Explorations

Finally, we managed to set aside a bit of time to update you all of what is going on in this part of the world. We got out of lockdown in New Sea Land after nearly seven weeks. This means that we can freely move around again. Parks, retail and restaurants are all open, people are back at work and children in school. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 has remained the same since May 28. It’s so different from what is going on in Florida. We really hope that the US will get on top of the barfy things soon too. I, as a real Dogtor, am of the opinion that they should listen to Dr. Fauci.  Anyhowls, you probably don’t want to hear more about the illnesses in the world, so onwards to fun stuff.

What we’ve been up to since we got out of jail? Sky and I joined a dog training group and are back on track with our special training. Sky even won the Best Beginner’s trophy in agility for this month. We also got addicted to a new hobby named flygility. Flygility is a combination of flyball and agility. You have to jump over obstacles and run through tunnels in order to get to a machine that shoots tennis balls in the air. Once you get to the machine you have to hit it, retrieve the ball and bring it back to your human teammate after you jump over or run through the same set of obstacles. You get tired quickly but it is so much fun so we don’t mind. Sky is super busy as he started Rally obedience training as well. I’m lucky to have escaped that predicament although I have to say that I miss the amount of yummies that you get there. The ratio number of yummies to performance is far better in (rally) obedience training than in agility or even flygility. On the weekends we try to explore the New Sea Land. One of our first trips was to the beach to do some beachcombing. We haven’t found the famous penguins yet, but we did manage to find something way bigger. More on that later.

Keep honing your skills and you are bound to find what you’re looking for,
Benji

 

Limitless Sky

And it’s March; how did that happen?! We had several outings. The one that jumps out is Sky’s first sailing lesson.

I remember my first sailing lesson, eons ago. Beginnings can be a bit rough but Sky was like a rock according to the trainers I pawsonally hired for him. Pretty soon he will be ready to be my first mate. Can’t wait to go sailing with him and head for the skies.

Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

Benji

Wet Agility

Another month went by in the Life of Benji. It’s getting hot here. It’s not even Summer yet and we have seen a heat index of 105 °F. already.  Therefore, higher authorities decided to try the blue wet stuff again. I have webbed feet and for some reason, that means I should like swimming. What kind of logic is that?!

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“Hmm, yummies or squeakies that is the question

A perfectly good A-frame (the humans called it a ramp) had been put in the blue liquid. I ask you, why would anyone want to do that?! The humans tried to lure me in with yummies and squeakies. I tried to be a good sport and walked down the ramp until I got my paws wet but that’s where I drew the line. I mean what’s the point? As soon as you hit the liquid, it feels like the brakes are on. There is no way to run fast. Besides, I didn’t see any fun jumps and tunnels. So my advice for next time: remove the wet stuff and add some exciting obstacles.

Benji

AWOL

We have a Canine Companion for Independence (CCI) visitor so we will be AWOL for a little while as we will be busy showing him around town. Our visitor is about seven months old and has an out of jail card for seven days.

The little guy who is actually quite a big guy already is a service dog in training and being trained by inmates at a correctional institute for women. He needs some real world experience such as shopping, riding in a car, going to the doctor etc., hence the out of jail card. The women who take care of these puppies are doing a fabulous job so it’s always a joy to have these guys around.

I promise to catch up with you later,
Benji

Cool Hot Summer Fun: 9

Remember I told you that I love to play indoor soccer with my stuffed buddies? Well, today I played it to celebrate that my dear friend Octopus finally made it out of the ICU. He went AWOL for a very long time after I had chewed off more than I could handle. When I saw him again he was called Septopus. After a successful surgery and speedy recovery,  Octopus is back in the game, up and running on all his legs.

THE GAME

Prerequisites: First, I had to learn the names of my stuffed animals. This sounds more complicated than it is. Every single time a new fellow joins my herd, I’m taught his/ her name.

The rules:

  1. My human kicks one of my stuffed friends. This really sounds worse than it is. My friends sometimes squeak but I’m sure this is from delight. Let’s say it is Mr. Crocodile that gets the boot. And yes, boots can hurt us canines so we only play this game barefoot.
  2. As my human kicks Mr. Crocodile, she says “get Crocodile” and then we both run after him.
  3. If my human gets to my friend first, she kicks it again. If I’m first, I grab my friend and we go to step 4. I make sure that I run very fast. I don’t want my friends to be kicked in the butt twice in a row.
  4. Next, my human says the name of another friend and kicks it. We then run as fast as we can after that fellow. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as many times as you like. You can include all your friends in this game or just one or two, it’s up to you and your friends. I can now hold up to three stuffed fellows in my mouth. That’s why we play the game with more than three friends. My favorite friend right now is Mr. Crocodile. He has an ultrasonic squeaker. I hear it but humans cannot! It’s a win-win for all.

Happy days, 

Benji

Happiness is …

Going to your favorite place where you can play, and play, and play, and have fun with your buddies.

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Guess what I did today!

I crashed after dinner at home.

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Crashed Subject

Benji

A Day of Rest

No agility training today.  I have to wait another week. I have only two more sessions left. Next on our list is Advanced Agility Training. In the meantime a photo of me and my CCI Labrador and Golden Retriever buddies showing the wheel in a training session last Thursday. It was sort of the wheel of fortune. I got treats if I performed the commands correctly. The two buddies on my right are full-fledged assistance dogs, the two on the left are in training, hence their yellow vest.  I’m the only Brindle X and therapy dog.  I’m fur-iends with everyone.wheel.jpg

Happy Sunny Day, 

Benji

Cool Hot Summer Fun: 1

It’s getting really hot again here in Florida. It can get so hot that we can barely think when we are walking or exercising outside. I know it’s a good excuse to get out of obedience training… Of course, us canines still have to be exercised outdoors so we are always thinking of cool things that we can do without getting a heat stroke. And I’m not kidding here, heat strokes are a potential problem in the summer, see Pet MD.

We will try to think of 10+ things to stay cool this summer. Feel free to add your own ideas. Hey, we could even make a guest post out of it. The first one in the series has to do with???? Yes, you guessed it right, something EDIBLE: a cool snack for whenever the need is high. How cool is that?!

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Testing: Take 1

So what is a cool snack? Frozen veggies are one example. Just cut some carrots or other edible veggies and throw them uncooked in the freezer. Now that summer is in full swing, I will start taking them on my secret missions. Why? Well, for several reasons: 1) It doesn’t leave a mess on floors and human parts like some doggie treats do; 2) especially carrots always seem to be available in the fridge; 3) it’s dirt cheap (this should be listed as number one as this seems important to headquarters, not sure why because my treat account keeps growing); 4) it’s super easy to make, and I know this because I always supervise the cutting process to ensure that nothing gets wasted; 5) it’s literally and figuratively speaking a cool snack; 6) it’s crunchy; and, 7) Ms. Zulu and I love ’em and that should obviously be the most important reason!

Of course, we had to test the frozen treats before I can take them on an actual mission. Both Ms. Zulu and I happily volunteered. I am sad to report that the first take was successful, so no other experiments are to be expected. On another note, I was able to convince M that we should also take some of our fruit filled ice cubes* with us in the field. The cubes can sit in a cooler in the car while I’m busy so that I have a refreshing snack afterward. I’m hoping the ice cubes need more testing.

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Stay cool this summer, don’t forget to bring plenty of fresh water with plain ice cubes wherever you go, and please tell everyone not to leave any pets unattended in the car for any period of time,

Benji

* Fill an icecube tray with some edible stuff such as a bit of peanut butter, banana, or blueberries. Pour water on the goodies, let it freeze, and voila you got doggie ice cream. Again, always make sure you only use fruits and veggies that are safe for your pet to eat. 

What’s for Dinner?

It’s a holiday weekend, so last night we went out for dinner. When we walked in, there was quite a racket. The piano seemed to be upset. It was harping on the same string over and over again. I was glad when the human stroking the piano got it to relax so that it cooed like a baby. I even got some real food this time. Yum!

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Wishing you a Bon Chew Weekend

Benji

Tea Time

To celebrate the start of the weekend, we went to the city on Friday. I have been there many times but every time I am stunned by how busy the city is. It’s so different from our Pinecone Forest. There are many different sounds and things. We saw a train, practiced how to patiently cross intersections (I got lots of treats out of both as I always try my best), and there was even an obstacle course that had been finished just in time for me. Surprisingly, we even saw wildlife: geese, and yes an otter, in the middle of the city! The otter was out of the water. That’s what I call a smart cookie. After all, everyone knows that without a floating device you can get in a lotta trouble in da water.

To be able to make it back to the car, we treated ourselves to some tea and pie halfway down. I almost didn’t get mine until FINALLY, our waiters discovered that nothing was ordered for me. Contrary to some others, I’m sure I don’t have to point out any names here, the waiters felt obliged to bring out a big treat for me. I didn’t complain and handed out kisses. Note to the café owner: the sign in front of your building is wrong. I’m a brindle dog, not a black dog. Can someone fix that sign?

Everything is easier with yummies in the tummy,

Benji

Sweet Goodbyes

Yesterday was Capone’s Goodbye Party after our bimonthly training session with my CCI and therapy buddies. Our bimonthly training group provides practice and socialization outings for service dogs, therapy dogs, and pups in training to be service dogs or therapy dogs. So far I am the only shelter dog with an unknown pedigree in that group but we are hoping to change that because shelter dogs do rock. *

The party after the training was a blast. Fortunately, we have one more week before we really have to say goodbye to Capone. Since we are best buddies I will get to play with Capone the evening before he travels south where he will start his professional service dog training.

We also welcomed a new CCI in training puppy. Isn’t he adorable? We call him the easter bunny as he arrived Good Friday and is just as fluffy. He is a Golden Retriever. All of the CCI dogs are either a purebred or mix between Labrador and Golden Retriever. Operation Delta Dog has decided to take service dog training to a whole other level and is solving two big problems with one great solution. ODD is helping shelter dogs by adopting them and training them to assist veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Purple Heart Greyhounds is another organization that’s worth mentioning. This organization trains retired racing Greyhounds to become PTSD Service Dogs.

Saying goodbye is hard but it is like Winnie the Pooh said: “How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 

Benji

* Notice that four of the six dogs are wearing a Gentle Leader. This leader is not a muzzle but helps provide stress-free walks.

Training with a Purpose

petsmartToday I got together with my CCI buddies. There was no time for play but we got to practice tons of stuff at Petsmart and Home Depot. Lots of maneuvering around garden items, toys,  FOOD!, and other distracting savory objects. We even had to crawl underneath tables and lie down in tight corners. It’s like agility training to me, and that I do love.  The reason why we practice this is because CCI dogs have to be able to make themselves as small as possible so that they can travel on an airplane with their person or accompany them into a restaurant.

Afterward, there was lots of socialization with people who wanted to know more about us and the difference between assistant and therapy dogs.  And then there were people who needed some loving for one reason or another. An elderly man approached us and said he had recently lost his longtime dog-buddy due to an injury. He seemed to want a listening ear and some consolation. I’m good at both, so we stayed with him for a bit. Another person wanted to pet me since she misses having a dog at home. Because of her husband’s preferences, they settled on cats. She loves all animals, she said and wouldn’t mind a house full of them. Now that’s my kind of woman.

I met three cute looking tuxedo cats too. They are up for adoption at Petsmart and fostered by a nice young lady. We forgot to take a picture of the kitties but they looked a bit like the ones M and Q took care of gazillion years ago. They were just older; 1.5 years instead of 2 months. I liked them and M almost took them home. I think M wouldn’t mind a house full of animals either.

Sunnydays are my favorite days, that’s when I will be going to agility training again. Wishing you a sunnyday tomorrow with lots of sunshine. Stay safe and I will try to do the same,

Benji

Oops

sunday.JPGSunday was an oopsy kind of day. What happened? Well, it started out with one of my favorite activities: agility training. I was happily running from one obstacle to the next with Mach 3+ speed until we got to the tunnel. That tunnel was waayyy too small for me. Treats were inside the tunnel but pretty much in the middle. So I ran from one side to the other to get to the treats all the while trying not to get stuck in that tiny obstacle. Next thing I know the trainer is teasing me to enter the tunnel by swinging a great looking furry feathery thing in front of me. The thing looked like a cross between a rabbit and a squirrel. I decided to catch it and run away so I could check it out. Supposedly, that was not the idea and I was offered a tiny treat in exchange for the thing. That didn’t seem fair so I took the treat and swallowed the crossbreed as well. It turned out to be non-edible. Oops. You should have seen the look on the trainer’s and M’s face when they registered what had happened. All I can say is hey, I’m part retriever. I heard from my retriever fur-iends that you ain’t a retriever if you don’t have at least one foreign object in your stomach.

Anyhowls, out of thin air a brown bottle that said “hydrogen peroxide solution” showed up and before I could say “no sirree”, a tablespoon of said stuff was put in my throat. Yikes, that didn’t taste good. But like any good soldier, I swallowed that too.  M and the trainer were waiting for something, not sure what, but when it didn’t come the vet was consulted and I was spoonfed more of the stuff. I can tell you the second time was less fun and the third time it was just gross. And then all of a sudden I was down on my stomach and throwing up everything. Yes, that meant my breakfast, treats, and prize! M and the trainer were dancing and partying when that happened. And I was thinking “hey I am not having so much fun right here; can you pul-lease stop the racket”.

Once at home all was well; meaning no more liquidity stuff was put in my mouth. Ms. Zulu checked me out and we are now back to my regular meals and treat schedule. I even played some with my stuffed friends. This was after they had barely survived an unannounced security check. They all had to line up and were threatened with scissors or even the dump. This was not the first time either. Everyone that looks raggedy has to surrender in those instances. That’s just wrong. I thought it didn’t matter what my friends looked like but somehow it does. I like them all and care for them. Especially the shabby ones; I nibble passionately on their tattered parts. I don’t even hesitate to do heart surgery on them when needed. Lately, they have been quite healthy so there have not been any recent surgery attempts.

Have a great week, stay out of trouble and I will try to do the same,

Benji

Home Alone: Take 1

Friday afternoon I was home alone with Ms. Zulu, outside my crate for the first time. I have been left to my own devices before; just not for hours an hour while M was on one of her shopping sprees trips miles away.  I tried to tell her earlier that it was okay to leave me under the supervision of Ms. Zulu as we had worked our way up to this point slowly but surely, but M can be a bit hard headed so it took a while before my message arrived at its final destination. We definitely need faster delivery services.

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Welcome back!

Once M got home, there was a gigantic inspection with papers from here to the moon that all had to be signed and submitted in at least quadruplicate to authorities of suspicious origin and stature: 1) yes, all doors that were supposed to be closed were still closed, 2) no (additional) holes in the backyard,  3) all treats that were left on the kitchen counter are untouched (note to myself, for next time: “check kitchen counter for unattended edible items”), 4) plants are all in their pots, 5) no personal items M.I.A. or tormented, 6) no open-heart surgery performed on any of my stuffed friends (hmmm, that’s an idea…), and 6) didn’t we look sweet when we greeted you at the door!? Okay I admit, I added the last one. Anyhowls if you ask me, we are ready for Take 2!

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Yummies left unattended

Hope you got some nice plans for the weekend. Ms. Zulu and I are going to help out in the yard. We are now both gardening experts as you will see soon enough on Resa’s blog. Resa invited us to talk about vegetables and growing a garden for Kid’s Month. She will show you some beautiful murals too. Gotta run, M needs help unloading the car and that could equate to yummies in the tummies.

Hugs,

Benji