Tuesday, May 15, 2012

invited to a wedding!!!!

So, today, I was outside playing and Mom called me in, saying I needed to hop in the tub. Again Mom??? I think I am always having to go in the tub. But, it also means that I am usually going somewhere special..so OK... let's get this done.

 We got into the car (after I was all nice and clean) and I did notice that Mom and Dad were dressed up too. "We're going to a wedding" they told me - but since I didn't know what a "wedding" was... what did I know. They did make one stop along the way... to a car wash. At first I was a little concerned, it was kind of noisy.. but I saw that Mom and Dad didn't care. So, I decided not to care either.
 Oh, I forgot to tell you... not only did I have a tub and was all nice and clean... but Mom even found a bow tie for me to wear... so I guess this "wedding thing" must be pretty special.
We arrived at a church, much like the church that I go to each week, there were all these pretty bows on the seats. But then Mom told me "under" and I realized, wedding or not, I had to behave the way I always do when in church.
They played some very pretty music, and everyone stood up. I peeked out and saw ... the bride and her Dad, walking slowly down the isle. Everyone seemed so excited....
The Pastor came out, and they all talked.. Mom said it was the wedding ceremony...
I just chilled quietly on the floor. I sensed this was very important to the humans. but for me, it was just another practice in church, and being quiet and patient while humans do what they do......
However, after the ceremony, it was much more fun. I got to greet alot of people and everyone was so surprised to see me there... because no one even knew that I had been in the church the whole time!!! I also got to me another service dog!!!! (sadly Mom didn't get any photos of the two of us together).. but his name is Sawyer and yes... he is also a NEADS dog... a ministry dog -- like Ginger. Anyways, I thought the party after the ceremony was awesome. And the bride and groom came to visit just with me!!!

I gave her a big kiss... and told Marci and Chris, (as best I could for a dog) that I hope they have a very happy life together. And that I was very honored to be asked to a wedding. So, now if I ever get the chance to go to another one... I know just what to expect!!!
Ready to go....................Norton!!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Otis is off to college

Yesterday, Otis left his family and headed for college. We would just like to wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him again in November at graduation!!! Best wishes buddy.. we all love you!!!!!

another busy weekend.....

Some weekends are fairly quiet weekends at home, and others... well, Mom can run my little paws off. That is how this past weekend went. Here I am spending some quiet time with Abbie and Tatter (chewing on a toy that Abbie gave me)...
And then, we're off. Saturday evening we met up with Kelli, Rick and Otis and went to a movie. Mom thinks it's important that I do all kinds of things, and "movies" are on the list.
I don't know what the big deal was with movies... for me, and Otis, it was just another time doing "under the table". I guess maybe the sound is a bit louder than the TV at home.. but, once I got to snoring, maybe it was a good thing. The neat thing is, the people who sat next to us, didn't even know that Otis and I were there, until the end... when we came out. Mom says that's one of her favorite things.. to hear people say "I didn't know you had a dog with you!!!" she says that is a real good thing.
The next day we skipped church and went to a motor cycle ride. Well, I didn't ride of course, but Dad and Rick did... and so Mom and Kelli --- and Abbie-- and Otis and I all went to see the bikes and watch them leave on the ride. There were all kinds of bikes.. in fact, hundreds of them.
Here's Otis and his "biker Dad"... Rick....
and we got all kinds of attention. All the humans were pretty busy telling the folks all about us, NEADS and service dogs in general. It was a great place to "schmooze"
OH dear.. I forgot to say that Camille went too (she'd be upset if she was forgotten)  and she got plenty of attention for herself. Biker folks seem to really like dogs.
After we hung out for a bit, it was time for the ride to begin. Have you ever heard over three hundred motorcycles start up at once. Let me tell you... it's pretty cool. We sat and watched them all go by... you can tell how impressed Otis was.....
It was a pretty day to be by the ocean. I wished we had had more time there (I liked the wind blowing threw my curls)... but Mom was anxious to get on the road and go to the place where all the bikes would be coming in. So, another day will be meant for seaside work. I hope it's soon.
 We got to the place where the bikes would be arriving well ahead. There were a number of people there waiting to watch the bikes like us. One person in particular seemed to be rather important.. or at least Mom thought so. She said his name was Angus King, and that he had been the Governor of Maine. She said that she would love to get a photo of Mr. King with Otis and I.. and you know what.. Mr. King thought was a good idea too. In fact, he was quite  interested in hearing all about Otis and I. We took several pictures together... does that make us famous too???
And then we head them... a low rumble at first, and over the little hill... they came. All the bikes that had done the ride. Now this ride was in support of all the men and women who are in the services and take care of our country. So, it was a very special event. Especially when I think that some of our service dogs become companions for veterans. It took a long time for all these bikes to get into place. We visited a while there, talked to more people about service dogs, looked at all the bikes... and then because the humans were hungry.Went and got a bite eat at a restaurant. Again for Otis and I.. under the table.. and again.. more comments from people who sat close by saying they never even knew we were there.
So, after such a busy day, you would think Mom would have seen enough. But NO.. she then saw that a group of soldiers would be landing at the local airport on their way over seas..  and nothing doing.. we had to attend that as well. It's called a "greeters".. and Mom likes all her dogs to attend at least on greeters. Off we were again.

More veterans to say hello to, and let them know how much we love and support all the work that they do. For me, just more greeting of nice people and wishing them well.. which I really enjoy doing.

So between meeting Ginger again on Wednesday, check in on Thursday, movie and a dinner on Saturday, bike ride on Sunday and a greeters... I can say I am one tired dog.. and I was pretty happy to be home and fell right asleep in my crate. I kind of hope next week might be just a little quieter...

Ready to go... Norton.

Check in Day......

Now I understand the "stay over" part. After our evening with Ginger, we then went and stayed with Sherri, Joe and Clover at their house. Because Mom and Dad had to still do the check in day with me. The next morning we arrived back at NEADs just as the rest of the puppy raisers were getting there. And the same for Ginger and Pastor Jane....

Everyone, of course, was just thrilled to see Ginger again, and she was happy to see all her old pals. Pastor Jane got to meet all the Maine puppy raisers, and we told her that once she is settled with Ginger, we're all going to attend her church. Well.. I'll go if I am still with Mom of course.
After that, all the humans met with Dave and went over all their silly questions again. We dogs just have to lay quietly and wait for them. Dave showed them some exercises to do with us... just to add to our training skills and the like. Here Vickie get to be the demo dog....
Otis is now considered the "mature" dog of the group. And the little sweetie pie with him is Lee from NY new dog. (Mom can't remember her name - so we'll have to get it for another post)... Mom says that is what Otis looked like last year!!!
Monty is the baby of the bunch... well at least for the moment. But even he is growing at a fast pace. Mom says time goes too quickly and it wont' be long before he's a real "big" dog too.

and that's me, of course. I am very handsome, even if I do say so myself. Though I have noticed that Mom doesn't call me goofy puppy so much anymore. I'm growing up and Mom said I even looked "regal" in this photo....
So, after all the talking and picture taking, we headed (like always) into the city. My goodness, talk about a busy, noisy place, the city was hopping this day. It really didn't bother any of us dogs, but I'm not so sure about the humans. I know for a fact my Mom was exactly happy with all of this (think she spends too much quiet time on the farm!!!) Anyways, we "played" around the constructions sites
and at the train station too. We "caught" a train just as it was pulling into the station. While it was on it's lay over, Mom and everyone took us dogs up and down in the train cars. Even the little puppies did very well. Trains are a bit like cars, just much bigger and make more noise I have decided.
And then it was out to the buses. I am still trying to figure out why they insist we walk behind these running, stinky buses. I know I am just a dog, but I wouldn't think to walk behind a bus. Still though, we go back and forth to see if it bothers us -I guess. Humans do some funny things. After buses we went to the hospital to ride elevators, and then the humans all had to sit for a bit and get a bite to eat. We (dogs) went under the tables.
And then, back to NEADS again. Go over last minute details on training, pick up food and various things.. and this time... pick up one thing more. A new member to the Maine team.... say hello everyone to Moxie!!!!

Moxie has her own story to share.. and she will under "Tails of a puppy raiser". Yup, she is Rick's new team mate, because as you already know... Otis is heading for college and Rick is going to need a new puppy. Moxie has a very special name... she was named by Linda, the Maine team chapter leader, and is being named for Linda's first dog (Moxie) who came to Maine in 1993. Sadly that Moxie is in heaven, (like my Mom's Moxie is) but when "this Moxie" graduates in 2013... the Maine puppy chapter will celebrate it's 20th anniversary. So Linda felt it was only appropriate to name this little girl after Maine's first NEADS dog. And of course, my Mom thinks Moxie is a very special name... because it was "her" Moxie that convinced her to try this puppy raising thing.

Since Rick still has a week to be with Otis, Bernice has said that little Moxie can come and stay at her house for awhile. So, that is how it will work out. My Mom thinks little Moxie is very cute... but told her that she has some big paws to fill... (no pressure there, eh Moxie???) And it continues on... big dogs to college, little dogs to homes... that's how the puppy raisers work..
Ready to go.... Norton.

it's all about the RED vest......

This morning, I watched Mom and Dad pack a few things in a bag and talk about "staying over and can't wait to see".. something was up. Mom seemed so excited and then even packed some things for me... guess I was going too. We got into the car and drove along and ended up at NEADS. OK, I like NEADS, but we're been here before.

We went up to the training room and I saw people there that I didn't know (and some that I did) Mom introduced me as her "current" dog and everyone patted me and said that I would be a cool service dog some day. Then all of a sudden, I looked at Mom and this is what I saw....

And I heard her say.."Ginger!!!" and she was crying and hugging Ginger. (and acting very silly if you ask me). Ginger was so happy to see Mom and was kissing her and wiggling all over the place. I know Ginger, when I was with my other Mom, we had met Ginger and my (now) Mom on training days, I had wondered where Ginger went, and why I was here on the farm. It all makes sense now... when we go to college, other dogs come to the farm to live. Now I get it.

So, one day, I will go to college, and another puppy will come to the farm to grow up.. and they'll move on... and so on. Mom says it's puppy raising, and it's her job to help all of us "earn a red vest". Well, that's my plan too, I am going to earn a red vest and become a service dog.. just like Ginger.  In the mean time, though, I am just going to continue to enjoy our adventures together....

I can see how proud Mom is of Ginger, and that Ginger is pretty pleased as well. Her work will be a Ministry Dog. She will go to many places, sharing her love and joy and helping people feel good and find their way. That's a noble job for a dog...
This is Pastor Jane, who Ginger will be sharing her work with. Ginger already loves her new Mommy... and they are going to have many wonderful adventures together.
Mom said she was so happy to see both her puppies together (again). And I do know that there is another dog (his name was (is) Chester I believe). But I have also come to know that my Mom is planning on puppy raising for a long time, so there will probably be more pictures like this... graduated dog (red vest) and puppy in training (blue vest)... and as Mom would say, "it's all about the red vest!!!"
Ready to go as always...... Norton