Category Archives: uncategorized

Yellow Friday

I don’t do “Black Friday.” There’s just no sale good enough to get me to go out there and camp out, fight the crowds, push and shove…or get up and go shopping at three in the morning the day after Thanksgiving, especially now that I live somewhere that’s cold. My sanity and holiday cheer are worth more to me than the discounts! I mean, hey — if it’s something you enjoy, go for it. I’d rather stay home, and am happy to leave more space at Best Buy/Target/Wal-mart/Kohl’s for you.

But since we have one car right now (mine’s in the shop), and the pack leader is off work for the weekend, I wanted to make sure Sonny got out and about once today. So we went to Starbucks. A to-go order at a coffee house is a nice quick trip for a little dog (especially a little dog I have to carry everywhere because he doesn’t have all his shots yet). I got my peppermint mocha frappuccino, the pack leader got his strawberries & creme, and Sonny got more practice in the car and in his tiny yellow puppy jacket as well as exposure to a venue with interesting sounds and delightful smells.

And since he’s only slept through the night once in this past week, I was also more than happy for the caffeine.

Now we’re back home, feeling pretty good about the fact that this “weekend” is only half over. The pack leader and I are working on our own projects, sleepy Sonny is taking a pre-dinner nap, and Truman is hard at work being handsome, as always. Happy Yellow Friday!

We Have House!


We have a place to live in Pennsylvania! A lovely townhouse, with plenty of room for the boys to romp (nice basement…or “shuffletorium,” as I’m calling it). The owners met with our pack leader, and were sufficiently impressed by his portrayal of our fine and well-mannered Labradors that they agreed to rent us the place, even though they would not normally consider someone with two big dogs. It’s going to cost us a little more in rent than the other places we looked at (with one-dog mandates), and we are paying a double pet deposit, but it’s worth it to have a home for all four of us.

I’m relieved, I’m thrilled, I’m excited. We have a 12-month lease (and I have a square-footage count)!

A Couple of Twits

And by the way…I’m tweeting now. Follow me @LabradorRodeo, if you’re not tired of hearing from me already!

GDA Puppy Evacuation: Film at 11!

Our local Fox affiliate did a news story on GDA’s dog evacuation. Check out the video!

Fire Near GDA — Prayers Appreciated

Those of you who live here in California know the perils of fire season — when it’s hot and dry and windy, as it is every autumn, things can get scary.

There’s a pretty big fire burning in Sylmar right now, which is where Guide Dogs of America is located. I woke up to several e-mails this morning from puppy raiser group area leaders and GDA employees. The current situation is that all the dogs and puppies were safely evacuated at 1:30 this morning, and that the campus is still standing, but without power or phone service.

Fires are unpredictable, and sometimes even when things are seemingly under control, the winds can change and bring about a whole new situation. Your prayers are appreciated: for the campus itself, the staff and volunteers, the dogs and puppies, and especially the first-responders who are taking care of business on the fire lines.

Many thanks.

One Last Time, Truman Asks You to Vote for Laurie!

UPDATE: Truman’s good friend Laurie has made the FINALS (it’s just her and one other person!) in’s “Beedle the Bard Ballad Writing Contest,” where the grand prize is a trip for two to London to read J.K. Rowling’s handwritten, unpublished book of fairy tales, mentioned in the 7th Harry Potter book. She asked me to thank all of you who voted for her in the semi-finals…and hopes you will vote one last time!

Will you take a moment to vote for “Laura H.” here on the Amazon contest page?


Help Me Support a K-9 Team in Iraq

Want to lend a helping paw? Some of you know about my other volunteer involvement as part of Soldiers’ Angels…well, in addition to my “formally” adopted Marine, Truman and I are also sending a care package (through to a Marine K-9 unit currently serving in Iraq. We’re including snacks for the human part of the team, and some rugged toys for the dog part of the team — Kongs, Nylabones, you guys know, all the good “big dog” stuff.

But what I often hear is that package recipients are equally excited to receive letters and well-wishing from home. Most of the readers of this blog are puppy raisers; you guys know how special the bond is between a working dog and his (or her!) handler, and these teams are doing very difficult, dangerous work. Think about your most stressful day as a puppy raiser, then think about how stressful it would be to be in charge of a dog whose job it is to locate explosives…. The dogs need play time and the people need a little morale boost.

So, if you’d like to send a little note of encouragement from you or your puppy-in-training (or working service dog) to the K-9 team, e-mail it to me, and I’ll print it out and put it in the care package along with my letter and the rest of the goodies. You can even send a photo, if you’d like. I’ll be mailing the package on Monday, August 6th, so send me any e-mail by Sunday the 5th if you’re interested. Thanks for your support!

Decorate Your Dog Neck

Our friend & fellow puppy raiser Denise makes fantastic dog collars, and has FINALLY put up her website: Kamra’s Kloset.

You will see Truman (and perhaps some other pups you recognize?) featured in the Happy Puppies gallery, sporting some of the merchandise. Seriously, check out her wares! Truman has a terrific new Kamra’s Kloset collar you haven’t seen yet, made out of appropriate fabric for our upcoming pirate-themed GDA Open House (June 9th, if you’re in the area).

On an Unrelated Note

Those of you who are aware of my other silly, mostly-non-puppy-related personal Web journal may have given up hope that I would ever update it again (to be honest, I was almost there myself). Looks like we were both wrong!

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you might enjoy these posts. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, you might enjoy them anyway. Or you might just mock me. This is the chance we take.

Save the GDA Breeding Department!

Those of you who live here in California, can I ask a favor? There’s a state assembly bill coming up for a hearing on April 24th (tomorrow!) that could — if it passes as written — have a destructive impact on Guide Dogs of America, and possibly other organizations like it. If you’re a puppy raiser, it might affect you as well.

We probably all agree on the importance of spaying and neutering pets so as to prevent unwanted litters, strays, abuse and abandonment. The California legislature may have the best of intentions, but Assembly Bill 1634 endangers Guide Dogs of America (the breeding department in particular) because it seeks to impose mandatory spaying and neutering of all pets four months of age who do not have a special “intact permit.”

This explanation comes from the GDA Breeding Manager:

It is extremely important that you email or fax your opposition before 4/24/07. The current bill DOES NOT make any provisions for our breeding stock. Aside from no provisions for our breeding stock there will be a $150.00 intact permit fee for all pups and dogs over four months old. Because Guide Dogs of America is the owner of these dogs we would be responsible for paying for these permits. Just for the breeding stock alone our yearly fees would be around $9,000, this does not include any of our unaltered pups. If an intact fee is not obtained there will be a $500.00 fine for each violation.

Because our breeding stock does not qualify for an intact permit this would put an end to our breeding program. At this time we have enough puppies in the program to hold the school over for about two years. After that, good luck finding quality pups.

Please send your opposition to all of these assembly members. Also, it might help to send a letter to our Governor to veto the bill if it should pass.

Here’s more opposition to this bill, which affects not only service dog organizations, but also members of The American Kennel Club.

I followed up with her when I found a revised version of the proposed bill that seemed to cover service dogs, and she replied:

The key words are “being trained or trained as a Guide Dog.” Our breeding dogs are not being trained or trained to be Guide Dogs therefore would not qualify for an intact permit. The most unfortunate point is the extremely high licensing fees the raisers would need to pay for all pups four months and older that are not sterilized. Four months is way too young to make any decisions in regards to a pup’s future in the Guide Dog program (i.e. breeding or a future Guide Dog). In most counties the licensing fee is around $100.00 a year for intact dogs. GDA has a kennel license but it does not cover dogs that do not live on the premises.

You can see the problem. I know this is last minute, but if you have a moment to craft an e-mail today (especially if you are affiliated with a service dog org) and CC all of the following folks, that would be fantastic:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Assemblyman Mike Eng, Chair
Fax 916-319-2149

Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, Vice Chair
Fax 916-319-2163

Assemblywoman Karen Bass
Fax 916-319-2147

Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter
Fax 916-319-2162

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi
Fax 916-319-2118

Assemblyman Edward P. Hernandez
Fax 916-319-2157

Assemblywoman Shirley Horton
Fax 916-319-2178

Assemblyman Bill Maze
Fax 916-319-2134

Assemblyman Curren D. Price Jr.
Fax 916-319-2151

Assemblyman Alberto Torrico
Fax 916-319-2120