Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sprinkles Goes to New York City

This was a trip I did not go on, but my friend Sprinkles told me about it.

This is Sprinkles story.

Bretagne at World Trade Center, 2001
I took a trip last month with my mom and my dad.  At first I was very excited and happy, because they were both dressed in the blue pants with pockets and the boots that mean I am going to work or to training.  Either one is fine with me since I get to run and search and play with a toy.  We loaded up in the car, but instead of going to the fire station or Disaster City, we went to the place where the airplanes are, and we got on one.  So now I’m thinking training trip, new rubble pile, get to see some dog friends, and this will be fun, but that is not at all what the trip was about.

Courtesy of FEMA/Andrea Booher
It turns out that this trip was about something bad that happened 10 years ago, in a city that has lots of tall buildings, cars, people, and noises.  I noticed that the people talked different than they do at home. Most of the time, we were with firefighters. Some of them I know from back home, but there were a lot of them that I did not know.  Still, they were rubbing my fur, and some hugged me.  And they said something about how I reminded them of my sister, Bretagne, who they met 10 years ago.  She was my mom’s search dog before me.

So there was no training for me, and there was not fun and laughing and playing.  People were sad, and their voices were low and sometimes they were crying.  My mom had tears, and she was not the only person. I can tell you that some of the firefighters who hugged me had wet eyes and rubbed them on my fur.  I didn’t mind. This bad thing that happened was called “9-11” or “World Trade Center,” and even though I was not there, I should never forget that there were brave people and dogs who died helping others, and that I may have that same job one day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Snake bit!

One time I was running in some high grass, and I saw a long, dark, flat thing move very fast at my face. Ouch! And then I forgot about it because there was so much else to do at training. But Angie heard me make that sound, and she looked at the side of my face. She thought I ran into something sharp. Later on, I started to feel kind of sick, and it was hard to breathe. Angie noticed that and I heard her say something about “snake bite.” She took me right away to a dog doctor (a vet) because by then my face was getting bigger and bigger. The vet cut some of my fur away, and there were 2 tiny holes where the snake put his teeth in me. I got some medicine. Don’t worry, I am fine - I just don’t want that to happen again. If I see that snake thing again I am going to stay far away.

So this might be one of the reasons I have to listen to Angie, and not always run and act like I can do this all by myself. She calls it “paying attention.” I have trouble with that because I just like to go for what I want. Dang, I can’t always have it my way. I would always rather search than pay attention, because usually when I pay attention, it means I have to be still…and no barking. But I have learned that all of the dogs must be able to stay still without moving, even if there are many dogs in a row, and even if Angie goes away for a little while. And I know that when she yells “Down!” while I am running, I better stop right away, because there might be something that would hurt me that I cannot see. I also know how to follow her directions to run to one side or another, or even to go backwards. She shows me with hand signals and tells me with words, “Over, back, hup!”
Sometimes at training, I have to sit and watch other dogs work, and that is so tough. I get so excited about all of this, and it is hard to keep quiet and wait my turn. Especially when we go to Disaster City, I know what is about to happen, and that it will be the best fun, and it is never the same. I love that part, that there is always something a little bit different. People might be hiding in a rubble pile, or a building, or get this, in a TRAIN!  I can tell when we are going to Disaster City, and as soon as we get close, I start spinning around and around in circles in my crate, and making a squealing noise. I mean, I just love this place, and let me tell you why….