Just love this *side* command

Here are two video clips from a recent training session with Duke and two other dogs. He was very good! We worked on basics as the other two dogs were an added distraction, but he was ultimately very focused. =) Duke is a one year old, Golden Retriever, in training to be a service dog. His training can be followed on Facebook at: facebook.com/dukeintraining .The other two dogs are Puppy (a chihuahua) and Ginger (a poodle mix). Puppy knows a few more behaviors than just sit, including “side” which he happily demonstrated in the video. Ginger is new to training with multiple dogs and was quite good at focusing..

Golden Duke comes from Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs, Inc. (TLCAD), a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established in 1998. It is dedicated to the training of service dogs for those with limited abilities in the county of San Diego.

TLCAD, just one of the hundreds of the fine service dog organizations located worldwide, is included in our foundation’s listing found here.

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Patriot Service Dogs ….. *Golden* Justice for All

Could anyone ever find the words equal to the powerful message in this photo? I don’t think so. (Be sure to click on the photo, and then again, to see a glorious supersized version.)

Tim Shelton, director of the American Legion Riders Florida Chapter 137, and Justice, a 5-month old Golden puppy who is being trained by Patroit Service Dogs. This chapter held a bike show event, raising funds to sponsor dogs for disabled veterans. (The Florida Times-Union, Don Burk)

Learn more about Patriot Service Dogs and Golden Retriever Justice’s progress here.

And, go to sitstaysoothe.htm to learn more about the work our special canine angels are doing for those in the military.

A great recipe … but so bittersweet

I just received the most glorious sugar-free, gluten-free, organic birthday cake recipe. It was sent for my Bone Appetit Recipe Contest.

It was sent by Sharon Wachsler who made it for her Gadget’s ninth, and last, birthday. Gadget worked with Sharon for seven years, trained via positive methods such as the clicker, and provided a critical function for increased independence despite her disabilities.

Sadly, Gadget was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma in May 2009 and then with a Mast Cell Tumor in September 2009 (which sadly took his life on 11/19/09). A Working Dog Grant from our foundation was utilized for some of Gadget’s chemotherapy treatments.

That means that tomorrow, I will be mailing Sharon a FREE full-sized $9 bag of SuperTreats Pro-Digestive 100% Fruit Chews!

Golden Rover: bringing balance to his partner’s life

Danielle & Rover at Mystic Education Center 1-28-10. Photo by Tim Cook/The Day

East Coast Assistance Dogs is a fabulous group that breeds and trains Assistance Dogs for clients with a wide variety of disabilities and needs. They are one of the many fine groups that are making a difference. And, they recently produced a Golden happy ending for the Ciccotti family, providing them with a Golden Retriever Service Dog named Rover.

Danielle Ciccotti needed someone she could lean on. For years, she walked the halls of her elementary and middle school in Preston, Conn., leaning on Walker, a homeless dog trained as a service dog.

Then Walker grew old and died. Danielle, 15, went from walking alongside her classmates to sitting in a scooter, feeling isolated and grief-stricken.

Danielle has ataxia, a neurological disorder that affects fine and gross motor skills. She can walk short distances, but otherwise needs help. Her speech is sometimes hard to understand.

The human-canine bond is a strong one, and that much more special in a service dog partnership. These dogs are not pets, never straying far from their partner’s side. So, dealing with the reality of loss and death is much more stressful in this type of relationship. Adding in the increased stress inherent to managing a disabling condition and handling the tribulations of adolescence, and you can well imagine how hard life has been for Danielle.

Danielle & Walker

When Walker died in August at age 12, Danielle was devastated. The family had been searching for a year for another dog so that when the time came they were prepared. That moment came in November when Danielle and Stephani went to a special school in New York to meet Rover, a dog the family purchased through the East Coast Assistance Dogs association.

Danielle wasn’t sure she was ready. The two-week boot camp Danielle went through with disabled war veterans and their service dogs was intense. One night, while working in the training room, Rover barked at Danielle. She was frustrated, he was frustrated, and the two were at a stalemate, her mother said. Danielle began to cry.

That’s when a veteran named Ace came into the room, Danielle said. She said he understood her frustration and was trying to talk to her when Rover swiftly got between them. The dog started to force Ace to back away from Danielle.

“Rover thought he had hurt me. He thought I was crying because of Ace,” she said recently, smiling at the memory.

That was the turning point for Danielle and Rover. Last week, the pair worked well together. They practiced commands, such as turning on and off lights, with some success. There are skills they still need to work on; and while she may not recall them, Danielle had similar frustrating moments with Walker.

At one point she told her parents that Walker made her life “horrible.” Last week, as she sat in the lobby of the Mystic Education Center’s pool with Rover sleeping at her feet, Walker’s ashes were kept lovingly in a platinum bone pendent hanging from a silver chain around her neck.

Danielle said there is a spiritual connection between the two dogs. Walker entered her life on April 13, 2001; Rover was born on April 13, 2007. “It is a sign,” she said, smiling as she massaged Rover’s soft nose that was resting on her legs.

I would tend to agree with Danielle.

Loving Goldens & Arizona Navel Oranges!

pat-bear-graduation-web2.jpgI’ve often posted about my special Golden puppy raiser pal, Pat Lawson. I hope it does not embarrass her too much. She is one amazing lady, that’s for sure.

Pat is a Golden lover after my own heart. She has raised over 20 puppies for various service dog organizations. Pat is shown here with her second CCI puppy “Bear” who graduated as a Skilled Companion in August of 2005.

Pat, currently Public Relations & Golf Tournament Director, is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence, named CCI’s Southwest Region volunteer of the year for 2005.

It seems like my special puppy raising pal, Pat Lawson, has a mini-grove of organically grown navel oranges that are sweet as sugar. The oranges are growing at the base of the San Tan mountains, in soil that promotes incredible sweetness.

In the last 3 years I have probably bought close to 100 boxes of organic oranges from my Golden pal, Pat. And, it is a painful type of purchase because most of the oranges are juiced and then placed in freezer bags to be thawed throughout the entire year. But, what can I do? Gary and I are addicted to these things.

I now make the most glorious orange juice, keeping 100% of the pulp with it, as we love to drink chunky orange juice lol. Alfie loves them as well, and the fact that they are totally organic is just the icing on the cake.

Pat just emailed me this morning with this great announcement:

Hi Everyone. It’s finally TIME TO GET YOUR ORANGE ON! The oranges in our San Tan Grove in Arizona are ready and waiting to come to you. We have a new name and an updated website to make ordering easier for you: arizonanaveloranges.com . The oranges are a bit larger than last year, and already as sweet as they usually are in January. We’ve added a smaller size box if you want to share with your friends without breaking the bank. Thanks for your support . . . and enjoy the best tasting oranges on the planet!

Here is Golden Tavi, who Pat raised some time ago. He was so used to Pat’s oranges that when he was bought a “store” orange he only took a few bites before leaving it sitting on the ground. Pat says that wherever he ends up, she will have to keep him supplied with his favorite food of all time, San Tan Sweet Oranges.

Check out Tavi below demolishing one of Mom’s oranges.

Don’t delay, get on over to arizonanaveloranges.com TODAY!

Check out Golden Richochet! – Updated

UPDATE: Brand new videos with Richochet and Patrick!


Golden Ricki

We’ve been following Golden Retriever Richochet ‘Rip Curl Ricki’ and Patrick for a few months now. Today she did a demonstration at the Surf City Surf Dog event in Huntington Beach, surfing tandem with Patrick Ivison, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident when he was only 14 months old. Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, but he is able to surf using an adaptive surfboard.

Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years. Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a Golden Retriever named Kona.

Patrick also participates in an intense physical therapy program funded through Help Patrick Walk, which helps him build strength by exercising parts of his body he can’t move or control on his own. Since starting his therapy, Patrick has been able to do things he never thought he could.

The costs of training a service dog, and specialized physical therapy are steep, however – that’s where Ricochet’s knack for surfing and fundraising comes in. Hopefully, she was able to raise lots for her pal Patrick today.

I hope Ricki also did well in the competition. Stay tuned as I have yet to hear from her mom, Judy.  Here is footage taken from the event today.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Come learn more about Golden Surfing Dogs & see more fun surfing videos here.

Golden Retriever Ricochet Surfin for Paws-abilities

Golden Ricki

We’ve been following Golden Retriever Richochet ‘Rip Curl Ricki’ and Patrick for a few months now,

This newest project for Ricochet is to surf tandem with Patrick Ivison, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident when he was only 14 months old. Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, but he is able to surf using an adaptive surfboard.

Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years. Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a Golden Retriever named Kona.

Patrick also participates in an intense physical therapy program funded through Help Patrick Walk, which helps him build strength by exercising parts of his body he can’t move or control on his own. Since starting his therapy, Patrick has been able to do things he never thought he could.

The costs of training a service dog, and specialized physical therapy are steep, however – that’s where Ricochet’s knack for surfing and fundraising comes in. Ricochet will be carving waves at the Surf City Surf Dog event in Huntington Beach on October 11, where she hopes to share a wave with Patrick.

Here is a new video report on this unique pair:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Come learn more about Golden Surfing Dogs & see more fun surfing videos here.