It has been a great first month with Hugo, so I figured it is time for an update! Theo, Hugo, and I have settled in to our new apartment - we love it here so far! Theo and Hugo play all the time, and when they aren't playing together, they like to curl up on my bed or on the couch and snuggle. We have gotten to work on lots of fun training stuff lately too; I have been focusing on "get your bowl" with Hugo a lot because he doesn't love the metal touching his teeth. We are making good progress, so I hope by the end of the semester, he will be reliable with bringing his bowl to me. I have been filming some of our training sessions, so maybe I will share them at some point. He LOVES shaping, so we have been doing lots of that as well with all sorts of different behaviors. I even used him in my Animal Behavior class to demo a fun shaping exercise involving putting a paper ball into a cup!
I have not had the chance to take Hugo to any other classes this semester unfortunately. He went to a couple classes with his other trainers in the first couple weeks, but then we moved all online for two weeks and haven't been able to go to in-person classes since. Even our ADEPT class had to meet online for the past couple weeks (although we are hoping to be back in person next week!). He has been coming to work with me a ton though, and he has been rocking it! At first, he would sometimes whine during the longer shifts, but he has been at the desk with me for 3-6 hours chunks pretty regularly lately and just power naps through the whole shift! We have been working a lot on "go to your mat" and "stay" at the desk, so he doesn't have to walk around the whole desk with me while I am cleaning and potentially risk getting the chemicals on him. He is great!
This past weekend, I took Theo and Hugo to my parents house with me. Hugo got to meet my cat, Percy, for the first time and did awesome (he pretty much just ignored him). He also got to meet my parents and brother, and they all loved him. At one point over the weekend, we were all sitting on my bed playing a game of SkipBo, and my dad said, "Well, these cards aren't good!" and Hugo responded by kicking the whole pile over! Perfect comedic timing. We also got to go hiking one day, and Hugo did really well with all the smells and stuff going on at the trails. I was a little worried that he wouldn't like going on such a long hike since he is such a laidback guy, but he kept up the whole time and seemed to enjoy it.
We've been on a couple public access trips these past few weeks but have definitely been trying to limit the amount of exposure we have when going out and about. The few trips we have been on have gone really well though! Hugo has definitely found his stride with me by this point in the semester, and he is such a smart pup. I can't wait to continue getting to know him these next couple months and see how much he will continue to learn and mature! Until next time, stay pawsome!
This week, we got our ADEPT team assignments for the fall semester! We have less dogs than usual, so we have teams of three for each dog. I am working with Hugo along with two other interns. Hugo is a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix, and his birthday is October 16th (he turns two this year). Fun fact: Hugo is Charlie and Chester's half brother! He looks so much like Charlie, but his personality is definitely closer to Chester's.
I also had my first in person class with Hugo this week which went super well. I decided to set Hugo up for success by walking to campus that day so he would be nice and tired. When we got to class, he immediately plopped down and went to sleep. He didn't move the whole class! I was so impressed with him and hope the rest of the semester goes just as smoothly!
Hugo and Theo are already best buds; they love playing together! After playtime though, Hugo loves to snuggle up and take a nice long nap. We also have had a few fun training sessions to see where Hugo is at with his skills so far. He is such a smart, goofy guy, and I am excited to continue getting to know him over the next couple months. I will try to update regularly on his progress! Until next time, stay pawsome!
Back on Campus
It has been a pretty busy few weeks as I was preparing to move back to school and begin the new semester. I was back at my parent's house for most of the summer, but I was back at my previous house at school for the past week. I was back for work training and then my first few shifts at the Campus Information Desk. This past weekend, I moved into my new apartment that I will be sharing with two other friends. It has been exhausting decorating everything, but I love seeing everything come together!
One of the best things about the new apartment is that dogs are allowed! My friend's dog, Aspen, is living here with us this year alongside Theo and one of the ADEPT dogs! I am still waiting to hear who my dog and human team members will be for the internship this year, but I will hopefully be making a post about that soon.
Last week, Theo and I took a trip to visit my friend Hannah and got to enjoy some lovely outdoor seating and good conversation. We also took one of the puppies from the rescue Hannah volunteers with to the vet which was super fun. The puppy is named Pepsi and is only 4-6 weeks old, so I got to bottle feed him on the drive over.
Today, I picked up my textbooks and continued decorating the apartment a bit but mostly just enjoyed a nice chill day before the craziness of the semester begins! I decided to take 20 credits this semester (the normal maximum number is 18), so I will be plenty busy. Tonight, Theo and I are just going to hang out and probably go to sleep early, so we can get up bright and early tomorrow morning! Until next time, stay pawsome!
Fostering - Meet Cookie!
This past week, I had the amazing opportunity to foster a super sweet dog named Cookie! I was not planning on fostering a dog this summer, but the rescue I work with reached out and asked if I would be interested in taking her in. I, of course, said yes (with the approval of my parents, as I am currently staying at their place - thanks mom and dad!). The rescue believes Cookie is 13+ years old, so she definitely qualifies as an old lady.
I picked Cookie up after a long transport to Wisconsin on Thursday afternoon, and we had the chance to get to know each other a little bit better. I gave her a bath since she was a little bit smelly and dirty after such a long trip. She wasn't the biggest fan of her bath, but I think she felt a lot better afterward. I made her a nice little nest out of a bed and some blankets since she seemed a bit chilly while she was drying. She ended up falling asleep and didn't move until dinnertime! It was a long day for her. After dinner, we watched a movie and just hung out and let her rest for a while again. She wasn't steady enough on her feet to handle going up and down stairs, so I carried her (and her blanket nest) up to my room at bedtime.
The next morning, Cookie started to show a little more personality and spent some time exploring the main level and following me around the house. She got acclimated with Theo and Percy (she mostly just ignored them) and spent some time hanging out in the sun on the patio. Over the next few days, I got to see her perk up and noticed more and more of her personality and eventually even got to see her try to play with Theo briefly and see her run around the backyard!
On Monday, a couple adopted Cookie making her the shortest term foster I've ever had (with the exception of a couple short-term respite foster dogs). They had two other older dogs (one was nine and the other was twelve I believe), and the three of them got along super well. Even though I only knew her for a short period of time, Cookie definitely stole my heart with her sweet, easygoing personality. I am so happy I got to be a part of her journey, and I was thrilled to see her go to such an amazing family! Fostering (or adopting) an older dog is so rewarding, as they are commonly overlooked in favor of puppies, so I was honored to be a small part of Cookie's story!
Until next time, stay pawsome!
Roadtrip With Oliver
This weekend, my family and I rented a cabin on the lake to get some lovely time away, so Oliver went back to his previous handler's house. It was about a 2.5 hour drive from our house to drop him off on the way to the cabin, and he handled the trip like a champ! The back of the car was packed full with everything we'd need on the lake for the next few days, so Oliver got to sleep by my feet during the car ride. He didn't have very much space, but he still handled it super well. It was probably good practice for if he ever has to fly after placement, as there is even less space on a plane! I was really impressed because he was hardly antsy at all and just stayed curled up for the majority of the trip. We also stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break (for us and him), and he did awesome for our short time in the store too.
It has been a super fun few weeks getting to work with Oliver, and I can't wait to see him again when we go back to school in the fall! I am back home now, and it definitely feels a little weird not having an ADEPT dog with me for the first time since January. However, I am enjoying the chance to spend some one-on-one time with Theo (who I think is missing his buddy too). I will be starting work back at the Campus Information Desk at the university at the end of August, and we will hopefully be getting our fall teams for ADEPT assigned around then as well! I have a feeling this semester will require even more flexibility than usual, as there will probably be hurdles regarding COVID and what happens as we progress through the semester. Regardless, I am super excited to be back on campus soon even with the changes. Until next time, stay pawsome!
I'm a little late with introducing Oliver to you as he has already been with me for about three weeks, but I figured it is better late than never! After I brought Penny back to her previous handler, I picked up Oliver to spend a few weeks with him. Oliver is a ten month old black lab and is the second youngest dog in the PawPADs family right now (Leo is the new baby). He still has lots to learn of course, but he is doing super well with everything he has been introduced to so far! He loves "get it" with lots of different objects around the house and is great at getting his food bowl out of the kennel after he eats. He is definitely still a puppy, but he has matured a lot since I saw him at the end of our time on campus last semester.
Tonight, I took Oliver on our first public access trip together. Living at home during COVID-19 means I don't go many places besides work since my parents do most of the shopping, but I did go along with my dad tonight to get Oliver some access time. Since he is still pretty young, I didn't have super high standards, but he did really well! There were a few times when he got a little distracted by a person walking past or something on the ground, but it was pretty easy to regain his attention. I was really proud of him!
When Oliver isn't learning lots of fun stuff, he LOVES to play with Theo. They are the perfect pair and play so nicely together. Every once in a while, Oliver will try to play with Percy the cat too, but that usually doesn't last very long. In the past couple weeks, Oliver has had quite a few interesting experiences, despite mostly being at home. On 4th of July, Oliver got to experience the sound of fireworks (from his safe spot on the couch of course) for the first time, and he didn't seem to mind them at all. This week, he also got to see a firetruck (and a firefighter) up close when one was sitting in our neighborhood during our walk.
It has been a super fun few weeks, and I am looking forward to the next few weeks with him as well! He will be heading back to his first mom the last week of July since my family and I will be out of town for a few days and then I will hopefully be moving back into my house for work training back on campus in August. I will likely post another update at the end of July about all the new adventures we have had, but until then, stay pawsome!
I have an exciting update on two of the amazing dogs I have worked with. Charlie (who I worked with spring and the first part of summer last year) and Chester (who I worked with this past fall) both graduated this week and were placed as service dogs! They were both placed for physical assistance/mobility work, and I couldn't be more proud of them.
I was so happy to be able to attend graduation and see the final pairings for the five PawPADs dogs that were placed. Alongside Charlie and Chester were their sisters, Dani (School Resource Dog) and Darby (Diabetic Alert Dog), as well as Ganther (School Resource Dog). It was awesome getting to see the teams interact and see the beginning of a bond that will only continue to grow stronger over time.
Yesterday Penny went back to her previous trainer's house again, so I thought I would make a quick little update about the last couple weeks! Things have started opening back up in Wisconsin, but we have still been limiting our public access trips to necessary trips only. That means Penny and I didn't go out a ton, but on the few public access trips we did have (grocery store, Target, Walmart, Menards) she did great! She is so attentive and super sweet.
We worked quite a bit on fun training stuff at the house, and she has definitely enabled a little bit of laziness for me. She already had a super solid light/switch, so we worked on adding distance in a new location, and this past week she was able to go turn on and off my lights even when I was sitting all the way across my room in bed. Who needs those fancy clap on and off lights when you have this smarty! She also got to clean up all her toys at night (she loves to raid the toy box and pick and choose between the toys all day).
Aside from training, we also did a lot of other super fun stuff. We went on lots of long hikes (which she absolutely loved) and played tons of fetch in the backyard. She got to meet one of my best friend's dogs, Aspen, too, and we all went hiking together! This past weekend, we spent a few days back at my house at school. We explored some of my favorite hiking spots around there and even saw a bunch of geese at one of the parks! We made sure to be super respectful of their space though, especially since there were some babies.
I'm so grateful I got to work with Penny for a few weeks; she definitely stole my heart! She loves to be with her person, so she was like my little shadow. I am now working with another new dog for a while, but I will introduce him to you in another post in a few days! Until next time, stay pawsome!
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I get the opportunity to work with a new dog for a little while this summer. Baxter is staying with one of his previous handlers for a few weeks, so I am hanging out with Penny! Penny is a Golden Retriever / Poodle cross (aka Goldendoodle) and is a year and a half old. She has been here for two whole days now, and she has been so fun to get to know! The first day was a little rainy, so we mostly just hung out inside (she is so snuggly), but it cleared up in the evening, so we got to go for a little walk.
Yesterday, we went to Menards to get some plants for our garden (don't worry, we social distanced and wore masks). Penny did great even with all the yummy smelling plants at eye level. We also ran to the grocery store to pick up some things, and she rocked our trip there as well. We played fetch in the backyard for a while, and Penny and Theo also got to hang out with me in the front while I read a good book. In the evening, we went for a nice long walk which Penny seemed to really enjoy.
Wrapping Up The Semester
It has been a crazy few weeks as we wrap up spring semester online. Since the university cancelled a week of classes in March (creating an extended spring break to help the transition to online classes go smoother), it seemed like a lot of professors needed to squeeze in more stuff at the end of the semester. Despite the craziness, we made it through, and I am super excited to be taking an online class over the summer because although the semester has only been done for a few days, I already miss learning. I added Animal Science as a second minor this semester since I had a majority of the credits done already, so I am taking Genetics!
I will also still be working with ADEPT dogs over break. Baxter is curled up next to me as I write this, and we will get to hang out a little bit longer this summer. Next weekend, Baxter is leaving to spend some time with one of his previous handlers, and I will get the chance to work with Penny, one of the younger dogs in the program. More on that later!
PawPADs is still hoping to hold a partner training camp over the summer to place the dogs that are ready to be placed, but it might end up getting moved around a bit due to COVID-19. All four of the dogs I have worked with over the past two years (Neeco, Charlie, Chester, and Baxter) will be old enough to be placed at the upcoming partner training camp. Of course, each dog's placement depends on a variety of factors, so there is no guarantee that all of them will be placed this summer. They each have vet checks done (hips, elbows, etc) to make sure they are suitable for a working life, and we will explore what options would fit best with each dog. When it gets closer to placement, I might do a blog post specifically about placement since I seem to get quite a few questions about how it works.
This weekend, I am back at my house at school since I needed to pick up more of Baxter's food. Baxter and I also got to walk through campus, so I could drop off my textbooks, and he perked right up and seemed so excited to be "back." We even walked up to the door that leads into the ADEPT "dog room" (the place the interns and dogs have to hang out, train, and let the dogs be dogs for a little while during the school day). It felt a little strange to be on campus when it was so quiet, but it was nice to pretend for a moment that things were back to normal. While we were in town, Baxter and I also went out for our first public access in weeks! It was really short since we are still social distancing despite many things in Wisconsin opening back up, but I needed a few groceries to get me through the weekend. Baxter did a great job, especially for having such a long break from PA.
Speaking of which, just a little PSA, please continue social distancing even while things start to open up. We are already seeing the cases in Wisconsin jump up again due to restaurants and bars going back to "normal," so please do your part to prevent the spread. Continue utilizing curbside pickup if there is the option to do so, or just stay home and cook. Supporting local businesses is super important, but please do so safely! Anyway, this blog post is getting a little long, so I'm going to wrap it up. Until next time, stay pawsome!
Intern with ADEPT (Assistance Dog Education Program and Training). Dog mom. Creative Writing major. Wannabe author. YouTube creator.