover water from Scarlet’s and Otis’s bowls. I was telling her to stop since Otis was right there and has a tendency to go berserk for, well, no reason we can discern other than a personal whim. Oh, and for the record, Scarlet and Otis aren’t looking so much at Yara as they are at James (out of the shot) who is preparing doggie breakfasts. Anyhow, it was pretty funny.

So, after everyone was sufficiently breakfasted, we had the puppies and Yara play in the kitchen. Nerys ended up getting some major enjoyment with a flipped over dog bowl and I don’t even have words for how ludicrously cute it was. Here’s a video:

Later, Raechel, James, Deb (Raechel’s mom) and I had brunch at Mrs. Bridge’ Pantry, which is an English-style tea room. It was FANTASTIC! I had some jasmine tea with tomato and cheese tea sandwiches and a blueberry scone; it was all very delicious. Yancy and Yara were both very good and stayed under our chairs with absolutely zero fuss. They actually caught the attention of two girls from another table, which started a lengthy conversation about guide dogs in general. Raechel and I also checked out the two little stores on the property and found a bunch of vintage candies at the one. Not surprisingly, Yara didn’t give a fig about the candies, even though most were right at her level. Have I mentioned lately how much I heart having a guide that isn’t obsessed with food?1

James with Nerys held up on his shouldersBack at the house we had the puppies and Yara play outside in the pen. And then again in the kitchen, this time joined by Dasha. She and Yancy were playing for a bit while Yara sat near me and just watched. Then she ran up to Yancy and just clubbed her with a front paw. It was pretty funny. I said later that I think maybe she was telling Yancy to respect her elders! Either way, I’ve noticed that she’s letting Yancy and Nerys play more and just sits and watches for a bit before she interrupts and separates them to play with one or the other. Her supervisor ways just amuse me to no end.

That’s about it for today. Very fun times, but now it is time for bed! More pictures are here on this gallery page.

  1. Well, aside for her temperamental approach to eating her food.

Walking for Fidelco

Ellen and James with Otis in his backpack carrier letting Spock say helloOur intention this morning was to get an early start to the day so as to arrive at the Walk for Fidelco in time for the Fosters’ Demo so that Raechel and Yancy could participate. The plan was to get to Manchester Community Collge at 9:00 a.m., so of course we didn’t get out the door until ten minutes after that. I find this laughable given that James and I got up half an hour before we’d said we would to accomplish this “getting to the Walk early” thing. Oh, well. Best laid plans and all.

We packed ourselves into the Prius with Yara, Yancy and Otis. At MCC, we met up with Patty and Tom at the registration table where I picked up my Walk stuff. Since we didn’t have much time before the Fosters’ Demo, we decided to walk the route afterwards and instead kind of wandered around a bit. Raechel and James met up with Ellen and Spock quite by accident while browsing around some of the tables and booths.

Raechel heeling Yancy during the fosters' demenstrationThen Raechel and Yancy went off to join the queue of fosters for the demonstration. I actually hadn’t seen the demo the last two times for various reasons, so I was glad when Patty found us a spot very close to the front for us to stand and watch. As it turns out, this year there was a huge number of fosters participating and they had to double up the circle to walk around the ring. The fosters went through basic stuff they do in puppy class: heeling, sits, downs, body handling, etc. Then, Sue had them switch puppies, which I’m sure is nerve-wracking enough with a small puppy class. But it seemed to go rather well. She also had a bunch of the fosters do some recalls and all of those went surprisingly well. (Ok, so the last person kind of tackled her dog who was veering off to someone else for whatever reason.) It was pretty neat to watch. :)

Afterward, we were going to watch the Trainers’ Demo, but got sidetracked a bit when Raechel and James came upon another foster puppy they’d raised, Neelix. He’s retired from guide work now, but Fidelco has been using him for demonstrations and stuff. And his new family said they’ll be getting him certified as a therapy dog. I have to say he’s nothing like the puppy I’d heard of; first he’s HUGE and second he was so very calm. It was good to hear Fidelco found him such a good home. So, after that we decided to walk through the route. Since it was so late into the walkathon we were basically alone through the route, which was actually quite pleasant. I think I got a bit sunburned on my forehead, though. But what can you do? For lunch we ended up getting takeout from a little pizzeria and brought it back to MCC to eat. We sat at some tables outside since we had Otis with us. It was quite yummy.

Yara leaping over Yancy who is on her back while Nerys chases themBack at the house we gave all the doggies their lunches and then took Dasha, Nerys, Yancy and Yara out in the pen to play. For the most part the four of them seemed to be under the impression that we’d taken them out there to graze, but eventually they all started to run around and be crazy. Poor Nerys kept being left out while the bigger girls chased each other, but she didn’t seem to mind and took every opportunity available to bite either of the other dogs in close proximity. In the case of Yancy, who often throws herself onto the ground while playing, she got chewed on quite a bit!

A very fun day and I’m so glad that the original forecast from earlier this week that it would rain was very much not true. I’m off to Sleepsville and so I leave you with many a photo to peruse.

Graduate Banquet

Meant to post last night to at least say that we had indeed arrived safe and sound, but instead I decided that sleep was more preferable. Which is not to say that I’m not bone-tired at this precise moment, but I’m hoping to alleviate the super huge post-vacation write-up post (or posts, as the case was last year).

Nerys lying on the kitchen floorAnyway, yesterday Yara and I headed off to Connecticut via the Springfield, M.A. train — as we did last December — since it cuts my travel down by more than half. It was, thankfully, a very uneventful ride. I sat across from some very adorable Latino children who melted my heart with the fact they were playing with DCAU Batman toys. I spent most of the trip watching Star Trek and then ended up falling asleep, while Yara watched the little kids intently the entire trip. Had the most friendly help at both stations, which was very surprising and quite a welcome change from most every other train experience I’ve had. I even got a tram ride to the station from the train at the Springfield station. Raechel and James met us at the station, along with Yancy. Both of the dogs were quite excited to see each other.

We headed off to Red Robin for dinner. Other than the crowd of smokers congregated outside the entrance, it was a very pleasant meal. Neither of the dogs seemed bothered by the other and we didn’t have any trouble with them. Well, unless you count Yancy’s habit of taking up ALL the room possible under the rather large booth. But Yara just squished herself into the remaining space and commenced with some more people-watching.

Yara, Yancy and Nerys playing in the kitchen; Nerys is backed into a corner with her paw raised upAfter we’d filled our bellies, we set off for the house. Initially, we had intended to have the puppies and Yara play, but since Yara had to have her dinner and it was so late, we just blocked off part of the kitchen and had the puppies playing by themselves while Yara halfheartedly ate her food. Nerys and Yancy are quite a sight to behold when they are playing; they really go at one another and they are LOUD! Yancy is really good with the little puppy, though, and she’ll lay down and just let Nerys crawl all over her and bite her.

Once the puppies had exhausted themselves a bit and we’d done the “take out all the doggies” routine, it was off to bed.

Today was pretty laid back. I woke up about the same time as James, who was doing the morning “take out all the doggies” routine. We fed all the dogs and Yara actually shocked me by eating all but a small mouthful of her food.1 This is even more intriguing given that I started the food transition this morning and mixed in about 1/4 of the Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Chicken Meal into her EVO kibble. Right now it’s too early to tell how she’s doing, but at least she’s not adverse to eating the new food. At least not as yet.

So, anyway, James went off to work and after Raechel and I had done our morning bathroom things and had our breakfasts we let the Yara, Yancy and Nerys play in the kitchen. Here’s a video:

Nerys was almost painfully adorable to watch during this playtime. She’s used to Yancy taking every toy she gets so to get the girls to play with her she’d go off and get a toy and drop it at one of the others’ feet or just hop up and down in place (“Play with me! Play with me! Play with me!”), but Yara and Yancy would mostly just ignore her in favor of playing with each other.

Yancy and Yara in front of the husky statue on the UConn campusWhen playtime was over we did some pedicures on Yara, Yancy and Nerys. I was very shocked that Yara was so very good about having her nails done and even Yancy was totally fine with it. Nerys didn’t seem to care much either, since I was distracting her with string cheese. She did end up biting the heck out of my thumb, though.

Later, we met James at UConn for lunch with both Yara and Yancy. We sat inside with some of James’s colleagues and had a particularly nice chat with one who has adopted several rescue dogs. Then, we headed over to the Husky statue to take yet another round of photos by it of the girls. After, we went back to the house to hang out for a bit before the Fidelco Graduate Banquet and, you know, “take out all the doggies” and the etcetera.

Raechel and James with Spock at the Graduate BanquetAt the dinner we were meeting up with both Patty and Tom, Yara’s fosters, and Ellen, Spock‘s new handler. We all sat at the same table, along with Ellen’s retired guide dog, Xoni, and her fosters Gail and Scott. Gail works in the kennel at Fidelco and is actually the person who orders Yara’s EPI enzymes. Both she and Des were very pleased with how well Yara’s looking. It was actually kind of funny, though, because Des also commented that Yara’s nails needed trimming since Raechel had just cut them that very morning. Oh, well.

The Banquet was pretty much like every other year. Ellen went up and got her certificate for “graduating” with Spock last June and there was a raffle for a bunch of different things. One person won a HUGE dog bed and all I could think was I hope they aren’t traveling far because that would be a pain to cart on the train along with a dog and luggage. The food was okay, but I wasn’t really hungry. I was pleased that dessert wasn’t cheesecake yet again, but birthday cake in honor of Fidelco’s 50th anniversary. All in all, it wasn’t a bad night and it was pretty cool to see Spock again. I know Raechel and James were very excited about that!

For now, though, it’s time for bed. By the way, photos will be sporadically uploaded to this gallery page for those of you interested. There’s already quite a few on there.

  1. If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you’re well aware of her refusal to eat at times. But whenever we’re away from home this “issue” becomes an absolute battle at times.

The CRIDDERS

This past weekend Yara and I went to visit Raechel and James and, among other things, saw The CRIDDERS holiday show. Read on for all the fun details and visit this gallery page to check out all the photos.

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