Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hi Mom!!!

Dempsey says:
"Hi (new) Mom!!!Hi! Hi! I love the toys you bought for me. And I love you! Thank you! I had fun with you. I'm bored now. Mom Doreen and Dad Paul moved to a new house. All they do is move boxes around. Buddy the cat likes the boxes, but I'm bored.

"Every time they open a box, I think it's a present for me. But it isn't. They haven't bought me a new toy in weeks! They say we have too much stuff, but I don't think you can have too many toys. I love you and I think I'll have alot of fun with you. Love, Dempsey."

Paul and Doreen say:

We'll try to update Dempsey's blog more often -- we've just been pretty busy! Right now, we're too tired for words, but Dempsey's colleague Sheldon has volunteered to demonstrate how we feel:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The boy is back!

Dempsey returned tonight from his "business trip" with his prospective new mom.

Doreen and I were careful not to let him pack his toys for this business trip, but when he came home, he proudly pulled out of his bag two brand new toys that his prospective new mom had bought for him: a fuzzy goose and a crazy chicken.

In Dempsey's skills self-evaluation, we talked about how skilled he was at retrieving credit cards or pieces of paper, and how he can easily open doors. I guess we should've mentioned, though, that by far his best skill is getting what he wants from people.

Dempsey says: "Thank you, nice new mom! I had a lot of fun and I really like the new toys! I think I'm going to like living with you. Lots of love, snuggles, and kisses! (And lots of toys, too, please! And treats. Treats are good, too!)"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dempsey's business trip

For the past month, Dempsey has been busy going to the training center, interviewing applicants for service dogs.

The process of matching applicants to service dogs is a complex one, with the staff considering lots of variables: skill level, activity level, temperament, experience with kids or other pets, among others. And, of course, there's that ever elusive "fit": Dempsey makes the ultimate decision for who he wants to live with. If he doesn't like someone, then all of the other variables don't matter.

The feedback we've received is that Dempsey, of course, loves everyone. He worked happily for all the applicants, and he wasn't selective in giving kisses and snuggles to people. We were happy to hear that, because it means that Dempsey will be happy no matter where he goes.

Yesterday, Dempsey packed his bag (literally) for a business trip: He's spending the weekend with an applicant who has a "civilian" pet dog and cat, to see if he gets along with everyone in the family. Although this is a business trip, when we asked him to "get" stuff to "put" in his bag, he also grabbed a toy. Happy Dempsey always plans on having fun.

He's been out for over a day now, and he hasn't been sent back, which leads us to believe he's getting along nicely with his new friends.

We already kinda miss the little guy. Instead of playing hide and seek after dinner like we usually do, we spent some time looking at pictures of Dempsey and noticed there were a few we haven't blogged yet.

Below are some pictures of Dempsey at Art-A-Whirl, the "largest open studio and gallery tour in the U.S."

Riding the Art-a-Whirl trolley to different studios:

Inside the spooky, abandoned Hollywood Theater:

Here Dempsey looks a little weirded out by the "ghosts" behind him at the theater:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Buddy Bueller

Buddy the bad cat pushed out the screen window in the kitchen this morning, jumped out, and made poor Doreen worry.

After searching the neighborhood for hours, we found him sitting lazily in the driveway, right around dinnertime. He wouldn't tell us where he was all day, but we found these incriminating photos on Anthony Weiner's Twitter account.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Laundry boy

Next step: Teaching Dempsey to fold and put away.

Training by Nelson

A few months ago, when we took Dempsey to Chuck E. Cheese, he entertained a bunch of kids by carrying around a paper cup -- on his nose.

We had been pleased with Dempsey's "carry," and we didn't think much of how he picked things up. But it actually matters.

One of Dempsey's new chores is to bring his food bowl to the kitchen sink after every meal so we can wash it for him. When we first taught him, he would sometimes pick it up flat, and sometimes he would pick it up vertically, with the bowl over his nose.

The problem, of course, is that when the bowl covers his nose, it also covers his eyes. A couple of weeks ago, after breakfast, I forgot to ask Dempsey to "push" my chair in. After he finished his breakfast, he dutifully picked up his bowl and started carrying it to the sink, also forgetting that he hadn't yet pushed in my chair.

I suppose if I were a nice person, I would've stopped Dempsey and made him push in my chair first. But I was curious to see what he would do, so I just watched as he staggered, with the bowl covering his eyes, towards the kitchen.

Predictably, Dempsey walked right into the chair in his path. Surprised, he dropped the metal bowl, and its clattering surprised Dempsey again. He jumped back about three feet, and stared quizically at the bowl as it wobbled to a stop.

I suppose if I were a nice person, I would've reassured Dempsey and told him everything was ok. Instead, I was rolling on the floor, laughing at him.

Luckily, Dempsey has a great sense of humor, and he didn't mind I was laughing at him. He looked at me, looked at the bowl, wagged his tail, smiled, and went back to pick it up. This time -- and every time since -- he picked it up so it doesn't cover his eyes.

I feel bad sometimes that I took a page from Nelson Muntz's training manual, but luckily Dempsey is a great sport. He loves it when he makes you laugh or smile, which he does every day. What a joyful boy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sheldon trains Dempsey

As we mentioned in our previous post, little Sheldon is a very mature little puppy. Last Monday, I was trying to teach him to go potty on different surfaces, and so I took Sheldon for a walk down our alley. Sheldon told me that he didn't need a leash, and proceeded to do a nice loose leash walk -- while carrying his own leash.

It took a few treats before I persuaded him it wasn't necessary for him to carry his leash while I was holding the other end.

Sheldon is such a good little boy, we've even been using him to help train Dempsey. Well, we're using Sheldon's kennel, at least. One of the problems Dempsey has is that he likes to sprawl out in the car, and he refuses to jump into a car that doesn't have plenty of space for him. Because he won't always have the luxury of riding first class, we've been working on getting him to jump into (and ride nicely in) a full car. Sheldon's kennel was perfect for this.

Demps isn't very happy about this, but I think he's finally resigned himself to riding "economy" sometimes.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This is NOT a puppy

Doreen and I were overjoyed when we got a last-minute request to babysit a puppy during the Fourth of July weekend.

But despite his puppy-like appearance, we did not get a puppy. We got a well-behaved little dog, even though Sheldon here is 11 weeks old.

Since we got him yesterday afternoon, he has had zero accidents in the house. When he needs to go, he lets us know by sitting by the door and whimpering. He sleeps through the night. He does not steal food. He does not chew everything in sight. When we eat meals, he lies quietly under the table.

When I throw a ball, he actually retrieves it.When I took him out to potty last night, he was completely unperturbed by the lightning and thunder. This morning, when Dempsey had his regular weekly play date with his pal Jesse, Sheldon jumped right in, romping and playing with the big dogs.

We've given Sheldon a lot more freedom than Dempsey had at his age, since Sheldon uses his freedom for good, not evil. Instead of getting into mischief like some other puppies we've known, he spends his time following us around the house.

Or snuggling:

We took Sheldon on a little walk today outside the shopping center, and he did an awesome job. He met a lot of nice people, but more impressive, he was able to focus on me, doing a 10-second watch while shopping carts rolled by. We didn't get a video of that, but we'll try to get one tomorrow. It's really something to see!