Winnings

How was your weekend? We had a busy one. We traveled to an agility event in the pooch mobile. I won two first places in Novice Jumpers; M is very proud. Okay, I’ll admit, maybe I’m a bit too. The blue and green ribbons I won do look good on my chest, don’t you think? Since I had two qualifying runs, I could pick out a toy too. I choose one for Da Sky because he cheered me on. He likes balls and tug toys so I got the perfect toy, a combination of the two so that we can play together. After all, you gotta remember to play hard after you work hard. But, if possible skip the hard work and go straight to the play hard part.

Well, I better go. I got some Zuluism* to catch up on. I didn’t really have time for it over the weekend. And you know what they say if you don’t have time for that then you have to do more of it.

Hope you have a pawriffic week with loads of fun intermingled with Zuluism,

Benji

Mugshots

I know, I know, we haven’t been in touch for a while but we’re still here and not in jail yet although the heading might tell you otherwise. Life has been fun with the little guy. He is turning into a big champ who is up for anything that keeps him moving! Agility, dock diving, you name it and he is in. He even got invited to herd some sheep AND he is allowed to come back! We can honestly say that he has a few tricks up his sleeve. That’s what led us to sit for the Trick Dog Exam in May. I’m happy to report that we are now officially two tricksters. That should keep us out of jail at least for a little while.

Just one more month and Da Sky will be one! I hope there will be a big partay with a mighty birthday cake. I’m definitely counting down for that one!

Benji

MP-18 and MP-19

You probably wondered if we’re still alive. I’m happy to report that is still the case. We are just a bit behind in the blogging world. My human got busy with other stuff so blogging was put on the back burner. I know, what could be more important than doggy adventures?!

Rest assured, I haven’t sat still. On April 19, I went to a CCI outing with my assistants-in-training buddies. We encountered lots of wildlife in the big city, seriously that is no joke. Manatees were hanging from trees and dolphins could be seen splashing in front of buildings. So WEIRD! The next day I had some Dogtoring to do at the Homeless and At-Risk Veterans Stand Down event. This is an annual event to help homeless and at-risk veterans. Several people asked if I was up for adoption. WOL, of course not! On Saturday I went to the library to help children read. That was my fifth time. I even had two repeat customers.

Happy wanderings, don’t forget to smile,

Benji

MP-15 and CCI

Yesterday was another busy bee day in the Life of Benji. In the morning I helped children read at the library. The children were ranging in age from 2.5 years to about 11 years. Some of them were a bit intimidated by my size. I tickled their hands with my whiskers to break the ice. When they felt how soft I am, they were hooked and couldn’t get enough of me.

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In the afternoon, I went sailing with CCI buddies Adonis and Flint. It was their first time out on the water so I showed them the ropes. They seem to catch on fast. Don’t be surprised when we are soon sailing all by ourselves.  That should be easy as we don’t have to ask the humans for any keys. Flint is a new recruit. You couldn’t tell that he is only four months old; he behaved so well.

Lights were turned off around 6:00 PM, that’s when we all got sleepy. After a good meal, I went to bed satisfied and content knowing that my missions went well.

Benji

Routine

I’m back on track and seem to have found my old routine. Yesterday I went to the city with two of my CCI buddies. We practiced stairs without going a hundred miles per hour. Yeah, I know how does one ever get to the bottom of stuff. We sat pretty and said “cheese” without cheese; who came up with that idea?! We even went up in the Big Box and I have to say it went surprisingly well.  The alternate universe on the other side is kind of fun now.

Smile, it’s weekend!

Benji

Yahooo!!!

Today is National Dog Day in the U.S. So, get out your best stuff and honor all pets! Or volunteer at a local shelter… or…. if you have space for another fur-iend you can adopt one like me or my sister! What we did on National Dog Day? M volunteered at the local library and enrolled us in the R.E.A.D. program. I told M that I’m not able to read yet. She said that didn’t matter as long as I know how to listen attentively. Come to think of it, I haven’t been to a library either. Let’s hope it doesn’t have any weird doors that take you to a whole nother dimension. I wonder how many treats I will get out of this gig. What Ms. Zulu and I did today? We ran around in circles and had fun doing it!

Enjoy,

Benji

MP-12

I know, I know, we are way behind on updating you but I had a couple of busy weeks so thought I would chill on my sofa with live television before I got back on track. I’m happy to report that on Wednesday another Mission Impossible became possible. I went to a youth center where I met teenagers who are enrolled in a non-residential counseling program. It was a new place for me so I met lots of new people. I worked the crowd together with one of my colleagues, a Great Pyrenees. He is a great guy literally and figuratively speaking. We learned that he has been in the business for more than 4 years. That’s twice as long as I have been on this planet! The guy was very calm. I guess that’s what happens when you have done this a million times.

The kids at the youth center are a hoot. They wanted to know everything under the sun about me. Their greeting ritual is a bit different from mine as they wanted me to shake their hands over and over again. I got rewarded with treats so it was no problemo. I even put in a couple of spins for good measure. Afterwards, we stopped at a cafe to cool down. It’s hot here, 102 degrees Fahrenheit, so we ordered drinks on the rocks.

Stay cool and have a pawbulous weekend,

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: 7

As you know, I love agility training. However, sometimes it’s raining or just too hot to do any agility training outside. That’s when the Ultra-Movable-Agility aka UMA set comes in handy. What you need? One human and one chair. You could even use a table. Really that’s all. How? Here it comes:

1. Under
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Instructions: put the human on a chair, look at one or both leg(s) and think “extend”. Crawl under the leg(s). Done! It’s that easy. The same can be done with a chair and even a table. So you really don’t need the human but I think that it is way more fun with one. They are also good for yummies in the tummy.

2. Over 
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Instructions: put the human on a chair, look at the leg(s) and think “extend”. Jump over the leg(s). Again, the same can be done with a chair or table. Whatever takes your fancy.

3. Up
armsc.jpgInstructions: Put the human in a stand. Make sure you grab a sturdy human and not a wobbly one. Pick an arm. Look at it and think “extend”. Jump up on said arm. This can also be done with a chair or even kitchen counter. Personally, I like the latter the best but I can’t even take a peek before the doggie police starts to bark.

Sorry for the not so clear illustration here. We experienced some technical difficulties. Something to do with not having enough arm to take the photograph. At least you can see how careful I’m about not digging any of my nails in the arm. After all, it’s very important to be gentle with your agility equipment. Sometimes I am “up in arms” too. That’s when I jump up high on my human and she wraps her arms around me. Oh, and before I forget, always get official approval with stamps and an inifinite number of carbon copies for any of these exercises. Especially if you want to be(come) a therapy dog.

Have fun,

Benji

A Wagging Day

Another pawbulous day today as I graduated from Agility Training I.  I successfully jumped through hoops and over many obstacles in the last two months. Not sure why humans complain so much about all the obstacles and hoops in their lifes. Just get on with it and over it. Next on my agenda is Advanced Agility Training. It should start in July. That’s when “the sparrows fall from the roof” as they say in Holland. Rest assured, we will be early birds to avoid the falling from the roof problem. I know, I know, every obstacle will be higher in Advanced Agility Training, but I’m sure I’m not gonna jump off the roof. No sirree.

You know what else we celebrated today? I seem to have attracted more than 300 followers with my woofanigans.  Not bad for an ex-shelter dog, heh?

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Two wagnificent followers on my tail

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The tire sure makes me tired 

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Crashed again once we got home

Try to stay out of trouble this week, I will try to do the same
Benji

MP-10

Wow, today was our 10th Mission Impossible that became Possible. It’s amazing how all these little steps add up towards a significant milestone. With ten visits under my belt, I can apply for the AKC Therapy Dog Novice title. It seems like yesterday when I got my training wheels, passed the prescreening exam, passed the real exam, and then several months later went on my first mission.

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My first training wheels (10 weeks)

And here are the numbers: During the animal therapy training sessions I have interacted with 72 people. And on my missions, I’ve interacted with 146 people. This brings the total of interactions with NEW people since I was adopted to 602! Yes, you read that right, that is 602 new people. That means meeting more than one new person per day. The total number of interactions with new plus familiar humans is much, much higher. That’s a lot of pawshaking and sitting on my behind, I can tell you that.

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One of my first animal therapy training sessions

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Practicing in the field 

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Training with my CCI buddies

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My first real mission

We celebrated today’s milestone with doggie ice cream and topped it off with some frozen carrots for another Popeye boost. Yummy!

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Let’s celebrate; we’re ready!

Hope you had a wagnificant Father’s day and all, 

Happy Monday,

Benji

You’ve Got Mail: 4

As a real retriever, I got the mail yesterday.  Ms. Zulu helped me as she herded me to the mailbox like a true herding dog. We forgot to empty the mailbox on Saturday. When we finally got around it on Sunday, we found this beautiful card from Kosmo and his mom in faraway Finland! If we would have known what was in the mailbox, we would have run with Mach 2+ speed.

Kosmo and mom wrote that the photo on the postcard is from their area. Isn’t that something? Can you imagine living in such a beautiful place? Kosmo and his mom are very lucky. If you want to read more about life in Finland, follow the blog Photofinland by Rantasalot.  Kosmo’s mom writes it and it’s wagnificent.

P.S. I hope to report tomorrow on what we saw when we admired the postcard. You won’t believe us.

Happy Tails,

Benji

They Didn’t Listen

I tried to tell M that the sprinkler bath (see Cool Hot Summer Fun 3A and B) wasn’t such a good idea. The day after we had living proof. The upper Dogs were so upset that it started raining cats and dogs. At least we were able to get home from the veterinarian’s office without floating away fur-ever.

The vet visit went fine, thanks for asking. We only needed some routine injections; no big deal. Although I did get the new H3N2 Dog Flu vaccine because I’m out and about so much. For more information on the virus, check this NPR link. And if you’re afraid that us animals can make you sick, no worries just look at this NY Times article. They report that animals help improve your immune system. Isn’t that great?!

At home, Ms. Zulu and I watched the rain and thunder for a bit and then decided to just crawl back in bed and sleep for a long, long time.

Some days it’s better to just go back to bed and dream about playing in the field,

Benji

MP-8 and Mail

On Tuesday we had another Mission Possible made possible by Dogtors without Borders. Yeah, I know it’s a shame that Ms. Zulu can never join me on these trips, but she probably likes her naps at home better anyway.

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Waiting for the mail person to pick up the mail

There was lots of stuff going in and around the ER this time. Ambulances were driving up, people were wheeled in with all kind of devices, even on brancards. I hadn’t seen the brancards before. They were impressive I have to say. The nurses were quite busy and could use some of my reversed Reiki afterward. The carrots and other yummies kept me on my feet. I was thankful for the sweet teenager who kept feeding them to me.

Once I got home I got to take a nap. Next, I wrote two posts about my adventures for my blog, and a postcard for Kosmo my pal in faraway Finland. Kosmo’s mom always has interesting stories to tell about Finland. Can’t wait until the postcard gets delivered. Wondering how long it will take this time. I looked it up on Google Maps and it tells me that it takes about 16 hours to fly to Finland from here…  That’s a mighty long time!

Have a great week guys and girls, remember to take lots of naps,

Benji

Gone with the Wind

Gone with the wind are my best buddy Capone and my new CCI friend Adonis. We took care of Adonis for only two days but when he left it felt like he was already part of the fur-amily.

Lots happened in the last three days. The evening before Capone had to drive south for his graduation, we had one last playdate. You can find the video of Capone’s graduation here. Adonis stayed with us for two days since both his puppy raisers went with Capone to the graduation ceremony.

Someone at my house, you can guess who, loves taking pictures especially puppy pictures. So there are now a gazillion plus pictures in addition to the ones we already have that have to be sorted. Here is a photo showing Adonis on my red bed. OK, ok, it is Ms. Zulu’s bed too.

Adonis is only 10 weeks old. Just as a comparison there is one photo of me when I was 3 weeks younger than Adonis is now. At that age, I didn’t have a magic cape like Adonis. Remember, I had just escaped been adopted from the shelter. Nonetheless, I had my football and an angel on my chest. Since we didn’t have a photo of me when I was 10 weeks old on the red bed (how come???!!!) we threw in the one that shows me when I went sailing for the second time in my life.

Enjoy your Sunny Day and wishing you smooth sailing this week,

Benji

Dogtors with Borders

As promised, here is the new addition to my uniform. Ms. Zulu assisted me while I posed for the first time with the new scarf. So this time it was Dogtors with Borders. Yes, Ms. Zulu is at least 50% Border Collie as far as we can tell. If you would like to know more about my Dogtors without Borders work then go to my resume page. We updated it recently.
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As you can see Ms. Zulu and I took our job very seriously and we were very focused throughout the photo session. This may or may not have anything to do with the treats in front of us. You be the judge.

OK, gotta run, I have a farewell party to attend to say goodbye to my best buddy Capone and hello to a new CCI friend in training. Yeah, Capone is leaving us in 1.5 weeks to start professional service dog training in South Florida. We will miss him for sure. I (well maybe one of my dedicated assistants) will try to capture some nice photos so you can see Capone one more time and to introduce the new CCI puppy. I’m sure you will get to see more of the newbie because when Capone is traveling to South Florida we get to babysit the new 9-week old pup for four days. That oughta be fun.

And remember, be dedicated and thou shall be rewarded,

Benji

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

It’s Weekend!

I’m hoping that your weekend started as well as it did for me. On Thursday I goofed around the whole day at the doggie day training facility and today a new friend came over to headquarters.  Her name is Brandy. Brandy is a cool gal.  She brought her own gun and shooter. No, don’t panic, nobody got hurt. We were shooting tennis balls, not bullets, you silly. The guns are also called K-9 Kannons.

I love catching the balls and taught M to give me treats before I would bring them back. It didn’t take that long before she got the gist. I think that Q needs to set me up with a gun like that so that M and I can practice some more. After all, practice leads to treats, um… excellence of course!

Wishing you a pawbulous weekend,

Benji

MP-5

Another Mission Impossible became Possible. I was called up for duty to the emergency center for the second time. As we walked from the car to the entrance an ambulance came up with its siren on. It didn’t distract me as I munched on lots of treats. It’s always nice when they show up at the right time. The need for me must have been high because lots of people were standing right at the door to greet me.  Needless to say, I did a lot of pawshaking. The youngest guy I saw was three years old. I helped him and his dad ease their stay.

When we were done we went to my favorite store. There were numerous interruptions as we walked through the petstore. People kept asking us about my Dogtor status. We were supposed to get one bag of dry food and one bag of treats. We walked out of the store with a big bag of dry food and eight different kinds of treats. I guess I had earned my keep.

Happy Wednesday,
Benji

Tomorrow = Da Day

One more day till Da Day! I decided to go a day earlier to spend the day watching life TV with my friend Da Phenny in France.  So I got my pilot scarf, took some treats from my treat account, went to the airport, rented a plane, and now I am finally on my way. À bientôt; will see you soon on the other side! Benji.

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Me and da plane

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France, here I come!