Not much happened on Monday, but our neighbor, Michael brought over his soccer ball and trophy to have his picture taken with Gail. Unfortunately, Gail was in over excitement load to see him so it was difficult to get a picture with her sitting still...
Tuesday brought a new experience for both Gail and me... As usual, she went to work with me, but that afternoon for the first time I included her in a client meeting in our conference room. The first part of the meeting went fine, but all of a sudden she went into melt down mode. She was barking and trying to bite at my hands. Trying to keep my cool, get her calmed down and not be too disruptive to my meeting was difficult. If I told her "no noise" and put my hand around her mouth it just encouraged her to bark more and bite at my hands. After about 10 minutes of trying to calm her down I quietly took her in my office and called Roger to come and rescue her. We went back into the meeting and she calmed down a little bit, but I couldn't count on how long that would last. About a half hour later, Roger showed up and saved the day. Fortunately the client is an animal lover (she volunteers with her local humane society) and she understands the puppy phase we're going through. As a matter of fact, she kept telling me it was ok and that as far as she was concerned Gail could stay. Everyone in my office has been very supportive of Gail being there so I try to make sure that I respect them while still providing exposures for her, and occasionally that means that Roger has to bail her out.
Wednesday did not start out very well. Roger kept Gail occupied while I got dressed for work and when I went to get her so we could leave she started jumping up and biting at me. I'm sure you've heard the saying "what part of no don't you understand?", well no was definitely not in her vocabulary. Before it was all over, between her toenails (which were clipped a few weeks ago) and her teeth, she had ruined the skirt to my suit. Needless to say, a wardrobe change was in order. We finally made it out the door, to the office and got settled in. Surprisingly, given how the morning started, the rest of the business day was pretty exceptional. I was in and out of my office numerous times without Gail making a fuss, and at lunch time, I actually left her in my office while I went to the kitchen and ate a sandwich (I was gone for about 10-15 minutes) without a peep out of her! When I came back, she looked up at me and I bent down, petted her, and told her how proud I was of her! Around 2:30-3:00 she had about five minutes of fussing, and again around 4:00, but fortunately, she calmed down fairly quickly. But... (you knew there had to be a but) after we got home and she had her dinner we went for a walk and she turned into Ms. Shark Teeth again. This time she left a couple of holes in my jacket. I'm hoping we make it through this stage quickly otherwise we're going to go broke buying new clothes.
Thursday night took us to our semi-monthly Puppy Raiser meeting (sorry, no pictures since it was dark out). We met in the parking lot at Amscot and worked on some obedience training. Gail was not having a perfect night. She decided that she was personally (or puppily) responsible for collecting every piece of gravel in the parking lot. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time getting her to drop what was in her mouth. Carolyn, our Area Coordinator gave us some good ideas on how to work with Gail when she pulls on her leash, hopefully we'll be able to remember and follow through correctly. We also did a walk along Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. which is very busy and for any dog can be pretty intimidating (not to mention that it was dark outside), let alone a young puppy. Gail did fairly well (if you don't count pulling at her leash) but there was a car and a truck that really got her attention and caused her to try to move away from the sidewalk with the noise that they were making.
Friday was pretty much like the rest of the week, but we did have another day at work where she let me leave my office numerous times (including 15 minutes at lunch) and she didn't fuss. Hopefully we reached at least one breakthrough this week!
Our first outing on Saturday was to Dr. Woodman's office so that Gail could get her last set of vaccinations - yeah!!! She also got weighed (23-1/2 lbs) and had a pedicure. Dr. Woodman pointed out at least 4 adult teeth that were coming in - Thank God! Maybe there will be an end in sight to the teething, at least my hands and arms would are hoping so!
Originally we were going to head down to Gulfport with our friends Bonnie & Phil, and their dogs, Mozie & Chloe, to a dog rescue event but Bonnie had called on Friday and said that the event organizers were warning people about distemper due to not knowing if the rescue dogs had been properly vaccinated, so we scratched that outing off the list.
The next plan was to go to the Pasco County Fair so Gail could see cows, horses, pigs, etc. Strike #2... after talking to one of the assistants at Dr. Woodman's office we ruled that out since Gail had just finished her vaccinations that morning.
Ok, onto plan #3... we stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (Gail did really well with her under/down) then decided to head to St. Pete to the farmer's market. The Al Lang Stadium is next door to the market and the Rowdies Soccer Team was there promoting their team. As we entered the stadium there was a group at the top of the ramp that had a really large drum. I asked if they would try to make some soft sounds with it to see what Gail would do. At first, when the sound was soft she stood and looked at the drum, but as it got louder she tried to move away from it. I guess we shouldn't plan an outing to a symphony anytime soon. She also didn't like a floor grate that would make noise and flex a little as you walked over it.
We went back outside and several of the Rowdies players were out there kicking a soccer ball around. Gail watched them and tried to lunge for the ball... obviously, as a future guide dog chasing balls is not a good thing, so we held her back and tried to get her to sit and watch them. Roger had bought a souvenir ball on the way into the stadium from a volunteer named Shelly, who as it turns out will be volunteering for the walk-a-thon. We got players Keith Savage (#22 - Gulf Breeze, FL), Andres Arango (#3 - Medellin, Columbia) and Tsuyoski Yoshitake (#10 - Mie Prefecture, Japan) to sign the ball and have their picture taken with Gail. Hopefully we'll be able to make it down to see a few of their games this season. Go Rowdies!!!
On our way back to the car, we stopped to talk to a family with two little girls. As you can see, Gail was very gentle with them and didn't even mind when the baby was covering her eyes or holding her under the chin (sorry about the "mohawk" look in the last picture, it was a little windy out).
On the way home we stopped by Lowe's to pickup some rope to make an extra long lead for Gail and on the way out of the store we couldn't resist (like anyone can...) buying a few boxes of cookies from the West Central Florida Girl Scout Troop 318. Thin Mints for me, and Thank You Berry Much for Roger.
It had been a long day, so it was time to head home and give the princess (me, not Gail) a much needed nap.
Sunday morning started out with the usual, breakfast at Rodies (we really need to get a picture from there). Gail did really well with the under/down until about halfway through the meal when she decided to let out a soft "woof". She did that several more times and we responded with what were hopefully quiet, but forceful "no noise" commands. It took a minute or two, but she finally settled back down and saved us from getting any nasty looks. Actually, several of the tables around us understood what we were doing and were very nice about everything.
Since Gail had finally completed her vaccinations, we decided to go to Petco because we were interested in buying a portable crate for future trips. Toting her big crate down to my mother's house was kind of a pain.
It was kind of early for the store to be open yet so we made our weekly trip past the eagles nest and got to see one of the babies standing up in the nest and eating breakfast (don't know what, but that's ok, I don't need to know). We had found out last weekend that 2 baby eagles hatched around Christmas. It's funny to be in Florida because you don't think about Christmas being the time of year for new baby animals. As a matter of fact, I've just started watching a live eagle cam in Decorah, Iowa (it's really cool, and if you're interested you can check it out at http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles) that I discovered last year and the 3rd egg was just laid this weekend, so it will be early April before those eggs are hatched.
Sorry, didn't mean to get off track there... anyway, we headed to Petco and as it turns out, they didn't have the crate we wanted in stock, but another store about 20 miles away had one so off we headed to that store - Gail was getting her fill of cool pet stores all in one day.
When we got done there we called Gigi, the pet sitter that occasionally watches our cat, Sneakers. We thought we'd stop by and let Gigi meet Gail. Gigi loves animals (which is a good thing for a pet sitter) and was oohhing and aahhing over Gail. Unfortunately, she probably won't get an opportunity to watch Gail since she goes with us everywhere. Oh well, there are some things that Sneakers likes to claim as his own, so time with Gigi will have to be one of them.
We decided to head back home, but first we made a lunch stop at Henry's Chicago Style Hot Dogs it must sound like we eat constantly - but, really we don't). As we went to sit down, a little girl in the booth behind us saw Gail and said "she's wearing a cape". The billboard advertising is definitely working - lots of people recognize the dogs when they see them.
When we got home, we setup the new crate so that Gail would get used to seeing it and practice getting in and out of it before actually having to use it. It's kind of funny, we haven't had any problems with her current crate, but she wasn't too sure about this one.
Sneakers on the other hand wasted no time in getting in and checking it out. He looks kind of funny in it since it's so big, and he's so small (well not really, he's actually pretty big as cats go, not fat, just tall and long).
The rest of the day was pretty quiet, just some R&R to get ready for the new work week.
Until next time....