Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reflections: Parka: Who am I?

Good morning puppy raisers everywhere,



Now everyone, please take a moment and just look into my eyes. What do you see? Can you tell all about me?

This picture taken late in February as I was preparing to complete my final month with Becki and the Limberg gang. I was a little sad knowing that my time with them would be ending soon, but I knew that I had a higher calling and the Limbergs have been preparing me for that next adventure in my life.

This is what Becki shared about me: Parka is a confident pup and a willing worker. (As long as I get fed!) She did very well accompanying me on hectic days. (You guys should knnow that this woman is busy all the time! I think I know Seattle better than any guide dog.)

When left at home in her crate, Parka is so quiet and patient until I return. (I really felt like a caged lion, but I did not want her to know.) If Parka is loose in the house and asleep, Parka will woof if someone comes to the door and knocks or somebody new enters the home. (Woof? Heh, I'm letting everyone know that danger could be near! I think I was a guard dog in my previous life.)

Parka does not bark when on leash or if she is awake when a new sound is hear. (Just look into my eyes, don't I just look like a little angel?) Parka is good loose in the house with some supervision. (Heh, Becki could you give Dad a call and share this with him? He keeps me tied down like a thief?)

She plays roughly with the family dogs and will need lots of supervision. (Well, in my new home, this Cuzzie is queen and I'm not about to mess with her. When she bares those teeth, I keep my distance!) She gets excited when introduced to new places, but settles quickly and is very good around children. (Heck, I LOVE children! Do you have any idea how much food they drop? Kids are a bonanza!)

Parka socialized well with the family dogs and a cat. (That cat thought she owned the place. I kept my distance from her, she had very sharp claws.) She did very well on my many shopping trips, visiting restaurants, malls, riding buses, even trips to the beauty salon. (Let me tell you. This woman can shop. I think she defined the term "shop until you drop!" She had my tongue hanging out. I was pooped! And then the beauty salon....that was my favorite place. All these pretty ladies and I was one of them. I felt like a real princess. They always wanted to paint my toe nails. You know, I think pink would look best with black. What do you think?)

OK, I admit it, I'm HOT! A real good looking beauty. I can't help it. It came natural. Well, Becki said I was confident. You think?

Much love to all puppy raisers. Your time and trouble and effort is well worth it.

Hugs and Licks, Parka

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ahhhhhhhh! This is the good life!


Good morning, my fellow guide dogs "career-changed,"

Ahhhh, basking in the winter sun in southern California. This is the life. I recall all that hard work while I was a puppy in training with the Johnpeers telling me not to do this and not to do that. I had to learn to sit and stay, not chew on the furniture, not jump into bed, not eat everything in sight, stay away from the socks (oh how I love socks!), just about anything I really wanted to do was a BAD idea.

Are you a career-changed guide dog? I hope you are having as much fun as I am. I get to play with this other puppy-in-training named Sayer and we battle over chew toys and plastic pipe and affection. BUT Sayer has to obey all those rules that I used to have to obey.

Ahhhhhhh, this is the life!

But it seems that I am still being taught commands. Can you believe it? The latest command that I have been taught is UP. Now that seems quite harmless right? Does that means I can jump UP on people? No. Does that means I can jump UP on the counter to rummage for more food? No. Maybe it means that I can jump UP on the couch and stretch out? No, but guess what, I do that now anyway, especially when no one is home.

This UP command is strictly enforced about my getting into bed!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, this is the life.

But Gary wanted to make sure this was clear so he said, "Some clarification is needed with regards to Zane's bed-sleeping habit. You see, technically Zane is only there for a couple hours each night and maybe an hour each morning so he really isn't breaking the rules that badly."

Hmmmmmm, not breaking the rules that badly. Maybe, those rules that I learned as a pup are not as black and white as I thought they were? They are subject to some form of interpretation? I think guide dogs should maybe unionize and get one of those stinking lawyers to represent us. Yeah, I think his name is bad, bad, Leroy Brown!

Gary went on, "You see, Vicki usually retires before I do and when I go to up to bed there's usually a big black furry object in my spot. I guess he thinks he's warming up my spot, which he certainly does. But once I push him over (closer to Vicki who is already on the edge) so I can crawl in, he usually gets disgusted and jumps out of bed, onto the floor, and crawls into the cubby-hole of Vickie's office desk next to the bed where he spends the night."

OK, I'm a bed warmer now. Are you kidding? I was fast asleep when you go and push me over and then I don't have room to sprawl out on the bed. You know, this is just not right!

Gary continued, "Lately in the mornings, when he wants to get up for breakfast about 5:30 AM, he will begin to nuzzle Vicki, who has been heard to give a new command "Zane - UP". He then jumps up onto the bed and again snuggles between us, but he's obviously more interested in getting us woken up than going back to sleep (he has food on his mind by this time). He is a skilled rooster in some ways."

Well, there you go. The new command, UP. Of course, when I was back in Colorado, Dad never let me jump up on the bed. And he always got up by 6:00 AM to feed me. I miss the good ole days. But, at least, Gary does get up and feed me good. In fact, I think I'm getting a little fat and lazy.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, this is the good life.

Zane

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Zane's Wish for Christmas!


Merry Christmas to all my friends,

I'm listening to a Josh Groven song, "when it seems we have lost our way, we find ourselves again on Christmas Day!" The song is called "Believe or If you just Believe." My former partner, Richard, really likes this song. The message is clear, if you just believe, your faith will carry you through even the toughest times.

I really miss Richard. We had so many great times together, especially playing Kong. I loved leaping high to snatch the Kong out of the air. I remember cuddling by him as we watched TV. I remember fighting Cuzzie for the Nyla-bone. Or should I say jousting, Cuzzie usually got it away from me if I dropped it for just a moment. I'm amazed that little dog has such balls, and she's a female?

I remember Richard calling last Thanksgiving and Katie put the phone near my head and Richard called out to me in the way he always had done, "Where's my buddy?" I remember looking all around the Johnpeer house thinking that maybe he is there and has come back for me. But soon I realized, it was just a dream.

Gary, my puppy-raiser Dad, is really taking good care of me. I really LOVE it here in sunny, southern California. I can't believe that I really don't miss the SNOW, but I will probably change my mind on that when it gets really HOT in the summer. Maybe I can visit Colorado sometime? Who knows.

I want to wish everyone in the Johnpeer family, Gary, Vicki, Kim and Katie a very merry Christmas and thank you so much for taking me back into your home and giving me so much LOVE. Christmas is family time and I love my family here in Brea.

I want to wish a very, merry Christmas to Richard, Claudia, Grandma and Cuzzie. Yes, even that little queen of the castle that I have read about. I know you guys will have a wonderful white Christmas! I wish I could be with you, but know that my hugs, kisses and frog dogs are sent fondly to you.

Merry Christmas to Miss Parka! You have a BIG job ahead of you. You have to keep Dad safe from those crazy drivers in Denver, ride quietly and confidently on airplanes, negotiate the crowds at airports and malls and listen carefully as he barks out those commands. Just remember, sometimes, he gets confused and tells you to do the wrong thing. Remember, intelligent disobedience, was crafted for just those moments!

Eat lots of kibble today and doggie treats! It's Christmas time! Celebrate!

Love, Zane

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reflections: Graduation Day to Merry Christmas!


Hello friends & family,

This is such a special time of year! When I walk past all the houses at night, they are all lit up with lots of lights and ornaments and fancy displays outside the houses.

Inside our house, there is a really pretty white Christmas tree with lights and ornaments. I can just feel the warmth and love in the air.

It was just a few short days ago when I graduated from guide dog school. That was such a joyous occasion with all the Limberg family there to help celebrate my new partnership with Dad.

We are really starting to work together really well. He likes to slow me down a lot, but with all the snow and ice, I guess that's a good idea. He does tend to slip a little every now and then.

This picture shows all of us at graduation in the Fireplace Room at the Boring campus. Becki, my YOM, and her lovely daughters, Ashley and Caitlin. It was Ashley's 22nd birthday that day. I really felt honored that she would celebrate her birthday at my graduation. I did give her a little present, a small puppy that looks like me!

I just read a Merry Christmas wish from my new pen pal, Princess Coral. She seems like a pretty nice gal. I hope I get to meet her someday soon. I want to wish everyone the same Merry Christmas and the best of holiday celebrations with your family.

My new family, Claudia, Grandma, Cuzzie (ugh) and Dad really treat me so well. Dad even fed me early today since we came home early for Christmas Eve. Dad is listening to beautiful Christmas music right now while I write this story and sometimes he breaks out into song and it's hard to type when I'm using one paw to cover my ears!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to my fellow guide dogs, puppies and their partners and families,

Miss Parka - The Parka Express!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reflections: Winter in Woodinville



Good morning and Merry Christmas to all,

As Dad and I prepare to head to work this morning, I was just thinking about the winter time last year while I was still living in Woodinville, WA. It was a brisk snowy March and pretty chilly outside, but nothing like it is here in Colorado. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

As you can tell in the picture, I have on my very cute Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) puppy-in-training jacket. Don't I look cute? I don't know, let me take a poll. I think I should have applied to the Miss American Dog contest. Don't you? Let me hear your votes!

I think I know how to strut my stuff across the stage, kind of like I did at graduation recently in Boring, OR. In fact, when I wag my tail, Dad says that I have a "body wag." I really know how to shake my thing! Heh Zane, check me out!

Anyway, it was March 8 and I had spent the night at Nonny's condo. She is such a great lady and just loves me so much. It was really great to see her at graduation.

After getting my coat on and taking this cheesecake shot, Nonny and I went for a walk. Of course, it had snowed over night so there was lots of fresh snow on the ground. So what does this lady do? She tells me to SIT and STAY while she flops on her back in the snow, making snow angels.

I thought maybe I should call 9-1-1, but I knew she liked to do this. So let her have her fun. I thought it was kind of funny, too, so I left my sit position and jumped in the snow with her. Woo Hoo!

Nonny and grandpa are fun to be with. I really smile a lot when I think back on those days.
Merry Christmas to all the Limbergs and the great work that you did with me.

Much love and body wags,

Parka

Monday, December 22, 2008

Queen of the Castle!


Miss Parka,

Good afternoon, new invader to my Queendom. I just wanted to set things straight, since it seems like you are going to stay a little while longer.

You may not recall another black dude, named Zane. Yes, he came here for a while and tried to push his way around, but he only lasted a few months. A lot longer than I really thought he would.

I let him know that it was OK for him to share part of my space, but I made sure that he knew that I was "Queen of this Castle!"

So honey, I know that you are a cute thang. . . I'm from southern Colorado! But cute may get you a few belly rubs and scritches on the head, but when it comes to taking over this castle, there ain't no way, honey. I'm the queen and you just got to know that. OK?

Dad is a really nice guy and I sleep in the bed with Mom and him every night. You've already learned that and fortunately know that your place is on the floor at the foot of the bed. A couple of times in the morning, you have gotten a little anxious to go downstairs and started being frisky with Dad and I had to growl and set you straight. I hope you are getting the message!

Mom took this picture over the weekend after Dad gave me a bath. I really don't like baths, but I do come out looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. He clipped me around my face. Can you believe that? A blind guy is cutting my hair?! What's up with this anyway? But I do look pretty cute despite his wayward clipping.

So, just keep in mind that Cuzzie is Queen of the Castle and you could be say, my princess, if you like. That way you could serve me at my every whim. You know, I take your bone away whenever I want to chew on it. I'm glad you got that p -mail.

I'll let you hang a little while longer. I do notice that Dad uses you for some form of transportation. I'm glad that he does not put one of those harnesses on me!

I know you were giving me some kisses over the weekend. I know that you want to "kiss up" to me, but it's not going to work. I'm an old dog and I'm set in my ways. So keep your nose clean and I'll tell Dad that it's OK for you to stay a little longer.

With a little growl and a little teeth,

Queen of the Catle,

Cuzzie

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Time Past - Shop-Hopping!

Good morning from freezing Colorado,

As I lay here beside Dad's feet, I hear him talking to people and wishing them a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I just finished my breakfast, a heaping cup of kibble, my favorite - lamb and rice. Yuuummmmmm!

As Dad woke up this morning, I was giving him some "paw prints" on his hand and leg as I encouraged him to get his butt up out of bed. Didn't he know it was 6:00 AM and time for me to eat?

He finally got the picture and for the first time since I've been here, Dad just unhooked me. I can't figure out why? I was just doing some BIG, BODY WAGS and slapping my tail onto the wall and bed.

Hey, I was excited! Yep, he unhooked me and ZOOM down the stairs I went like a pointer dog, pointing right at my bucket of food.

Now that I lay here reflecting on my past, I recall some very fond memories of last Christmas as I turned one year old in Seattle at the Limberg home. This is what I call "shop-hopping!"

I recall last year's Christmas with Becki and the gang and how crazy busy Becki seemed to be. I don't know if this is normal for her, but "Geeeezzzz," we seemed to just go everywhere especially that time of the year.

Ms. Becki, Ashley and Caitlin would be shopping, sending Christmas cards, wrapping gifts (I know there was one with my name on it!) and planning meals for the family (including lamb & rice?) and cleaning the house. You know, I did not like that vacuum cleaner. It made so much noise, I just wanted to go hide.

But what was so inspiring to me was ALL of charities that Becki was participating in. I can tell now that I'm with Dad and the Foundation Fighting Blindness, how important this training was for me. I got to see what a difference Becki was making for so many people. Now I listen to Dad as he is helping others and planning strategies to create even more programs that will benefit so many people. I can tell that I'm a real "service dog!"

Even though Ms. Becki was very busy this time of year, she always had time to take care of her parents that needed help every day. It was so great to see Nani "grandma" again. I hope "grandpa" is doing good, too!

I heard that Nanni was doing "snow angels" in the most recent snow in Seattle. What in the world is that young lady of 87 doing that for? She is such a spry, young 87 with lots of life and love to give. I really miss her!

But now back to "sho-hopping." Ms. Becki drug me through the malls, grocery stores, post office, appointments at so many of her charity events, etc. etc. She kept me jumping in and out of the back of her car all day long. I know this is supposed to be a FUN time of year for humans, but I felt like a pogo-stick, bouncing in and out of the car, and hopping into the back of that SUV is not an easy thing!

Ms. Becki kept saying to me, "Just one more stop, Parka. I promise we are going home soon." Just one more stop. Yeah sure, that's what I was thinking. All I could think about was getting home so I could do my favorite thing in the world! If you are a LAB, you know what I mean. EAT!

Dad tells me that Becki now has another puppy in training and to be grateful that I'm not being dragged around like I'm sure that pup is. I wonder what her name is? Maybe I should give her a call and let her know to be patient.

Look at the great job that the Limbergs did with me and where I am today! I have a great home with Dad, Claudia and Grandma. There is light at the end of the tunnel of the shopping train!

Besides, I'm the Parka Express and I can see why I'm such an express train! Just keeping up with Becki taught me to move quickly.

But you know, despite all of the hustle and bustle of this time of year, I really enjoy the happiness and love that is in the air and I get to sit on my haunches and give lots of "chipmunk love" to all my friends and family. Getting a belly rub while I'm sitting up like that is SO gratifying. It's kind of "Parka-licious!"

Love to all with lots of licks and paw-paws,

Miss Parka

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Working in the snows of Colorado

Fellow snow bunnies & buddies,

I really need to check who signed my up for all this snow in Colorado? Heck, it's snowing again today! I thought most of it was melting away and it was going to be summer time. Forget that stuff.

Hey, Becki, do you need a guide dog in Seattle? I remember lots of rain up there when I was growing up, but I don't remember signing up for all this snow?

What's that? Dad just told me that it's snowing like crazy in Seattle, too! What's the world coming to? Oh well, I guess I'm just going to have to buckle up and get used to it.

I love Dad so much. He's such a nice guy and really gives me a lot of kibble. I don't know where Zane got that he was stingy?

We finally walked to work today and Dad wore those Yak Trax things. I'm glad he didn't step on my tootsies. Those things look like they would really hurt! I had no idea where we were going this morning. We took off on a side-walkless route and I got right into the swing of things. I'm HOT stuff when it comes to that!

Then we crossed near a school and made it up to Dayton Street. I crossed those with no problems, showing Dad all the curbs. Then we went down a sidewalk area with lots of evergreen bushes sticking out. Of course, I'm HOT stuff with overhead obstacles, too, so I made it all around those, no sweat.

I earned lots of kibble for my good work. I did not make one mistake. Dad was very proud of me. When we go up the stairs, I kinda squeezed him against the wall. Well, I need to have room for me to get up the stairs. What did he expect?

It was great to see Annie in the office. She is always so cheerful and friendly. I really like her!

Today, at lunch, Dad played Kong with me in the parking lot. He made me heel after every catch and earned more kibble. Shucks, I love this game! We have always been playing Kong in the office, well, I can play it anywhere. I just love it!

It's always fun when we get home at night, because I get to see Mom and Grandma. I give them a kiss and then I'm ready to EAT. Where's my food! I get a good amount, but I have to watch my waistline, you know, I'm a lady in good fitness! I have to keep my trim and slim figure. Never know when a BIG hunk will be watching!

I heard we are supposed to get some more snow over the weekend. Oh well, that's why my coast is black - so Dad can find me in a snowstorm.

I really do love it here. Just a bit of an adjustment.

Until later, gater!

Lots of love and licks,

Parka

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Parka Express in Colorado!

Good morning to so many friends,

Dad and I got up very early on Sunday morning in Boring, I think Dad said it was 2:45 AM. No problem for me, I'm ready to go whenever he gets up! And I was ready to eat, of course, I'm always ready to eat!

But Dad never fed me! What's up with this stuff? Not even a drop of water? Dad got ready with all h is bags packed and five of us loaded up in a real comfy shuttle bus at 4 AM and headed to the airport. Heck, I was here just the other day! I don't think we needed any more practice?

But then we headded to gate E-4 and Dad got some breakfast at 5 AM when the coffee shop opened. And, shucks, he did not give me any scraps, just a couple kibble every now and then. What's up with this stuff?

Then at 7:15 AM, we went down this long ramp and entered another different kind of bus with three seats on each side. We were in aisle five and I had lots of room to lay down in the middle seat area. A guy named Mark sat by the window and he seemed real nice.

Finally this big bus starting rolling, then faster and faster, it started shaking a little and then all of sudden my stomach kind of felt uneasy, but the ground sensation just became a bumping kind of flopping around. But, I was tired by now, so I just kept sleeping. I wonder where we are going now?

Dad went to the bathroom down this long aisle one time and I stayed with Mark. I was a little concerned about where he went and kept trying to look down the aisle and Mark kept saying that he will be right back. He did come back in a few minutes and gave me some more kibble and tried to give me some ice chips, but I did not want to have anything to do with that. Dad gave me some water and I took a couple sips, but I just was not thirsty. I'm HUNGRY!!

A couple hours later, the big bus, which I learned was called an airplane, started doing some more of that bumping again, but I just slept calmly on the floor. You know, this is the longest bus ride I've ever been on.

Then the bumps stopped with a loud thud as this plane must have hit the ground and started thundering to a stop. It really did not phase me at all other than I wondered what was going on. Dad gave me several nice strokes on the head and told me that I was a good girl, so I just kept sleeping. Finally we got off that plane and went down another long ramp into another airport.

We followed Mark to baggage claim and I got to ride three different escalators. I'm a PRO when it comes to those rides. I just calmly walk on when Dad says let's go and then calmly walk off when he says it again. We even rode a light rail train kind of like what we did in Gresham.

Once Dad got his bags off this moving conveyor thing, Mark led us to a bus stop. There was a bunch of buses moving around and Dad was mad because he had just missed his bus. So he tried to get me to go potty, but I was standing in snow and ice and cold water, so I was doing a three-legged hop to try to keep at least one paw warm. And do you know it was two degrees below zero? That is COLD!

Mark was a really nice guy that works for Olympus in digital imaging and he offered us a ride home. We slipped and slid along the highways and I tried to rest on the floor board of the back seat with two pieces of luggage looming over my head. I was a little scared, but Dad kept rubbing my head and telling me everything was OK.

We met Mom at a McDonalds right off the freeway. What a nice lady. Dad gave her a big kiss, so I figured this must be somebody he really likes! I know now that this is my new Mom. It was great to see Becki again, but I guess this is the lady that will be helping take care of me.

We got to our new home with lots of snow on the ground and then I had to meet my new sister, Cuzzie. This fuzzy little thing is a little feisty, I think they call her a rowdy girl, but she is kind of cute, just a little pushy. OK, I think she is a little bitchy, to tell you the truth, because she had the nerve to take my bone away from me in just a few minutes. AND she was laying on my little rug that Mom had put down for me to lay on.

Come on, gal, give me some space! Dad pulled out the Big Kong and threw it down the hallway and as I ran after it, she chased me and growled and barked at me and tried to take it away, but I said, ain't now way you're getting this one!

Well, I understand, this is my new home. I'm here with Dad and all is well. Yes, it's a little cold for me, so I hope I can get used to this white stuff and very cold weather. I've seen snow before, but this is one big deep freeze.

My adventure in Colorado has begun. The Parka Express AKA Parka Porsche, because I am sleek and fast, has now begun.

Watch out big boy Zane. A new legacy is being born.

Love and Licks,

Parka

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Parka & Dad - Home at Last!


After getting up before 3 AM this morning to get ready to leave for the Portland airport at 4 AM, Dad & I are pooped. But we're home in Denver - in spite of a snowstorm that kept mom from being able to meet us at the airport. A very nice young man gave Dad & me a ride to a few blocks from home and Mom picked us up and drove us the rest of the way. After meeting Cuzzie outside and going potty in the snow (YIKES! I have to wear boots just to pee here!), I went inside and met Grandma Margaret. I stayed REAL close to Dad in the beginning.


After feeding me, Dad wasted no time plunking down in his favorite chair. Mom already had the TV tuned to football, and she fed him a meatloaf sandwich and a Coors Light. They make Coors here in Colorado, I think. I'm behind Dad's knees in this picture - you can just see the point of my tail!



After Dad played Kong in the hallway with Cuzzie and me, she calmed down and we did the doggie sniff thing - ya know, that's the way we dogs meet and greet.


I already figured out that if I gave Cuzzie my bone, that would seal the deal between us and we would be buds. (Thanks for the tip, Zane!) I also let Cuzzie take a nap on my blanket in front of the fireplace.


Ah . . . I'm getting sleepy . . . Dad is scritching my head . . .


I'm down for the count . . . my eyes are getting heavy . . .

Here's my version of "frog dog" . . .


. . . my ladylike version, with legs crossed . . . I'm a lady, ya know.



Well, I think this is going to be all right here in Denver . . . oh heck, Dad wants to go for a potty walk and we both have to put on our boots again . . . this is going to get VERY old, very fast . . . !

My love to all,

Parka

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Woo Hoo! Graduation Day!


Good afternoon family & friends,

After almost nine months of college training and re-training and sabbatical to get over some kennel issues, I have graduated as a full fledged guide dog! My partner, Richard, is so happy too!

I was so PROUD to be his guide dog. There I was at his side on the stage as he thanked Becky, Ashley and Caitlin Limberg for all their great love, compassion, energy and enthusiasm. Dad even thanked Grandma June, or should I say, Nani. It was so great to see her again!

It all started earlier as Dad took me on heel to the Fireside Room to meet with someone. I was really not sure what was going on. There were people everywhere and all my buddies were meeting with people. Then, I turned the corner to go into the Fireside Room and there they were!

Woo Hoo! Becky, Ashley and Caitlin. Wow! They all came to see me? What a special day this was going to be and then I realized that they were here to watch us graduate. How great is this?! The people that I grew up with were here to turn me over to my very new special friend. Oh yeah, by the way, his name is Richard.

I gave everybody some of my patented "chipmunk love" which Dad found out was something that Becky kinda taught me. Dad really likes it, so he thanked Becky for doing a great job! Becky and the girls soaked up lots of love and licks and hugs and paws and belly rubs. Wow, did I feel like one special little girl.

Then I got to show off a little bit as led Dad around the halls doing some lefts and rights, finding the door, sits, downs, heels and stays. They all found out that I was "Demo Dog of the Month" at the last graduation ceremony in November. Now you know, I'm pretty HOT STUFF!

Dad bought me this really pretty bandanna and I was wearing it to meet the Limbergs and even had it on during the graduation ceremony. I really felt like I was a stand-out at the ceremony.

I also got to see Wayne, too! Wayne and Sarah, who I saw again last Wednesday, had me staying in their home for a month as my foster parents. I can't recall why, but I really enjoyed being with them. They are such great and caring folks.

Jaymin and Margie did a great job leading the ceremonies and it was great to see everyone making their speeches and then thanking all the great folks at GDB. They are true first-class operation!

Well, I just ate my dinner and I'm going to take a nap now. I understand that we have to leave at 4:00 AM in the morning to go back to the airport. Gosh, that's awful early to be doing training exercises. I'm not sure what we will be doing, but Dad sure is putting a lot of stuff into suit cases.

Oh well, until later! I'm graduated and got to see so many great folks whom I really LOVE.

Love to all. Lots of licks and belly rubs,

Miss Parka

Friday, December 12, 2008

Graduation Day is Here!

video

Good evening all my new friends,

My name is Parka Porsche (at least that's what Dad calls me) and Richard and I have finally made it to graduation day in Boring, OR!

When I came here lat April, there were times that I thought I might not make it through. BUT, guess what? Here we are. This is so exciting!

On Thursday morning, we practiced at the Portland airport going through security. That was so easy. There were so many nice people that wanted to say hello to me and give me a rub down. So nice!

On Friday, we went to the Klackamas Mall where we had practiced escalators last week. We had to weave through lots of shoppers with lots of people saying, "Oh look at the pretty doggie with those cute little shoes on!" Yeah, I had to wear these silly booties in case we had to ride escalators.

We found the Van Dyne candy store, Portland's finest chocolates since 1927. We then found a Picture People store and had some great photos taken of Dad and I. So much fun!

In the afternoon, we practiced what graduation day would be like. We got to sit on stage with all the other graduates. It was really nice to watch the demo dog do her work around the room. I think I can do it better than she did, but they didn't ask me!

Well it's getting late and I better get to bed and get my beauty rest.

Love to all of you with lots of sloppy kisses and hugs,

Miss Parka

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Puppy Raiser Becky in Boring!

video

Good morning Limbergs,

I am SO EXCITED! Dad just told me that Becky Limberg, her Mom and two daughters, will be attending our graduation on Saturday! This is SO COOL!

It was just last April that I saw them last when they dropped me off at the puppy truck. I was SO SAD to be in that cage and watching them wave as the truck pulled away. I kept telling myself, "This is not fair! We need to start a puppy union so we can VOTE on this!"

Anyway, it will be great to see everyone again at our graduation this Saturday, Dec. 13 at 1:30 PM. Dad said that we get to meet all of them before that. Plus, my foster parents, Sarah and uh, I forget. Also, VERY COOL!

Yesterday, I showed off my stuff during the clicker workshop. Dad blind folded himself, I guess so he could not see the great work I was doing. He showed me this pole and did a lot of clicking and what was important was, I got more kibble by just touching that pole or his hand. Such a deal!

That was easy stuff. In the afternoon, we went to the Zoo. I really did not want to see those BIG cats and we didn't. Whew!

We were there to take the fast elevator to the ground level in a tunnel for work on a light rail train platform that was four feet off the ground. I'm not scared of those big machines - I know to keep my distance!

Dad also practiced going through a cafeteria line at lunch. They picked up pizza while I was a good little girl on heel. Dad was a glutton and we had to go back again to get a second piece. I'm going to tell Cuzzie. No, better - I'm going to tell mom!

Cuzzie, that's my new sister that is at home in Denver waiting for my arrival. I wonder what she is like? She looks cute in the picture below, but I hope she knows that I will be the BOSS of the house!

I'm excited about this weekend. Graduation Saturday, then to my new home in Denver on Sunday. My name sure fits going home to snow! I hear there's a storm due the same day I am - YAHOO!

Love to all,

Parka

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Birthday Baby & Vet Visit

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Good morning my fellow pups,

Can you believe it? Dad forgot my birthday! Well, he was a little late. He did not forget totally. Is that a male thing or what?

Yes, on Monday, December 8, I became two years old. I'm one of the second oldest here in this class. Danville is 27 months old. He has been re-issued after not working out for someone else.

Last night, on our night route, Erin gave Dad a special biscuit to give me for my birthday. Onyx and Erin, Dad and I, were sitting in Cafe Delirium having some coffee when both of them broke out in Happy Birthday to ME! Then Dad gave me this real special tasting treat. Thanks, Dad!

On my birthday, we took the bus to a neighborhood in Portland to work busy city streets with lots of great smells, which I avoided most of the time. Then Dad ended up at a Pete's Coffee and pulled out that computer again to do some work.

In the afternoon, we stayed in and did a clicker workshop. Dad learned how to use that wonderful clicker tool again. Then on Tuesday afternoon, we actually worked together to target a chair. Of course, I learned finding that chair real quick and got lots of kibble. When we moved back to do it from farther away, I just about dragged Dad to the chair, ready to get my reward. I like this clicker thing!

On Tuesday morning, we went to an elementary school area and a neighborhood with lots of side-walkless streets. I'm pretty HOT on finding the curb, but the coach said that I do it a little too quickly, so Dad had to teach me to stay straight. How? He gave me more kibble.

These humans really think they are teaching me new stuff, but if you notice, I just keep getting more kibble. Guess what, that's my GOAL! More food!

Besides, Zane has told me how stingy Dad is at giving kibble, so I really need to train him well.

We also visited the Vet and we got my current weight which was 53.6 pounds. Last week I was 52.7 pounds, so I gained a little weight. I wear it well though, don't you think?

The Vet told Dad all about my health history. The puppy raiser brought me back to Boring in April, 2008. As I was getting trained, I had a mouth sore and some warts, which I picked up from my buddies in the kennel.

I got rid of those, but developed a limp on my right front pinkie. Vet Patty did not say, but I think Coach Jaymin stepped on my foot and it got real sore. In July, they kept me in the kennels to allow my paw to heal.

Then I went out again and developed some more minor issues so they decided to put me in a "foster home" for about 2 months. Then, while I was there, I got sick. They had a cat and he was a PITA. They brought me back to the kennel to get well and eventually I got back to work with Jaymin in preparation for Dad.

Dad also learned that Ms. Becky Limberg and her 17 year-old daughter raised me in Woodenville, WA, which I think is suburb of Seattle. We took lots of boat rides to Seattle and rode the bus a lot. We lived in a big house with another Lab and a Golden Retriever. They did a great job of raising me and I hope I get to see them again at graduation.

Well, that's a lot of information. I gotta go! I think it's about time to eat!

Hugs and body wags and chipmunk love to all,

Miss Parka

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend on the Oregon Trail

Happy weekend to all,

On Saturday morning, we took a trip to Gresham to work more on rounded corners, traffic checks and barricades. We got back in time to work the Oregon Trail.

Some of you may know the original Oregon Trail that brought settlers to the Northwest back in the 1800s. Yes, Dad shared this with me. I do not remember getting that in history class!

The Boring campus has a nice trail that zig-zags through huge 100 foot trees on the campus. There are tons of tree and shrub nurseries all around this area. I believe they consider themselves the Christmas tree capital of the world!

Working through the Oregon Trail takes about 15-20 minutes for most dogs, but for Parka Porsche - we do it in about 10 minutes! The trail has two or three outlets back to the forest road near the kennels, but we made it through in good shape. I did not run Dad into any trees along the way.

Saturday afternoon, Dad watched Florida play Alabama and other football games. I just slept. Talk about "boring . . . "

On Sunday, we woke up to lots of rain storms and it rained all day. Dad had a late morning brunch and Chef Kathryn made custom-ordered omelets for everyone. Dad had everything, but the kitchen sink in his. He really seemed to enjoy that with his French toast!

At 1:00 PM, Dad tied me down and left with the others to go to the local Gresham Town Mall to do some shopping. He bought me a real nice bandanna to wear at graduation. It's real purty, a base of red and blue with dog bones all over it.

Dad watched some more pro football and worked real hard all day on his computer. I don't know what he does on that thing, but he sure keeps his hands on it a LOT.

Things are going well here in Boring!

Love to all, Parka

PS - Dad said to thank all of you WWII veterans in memory of Pearl Harbor Day!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Portland - Malls, Buildings & More

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Whhhhewwwww, what a week!

I am really pooped. We have been SO BUSY, I have just not had time to keep everyone updated on our adventures. I will try to do that in this recap of the last three days.

Wednesday: We went to Klackamus Mall in SE Portland and I strutted my stuff on escalators. You should have seen me set us up in position just before the moving stairs, then on command we hopped on and I planted my feet on the first stairs. Dad could not believe it.

Then I just walked off gracefully . . . of course! I heard the Zane Train used to dance off the end of an escalator, which I'm sure was comical and classic, but you have to remember, I'm a lady.

In the afternoon we rode the light rail for several miles. What was cool was that I stood within about six inches of a light rail train as it passed and did not flinch. Wow, was Dad surprised!

We got off and took a bus back to the Gresham Town Center, then walked back to the lounge. On the way, we did some "side-walk-less" streets.

Dad has several of those at home, I have heard. I am a perfect 10 at "side-walk-less." When we start along the street and stop, I do an immediate 90 degree turn and look at Dad and say, "OK, what's next?" This is my masterpiece of work . . . ahem.

I did walk him into a traffic barricade, though, and had to rework that, but I thought he was being a little snotty, so I took care of that!

Thursday: We rode to Portland and did the downtown Pioneer Plaza with those stupid booties on. Oh, I hate those things. I would not go down during obedience. I hate those things! They did protect my feet during the escalator trips, but ugh, they are a nuisance.

Santa was playing his saxophone for money, but I had none to give him. Ho! Ho! Ho!

In the afternoon, Dad did a "free lance" from the lounge to Jazzie's Bagels, had some coffee and a cinnamon roll. Gosh, he sure likes sweets! I think he needed the energy, because we had a night route as well.

In the evening, we worked from the lounge to Powell along Main, etc. all over the place. I did a perfect job, well, except for one time that I ran his hand into a wall. Our coach, Jenny, told Dad about the right hand slap on the leg to let me know that I was getting him too close. Cool beans!

We were both exhausted and slept like babies that night.

Friday: We went to Portland again and did City Hall stairs both up and down and I showed off my skills at hitting the top stair spot on. The glass elevators were very cute because that allowed everyone to see me and how cute I looked.

We passed through many crowds, just did a great job and made our way back to the bus.

The afternoon route was another free lance adventure to Jazzie's. You guessed it! Dad got coffee and a sweet roll again. Dad is really learning to speak a little slower and softer so I am really starting to relax with him. Sometimes I have worked so fast that now he's calling me "Parka Porsche!"

After a dinner of Prime Rib and Cornish Game Hen and three desserts, Dad crashed into bed and so did I. Hurrah, a weekend of rest?

Our team work is starting to show. What a guy!

Love to all,

Parka Porche

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Parka in Portland - Lloyd's

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Good morning my new friends,

Dad and I went to Portland for the first time yesterday. We worked from the bus and did a very nice neighborhood area called Lloyds. Dad asked if it was related to Lloyds of London, but they said no, there was not enough "bobbys" around.

We walked from the bus along busy neighborhood walk ways and ended up at a Safeway. I had to negotiate around a lot of shopping carts which had Dad really wondering where I was going, but Coach Jaymin told him to "stay with her."

We entered the store and Dad practiced his "moving turn" commands. I'm not sure if he meant to go down some of the narrow aisles that he chose, but we made our way through. I think he was just trying to present some new challenges for me. Of course, I'm a slick chick and I just powered our way through without a mistake.

We ended up at the wine area. He kept showing me this red wine and kept asking me to remember it, like I was going to bring him back here again. I don't think so.

We made our way out and back to the bus. Dad asked Belva, the nurse, if she would get him a Five Bucks coffee. (That's what Steve calls Starbucks.) She got some coffee for several of the students. Dad got an Egg Nogg Latte and others got Pumpkin Spice Steamers.

In the afternoon, we did a bus-to-lounge walk, which was pretty easy for me since I've done it a few times. Some of the streets in Gresham require a zig-zig at Main Street. We did that well and just rocked on to the lounge. Dad kept wanting to detour to Jazzie's. We still have not made it.

Later in the day, Dad got a cane tour of the Oregon Trail and then came back and got me and I led him through the Trail. It's a very wooded area with lots of zigs and zags, but it was "duck soup" for me. You know, we have lots of Oregon Ducks here.

I'm looking forward to today. We're doing some mall work, escalators, buses and trains. Woo Hoo!

Lots of puppy love to all,

Parka

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Parka Pooh in Gresham

Good morning everyone,

Richard, or should I say Dad, really got to know me on Monday. One was a group shot, which is not available to us yet. We receive that at graduation.

In the evening, we took our ID pictures that Dad will carry around with him to prove that we are a team. Ooooh, I like the sound of that.

The web cam movie was taken last night by Erin, who has been blind from birth with LCA. She is our resident dorm mom during the week. She is a college graduate with a degree in English. She has a guide dog named Fellita, a yellow lab, and we get along real great.

Dad asked Erin to take a picture of us and she said that she had a web cam program on her notebook computer. She uses Jaws on her computer and it talks to her while she manipulates the keyboard.

I could not understand a word it was saying, but she found the program and tried it out. It worked! He could see her picture on the computer screen.

Erin turned the computer toward Dad and I, and he lined it up to take the video you see below in our blog.

Ain't I cute? Everyone says that I have a really cute face and you should see me wag my tail. It's a full body wag with my whole back end shaking my bootie!

Dad really likes my "chipmunk love squat" which I will just have to show you some time. I love the way Dad rubs just under my ears on both sides and then strokes my chest area.

We rode the bus to Gresham yesterday and coach Jaymin worked with us in the morning. Jaymin was my training coach and did a great job of preparing me for my new partner. I'm ready for any challenge!

We worked on heeling first. Dad just could not get me to work beside him in the heel mode. With Jaymin's help, Dad had me walking in stride in about five minutes. I'm a quick learner!

Then we did some guide work. I'm a fast walker, pretty much out pacing Dad. Dad kept giving me the "steady" command to slow me down. Jaymin showed him a technique to give a slight tug at take-off and to say, "Steady," and that really showed me what he wanted. Now, we're in step with each other.

In the afternoon, the three two-weekers, Sid, Asia and Dad, went with Jaymin to the downtown lounge in Gresham to do individual routes. Jaymin coached Dad to use a soft voice, use more commands when distracted rather than using the leash and improve his stance with his left foot forward.

Jaymin commented how quickly Dad incorporated all that she asked in just that one route. She was amazed and pleased at how well we did. Of course!

We also changed from the XL handle to just a long handle and Dad liked it a lot better. He stepped on my right rear paw a couple of times, but he felt that he was a little off balance when he did that early in the route. Dad incorporated the steady command several times to get our pace in sync and we were really rocking along by the end of the route.

It started to rain as we left the lounge. This was the first rain we've seen since Dad has been here. Dad got a massage later and the masseuse said that it is now the rainy season for eight more months. Ugh! She is ready to head back to eastern Oregon where she grew up.

Dad had something interesting for dinner called Quinoa (pronounced keen-whaw) which is a high protein grain that had egg plant Parmesan gravy over the top of it. He liked it but he especially liked the peach pie he had for dessert!

We head to Portland today to work the Lloyd neighborhood. There will probably be lots of distractions, so it will provide some new challenges for our team. But Parka Pooh is up to the challenge.

By the way, that picture of Cuzzie is so cute. Three rowdy girls already at home. Hang on ladies, here's comes rowdy girl number four! It sounds like that we are going to have a great time together. Love to all of you!

Hey, Sis, how do I get Dad to give me a little bit more kibble? Be sure to clue me in. I hear you are REALLY good at it, especially with Grandma.

It's about time for Dad to feed me my breakfast. I eat three cups per day of lamb and rice Science Diet. Yuuuuuum!

The Zane Train is still alive and well, it just has a new "classy chassis."

Love to all form Sweet P!

Parka Pooh

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome, Parka, You Rowdy Girl!











Hi, Parka!

This is Claudia, your new mom back in Denver, Colorado.

Your new dad, Richard, is just crazy about you already and I can't wait to meet you - only two weeks to go!

Poor Richard - he will have a house full of rowdy girls: you, me, Grandma and Cuzzie, your new sister.

Train well - love up our Dad - you are going to love living with us!

Love, Mom, Cuzzie & Grandma

Parka Test Drive!

Good morning my new friends,

Hi! My name is Parka. I just went out on a test drive with my new partner. His name is Richard. He really likes to give me lots of love, he likes to play with lots of toys with me and even shared a partially chewed Nyla Bone. I can tell someone much stronger than me had gotten to this bone first!

We met with our coach, Cindy, and Richard did a little Juno training while I watched with great anticipation in the cage. Well, they were talking about giving my kibble to that furry dog named Juno. I did not care to share. Besides, they did not ask me first. Where's their manners?

As Cindy was sizing up my harness, Richard asked what I looked like to her. Cindy said that I was very pretty. You know, I really like Cindy a lot!

Cindy said that I had a medium long snout and some beautiful dark, brown eyes. My coat is very short and sleek. I guess you could say that I'm a HOT CHICK!

We practiced some of those obedience commands: sit, down, stay and heel. I like this stuff because there's always some kibble in it for me when I do what I'm told.

Cindy asked Richard to "slow down" his commands and talk a little softer. He has to remember that I'm a lady, not some big bruiser like I heard that Zane-boy was. But, of course, I like those big bruisers in other ways, if you know what I mean.

Richard began his guide work commands as we traversed around the dorm along a fairly wide path with a few obstacles. I circumvented everything quite well and I could tell that Richard was having a little trouble keeping up with me. I have to get this "old guy" some exercise and get him in shape. We got places to go and people to see!

Once around was all we got to do today. We just made one trip around the building and back inside by the dining room. That was it. Cindy said that was all for today. Once I finish this up, I'm going to lie down and take a little nap.

You know, I think I'm really going to like this guy. I can tell that deep down inside, he's a pussy cat, even though he comes across like a drill sergeant sometimes!

Richard really enjoyed his French toast and bacon this morning. So has an appointment with the HOT TUB at 11 AM to sweat some of those blueberries off.

We are on our way, our journey has begun, a trip to the top of Mt. Hood might be in our future. I know that I want to be his partner and take him to the mountain top of whatever life experience that will be.

I look forward to meeting all these friends who keep writing great notes to us. You must be great dogs for your partners.

Like I always say, whenever it's cold outside, be sure and take your Parka!

Lots of sparkling love,

Parka

New Locomotive - Miss Parka

Good morning friends & family,

On Saturday, November 29, I flew from Denver to Portland to return to guide dog school in Boring, OR to find a new locomotive. I arrived around 11AM, PST, and after we gathered up Asia and Sid, Hillary took us to the campus. We found out right away that we would be meeting our new guides that afternoon. How exciting!

At about 3 PM, I was introduced to my new locomotive for the famous Zane Train. Her name is Parka, a sleek, yet sturdy black lab who stands 20 1/2 inches tall, weighs in at 52.7 pounds, loves to lay her head on my thigh as I type and comes with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. She is about two years old and ready to rumble!

We got to know one another right away. I laid on the floor and she jumped all over me. She likes to sit up a little and put her paws on my head and shoulders, lick my ears and kinda be a little wrestler.

I brought some Zane toys to play with her. She enjoyed playing with the Big Kong and rubber ring for tug-of-war. I found her to be very aggressive making her a spunky, little chick. I like that!

Once I put her on tie-down, I got out the Nyla-bone for her to chew on. I found that she liked playing tug of war with that. She likes attention!

As we slept last night, she was the perfect partner, just sleeping away, chewing on her bone as she went to sleep and then just rested through the night. I never heard a peep out of her.

When I got up around 2 PM, she wanted a little reassurance and stroking which I provided from bed. She then just laid back down and went back to sleep.

I got up about 4:30 AM, made some coffee, went to the exercise room to do about 50 rowing strokes and Parka sat beside me. We watched some ESPN news to see what happened in the Oklahoma game. Then we came back to the room to update the Zane Train blog.

Right now, I'm calling it Zane Train II "Parka" - this will be the new iteration of the Zane Train.
Zane started out this blog, last December, as I wrote a daily journal of my journey into the world of having a guide dog. Zane's voice took over after we got back home to Colorado. He has quite a fan club!

I talked with Zane on the phone in Brea, CA yesterday where he is at his new home with the Johnpeers. Katie told me that Zane was looking all around the house as I called out to him and said "Where's my buddy?" He still remembers my voice. Isn't that amazing!? Well, of course, he is a very bright fellow.

My new locomotive is Parka. She is a lot shorter and lighter than I expected so today will be a great test to see how she will work out as a guide. She has a lot of spunk and I can tell will like to walk fast. That's good, and it will be interesting to see how she handles. I will try a standard harness to see how we work together. I went to the off-set harness because I kept stepping on Zane's paws. Ouch!

It's just about time to feed her. She will be getting 3 cups per day of Lamb & Rice. Cuzzie is at home finishing off the rest of Zane's lamb & rice. She enjoys getting some of the great fuel as an upgrade to her less expensive kibble mix. Watch out Cuzzie, there will be another GAL in the house soon!

Stay tuned for more updates as I get to know Parka better. She looks like a great dog and I look forward to getting to know her better.

Lots of love to all,
Richard

Friday, November 28, 2008

Zane's Thanksgiving Caper

From one of Zane's Dreams!

IT WAS THANKSGIVING 2007 IN WHICH DAD AND I MET

A BEAUTIFUL AUTUMN DAY TO CELEBRATE OUR ACQUAINTANCE,

GIVING THANKS FOR LOVED ONES AND THOSE THAT WOULD BE SET,

OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER, FOREVER, A FOND REMEMBRANCE!

TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING, BUT I JUST COULDN'T SLEEP

I TRIED COUNTING SHEPHERDS, I TRIED COUNTING SHEEP.

THE LEFTOVERS BECKONED - THE DARK MEAT AND WHITE

BUT I FOUGHT THE TEMPTATION WITH ALL MY MIGHT

TOSSING AND TURNING WITH MUCH ANTICIPATION

THE THOUGHT OF A SNACK BECAME TOTAL INFATUATION

SO, I SNUCK TO THE KITCHEN, SNEAKING INSIDE THE DOOR

AND GAZED AT THE LEFTOVERS, FULL OF GOODIES GALORE.

I GOBBLED UP TURKEY AND LAPPED UP POTATOES,

PICKLES AND CARROTS, BEANS AND TOMATOES.

I FELT MYSELF SWELLING SO PLUMP AND ROUND

'TILL ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ROSE OFF THE GROUND.

I CRASHED THROUGH THE CEILING, FLOATING INTO THE SKY

WITH A MOUTHFUL OF PUDDING AND A PAW-FUL OF PIE.

BUT, I MANAGED TO BARK AS I SOARED PAST THE TREES...

LABRADORS UNITE FOR A FEAST, PASS THE CRANBERRIES, PLEASE.

MAY YOUR STUFFING BE TASTY, MAY YOUR TURKEY BE PLUMP.

MAY YOUR POTATOES 'N GRAVY HAVE NARY A LUMP.

MAY YOUR YAMS BE DELICIOUS, MAY YOUR PIES BE YOUR PRIZE,

MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER BE A WONDERFUL SURPRISE!

AS I FLOATED BACK DOWN TO MY PLACE BY THE BED

I SHUTTERED AND SHOOK UNTIL SOMEONE HAD SAID

ZANE WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ON THIS THANKSGIVING NIGHT?

HOW DID THAT WHIPPED CREAM APPEAR ON YOUR SNOUT, TONIGHT?

I WOKE UP IN A DAZE AND I SHOOK MY HEAD TO CLEAR MY DAZE

THANKSGIVING, A MEMORY, BUT FONDLY I RECALL THE HAPPY DAYS!

I SHARE MY LIFE NOW WITH THE JOHNPEERS, WHAT A FAMILY OF LOVE

I DREAM OF WHAT ONCE WAS, MY CAPERS AND DREAMS, GIVE THANKS FROM ABOVE!


LOVE TO ALL ON THANKSGIVING! ZANE

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Capers - The Super Sleuth!

Sweet, Innocent Zane,

I can tell that you are still up to your old tricks! You are such a super sleuth, so crafty and creative. As I prepare to leave for Portland on Saturday, I am reminded of how sweet you always seemed to be. And now I read this story and learn so much more about how SNEAKY you are. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

I share this excerpt that you posted on Princess Coral's blog. You thought you might be able to hide this from me! But Dad does still love you anyway. Those brown eyes and sweet disposition. You are so adorable.

"Getting extra food is always a challenge. Where did our masters ever get the idea that we can survive on just a cup or two of dry dog food a day? Have you ever met a lab who could fill up on such a small amount of food? (NOT). So here are a few suggestions for pulling off what I call "capers".

First, establish a state of total trust between you and your master. That's the hard part with labs as we somehow have a reputation of getting into trouble. But if you cuddle them and let them pet you and let them rub you between the toes and behind the ears, then you can indeed get their trust, it's just a matter of time. It really helps to exhibit perfect behavior for a few days before the caper is planned. That's hard to do but possible. Believe me, they will soon begin trusting you...humans can't help it.

I've successfully pulled of the famous cantaloupe caper and tuna fish casserole capers....no problem. As for implementing the caper, well my recommendation is to wait till the room is empty, or until the master(s) are distracted or asleep, so they don't notice what you're doing. Don't forget the children in the house, they can snitch on you if they see what you're doing. Don't waste your effort on a small caper because if you're busted then you're in big trouble anyway. I always wait till a big opportunity presents itself, then I make my move. With Thanksgiving food being prepared tomorrow, I've already made my plans for tomorrows caper. You see, tonight they came home with two (yes TWO) pies tonight and I think they need "taste testing". Even if you're caught, they can only stay mad for a little while....once they see your big brown eyes and your tail between your legs, they usually forgive you and the shock and awe they exhibited at what you did will fade quickly.

Being a lab is sure great. I could never get away with these capers if I were a cat or bird. They're just not smart enough. I hope this helps you and my other canine followers who might read this. And please don't let any humans read this message.

Love, Sweet, innocent Zane"

Well, have a great Thanksgiving and Johnpeers don't turn away from those pies or turkey too long! You have some brown eyes plotting and planning.

Love, Dad

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photo Album from Zane - My Trip Home to LA


Long awaited arrival the the famed "Puppy Truck" in LA.
I'm in there with 150,000 barking puppies!
OK, there were probably about a dozen but it SOUNDED like a lot more.


Ahhhhh . . . I just love women! These are MY girls!!!



Here's Gary calling Richard & Claudia to let them know
I made it back home OK!
Lots of tears were shed at both ends of the line.



I am pooped - doing "frog dog" on the kitchen floor at the Johnpeer's - my LAST new home.


I love my original dad . . . I used to cuddle like this when I was a puppy.
It still feels good and I sure needed a hug.


This is my "brother" Sayer who is going to go
to guide dog school in a few months.
He likes to play tug of war with me with PCV pipe.
I always win!


Aren't we handsome fellows?!


Gary is trying to brush our teeth but we just wanna get
a hold of that tube of chicken flavored toothpaste!


I love my "mom", too - Vickie loves to cuddle me.


We had some REAL excitement and nearly
had to be evacuated from our house - YIKES!


This fire was only one block away -
that's WAY too close for me!


Gary took me back to work out to an oil well.
Feels like old times to be back in a truck!


Golly, I worked sooooo hard and just HAD
to take a nap . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Don't ever forget - I am the one and only original Zane Train!

Keep writing - Gary will keep taking pictures and Richard & Claudia will post them here.

Love to all,

Zane



Hello from Zane!

Gosh, life here with the "first family" is sure easy! So far they haven't even made me work for my food...how about that! And I still get lots of "good boys" for doing simple things like sitting and going down. Why weren't you that easy on me?

They have another lab puppy in training (black like me) that wants to play tug-of-war all the time which is so fun. His name is Sayer. He gets recalled in a couple of months so then I'll have full control of this house.

Well, to be honest, I do have some concerns. You see, for some reason Sayer gets to go everywhere with Gary and during those short periods of time I have to stay home and "guard the house". I guess this must be a bad neighborhood or something so for now that seems to be my main job. They said it was an important job too.

Dad and I used to go to so many places and I miss that so much. I also miss laying by your desk at the office and listening to all the people talk about how handsome I am (and I still am). I miss the trips to the groomer (they must be poor here because they groom me themselves).

I miss Claudia and Grandma and of course little Cuzzie. Tell them I love them.

I miss the trips to the airport which took us to so many strange places.

But most of all Dad, I just miss Richard. And I can't wait till the day comes that he can visit me in sunny southern California.

Well I must sign off now, Dad, because Gary is over by the freezer and it's time for my morning ice cube!

Retirement can be rough at times.

Love,
Zane

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Zane's Tuna Fish Caper

Hey Richard!

It's Zane!

Well we had an exciting day here yesterday with all the southern California wildfires. We almost had to evacuate. It's a good thing I was here because I had everything under control and we are all safe today. Only problem is when I go outside the white ash particles fall on my black fur and it reminds me of snow. And you know what I think of snow!

About 7:30 PM last night Vicki had supper all cooked (tuna casserole) when the police started announcing that the next neighborhood to the east of us had to evacuate. She put the casserole on the edge of the sink while the family went outside to listen to the police announcements (on the police loudspeakers). I felt it was my duty to do a sample taste of their casserole while the house was quiet inside. Unfortunately, Vicki caught me taste testing the casserole when she came in. There wasn't much left for them to eat after I got done. Gosh, I figured that since I got to eat cantelope in Denver that I could certainly eat tuna casserole in California. Anyway, it was certainly quite tasty and much more flavorful than the Science Diet stuff I usually get.

Anyway, as you can see, I'm doing my job and keeping everybody here safe. They didn't sleep well last night but I sure did.

I love and miss you,

Zane

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oregon Campus Update

Good morning,

One of my new instructors at the Oregon GDB Campus, Jaymin, called to interview me and learn more about who I am, my work, my home situation and just get to know me and the type of dog that I might need. I learned about the Boring Campus which I understand is in a farm community where the town of Gresham is the "big city" in the area.

I asked if there were cows and horses that we would have to walk around, not to mention their droppings! She indicated that she could make that happen.

This will be a small class of 8 students, all re-trains! Many will be there for a total of 3 weeks and 2 or 3 of us will be there for 2 weeks.

I have my flight itinerary and I will fly to Portland on Saturday, 11/29, and return to Denver on Sunday, 12/14. I wondered if I should bring my brush, booties, rain coat, etc. and Jaymin said that I will get a bunch of new stuff, but we agreed that the booties may not fit my new dog and the rain coat will definitely be needed in the winter around Portland.

What is most exciting is that Jaymin said that she walked a dog yesterday that she thought would be PERFECT for me. I asked what kind of dog it was and she would not say, but after she thought about it, this string is all Labrador Retrievers. So, at least I know that I will be getting a Lab again, not sure the sex or color yet.

Thus, my excitement is now starting to build as I prepare for my new locomotive. Zane, stay tuned to hear who is coming down the track!

Love, Dad