Party Time!

We had a big party here today. A dog party! The 7 Acre Wood has become a destination for the semi-local Southeastern guide dog pups to get some exposure to country stuff. Like goats and ponies and chickens and lizards and tall grass to run in and rivers to play in and mud to splash in. Six crazy pups showed up all ready for their special day. Peg, and Ace, and Leisl, and Mercy, and Aubie, and Pearl.

I remember when I was a silly young thing and the world was full of new adventures around every corner. It was fun watching these kids throw themselves into my world with such joyful abandon. As long as they left me and my river toy alone.

No books today. Just summer JOY!!

Looking Good!

I had a big day this week! I had an eye exam!

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Every year the ACVO (American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) Vision for Animals Foundation offers free eye exams for service and therapy dogs. So this year the Mom Person decided that seeing as how I’m starting to get up in years, so to speak, we might as well take advantage of the offer. And Dr. Beaumont says that I have some beautiful perfect eyes! Yay for me! (I had trouble not laughing when she put on those funny goggle things!)

But the experience put me in mind of my long lost days as an almost Guide Dog and a book that we have that is one of the Mom Person’s favorites that always makes her cry and that she gives to just about everybody she knows. It’s about a Guide Dog puppy. The book is called Through Otis’ Eyes, Lessons from a Guide Dog Puppy. It’s written by Patricia Burlin Kennedy and illustrated by Robert Christie.  It was published by Howell Book House in 1998.

This book is kind of an adult picture book, but we have read it with kids of various ages and had some great discussions about the life lessons that it presents. I think that ultimately it is suitable for all ages!

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Otis was a guide dog pup that Ms Kennedy raised for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Inc., a guide dog school in New York. This book is a thoughtful journey through her year with Otis and a look at the things that she learned from him.  It begins when Otis is a wee pup with “Through Otis’ eyes I see the wonder and excitement of experiencing the world”. It moves on to “that sometimes the needs of others are greater than my own”. And ends with “Through Otis’ eyes I see that finding a purpose beyond myself makes life truly rich”.

Ms Kennedy is a very wise woman and I think that she had a very special bond with her Otis.

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There are 97 pages in this book. On each spread is a simple lesson and a beautiful picture of Otis. And at the end of the book is a list of all the Guide Dog Schools and Associations in the United States. (I know that there are also Guide Dog Schools in other countries around the world). Ms Kennedy and Mr Christie both got it all absolutely right. And the Mom Person is crying right now just thinking about Otis.

So if you don’t mind a few tears, I highly recommend this book!

For more information about guide dogs visit  the National Association of Guide Dog Users at their website.

You can find teacher resources and activities about eyes and vision at the American Optometrist Association website.

Be sure and check out more great picture books and resources at Susanna Hill’s!

And now lets see what the world looks like through a guide dogs eyes —

Goin’ to the Doctor

I went to the doctor the other day. I actually have 2 doctors that I go to. One is for my vaccinations and when I get sick or break a toe or stuff like that. The other one is for making me feel good all over. I don’t like going to that 1st one. She’s what is called a traditional doctor. She’s nice enough, but I’m never quite sure what she’s going to be doing to me.

But going to visit the 2nd one is a really special treat! I always know that whatever he does is GOOD! He’s what is called a non-traditional doctor. He does acupuncture and chiropractic and other magical things. I’ve been having some back problems that make my back legs kind of wobbly. It’s a real nuisance. So I go to visit Dr Bruton about once a month.

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He sticks little needles down my back and then hooks up some wires that make me kind of tingle all over. The big red light and the little blue light are some kind of heat/laser lights that feel really good. After he does all of that stuff he gives me a good massage all over and gets all the kinks out of my back.

I also have allergies and lately I’ve been itching a lot. The Mom Person is always after me to quit chewing on my feet! So you see that little plastic bag sitting on my back? That’s full of gunk from our vacuum cleaner. Dr Bruton puts that on me while he does his magic and it’s supposed to desensitize me. I guess it works because I’m not itchy anymore at all! Like I said, the doctor is magic! And so is his assistant, Sarah. She always knows that exact spot that needs some care. I LOVE going to visit Dr Bruton and Sarah!

When we got home we read a couple of books about going to the doctor. The Mom Person found a cute Little Golden Book called Doctor Dan the Bandage Man. I like that title!

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It was first published in 1950! That was a long time ago! It was written by Helen Gaspard and illustrated by Corinne Malvern. Young Dan cuts his finger while playing cowboys with his friends. His Mom tells him not to worry, she’ll clean it up and put a bandage on it and all will be well. And so it was! Then Dan turns into Doctor Dan! His sister’s doll has a tumble from the wagon and gets a booboo on her head. Doctor Dan to the rescue! Then his sister has a scrape, and his dog hurts his paw, and Dad gets a cut. Doctor Dan fixes them all. It’s a pretty cute book!

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The next book came from the library. The title is Little Whistle’s Medicine. Written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Tim Bowers. It was published by Harcourt, Inc. in 2002. Little Whistle is a cute little hamster who lives in a toy store. At night all the toys come to life and go around visiting each other. Little Whistle wants to visit the Soldier who tells stories, but the Soldier has bumped his head and doesn’t feel like telling stories. Little Whistle goes all over the toy story asking all the toys if anyone can help. Finally the Mother Doll directs him to the doctor kits and Little Whistle is set to become Doctor Little Whistle! So he bandages up the Soldier and all is well! I didn’t know that bandages had such restorative powers!! Incredible!

I hope that you all have no need for bandages or doctors any time soon! As for me — I’m feeling fine!

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Play With Your Dog!!

Wednesdays are Detention Center nights! Joy,Joy! One of my favorite events! These are pretty special guys at this place. They’re learning all the right ways to take care of a dog and train us by being nice to us. I like that part. The being nice to us means lots of petting and brushing and treats! Usually we spend time playing games and doing training exercises. But tonight the boys made tug toys! Braided fleece tug toys!

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And it would be nice if all these toys were for me! But all of these toys will be going to one of our local animal shelters. When a dog is adopted it will get to go to its new home with a nice, soft, boingy tug toy. Isn’t that nice of these boys?!

Now we might not have gotten to bring the toys home with us, but we did get to try some of them out. We had to make sure they could pass the real dog test. More JOY!

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And of course all the toys passed!

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You do know that you should be playing with your dogs?! Playing with your dog is a JOYful activity! For you and your dog!

I’d like to share a couple of books with you that might get your creative playfulness jumping.

The 1st book is Play With Your Dog by Pat Miller. Published by Dogwise Publishing in 2008. Ms Miller is a renowned trainer who has written many books about training. In this book she talks about dogs and play. She believes that playing with your dog helps to build a strong relationship between the two of your. Play also helps to develop social skills and provides mental and physical exercise. Play With Your Dog has chapters on what play is to a dog, body language dogs use when playing, types of play — dog/dog play and human/dog play. Ms Miller talks about children playing with dogs and how NOT to play with a dog. There are quite a few references at the end. All in all, this is a very fine book!

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The 2nd book is See Spot Sit by one of the Mom Person’s favorite, favorite writers Carol Lea Benjamin. Published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2008. This is kind of a picture book dog training manual. The subtitle is 101 Illustrated Tips for Training the Dog You Love. Now doesn’t that sound fine?!  The chapters include — How to Have a Happy Dog, Good Manners Last a Lifetime, The ABCs of Dog Training, PLAY it Safe, and Good Times, Fun, and Games. The book is full of happy illustrations that make this a fun book to read for anyone.

So I think you should check these books out and go have some fun with your dog!!

And here are some links if you want to make your own tug toys!

How to Weave a Braided Tug Toy from HGTV
Michael Rosen
Richmondpetlovers.com

The Sun and The Moon

The Mom Person and The Big Guy With the Treats were gone to California for a long, long time. To visit the Princesses. That’s a good thing for them. Not so good for me. It was a very boring time.

CIMG7820We had some good buddies taking care of everything here. And we got our dinner and our treats and some good pats and a little bit of ball play. But it just isn’t the same without the Mom Person. She is my Sun and my Moon.

But they are home now!!!! And life is good again! It was a full moon when they arrived home. An auspicious sign! IMG_3130

And now even though it’s raining outside, my sun is shining for me! The rain is a good thing too! She has brought it all! The moon, the sun and the rain!

While they were away, I took care of the house. I slept on their bed because it smells like them. I tried to change the sheets before they got home. But those corners had me stymied.

IMG_0267The Mom Person was very appreciative of my efforts though. She said she was sure glad that she didn’t change the sheets before she left!

She brought back some really yummy treats and some new tennis balls and lots of postcards. They had a fine trip.

But let’s get back to the moon. That great big full moon. It’s nice to go walking out under the full moon. The world is bright and you don’t have to worry about stepping on snakes that you can’t see. We read a book called The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. I love Mr Sendak. His pictures are so funny and clever. This book has black and white pictures along with 2 page spreads in color. They look about the same to me, but the Mom Person assures me that the color ones are quite lovely.

The Moon Jumpers was published in 1959 by Harper & Row. It’s a very old book, but it can still be found if you look.

IMG_0275It starts out with:
“Summer night is the cool dark grass
And big tired trees
With the moon sailing
On a wind.”

It’s a lovely story of kids going out to play at night when the moon comes out. They sing and dance and do somersaults. They climb a tree and tell ghost stories. They jump and jump, but “nobody ever has touched the moon.” And in the end they go to bed and “dream of tomorrow’s sun.” Just as I dreamed of my sun’s return.

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I’m very happy that everyone is home now. The world is right and the new year will be off to a good start. I hope that all is right in your world. And I will leave you with a little song from the Beatles to brighten your day —

Here Comes the Sun!

And if you are interested in Mr Maurice Sendak here are some interesting stories at NPR. Enjoy! And Happy New Year to you all!!

What Pete Ate

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s and my contribution today is another alphabet book : What Pete Ate from A – Z by Maira Kalman.

It was published in 2001 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I would recommend it for maybe 1st grade and up. It is an alphabet book, but it has some higher level concepts that I think would be over a kindergarteners head.

From the author — “What Pete Ate from A – Z where we explore the English Alphabet ( in its entirety) in which a certain Dog DEVOURS a MYRIAD of ITEMS which he should NOT.”  Sounds like a Lab to me!

And it starts with  ” A  — He ate cousin Rocky’s accordion.  All of it.”

I LOVE this book! It is soooo funny. I know alot of dogs who eat some strange stuff, but nothing like this Pete!  Not only does he eat accordions, but he eats cameras and dolls and balls and money and , well — you’ll just have to read it to see what else! Ms Kalman has filled this book with some zany illustrations. She must be a pretty Zany person. I like that word Zany.

I’ve been known to eat what my Mom Person says is pretty weird stuff. I love “G” for grass. And I like “A” and “L” for arms and legs off of toys. I love “C” for chicken feed. And I once ate a whole “C” for chocolate cake. It sure was yummy! But the Mom Person ruined it by becoming the Person who makes her dog throw up! My buddy, Walker, REALLY likes “S” for sticks and “B” for bark and “R” for rocks and “D” for dried up leaves. We might could write our own alphabet book!

And that might be a fun thing to let your school kids do! Make their own book of weird stuff to eat! And while you’re at it, maybe talk about what’s good to eat and what’s not. You could have a big discussion about training and  taking care of dogs. What happens if your dog eats an accordion?!

If you’d like to see more of Ms Kalman’s work you can visit her website.

So have a Zany Day! And check out this Zany book!  You’ll be glad you did!

Give This Dog a Bone!

Kindergarten day today!  I sure like these little guys and girls. They really know how to have a good time.  I got to pick the book for today and I chose Give the Dog a Bone by Steven Kellogg. Can you guess why I chose this one?!  Mr. Kellogg is a real dog lover. And his illustrations are so funny!!  This book is a retelling of the song “This Old Man”. Lots of Nick Nack Paddywack — wacky!  The book is a little different from the song. A lot more silly. There are chickens and velociraptors and mean men stealing baby chicks and snowmen and dogs and dogs and more dogs. And LOTS of bones!  At the end of the book Mr Kellogg tells us that there are 250 dogs in the book!!  We didn’t count them all, tho.

The book and the song are all about counting. And silly words. And rhyming. (I like rhyming). And body motion. It’s fun to act out all the things the old man nick nack paddywacks on. Some of the kids knew the song, and some of them had never heard it. I tried to sing a little for them.

It was a good book for kindergarteners. They liked it alot. And most of the words are pretty simple. Silly, but simple.

I think you should check this one out! And then go give your dog a bone!

And for a little entertainment I give you Carol Burnett and the Jackson 5 singing this lovely song — This Old Man — enjoy —

A Dark and Stormy Night

We had a terrible storm here last night. At least that’s what my Mom Person tells me. I slept thru it all.

But my buddy, Cisco, had a terrible time. He’s very afraid of thunderstorms. That’s about all he’s afraid of, but it’s enough. The Mom Person gives him some special calming medicine and puts on special music for him and makes him a special tent to hide under. It all seems to help him some. But I don’t think anyone gets much sleep. Except me and Walker. And the Big Guy Who Always Has The Treats. He sleeps thru anything.

It all reminds me of a book that I like a lot called Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts. We don’t have this book at our house. I read it in Mrs. B’s reading class. It’s a really funny book about a squirrel who is afraid of EVERYTHING!  He won’t come out of his tree because he can only think about all the bad things that could happen to him. But one day he falls out of his tree and then —-

You’ll have to read the book to see what happens! 

I’m not afraid of anything. The Mom Person says that gets me in trouble sometimes. I have friends who are afraid of different stuff. Walker used to be REALLY afraid of the vacuum cleaner!  And we had a guide dog pup once who was afraid of car tires. I know some dogs who are afraid of little kids and some who are afraid of big people. I guess we all have different outlooks on the world.

Are there things that you or your dogs are afraid of? What do you do about it?

I hope you all had a good night’s sleep.

Look for Scaredy Squirrel at your library and check it out!

And here’s a link to Melanie Watt’s website. It’s got some really cool stuff to look at!

And here’s my favorite rainy night song by Eddie Rabbit. Enjoy!

Looking Out for Sarah, a guide dog’s job —

Today we’re going to be joining Susanna Leonard Hill and her Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I want to introduce you to my favorite book – Looking Out for Sarah. This book is written and illustrated by Glenna Lang.

Here are some other useful details from the book:
It’s a non-fiction book published in 2001 by Charlesbridge Publishing. It would be suitable reading for kids in kindergarten thru elementary school. And for dogs who care about their people!

My Mom Person got this book for me when I was a wee pup. She read it to me often and told me that this is what my life would be someday. Things didn’t really work out that way tho. I didn’t become a guide dog. But I have an important job just the same. Looking out for my Mom Person!

The book, Looking Out for Sarah, tells us about Perry, the guide dog, and his days taking care of his person, Sarah. It begins in the morning as Perry is waiting for Sarah to wake up. I like when it says, “A wag filled Perry’s tail and traveled up his back.”  He loves his Sarah. Perry guides Sarah through her very busy day, ignoring yummy food on the sidewalk, watching out for obstacles and traffic, and waiting while Sarah does the things she has to do. They go shopping, ride the train, and visit school — just like me!!  But the book isn’t just about how Perry takes care of Sarah — it’s also about how Sarah takes care of Perry. They are a working team, dependent on each other.

This book could provide a good opportunity to have talks about blind people and other people who might be different in some way. They still do all the same stuff everybody does.  There might be a guide dog school near you with puppy raisers or trainers who could come visit your school. We have some puppy raiser friends who love to talk about their pups!  You could get some really good info about blind people and all the cool stuff they have to help them get around in the world from the National Federation of the Blind  . You could also have a talk about our senses and how if one doesn’t work too well, you have to rely on others. You know, dogs have a really really good sense of smell! And here’s one more link to a site that has a lesson plan using another book about a guide dog, Safe and Sound.

Look for Looking Out for Sarah at your library! And check it out! You’ll be glad you did!