Category Archives: O.P.P. (other people’s pups)

Lucky Number Seven

Guide Dog Lomax, the “Number One Son” of my own personal Labrador story, turns seven years old today. SEVEN. That’s unthinkable to me. I’m assuming this is a taste of how parenthood feels (you know…parenting those *two*-legged beings, an experience I’ve yet to have). Does time really not accelerate? Because it sure does feel like it.

As far as I know, Lomax is still out there working with his partner, keeping her confident, independent and safe. And so is his equally SuperDog-like brother, Guide Dog Liam. Those are some handsome boys, and smart, too.

Happy birthday, fellas. We love you, miss you, think of you often, and are very proud of you.

Crowded House

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

August 30, 2008 — Crowded House

It was at Service Dog G’s house that I received the dreaded phone call from GDA, letting me know that Truman had been “career changed,” and asking if I intended to adopt him (read the whole story if you like). To make a long story short, Wolf and I picked him up a few days later and brought him back to a very crowded house. Truman and G were already friends, and it didn’t take long with Imriel, either.

“What are you looking at? Can’t a couple of guys just hang out and share our feelings, talk about manly-dog stuff over a cool, refreshing tile floor?”

“No, you’re right. We need to be play-fighting and teeth-rattling with giant fangs out, like crazy vampire dogs. There. That’s much better. Then when we’re done here, we’re going to get our little friend and line up as if we intend to let you take a lovely photo. Then we’re going to make weird faces and give you the scary-supernatural-dog eyeballs. It’ll be fun. Watch this.”

It was quite the fun-filled few days.

Unfortunately, once I was back home in my apartment, being responsible for both boys wasn’t going to work out — between living in a third-floor apartment and having to drive to work 45 minutes away and leave a dog at home, there was just too much juggling and contingency planning and all-around chaos for me to handle by myself. I had taken the Imriel assignment thinking that Truman would be in training for at least a little while, so the speed of his triumphant return came as an “uh-oh, NOW what?” surprise. Fortunately, Imriel was perfectly happy to spend the rest of his Southern California visit at the home of my puppy group co-leaders, who are excellent dog trainers and enthusiastic “Shepherd people.”

Imriel is now career changed himself, and living happily with his original puppy raiser. I still think of him occasionally, with great fondness.

Race Relations

August 29, 2008 — International relations were strained today as representatives from Labrador, Thailand and Germany met to discuss the centuries-old enmity between their respective nations.

Imriel in the House of G

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

August 29, 2008 — Imriel in the House of G

I had another house-and-dog-sitting gig at the home of service dog “G” and her people, and Imriel tagged along. So for a week or thereabouts, I was to be in charge of someone else’s house, someone else’s service dog, someone else’s cat, and someone else’s GDA puppy-in-training.

By myself.

Obviously, I did live to tell the tale, so you may infer that it went well. I was constantly counting heads, and we had some silly fun.  The most amazing moment was probably when things became so quiet one evening that the cat — who was NOT excited about the presence of even a well-behaved German Shepherd in the house — ventured out of her hiding place and joined me, G and Imriel in the living room.

Imriel the Tailypo

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

August 21, 2008 — Imriel the Tailypo

Imriel had a presence about him. So handsome and debonair. And yet, also so reminiscent of a creepy folklore creature known as “The Tailypo.” My roommate at the time brought it to my attention, so I bought a book about it to remember him by, and sent one to his puppy raiser in Washington as well.

Here’s the photogenic Tailypo Imriel, hanging out at the apartment. Isn’t he gorgeous?

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Empty Leash Refilled

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

August 9, 2008 — Empty Leash Refilled

After Truman’s turn-in, I took my empty leash over to the kennel department and filled it with a German Shepherd.


I know. But I’m serious. I had been asked to temporarily take on a Shepherd from the puppy raiser group in Washington state. The little guy was having some allergy issues, and the GDA vet department wanted to try to clear those up in order to give him all the chances they could to get him to formal training, so he came down to SoCal for a while. I figured it would be nice to have another furry friend to cuddle with since I’d miss my Roo so much, and I’d never watched a Shepherd before, so that would be fun.

The handsome devil’s name? Imriel. An all-black Shepherd (or as I like to refer to them, Pointy Labs). And he was a sweetie!

The first thing I noticed — beside how long and lanky and tall he was — was his gait. This was no Labrador tugboat! On leash, he had more in common with the Labradoodles I’d watched. Long and loping, barely there. It was fun to walk him.

I got him home to my apartment, and we settled in for the next few weeks. He was a great dog, but very different in some profound ways from what I knew best. I found myself calling the “Shepherd people” I knew, to ask questions like “Why does he not seem interested in eating?” and “How on earth do I get him to eat?” and “Seriously, what is his deal with the not eating?” My friend’s answer was pretty funny: “It’s normal. It’s a Shepherd thing. It’s just that unlike a Lab, food is NOT a Shepherd’s number one priority.”

I loved watching Imriel keep track of everything; he really seemed to know what was going on everywhere, at all times. Even while we were walking, his gaze would shift near and far, his head would turn (but calmly) at the slightest peripheral activity, and his ears would constantly be realigning to whatever they could pick up. He was on the job 24/7. And aside from having to pronounce his name repeatedly to everyone, and assure them that yes, there is such a thing as a black German Shepherd, I loved having him around.

G Love

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

July 13, 2008 — G Love

Sweet little G took a liking — and occasionally a licking — to Wolf.

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What Up, G?

Another post in my continuing “Days of Yore” series, catching up on long-overdue photos of Truman’s final days as a puppy-in-training….

July 13, 2008 — What Up, G?

When I was out grocery shopping in my neighborhood one day, I had the good fortune to meet a family with a working service dog. Because I recognized the dog’s jacket (from another school), I introduced myself as a puppy raiser for GDA and we struck up a conversation. To make a long story short, I ended up house-and-dogsitting for them a few times while they went out of town on not-so-dog-friendly trips.

I enjoyed having a house and yard to myself for a few days, and Truman was ecstatic (as always) to be with another dog. Now, this other dog (we’ll call her “G”) is no spring chicken, and is not used to having to deal with an exuberant young four-legged punk, but she really held her own! When she felt like playing, we had a fine few minutes of racing around and play-bowing and barking and toy-stealing. Then when she was done, she was done, and would let him know.

G liked Truman’s squeaky octopus so much, we decided she should keep it.

Like a Canine Charlie Sheen

Bronx has returned! We’ve been hosting the now ten-month-old Dog Wonder since Wednesday night. As of this writing — Monday, lunch time — he’s finally motionless during daylight hours. He and Truman have been playing pretty hard. Fortunately, Roo went to work with my husband today so I could actually get things done around here instead of spending my day breaking up the crazy.

Bronx had “The Big Snip” about a week ago. The good news is, it’s much easier to control a male dog if they’re neutered early on like this, because the procedure can prevent the formation of difficult-to-break behaviors like territory marking, etc. The bad news is, I’m pretty sure they gave Bronx a Red Bull transfusion at the same time. My husband suspects the vet may have mistakenly added a second pair instead of removing the first.

It has been HumpFest 2010 around here. (I’m sure that’ll bring some interesting Web traffic.)

Fortunately, Truman got tired of the abuse yesterday and decided to stop the dominance displays himself instead of waiting for his exhausted humans to pull the little black dog off his back. Way to take the initiative, boy!

In other respects, it’s been pretty entertaining to watch them play and wrestle. Bronx is trying a new “snowplow” technique, where he shoves his nose or entire head under the standing Truman in an attempt to — flip him, maybe? Who knows? When that proves impossible, he bites Truman’s leg. There’s been a fair amount of snorting and teeth-rattling too, and a noise that sounds remarkably like a hiss. Maybe he’s part snake. He’s quick enough.

He hasn’t moved since I started writing this. I think I’ll go check his pulse.

A Q&A with Bronx

Bronx waited until the last couple of days with us to put on his NaughtyPants. Seriously, he is such a good and sweet little dog…but when he decides to do something against the law, he goes into stealth mode and does it quickly and quietly. Now, I am a vigilant puppy raiser, but this one flew under my radar, and he did it repeatedly.

A Bronx Q&A from the last few days:

Jenny: “What is my shoe doing off the shoe rack? And where is the other one?”
Bronx: “Check the living room, where you were just two minutes ago. It tastes like Disneyland.”

Jenny: “Is that an ink pen sticking out of both sides of your mouth?”
Bronx: “Mmhmmf.”

Jenny: “Where did my hair tie go? I could have sworn I had it this morning….”
Bronx: “You’ll see it again. Probably just after dinner.”

Jenny: “What’s that giant black lump in the middle of my bed?”
Bronx: “Oh, hi. Enjoy your three-minute bathroom break? The yellow dog just jumped off and ran away, muttering something about the cops, but I’m lovin’ this TempurPedic mattress. Wanna join me?”

Jenny: “What are you eating? Open up.”
Bronx: “I believe it’s excrement. You’re gonna wanna wash those fingers.”