Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Welcome to the Solstice, the first day of summer. More notably, Rockwell turned one year old yesterday. And I didn't even blog about it. Well, in my defence, he didn't know either.

We went out with the PW supervisor yesterday. You may recall that we were planning to go back to Westboro and have a coffee at one of the dog cafes to celebrate his birthday. Unfortunately, it had rained off and on that morning and Sheila said she was tired of getting wet so we were going to Bayshore instead. Well, it's a nice big indoor mall and he'd never been so away we went.

On the way there, we stopped at a light and a cab pulled up beside us. Rockwell stared out the window at the cabbie and finally the driver waved at him. At that encouragement, Rockwell climbed up my chest and tried to get out the window at the door jamb. It was funny but I was left covered in hair and slobber. At Bayshore, we started in the underground garage area where pigeons flew and cars and trucks made loud, rumbly noises. Unfazed by any of that, Rockwell freaked out over a moth and later, over some dandelion fluff. We decided he's a detail man.

Once he settled into wearing his jacket he did his golden boy routine and made us both proud. He saw his first escalator and didn't turn a hair at it, preferring instead to be interested in a cookie crumb at its base. I was directed to travel up the escalator and out of sight and then come back down, to test his reaction. He was quite interested when I disappeared at the top and as I came back down, his tail started to wag slowly as I got closer. Once I got off the escalator however, I was ignored! We also walked into a washroom and Sheila took him into the large handicapped stall and he just sat in the corner when asked.

Bayshore has lots of different floor surfaces - from stone to marble to tile to carpet and Sheila noticed that at every transition, he put his nose down to examine it. This is something they encourage in a real guide dog so she was quite happy to see it. We walked down one long hallway where the floor was striped at frequent intervals by a different colour stone and he stopped looking at each stripe after the first two. Then when we arrived at a court area with a different floor, he looked at the transition as we crossed it.

Finally we had coffee at Second Cup, to celebrate Sheila's birthday which is coming up on Thursday. Rockwell by then was tired and he persisted in licking the floor, trying to chew gum off the underside of the table and trying to get the shim out from under one table leg. We finally gave up, put the lids back on our coffees and called it a day.


At 11:23 a.m., June 21, 2006, Blogger Patience said...

Happy First Birthday Rockwell!

We cannot believe how quickly you have grown into a big, handsome, and mature boy.

Sam and Patience

At 11:56 a.m., June 21, 2006, Blogger 8675309 said...

"Unfazed by any of that, Rockwell freaked out over a moth and later, over some dandelion fluff. We decided he's a detail man." -- Julia, this KILLED me. Hilarious!

Happy birthday to you, Rockwell! Lomax, who turns a ripe old 21 months today, says you should enjoy your fleeting youth. ;)

At 5:04 p.m., June 21, 2006, Blogger Natalie said...

Happy Birthday Rockwell!!

Congrats on your great job with your PW supervisor! We are very very proud of you =)

Nat and Petey

p.s. It's okay, sometimes moths scare me too

At 7:16 a.m., June 22, 2006, Blogger Charlie The Big Dog said...

Hi Rockwell

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Moths are only scary until you discover their edible - then they are really cool! Trust me, Ive got 10years experience:-)

Luv Charlie

At 4:30 p.m., June 22, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Thanks all for the birthday wishes! I may have misled folks when I said "freaked out" by a moth. He really wanted to catch it, was what it was. He has certainly eaten his share of flies, I know that.

Welcome to my blog Charlie!

At 6:09 p.m., June 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if we could use a little tea tree oil diluted to clean out the outer dirt from a dog's ears?

I would like to know before I try it.

At 9:59 p.m., June 22, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Anon, I have never tried it. I do know that dogs hate to have things put in their ears so whatever it is shouldn't sting. Vinegar can sting so I dilute it a lot. If it stings when you put it in your own eye, I would water it down. But I don't know anything about tea tree oil. The problem with oil might be that it would attract more dirt.

At 5:04 p.m., June 29, 2006, Blogger Debbie Cook said...

I wandered over here from your sewing blog and saw this photo of Rockwell on the stairs. My princess (Pepper) has claimed the *exact* same spot on our left-turning stairs as her own. She's signficantly smaller though, and no legs or paws hang off but the overall effect is just the same -- roadblock on the staircase!

At 8:23 a.m., June 30, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Hey Debbie! Yes you have to keep an eye out for not only the dog (hard to miss) but his various dog toys (much smaller and easy to turn an ankle on).


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