The five service pups I've raised...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grown Ups can enjoy Disneyland too!

April 16 revisited -- A Day at Disneyland

We decided to visit Disneyland prior to getting new puppy Francie. So April 16, the week after Easter, Dad, Lyn and I ventured up to Anaheim. Well spring break crowds were still in place but time after time, we'd get quite lucky and as we walked up to a ride there would be hardly no wait. And as we'd leave, the crowds would just appear and the line would instantly grow and we'd think wow, did we get lucky! But this happened throughout the day, as though someome was looking out for us.

We 'fast passed' a few rides and got to go twice, the second time with no wait -woo hoo. We decided the front car on Space Mountain is a must! The Indiana Jones ride was silly fun with it's jeep ride just like 4-wheeling the bumpy lava fields on the Big Island getting to the remote beaches! The Haunted Castle - as creepy as ever. Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean have been improved and were really neat to re-enjoy. My favorite was Thunder Mountain - the old fashioned rickety roller coaster. While I also was ribbed for it, I really wanted to ride Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, that's Lyn and I in our car. Dad was in the car behind us trying to take the photo without turning off the camera by mistake.

A few things I had never done was RailRoad Disney around the entire park- I learned that if they have the staff available you can ride Lillybelle the caboose car that Walt had designed and created for his wife; it's filled with antiques and a cast member rides with your party. I'll do that on another visit as that quite intrigues me.
AND we even rode the monorail -- man that is smooth. In a perfect world THAT is how we should commute to work. And I did not know, but found out that the "engine" actually takes up to 5 passengers so we did do that, riding right in the "nose" car, up front where we could see everything the conductor sees.

And since we're all on a budget we packed our lunch and then splurged only on ice cream and hot pretzels -shaped just like Mickey!

Ah, such a fun day. The happiest place on earth. And to think, it all started with a mouse. Here's to you Walt! Thanks for your dream.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flowers of Color...

I just love a garden in bloom and mine is now smiling and greeting the world...I have many seedlings peeking up and a few bulbs that should bloom in the next month. I like nature's reminder of abundance and re-growth! Our nation needs these reminders these days.
Here are a few shots from my little yard. The bunny was an Easter decoration by the front door and is now put away until next year, of course. The lovely beaded crystal mobile I bought in March at the little gift shop at Mom's retirement community in Surprise, AZ. I enjoy gazing out my kitchen window to see the morning sun dancing with it.

TV Junkie?

Francie has discovered television. Or what she knows as the box with fast moving objects.
Her favorites seems to be the CBS channel as they have the ball logo that their shows actors throw out toward the camera.
Oh and she loves car commercials as the cars drive across the screen which is highly interesting to her.

I finally got her to fall asleep on my lap this morning as I watched CBS Sunday Morning. She is usually too squirmy and interested in things to cuddle in while holding her in the house. But the air was cool so I had a fire in the fireplace with my morning coffee. And after her big breakfast and her full day yesterday she still seemed really tired. So we cuddled and she fell asleep across my chest with her little blonde just head below my shoulder.

Ah a perfect start to a Sunday morning...and the sun's warming things up so it should be a pleasant day after all with the morning chill burning off.
Well I best get the big girl Kerry out for her morning walk, while Francie is still down for the count.

Puppy Play Time/ Francie & Friends

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Puppy America walks toward my camera while Francie plays with a newly found toy.

Gathered in our sharing circle.

Pool time makes for fun puppy time!

Francie is worn out from her exciting first time at puppy social.
What fun today, meeting up with volunteer puppy raisers and graduates too, with their CCI dogs.
We had circle time to share our experiences and our challenges; and we provided each other ideas and suggestions.

Such a gorgeous location too for play time: overlooking a stunning lagoon in Carlsbad. The vast yard provided loads of space for fast running dogs and even a pool for the water lovers.

It was a grand day to play in the sun. Here are some shots of Francie and her friends and perhaps a video or two as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Change of the Hound Ceremony (Navy Style!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009
What a fun day at the DDDC (Defense Distribution Depot San Diego, California )where my friend and fellow puppy-raiser Jim, works. {see this link on the DDDC, if interested -interesting Naval history: }

Since Jim is turning-in Napal back to Canine Companions for Advance Training, and he now has little Tatiana as his 4th CCI service pup in training, they had a “passing of the torch” so to speak.
As a civilian employee Jim oversees logistics for the U.S. Navy and in true Naval style they had a “Changing of the Hound” modeled completely after the Navy’s Change of Command.

Change of Command is a brief formal ceremony whereby one
Commanding officer steps down and another assumes command of a particular ship or station. In this situation the order was read to “relieve Napal II of his dog duties at DDDC and to report to CCI in Oceanside, CA on May 16, 2009. Whereby Tatiana II is now installed as the new hound in command”. Even the Captain, in full uniform read Napal’s “orders” and Napal’s resume from his experience as chief hound at DDDC. It was all very regal and Jim did a neat job modeling the ceremony in every detail. Napal even picked up the flag draped bone to pass to Tatiana ceremoniously.

I briefly spoke about CCI and the significant contribution facilities/employers such as the DDDC play by permitting pups in training to be on premises, to learn how to behave in public.

It was a neat ceremony and celebration and even Terrence’s Breeder/Caretakers Gayle and Greg came down, all the way from Napa! And they brought K9 Terrence (Napal and Tatiana’s dad). Also, Jim’s first CCI pup Gigi (gorgeous golden) came with her new dad. And several of us puppy raisers were there to lend support with our pups in training. We had a yummy lunch with franks and beans and the dogs then had a good chase and romp around the large room.

See the photos and video clip here.

The blonde dog here is a puppy that knows and obviously LOVES Jim and then his Gigi too comes up to love him. The second video is Francie ripping it up with breeder male; Terrence.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Francie Fantastic

Are you a Francie Fan?

You may just be after you see this new service puppy that Lyn and I will be raising for Canine Companions for Independence for the next 16 months. She is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E as only a golden retriever/black lab pup could be! Hard to fathom that something so tiny and uncoordinated will grow into a well-mannered companion, helping someone live a life more fully.

There are also some photos of her sister Fay whom she travelled with, down from CCI National located in Santa Rosa, CA. Fay's puppy raiser parents are in Murrietta so the sisters will get to see each other from time to time.

Here's Kerry, my release COC (change of career) girl with her new little sister.

Lyn kept Francie for her first night and will keep her through Tuesday. I will then take over for the following four days. We'll alternate and also swap around as our calendars require. Francie will benefit from exposure to two home environment and twice the love!

Francie is generally quiet and settles right down in her crate for nap times. She pretty much eats all her kibble leaving just a few nuggets at each meal.

She LOVES her two big sisters (my Kerry III, age 7) and her "sis" Aunt Ronie (age 3.5) at Lyn's home. Franice's favorite toy is a squeaky stuffed green bone that has fuzzy on one end. She also adores a long purple snake! She just loves to "attack" these. She is favoring carrying her leash and we will naturally discourage this. But what a face! I just adore her and am so happy to again be raising another pup for CCI. It will be a fun journey and Lyn and I will enjoy sharing it.
Here is a darling video of Francie playing in her CCI playpen after arriving in Oceanside at the SW regional campus. Welcome little Francie, we love you already and know your "Francie Fans" will grow in number as people fall for you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Remember- Life's a Dance and Matt proves it!

How can you NOT smile at this?

With over 20,000,000 hits on YouTube, maybe I was the only one that had NOT seen this.
But in case you haven't, take a look!

I borrowed it from a new blog I follow and I agree with that author's comment: "I want HIS job!"

Enjoy: like no one's watching...
By the way, his outtakes on YouTube can be just as fun as there are funny comments as to why the take did not make it IN to the video.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! - Easter Sunday

The morning started sunny and my alarm went off with a beautiful trumpet and chorus singing. I attended the contemporary service and was delighted by a high school senior that played his trumpet with the praise band. I just love a trumpet in church! Pastor Jack made the Easter message so fresh and captivating; tying Christ's resurrection to our personal salvation through His grace. Any sermon that starts with Neil Diamond's lyrics from Brother Loves Traveling Salvation Show, ya know is going to be worth hearing.

Dad and Ever came over today after church (he went to traditional service) and we spent a wonderful Easter together. Dad brought a stunning 2001 St Francis Merlot and he sauteed some shrimps as an appetizer.

But I had the rest. It was fun to do the meal, as many Easters past, Dad has done the ham dinner.
My menu was roasted Cornish game hens with stuffing, wild rice, steamed broccoli and Caesar salad. I made a pineapple upside down cake for desert and we had it on the patio with freshly brewed coffee.

I did Internet research to learn all sorts of methods to enhance the flavor of the hens. I learned about brining, which I had never heard of…and gave the birds a kosher salt bath with bay leaves and poultry seasoning. I used a balsamic glaze that ended up producing gorgeous, golden, flavorful hens. I turned them once starting breast down, and then the last 10 minutes I cranked up the heat to 450 and Wa La! A yummy meal. The weather was sunny and lovely.

Saturday April 11 – Woofstock- Peace, Love and Dogs!

Woofstock, the Dog Festival to benefit Canine Companions for Independence was a great success. I was worried when a highly unusual thunder (yes, thunder!) storm came through Encinitas Friday night. However, by Saturday morning it had blown on through and other than being breezy and overcast, it was a great day.

I did the walk with Kerry around Balboa Park. We stopped for photos in front of lovely flowers in bloom and chatted with friends as we saw them on our route. So, we missed the announcement that I came in third place for the fundraising! How exciting. I had gotten a late start in fundraising and only sent out my plea for sponsorship April 2. The deadline for the contest was April 3rd! (Somehow April just snuck up on me). But what makes America great is her giving heart and I saw this as many friends and family pledged what they could and as of today my total has beat what I raised for last years' Woofstock, with over $1200 raised. How generous, these contributioins from people with giving hearts- donating to this special cause so dear to me.

Kerry was entered in the costume contest. wearing her dreadlocks, tie-dyed headscarf and John Lennon glasses; a peace necklace and a tambourine. She tied for 3rd place as there were many with groovy outfits (dogs AND people!) see photos for evidence :L)

There was a Search & Rescue dog demo that was quite interesting. I most enjoyed the impressive disc dogs; flying through the air to catch Frisbees and even vaulting off their person’s back to catch the discs mid-air! I captured a few video clips that I will try to post as well. Kerry was so eager to join the fun and I saw a side that I had not seen in her for sometime. She barked and whined and pulled on her leash so eager to join the fun.

I also enjoyed meeting Baxter, a 19 year old therapy dog that visits hospices. He has a teddy bear face and is such a dear! See his link here:

Friday, April 10, 2009

We're Ready for our Close-ups!

Such an interesting morning. Since I'm not working yet I thought here's a chance I can be involved to help promote Woofstock for Canine Companions. I woke at 5:30a.m., convince Kerry it's worth here getting up early (breakfast! - so she trots downstairs with me.) I get down to San Diego's FoxNews station by 6:45. We hook up out front with the rest of the gang gathered and their sweet dogs. We meet some wonderful new people and then wait for our turn, when the anchor girl will come back outside to interview Katie and do a live piece to promote Woofstock- tomorrow's Festival for Dogs & People in Balboa Park.

I put Kerry's costume on her, she's wearing a tie-dyed bandanna with dreadlocks and her John Lennon glasses - looking VERY hip and so 60's. (Here she is last night in her dress rehearsal posing for her portrait. ) So then this morning, the camera man comes right over to film her lovely mug; and she's frozen perfectly (many know Kerry; anything on her head and she'll hold the pose and wait, absolutely frozen! ~ Ha :)

There was a great blues band (Harmonica John & Friends) playing because they interviewed them for a harmonica group gathering, also on Saturday; see link here

They did a great interview with Katie from CCI, and then interviewed Rosemary (this is her below) and her service dog Eureka and even did a skills demo with CCI Trainer Becky and puppy in training, Racer. Racer did "tug" and opened a file drawer to pull out a gift-wrapped tie-dyed shirt to give the anchor girl (Chrissy Russo)!

It was so great! A wonderful plug for CCI and super PR coverage for tomorrow's Woofstock festival in Balboa Park.

So I get home to play back the tape only to realize I set my VCR for P.M rather than A.M!

Ahhh, the one time I can actually participate in something fun like this and I failed to record it. I'm SO disappointed in myself. Kerry was a star for 5 minutes and her Momma missed filming it....ah well. Maybe they'll play it again tonight at 10pm on FoxNews or tomorrow at 5 or 6 a.m. If I get really lucky there will later be a clip of the story on .

Here's the camera man outlining to Katie, Becky and other volunteers, what to expect and how the interview piece will flow.

It was great coverage for CCI and I'm sure a lot of folks saw it and will therefore come to Woofstock tomorrow. Groovy!

So here are the remaining photos from today:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bunco Babes

How fun to have a house full of women to once a month gather to roll the dice and see who goes home a little bit richer!

Well in our third year, the Bunco Babes have branched out and we don't always play Bunco. Tonight for example, there were 9 rather than the 12, so we played L-R-C where we roll the dice to see if we pass money to the Left, Center (kitty) or Right. It's brainless, fast paced and easy enough that we could also have a ridiculously silly romance/passion discussion from a Glamour magazine article going on at the same time!

So, is this our version of a guys' poker night? Hmm. Far more fun I believe!

Somehow I just can't quite picture the same hilarity with a bunch of dudes smoking cigars and drinking beers! And oh yes, there are always dogs around...well almost always.

These are old photos from my place when I hosted April 2007 with an Easter bonnet theme...uh yea, I'd say nothing like a guy's poker night. Ha!

You Know You're a Puppy Raiser When. . .

*You have crates, collars and Gentle Leaders in every size, style and color.
*You accept dog hair as an accessory and a condiment.
*Dog crates double as end tables.
*You have more "dog towels" than "people towels" in your house (and your spouse knows the difference.)
*You purchase a car based on how many dogs and/or crates it will carry.
*Your co-workers know all the CCI commands and there's a chorus of "DON'T!" when the puppy dives for a tidbit on the floor.
*You have photos of your puppy on your desk but none of your spouse or kids (unless they happen to be in the photo of the puppy.)
*The various snacks you keep at your desk consist of chicken, liver or beef flavors.
*The contents of your purse, backpack or briefcase include hand sanitizer, poop bags, a Nylabone, dog cookies, a water bottle and a collapsible dish.
*You automatically wait at doorways, even when the dog isn't with you.
*You attend an event because it's a good training opportunity for the puppy, not because you have any real interest in the activity.
*You cheerfully sing out "Let's go!" as you grab a grocery cart, forgetting that you left the puppy at home in his crate.
*You reflexively say "Good under!" when a child crawls under a bench at church.
*You can scoop poop in public without embarrassment and while maintaining a conversation about CCI.
*At a restaurant you can simultaneously carry on a conversation with your dinner companions and monitor your puppy's behavior under the table.
*You watch Animal Planet because the puppy enjoys it.
*People don't recognize you without the puppy and/or know the pup's name but not yours.
*You're overheard telling your kids "Drop it" or "Leave it" or snapping "Don't!" in your best puppy raiser correction voice.
*Your kids know it's bedtime when they hear you say "Kennel!"
*You look for a parking place near a good "Hurry" spot rather than near the store.
*You plan vacations around the pup's Turn In and possible graduation dates.
*Your holiday wish list consists of gift cards to PetSmart and Petco and/or donations to CCI.
*Your birthday presents are all dog-related.
*You keep a ready stash of gifts on hand to welcome a new puppy, send one off to CCI College or as a graduation present.
*You buy Nature's Miracle by the gallon.
*Every pocket of every jacket, vest and sweatshirt has dog cookies in it.
*While folding laundry you're found Milk Bones (intact) in the pockets of your jeans.
*Your four-year-old can deliver a near-perfect CCI spiel, knows the proper use of all the CCI commands and can take over for you in puppy class.
*You've answered the question "Isn't it hard to give him up?" approximately one million times.
*You've burst into tears listening to a sad song on the radio because it reminds you that Turn In is approaching.
*You've shared a full-size box of Kleenex with other puppy raisers at Graduation.
*And last but not least, you know you're a puppy raiser when your greatest joy in life is handing over your dog's leash to a perfect stranger at a CCI Graduation.

from Ross' Dog Blog

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Francie II is Just 2 weeks away

So as babies go, they don't get much cuter than this! Arlie and Zorba II's F litter is now two weeks from being turned in and shipped to various puppy raisers. Linda and I were informed that little Miss Francie pictured above is (it looks like) who will be assigned to us. What a doll eh? The breeder caretaker is a retired Vet so she is very careful about their health and exposing them to all sorts of sights and sounds. So cuddly! I just want to scoop her up. Next week I will start breaking out all my puppy stuff once more and cleaning out the kennels (for upstairs, downstairs, the car etc). I'll assemble the puppy bag which will go everywhere and I'll also puppy-proof my home. Let the countdown continue!

A Beautiful Weekend

Well the sun is out and my mood is is suppose to be a lovely weekend with the even warmer weather tomorrow. Kerry is patiently waiting for her walk so this will be brief. I plan to take her to the new trails and canyons I found near my home a few months ago.

I moved Grey Guy back into the spare bedroom and although it's near a window and he likes that, I think he will miss not being closer to Kerry and me in the master bedroom; like when I get ready in the morning or to go out somewhere and he can run back and forth on his cage floor eager to see Kerry (his girlfriend!)

I am raising money for Woofstock which will be April 11 in Balboa Park. It's CCI's festival to raise money for preparing service dogs for the disabled. I mostly help from a distance now like passing out postcards and magnets; and am not on the committee officially like the first two years it ran. But it's been fun to go to the festival as a participant and fund raiser. Two years ago I raised just over $2000, last year $1210 and this year in just 2 days from my email going out, wonderful, generous friends & family have contributed $625. The link can be seen at:
To find my page select participants and then enter my name.
It is so touching, this country of ours. Even when things can be so tough for so many, people are eager to contribute when they can. It really does warm my heart.
Off to the trails for Kerry and me...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No April Fools Virus

What a relief that April one came and went and the computer world as we know it continued...there was so much hype about the Conficker worm I did not even log on yesterday.

I took Kerry for a long walk mid-day today and it's almost time to head out for the dog park. Tomorrow I meet with my accountant but the bad news is with all I paid last year, Uncle Sam still feels that I owe more. Ouch!

AND, even while the state of Calif is basically bankrupt - our sales tax increased to 8.75%. I guess we need to pay for all those who choose not to. And until our pockets are wrung out empty, the Govt. that is suppose to work FOR us, will just keep taking advantage of us! How frustrating. I believe our founding fathers did not intend to tax citizens income when they made money and again when they made a purchase. Shoot, the reason we stood against Great Britain was taxes right?

Well two weeks from this very day I will pick up puppy F from CCI (see and click on Southwest Region). It turns out my little female will probably be Francie. How cute. So I will have a Kerry and a new pup Francie. That sounds cute together.
Tomorrow while I wait for the Orkin man to come for my condo's annual termite inspection, I hope to upload my Hawaii photos I took in February.