Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Classroom Christmas

Christmas in my classroom started a couple weeks ago when I took a trip to Texas, and Kyle visited a puppy sitter. When I picked Kyle up, the puppy sitter gave us the coolest snowflake ever. She mentioned that it was to hang in my classroom, so that is exactly what I did after I laminated it.

(This is an amazing snowflake with The Grinch, Max, and Kyle worked in to it.)

My students all loved the snowflake and decided to decorate my classroom. Pretty soon there was a blizard in the classroom.

(Snowflakes hanging from the classroom ceiling.)

The next week I bought Kyle two new dog beds as early Christmas presents...one for our living room and one for the classroom. From the first day Kyle had a bed at school, his behavior changed dramatically. Instead of barking for attention, Kyle loves to lay on his bed all day. Unless we are doing something especially rowdy, Kyle doesn't even need a tie down. This has been great practice for his "go to bed" command. I should have gotten Kyle a school bed months ago!

(Kyle enjoying his school bed and favorite bone.)

The same student who has drawn previous pictures of Kyle on the white board captured Kyle in one of his favorite poses on his bed.

(A green line sketch of Kyle laying sprawled across his bed.)

On the last day before Christmas break, I allowed my honors students time to do homework or play educational games. One of my class periods is particularly enamored with Kyle, so a few students came and asked if they could play with Kyle instead.

If you've ever wondered what students think of having a puppy in English class, this picture should answer that.

(A student with a huge grin while she plays tug with Kyle.)

My classroom is a terrific place for tug. Check out the video below to see how fun tug can be with a rolly chair and a slick floor.

(Kyle pulls a student on a rolly chair around the classroom while playing tug.)

Before students had to tell Kyle goodbye for two weeks, they made sure to tell him Merry Christmas in language he understands. He loved every minute of love they gave him.

(Life is hard when you are the teacher's pet. Kyle gets belly scratches from two students at once.)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Here's one of my favorite puppy raising memories for you. Turk graduated as a guide in September 1998. The Christmas after he graduated, Janet sent me a picture of Turk sitting with Santa. Her thoughtfulness in sending that picture made my holidays. I lost contact with Janet, something that is primarily my fault and a big regret, but I will never forget her Christmas gift.

Tonight seven of the puppies from our club visited Santa at the local mall. I debated whether or not to pay for a picture of Kyle with him, but after I thought of Turk's picture, I caved. The happy memories drew me. I look forward to reversing the the gift from Janet when I give Kyle's picture with Santa to his partner.

(Kyle sitting next to a grumpy looking Santa. I'm impressed that someone got Kyle to look at the camera on the first shot.)

(Seven of our crew. I love Julimae's head tilt and Snicker's kiss for Lacole. Back row: Kyle, Sugar, Clyde, Julimae, Snickers, and Lacole. Front row: Keiko.)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12 Things at 12 Months

The day before Thanksgiving, Kyle turned one. Due to the business of the holiday, I am just now getting around to writing a post to celebrate my boy. In honor of the holiday and Kyle's birthday, here are 12 reasons I am thankful for Kyle.
  1. I am thankful for Kyle's cuddles. Just the other night I sat on the floor to work so that Kyle could lay on my lap and doze. He's too big to really make a ball in my lap anymore, but he still loves to sleep while touching me.
  2. I am thankful for how easy Kyle is to take in public. He is ace! This dog was born for guide work--and not just because he was born in the GDB kennels. I've had friends ask me how I trained him to do so well. The truth is that I didn't do anything. Kyle just how to behave immediately. His partner will love taking him out and about.
  3. I am thankful for my new alarm clock. Kyle is a morning dog, and I am not a morning person. He used to let me sleep in, but now he wakes me up if I try to sleep in. That would probably annoy most people, but I appreciate having motivation to get up.
  4. I am thankful for Kyle's playfulness. He reminds me to lighten up and enjoy life.
  5. I am thankful for the laughs Kyle provides. Just yesterday I giggled like a child, hiding in my closet while playing hide-and-go-seek with Kyle.
  6. I am thankful for Kyle's eyebrows. They make his face incredibly expressive.
  7. I am thankful for the new people Kyle helps me meet. It's impossible to live in a bubble when you have a stellar dog at your side. I've met more people from my community in my seven months with Kyle than in the previous four years.
  8. I am thankful for my puppy club. Because of Kyle, I get to associate with an incredible group of friends. They alone are reason enough to keep raising.
  9. I am thankful for exercise. After unsuccessful gym memberships and failed pedometer challenges, Kyle gets me up and moving. He loves our walks so much that it is hard to deny him.
  10. I am thankful for Kyle's company. I really enjoy having him at my constant side. Even tasks I hate, like shopping, are enjoyable when he is trotting next to me.
  11. I am thankful for Kyle's maturity. Just when I couldn't stand anymore teenage hormones, Kyle has grown up over night. There's not much of a puppy in the dog at my side now. Kyle is going to be an incredible dog.
  12. I am thankful for Kyle's love. Dog's really are a man's best friend. Someday he will be an amazing partner because I know what a great puppy-in-training and friend he is for me.
This post is going to be picture-less because I need to get it up before another week passes. I'll post pictures of Kyle soon. For now, just know that I am thankful to be raising an incredible, one-year-old, dog.