Monthly Archives: December 2012
Raising guide dogs for the blind is a wonderful fulfilling task that I work on everyday. Part of the training is exposing the dogs to water. Most of the guide dogs are labs and retrievers which are both bred to swim in the lakes and retrieve ducks.
So my dog has been swimming in a lake and ocean. Both times he had hesitation about getting into the water. We encouraged him and let him go into the water at his own pace. Once he gets the confidence to go in far enough that the water was over his head, instinct kicks in and the feet start moving the tail start wagging and off he goes across the lake and through the ocean.
So last week we decided to take him to a pet kennel that has a swimming pool, indoor, of course. We are so excited, our little one hasn’t been able to swim since this summer. Now there is a big difference between a pool and a lake or ocean. The first thing he did when we went into the pool room was run in and stop. The smell of chlorine made my eyes burns. I can only imagine what the smell was like for him. Because the smell was so strong he didn’t want to get in the water. Once I splashed around, he realized, oh this is water, “I like water”.
In he went. We thought, this is great. The one thing we didn’t realize was that he didn’t know how to get out. He swam to the end of the pool and then tried to get out by climbing the wall. I am panicking because I see that he is panicking, trying to climb the wet pool wall. I grabbed his leash hooked it to his collar and lead him back to the pool steps. I left the leash on for a few laps until I was sure that he understood how to get out.
Once he got it, game on. He swam and swam and swam. There is nothing like seeing a dog do what he was bred to do. Here are some shots of our pool experience
Watching the horrifying details of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is heart breaking. I have been working with first graders for 23 years. To see those precious faces makes my day everyday and that’s why I love my job. I am not surprised by any of the actions of the teachers in Sandy Hook elementary school and neither should any of you. You see this tragedy could have happened in any elementary school across American and the teachers would have acted the same way. What people don’t seem to understand or are surprised by is that we teachers love our students. We are not just responsible for their education but for their safety. It is instinct for us to protect them from harm. We get lots of practice everyday, we protect them from hurt feeling from their classmates by providing them with a safe and friendly learning environment. We protect them from themselves, by giving them daily encouragement when they are down on themselves. We have high expectations to help them reach their goals. Sometimes we even have to go as far to protect them from their own parents. Not everyone lives in a safe home and sometimes we have to report child abuse.
So when someone comes into a school to do harm to our students. Not one of those teachers thought twice about protecting their students. Without hesitation they put themselves in danger over their students and in one first grade class a teacher laid her body over her students in effort to protect them. All of the teachers in Sandy Hook Elementary school are my new heroes. I can’t imagine what they went through but I am not surprised by their heroism. I know that my colleges and myself would do the same for our students.
My prayers are with all the families and staff at Sandy Hook.
This weekend I took by dog supplies out to a local Christmas show. This show was a fund-raiser for a high school. Vendors set up their goods and sell them to the community. Greatpup.comdid an outstanding amount of business. I was so surprised by our customers. Typically, our best customers are women who have a dog instead of a child or women who have dogs in additional to their children. But this weekend our customers were women who were buying for their grandogs.
This got me thinking. Not only do immediate family members think of their dogs as part of the family but the extended family do too. Dogs are such a part of our lives that they are included in the festivities of the holiday. So this year when your family is all unwrapping their gifts there might be one under the tree for your dog as well.
Don’t know what to get for your dog or grandog. Here are few great ideas:
Toys; all dogs love a new toy. Greatpup.com has several indestructible toys for aggressive chewers.
Treats: They have a double reward for you. Dogs love elk antlers, bully sticks, cow hooves and pig ears. These will also keep your dog busy on Christmas day while your family is celebrating the holidays.
Beds, every dog loves their own place to sleep. Greatpup.com has beds that are environmentally friendly. You choose the duvet and fill it with your old clothes, blankets, anything your want to keep out of the landfills. When it is time to wash the bed, simply unzip the duvet and throw it and all the clothes inside the wash.
Of course, the best gift you can give your dog or grandog doesn’t cost a penny. Just give them lots and lots of love.