Friday, January 28, 2011

School Friends

I've often alluded to the entourage of friends that Kyle has at school. I have to laugh because I recently realized that Kyle has a group of kids that visit him before school, another during lunch, and a third after school. The surprising thing about these kids...I haven't taught any of them. Kyle sure is one popular pup!

One student loves dogs, but her parents and siblings are allergic to them. How horrible would that be? Thus, she and six or so of her friends love to stop by and get some puppy time.

 (Kyle and three girls saying hello in the morning.)

(Kyle getting loved on by the three at once.)

At lunch time, another group stops by. One girl in particular likes to get dog training tips. I love hearing about her excitement working with her pet.

(Kyle loves getting scratched by this girl.)

The students that hang out after school are siblings of my friends and former students. They love using my room as a meeting place because they get to sneak in a game of tug while waiting for their rides and after school activities.

Thankfully, Kyle isn't spoiled by all the attention. Kyle's learned to enjoy the play time while it lasts and then settle down for the next class. That in and of itself is a big improvement and accomplishment on Kyle's part.

(Kyle absolutely relaxed. He's actually surrounded by students paying him attention, but they are cropped out by the camera angle.)

Life is good when you are the top dog on campus!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Through the Camera's Eye

While Kyle and Kasie were busy chasing each other around Kasie's yard, I snagged a great shot of the two of them. However, as I zoomed in on the picture, I noticed there was something wrong with the image. Can you catch it?

(Kasie is chasing Kyle while he runs off with her tennis ball.)

Needless to say, I put my camera away long enough to take the tennis ball and hide it on top of the fence. Oops! Note to self: clean up non-GDB toys from a yard before letting Kyle free.

Have you ever caught your puppy doing something on camera that you didn't notice in real life? Please tell me I'm not the only completely clueless puppy raiser.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

(Kyle curled up like a baby in my lap.)

Kyle may be over 60 pounds and 14 months, but he still loves to fold his almost-adult body into my lap. Lucky for him, I love holding Kyle like this too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Utah might be snowy and cold, but it's downright toasty here compared to where my sister lives in Idaho. Kyle loves the snow, so he thought this was a great deal. In fact, he spent a good portion of the time we were in Idaho playing with Boo and Kasie in the snow.

(Boo, Kyle, and Kasie taking a break from a game of chase.)

For the most part, my sister's dog Boo doesn't like to play with Kyle. Instead, they play independently in the same yard. Thankfully, the neighbors' dog Kasie warmed up to Kyle after a few minutes, and they became fast friends.

I wanted Kyle to learn to be outside in a fenced yard without me, and having Kasie around helped him gain the confidence to do so. The first day, Kyle kept barking to come inside with the people, but by the end of our trip he was comfortable spending time out of my presence. Since I always had a fenced yard with my other GDB puppies and pets, it was funny to have to teach Kyle this skill.

(Kyle chasing Kasie across the yard.)

Kasie and Boo's favorite game is chasing squirrels up a tree. They'll spend hours on end watching their favorite squirrel spots. I was a bit worried that they would teach Kyle this game, but he never quite figured out what they were up to. I guess Kyle's retriever instincts with small animals aren't too strong. That's perfect for guide work, so I won't complain.

(Boo and Kasie are jumping at a squirrel in a tree while Kyle wanders away bored.)

Just because I can throw it in, here's a shot of my handsome boy in the snow. This picture really shows how much he is starting to look like an adult.

(Kyle standing in packed down snow.)

I'm not a fan of cold weather, so poor Kyle hasn't had his daily walks for awhile. However, with my sister Kassie and Boo as companions, we found the motivation to brave the weather. The walks were beautiful, but I have to admit that the pups had wet paws, and the humans had soggy shoes and pants by the end of each walk. That didn't keep us from venturing out again though. It's always more enjoyable to walk with company.

(Kyle and I venturing down one of the cleared sidewalks. Nice sidewalks are worth crossing the street!)

Finally, since we had a photographer with us, Kyle and I got a rare picture together. Venturing into the winter wonderland was worth it to give Kyle a weekend that he loved.

 (Kyle and I on the sidewalk in front of the snow.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

14 Things at 14 Months

Last month I missed Kyle's post because it was Christmas Eve, and he was with a puppy sitter. I hated spending the holidays away from my boy, but GDB puppies aren't allowed to leave the puppy raising states. Thus, West Virginia was a no go. Sorry Kyle.

This post is a really hard one to write because it means I only have one more "guaranteed" month left with Kyle. Anything past 15 months is a bonus with GDB puppies. My leader thinks Kyle will be with me a bit longer than that, but I'm not sure if she is just saying that because her puppy, Sugar, should be recalled with Kyle. Before I start worrying about a potential month of "lasts," here are 14 things that make Kyle amazing.

1: Kyle got glowing reports from his puppy sitters over Christmas. They were sweet enough to send me daily picture texts to show his good behavior and keep me from missing him too much.

2: Kyle has great mastery of his basic commands. The only one he doesn't know is stand, but he started learning it this weekend.

3: We've spent a lot of effort on the "go to bed" command recently, and it is now one of his favorite pastimes. He'll even hold it (most of the time) when company is over.

4: Hide-and-go-seek is one of my new favorite pastimes. I love hiding behind the shower curtain, on the kitchen counter, and in the utility closet and waiting for Kyle to find me after I holler "come." He's persistent at looking until he finds me, and his face is adorable as he thinks and searches.

5: Kyle loves to go to work. When we get to my classroom each morning, he enthusiastically runs to his bed with a wagging tail. He voluntarily stays there until the early students show up for a morning tug session.

6: Along the same lines, Kyle has won over the hearts of an entire high school. My students love him. He's so dependable that I let students take him for walks, they relieve him in the middle of the day, and they watch him in the library and computer lab so that I'm free to wander and help. Kyle is a service dog ambassador for so many teenagers.

7: Kyle behaves better for other people than he does for me. While in Idaho he responded to corrections from my sister Kassie to quit barking better than he responded to me. That might seem like a weird thing to be proud of...but it was a good opportunity to see Kyle's real abilities. No more Ms. Nice Guy from me now. :)
8: It took four days of playing in a fenced yard, going for walks, and several of outings, but I managed to wear Kyle out for the first time in forever. It can be done! Seriously, Kyle needs a partner who never stops because he's the energizer puppy.

9: Nothing has changed in the cuddling department. Kyle still loves to be touching me 24/7. It's pretty much a given now that Kyle will never outgrow sitting in my lap. I hope he gets a partner who enjoys that habit because I do nothing but encourage it.

10: An eye infection spread throughout our puppy club this month. Kyle never fussed about his eye drops and actually loved having his eyes cleaned with a warm cloth.

11: Kyle loves to chew. One of his Christmas presents was a new sterilized bone. He already wore it out and needs a replacement. Yikes! With that said, Kyle has never chewed anything that he shouldn't. For a dog that loves to chew, that is amazing. I love that I have always been able to trust Kyle in that department.

12: If Kyle had a report card, he'd get an A+ for plays well with others. In the past few months, Kyle's played with several different dogs. With each encounter, he adjusts his play style to one that will make the other dog happy.

13: While we were in Idaho, we attended church with my sister Kassie. Every cute guy in the congregation had to meet Kyle afterward. I cannot remember the last time I've met so many attractive men in the same day. Thank you Kyle for your help in that department. ;)

14: Kyle wins the heart of everyone around him. Even my non-dog loving friends think Kyle is pretty terrific. Most importantly though, Kyle has me wrapped around his paw. I love this dog!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Furminator Rivisited

I started this blog the day my FURminator arrived in the mail. It was a silly place to begin a tale, but I was too excited to wait for a puppy before I began blogging about my adventures.

Now that Kyle has been with me for what feels like forever, I decided to post a review of our furminator as a followup to that post from long ago.

With Turk, Mesa, and all of my pets in the past, I've tried every type of brush imaginable to curb the immense amount of hair they loved to share with my home. Nothing worked to my liking. With that said, the FURminator passes all tests.

When I got Kyle, he didn't like the FURminator one bit. He tried to bite it while I was using it. It was weird. I used to put Kyle in his head collar while brushing him so that I could control him with one hand and brush him with the other.

(Kassie furminating Boo while I am furminating Kyle.)

Despite Kyle's negative initial reaction to the FURminator, I loved the results enough to recommend it to everyone I know. At this point, my sisters, my dad, my aunt, and several friends now own these useful brushes and happily use them to control their pet's shedding.

Somewhere along the line, Kyle learned to love the FURminator. Now he goes belly up to get some extra scratching from the brush whenever I pull it out. I've not encountered another dog with a negative reaction, so I'm guessing that Kyle's reaction was out of the ordinary.

These days, I notice a huge difference in the cleanliness of my car and home if I keep up with Kyle's furminating. When I slacked for a bit, I paid the price in vaccuming time. I'd much rather groom Kyle!

(Boo and Kyle showing off the fur they would have deposited all over if Kassie and I hadn't furminated them.)

I've convinced enough people offline to buy these handy brushes. If any online friends don't have a FURminator, I highly recommend getting one. However, here is the most important hint in this entire blog post--don't buy your furminator in a pet store. They are only $15 on ebay. I love a good bargain!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

(Kyle and I are standing about two feet inside a park that has a "No Dogs Allowed in Park" sign.)

I am a rule stickler by nature. Somehow breaking a rule at this park while still keeping the law brought me immense satisfaction. I'm weird!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Sister!

Kyle and I went to Wingers this weekend to celebrate my sister Kassie's birthday.

Kassie, a couple friends, and I stuffed ourselves on popcorn, sticky fingers, and pie.

 (Kassie holding a giant slice of pie that we shamelessly devoured.)

Meanwhile, Kyle demonstrated his best guide dog skills by dozing under the table. Wouldn't life be great if good manners for humans dictated that we nap whenever we weren't moving?

(Kyle enjoying a snooze under the table.)

I may have a plethora of siblings, but Kassie is the only sister close enough to see on a regular basis. I love that she enthusiastically supports me in my puppy raising adventures. Kyle couldn't ask for a better cheerleader. Of course, he is rather fond of Kassie as well.

 (Kassie and I together at the restaurant.)

I hope this year is the best one yet for you, sister. May your dreams come true!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Muddy Mess

Look what the grocery store parking lot did to Kyle when we ran a quick errand on our lunch break.

(Kyle has mud splatters up his legs and underbelly.)

Did I mention that Kyle got a bath two days ago? Sigh!