The Hardest Part Thursday, Aug 25 2011 

There are a lot of hard decisions I’ve had to make. Thankfully none of them have ever concerned my pets.

I think there are a few puppy raisers who drop by here every once in a while, right now I really do envy you guys. You work so hard with your pups, do a wonderful job, but you don’t have to make the final decision when it comes to passing a dog or washing it out of Service Dog work.

From left to right, Holly, Edna, and CCI puppy, Nimby.

These last few weeks I’ve had to step back and take a good hard look at Holly while we’re out working in public. Evaluate how both of us were working. When Holls first started SD training she was very enthusastic about working. She was always eager and happy to go to work. Recently she’s been getting very stressed out. Even in low distraction environments like the library she has her ears back, and starts panting soon after entering the building.

She’s never been a fan of riding in cars. She used to hate riding in them, we worked really hard and for a while she was doing really well, she’d just lie down and go to sleep. Now she starts panting quickly, she’s not as stressed as she used to be but she certainly isn’t excited about it all.

While she still performs her tasks well, I don’t want to continue to push her. That would be horribly unfair for her and very dangerous for me.

All this has led me to make the decision to wash her out. No worries, Holls isn’t going anywhere. She’s my first dog, she’s incredibly special, and she’ll still do her tasks at home, and when we’re out walking and goofing off. She’ll just return to ESA and pet status.

"Hunting" in Belle's backyard.

I think that she’ll still occasionally come with me to very low stress places that she’s familiar with, and that I have to go to, like my therapist’s, but other than that she’ll just be my good dog. She’ll be able to walk, play with the other dogs, and chase squirrels to her heart’s content.

Because she’s washing out, and because I can’t function in public without a dog, (My therapist didn’t want Holly to wash out, she was concerned about my safety.) I’m beginning the quest for the my next SD candidate. Hopefully not too much time will lapse between Holly returning to a pet life, and a new SD prospect.

We’ll keep you updated on that, and on Holly’s life as a good ol’ Hound dog!

Until Later,

Kat & Holly

Wordless Wednesday Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 

The wild beast!

Until Later,

Kat & Holly

Pretty, Pretty Princess Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 

It came, at last!!

I ordered a beautiful new collar  for the Pretty Princess from Around the Hounds.

I gotta say that they don’t win any prizes for shipping time, it took a few weeks to come. I just figured it took a while since it came over from Canada. It was well worth the wait. So here are a few pictures Holly in her stunning new collar.

Searching for squirrels.

So purty!!

Sleeping with her lovely new collar.

It’s a WONDERFUL collar, 1.5in Green Celtic Swirls. I ended up getting it as a flat buckle, just out of personal preference (and it was cheaper).

Go check out the website, they have absolutely AMAZING stuff!

Until Later,

Kat & Holly

Finishing the Weekend Tuesday, Aug 23 2011 

To finish up our weekend saga, we woke up, jacked ourselves up on the last sugary items we could scrounge, and took the dogs out for a photo shoot.

Keeping an eye on the neighborhood kids.

Posing on the bird bath.

Then we packed up the car and headed out.

Waiting to get going.

We stopped by Ikea on the way home to get some lunch and do a little training.

Under one of the tables in the big Ikea garage.

Then we went home. It was a wonderful weekend, so much fun, we all had a great time! Don’t forget to head over to Belle’s blog at Just Between Us and say happy B-day to her! Also, she’s got some pretty awesome pictures of her own from the weekend.

Until Later,

Kat & Holly

More Weekend Fun Monday, Aug 22 2011 

After the first night of fun Belle, Dozer, Holly and I got up, and headed around the lake for a good long walk.

Looking out over the beautiful lake during our morning walk.

Dozer coming back from the dock. He and Holly liked nibbling on the grass there.

The dogs got a special B-day treat, made of sweet potatoes, peanut butter, and molasses. She’ll be posting on how to make it soon.

Waiting for their goodies.

Then we headed out for a day of fun. Holly’s never had to ride in the bottom of the car before. So this was a new experience for her. She wasn’t thrilled, but she did pretty well.

Lying with her head under the cup holder.

We went out for lunch at a pizza place. We ate outdoors so Dozer could come with. The dogs even got their own separate water bowls.

Under the table.

Dozer next to Belle.

Then we meandered around the shops and hung out in the shade a little bit.

Next to the Ben and Jerry's Cow.

Hanging out in the shade. Belle was hanging onto the leashes while I got the pictures.

We visited the local pet boutique and then dropped by Freddies to pick up junk food.

After riding home we spent the rest of the day eating the junk food, walking the pups, and hanging out in the tent that we had commandeered for the sleep-over.

Her Royal Highness decided the air mattress was hers.

Dozer keeping an eye out for Belle.

It was a wonderful day. Nothing better than junk food and best friends! I’ll finish the epic tale tomorrow.

Until Later,

Kat & Holly

What a Weekend! Monday, Aug 22 2011 

Oh my goodness. What a wonderful, busy weekend it’s been.

My best friend, Belle, from Just Between Us had Holly and I over to celebrate her birthday.  It was quite a weekend, with LOTS of pictures so I’ll cover it over a few days.

Thursday night Holls got a bath to clean her all up for the big weekend. She wasn’t really all that thrilled.

Not thrilled with cleanliness.

On the way down to her place we stopped by Ikea for lunch and to pick up some furniture. This was Holl’s first time in a restaurant-type setting. I was a little worried about how she’d do going under the table, but she went right under when asked.

Under the table like a good dog.

Holly did wonderfully in Ikea. She did her tasks well, not perfectly, but pretty well. She didn’t sniff anything, and ignored people pointing and talking to her.

Waiting in the check out line.

We saw a beautiful Golden Retriever mobility dog there, Holly did a good job ignoring that too.

Belle and Dozer live right next to a beautiful lake, so Holly, Doze, Belle, and I went down and hung out there for a while. Holly even decided to go wading!

Splashing around.

At first she just splashed around in the shallows.

Sniffing in the water

Then she decided to wade out a little deeper. I’ve never seen her go so deep!

Being a brave Coonie.

She heard something

She even decided to snorkle a little.

Barely missed her sticking her head under water.

Turns out she was snorkling for the goose poop that was on the bottom of the lake. Uck… oh well, she had a wonderful time!

Dozer joined her, but he refused to go in the water.

She waded, he balanced.

So that concludes the first few adventures we had at Belle’s place. Visit her blog to see some more pictures. Check back tomorrow when I’ll continue the adventure story.

Until later,

Kat & Holly

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Sunday, Aug 14 2011 

That we, the Clan did make a great, and arduous journey to the Medieval Faire.

Welcome to Camlann.

Yep, and boy did we have a good time.

In our area there used to be several Medieval Fairs, all of which were quite large and very, very fun. Unfortunately they slowly died out leaving only the Camlann Medieval Faire. Even that has become a much smaller event since it’s run completely on donations.

Outside the village.

Nevertheless, Lil’ Sis, Mom, Holly, and I all packed up the car and sallied forth for a day at the fair. I wasn’t sure how Holly would react to a lot of the stuff, since it’s not stuff we see every day. Also, it’s set in a very wooded area, and because she is a hound, Holly gets distracted in forests where small furry creatures run free.

There was Master Payne, the magician:

Master Payne, world famous jongular.

My gosh did this guy have a voice like a foghorn. You could hear him from across the village. I was a little worried how Holly would deal with him bellowing about 6 feet away from her, and blowing his little trumpet. Here’s how she did:

What yelling?

She wore her halter to help her focus in the new, and extremely distracting environment.

Poor Holly had her first experience being harassed by a child. A 2 or 3 year old girl came over and started petting Holly. She was pretty gently until she started hitting Holly on the vest. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, the dad was completely clueless, he didn’t even notice until the mom came over and told the girl that she couldn’t pet Holly.

Holly dealt with it beautifully, she started getting uncomfortable when the girl was hitting her back, she got up and moved behind me. If it had gone on for even a few more seconds I would have had to jump in. I wish parents would pay more attention to their children sometimes.

There were also some singers

They were absolutely wonderful!

Holly wasn't horribly enthusiastic about the music.

There was a medieval wood shop.

in front of the wood shop.

In front of the spinner's set-up.

Sitting in town square.

Lying down in the town square.

Outside of one of the houses.

In front of the tournament field.

 After an hour or two of wandering around, training, and looking at all the fun sights, we packed up and headed home.

Sleeping on the way home.

A fun and exhausting event. If you live in the area I highly suggest making a pilgrimage over to Camlann and dining at the wonderful, time-appropriate (but rather expensive) Bors Hede restaurant.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Kat & Holly

Wordless Wednesday Thursday, Aug 11 2011 

Carting Coonie

Until Later,

Kat & Holly

Rendezvous Ride: Part 2 Monday, Aug 8 2011 

Last Monday Holly, Mom and I went on a car trip to drop my Lil’ Sis off with my aunt and uncle for a week.

On Saturday, Holly, Mom, and I piled into the car to pick up my Sis at an outdoor diner about an hour and a half away from home.

Holly’s ride there was very calm, quiet, and for the majority of the time, stress-free.

On the way out.

Dozer tagged along as well, since he would be heading home later in the day.

Peering out from under the seat.

When we dropped my Sis off on Monday this little diner had been deserted. Not this time. It was PACKED with people. This was not a good thing for me. I was really, really edgy. Holly did her job well, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep me under the threshold.

We picked the Lil’ Sis up and left pretty quickly. Here’s the brief picture of the pick-up point that I snapped from inside the car.

A very purty place.

The ride back was also relatively peaceful.

Sleeping on the way home.

We got home. Holly and Dozer crashed out for a while. Then Dozer’s family came by and picked him up. Poor Holls was a bit of a wreck, she’s really attached to her little buddy, and was really stressed out to see him go. But after a good meal and walk she was able to calm down a bit.

I hope you all will follow Dozer and his person’s adventures at their blog: Just Between Us

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Kat & Holly

Over, Around, and About Saturday, Aug 6 2011 

One of the challenges of living with Social Phobia and Agoraphobia is that getting out of the house becomes a battle with your mind. Part of you will be convinced that you shouldn’t go out, there are too many possibilities for getting trapped, having to interact with people, and other things of that ilk.

Part of my fight with these phobias is forcing myself out of the door, to get out and about at least once a day. Living smack in the center of a huge, bustling city isn’t much help, but it gives me a good mental work out. I have to get out to walk dogs at least once a day, but that’s my job, I like to get out on errands, it gives me a job to do, a way to push my own limits, and training opportunities with Holly.

Friday was one of those days where Holly and I both get quite a workout.

We have a local Farmer’s Market, which has been recommended to me as a great training opportunity. Until yesterday I hadn’t made it up there. At last we made the pilgramige.

In front of the greenery at the entrance to the market.

Depite the swarms of children, dogs, and food on tables (which are, of course, right at nose level for the Princess) she did amazingly well. She even ignored a little boy who came up and asked me why she was wearing her vest, which he poked for good measure.

I, on the other hand did not do as well as my darling dog. The Market was a little too much, too many people, no easy way out. I had several panic-induces asthma attacks, as well as dizzy spells. Holly was a good Service hound though and did her job!

On the way home we stopped by the local small grocery store. Holly did flawlessly there, no sniffing or pulling, and great focus.

Hanging onto her leash for me while I packed up the goods and snapped a picture.

Lastly we stopped by the nearest local pet boutique to grab Holly a cookie.

The pet store owners leave free treat samples in the bucket. Holls was getting irritated, she wanted her treats, and was tired of holding her leash.

Our mission accomplished, the Pretty Princess and I headed home. Where she enjoyed her hard-earned dinner of beef trim…

Dinner at last!

Which she gorged on, then puked up, and then ate again. *sigh* But such is life with dogs, and as long as my mom never finds out all will be well.

Hope you guys are keeping busy and enjoying a break from the heat!

Kat & Holly

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