All posts by readingwithrhythm

Seeing Double

Stephen’s brother, Arthur, is staying with us for a few weeks. Brother, as in littermate. And they are best buds! Can you tell who’s who?! Of course not!

In most of the following pictures Arthur is wearing a blue color and Stephen’s is brownish. Without collars you have to look at tails. Stephen’s is a bit thicker.

Have fun!

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Jazz at the Library

The Ft Worth Library offers a summer Jazz Concert Series every 3rd Thursday of the months of the summer. A great place to listen to some great music – air conditioned, beautiful setting, spacious, welcoming to all walks of life.

Stephen enjoyed an evening of great learning experiences. He doesn’t get to the Big City very often, so a night of Jazz provided an evening of busy city streets with laughing, loud passersby, whizzing, blaring traffic , visions of look-alike dogs in shop windows, birds sauntering by, all kinds of tidbits on the sidewalks, and oh, the smells!! So much to take notice of! Seeing and smelling and hearing. Lots of the same sensations he experiences in our little Glen Rose – but on a much larger scale! Whew!!

Then there was the library. MUCH grander than our hometown library with those sweet librarians. More folks wanting to pet and ask questions, kids everywhere, computers and printers and copy machines all with their whirring, clicking noises.

And then the highlight – the Music. Stephen hears music all the time. It’s playing through his home always, and blaring in his ears in the car. It’s just background noise for him. And the Jazz  Concert was the same. Lots of feet to watch out for, but otherwise a nice place to nap. He was VERY excited to meet the trumpet player afterwards though! He couldn’t contain his JOY!! Mr Luke Wingfield was happy to meet Stephen as well!!

Thank you Ft Worth Library and Mario Cruz and his Band!

jazz at the library

Making Friends and Building Relationships

Most all of the Guide Dog Schools in the United States are non-profit organizations taking on the business of breeding and training Guide Dogs for the seeing impaired. They breed their own dogs so that they can know with some certainty what the end product will be. The dogs are bred at the school and pups are whelped there. But they depend on volunteer puppy raisers to foster those pups for at least a year. In their homes, away from the kennels. They do this so that the pups can experience home life with humans and learn to make bonding connections with those humans. That’s extremely important for a Guide Dog who ultimately will be taking a blind person’s life in their capable 4 paws. They will need to REALLY care about that person. That person who will be trusting their lives to that dog.

Bonding is “a relationship that establishes a basis for ongoing mutual attachment.” But wait a minute! “Ongoing mutual attachment.” Ongoing. Forever. So why would the school want their pups to BOND with a human family that will only be in that pup’s life for 1 year?! And then BOND with a blind person with the same “mutual attachment?” It can be a problem.

If a dog is to become a working Guide Dog, he/she must be able to switch allegiances. And not only from family to blind handler. But,

from Mom

to Family

to Trainer

then to Blind Person.

Whew! A lot of dogs can’t do that. Those emotional ties are difficult to sever. Becoming a working dog requires a lot. Most Guide Dog schools have discovered that Labrador Retrievers are more capable than other breeds of making those transitions successfully. Labs tend to love just about everybody.

Stephen is learning about bonding. Forging meaningful relationships. He’s meeting lots of folks who are showing him how fantastic Humans can be. And he’s learning to get along with other beings as well. He’s also learning about transitions, spending time with other folks besides me. He’s happy wherever he is no matter who he’s with. He takes it all in stride – making friends wherever he goes.

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Well, maybe not quite with everyone –

He hasn’t quite learned to speak CAT.

But his Heart is BIG and it will come!

Happy Days to you and yours!

 

 

 

Traveling

Stephen did a lot of traveling last week. Visiting family and friends near and far. We began with semi- local stops – the bank and the doctor’s office where he worked on patience.

And lunch by the lake where he learned about honking geese and roaring jet skis.

And got to practice Leave it!

Next was a long road trip up to Melissa, Texas where he found a new friend in Benjamin.

And Benjamin gifted him his own swimming pool!!

Thanks Benjamin!!

Next was Kaufman, Texas where he found a new friend in the School Maintenance Man who had LOUD tools!

And A Kaufman Deputy with a cool Cop Car!

And then there was the really long trip to Blanco where he learned about DEER.

And the equally long trip to College Station where he met up with old friends Riley, Hunter, and Marni. He had the opportunity to get in some swimming in the lake. (I didn’t have the camera around for that. 😦 )

And tomorrow we head to Dallas to meet up with siblings Arthur, Griffy, and Dottie and buddies Millie and Allen and Grace to see Christopher Robin at the movie theater!! What a treat! More practice with Patience!

Hope y’all are enjoying a good week!!

 

Sand, Sea, and Kids

It was a BIG week for Stephen. Kids everywhere he turned. And oh what fun that was!! And then came the Beach! And oh what fun that was!! He loved every minute of it.

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He was quite intrigued with the Boogie Board. He did a bit of surfing on it. Jumped on with his front foot and raced it down the shoreline. Like a Skim Board. Like he does his Dinner Bowl at home!

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And after a day in the sun, there’s dinner at a good fishy smelling restaurant –

And then home to crash –

We wish you a Good Summer!

Play Ball!!

Yesterday Stephen got to go on a long drive out to East Texas to watch some baseball. A little league baseball tournament is a sensory overload for a 6 month old pup! Wow!!

There’s food EVERYWHERE! French fries, nachos, popcorn, candy, hot dogs, chips, more candy, more french fries. On the ground, on peoples laps, on hands, on faces. The smells wafting through the air and trailing on the ground. Babies crying. Moms and Dads and coaches yelling. Lots of clapping and screaming. Cleats clomping by followed by bags and coolers on rollers. Balls flying through the air.

He met LOTS of kids. Kids who wanted to hug and kiss. Kids who were afraid. Kids who wanted to feed him chewing gum. Kids who wanted to just sit with him.

On our drive out we stopped at Buc-ee’s for gas fill-up and potty break. This person does not like Buc-ee’s. It is sensory overload for me and more than I like to deal with. But I thought it might be an interesting stop for Stephen. And it was. We encountered LOTS of oohing and aahhhing. Lots of “can we pet?” Lots of smells. Good and bad. Both at Buc-ee’s and the ball game there were lots of legs to maneuver around.

We had many opportunities to educate about puppies and guide dogs and service dogs. About good behavior. For pups and kids.

It all required a good deal of patience. And Stephen had what it took!

A good good day!