July, 2010

...now browsing by month


Happy Mix

Saturday, July 31st, 2010











Jingle met a new friend yesterday, another Aussie mix who is loved adored and spoiled rotten. His name is Gus and he’s my friend Lidi’s dog. Gus is old, and not so nimble anymore. He was cordial, but not really up for bouncy play. Still, it was thrilling for Jingle to meet him.  Gus and Jingle have similar faces. Looking at him, I see a preview of what Jingle will look like when she’s old and gray.

You don’t get to pick which dog you get at 4 Paws for Ability, but you do have some input. One of the reasons we put “mixed breed” as a choice on our application is because the vet said they tend to live longer and have good temperaments.

I imagine the people at 4 Paws are psyched to see the mixed breed box checked when so many people have their heart set on Standard Poodles, or Goldens, or whatever.

Riley and Jingle have a very tight bond. When we go for walks, and the kids take their scooters, Jingle has a nervous breakdown when they get too far ahead. She looks and sounds ridiculous, a shrieking kind of bark, tugging on the leash like a sled dog, not “good behavior” by most people’s standards.

But she wants to be near her girl. I can’t fault her for it.

We’ll take our mixed breed any day.

May she live a long, and happy life.

Retractable Leash

Monday, July 12th, 2010


I’d been thinking about buying Jingle one of those retractable leashes. When I first mentioned it, HT was against it.

“Won’t she just forget how to heel?”

I put the idea away for a while. I do that sometimes. Substitute his judgement for my own.

Often we get caught up in the erroneous belief that because Jingle is a service dog, we have something to prove. Like if her behavior isn’t exemplary we’ll be facing the raised eyebrows of the community, many of whom contributed toward Riley’s receiving her.

Jingle should heel perfectly, 100% of the time, never bark, never jump, never display any sort of regular dog-ness.

And yes, for some types of service dogs, that kind of control would be very important. But Jingle is trained in behavior disruption. Responding to a child’s meltdowns. That is her “service.” Heeling perfectly, while it’s nice, it’s a constant struggle.  

When does she get to be a dog?

Why am I pushing her so, to walk directly by my side, to never succumb to sniffing? 

When does she get to live a little? I usually give her some ”free” time on our walks, one whole solid block to sniff, but it’s never enough. She wants more, more, more! And who can blame her? Do you know how many dogs are peeing all over our neighborhood? It’s like taking me through a chocolate factory and not allowing me to have a sample or two.


She’s a great dog, and she does really well, but I’m sick of constantly trying to control her. So, finally, in full defiance of my husband, I pulled into Petco, and on the front table as you walked in sat a basket of retractable leashes (with skeletons) on sale for just $6.00.  It was a sign, a pink, (slightly disturbing, why the skeletons?) sign.

We gave it a whirl. Jingle loves it. I love it. She’s behaving so much better on walks, having that freedom. And when I need to reel her in, she still heels. Perhaps even better than before, because she’s gotten some of the ants out of her pants.  

The moral of the story is, don’t hand over your judgement to someone else, no matter how well intentioned they are and no matter how much Ben & Jerry’s they have brought home for you in your lifetime.  

Riley feels Jingle’s new leash is very “goth.”  Pink retractable dog leashes are the first thing you think of when you think goth. At least, they will be now.

Wishing you and yours freedom to sniff or whatever else makes your heart sing.


Heat Wave

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Someone make it stop!