Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

Sam's Tale:
I keep asking my mom - in my own language of course - "Hey, Mom, where are your priorities????  You have not updated our blog all summer!!!"  So finally, tonight she updated the computer with our pictures and now I can finally tell you what is going on with Lolo and me.  
      It has been a busy summer but so fun!!  Lolo has been on all my summer adventures.......we went to a cabin in the mountains for 4th of July, to some garden concerts, to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton Parks in an RV, and next weekend rock climbing in Idaho.  None of this travel rattles Lolo one bit and she helps me travel when I get a little tired.  Lolo didn't like the waves too much- I did but it was really cold this year.  She did like the running in the warm shallow water at Bear Lake.  She was really funny chasing a ball through the water.  I am glad she likes water sometimes because I love swimming especially in warm water!  Yesterday, she really helped me at my friend's birthday party.  We all had the chance to bang on the pinata.  That doesn't always work out too well for me.  My sis, Sarah helped give it a few bangs and My Lolo helped me pick up all the yummy candy.  Finally, I can get to that candy now!!  Lolo accidentally punctured a Pixie Stick and it went all over - I thought that was so funny!
      Yesterday, our pet dog Napa died.  We were all very sad.  I was glad Lolo was around to keep us happy. Without Napa, my mom wouldn't have tried to get Lolo for me.  I always smiled and cried less  when Napa was around.  Napa had long hair and I loved to pet her.  Mom realized that a special dog could really help me.  Napa was old but I am really going to miss her! 
     School starts on Tuesday.  It will be fun to see all my friends again but I will miss Lolo when I am at school.  I will try to bug Mom to keep our tales updated!

Amy's Tale:
     I am so sorry for the long delay in telling our tales.  It has been a busy and fun summer.  Lolo has been such a great addition to our family.  Her personality continues to reveal herself.   It seems when she is not too sure about whether she wants to do a command, she looks at me like - "Are you absolutely sure!" before following it dutifully.  She is sleeping with Sam every night and we have enjoyed the benefits of that - REM and on occasion, a full night's sleep!  Sam is also so much happier when he wakes to Lolo's face and kisses.  
     She traveled like a champ even with a few airline delays.  She met many, many friends and relatives.  They all wanted to keep Lolo for their own and loved talking to Sam about her.  None of them could pet her without Sam giving the A-ok!  The wildlife in Yellowstone (from afar) didn't faze her either.  
     Sam likes involving Lolo in his therapy (play).  He has been trying to ride a bike and is much more motivated to propel it when Lolo is the motivator (or will give him a tug!).  
     It is very sad for us to lose Napa - our family companion for 12 years.  She was such a great dog that embraced every family change.  She was great with the kids, gave us love during hard times, and embraced family additions.  In the short time they were together, she and Lolo became very comfortable with each other.  Napa even tried to play with Lolo a couple of times. Lolo has been very attentive to all of us since yesterday.
     School begins soon and hopefully a little more - or different structure.  Maybe, some more time to keep the blog updated!

Monday, June 9, 2008

First week home

Sam's Tale:
Wow, we finally made it home. We drove forever and Lolo didn't want to "hurry" at any of the rest stops because it was windy and lacking grass. No accidents though! It took me a few days to recover - I was grumpy. I had fun bringing Lolo to school one morning to meet my friends. She did all her commands great - visit, shake, step, lap. Mrs Bitner's class all went "aaaahhh" and clapped for her when she picked up my washcloth and gave it back to me. My mom was kind of nutty and decided to bring Lolo with us to the zoo for Disability Night. Lolo was so well behaved even though there were tons of things to distract her everywhere!! The cougars wanted to eat her but she remained strong. Now it is summer vacation (with only a little summer school)....more time to get to know my girl, Lolo! Oh yeah, I almost forgot....tonight we were watching TV and a doorbell rang on a commercial. Lolo darted up from a deep sleep on our lap and ran to the door. I laughed and laughed! Silly girl.

Amy's Tale:
Life sure is different now than it was on the CCI campus. We (not neccessarily Lolo) have all these other distractions! It has been fun to have Sam introduce his special buddy to our friends. He always gets a big smile when people ask him about her. Lolo followed me around the house the first few days but now she is feeling more at home. Her and Napa (our pet dog) are doing fine coexisting and even swapping each other's bed on occasion. Lolo took to Sarah right away and Sarah to her however, Sarah has been very sensitive to making sure she doesn't distract Lolo away from Sam. I was trying to designate a dirt patch in our back yard for Lolo to potty. She doesn't like it and we have had a few "mexican-standoffs". She is winning this battle and Andy thinks it is funny. We enjoyed celebrating Lolo's 2nd birthday with her on the 4th. She got a sterilized bone and seemed to enjoy the treat. Tonight we got Lolo to "speak" without a toy to encourage her - Sam laughed and laughed. It has been great to share emails with our new friends to hear how they are adjusting with their new companions. Thank you all again for your wonderful responses. I will try to continue to update this blog once a week.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Sam's Tale:
Yesterday was the big day!!  Lolo and I graduated!  It was fun meeting the Fox family who raised Lolo.  They are really fun and I know Lolo was happy to see them and missed them.  My cousins Kathy and Emily came to see graduation.  And my Aunt Beth surprised me and came too!  It was special to me that they were there.  I will miss all my new friends from our class.  I hope we keep in touch.  We drove until 10pm last night.  I was a little cranky at the end but today we only have about 5 hours to go until we see Sarah, Daddy, Pawpaw, and Napa.  I can't wait for them to meet Lolo!

Amy's Tale:
Wow, what a day and great culmination of 2 hard but fantastic weeks!  It was so great to meet the Fox family who raised Lolo until she went into training 6 months ago.  They gave us some great insight about Lolo as a puppy.  They love Lolo so much and wecan tell she feels the same.  I can only imagine how hard it is to see her go!  We have only been with her 2 weeks and couldn't imagine not being with her!  I am excited that they also were able to meet Sam and see how much Lolo has already enriched his and all of our lives.  We are looking forward to keeping in touch with them.
CCI did an awesome job at graduation recapping our 2 weeks in Team Training and recognizing all the work that goes into this awesome organization.  It was sad to say goodbye to everyone but we have made lifelong friends in people and dogs.  Emily, Kathy, and Beth - Thank you so much for sharing in this very special day for Sam and Lolo (and me)!! Grandmother Kay - we could not have done any of this without your help these 2 weeks and I know Canine Companions has made a new friend in you!
Almost home and very ready to see my sweet girl Sarah (and Andy and Pawpaw too)!

Friday, May 30, 2008


Sam's Tale:
Water every where!!!!! I thought it was so funny when Lolo got her bath this morning.  She shook very hard and got me all wet which made me laugh even more!!  Then they turned a vacuum-like-thing on that dried her a bit and then guess what????  They put her in a doggie dryer for 20 minutes.  It didn't go round and round.  She looks and smells pretty for graduation day tomorrow. 

Amy's Tale:  
The bath was hilarious especially to watch Sam.  I will post some pictures soon.  We wrapped up today getting information about Lolo's puppy raisers who we will meet tomorrow.  She was raised in New Mexico!!  We are really looking forward to getting to know about her before we knew her (first year and 1/2).  We also heard how to transition Lolo into our household and life like meeting other dogs and family members, etc.  Kind of sad to be leaving all of our new friends. Graduation is exciting and I know will be tear-jerking.  But most of you who know me, know that I won't cry at all - HA!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Sam's Tale:
Mom and I had to go through our testing today.  I think we did ok because Lolo was on her best behavior again!  I was wiped out during the public certification testing at the mall - plus I just hate malls.  I am ready to come home with Lolo and see Daddy, Sarah, Napa, and PawPaw.  We learned how to have Lolo meet Napa.  I think Napa will like her but I don't think Napa will be allowed to eat our dinner leftovers any more!!

Amy's Tale:
I am also wiped out after a day of testing but relieved to have it over.  I think we did well enough to pass.  I was so afraid that after all of this travel and work that I was going to let down Sam and not pass the tests.  We enjoyed a nice meal out with a few of the families and made gifts for the puppy raisers we will meet on Saturday.  I am also ready to come home - just wish we could blink and that 11 hour drive would be done.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Sam's Tale:
We took Lolo to Petco today to buy her toys and stuff.  She really likes the squeaky squishy ball in the CCI play yard.  We bought her a squishy green ball and a toy called "King Kong".  I know she will love it!!!  We also got her a fluffy bed so she won't want to sleep on Napa's.

Amy's Tale:
Food is not hard to come by here!  The awesome volunteers have fed us a hearty lunch every day most of them are also puppy raisers or breeders so we have learned all about the program from the birth of the dog on!!  Incredible!!!  During Sam's and Lolo's graduation, there will also be puppy's going to their raisers from breeders and we will be able to meet Lolo'a puppy raiser!    

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Walk or Ride??

Sam's Tale
Guess what?  When I am "stuck" in my walker and can't move, Lolo will tug on the front of it and help me get in the right position to move my feet again.  But I was thinking.......why doesn't she just tug me to where I want to go??  Hmmm, we'll have to work on that.

Amy's Tale
Thank you all for your comments!!  I read them to Sam and he smiles and laughs. 
Today we went down to the Harbor to practice our skills in public.  Lolo and Sam were once again on their best behavior ignoring all smell, animal, and people distractions.  At one point Lolo did get spooked at something - we couldn't figure out what.  Instead of staying by the wheelchair, she quickly hugged my leg and proceeded with caution.  She also likes to step "around" bird poop on the ground and not dare put her paw on it.  What a little lady!  It was fun to see her tug at Sam's walker to get him in position and then when he reached her, she stood on the lower rim of the walker and gave him some praise. He loved it!!!
We are ramping up for our upcoming public certification test, our written exam, and final performance evaluation.  Hope all goes well!!