Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Day before the Storm

Today: Saturday, was a very busy day for me. I knew something was up when Vickie pulled out her pack with my search vest and the GPS in it. I followed her all morning, just so she didn’t try and sneak out without me.

Around 9 am (yes, I am learning to tell time) My friends Todd, Brenda and Keith came from Montpelier and wahoo I finally got to see Shantra again and I knew for sure then, that this would be a good day. Pretty soon, up comes Erin, then Chase. Oh my gosh, I could hardly contain myself.

Erin and Chase took over the minute they came. They wouldn’t let me jump on people, the made me wear my collar and leash, and they worked with me on my Sits and Stays.

Soon we were all piled into the truck and we were off. Off to the Fort as Vickie calls it. Jamie, Vickie and I had been there the day before setting up little hidden secrets for all the handlers and dogs and I was excited to get back and start the games….

Chase and Erin and I immediately started out on our exploration of the park while Vickie talked to the other handlers. They set up problems for all the other dogs. Me and the girls headed to the top of one path. There were hundreds of great smells and it was beautiful day and I did my best to walk real good for them.

Both Erin and Chase are getting pretty good about making me walk “Nicely” and I am not allowed to pull or drag them at all. You would think I could have more control over two 12 year olds. These two might be tiny but they are strong willed young ladies and I hate to admit it but try as I might, they don’t give in. So I guess I will behave so we can all enjoy the walk.

Soon we headed back to the others cause it was my turn to do some search work. Vickie is often so busy with the others that she forgets about me, but today I got plenty of attention.

After my problem we all headed up over the bridge and into the park Chase walked with Murphy and Erin and I walked together. Vickie was off ignoring me again.. Jamie says she does that a lot when the search dogs get together. I can understand it with Jamie because she is so smart and already knows all the things the other dogs and handlers are learning, but I think it will be my goal to make sure Vickie understands that I need her time too and she must, she will, have to stop ignoring me.

How can I be a great search dog if she doesn’t give me the time she gives to all the others. Thank goodness Chase and Erin played with me all day. We jumped over logs, ran along the river and they threw sticks for me so I could swim in the lake.

So anyway, it was a great day and it kept getting better cause when we were finished at one park, Vickie Jamie and I headed west to another park where we met up with Zeus’s family.

See, at both of the parks, Vickie was taking lots of pictures with the dogs and kids for the little book on Wilderness Safety. At the Fort she took pictures with Tucker and Hobbs and Budha, but after all those guys went home, Vickie called my friend Sierra and asked her to come and pose for more pictures.

Jamie, Vickie and I met Sierra and her parents at another park and we all had a great time. I was hoping they would bring my friend and idol Zeus, but he had to stay home. Maybe next time.

I had a fun time with Sierra and she is a great model. Of course she is sitting next to me and I can make all things beautiful just by being there. Sierra didn’t want Jamie to feel bad so she asked if Vickie could take some pictures of her with Jamie which was fine by me because why they were posing and modeling Sierra’s dad threw the ball for me and he throws way better than Vickie.

Now I am home and ready for a well deserved rest. I asked Vickie to finish this for me and add some of today’s pictures for you so you can know what a great time I had.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Sick Days, Icy Cold Days and Beautiful Warm Days

Not sure what happened but I was so sick yesterday. My tummy felt uncomfortable but it wasn’t until I ate my dinner that everything exploded. All of a sudden it hurt so bad that I had to throw up all my food.

Then I got dizzy and I didn’t dare move because everything was spinning in circles. Vickie was very worried. She called me in to the kitchen but I just stood there kind of wobbling.

Of course Vickie panicked and was looking up Dr. Eddies phone number, but I was able to walk a bit by the time she was getting ready to call him, so she decided to wait a bit and see if I got better before she bothered him so late in the day.

It took about 5 minutes before I dared walk around to much, so Vickie decided to wait a little longer. Pretty soon I was feeling a bit better but I sure didn’t want to eat anything for a few hours.

When I did feel like eating, Vickie would only give me a handful of food at a time. She made me wait an hour between each handful. That was probably a pretty good idea. I think, maybe, I just might have gulped my food down too fast and that is why I got sick.

I might have to think about this food fascination I have. I mean, it’s not like she starves me or anything. I just like food. Fast Food…..

Thursday night I got to meet up with Murphy and Hobbs. We did another demonstration for a group of scouts and their families.

I wasn’t near as nervous as I have been in the past. I might be getting more confident.

What was really fun, was after the demo, Murphy, Hobbs and I got to run in the park. That Hobbs is a fast runner, but once in a while I catch up to him and body slam him. He rolls pretty good when I make him topple head over heals. Its pretty funny.

He is a great sport about it.

I have to laugh when I watch Murphy run cause he looks like a big mop when his long hair blows through the wind.
Friday during Vickies lunch break she took me and Jamie to the Fort to set up some article work for the other search dogs on Saturday.

That’s always great because it means we get to run and play for a couple of hours. We covered almost every corner of the park. I practiced my Sit Stays and then when Vickie called me I would run and leap over these logs. That was great fun. I am quite athletic if I say so myself......

Every few 100 yards Vickie would stop and pull out her GPS, mark the spot then hide one of her dirty socks. Jamie kept trying to sneak back to the area she buried a sock and dig it up so we had to re-bury one sock three different times.

One time we found this really cool area where there was a sheet of ice over the swamp. Vickie was trying to take pictures of the designes in the ice but I kept thinking I should check it out and would go down to the water and break up all the layers of ice. It didn't make her too happy but I thought it was exciting.

Ice is very different than water. First I think I am walking on top of water, then all of a sudden it cracks and breaks and I fall through. Thank goodness Vickie only lets me around little shallow areas where I only sink in about 6 inches. It would be pretty messy if it were much deeper.

WE continued on through the park hiding the articles. Just to make it more fun for the handlers, she stuck something fun in each sock so us dogs get to find the smelly sock and the handlers get prizes.

She told me she wanted me to find the one that had the cool flashlight in it so I better practice in my head tonight all the ways to use my nose to find the hidden sock.

It’s just about dinner time so I better go into the kitchen and start my most winsome gaze at the big round container that holds my food. That should get her attention.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beautiful Days and Beautiful People

I am certainly getting a lot of exercise lately. Most every day we take a break from work and go to the park west of town to play ball and play with my friend Horse. Today was an exceptionally beautiful day. The clouds were migrating slowly across the sky and you could hear a pheasant protesting our presence in a nearby field. Then later in the evening when all the day care dogs had gone home Vickie and I waited until Jamie was asleep then we snuck out of the house and went for a walk.

We went in the car for a few miles then got out and walked a quiet country road where I met a herd of cows. They were young and playful and ran along the pasture with us. I was pretty good about the whole thing until this one cow came running right up to me. He had his head down and there were these two big horns growing out of the top of his head.

It really scared me so I jumped up into Vickie’s arms (yes I actually did). She told me he was just playing and that we were safe because there was a pasture fence between this critter and me but I don’t care what she says, that was scary. When we got back to the truck, Vickie pulled out my favorite tennis ball and I got to chase it for a while before we came home.

Now that is a great human invention. I have decided to make a list of all the dogs and people I would like to meet in the next life and one of those on the list would be the human who invented tennis balls. He or she must be what would be considere an ABSOLUTE GENIUS.

Now I am playing with Scrappy. It seems it is harder and harder for me to settle down in the evenings, no matter how busy my day has been. If I had my way, Vickie would play with me non-stop from early morning until late late night.

Yesterday I got to go, for the first time, to a really neat place called a Retirement Center. I met Tucker and Murphy there and we all went inside where there were these amazing people sitting in a big circle waiting for me.

They were the most tender, kind and gentle humans I have yet to meet.

When we went in, they were all hoping I would come over to them so they could pet me. Imagine that, all they wanted to do was just caress, embrace, stroke and cuddle with me. It was so calming to my spirit. They are truly special special humans.

Murphy, Tucker and I had fun showing them all the tricks we could do. I was quite impressive with my “Sit, Down, and Shake” but they loved it when I would nod my head up and down when Vickie would ask me if I had been a good boy. Then she would ask me if I wanted to say my prayers and thank heavenly father for all the good things I have and so I would put my feet up and bow my head between them. I was pretty irresistible.

But then Tucker got up and did all his cool stuff. He rolled over, would speak when asked, he even whispered. What a show off.

Of course Murphy would not be out done so he bowed, spun around in circles and then stood on his hind legs to show how tall he was. Then to finish off he played like he was in the old west and did a “Stick em up” and a bang your dead. He really does do a good “Dead Dog” imitation.

Anyway, I hope that I can do a lot more of that stuff because those are really charming people and they really do help me to be more relaxed……

Night all

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Its a long read......

Vickie say’s I have been a real pill the last few weeks. She has been really frustrated with me and I have been in "time out" more than once or twice, but I think she finally figured out what her problem is today. Well at least, that is what she says.

To be quite honest, I am not sure what is going on myself. I just seem to be really nervous all the time and sometimes I get real scared. I hear sounds outside and I run out barking fiercely so that I can scare whatever it is away. But when I get out there, I can’t see any thing that you would consider bark worthy. The streets are empty and nothing is there, only the wind in the trees. Maybe that is it. Maybe the wind causes shadows to come across the living room floor that frighten me.

Let me start at the beginning for you. At least what I think is the beginning. I think it all started with that silly little episode with Abby. You know the one. I get put in “Time Out” just because she can’t handle a little brotherly advice…

Well, Vickie acted so crazy, I mean I have never seen her act like that before. It was so unlike her that I started to get a little nervous. What had I done that would bring her to such a state?

After that, she started making our walks last a lot longer, which was great by me. But during the walks she started asking me to “Sit” Stay” Wait”. She would even go around the corner of a building to see if I would come after her and I did the first few times, but she would take me right back to the place I had just left and start the Sit, Stay, and Wait stuff all over.

I finally figured that she needed some private time so I waited. I wasn’t too nervous because I could see her peaking around the corner every few seconds and I knew she was right there all the time so I just waited. (what was that all about?)

Well we continued our walks but she kept on insisting on making me sit and wait several times throughout the walk so I played along.

She kept me on leash through the whole walk one day, then let me walk off leash on another. It was actually quite a good way to end the days. I thought we were bonding….

Then the other day, she loaded up all the search dog gear and off we went to do a demonstration at the Childrens Christian Heritage school for my friend Zeus’s little girl Siera.

I was so excited. I love it when we go see all the children.

Siera was waiting for us and came running out to see us as we arrived in her class. She went right up to Jamie and asked if she could be in charge of Jamie. Vickie happily handed over Jamies leash and off they went. I know that Siera loves Jamie more than she loves me but that is ok because Jamie needs the attention more than I do.

Besides I got to stay with Vickie. At least for a while.

When Vickie started talking, she handed my leash over to Ken and he took me away from her. I got scared then. I started trying to pull Ken back to Vickie, I just wanted to be with her. Ken is a pretty big guy, but I was able to drag him a few feet closer to her. The kids were laughing but Vickie had a different look in her eyes. I think she was embarrassed by something.

I don’t know what came over me. Like I said I love kids but all I wanted to do was be at Vickies side. It was like this paralyzing fear came over me only I wasn’t paralyzed so I pulled and dragged and jumped. I did everything I could do to get Ken let me go to my Vickie.

Finally, finally, she took pitty on me and came and got me. I was so releaved, until I found out she was just passing me on to Zeus’s mom in the back of the class. It was crazy what I was feeling. Fear, apprehension, anxiety…….its crazy I know, but that is what I was feeling.

After a very long time, Vickie came and got me again and to my great joy, we got to do a little runaway right there in that tiny classroom full of children. The boy who was going to run from me, came over and teased me a bit with something (I don’t remember what it was) then he ran around the tables and through all the children and hid over in the opposite corner.

It was a no brainer. I was off and found him within seconds. Vickie was very happy after I did that, and so was I . Then I got to have all the children surround me and pet me. I like that part too. Soooooo much attention and all of it on me. Me Me……

On the way home, Vickie mumbled a lot saying things to herself like, “What am I doing wrong? What can I do to help him, I wonder what has come over him?’ On and On

She had a few days to think about that and I had a few days of walks, and “Sit Stays” and now it is Saturday. The third Saturday of the month. Search Dog Training Day.

I am thrilled. That means, Murhpy, Lacy, Toby, Meagan and TUCKER…..My best friend in the dog world……TUCKER…..

Everyone started showing up around 9 am. First came Erin and Chase. They are the best. WE went into a section of the kennel and each of them would give me treats, of course I had to SIT first, but we went back and forth, from one to the other. SIT- Treat
SIT- Treat SIT- Treat.

It was a great game. Then came the others. There were a bunch of new people and two new dogs. Budah is from Montpeiler and he is just starting out. He is smaller than me and all black and he has real potential as a friend…..but my great joy was to see Hobbs again. I had met him the week before at a big park where we met Murphy and went walking. We met Hobbs and his person on the trail. Since no one else was around, we all got to get off lead and run…..RUN RUN RUN….He is a little older than me, and very calm and Vickie says he is “like the best trained dog ever” kind of like Tucker.

Be patient Vickie, I’ll be that well trained one day. I just know I will.

While Vickie was busy training the other dogs and explaining things to the new people, Chase and Erin took me for this great walk. We went along the river and through the woods, and ended up a my favorite swimming lake.

There was this one part where I got worried when Chase hurt her hand. I could sense that it hurt. We were over by the Fort and she put her hand on the wood and got a sliver that went pretty deep into her palm. I wanted to help, but I don't have thumbs and you really need thumbs to work tweezers so she had to wait until we got home.

We met some people working at the park and then went down by the water. I almost got a chance to swim then, but when they called me, I dutifully came back. I tried my hardest to walk good for them and not pull them but once in a while I got a little insecure without Vickie close by and would put my front feet on their shoulders.

I can’t actually speak so that is my way of letting you know that I am nervous. They were really cool about it. They told me “no”, put my paws down and we walked on. They are really confident and they helped me to feel less stressed.

I’m home now, have had my dinner and am ready to call it a day. Vickie is sitting at the computer writing this for me, but her mind is busy working on new ideas to help me through my anxiety.

To be truthful, if she would just be patient, I am pretty sure I will grow out of it…..although I do think she is right about me learning to be more obedient. I guess I’ll quite pretending I don’t know what she is saying when she says “sit”. It probably isn’t so bad admitting you understand her. It may even keep me out of “time Out”

I’ll keep you posted.

Night all and Erin and Chase if you are reading this……THANK YOU SO MUCH

Love Bert

Monday, March 16, 2009

Today we got a call that a young man was missing. All the other search dogs got to go but Vickie said I am too young and I haven’t passed my certification. Jamie is almost blind and deaf so she is retired. It was pretty rough hearing Vickie on the phone with the other handlers and knowing I didn’t get to go.

I am going to work real hard so that I can be tested on my first birthday. (May 15th) I never want to be left behind again. I may be young but I know that I have a serious job to do out there and I want to be ready.

Still it wasn’t too bad of a day. Vickie took me to the lake to swim. It was my first time back at the place where I almost drowned last year. When I look at it now, I don’t know what was so threatening about it. I mean, yes the water is flowing really fast, but now that I am much bigger, it just doesn’t seem as dangerous.

After about half an hour of swimming and retrieving sticks, I was tired. Jamie didn’t seem to want to swim as much as me and she was tired too so we started back. Wow, all of a sudden my nose was filled with a sweet aroma of slime. I turned my head and looked off to the side and there it was, the biggest, blackest, smelliest dog rolling heaven ever.

Before Vickie had a chance to stop me, I dove right into it, then I lowered my head into the beautiful blackness and flipped myself over into the darkened liquid sludge. I writhed, slithered and twisted through the stuff like a snake. It felt so incredible and smelled so gossamer. (hee hee, I am practicing my human vocabulary, even Vickie doesn’t know that gossamer means fine, delightful, wonderful)

Anyway, after I rolled around in this amazing stuff, I had to go back into the lake for a while. Yah!!! Vickie, that is my punishment, another fifteen minutes of play……..

Who’s the smart one now?


PS. Besides getting to look at pictures of me and a video, I asked Vickie to put in some pictures of all the dogs here at the kennel this week for your entertainment.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Whew Boy Am I In Trouble. I have just spent the last 30 minutes in “Time Out” “Time Out” what the heck is that all about and who made up that particular rule, and how come I have never heard about it before.

It was horrible. I was forced to go into the side kennel and watch while Jamie, Abby and Scrappy, played and talked and spent time together outside on this beautiful day. They laughed and romped around right in front of me, ignoring the fact that I wasn’t able to join in and all because of this rule of “Time Out”

You see it all started out wonderfully. We got up, Vickie did all the chores around the kennel, feeding, cleaning and getting fresh water for the dogs who were staying for the weekend. Then when she was done and Jamie was fast asleep, Vickie and I snuck out, got in the car and went to Vickies moms house were I got to play a bit with KC.

KC wasn’t a lot of fun though, he just kept wanting to get into the house and see what Vickie and her mom were doing. Finally they let us both in and boy was that neat. I got to check out KC’s house for a bit but Vickie kept telling me, “get off that Bert, stop doing that Bert, and no jumping Bert”. Vickie is a very tense person some times and she acted so embarrassed when her mom asked how come I wasn’t trained better.

Then we met Murphy and Paulette at this really cool park over in South Ogden. It was on the side of the hill behind the Ogden Athletic Center and it was great. For the most part, we all four just walked around the park and every so often, Vickie and Paulette would tell Murphy and Me to sit and stay.

They would walk a few yards away and then come back, or call us to them. I don’t know why they have to practice that, but it seems like it is something that humans need to do often. I wonder if they forgot what Sit and Stay means so they have to keep asking us dogs to show them.

Anyway, then this really cool yellow lab came along with his two friends. One was in a wheel chair and I wasn’t even afraid cause I have seen wheelchairs before. That guy was really nice. I visited with him for a minute while they all talked, then Vickie let me go off lead and me and this other dog ran and ran and ran.

I made snow angels in the snow and got to play ball for a bit. Finally Paulette let Murphy run with us too and we all had a great time. On the way back to the car I found a great mud hole so I got to cool off and finish the walk with in one final classic dip.

When we got home, I was very tired so we all went out on the front porch area and Vickie sat in the swing with Scrappy and Abby Jamie and I took a nap in the grass. It was very wonderful.

While I was asleep Vickie had gone into the house and got a bowl of popcorn. I woke up to the smell of it and my tummy started to moan and groan. I had worked it pretty hard on the walk and now it was hungry, so I wandered on over and sat in front of her waiting for my share.
Abby and Jamie came over too. Everything went along pretty good with Vickie giving each of us a kernel of popped corn every few minutes, but then she got careless. At first she was giving the pieces to us individually, then she started tossing the popcorn to us. Now remember, I was very hungry, so when Abby and I competed for the same kernel, I might have gotten a little carried away.

She nosed me out for the tasty morsel and it kind of made me mad. I needed her to understand that I am a growing boy and that I need all the nutrition I can get. So when she took that piece that was meant for me, I just sort of turned on her. I knocked her down and I grabbed her by the neck.

Now I was only trying to tell her something but Vickie took it all wrong. She flew out of the swing and before I knew it I was being grabbed by my neck and lifted off of Abby. Vickie pulled me up so I was standing on my hind feet and flipped me around to face her.
Then she threw off her sunglasses and started foaming at the mouth hollering:

“Don’t you ever, ever EVER treat your little sister like that again, You Bad BAD boy.” She had a hold of both my cheeks and we were nose to nose, her eyes were on fire and I was scared. I quickly looked away because she was really making me nervous. What had I done that would bring on this tirade.

I guess looking away was what she wanted cause she let me go, but she wasn’t through with me. Oh No, then she marched me over here to this side kennel and locked me in.

I must say this has been a very unsettling day for me. Now, (one hour later) I am out with the other dogs but I am warily watching Vickie. She has hugged me a time or two since the “episode” and keeps saying, “I hope you learned something from this”.

Well Yes I did learn something. Vickie can be really scary, she can come unglued for no explainable reason, she is nuts…..But I still love her, I forgive her and I will continue to live with her, at least for now.

I do, however think that she should not get away with this without having to suffer a little bit, so just to be sure that she can’t sleep tonight, I ate the plastic top of the dog food cans. Now she will have to worry about me getting sick again and having surgery, at least until it passes. That will teach her……


PS. I just got some pictures of my mom and dad and thought you would like to see them. My mother is soooo beautiful. I remember her well. She took such good care of me and my brothers and sisters. Sometimes I miss them, but those times get less and less.
I didn't get to know my dad but I heard everyone talk about him. now that I have his picture I can see why they called him Prince. Check it out I am the one on the bottom, Do you think I might look like him one day?

I hope so.......