Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Our third therapy visit started out especially entertaining. There was only one other dog that we went on the visit with us, a beautiful Golden Retriever named Jester. This was Norman and Jester's second visit together.

They're checking out Jester's mom walking towards us.

Jester is mild mannered, calm, sweet and gentle. He typically just comes into the room, lies down and accepts petting as it comes. Norman, on the other hand, is more animated. With the teenagers we sit on the floor so he tends to do a lot of licking, sitting on laps and flopping over for belly rubs.

I don't have many photos of the actual day so I'm going to post some old ones that are somewhat relative:)

This time Norman was especially pleased with himself and was wiggling all over the place on his back. He stretched out so far that he was kicking Jester in the face, but Jester did not mind at all.

And the next thing you know, Jester started rolling around on the floor too! He is normally very docile so it made everyone laugh to see the two of them acting identically goofy. After only about a minute, at the exact same time, they both deflated and laid perfectly still 'til the end of our session with the teens which was half an hour. They were surrounded by about 5 teens each and got petted all over the whole time. And Norman laid his head in a girl's lap while she stroked his head and ears.

Norman's calm guy pose

Norman and Jester are the perfect combo because Jester is so still, relaxed and doesn't lick. While Norman is more eager (but not spazzy) and embraces physical contact if invited and of course, he gives lots of kisses. So people have the option of which type of dog they wanted to interact with...or both of course!

They were both so wiped after the visit, I could not get them to look at the camera!

The dogs are not supposed to meet but being in such close quarters, they do sneak in a couple sniffs here and there and Norman often dishes out a couple kisses to his new compadre, but overall they are both way more interested in the people. We don't really have to put any effort into getting them to leave each other alone. They were super at ease with each other even when they first met. Neither minds if there are tails wagging in the others face and or if they step on each others toes, both literally and figuratively. They sometimes do a pretty cute thing where Jester looks down on Norman when Norman is on his back and then Norman sticks his tongue out to lick Jester's nose.

This is pretty much when they first met, waiting for Jester's mom to re-park her car. Norman is yawning:)

Our first visit was with another Golden Retriever who is quite similar to Jester. Once their schedules are both free, we will have all three dogs together for the visit! Norman and his Goldens...haha. Norman certainly gets a lot of attention for being the odd man out, not to mention the new guy in town and the designated tongue dispenser.

Golden Retrievers are so cute!

Do you think dog rolling is contagious?

Related Posts:
Norman's 1st Therapy Visit!
Norman's 2nd Therapy Visit: Just Don't Ask Us to Do Tricks
Norman is Now a Certified Therapy Dog!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Norman's second therapy visit was just as awesome as his first visit. We returned to the same location (the mental health department of a local hospital) but there were mostly new patients. Like last time, the teenagers were very excited to see the dogs and had fun sitting on the floor with them. Both Norman and the other Therapy Dog spent most of the time lying on the floor, receiving lots of rubs and pets. Norman also dishes out kisses to those who want them, while the other dog keeps his tongue to himself.

I don't have any photos of the actual day so I'm going to post some old ones that are somewhat relative:)

When we were visiting with the adults, they asked to see the dogs do tricks. The other volunteer and I laughed because each of our dogs only has one "real" trick. Norman's trick is a wave...sort of. I use the command "hi" and hold up my hand to wave at him while he lifts his front paw. But Norman had everyone in stitches because every time I gave him the command, he'd flop on the floor belly up. This is an old move of his since puppy-hood to get out of training. And yes, it is so cute...it works every time. So each time I had to physically pick him up to reposition him on his feet and try again. Each "failure" made everyone laugh even harder and was more entertaining than actually getting him to do it. Finally, I led him to a different spot and pretended to have a treat to get him to "succeed"... sort of. Everyone clapped for him and then the other dog did his trick, a bow. Everyone loved that too and I joked that they had one-upped us.

This time we ended the hour by going into individual hospital rooms to visit people who couldn't get out of bed to join us in the main room. One lady asked if Norman could get on her bed and of course I said okay. I had to actually pick him up and put him on the bed because he won't, even if prompted, get on furniture away from home. He squeezed in next to her on the narrow bed and without any instructing, he lied down next to her, delivered a couple slow-motion kisses to her face and laid his head on her chest. It was a great moment for all of us. I think the two of them would have liked to stay like that for hours!

As we were leaving, one of the staff members came over to me and said she was so glad I brought Norman in. She said she had been bitten a long time ago by a Pit Bull and had been afraid of them ever since. She told me Norman made her realize they could be really sweet and loving and that she would remember that from now on when she sees them!

Has your dog made anyone laugh recently or made you feel good in general?

Related Posts:
Norman: The Perfect Advocate
Norman is Now a Certified Therapy Dog!
Norman: The Heart Stealer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Related Posts:
Wordless Wednesday: Surprise!
Wordless Wednesday: Hello Kitty
Wordless Wednesday: Meow?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


At the end of June Norman passed his Therapy Dog evaluation and last month he went on his first visit. It went so well, I'm not sure who enjoyed it more...me, Norman, the patients or the staff!

I don't have many photos of the actual day so I'm going to post some old ones that are somewhat relative:)

To prepare for the visit, we first went on a hike to wear him out a little. I don't think he really needed it but I figured it couldn't hurt. And of course Kaya deserved an outing before we left her home for the rest of the day. After the hike he had to have a bath, which he hates, but at least it only takes a few minutes. 

Our visit was at a local hospital in the mental health department. For the first half hour we visited with the teenagers. Most of them were upbeat and super excited to see the dogs. Norman was beside himself...delivering kisses, getting his butt rubbed and then flopping over for a belly rub...and repeat. He went from kid to kid to kid and had no problem leaving alone those who didn't seek his attention.

When our time with the kids was coming to an end, the director from the adult section came over to meet us. Just as he walked in, one of the kids was rolling around on the floor with Norman while he laid on top of her, dishing out kisses like nobody's business. The director was concerned that Norman would be too hyper for the adults. Before I could open my mouth, the other therapy dog volunteer assured him that Norman went through rigorous testing to make sure he could acclimate to different situations and the girl who was on the floor with him kept repeating that she was playing with him and got him excited. She was literally squealing, laughing and making goofy noises at him while holding onto his face and pulling on the tips of his ears to move them all around(not in a rough way), all the while he was licking her face. It was sweet of her to stand up for him. He was not hyper in the traditional sense, no jumping up, bouncing around, panting or pulling on the leash. He was just kissing a lot, sitting on the laps of those who were sitting on the floor and rolling over on his back.

Norman with my brother, this was generally what he was up to, plus some kissing, with the girl on the floor...

The director agreed to give him a chance and we walked over to the adult section. They had a circle of chairs set up for people to come join us if they wanted to. Norman immediately plonked down in the middle of the chairs and laid his head between his paws on the floor. He stayed that way as about 10 people came in and sat down. Once someone wanted to meet him, I led him over and he stood quietly next to her while she petted him. He did that with several other people, walking over to them when they'd hold out their hand or call his name. And with each person he'd lick their hand slowly once or twice if they held it out or he'd lay his head on their knee while they petted him. If they leaned down, he would calmly lick their face.

As expected he had no problem switching off his excitement and being still for the adults. Even when one lady was dancing, he wagged his tail looking up at her and stood perfectly still. It's one of my favorite things about Norman and one of the biggest reasons I knew he would be great a Therapy Dog. He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but he is really amazing at reading people's energy and matching it with his own. Our visit felt a lot shorter than an hour! Overall, our first visit went awesome and the other volunteer was smitten with Norman. Said she could tell he was a natural!

Afterwards I took him to Home Depot. The poor guy was so exhausted that he could barely make it around the store. He kept passing out any time I stopped to look at things. At one point, an employee was admiring him, which he would normally be over the moon about, but this time he just laid his head on her foot while she stroked his ears.

I did actually take this photo that day. He was pooped! :-)

And after that I took him to Best Buy. As tired as he was, he was still on the lookout for potential new friends.

Would your dog be wiped after a day like this? Or would they be ready for more? Or preferred less action?

Related Posts:
Norman is Now a Certified Therapy Dog!
Norman: The Heart Stealer
Norman's Therapy Mission

Monday, September 15, 2014


I was recently nominated by Peace-a-bull Assembly to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour by answering three questions about writing my blog. I love reading about the Peace-a-bull boys so I was happy they thought of us! Here goes...

First I need these 2 to keep me company...

 Question #1: What are you working on?

Let's see...I've got 128 unpublished drafts. Plus a text doc with lists of ideas, probably a couple hundred ranging from training things, funny stories, past events, back story info on the animals, introducing the family & others to pit bulls, things that frustrate me, random dog interests like books and movies, stories about other dogs I've known, products we love and much more. I probably have another hundred ideas rattling around in my head, mostly about wanting to share photo collections of vacations, family visits and adventures. I am totally backed up with ideas and unfinished posts but I try to at least publish a Wordless Wednesday every week...those are easy and fun!

Let's get crackin'!

Question #2: Why do you write what you do?

I started the blog mostly for myself to have an outlet other than friends and family to go on and on about my dogs. And I hope that some day it will be a great way to look back on old memories. But I didn't anticipate that it would be so much fun exchanging stories, questions and info with other bloggers from all over! I am also passionate about pit bull type dogs, animal rescue and dog behavior/training so I mix those things in, but I mostly just share cute photos of the gang:)

Thanks for "helping" guys...

99% of the time I take my dogs out alone. Most days we go on a 1 to 2 hour hike so even though I listen to music and podcasts on my ipod, my mind wanders and of course while I'm paying attention to the dogs, blog topics often come to mind. I probably forget most but you never know...

Question #2: How does your writing process work?

Often my posts revolve around outings we've been on or experiences we've had so I come up with a title, write a couple paragraphs about what we did and how it went...sometimes brief and funny, other times insightful and long-winded. Next I go through all my photos relating to the subject, select the best ones and put them in a folder. Then I open all those photos in Photoshop, edit, crop, resize and save them for web. Then I upload the photos to blogger, arrange them, usually change stuff around a bunch, edit the text and preview the draft. For the last step I add labels, location, related post links at the bottom and schedule it to be posted usually on a Monday through Thursday morning since most people are busy on the weekend.

Unfortunately selecting, sorting and editing photos takes me a lot of time and is the reason it takes me so long to write posts and also why so many of my posts never get past the draft version. Since most posts are written about our adventures, the photos are essential. Plus I love sharing them! I've got a blog folder on my computer with many folders inside containing photos I plan to use or currently editing. Some of those folders are...beach, Gina, holiday, Tahoe, food, LA trip, Motlie, moving, Norman, hiking, snow, festivals, Kaya, gondola ride, swimming, family visit, UK dogs, Zoey, funny, training, Wordless Wednesday and Throwback Thursday. Plus a "used" folder in case I need to reuse a photo or need to remember if I have used one yet or not.

Everyone gets distracted sometimes...

I guess that's it! I wish I had time to post every day. We recently joined Instagram and I am totally addicted! It is the perfect platform for us to instantly share our photos of adventures and cuddles. I've also set up the photos to post on our Facebook and Twitter so you can see them even if you're not on Instagram.

Here are the blogs I nominate to do the writer's tour also:

acd6pack - 6 blind & deaf rescued Australian Cattle Dogs. Each with their own special personality and good looks. They often go to the beach or out on hikes and come home with great stories & photos to share!

2 Punk Dogs - 2 dogs, 4 cats & a lizard named Doug...need I say more? These dogs kick butt at relaxing on the couch and exploring the beautiful woods where they live.

Life in 2-Player Mode - A couple adorable dogs with a zest for life. They took a break from blogging for a while but recently came back...woohoo!

Why are you still on that bright hot screen thingy? We have cuddling to do...

Related Posts:
I Would Like to Thank...
Blog Awards Wahoo!!
We Are Inspired too!