Category Archives: Doodles

Is “Happy New Year” Still Acceptable?

Happy New Year! Can I still be saying that on the 17th?

Wolf and I have been away for the last two weeks on a little adventure. We drove one of our cars across the country so we’ll have one less thing to deal with during the move in March. We crossed something like ten states in five days on the road. Five…long…days. Then I stayed in Pennsylvania for an extra week, getting to know a little about the area where we’ll be relocating, and trying to find a place for us to live.

It is no picnic finding a rental place that allows dogs, let me tell you. Yes, even extremely well-behaved dogs! I suppose I can understand a landlord’s prerogative in that; you don’t necessarily know your tenants or their pets. If it were me, though, I’d be much more inclined to allow dogs than, say, cats. After all, I’ve never had to replace the living room carpet because of a dog.

We have some good leads and will see how it goes. I’d just like to have an address, and a square-footage count, so I can start thinking more strategically about what to take with us and what to get rid of before the move.

Meanwhile, my boys were with puppy sitters the last two weeks. Truman stayed with his favorite adoring “aunties,” and got to play with some very energetic one-year-old golden retriever girls AND his favorite career-changed goldendoodle. Sometimes when I pick him up from Auntie Georgia’s house, I’m not entirely convinced he wants to leave.

Jethro was staying with a family in my puppy raiser group who just turned in their dog — also a male yellow Lab — for formal training. So that was good for both the snuggly dog and the people who miss having one to snuggle. They brought him back to me last night, and I swear he bulked up! Can’t wait to weigh him at the school on Tuesday and find out how much he’s gained.

From the sound of it, Jethro got lots of love and attention and training time (his first lesson: how to distinguish between puppy toys and children’s toys — apparently a LEGO sacrificed itself in the endeavor). They took him to restaurants several times, where he was apparently very well behaved; and to my puppy group meeting, where they said his obedience was quite good. He responds very well to verbal correction, which is a terrific trait.

I forget sometimes what a high standard we hold our dogs to. When someone says that he was very well behaved in a public place, I always think, “Well of COURSE he was!” And then I remember that he’s just five, five and a half months old. We forget. But people who aren’t used to service dogs in training often marvel at what our little puppies can do. Know anybody else who’d take a five month old pup to the office, or to a restaurant, and expect obedience?

And doesn’t it make you smile when someone says, “I didn’t even realize there was a dog here”…? What a gift these dogs are, for their eventual partners and for us. What a privilege to raise them, to teach them, to be proud of them and to love them long after they’re no longer ours.

It’s a new year. There’s excitement ahead. Welcome, 2011.

More From Doodle-Ville

Ike and his new partner. I think it’s love.

News From the Doodle

Today I heard terrific news about IkeyDoodle.

After going in for formal training at GDA last November, Ike decided he didn’t want to be a guide dog. After a week at home with his puppy raisers, he went to Canine Support Teams, where he has since been showing everybody what he’s made of.

Kari tells me that he is retrieving, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, and being used for stability…and that he is scheduled to be matched with the team training class that begins next week and finishes on March 3.

Sometimes a little career change is all it takes to find your place in life. Go Ikey go!!!

Ingrid "Crazy Legs" Bouvier

After I turned in Lomax last August, I went on a puppy sitting jag that lasted several weeks. One day I realized I’d had more time with other people’s dogs than with no dog at all, and I needed a break. I haven’t often, therefore, watched anyone’s pup since about November (when I was busy writing a novel), in an attempt to get through the holidays with some semblance of sanity, as well as to prepare for the arrival of a new puppy.

I wasn’t blogging much during that time, choosing instead to concentrate on enjoying everyone else’s dogs and to spend my free time doing things in the real world. But I did take some photos! We’ll begin with Ingrid.

You’ve already read a little about Ingrid, lovely Labradoodle and sister to Ike (who has since decided he doesn’t want to be a guide dog but is now training at Canine Support Teams). Ingrid is sweet, like her brother, but also a real comedy act on four legs. My roommate fell in love with her immediately because Ingrid was just so…silly. The way she ran and played was hilarious, all legs and spring. I thought she should guard for the Lakers, because she looks good in purple and has mastered the art of forcing a five-second violation — you should have seen her try to prevent my roommate from leaving the room.

Anyway, one evening during Ingrid’s visit, Wrio‘s puppy raisers asked me if I could watch her for a few hours. Knowing my roommate was out for the weekend, but feeling confident, I thought, “How hard could it be?”

I had been warned that Ingrid could be a bit… not aggressive, but perhaps firm… with smaller or younger dogs. But the girls got along famously, I must say. So famously, in fact, that it was difficult to keep them separated in a down/stay for any length of time.

And guess who was the instigator? Ingrid was not the only one who slept soundly after Wrio went home that night.


Well, I’m back from my blogging hiatus. I have photos and tales from a bunch of puppysitting I did back in September and October, with which I will regale you in good time.

Meanwhile, the latest news: I attended the annual GDA Christmas party potluck today. Good food, billions of dogs! It was nice to be able to walk around and say hello to all my human and puppy friends, and it was weird knowing that Lomax was just down at the kennels with Liam and Nevada and his other “classmates.” I hear the boys are doing well, so while I would of course have loved to see him, it didn’t bother me too much that I couldn’t. The longer he’s in there, the closer he is to graduation. Still keeping your paws crossed for us out there?

I didn’t take too many photos while I was there — there’s only so much you can do with a camera when your other hand is shoving cookies in your mouth, after all — but here are some happy shots of Joanna and Chandler!