World Book Day

Today is World Book Day.

WORLD Book Day

But have I come across any kind of event or celebration in the US?

NO!

It’s all in the UK. That’s UK. Not US.  Why is that? I don’t know.

But if you’re interested – here is a link to the official WORLD Book Day website

A fun article and pictures from the Guardian of BRITISH authors getting into character.

And the Story Museum in BRITAIN’s website page about their character celebration

How cool is that to have a STORY Museum?! Is there such a thing in the US? I don’t know.

Me? I’m dealing with a puppy today and trying to explain about books. Does she understand? I don’t think so. A little more time, I think.

IMG_5239Walker and I will be going to the library this evening though to celebrate with some book appreciating young folks!

And I will say that maybe the US doesn’t celebrate WORLD Book Day, but I did discover that we celebrate WORLD BOOK NIGHT! On April 23, 2014. This does not seem to be an event having anything to do with Children’s books. But if you are into Big People books, you might want to get your pajamas ready!!

So enjoy your WORLD Book Day! Even if you do it on your own!!

Your library friend

Rhythm

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A New Job For Me!

Sometimes I feel like Barbie. You know, that doll that girls play with that has had like a hundred careers. I’ve been counselor and therapist, librarian, reading specialist, book reviewer, blogger, show dog, janitor, baby sitter, singer and dancer, drop dead comedienne, actor, farm dog, bed warmer. And now the Mom Person has decided that I’m not busy enough and need something else to do. I have now been given the title of Nanny/Teacher for this –IMG_5123Meet Electra. Guide Dog Puppy in Training from Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida. She is 10 weeks old and came to the 7 Acre Wood this past weekend. She is being sponsored by Classic BMW in Plano, Tx. and they have named her in honor of their all electric car. The name is fitting. She is a live wire! I know that you’re saying “Aahhhh! She’s so cute!” But I know that face. I perfected that face a long time ago –

IMG_5645I know that looks can be deceiving sometimes. Little Miss Electra is actually a tornado on four legs. A shark in motion. I have been presented with quite a challenge. You see that cute face. I see this –

IMG_5117Just a blur whizzing by, chomping as she goes. I was actually a teacher before. I taught Walker the ropes. But I thought that I was retired. I hear the Mom Person saying that a lot. I must admit that she has been talking about this Guide Dog Pup for some time. I guess I just didn’t think she was serious. But here it is. And here to stay for a year! A year! I don’t know much about time, but I think that that is forever.

IMG_5115I will have an assistant. Walker has been dragged in for back-up. He’s not totally sure what he’s getting into. I was a guide dog pup once upon a time. Just like little Electra is. I have to remember that. Remember how hard it was to be so little and have to act so big. I had a great teacher. Hank was the essence of patience. The Zen master. I will try to be like Hank and as always, will do my best to whip this youngster into shape.

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There may be hope for Electra. She is a smart little thing. I’ve already taught her to sit politely for a treat. And the good thing here is that with her training, she’s getting lots of treats – which means more treats for me, as well, for being a good teacher!!

No book today. Who has time for reading?! My goal, though, is to teach this young one the Zen Power of sitting quietly and listening to a good book.

If you would like to find out more about Southeastern Guide Dogs, you can check out my page at the top of this page. Or you can visit their website HERE.

And you can get a puppy fix by visiting their puppy cam HERE.

I wish you a good night’s sleep and sweet dreams!

IMG_5145Your worn out friend
Rhythm

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Dog Shows

The Big Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is taking place this week. THE dog show to be at. Labrador Retrievers showed this morning (this morning being Tuesday, as I write this.) and we watched on the computer. It was almost like being there!

I am a Labrador Retriever so that’s why I was interested in watching those dogs this morning. All the retrievers showed this morning. Labs, Goldens, Chesapeakes, Flat-Coats, Curly Coats, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling. All retrievers were originally bred to RETRIEVE! That means bringing birds back to hunters. Going out and finding the downed bird and bringing it back.

labsLabrador Retrievers were first entered at the Westminster show in 1923. A Lab has NEVER won Best in Show. They have never even won Best in Group – which is the Sporting Group and includes all the other retrievers and all the Spaniels and Setters and Pointers. That being said, according to AKC records, they have been the #1 most popular breed in the United States since 1992!!! I believe that that is because they are one of the most versatile of breeds. They are excellent hunting dogs both in the water and on land. They are also the number one dog for guide dog work. jolly last day 01460-70% of all working guide dogs in the world are Labrador Retrievers. Labs are used in bomb and drug sniffing, as military dogs, in search and rescue, as service dogs, in the show ring as obedience and rally competitors, and of course at home as the perfect companion!

The history of the Labrador is a little murky. They did not come from Labrador, but instead from Newfoundland. The early fishermen, fishing in the Labrador Sea, used a small dog called a St. John’s Dog to help them in the boats. The dogs were sent in to retrieve fish that got off hooks and to help bring in nets. I will not go into a lot of history here, but the name Labrador Retriever became common in England around 1870. The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury is credited with starting the first kennel of Labradors in the early 1800s. The Kennel Club in England first registered Labs in 1903 and the American Kennel Club’s first Lab registration was in 1917. Labs began gaining popularity in the United States in the 1920s.

IMG_4930In 1981, Richard A. Wolters wrote the definitive book on the Labrador, The Labrador Retriever, the history … the people. It was published by Peterson Prints. The book is a real treasure full of historical facts and photographs and lots of artwork.

Labs come in three official colors. Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Yellow labs can be any range from white to a fox red. In the conformation ring, pink noses and white markings are not allowed. A pink nose sometimes happens with yellow labs. This is called a Dudley. The standard size for a Lab is 21 1/2″ – 24 1/2″ at the withers. And 55 – 80 lbs. They should have an otter tail – which means thick and round and straight. The coat should be short, straight and very dense. Outside of the show ring you can find a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Lab temperament should be kindly, outgoing and tractable. Labs are happy, willing dogs!

Now back to the dog show — The winner of Best of Breed in the Lab Ring today was

pauliCh. Wits End St. Pauli Girl

Sire – Ch Hunt Club Clay View Supernova at Belquest

Dam – Ch Wits End Windfall Vegas Showgirl

Whew! Those are some big names!!

My name is simply Rhythm. My Mom and Dad were Dottie and Shep. I guess guide dogs don’t need fancy names. I do have an official AKC number and papers that allow me to compete in AKC sanctioned shows. I have competed in Rally and Agility, but I prefer being a library dog.

library dog 041If you are interested in learning more about Labrador Retrievers you can check on wikipedia HERE.

You can visit the American Kennel Club website. Or the Labrador Retriever Club website. And Animal Planet has a nice little video.

I wish you great success in all that you do this week!
Your friend in the library
Rhythm

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Tuesday Mischief

Some of my dog blog buddies do a blog hop tour on Mondays called Monday Mischief. I like to see what kind of mischief they all get into. It makes me smile to imagine all the fun. I’m not usually into that mischief stuff. But today I kind of got a wild hair or a bee in my bonnet or something.

IMG_2802Our morning routine is to go out and feed the goats and the pony and the chickens and then go walking. I usually let the Mom Person go feed everybody and I wait at the top of the hill. But I got bored today. She was taking too long. So I went wandering instead.

IMG_2255And while I was wandering, the Mom Person was wondering where I was. You see, I never stray far from her. I usually like to keep my eye on her. But like I said, that bee was buzzing in my bonnet.

She claims that she called my name a lot — “RHYTHM!!!”. And that she blew that shrill whistle — “TWEEEEET!!” that I ALWAYS come running to because it means GOOD TREATS. But I never heard any of it. I was enjoying the cool morning and all the nature around me. I made my way back to the house where she eventually found me. She was kind of overly joyful at the sight of me. It’s always good to get that love!

And where was I wandering? I’ll never tell!

IMG_5645Mischief?! Me?!

I hope you have a fun week full of happy surprises! But watch out for those bees! They can get you in trouble!

Rhythm (the Mischief Chief)

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National Guide Dog Month

Well, September has arrived and it seems that a lot goes on at this time of year! September marks a whole new year for school folks. Kids and teachers. There’s Labor Day, football, and birthdays at our house. This is the month to celebrate lots of good things. Like Chickens!!?? Did you know that September is National Chicken Month? Now you do! It’s also National Library Card Sign-Up Month. And best of all – it’s National Guide Dog Month.

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Guide Dogs, or Seeing Eye Dogs, are dogs specifically trained to assist a blind or visually impaired person in navigating through their world. They become that person’s “eyes”. The dog takes instructions from the human, but must watch out for obstacles and dangers in the path. They alert to steps and doors. They help find things – like doors and stairs and bathrooms and chairs. Guide dogs must be alert and vigilant in their job. Never reach out to pet a Guide Dog or interfere with their work.

National Guide Dog Month was established in 2008 as a fundraising event to help non-profit guide dog organizations that are accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation. There are a number of these organizations throughout the country. You can see a list of qualifying Guide Dog schools at the Guide Dog Users, Inc. website here.

img338I, myself, and my buddy Walker were born at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida. Most all working Guide Dogs are bred by and born at an accredited Guide Dog school. As puppies they are usually placed with volunteer puppy raisers who keep them for about a year to a year and a half. It is the puppy raiser’s job to socialize the pup and teach us good house manners. We wear some kind of jacket or cape to identify us as pups in training and this allows us to go lots of places. After our time with our families we go back to our place of birth for work training. Ideally, after 6-8 months we get placed with a blind person and become their companion for the rest of our lives. It’s a lot of transition! Some dogs don’t handle all that moving around very well. Only about 50% of pups actually become working guides. And it’s been said that by that time, a guide dog is worth about $45,000.00!  And the blind person doesn’t have to pay for his/her dog. It is a gift to them from the school.

So Guide Dog schools depend on donations. Southeastern Guide Dogs allows supporters to name puppies. I was sponsored by Petco and named after one of their employee’s  favorite German Shepherd. You can find out more about Petco and their involvement in National Guide Dog Month here.

I’d like to share with you some pictures of me and Walker from our lives as guide dog pups in training –

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And I’ll send you off with a little music video from Southeastern — enjoy!

and go learn more about how you can help!

I wish you JOY during this fine month of September!
Rhythm

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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!!

Restaurant Mishap

Do you ever go to restaurants? I’m sure you do. I think most humans go quite often. I don’t. Most eating establishments frown on dog hair. Well, sometimes I get to sit with the humans on a patio. That’s nice. And well, I do get to go to the cafeteria at school. That’s kind of a restaurant. And well, I did get to go to restaurants a lot when I was a youngster.

I got to go to these places because I needed to learn all the rules about good behavior in an eating place. You humans have lots of rules. Like not stretching out so people wouldn’t trip on me. Like not eating all the french fries that kids drop on the floor. Like not whining. Most of the time, a place under the table provided for a nice nap. Sometimes, if it was crowded under the table, we pups would party a little. That was frowned upon.

Kids have to learn a lot of rules, too. Kids and pups are a lot alike, I think. Kids have to sit still, and not drop french fries, and not whine or be loud. It’s tough! And I have a great book for you all about those rules!

Our favorite 2nd Grade teacher, Ms Julie is presenting this book for us. Ms Julie belongs to the Mom Person and we sometimes visit her class. She has a friend, Conner Hill, who has written a little book called Restaurant Mishap. This is the 1st book in his Stubby Stories series. Conner is 11 years old. The book is illustrated by C. Carlyle McCullough and was published by Aero Studios in 2012.

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Conner came to Ms Julie’s school recently to talk about his book and sign some for the kids. He has a nice smile. I bet he likes dogs.

And Ms Julie’s class has a review for us of Restaurant Mishap!

Today, our new friend, Conner Hill, came to visit our school. He is 11 years old and is a published author! Conner told us that it is not too early to start working toward a dream career. He said we can start now while we are kids, and not even have to wait until we are grown-ups! We all thought that was really awesome!

Synopsis — “This book is all about a boy who goes to a fancy restaurant, and makes mistakes.
In the beginning of the story, John goes to a restaurant with his family and sees everyone wearing fancy clothes. He was embarrassed because he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
In the middle of the story, he had bad manners, made a mess, and said words wrong. He was nervous and embarrassed.
At the end of the story, he goes to bed and his dog licks the mousse off of John’s pants.”

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And here is what the class thought about Conner and his book —

“I like how Conner was really nervous, but his mom was really happy about him.”
“It was awesome, because he’s only 11! He’s my role model!”
“I liked the book because it was a really good and cool book and I liked it a lot!”
“I think it was cool. It was funny!”
“I really liked the book because it is very funny when he made a mess and I can’t believe a fifth grade student wrote a book!”
“I like the book because he was just like me when I go to a restaurant. I forget my manners.”
“I like the book because Conner added a whole bunch of details when he was at the restaurant and I liked the drawings.”

So! It looks like the class liked the book a lot! All thumbs up! I’m hoping that they can do an interview with Conner for us so we can learn more about this fine young man.

In the meantime you should check out Restaurant Mishap. Available thru Amazon.

And check out Conner’s Facebook page here.

And thanks to Ms Julie and all her 2nd Graders for a fine review!

My Buddy

My Buddy Walker went to West today and had a big day. He visited the life skills class and had a great time playing games with the boys there. And then he got in some reading in the library with some 3rd graders and some kindergarteners. He says they were all very kind and respectful. The librarian chose a book called My Buddy. This is a book that we actually have in our home library and is one of our favorites.

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It’s written by Audrey Osofsky and illustrated by Ted Rand. It was published by Henry Holt and Co. in 1992. It’s about a boy with muscular dystrophy and his service dog, Buddy.

Walker happens to carry a few pictures with him of his time as a Guide Dog in Training and he shared them with the kids. They thought it was pretty fun that Walker did some of the same things that Buddy did! Like going to a mall!  Buddy knows 60 commands and the kids figured that Walker knows about 30. But they thought that was pretty smart!

We like this book because it’s about a service dog and Walker and I come from that background. This is a really nice book to read with kids that shows them how special service dogs can be. It talks about some of the training that Buddy goes through and also how Buddy and his boy have to train together. At first they had a hard time trusting each other. The boy tied Buddy to his wrist so that they had to spend every moment together. Even taking showers together! I used to take showers with the Mom Person. I liked that. Now I’m too big.

Buddy does a lot of stuff for his boy that makes life easier and more fun. He becomes just like one of “the guys”.

IMG_1742Buddy and the boy go shopping at the mall and Buddy gives the money to the shop lady! That’s not something Walker ever learned! I think this book helps kids appreciate what a dog can do for people. And I think that these kids in West really appreciate our visits. It’s been fun going there.

We couldn’t find any information on the author of this fine little book. Ms Osofsky has written a couple of other books, but seems to be rather elusive! We did find a nice review of My Buddy with a little about how she came to write it. You might check it out here.

For more information about service dogs visit Canine Companions for Independence.

And for Guide Dog information visit Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.

And a little video from Canine Companions for Independence —

Best in Show

It’s dog show time. THE dog show. Westminster. I’m not a show dog. I was bred for other things. But I have lots of friends who are show dogs so I know all the scoop. And we go watch dog shows. I’m a Labrador Retriever. There are always lots of Labs at the shows.

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This is a Labrador Retriever bred for the ring.   And this is me. Bred to be a Guide Dog. I didn’t become a Guide Dog though. I was destined for other things. I have competed in the show ring though. Not in the conformation ring. But in Rally and Agility. Both adventures were rather short lived, but I had fun and had some success with my efforts.

My Mom Person says I am the Best in Show as far as she’s concerned. No matter what I’m doing!

And now I read books. We discovered a lovely picture book called For the Love of Dogs. An A – Z Primer for Dog Lovers of All Ages. Written by Allison Weiss Entrekin and illustrated by Mark Anderson. It was published by Triumph Books in 2011.

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This is a really nice book. The illustrations are absolutely fantastic! Mr Anderson is spot on with expressions and attitudes. The book is not exactly a breed book, but some of the letters are for some breeds. “B” for Beagle, “D” for Dachshund. Some letters are for other aspects of the dog world. Like “A” is for adoption. “J” is for jowls. “L” is for Labradors – but – my one disappointment with the book – there is no picture for Labradors! What were they thinking?! THE No. 1, most popular breed of dog in the US and no picture?!  Go figure. But outside of that, I love this book. It has some great information as well as the fabulous artwork.

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And you can order prints from Mr Anderson as well!

If you would like to find out more about Labrador Retrievers you can visit the AKC website.
If you would like to know more about the sport of Rally check here.
If you would like to know more about agility check here.

If you would like more on the Westminster Dog Show you can check in here.

And now I’m off to watch the big show — and maybe catch some ZZZZZZZs!

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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