The five service pups I've raised...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Francie Through the Months

A rainy January. Us at the dog park.
Age 11 months (10 months in, 7 to go)

When Linda and I picked up Francie II from CCI in April of last year (we're co-raising this puppy together; sharing all the joys and trials) we started taking photos each month to capture her development and how quickly she's changed, as she's grown. This month was tricky with our schedules plus with the winter rains that San Diego has been blessed with, it was tricky finding a time between storms to get the January shot. We ended up taking the picture at our dog park rather than the usual spot we had been using.

But at last, here it is above - Francie at age 11 months; next month she'll turn 1 year old. We keep in touch with some of her siblings. We learned Flower was released from Program in the North Central (Ohio) Region for excessive fear. Poor dear, she has selected another career and will find the right home for herself I'm confident.

Two pups Francie's age that are in her training class, have come into season (pups Garden and America). But each female is different just as in humans. Yet Lyn and I will keep a watch. The females are boarded at CCI's campus for 3 weeks while in heat to avoid accidentally matings.

I received my postcard this week, in the mail announcing Feb 20 as the next CCI graduation (see and May's date as well. That means the next postcard I receive will be for Francie's turn-in, in August. Oh my. I don't want to even think about that yet as I just know this year will fly by.

To see the changes in her since we picked her up at 8 weeks here she is in April, June, Aug, Oct. of last year.

8 weeks old and 4 months

6 months and 8 months

Our girl at Puppy Social 2 weeks ago.

Play time, so she's stopping just long enough from running for me to take this shot...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have been associated with and volunteering for Canine Companions for Independence since 1996. And like many of it's volunteers, most of the time I feel I get far more back, then what I give - the friends I have made, the love from the pups I receive and witnessing the miracles the partnerships create!
Some years back CCI began an annual tradition of recognizing volunteers by having a party in January. Today those that could, met at the SW Regional Center in Oceanside and were spoiled by the CCI staff. They served us wonderful pasta, a garden salad and cake. Trophies were awarded to volunteers that routinely go over and above in their efforts. There was a raffle with great prizes, and fun games to play.

Today's theme was the Olympics. The staff came in carrying American flags to the Olympic theme song. One of the trainers was dressed in drag as an ice dancer. It was a fun afternoon.

me with Francie

Here are some shots I took from today and a few fun videos of one of our doggy games: Doggy Down. It's like musical chairs but when the music stops the PR commands their pup "down". The slowest pup to respond drops out until the champion is the last dog "laying" so to speak.
Francie did okay and made it to about the top 5 out of 10 for her age group (7 - 12 months old).

The staff arrives in a procession with American flags.

Gloria with new arrival she is fostering - "Harrison"

The first one is of the graduate teams playing the game. Daniel is a good sport when Cinnamon is too distracted with Francie being right there, to promptly do his down.
In this second video it's a crack up because the one dog has his butt in the air and is too busy trying to rub off his halti. Too funny! (this is puppies aged 13 - 18 months)
This third video is sweet as service dog Marissa hears to the command but just doesn't execute it fast enough...

So great seeing all the new babies; here's Davi with a fluff muffin.

Love seeing the new babies that have arrived at campus...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Batten Down the Hatches!

It’s too bad that weather can create such havoc for some when it arrives, because generally I LOVE it. Living in such a semi-arid place that typically has such awesome year-round weather, I've adored watching the mightiness of Mother Nature this week.

That is, since I’m not working and therefore don’t have to drive in it.
So it is oh so nice to be at home, hunkered down watching the wind whip the trees around and the rains come down in torrents.

This is El Nino of 2010.

It’s a doozey of a storm that last Sunday, was predicted to last all week with a series of storms, one after another. They were all sitting off the coast out above the Pacific waiting to roll in. Well true to form, we have had 1-2 inches every day. Yesterday we even had lightening/thunder AND even two tornadoes that touched down.
Now I used to brag that although we have earthquakes, fires and mudslides in Calif I was able to leave the tornadoes back in Ohio – but I guess that is no longer true!

The waves are huge, and the coast highway was saved from flooding only because it was not high tide.
It's supposed to nail us again tonight and tomorrow and not let up until Saturday morning. When it’s all over- we will have gotten one half of our year’s total rain in just this ONE week!

I went to Swami's to watch the brave surfers ride the 18 feet swells and I ventured over to Cardiff State Beach.

Here are some videos I took today.
The videos are from Dad’s deck; I was shaking out the patio furniture covers to empty out the water and let them dry. But they look like I could take flight in the “parachutes” the wind created as I shook them! Check out the water the flies out of the cover in the one video.

Today Southwest Airlines cancelled ALL their flights from San Diego airport and Phoenix. Even Sea World and Lego Land closed and they are opened 365 days a year. Unheard of.

The good from these storms hammering us is: the trees self-prune that’s a new word I learned from the weather casters this winter. But really, everything is SO clean. Loose leaves and pine needles are whipped out of the trees. Sidewalks, roads and the local world in general, is rinsed off and scrubbed clean by Momma Nature, everything is so clean and fresh. I just love the fresh crispness of the outdoors after a good, hard rain shower.

Tonight we got hail and more lightening. Oh my – a huge thunder clapped just above my house just now, mercy that is loud.
Time to get off the computer I think.

A rainbow today across the green belt from my home. A reminder of a promise long ago. . .

It’s so comical to see Kerry dog wear her raincoat outside to potty. She hates me putting it on her, but once it is, she seems to then take her time knowing she can sniff around and not get as wet as she would without it.

Ahhh but that's another blog for another day....G'Nite

Friday, January 15, 2010

The GrandDaddy of them all - The Rose Parade!

It all came together so well...meeting Betsy, getting to stay at her lovely home with Mom, in Pasadena.

Built in 1923, it is so cozy and Betsy's has it decorated so richly...

The living room...

The guest room Mom and I shared; Betsy had our towels and little gift ornaments lying on the bed.

Betsy and Mom on the front porch.

New Year's Eve we spent on "Mansion Row" = Orange Grove Blvd. where they stage the floats for the next day. See here to play the video :

We were able to walk around and get right up close to the floats before going over to the the NY's Eve party we attended with Betsy and her fun friends.

Mom, Betsy and me

Parade Day - Wake up and watch an hour of the parade on TV before strolling over to Sierra Madre Ave. with our coffees to see it "live". Mom and I in our chairs just a few feet from the curb thanks to new friend Paul from Fallbrook who saved our spot from the night before. His family stayed overnight on the median strip to have this awesome parade perch. Perfect viewing!

And here they come...many floats are too tall to fit under the freeway so they are motorized to fold down and then come back up once they clear the overpass...

The Grand Marshall was US Airlines' Capt. Sullenberger (Miracle on the Hudson River) and his wife Buckeyes know this is TBDBITL (the best damn band in the land)- OSU's Marching Band

The float Mom and I posed in front of the night before - here it is in the daytime in all it's colorful glory.

These stunning horses are pullling the carriage carrying the family of the Parade President who passed away this year before seeing all his hard work come together. Here they are below:

This float below received the Bob Hope Best Humor award: (also see the video a few pics down)

These seven below, are just SO pretty... this year's theme was "A Cut Above"

These first two are the Boy Scouts of America float:

The Budweiser Clydesdales and Dalmation -that's true horse power for this float.

Above is Dick Van Patten aboard the Natural Balance float with "Tillman" the famous skate boarding and snow boarding bulldog. See the video here below for him riding down the slope on the float:

This float below got the award for best animation. Neat!!!

I was touched by the float carrying the Tuskegee Airmen from WWII (the only all black pilots group that had no casualties in the war), some vets were riding the float.

Also there was a float carrying recipients of organ donations, they rode the float and held the photo of the generous person that gave them their "new life".

After the parade, we shared Betsy's scrumptious New Years Day brunch

We even got hula hoop lessons from Mel, see here:

Here're our new friends: me with Betsy & Minnie, Mom, Gordon with Fannie.

It was a spectacular day. Mom and I watched the Rose Bowl football game on TV and my Buckeyes came through, beating the Oregon Ducks quite handsomely! We ended up staying a second night and driving home Saturday. It was an awesome day/weekend and beyond our expectations!

Craigslist comes through again for me! And Linda too for watching the pups. :>)