Aug 27, 2010

Puppies, Attention!

Aug 27

I don’t know if I could ever be as proud of Joey as I was this morning. I took him out to watch the Honor Escort for Marine Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J.A. Schultz, who was killed in Afghanistan. He was flown into MacDill AFB and came thru Brandon on the way to Riverview. Joey sat next to me on the side of the road as the procession approached. He looked extra sharp in his blue coat. As the police cars approached, he focused his eyes on them and didn’t move a muscle. Then, just as the hearse got to us, he stood up. He stood there not moving, watching the hearse, the Patriot Riders, and the rest of the motorcade pass by. As the last police car was passing, he sat down again.
Joey had stood at attention to honor a fallen American! How could he not? His sponsor is a combat wounded Marine and a guide dog user. I am retired US Air Force. Joey somehow understands the way we feel and he paid his respects appropriately.
Now, most people would say he probably was just fascinated by the flashing lights and flapping flags, but I know better.

Aug 4, 2010

Take Off--- To the Great White North!

Aug 4
Joey’s trip to Canada started out with some fun. He was a true professional in the airport until we went thru security. There was a very long line, but we were ushered around to the front. They had the new body scanner working and it was really slowing things down. We were taken to the old standard metal detector. We were asked to remove Joey’s leash and have him go thru by himself. So, Cindy went thru first and then called Joey thru. Joey stopped halfway to check out the detector. BEEEEEP. Joey comes back to me to try again. Cindy calls him and I hold onto him until he is really anxious to get to her. I let go and he goes straight thru without stopping, tail wagging like crazy. Tail touches the detector and----BEEEEEP. The security guard started to have us send him thru again, but the supervisor came around from the x-ray station and said he would pat him down. We think he just wanted to play with Joey cause the “pat down” was more playful rubbing then anything else. We finally got thru and were putting our shoes on when we met a  friend of somebody else in our puppy raiser group who was flying out on a different flight. She had watched the security fun and had to come over to talk to us.

We flew into Atlanta and one of the wonderful Air-Tran supervisors escorted Joey and Dave out onto the ramp to a grassy area to let him “busy”. While boarding the connecting flight, a lady saw our SEGD Puppy Raiser shirts and was telling us how she has been a supporter of SEGD for years. We were already seated and Joey was under the seat, so she couldn’t really see him, but she made sure to find us at baggage claim after the flight so she could meet him. Joey was very good on the planes, just laying on the floor sleeping the whole way. Well, we thought he was sleeping. He was head first under the seat with his butt sticking out by our feet. Suddenly the lady in the seat ahead jumped and let out a little scream. Somebody was licking her ankle. Luckily, she was a good sport and thought it was very amusing.
We arrived in Buffalo, picked up our rental car and headed for the border. Crossing was as quick and easy as it should be, we just showed Joey’s rabies certificate along with our passports and we were thru with no problem.
While in Canada, we stayed in a little cabin on the shore of a picturesque lake and enjoyed the wonderful cool weather. Picture postcard type of wonderful. Joey experienced a few new things like a floating dock, (which didn’t faze him in the least), and the lake itself.

He enjoyed walking around on the rocks at the lakes edge, occasionally slipping in and getting a little wet. We also had him at a friend’s pool while the kids were playing in it. He kept running around the edge trying to play with them when the inevitable happened. It was an honest to goodness slip on the wet surface and the kids were quick to steer him toward the steps so he could get out on his own. So, we got a few new checkmarks on the exposure list.

On the plane coming home, we didn’t want a repeat of the ankle licking incident, so I tried to keep his rear under the seat, with his head (and tongue) out where I could keep an eye on it. Suddenly the people in front of us were laughing and trying to look under their seats and around behind them. That is when we learned that Joey’s tail is a lot longer than his tongue. Everywhere we went, people were very interested in Joey and the whole puppy-raiser idea. He made a lot of friends and made a lot of people smile.