Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Doreen and I had never had a dog before we got Dempsey, but now that we've had Dempsey, we can't imagine ever not having a dog again.

With Dempsey graduating in a few weeks, we were faced with a doggie emergency. We had to get a substitute for Dempsey. And last Sunday, we did:

New puppy is, of course, cute and sweet and adorable and very well socialized already, though we'd already forgotten how much work it is to have a puppy. Dempsey acts like a real service dog now; new puppy, we joke, is a dis-service dog. He is a joy to have around, but giving him freedom from the crate requires eternal vigilance.

It's so much fun introducing a baby dog to the world, and we're really looking forward to spending time training him. And the best news is, Dempsey is helping!

On new puppy's first night at home, he cried and cried and cried when we put him in his crate at bedtime. Big-hearted Dempsey, who had just met new puppy about an hour before, was very worried about him. He planted himself right next to the crate, occassionally giving new puppy a touch of his paw or a kiss.

When Doreen and I went upstairs, Dempsey followed us. He licked our hands a few times, and then ran back downstairs. When we didn't follow him, Dempsey ran back up, licked our hands again, and then ran back down. He did this a few times before we finally gave in, and went downstairs to sleep with new puppy and Dempsey. Even Buddy joined us.

I know dog-skeptics will accuse us of anthropomorphizing, but it seems pretty obvious to us that Dempsey was worried about new puppy, and wanted us to comfort him. Dempsey -- and his whole family -- are such kind hearted, furry little people. If you need moe evidence, check out Dempsey's brother Sawyer, who also tries to comfort sick animals. Therapy dogs for other dogs -- who knew?

We're so proud of Dempsey and Sawyer! They're both graduating in September, and they have the temperament, and not just the skills, to be wonderful helpers.


Happy camper

Now that Dempsey is set to graduate in September, the last few weeks have been full of "lasts": Last visit to his current vet, last trip to the office, last dinner at our favorite pizza place.

But since life is full of adventures, we decided we needed to balance some of these "lasts" with some "firsts." So last weekend, we took Dempsey on his first camping trip to Sakatah Lake State Park.

Like the good service dog he is, he started the trip off with some work, helping us check in and set up the tent.

Dempsey was a little disappointed we didn't have a pup tent, but we were happy: Dempsey, we discovered, is quite the sprawler when he sleeps at night. As much as we love the idea of sleeping with him, in practice nobody likes a sleeping-bag hogging dog.

Dempsey enjoyed a little hike on the Singing Hills Trail, but he thought the campfire was boring. No chocolatey Smores for doggies!

We're planning to check off more adventures from Dempsey's bucket list this weekend. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wally World

While Dempsey's baby brother Walter was here, it felt like Wally World. He is quite adorable, but very insistent on being the center of attention, all the time. If Dempsey is getting a massage, Wally needs to muscle in between us and roll over for a massage, too. If Dempsey is quietly chewing a toy, Wally comes charging in to try to play tug. If I tried taking a picture of Dempsey without Wally, he'll come stick his wet nose on the camera lens. Wally, Wally, Wally.

Luckily, Dempsey was a good sport about it all. He and Walter were good buddies as well as brothers, though as you can tell by the pictures, Demps started getting tired of Walter's energy after a few days.

Luckily for Dempsey, Walter turned out not the Energizer Bunny. After a few more days at our house, Walter settled down, though he had a penchant of sleeping by the toy basket and using it as a pillow, just in case anything exciting happens.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Three's a Crowd

With the majority of our unpacking complete, we were somewhat settled enough to dog-sit Walter, one of Dempsey's Helping Paws colleagues, while his family is on vacation.

After a long day, I decided to relax and take advantage of the huge whirlpool bath tub - one of my favorite things in our new home.

All the noise behind a closed door must have been too much excitement for Dempsey and Walter. As I settled in among the bubbles, BAM - the door flew open and two furry heads peered over the edge and tried to jump in the tub with me. Luckily, without success.

True service dogs, always ready to be of assistance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Break time

Although we're nowhere near done unpacking, we decided to take a break last weekend for a day trip up north with Dempsey.

Our first stop was a continuation of Dempsey's architecture tour: The only gas station in the world designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

This gas station isn't as famous as Fallingwater or the Robie House, and for good reason: It's a gas station.
But Demps isn't an art snob; he enjoyed cooling off in the upstairs waiting lounge. Now we can tell everyone Dempsey has been inside a Louis Sullivan and a Frank Lloyd Wright building!

With his architecture history lesson done, we took Dempsey to the beach for some fun time. He enjoyed splashing around the icy cold water of Gitchigumee.

Of course, after some fun at the beach, Dempsey was all wet and sandy. Luckily, we discovered a place to give Dempsey a bath.

Even better for us, the sign for this place was in English: When Doreen and I were in Italy, we were given directions  (in Italian) to a laundromat (we thought) in a village in Tuscany. After we hauled our dirty laundry inside the "Lavaggio Cani, 24 Ore Self Service," we discovered it wasn't really a laundromat, but a 24-hour, self service dog wash.  Later, we discovered that said Tuscan village does not have a laundromat -- only a 24-hour, self service dog wash.

We thought this was weird, but our discovery in Two Harbors, Minnesota, is probably equally weird: A car and truck and dog wash and RV Dump. Will the wonders of the world ever cease?

Dempsey didn't seem too happy at first, probably thinking we would get the underbody wash and special hot wax for him. He seemed happier discovering that the dog wash area was separate from the car wash. He
wasn't too excited either about climbing up the ramp to the dog wash area, but after a few treats and lots of encouragement, he finally got the courage to climb in for his 6-quarters bath.

It was a fun day for a doggie, but we had to come home for Wally World. More on that shortly, I hope.