Monday, November 29, 2010

Field Trip

 Luc and I took off this afternoon on a field trip as a part of his therapy dog training.  He was totally wild jumping up and down, running through the house with a pillow in his mouth when I was trying to put on his vest, collar, scarf, and leash.  I was dreading the outing since he was so wild; however, I was pleasantly surprised.  As soon as we walked out of the house to the Jeep, he was an almost "normal" dog. 

Cows were next to the water tank which was a short distance from where the car was parked.  He did not even try to chase them.  He sat and stayed when told so I could open the back of the Jeep and open the gate into the crate in the car.

The plan was to stop by the UPS office to ship my "new" Canon camera to the factory repair center.  The shutter sticks....ugh!  I'm back to using the Nikon Coolpic which doesn't do such a bad job. 

Before taking Luc into UPS, I went in alone to explained to the manager that Luc was being trained as a therapy dog and asked if I could bring him into the store while getting the package off.  The manager gave his okay, and again I could hardly believe how well-mannered Luc was.  He only stood up twice to look over the counter to introduce himself.  :D

Luc and I were in a narrow pathway while drivers were going in and out with dollies loaded with packages.  It is important that a therapy dog not get scared with strange or loud noises or, in this case, big stacks of boxes being wheeled past them.  Luc made an A.  He did not get nervous or or make a sudden move to get away; he sat still as mouse right next to me

Luc gave a few kisses but not very many.  As soon as I corrected him, he quit and allowed people to pet him without giving them a Luc bath. 

We stopped by Home Depot to pick up a kitchen faucet.  Luc was really, really good.  Again, a kiss or two but for the most part he was a well-behaved dog.  I am encouraged!  If he continues to improve, I think we might get a therapy dog certification from Penny's From Heaven Foundation.  Then it's off to volunteer our services.

Luc and I will be doing 3-4 field trips a week until the test date of December 18.  Did I mention I'm encouraged?!As soon as we get home, I take off the vest, leash, etc., and allow him to do whatever he wants to do, which usually means that the second he comes in the door he grabs the nearest pillow and runs away with it dangling from his mouth.  I never correct that behavior except to simply remove the pillow and I especially do not correct since we've been in training.  Hopefully, he is making the connection that good behavior is required when the vest and the leash goes on as well as a ride in the car.  When the vest comes off, then it's back to goofy Luc with virtually very few expectations. 

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Today was a great Thanksgiving.  I hope yours was too.   My youngest son, his wife and his son came over from Bryan.  Unexpectedly my son has to work tomorrow and they returned to Bryan this evening instead of staying overnight.  Nevertheless, it was a great delight that they drove the 120 miles for dinner.

I realized today that I do not use my china and silver as much as I should.  That is going to change for nothing is much prettier than a fancy table setting.  :D  When I went to buy some flowers, I found them to be a bit worn and opted to cut some fresh rosemary, lavender, and sage from my garden to fill in around the candles.

My mother used the above silver dish with cover for keeping the cornbread dressing warm; but I used it to keep the bread warm.  :D 

Meanwhile, Luc and Maggie made a new friend since my daughter-in-law brought along her youngest dog, Twist (with the blue ball), a Border Collie.  Jennifer has two Border Collies trained in Search & Rescue.

Dinner went off as scheduled and was delicious, if I do say so myself.  I used my mother's cornbread dressing recipe, and it was as good as I remembered it.   Everyone except me watched the game after dinner.  I come from a football family but was always the "black sheep" when it came to the game.  Even though I do not "fit" in with these football people, nothing beats having one's family around.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Psalm 92:1-5

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.  To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon a psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.  For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy works:  I will triumph in the works of thy hands.  O LORD, how great are thy works and thy thoughts are very deep.

Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving

No doubt most of you have been busily preparing for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  My son, daughter-in-law and their son will be driving over from Bryan for dinner and to stay the night.  They have several dogs at home and cannot stay more than a night.  One does not want to impose on a good friend for too long.  :D  Anyway, I'm so excited they are coming that I pulled out my mother's cornbread dressing recipe. 

As I was putting it together, I remembered why I always conned Mom into doing it when it was my turn for Thanksgiving or Christmas -- we traded off the holiday dinners between my mother, my aunt, and me.  Since her passing, I've had hubby pick up dressing and gravy when I did a holiday dinner.  But, this year I'm organized and wanted to do it.

Dirty bowls, measuring cups, and pans were everywhere.  I prepared just about everything for tomorrow except the turkey and a few last minute items.  I even did the egg and sausage casserole for Friday morning.

Generally, I clean up as I go but needed to unload the dishwasher.  So as I said above, dirty pots, utensils, etc., filled the sink and counter tops.  Am I the only one to dislike unloading a dishwasher?  The table gets decorated tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back At It

Luc here.  My mom and I were back to training again Sunday for the therapy dog certification. 

Patsy and Denise of Penny's From Heaven Foundation clowning around while everyone was getting organized.

Here are Tuxon and Darlene.  Tuxon is so laid back that he makes me look bad.  He almost never makes a mistake.  I've tried to talk to him, dog-to-dog, about being so perfect but Darlene and Mom keep us apart.

About an hour into the 2-hour lecture, I got bored and started rolling around to chew on the vest straps.  I was jailed again.  As a matter of fact, I was jailed twice Sunday.  The second time was during lunch.  I have perfected my soulful eye stare while watching every morsel Mom puts in her mouth.  She did not even allow me to use it on her or anyone else.  When the food came out, I went in the cage.  It was a revolting development.

I failed one of the practice scenarios because I sat down on a "patient's" broken foot.  I weigh 85 pounds.  I don't know what the big deal is about kissing, but it seems to upset my mom, Patsy, Denise, and Laura.  Then Mom failed a scenario because Patsy snuck up behind her and grabbed my tail.  It didn't bother me, but evidently Mom is suppose to always be aware of what is going on a full 360 degrees.  She's got to increase her awareness meter of everything at all times. 

Two or three people actually took my leash away from Mom to show her how to "correct" me when I lick.  What is worse is that I heard my mom thanking them!  Let me just say that after that I wanted out of there.  It was the end of the day and I was more than tired of rules and corrections.  Besides,  I want to visit with these people but on my terms.  It is now a challenge between me and Mom to see who is going to win. 

I need to get going before I'm found at the computer.  So, take care and until next time, God bless.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Training Day

Last Monday and today, Friday, my mom took me to Stay n Play Pet Ranch for more training.  By the way, my name is Luc.  I keep hearing my mom talk about my excessive kissing.  She is trying every trick she can think of to make me stop; of course, I know I'm not suppose to kiss everyone.  But why would I stop kissing except when  I smell delicious treats in her hand for when I do stop for a few seconds? Bad behavior sometimes does pay off!  It's a toss up as to which I like best:  treats, catching a ball on the fly, or running away from my mom with shoe or pillow in my mouth. 

Anyway, Mom took me to the Stay n Play lobby for an hour or so.  It is a playground filled with people coming and going, new canine friends, bags of treats and food, toys -- you name it and the place has everything a dog like me would want.

Here I am in the lobby trying to give my teddy to Charlotte of Stay n Play.

This is me again pretending to be a calm, controlled, well-behaved dog.

As I was watching Charlotte doing some work, I noticed this very attractive dog photo on the bulletin board.  Come to find out that this beauty (female, I think) is from the Paws Humane Society Shelter here in Dripping Springs.  She is staying at Stay n Play while being treated for heart worms and is soon to be adopted by a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.  She and her new companion will be going through the Wounded Warrior training program by Penny's From Heaven Foundation.   

I'd better say my goodbye's before I'm caught on the computer.  So, until next time, God bless.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Working Towards Certification

Today was the big day for those of us in the prep therapy dog training at Stay n Play Pet Ranch to work with Patsy Swendson of Penny's From Heaven Foundation.  We had two hours of lecture and two hours of going through various scenarios that are encountered when working with patients at nursing homes, hospitals, rehab centers, etc.

Bosley and Becky before going into the meeting.  Sorry, Becky, I cut your head off.  :D  One of these days I'm going to include your face.  lol

Tuxon is his usual laid-back, well-behaved self.  Tuxon is 7 years old and went through Canine Assistance training when he was 18 months old.  He was too hyper to pass the certification test, but his previous training really shows when we are going through our paces.

Ooops.  Luc is in jail.  He was crated during the two hours of lecture because, frankly, I was hoping he would be calmed down enough to perform well in the various scenarios.  He was his usual hyper,  lovable,  kissing self.  We have two more training aids to try in teaching him when to kiss and when NOT to do so.  Even at 5 years old, Luc just gets so excited upon seeing anyone; he can hardly contain himself.  If he does not pass this certification, the only thing to do is to keep training until he does settle down to pass the certification.  The Penny's From Heaven group has very, very high standards.  I am sure the other therapy dog certifying organizations have very high standards, but Penny's is the certification I want for Luc. 

Patsy has been doing therapy dog volunteering and work for 35 years.  With that kind of experience, you listen!

Coffee break.  Check out Mr. Manners, Tuxon, quietly sitting under a table but staring at the pumpkin bread in Darlene's hand.  lol  Charlotte of Stay n Play furnished our lunch, for which we all appreciated, so we could keep working.

We have a lecture/work session next Sunday. I have one week to try to get Luc to understand that kissing is allowed by invitation only.  lol

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

We are enjoying the clear, crisp, cool air of a Central Texas November evening. 

For more SkyWatch around the globe, click here.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

It is the Soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the politician,
Who ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
Whose coffin is draped by the flag.*

God bless all those who are ready to give their all and those that have given their all.  May the Lord's face shine upon you and your families.

*Author unknown.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Smile, You Are On Camera

There was a flurry of activity today out here in little Dripping Springs, Texas, at Stay n Play.  David Scott of KXAN TV in Austin is doing a series on the Penny's From Heaven Foundation, the Foundation's mission, and Patsy Swendson, Executive Director and Founder.  It is a four-part series which begins airing on November 10, 2010.  I haven't the time yet, but I understand the series will be available online.  As soon as I have more details, I'll post.

Patsy Swendson, right, and Jennifer, left, who is in the Penny's From Heaven therapy dog training program.

Julie works the camera for David Scott of KXAN TV.

Julie, Charlotte Biggs, co-owner of Stay n Play, and David Scott of KXAN.  Charlotte has really worked to get a therapy dog training program at the kennel and a Penny's From Heaven chapter here in Dripping Springs.

Andrew, who served in Iraq, is a 20-year Army veteran and his certified therapy dog, Coco.  Andrew, a wounded warrior, was interviewed by David Scott about what it meant to him to go through the therapy dog training at Penny's From Heaven Foundation.  I did not hear the interview but am looking forward to hearing Andrew's story on KXAN.

Here are Tuxon and Bosley, both of which are in the same therapy dog training class as Luc.  Tuxon is so laid back whereas Luc is not.  :D  Doesn't Bosley have the sweetest face?  He is the sweetest and gets around famously in his cart.  He is paralyzed from a crushed disk, but he has a lot of heart. 

This is Laura, our trainer, and Weasel.  Weasel gets so stressed out with all the dogs around.  Weasel is great with people, but she is pretty shy around giant dogs.   She hopes she is invisible when Luc looks her way. 

Last, but not least, are Luc and Melody.  Melody has Labs and loves Luc.  Unfortunately, she is giving him the "leave it" training toy.  lol 

It only took two hours for Luc to settle down with all the dogs and people around today.  Luc is a whirling dervish.  His name is the most called to sit, no kissing, down, settle, leave it, and just about any thought a canine can come up with to do, he does.  At the moment giving kisses to anyone who comes within the length of his tongue is at risk.  Kissing without an invitation is considered unacceptable canine behavior particularly when it is from a therapy dog.  However, Patsy from Penny's  told me that it can be "overcomed" for she has worked with worse.  I'm encouraged. 

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Voted Today

I voted today; did you?  We voted in the late afternoon.  I had a "procedure" this morning, and it took a little recovery time before I was ready to go to the polls.  We've had early voting for a week or ten days, but we do not take advantage of it.

Our precinct polling place.  I would have taken more photos, but hubby was in tow.  He is not understanding when it comes to waiting around while I take pictures.

Here's the proof that we made it.  :D

Until next time, God bless.