Saturday, June 30, 2012

Family Hike

It is hot again here.  Luckily, our air conditioner works this time around. :-)

Mike and I would have loved to have stayed inside all day, but Luna was stir crazy today.  This past week I was running a camp for teens so I worked very long hours.  When I came home each night, I collapsed.  Poor Luna didn't get much outside time during the week and she wasn't about to miss out on the weekend.

Despite the heat, Mike, Luna and I loaded up into the Jeep and headed out to one of my favorite places to hike.  A short walk through a field led to some lovely trails through the woods.  I used to take Eris here all the time.  In her older age, I would let her off leash to explore the water while I sat on the bridge.  It was nice to bring Luna to a place where I have such great memories of Eris.

To my surprise, Luna walked straight into the stream.  She seemed to enjoy the cool water and didn't mind the fish swimming past her feet.  This was a shock for Mike and me since Luna can't stand wet grass or kiddie pools.  She loved the water so much she walked in almost up to her chest.  Not too bad.
As we hiked through the woods, Luna stayed close to us.  If we got a little bit ahead we would call her and she would immediately catch up.  It is obvious that Luna prefers to stay with us.  At one point Mike said, "Quick! Put her on the leash!"  I didn't see what the problem was at first until I looked ahead on the trail.  There was a deer standing in some brush watching us approach.  I grabbed Luna, who was walking next to me, and snapped the leash on.  I guess Luna was surprised by my behavior because she had been obeying us so well.  She looked around and that's when she saw the deer.  The deer took off (although not very fast or very far), but Luna stayed put with her ears up.  I'm sure she would have chased the deer if I had encouraged her, but she stayed still.  Good reaction.

We finished up the hike with another dip in a stream before heading back through the field.  Luna did very well on the hike despite the hot weather, wildlife distractions, and obstacles she had to navigate (i.e. rocks and branches).



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vet Open House

The vet clinic that helped us after Luna's accident was having an open house today and invited Greyhound Friends of NJ to be a part of the party.  Not only was this another great day for a Meet & Greet, but I wanted the doctors and staff to see how much Luna has improved since they last saw her. 
The event was bigger than I had expected.  There was a petting zoo/pony ride, face painting, free food, vendors for pet products, and of course plenty of adoption organizations.  The place was filled with small mix breed dogs, German shepherds, cats and greyhounds. 
Luna and Tabitha taking a break.
Ingrid rests in the shade.
Monk sees the petting zoo.
Cookie smiles for the camera.
Luna keeps a watch from Monk's back.
Ingrid's turn for look out on Monk's back.
Most of the greyhounds we had at the event are available for adoption and are currently being cared for by inmates through the Prison Program.  It was nice to spend some time with these dogs.  I especially liked Tabitha and Monk. 

Tabitha is a big goofball who enjoys roaching, playing with anything that looks like a toy, and greeting visitors with a lot of tail wagging.  She tempted me, but she is not cat or small dog safe.  She is also very nervous around small children.  Her ideal home would be with adults with a sense of humor.
Tabitha photo bombs Cookie's pretty picture.
Monk (or as I call him "Monkey Man") is not only gorgeous to look at, but he is very fun to be around.  I can't get over his amazing eyes and long Roman nose.  He is a goofball, too.  Somehow he kept getting himself wrapped around chairs and crashing into the other dogs.  Not exactly graceful.  On the negative side, he is a little too focused on small, fast moving animals.  He was fine with a small dog that stood his ground, but the petting zoo was too tempting.
Monk's long nose.  Wow!
And check out those eyes!
Luna, as always, was perfect.  When the other dogs were feeling tired she gladly stepped up to let visitors pet her.  She demonstrated her tricks for a few kids which they loved.  As much as I liked the other greyhounds, I love that Luna is so dependable and I can trust her in any situation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Being Silly

Lately, there has not been too much to report from Luna.  She is behaving well out of the crate while we are away, she is enjoying her outings, and she is earning lots of treats.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was working on a silly trick with Luna.  The below video is her learning the new post-it trick. 

  video

Over the past few weeks I've been encouraging Luna to play with her stuffed toys.  We have her moon upstairs for morning zoomies and her chipmunk toy downstairs for evening zoomies.  I think she likes the chipmunk better because it honks rather than squeaks.  It is also much easier to get it to make a noise which Luna likes.  Most of the time I'm the one to initiate playtime.  I can tell that she is feeling silly so I introduce the toy.  Tonight, I was surprised to hear Luna chomping on her toy without any interaction from Mike or me.  Here is a video of her enjoying her own playtime.

video

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blessed

Today was a special day for two reasons.  First, it was Father's Day so my dad enjoyed celebrating with his grandpuppy.  I'm sure he enjoyed the time spent with my brother and me, but Luna is definitely the favorite in his eyes.

The other big part of the day was our church's blessing of the animals.  I definitely had to bring Luna to church since so many people in our congregation have supported us through the last six months.  It was a real treat for everyone to see her prancing up the driveway.  She eagerly greeted everyone and even allowed a four-year-old to hug her.  

Luna greets the minister who has been a fantastic cheerleader through her recovery.
When it was time to settle down for the service, she rested comfortably next to me on her pillow.  The other visiting pets were all dogs of varying breeds.  We had a collie/golden mix, a terrier mix, a basset hound, a beagle, a black lab, a boston terrier, and a dalmatian mix.  All the dogs were well behaved even when a few joined in the singing.  Those without dogs brought pictures of their animals or stuffed animals. 
A nice turn out on a nice day.  Do you see Luna resting on her pillow?
Even though the ceremony was about blessing the animals, I felt that I was the one who is blessed to have had so many wonderful animals in my life.  My cats, rodents, guinea pig, dogs, and various other critters have brought me so much joy.  I am so glad to have Luna as part of my family.  We are both very blessed to have each other.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Therapist is In

Because of crazy work schedules and a broken air conditioner (finally got fixed yesterday) Luna has been coming to work with me at least once a week.  She has become very comfortable in the office setting.  A little too comfortable.  Most of the time she stays by my desk so their is no need to tie her to the desk or put up the baby gate to keep her in the room.  However, once in a while she will decide I'm boring and leave the room seeking a co-worker who will give her some attention.  It seems she likes to do this when I am on the phone and cannot yell at her to come back.  "Excuse me for one minute.  I need to catch my dog."

While I'm a little annoyed by Luna's antics, the rest of the office staff loves having her around.  She seems to have taken her new role as therapy dog very seriously.  Every morning she will make her rounds to each person with a big smile on her face and a lot of tail wagging.  Last week, a few staff members even got some play bows and greyhound hugs.  When people come into my office Luna will jump up from her nap to greet our guest.

When I am between projects, I try to take a short break to do a little training with Luna.  This way I can step away from my desk and she can get a few minutes of mental stimulation.  This week, I decided to see if I could create a new trick out of Luna's "take it" command.  I first taught her to take a post-it note from my hand.  Then she learned how to pick up the post-it note from the ground.  Her method left the post-it a bit slobbery and very crumpled so I won't be asking her to pick up any important papers.  Finally, I placed the post-it to her back end.  She quickly figured out how to get that silly post-it off and proudly presented it to me for her cookie.  I like this trick because she looks so silly and I'm sure it will delight many audiences in the future.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Scottish Festival

This past Saturday was the annual Bonnie Brae Scottish Festival and Highland Games event.  Greyhound Friends of NJ asked volunteers to promote greyhound adoption.  I had been to the event many years ago when I was studying Scotland in school.  I was very excited to attend the event and see how Luna would react to the bagpipes.

Luna keeps a look out for visitors.
We had plenty of greyhounds come out and the crowd was very excited to meet them.  The young kids who were competing in highland dancing would come over between their dances to pet the greyhounds.  Luna was happy to show off her tricks to the kids and even let a few kids give her commands.  Our tent was between a collie group and a sheltie group so we really stood out.
Young dancers.
The boys are taking a break.
Highland games.
Rusty, are you still tired?
Our color pallet.
What's that?!
 At noon, we were asked to participate in their parade which would lead out on to the field.  Luna and I jumped at the chance to really show off the greyhounds.  Along with five other greyhounds, we marched behind the hundreds of bagpipers, drummers, dancers, and other dog breeds.  It was pretty exciting and Luna did fantastic with all the noise. 
Luna gives a pep talk before the parade starts.

video
This was a really fun event and I know Luna had a great time.  We can't wait for next year!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Big Turn Around in Six Months

It's hard to believe that six months ago today we were unsure if Luna would still be in our lives.  You are probably tired of hearing me say how amazing her recovery has been, but it's true!  She has come so far and her quality of life is fantastic.

Here is a list of Luna's accomplishments since her accident in December:
  1. She has relearned how to walk, trot, and run.
  2. She has relearned how to navigate stairs and hard floors.
  3. She has learned how to walk on a treadmill underwater and balance on a yoga ball. 
  4. She has learned how to play.
  5. She has successfully completed a basic obedience class.
  6. She has been certified as a therapy dog.
  7. She has helped me teach 4-H members about dog physical therapy.
  8. She has learned how to bark and has shown more of her personality.
  9. She has become more independent.
  10. She has strengthened her bond with Mike and me.
Whenever I share her story, people are amazed by Mike and my commitment to Luna during that rocky first month.  I always credit the people who supported us through that time.  Without the help of our family, friends, and internet cheerleaders, I'm not sure we would have been so successful.  Luna's story is a success because of the many people who supported her every step of the way.  Thank you.
First day home.

Plenty of soft items to catch a "mobile" dog.
Harness to help her get up.
First time on the yoga peanut.

First time in the underwater treadmill.

The living room during her toddling stage.
Getting the hang of physical therapy.

Walking on her own in the tank.
Enjoying walks again.
Enjoying the park again.

Enjoying life in the Garden State.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Certified Therapy Dog

At the beginning of this month Luna passed her Therapy Dog International test.  This week she received her official ID badge and TDI dog tag.  Her bandana is on back order, but we do not have to wait for it before we start visiting.  I also received a book of instructions, a whole lot of paperwork to complete (I thought I was done with that), and a list of places in our area looking for therapy dogs.  We have been given the all clear to get started.  Yay!