Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Hike

For Memorial Day this year, Frito and I decided to get out of the city for part of the day so we took the Metro North train up to Katonah to meet up with Michelle, who is raising Dina, the German Shepherd that swapped with Frito a few months ago.

Here is Frito in Grand Central Terminal for the first time:

Waiting for the train can get boring so what better time to put my hat on Frito for a silly photo:

The seats on the Metro North trains are a bit closer together than the ones on the subway. I initially had some difficulty figuring out how I was supposed to get Frito underneath the seat and out of the way, but with a little trial and error, we got ourselves situated.

Michelle and Dina met us at the train station and then we were off to do some hiking. If you look real close, you can see Dina way far up ahead and Frito trying her hardest to keep up - woods and the uneven surfaces were a new concept for Frito whereas Dina goes hiking on a regular basis.

Dina is absolutely gorgeous and completely at home in the woods!

We made it to the top of the mountain!

Frito absolutely adores Michelle - I caught this super sweet picture of them.

Two beautiful girls who will hopefully one day change the lives of two people:

The way down is always easier than the way up!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


One of Frito's best skills to date is her ability to hold either a sit stay or a down stay at impressive distances and with a variety of distractions. One example is when she was on a puppy sit in Westchester County with Michelle, who took Frito to a music conservatory and had Frito down stay on the stage while Michelle walked to the back of the music hall.

(Blurry picture but if you look real close you can see the yellow blur that is Frito in the distance)

More recently, Frito and I practiced a sit stay outside in my neighborhood. I live near a Jewish history museum that has several different monuments and fountains outside. One fountain in particular is very long and narrow and right at Frito's level. You can hear the water trickling down the fountain, which could potentially be distracting. Frito held this sit stay while I walked around the fountain - twice! What a good girl!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hot weather has arrived!

Frito was born at the beginning of summer in June, but this summer is truly her first experience with extreme heat, something that NYC is not short of this year. Living in NYC is challenging when it comes to finding ways of keeping your dog cool and occupied. Fortunately the area dog parks have pools/watering systems of various designs to at least give the dogs a chance to exercise and keep cool at the same time. Unfortunately, at the beginning of summer, the parks department can be a little slow at turning the water on so I was forced to improvise in the meantime.

Frito wondering what I am doing with a water bottle...

Attack of the water bottle!

I accidently dropped the water bottle on the ground and suddenly the tables turned and it was the water bottle being attacked. Note the tooth marks on the bottle - whoops!

Several days later, the parks department finally turned on the water at one of the dog parks. Frito had never been in water other than the rain, of course, and when she has been bathed. She was not sure what to make of it at first, but was soon running and jumping through the water.

Wet labrador retriever = happy labrador retriever. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photo Shoot

Frito and I were asked to participate in a photo shoot for a soon-to-be published Spanish childrens book about guide dogs and puppy raising. The star of the book is a yellow lab (cue Frito) and the premise of our photo shoot was to do several activities around the city with Frito wearing her blue puppy coat.

We met the photographer and some other people from the publishing company outside of Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.

We then entered Penn Station where they wanted to get pictures of Frito and I looking at a train schedule and boarding a train. The first shot required me to act like I was reading the train schedule. I will be the first to admit that I am not an actor, which was readily apparent by the fact that I kept smiling and looking at the camera. Oh well - they claimed they got the shots they wanted.

We then headed down to the train platform where they took several photos of Frito and I standing next to the train pretending like we were going to board. They also took pictures of me walking next to the train, which ended up causing lots of laughter because I had a hard time walking slowly. My natural pace when walking, even with Frito, is quite fast so I really had to concentrate on slowing down.

Our final stops were outside near a park where I sat on a bench and pretended to read a newspaper. Again, my acting skills left much to be desired.

We were supposed to get some shots of Frito and I in a grocery store; however, the grocery stores in the area would not given the photographer permission to photograph inside the stores. So instead they had us pose in front of a blank wall pretending like we were looking at shelves - they intend on photoshopping Frito and I into a grocery store aisle. I am intrigued to see how that picture turns out!

At the first end of our photo shoot, my parents (who were in town visiting) got the whole group together for a picture. Overall it was a fun experience and I look forward to seeing the final product!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Visit from the "Grandparents"

Frito's "grandparents" (a/k/a my parents) came to NYC for a visit. My parents had not seen Frito since I first got her last September. They were impressed with how much she had grown and how well-behaved she is.

Frito visited my parents hotel room several times, but was not terribly impressed. Frito agreed to pose for a nice photograph with my mom:

Apparently taking pictures on a moving subway was a challenge for my mom. The first attempt turned out quite blurry:

Second attempt still unsuccessful:

Third times a charm!

Frito stayed with us for only part of the day as it was very hot outside. We spent as little time outside and instead went shopping indoors where we could enjoy free air conditioning. Frito helped me try on some shoes at Skechers:

We then ventured over to Macy's (the big one on 34th St) where Frito helped navigate the way through the aisles and napped while we browsed the racks:

Frito seems to make new friends everywhere she goes and Macy's was no exception:

After a long day of shopping until she dropped, Frito quite literally dropped to the floor and snoozed while we ate at TFIFridays.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paloma Comes for a Visit

Due to a puppy switcheroo, Poppy is now being started by Elizabeth, who lives in midtown east and now Poppy's sister, Paloma, is downtown being started by Julia. Paloma is just as cute and sweet as Poppy, although she certainly seems more mellow and calm. She reminds me a lot of Frito when she was a puppy, although they certainly do not resemble each other physically:

Paloma came over to visit for a few hours while Julia was at work. Dexter and Bailey are definitely getting used to these puppy intruders as they barely batted an eye when I brought Paloma inside my apartment. It is a far cry from they way they behaved when I first brought home Oasis and then puppy sat for Taft - quite a bit less snarling and snapping!

Paloma desperately wishing that Bailey would share her bone:

Paloma gave up and decided to chew on a different bone:

The whole gang poses for a super adorable picture:

Being a puppy sure is exhausting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Goodbye, Ophelia!

Frito's BFF Ophelia and her raiser, Ashley, are unfortunately leaving NYC for greener pastures in Baltimore, MD (probably quite literally, as I presume there are more open areas of green grass there than in NYC). Both Ophelia and Ashley will be greatly missed - hopefully Frito and I can squeeze in a weekend trip to Baltimore to visit before Frito and Ophelia return to GEB.

Frito and Ophelia love to hold paws:

Ashley & Ophelia and me & Frito on the subway after puppy class:

Did I mention that Frito and Ophelia like to hold paws?? :)

Good luck in Baltimore, Ashley & Ophelia!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Frito thinks she would make an excellent spokesdog for Fritos - what do you think??

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crate Rest for a Week

Frito managed to injure one of her hind legs somehow and started limping one evening. I did not recall her yelping or crying while playing the day before she started limping so I am not sure how she hurt herself but watching her limp all the way outside and refuse to put her foot down even while getting busy was just plain sad. After contacting the GEB vets, I was instructed to keep Frito on strict crate rest, which means she stays in her crate 24/7 except for bathroom breaks. Yes - it is even sadder and more depressing than it sounds. I purchased practically every single "activity" type toy at the pet store to keep her occupied in the crate, which helped to some degree, but she still stared sadly at me from her crate.

None of the dogs seemed to understand why Frito was spending all her time in the crate, especially Dexter, who kept watch over her frequently.

Julia had to take Poppy up to the vet at Yorktown Heights so I decided to have them check out Frito's leg just to make sure that it was not anything serious. After a thorough exam, Dr. Brown informed that there was nothing wrong with Frito's leg and she probably just pulled a muscle or something. And the best news of all - no more crate rest!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Frito's Mini-Me

One of the newest puppies in the NYC Puppy Raising Region is Poppy, who was initially started by Julia and is now being started by Elizabeth. For the short time that Julia had Poppy, I could not get over how much Poppy looks like Frito did as a puppy. Frito and Poppy share the same father so that is presumably where the resemblance comes from. Watching Poppy grow up will be a lot of fun, assuming she continues to look just like my Frito.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Walking & Posing

While Frito is in heat, we take a lot more walks that normal as Frito is not allowed in the dog parks to play. I am so thankful that Frito is generally a lower energy dog as I cannot imagine how long of walks I would have to take to expend that much energy. For Frito, a 60-minute walk around the neighborhood, interspersed with short bits of training, tires her out physically and mentally (in fact, one of my worries about whether Frito will make it as a guide dog is whether she has the endurance for it). These longs walks are perfect for finding new places to take pictures of Frito - below is a sampling of these pictures.