Photos from Florida

Apex at the Office with a Christmas tree

I love it when I see that I’ve gotten mail from either Apex or Banta’s handlers. Tonight I had one in my inbox from Florida. It was photos of Apex from Christmas. We sent all the puppies in our lives a nylabone wishbone. As puppies they all loved the wishbone shape the best. In a previous email Sue said he was enjoying the bone but was mostly tossing it around and chasing it. Banta’s handler said that she really liked it better than another nylabone she had because it was smaller and her mouth fit around it better. Well anyway Sue sent photos of Apex with his wishbone and one at work with a Christmas tree. So here they are.

Apex on the couch with his wishbone
Apex chewing on his wishbone

50 for 50 #2 – Tarantula

Today I did my second thing to celebrate my 50th year. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to choose to do this week but as I looked at my idea list, the second thing I had listed way sugar cane fields and cane spiders. Behind our house in Hawaii was a big sugar cane field. And before they could harvest the sugar cane they have to burn the fields. And when they burn the field these big hairy spiders come out and would get in our yard and in our play house. I had a vague idea of trying to find some actual sugar cane to eat but then I got some inspiration. How about finding a tarantula and hold it!
I don’t have an actual phobia of spiders but I do have some fear issues with them. If I’m alone I can deal with a spider in the house but it is hard. If Bill is home I always have him come and take care of a spider. The worst though is my spider dreams. From time to time I have a very vivid dream of a spider in my bed with me. I wake up (sort of) and have to turn on the lights and pull back all the covers and make sure their is no spider. I can’t see at all well without glasses or contacts and so I usually in list Bill to help me, tell him to check very carefully. About this time I finish waking up and realize it was just a dream and there is no spider or spiders to be found. Finally the light goes back out and we drift back to sleep.
So this afternoon Bill wanted to run an errand and we used his phone to see if there was a pet store in the area. We found one just three miles down the road that sounded like a possibility. We found Living Safari to be a very interesting pet store. They have lots of lizards, snakes and other reptiles. Eventually we were directed to their tarantulas and I explained to a very helpful employee what I wanted to do. She pick their most docile variety, a rose-hair from South America. She said that it was important to not move while I was hold the tarantula and if she (the tarantula) moved quickly not to panic and drop her or she might be killed by the impact. But she was a perfect tarantula and she hardly moved around at all which I really appreciated. Bill to photos and I’ll get them posted very soon. While I chatted with the employee learning lots of things about tarantulas.
I don’t know if the experience will change my feelings about spiders but I’m glad I did it. It wasn’t too scary and It was fun to do something very different to celebrate my 50th year.

50 for 50: #1 – Pineapple

This year I turn 50 years old and so I’m going to celebrate the whole year by doing 50 things. Each thing will symbolize something in my past or else something to celebrate the future. So today I did my first 50 for 50. I ate fresh pineapple in memory of my birth in Hawaii. I took photos of the pineapple and the dishes that I’ve fixed with it so far. And I’ll post those here later. I’m really excited about this 50 for 50 thing and I have a list of over 60 ideas to do in the coming year. I plan on doing one each week. That gives me a couple of weeks of leeway if I miss a week here or there.

Good Morning Drink
Warm Winter Citrus Dessert
Fruit Salad with Pineapple, Pummelo and Blueberries
Cottage Cheese and Pineapple

Snow Troubles


We woke up to some snow this morning. Not much, maybe 1/2″ or so but it was cold enough that the drive way was covered for the first time this year. Well Yakira decided that when we went out to relieve she would rather eat snow than pee. Boy did I not handle it very well. I got impatient with her and we went back in without having any success. Well later in the morning while Yakira was playing with Bill she had an accident. So obviously she really did need to go when we went out and I should have been more patient. The newness of the snow meant that I needed to give her more time. We still had some struggles but we worked through it. She still likes to eat snow but I’m being more patient about it.

Phase 8!

Casey Close-up – photo by Lisa Thompson

We finally got news tonight that Casey is in phase 8. We haven’t seen the phase report yet but our leader used her connections to find out and will send the report along when it finally comes. Yeah Casey, way to go girl!

Phase 8 – Final Testing, Finishing and Pre-Matching

  • Final Obedience Test
  • Final Blindfold Test
  • Final Building Test
  • Final Traffic Test

NOTE: Dogs that receive passing grades are deemed “Class Ready Guides.” These dogs are fully qualified and ready to be issued to a client.

  • “Finishing” Routes
  • Practice with Less Experienced Handlers
  • NEW! Specialized Training

All dogs are introduced to hand and chair targeting. Instructors introduce pole targeting (for crosswalk buttons) on a few different routes.

  • If needed, select dogs may do custom work for identified clients (slower pace or fast pace, compromised balance — client who travels with a support cane, toed-out gait, etc.)
  • Pre Class Physicals (AKA: PCPs)
  • Final Class Preparations

Instructors size all dogs for new class collars, boots, head collars and harnesses. Pre-matches are done based on information gathered from home interview and pre-class phone call meeting.

  • Dormitory exposure

Dogs are walked through the dormitory building in preparation for their in-residence training.

  • Socialization

All specialized programs are complete for class ready dogs.
CWTs focus primarily on relaxing walks, kennel enrichment and play sessions for the dogs.

Now we just have to wait for that phone call. It should tell us she is in class. But sometimes dogs are still career changed at this late phase. The next class starts on January 16th so we could get that call as early as the 17th.

p.s. We got the phase report on Friday and Casey’s brother Crosby is in class scheduled to graduate on January 14th. Also Radison and Snickers are in phase 8 too.

Puppy raising video

Tonight at our puppy class we had a high school student who wants to do a short video on puppy raising for her class. She video some of our puppy class and then asked some of us questions afterward. I don’t like being videoed and I wasn’t at all relaxed so I’m afraid I’m going to look silly. Oh well. It is for a good cause. I’ll post the video here when she gets it finished.

Note: Sarah needed some more footage so she came to our house a few days later and got some shots of Yakira playing and walking down the street. Here is the finished video.

Candy Sculpture Class

Tonight I taught a class at the Gale Center. The purpose of the class was to expose potential candy artists to the basic principles of creating a sculpture out of candy. We ran into a couple of challenges. There was no requirement to register so we had no idea how many people would come. We prepared for 20 and about twice that showed up. The second was the kids. We had lots of kids show up. Actually most of the participants came as families. There was lots of scrambling to get the needed supplies and power to all of the glue guns but everyone seemed to have a good time. There was lots of chaos and all thoughts of teaching how to make the little snowman step by step disappeared after the first set of instructions. The students all seemed to have trouble with getting the snowflake sprinkles I had to cover the Styrofoam balls to stick. But they were all very creative in how they did their hats and other parts of the snowman. I think we will be doing more classes in the future but we will require registration and have separate classes for adults and kids/families.