Welcome to a delayed post of Cleveland Chronicles.
We are hanging out.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac we are past the Dog Days of Summer. Cleveland is stretched out on the hardwood floor casting me a doubtful eye.
So, here is the scoop..
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, while you can find online and also on your oldest relative’s oak bookshelf, the “dog days of summer” refer to the period between July 3 and August 11 when the “Dog Star,” Sirius, rises just before the sun. This is called heliacal rising.
We haven’t been doing much. Cleveland can retrieve my shirt from a drawer and close it when he is done.. this is a behavior I wish I could teach to my DH. Cleveland can also turn off a light and close the door.
We have Public Re-certification coming up in mid September. We will be brushing up on our manners and keeping our teeth and hair brushed as well.
“I’m here, take a break, give me something to do.”
The Chatroom has been around for twenty years and Audrey has kept it going for twelve of those years. Audrey has been there for me as I learn the ropes. She is still a chatroom moderator.
While working on the new site for hours at a time, Cleveland would come up behind me and give my left arm a little nudge, as if to say, “I’m here, take a break and give me something to do.” Without his input I would have stayed at the keyboard until I became a solid ball of stress.
Cleveland and I are working on a command called ‘shirt.’ It involves opening a drawer, getting a shirt, closing the drawer and bringing the shirt to me. I’m sure he did this countless times in advanced training but my house is different, distractions are different and the drawers I am using are completely different
Cleveland is an enthusiastic learner. Early on he brought me the entire caddy of drawers. Now, he has most of it down but still occasionally brings the actual drawer to me. The drawers are plastic storage type drawers and the caddy is on wheels. .
Castor and Leda who is now Jimmy
One of the tortoises still chases him around the room. We make it difficult by playing fetch. Castor cannot keep up so he gets exercise. These sessions don’t go on for long. I switch out Castor for Leda who is now Jimmy because she mysteriously turned into a male. Jimmy does not seem at all interested in Cleveland.
I’m going to go ahead and post this installment of Cleveland Chronicles and I will make an effort to not let so much time pass between posts.
I skipped a week. According to my files, I started to post but who knows what lurks in the mind of Sally?
We survived a vet check, the vet seemed a little bit lost but impressed with the paperwork from Canine Companions and asked a few times when I had his teeth done. I replied at least twice that I brush them every day.
Big guy weighed in at 77 even. Considering the pull harness and leash I suspect he is still at the weight he was when we left campus.
Last weekend we went to the cemetery. I married into a family who have been here for generations. It was a long walk through Sunset Hills.
We are adding distance to the inhaler command, working on perfecting the task of going under my wheelchair to get the things I drop.
For fun these days we play at hiding the toy. Of course, I hide it as he watches and he seems to love getting it from increasingly awkward places. My son also gets in on the game.
Cleveland will not cross even the suggestion of a doorway without some sort of go ahead from me. He does not leave the room I am in. I like it because I never have to look far to find him. It just seems like a curious behavior to me, a built-in perk.
Another curious behavior involves what I call, “I have a toy but I’m not playing with you.”
He will take his toy and begin circling us holding the toy in his mouth, tail wagging. When we reach in or encourage him to ‘give’ he continues his circle, eventually laying down on his bed.
Walmart has little stuffed bones with squeakers inside. Cleveland goes through about two a week. At $1.97 DH bought 4 new ones. I keep an eye on them and as soon as I see the stuffing, out it goes.
This weekend he is going to Pet’s Mart for his first grooming session.
This week we went to Lowe’s. We had a lot of opportunities to practice commands in a strange, new place.
We began by opening and closing drawers on floor model bathroom vanities. Then we opened and closed doors on yet another floor model vanity.
He does a terrific job at pulling me in my wheelchair and there were a lot of wide aisles we used to practice.
When we found the plywood stacks I thought it was a perfect time to try an ‘up.’ (Up puts his front paws on the stack.) Cleveland puts his whole self into pleasing his human and in his eagerness he did a perfect ‘jump.’ (A jump sounds like the word up. A jump involves leaping to the top of the stack with all four paws ending up on top.) A few more tries and some well placed blocking he was doing perfect ups.
It snowed this week and his Montana was showing. He didn’t even blink when we went out to the yard that morning.
This week he can position himself behind my wheelchair, then he goes under to retrieve a dropped item. He does this very well.
Now, we are working on a whole new command where he will retrieve my inhaler from the tv cabinet. He is a quick study so I imagine this will be an easy task.
I am a professional learner and I’ve been finishing up a study of CSS Coding. I saw your eyes glaze over. Last night I was telling him about the usefulness of Child Combinators and he didn’t even pretend to be interested. I got a dog’s equivalent of an eye roll.
I hope you are enjoying these Cleveland Chronicles and the photos. Don’t touch anything sharp.
During Team Training I could not remember his name. I’d have a command ready and I’d just look into his big brown eyes and think what is your name?Sometimes, I could see his tag, other times I searched my mental filing cabinets for names starting with a CL. There are a lot of options for a CL name combination. The good news is that after just over three weeks I can call him Cleveland on the spot!
Last Friday, I used a Dremel tool to shorten his nails. The guy was taking a nap while I was taking a power tool to his feet. You can’t get much calmer than that.
Cleveland outweighs me by at least twenty pounds, an intimidating size under normal circumstances. He hasn’t bumped me over once. He is as slow and steady as I am.
The most amazing thing I learned during the week was that Cleveland can count to four. I have no idea how his humans taught such an amazing command. I took a short video clip and I am sharing it here.
This week he has retrieved items, tugged and pulled my wheelchair and has worked his way deeper into my soul.
If you are interested in becoming an Amazing Puppy Raiser for Canine Companions for Independence visit the site at CCI.org.
Monday marked the two year anniversary of Havan’s crossing. It also marked the first Monday as Team Sally and Cleveland II.
On the 16th we landed in Santa Rosa. We began Team Training the next day on the Canine Companions for Independence North West Training Center. I was one of five awesome people chosen for what is referred to as a ‘side’ placement. We were there for a Successor Service Dog. Between us we had retired 11 companions. For four of us, this was our third dog.
April 21st we Graduated as Teams and met our Puppy Raisers.
Cleveland, received most of his training in a Prison Program right here in Montana. He spent three months before advanced training in California with The Bradshaw Family where he was further socialized before going into advanced training.
I will be forever grateful for the Prison Program and his second family. There are breeders, caretakers, trainers, volunteers, veterinarians, office personnel and donors to be thankful to as well.
To everyone involved, you did one heck of a great job and we intend to honor you by working hard at independence.
After a ridiculous flight home on Saturday we arrived in the graveyard hours of Sunday morning and began our lives together.
I’ve been posting photos for nearly two weeks on Facebook. I’ll be blogging about our adventures. I’ll keep posting even the most mundane things. You’ll see.
On Monday, Cleveland II was a new breath of life beside me and I think Havan is very pleased. I can almost hear her tail thumping.
Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence
Cleveland II is a two year old yellow lab who weighs in at 78 pounds.
If you’d like more information about Service Dogs and the Canine Companions for Independence program visit http://cci.org
Sally & Cleveland II CCI NW ’17
Havan CCI NW ’07 – ’15
Lincoln III CCI NW ’98 – ’07