Thursday, August 11, 2016

Not Always About Me

Angie and I went to the warehouse where all of the stuff is kept for Texas Task Force 1, including kennels for the dogs.  That was fine since I thought it would just be a few minutes until we were training at Disaster City.  But no….when she let me out, we walked with everybody on our team, and other dogs, for 2 miles.  Angie carried a heavy pack, and I was bored.  Walking is just not that much fun.

When we returned, I went back in the kennel, and Angie left.  She didn’t come back until many hours later, and it was dark.  Turns out she was at a class called Wide Area Search, which helps her be better at her job.  That is training for her, but not for me.  When she came back, she fed me, took me outside for a short walk, and then lights out.

The next day was the same, but not as long.  And then we went home.  Sometimes I must wait, and remember that it is not always my turn.  Angie needs training too, and it is important for her.  I get to train all the time, and so I should not be upset that sometimes it is her turn. I have a feeling that I will get my turn again very soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Crowd of Boy Scouts

Angie and I are not worried about giving presentations.  We have visited schools, camps, Vacation Bible Schools, and even events where people sit at tables eating lunch.  But we went to a Boy Scout camp last week, and there were 300 kids.  That is the most ever!  And there was loud music, and they were making so much noise that even with a microphone, Angie had a hard time getting them to listen.  And they were sitting on the bleachers in a big auditorium, and eating lunch.  And…well, you probably get the picture.

Usually at these events, somebody hides, and I find that person.  But there were too many people this time. Angie was worried that they wouldn’t be able to see and would just take off, trying to watch me.  So I demonstrated my obedience and some agility.  It was not that much fun for me, but all of the Scouts seemed to like it. 

And here was the toughest part.  Since it was the last day of camp, each boy had a balloon to pop.  The person in charge told us that they would wait until we left the building, but that is not what happened.  Imagine the sound of 300 balloons going “pop, pop, pop!”  It was so loud, and I was so happy to load up in the quiet car and head home.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My New Home

No, I didn’t go live with a different family, or run away, or anything like that.  But for one week, Sprinkles’ family went away, and Angie and I stayed at their house.  That is because there are 3 dogs who live there, and 2 of them are kind of old and take medicine.  It was easier to go there than for all of those dogs to come to our house.

Remember that I am the only dog at my house, so it was a big change to be with 3 other dogs.  We all stayed in our kennels at night, and if Angie was gone.  If she was home, then sometimes Sprinkles and I would play in the backyard.  Maybe because Sprinkles lived there and I didn’t, she felt like she could be the boss of me.  She would not share her toy, and would tease me with it. 

I like being the only dog.  When we came back home, I was tired.  It felt quiet, calm, and like the best place to be.  It was nice of Angie to take care of those 3 dogs, but even better when it was all done.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Be Prepared

This is the time of year when weather can get bad, like hurricanes that can come with lots of rain and wind, even flooding and destroying houses.  Angie and Kip are always ready, and have extra food, bottled water, flashlights, and lots of other stuff for our family.  And I know there is always at least a half tank of gas in the car (that is why we stop for gas after every trip to Disaster City).

I am part of our family, and to everybody reading this, if you have dogs or cats (yes, Oscar is also part of the family), even birds, remember that what is best for humans is also best for us.  The most important thing I can say to you is “Do not leave us behind.”  If you evacuate, do not think that we will be OK without you.  If you go, we go. Find out what shelters and hotels allow pets, because not all of them do.  If you decide to travel to a safe place out of town, like a friend’s house, be sure that pets are welcome.  The time to do this is BEFORE anything happens, like right now. Plan ahead.

Put together an emergency kit just for us.  We need food, water, leashes, toys, bowls, our medicine, first aid supplies, and for cats, a litter box.  You know I don’t need that, but Oscar does.  Be sure to have ziplock bags so that our food stays dry…and towels that are throw away. If you have enough food for 10 days, then that should be enough.  Keep copies of our veterinary records, especially our vaccinations and please make sure we are wearing identification tags with our name and phone number. Some of us have microchips under our skin, but it might be a while before we get to a vet if we are lost.

Do not put a cat in a crate with a dog, or put a dog in a crate with another dog, or 2 cats in the same cat carrier. Even though we may all be great friends, when the weather changes, or our humans get upset, we might act differently than normal.  Have a separate kennel for each of us.  That way we will be safe and comfortable. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Story with a Happy Ending

This story started with me, but it did not end with me.  It did end with another dog, and that is the happy ending.  Here is what happened.  Angie works with children, and sometimes, I get to go with her.  When I hurt my paw, and there was a bandage on it, she took me with her to meet a girl and her family.  The girl cannot see; she is blind, and she also uses a wheelchair to get around.  Sometimes she is on the floor, and she can scoot around.

Since she cannot use her eyes, she uses her hands to find out what is going on.  Well, she uses her ears, too, but with me, she put her hands first on my face, then my body, and she could also feel where the bandage was on my leg.  She smelled my fur, and her parents told Angie that she loved dogs.  They were thinking about getting a dog, but didn’t know what kind of dog would be best.  The little girl asked if she could keep me, or at least baby-sit me, and Angie told her, “no,” but in a nice way.

Here is the happy part.  Angie called a friend of hers who raises Golden Retrievers (like Sprinkles), and asked if she knew of any dogs who could be a pet to live with this girl and her parents.  The dog’s job would be to cuddle, play, be sweet, and have good manners.  Not a job for me, but maybe for another dog.  And it turned out, there is a dog named Jet who is perfect for this.  The family went to meet Jet, and the next day, Jet came to live with them.  I like to think that I was part of this story. There are all kinds of jobs for dogs, and I helped this dog find his.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Playing Vet

I am so tired because a 4-year-old little girl has been at our house for 2 days.  She is like a puppy because she always wants to play, or do something with me.  It has been very tough because I haven’t been able to rest or just hang out by myself.  And her favorite game to play is “Vet” and that means she is like Dr. Zoran and I am the dog who is in her office.

All of this is pretend, not real….and that is good because here are some of my pretend injuries.  I have been bitten by a snake, broke my leg, hit by a piece of wood, and had many splinters.  She has used an X-ray machine on me, put me to sleep at least 10 times, sprinkled magic dust on me, and given me stitches and shots.  She has also whispered in my ear, kissed me, and hugged me.  Oscar the cat is nowhere to be found, so for once, he is being smart.

And this little girl left her crayons on the floor, as well as a stuffed animal she calls “Floppy Bunny.”  I know I should not have done this, but I took the Bunny and shook him in my mouth.  I could have done more, but I didn’t.  I did eat 2 crayons but Angie caught me before I could swallow them all the way.  They didn’t even taste good.  I would rather be tired from training than from all of this pretending.  Sometimes it is just tough being me!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My New Kennel

This is kind of embarrassing to write, but you will enjoy hearing about the latest addition to the car.  It is a new kennel for me!  You might want to know, “Sammie, what was wrong with the old one?  Why did you need a new kennel?”  Here is the reason: when I am waiting my turn to train, especially when I hear other dogs barking on the rubble pile, or see them ready to go, I get VERY excited, and I push against the wire gate on my kennel.  I have done this with so many kennels that the wire gate falls off. Sometimes I also bite the plastic edge of the kennel.

I know this is not respectful behavior.  I know that Angie has bought many new kennels because I have been so destructive.  I have the same kind of kennel in the kitchen, and I don’t destroy that one.  Does this behavior make me a bad dog?  I just want to work, and you know that I have difficulty waiting my turn.

The new kennel is called an “escape proof” model. It is not plastic, and the gate is not wire.   Everything is metal, and there are 3 locks on the gate.  It looks like a giant, fierce, biting dog should be inside, not a small, gentle dog like me.  But I must tell you, this kennel keeps me from trying to bust through the gate.  There will be no escaping for Sammie, and no more trips to the store for Angie to buy more.  I can’t say that I like
this kennel, but I respect it!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friends Come to Disaster City

Every year, dogs and humans visit Disaster City for a weekend of training, searching, tugging, and playing on rubble, trains and in buildings.  This time there were over 50 dogs, and we had the best time!  The weather was cold in the morning, and stayed perfect all day.  Angie and I were assigned to a group of dogs from Florida, Utah, Missouri, and California.  We stayed in that group all weekend, and everybody used good canine manners.  No fighting, waiting our turn, and quiet in our kennels. 

This was the first time in almost a month that I was able to get on rubble. The cut on my pad has healed, and I was so excited to get back to training.  I probably had more energy than usual because of all the rest during the last few weeks.  Here was a funny part.  Angie brought 2 new hedgehog toys for me that were soft with long, long tails.  I tugged so hard that the heads ripped off!  Of course, I made sure that all of the stuffing was out of those heads. The tails were still good for tugging.

We stayed in a hotel at night, and I was so tired in a good way that when pizza was delivered, I smelled it, maybe dreamed about it, and went right to sleep in my soft kennel.  It was worth the weeks that I rested my paw to be able to have such a great time at Disaster City.  Come back soon, Pilot, Gunner, Raffey, Rocky, and Baylee!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bella, the Visiting Small Dog

One of Angie and Kip’s friends is staying with us.  And he brought his Yorkie – that is a small terrier dog – with him.  Bella is only 2 years old, and she has a lot of energy.  I feel bad for her because her human, Jeff, does not let her play except when he gets up in the morning, for a few minutes.  When he gets home from work, he feeds her and stays in his room, watching television. 

When Bella does get out of the bedroom, she races down the stairs, jumps on the furniture, and also jumps on me.  She puts her paws on my face, and sometimes runs under my stomach. When I get tired of this, I growl at her – no biting of course – and she stops.

I know that she is more comfortable at my house now.  When she first came, she pooped and peed on the floor.  She doesn’t do that anymore.  It can be tough for dogs to have changes in how or where they live, and that is what’s going on with her.  Still, a tired dog is usually a happy dog.  This makes me so glad that I get lots of exercise every day.  Thank you, Angie, for knowing that I need that.

Oh, and Bella even has a Halloween costume.   I am not sure what she is supposed to be, but there is a purple vest with a green collar.  And there is a little hat that fits over her head that has brown ears.  Very strange, these small dogs…

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Cold Weather Job

During the afternoon, Sprinkles and I went to the field behind the fire station to run, play and steal each other’s toys.  So I was fast asleep in my kennel that night, when Angie wakes me up.  Kip is taking her bags out to the car, and she is dressed in her uniform and boots.  I know we aren’t going to training, but I do know we are going somewhere.

We drove to College Station, and then got in a van with a kennel for me and room for 8 people.  We went to a place in North Texas where there were tornadoes that destroyed lots of houses, and our help was needed.  First we stopped at a high school, where we would be sleeping, and then we went to work.  It was very cold and raining. Although it was not great weather for humans, dogs like it this way.  We went to a street where some houses looked normal, but some looked bad, with no roofs. There were trees turned over, cars upside down, and some houses were just bricks and wood.

I searched several houses, and in one house, there was a basket of dog toys.  In another house, there were some cookies and milk.  I was hungry, but I did my job….until something happened.  I cut the pad on my paw when I stepped on a piece of glass.  Ouch!  There was blood, and Angie picked me up and carried me to the van.  One of the firefighters wrapped a towel around my cut, and stopped the bleeding. 

The Texas A&M Vet Emergency Team was at the high school, just in case something like this happened.  The vet cleaned my pad, gave me a shot, and bandaged it.  I was out of service for the rest of the day, and when we got back home, I still had to wear a bandage and take some medicine. It is my job now to get well so that I can help the next time people need me.