Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frito & Ophelia's Amazing Adventure

Fellow raiser Ashley and I decided one morning, while Ophelia and Frito were playing in Battery Park, to take the dogs on a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in search of a dog park I had heard was great from another dog owner. While we knew the walk across the bridge would be a great experience for both dogs, we also looked forward to the lengthy naps that would be sure to follow.

For some reason, it did not occur to me that the bridge would be crowded. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining, and the temperature was mild. Apparently, many other people decided that walking across the bridge at the same time as Ashley, Ophelia, Frito, and me would be a good idea.

Here is Frito and I as we begin our trek across the bridge:

Ashley and Ophelia at the beginning of the epic walk:

Walking across the bridge was a mental work-out for raiser and dog alike. It required a lot of focus on both our parts in order to maneuver around the people and dodge any wheeled vehicle (bikes, skateboards, rollerbladers, etc) that whizzed past. To add to the challenge, Frito and Ophelia walked the entire way side-by-side - a major challenge for any dog! The surface of the bridge was a new experience for Frito as well - wood boards with cracks between them that looked down at the cars on the level below. Both Frito and Ophelia paid the cars no attention whatsoever.

Several water breaks were taken as we made our way across the bridge:

After approximately one hour, we made it all the way across the bridge. We located the supposed "great" dog park (which turned out to be mildly scary in the quickly disappearing daylight) and then returned back to Manhattan, again via the Brooklyn Bridge.

And just as predicted, epic treks across huge bridges makes for a very tired puppy:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Frito and I celebrated Thanksgiving at my friends Silva & Felipe's apartment in midtown Manhattan. My two pet dogs unfortunately stayed home and enjoyed new rawhides in their crate. Frito enjoyed riding the subway - I think she thought we were headed to guide dog class!

I think Frito's nose went into overload as she smelled all the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. She probably would have done just about anything in exchange for a turkey leg. Instead, she feasted on a kong filled with her food - not nearly as delicious as the meal my friends and I enjoyed but she did not seem to mind.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Frito in the Fall

Fall arrived in New York City and with it came lots and lots of leaves everywhere. I enjoyed the leaves for their beauty as they changed colors and Frito enjoyed them for the great crinkly noises they made as she ran through them.

Taking a moment to pose for a nice shot:

Basking in the fall sun:

Frito enjoying a stick in the park with her pal, Ophelia:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Major Milestone - A Puppy Vest!

At only five months old, my brilliant Frito earned her puppy vest!

The main purpose of a puppy vest is as a public relations tool for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy program. Dogs are issued vests at different ages and levels of development varying with the dog's confidence and behavior. While wearing the puppy vest, the dog must be on his/her best behavior as they are representing (and advertising for) Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The dogs are also not allowed to "get busy" while wearing the vest, just as a guide dog does not "get busy" while in harness.

The regional manager for the NYC region informed that the following criteria must be met before NYC pups are awarded their vests:
  • the dog must be housetrained, meaning no accidents in the house or when taking them on walks (i.e. the dog does not randomly pee while you are walking and gets busy when told)
  • the dog must demonstrate good loose leash walking
  • the dog must also demonstrate good house manners (all four paws on the floor at all times, no jumping on bed, & no counter surfing)
  • finally, the dog must greet people appropriately (remaining in a sit when approached by people)
Frito excels at all of the above things, with only the occasional lapse where she forgets to mind her manners. She truly is a rockstar. I am crossing my fingers that this excellent behavior is maintained through her adolescence.

One of the great things about the puppy vest is the difference in reaction from people on the street. Prior to obtaining the vest, people would constantly stop Frito and me while we were walking down the street. Especially as a young puppy, kids and adults alike wanted to pet Frito - we could barely walk a block without someone stopping us. Additionally, other dog owners would gravitate towards us with their dogs, making it challenging for Frito to maintain her good manners. With the vest, people react in a completely different manner. When they see the vest, they maintain a respectful distance when passing us on the sidewalk and politely ask if they, or their dog, can greet Frito. With Frito behaving appropriately, I am able to educate the people who stopped me about the Guiding Eyes puppy program and hopefully Frito's excellent manners will encourage others to raise a puppy in the future.

Overall, having the puppy vest has been great for Frito and for me. Way to go, Frito!!