Sunday, April 18, 2010

An artfully fun day!

Today my husband and I took Reyna downtown Pleasanton. We went to a very nice lunch, and Reyna was perfect. After lunch, we walked Main St. to see the life like bronze sculptures that were created by artist Steward Johnson. These sculptures were so amazing and so incredibly life like. Right down to finger prints. There are eleven statues total. We stopped at several of them and took photos of Reyna by the sculptures. She was such a good girl, putting up with all of the photos I was taking. It was a good way to practice “sit-stay”, and I am happy to report Reyna never broke her stay. She is just the kind of pup who really wants to please, so she is fun to train and work with. She did very well with the loud noises, skateboards, loud motorcycles, lots of dogs and plenty of people. She was allowed to greet two people. One was a little baby girl who was about eight months old. She did fine, but she licked her hand a few times. Ugh! She greeted the second person very nicely so I would say she redeemed herself!

Below are some of the photos I took today. I hope you enjoy them.

Sculpture titled Yuck, go fetch.  Reyna is sitting next to the black lab.

This sculpture is titled “Yuck, go fetch”. Since it was a man kneeling down next to a black Labrador, we just had to get Reyna’s picture next to it. At a glance, it looks like Reyna is part of the sculpture.

Sculpture titled Coming Home.  Reyna is in a sit say next to the statue.

This sculpture is titled “Coming Home”, This is by far the most emotional piece of art. It is of a father coming home from war as he embraces his daughter on his home coming. Reyna doesn’t quite blend in with this one, but she is sure cute sitting there being a good girl in her sit stay.

Sculpture titled Shaping Up.  Reyna's leash is in the hand of the jogger.

This sculpture is titled “Shaping Up”. It is a sculpture of a woman jogging. She is in a jogging suit, running shoes and she has head phones on. I put Reyna’s leash into her hand so it looks like she is running with Reyna. The only problem is that Reyna is in a sit, so it doesn’t look quite right. Oh well.

Sculpture titled God bless Amercia.  Reyna is sitting in front of the sculpture.

A close up of the man and woman faces.  Their detail and life like look is impressive.

This sculpture is titled “God bless America”. The sculpture is a of man and woman who look like Ma and Pa Kettle. They are holding a pitch fork in front of them and they have a suit case next to them. This was the most life like sculpture. I took some close up photos so you could enjoy the detail.

Sculpture titled Sidewalk Judge.  Reyna us sitting in between the sculptures knees.

This sculpture is titled “Sidewalk Judge”. It is a man sitting on a bench dressed in cowboy attire complete with cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and a walking cane.

A full length photo of the fly fisherman.  Reyna is sitting next to him with a big simle on her face.

A close up photo of rainbow trout fish in the fishermans basket. It has amazing detail and these fish are stunning.

A close up of the fisherman's face.  The lures on his hat are a great detail.

This sculpture is titled “Midstream”. It is of an older gentleman fly fishing off of a bridge. The detail in this sculpture is amazing. He is wearing waders, a flannel shirt, a fishing hat with lures on them and a basket full of rainbow trout. The detail on the fish is stunning. This is definitely on of my favorites.

Sulpture titled On top of the news.  Tony is sitting next to the scupulture on a bench with Reyna in his lap.  Reyna has a happy smile on her face.

This sculpture is titled “On top of the news”. It is of an older gentleman sitting on a bench dressed in a suit and tie. He is reading the news paper and he has a little black and white dog sitting in his lap licking his chin. My husband sat next to him and put Reyna on his lap for the picture. Reyna thought that was really special as you can see the big smile on her face. It appears that Reyna enjoys the arts!

If you live anywhere near Pleasanton, I would recommend going there and checking this out. I believe these sculptures are on exhibit until June. This is also a great place to socialize pups in training. Lots of other dogs an plenty of distractions, loud motorcycles, etc. plus some beautifully and unique art. I have posted below some addition information about the exhibit.

Eleven life-sized sculptures by internationally recognized bronze sculptor Seward Johnson come to Downtown Pleasanton on April 1, 2010.

Johnson's statues have been on exhibit worldwide for the past three decades. The 80-year-old Princeton, N.J., resident has created more than 350 of the life-size bronzes, said Amy Blank, associate curator of the Sculpture Foundation.

An heir to the Johnson & Johnson empire, the artist takes a year to complete a sculpture from conception to completion and produces four to seven annually.

Other cities, including Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Osaka, Japan, have displayed Johnson's work. A collection is touring Europe and is currently in Italy.

The foundation rents out 10 to 50 sculptures to large cities or one to two pieces to smaller organizations such as schools, libraries and museums, Blank said. The pieces are also for sale. Single-figure sculptures start at $86,000 and multifigure pieces start at $120,000.

These temporary sculptures depicting everyday activities will be installed at various locations to generate interest and increased appreciation for art events of this type. Timed in conjunction with the grand opening later this year of the Firehouse Arts Center, this is the first expansive public art commission selected the Seward Johnson sculpture project as a starting point based upon its broad appeal and relative ease with which the event could be coordinated.

Look for Seward Johnson sculptures at the following selected locations:

Gay 90’s Pizza & Pasta Co., 288 Main Street

Fleet Feet Sports, 310 Main Street

Murphy’s Paw, 410 Main Street

Meadowlark Dairy, 57 W. Neal Street

Comerica Bank, 600 Main Street

Museum on Main, 603 Main Street

The Wine Steward, 641 Main Street

Sincerely Yours Cards & Gifts, 711 Main Street

Little Valley Winery, 739 Main Street

The Rose Hotel, 807 Main Street

Main Street Green, 890 Main Street

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taking time to smell the flowers. .

Reyna is laying in a flower bed smelling an orange tulip.

Reyna laying in a bed of tulips.

Yesterday morning, Reyna and I were walking and we found a bed of beautiful spring flowers. These flowers were a mix of very vibrant yellows, reds, whites and oranges. The flowers were so pretty I decided instead of just walking right by them, Reyna and I would slow down and take some time to enjoy them. So we stopped and I let Reyna smell the flowers. I was able get a few photos of her laying in the flower bed. She really seemed to enjoy stopping here and just sitting for a while. I thought it was nice because for once we were not in a rush, and we could just enjoy the moment together. I need to do that more. I decided when I see something worth stopping for, I am going to do it.

After our walk, Glenda invited us down to visit with her and Wendy. We drove down to Glenda’s, and when we got there, Glenda had a wrapped gift for Reyna. Reyna’s birthday was a few weeks ago, so Glenda said it was a belated birthday gift. Glenda wrapped this gift so beautifully.

The beautifully wrapped present from Glenda for Reyna.

The box was wrapped in pink wrapping paper, and there was a cut out of a dog’s head with a birthday hat on the top of the package. It was so cute, I didn’t want to open it. But before I knew it, Glenda put the box on the ground and called Wendy and Reyna over.

Wendy and Reyna checking out the present that is on the kitchen floor.

Glenda thought it would be fun if Reyna was allowed to try and open the gift. But Reyna hesitated and had that look on her face like “I know I am not suppose to do things like this”. So I praised Reyna and told Glenda she could let Wendy try to open it if she wanted to. Well guess what? It didn’t take Wendy but a few seconds to figure out how to start ripping off the paper! Wendy did a great job opening the present for Reyna. Reyna just waited to see what was inside of the box.

Wendy opening Reyna's gift for her.  Wendy is ripping off the wrapping paper!

The box was FULL of toys for Reyna! Each toy was individually wrapped with tissue, so Glenda had to assist Wendy in unwrapping the tissue from the toys.

Glenda is unrapping the tissue paper from the toys.  Wendy has one of Reyna's new toys in her mouth.

Inside the box there was a tug ring, a large sterile bone, a short sterile bone, and a few nylabones! Wendy and Reyna were so excited when they saw the toys and they each paraded the toys around like a prize in their mouths. Then they both settled down and started chewing on the sterile bones. They would chew on the bone for awhile then they would walk over and switch bones and chew some more. About every 15-20 minutes, they would switch bones with each other. They just get along so well!

Reyna and Wendy laying next to each other chewing on Reyna's new toys.

A close up of Reyna and Wendy both chewing on sterlie bones.

Reyna in a play bow position chewing on her new sterile bone from her auntie Glenda.

After the girls played and chewed for a while, Glenda and I went out to lunch. We went to a really nice Italian restaurant, and both of the dogs were sooo good. They just quietly laid next to each other as we enjoyed our lunch. It was such a nice day that we decided to eat out on the patio in the sun. Reyna did something really cute at lunch, she laid her head on Wendy’s back and fell asleep. Actually, both of the dogs fell asleep and people kept walking by and making sweet comments about the dogs. Some people even took pictures with their phones. Too cute!

Reyna laying her head on Wendy's back.  Her head is resting on Wendy, but she is looking up at the camera.

Reyna is sound asleep with her head resting on Wendy.  Too cute!

After lunch, we walked around down town and I got to see Wendy doing some great guiding. We ended up in a dog boutique and Glenda got Wendy a rhinestone “W” that clips onto her collar. Oh brother, I think I am rubbing off on Glenda. :) I have to admit that when we got back to Glenda’s and put the “W” on Wendy’s collar it looked great. Glenda and I did our normal chatting and the dogs played a while. I can’t remember a time when Reyna was so happy. She was having so much fun being with Wendy and Glenda. It was getting late, and I told Reyna it was time to leave. I grabbed her leash and headed for the door, but she wouldn’t come. It was like she was saying “No, Mom, please can we stay longer”? Reyna kept going over and sitting next to Glenda and she would not come to the door. I finally got Reyna out the door and Glenda and Wendy came outside to say good bye. We were all over on the passenger side of my car, and I opened my door and told Reyna to “kennel”. Reyna pulled over to Glenda and stayed by her side. She wasn't budging! I attempted to get Reyna in the car again, and she put on the brakes. She just refused to leave. She was having so much fun, Reyna did not want the day to be over. So the third time, Reyna finally conceded and got in the car with her head hung low. As soon as we left, Reyna immediately fell asleep in the car. She was exhausted!

When we got home, I didn’t even have a chance to unclip her leash, and she was sound asleep on her bed. She never woke up after that. She was so tired, she didn’t even wake up for her dinner. Now that’s a first. Reyna has never gone without eating. She literally has never missed a meal….until last night! This morning she woke up early and she was hungry for her breakfast. After I fed her, she has pretty much been asleep all day today. Oh what wonderful, exhausting fun!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Which dog is the guide dog?

Reyna and Wendy are laying on a dog bed together.  Wendy's head is up and her mouth is wide open with a toy in her mouth.  Reyna is quietly laying beside Wendy without a toy.

Can you guess which dog is the Guide Dog in the picture above? Wendy and Glenda came over the other day. Reyna and Wendy played together and just hung out together while I visited with Glenda. Wendy was really happy to be at my house. In fact, based on their behavior you would have thought Reyna was the guide dog and Wendy was the pup in training! You should have seen Wendy as she looked at me as she ran like crazy around my house. She looked at me as if to say “Ha ha ha, you aren’t the boss of me anymore and I can run around like a nut if I want too!”

Wendy racing through the house.  She has a crazy look on her face and her ears are flopping in the air and her tail is straight up.

Well, she was right! And she got to run like crazy. She was running so fast through my house that she ran underneath my dinning table and she moved the table about three feet! Glenda and I were laughing because the look on her face was like “Yes, finally I am breaking all of the rules!” On the other hand, take a look at my little angel Reyna.

Wendy and Reyna laying on a dog bed together.  Reyna is laying there with an angelic look on her face.  Wendy is very intently chewing a bone.

Wendy is on a dog bed chewing a sterile bone.  Reyna has her head next to Wendy and she is in a down being a good girl.

Wendy chewing the bone again and Reyna laying there patiently waiting her turn.

Glenda petting Reyna and Reyna has a huge smile on her face.

Wendy sitting in harness and Reyna is in the back ground in a down with her puppy coat on.  We were getting ready to bring Glenda back to BART.

Pretty much Wendy went a little crazy playing with all of her old toys and breaking all of the rules. Reyna, on the other hand managed to maintain her composure and was a good guide pup in training! She was really such an angel :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reyna, I miss you!

I miss Reyna. Judi has her this week and for some reason I really miss that little dog. I shouldn't be missing her so much since I am puppy sitting a five month old black lab named Celeste. She has really been keeping me busy, so I shouldn't have time to miss Reyna, but I do. Sometimes puppysitting other dogs just makes you miss what you love and appreicate in your own pup. I think that is what is happening. Today I took a trip down memory lane and looked at pictures from when Reyna was a puppy. It made me smile. I thought I would share some of those photos with you since I wasn't blogging about Reyna when she was a little puppy. So I hope you enjoy the pictures of little Reyna!
PS - I'll add photo descriptions tomorrow. I am too tired right now. So check back tomorrrow. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Reyna is sitting next to a huge pile of white hair that came off of her while she was being groomed. Well if Reyna's shedding is any indication, spring is here, that's for sure! Yesterday I did Reyna's weekly grooming, and so much hair came off of her I didn't think she would have any left when I was done! Not to mention the fact that I had hair all over myself, too:) I have three dogs, but after grooming Reyna, I decided to wait until today to groom Starling and Rascal. I was brushing Reyna, and the hair just kept coming and coming. I finally groomed her to the point where a lot less hair was coming off, so I stopped. But I am sure I could have kept going if I had more time. Then I sprayed her down with Miracle Groom and she smelled fresh as spring and she was really soft. I also cleaned her ears, and she was a really good girl. She used to hate having her ears cleaned, but through gentle repitition, she is now really good about it. Plus, Reyna is one of those labs who always has sqeaky clean ears!
Are any of your dogs shedding like this? I sure hope so. It is times like this where I want to give Reyna that pill I have seen that stops shedding. I am sure it doesn't work, but it is darn tempting. Happy Spring everyone!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reckless with Reyna!

A CHP officer giving a driver a citation.
This weekend, on our way up to Bear Valley, I got pulled over by a CHP officer for the first time in my life. The fact that I have never been pulled over is pretty amazing, since I do so much driving for my job. I was on Highway 4 coming into Arnold and the speed limit changes from 50 MPH to 35 MPH. I was applying my breaks, and starting the process of slowing down, when the CHP officer clocks me at 51 MPH. Once I pulled over, the officer came over to the passenger side of the car. He asked me for my license, registration and insurance. I gave him my license and registration, but for the life of me I could not find my insurance card! While he was standing there watching me fumble through all of my papers, Reyna sat up and stuck her head out to greet the officer. My husband told the officer that we were just going up to take our guide dog in training to the snow. Reyna kept nudging him until he gave her a pat on the head. I has hoping that Reyna was softening him up a little :) The officer explained that going 51 mph in a 35 mph zones was reckless driving and my response to that was "oh...... that's really bad." He also said the the crack in my windshield was a violation.

Well despite my best efforts, I could not find my darn insurance card. The officer asked me for the name of my insurance carrier, and he said he might be able to look it up electronically. As the officer went back to his truck to run my license and check my insurance, I sat there looking at Reyna. Of course, she was her happy, smiling little self. I waited.....and waited....and waited. I waited so long I thought for sure I was going to be arrested for reckless driving. I was sure the officer was calling for backup. I was a nervous wreck! But finally, the officer comes back over and Reyna looks up at him with those sweet eyes of hers. The officer looks at her, then looks back at me and tells me he is going to give me a fix it ticket for my windshield, and a verbal warning on my speed! Can you believe that? He just told me to slow down and that the snow wasn't going anywhere! I took a huge sigh of relief, and I looked over at Reyna and said "Thank you, girl"! Yes, these pups can even work their magic with law enforcement. That's a good thing to know! Thank you, Reyna!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reyna Discovers Snow!

Reyna running like crazy in the snow with a huge smile on her face and her ears flapping.

Reyna is running in the snow so fast her two front legs are off of the ground.  Her tongue is sticking out covering her nose.

We took Reyna up to the snow this weekend. It was her first experience in the snow! We went to Bear Valley Ski Resort, which offered several good situations for socialization.

Tony and Reyna standing out front of Bear Valley Ski Resort.  The Bear Valley Ski Resort sign is in the back ground

First, there were a lot of people there. It was also very cold and windy. Sometimes Reyna gets excited in the wind. But today, she did great! Inside the ski resort, there were two different types of stair surfaces. The first stair case had stairs that were made of a very spongy rubber. Reyna felt that surface and was a little unsure, but with a reassuring “your fine” from me, she pranced down the stairs. The next stair case was metal with a raised surface that helps get the snow off of your boots as you walk on them. Reyna paused when she felt the raised spikes of the stair on her feet, then she moved forward. She walked all the way down the stair case without a problem. Then, her paws hit the snow and she went nuts! She started running and hopping and digging and going in circles. It was so fun to see her first reaction to snow. I just let her experience it at first. Although it was almost impossible to walk her on leash. I decided by the end of the day I would teach Reyna she could behave calmly and walk on a loose leash on snow. But for now it was lab loops and digging holes!

Reyna running lab loops in the snow.

Reyna is digging in the snow.

We ate lunch there and watched my nieces snowboard for a while. While we ate, Reyna laid quietly under the table.

Reyna laying under the table at the ski resort.  Reyna has a very sweet expression on her face and her eyes are droopy.

We left Bear Valley and went to the snow park where Reyna could really let loose, then I would work with her on being calm in the snow, The snow park was practically empty, and with the exception of a few snowmobile tracks, it as all powder! It was beautiful, but hard to walk in without completely sinking. Reyna decided she didn’t like the power because she was sinking all the way down to her belly. Her legs would just disappear!

Reyna two front legs are buired in the snow.  Reyna is unsure about this so she is starting to back away.

After about 30 minutes, I taught Reyna to walk nicely in the snow, and she did it without an issue. We walked for quite a while down a path and Reyna had good manners. It was nice to see that she could control all of that happiness when she was asked to. That is what makes Reyna such a good dog. She can turn it on and off at my request. And I say “request” rather than command because I want her to make the decision to do what is being requested, rather than to automatically do it out of fear of a correction etc. That is just my handling style knowing that Reyna is being trained to be partnered with a blind person. Reyna will have to do guide work because she wants to, and not for any other reason.

After we hiked around I took the opportunity to take some nice photos of Reyna. Here are some of them. Which one do you like the best?

Reyna in a sit posing for a photo.  It is a close up of her face and the background of the photo has beautiful green trees and bright white snow.  Reyna is looking up slightly.

Reyna is laying in the snow and this is a close up of her face. The background is green trees with snow on their branches.

Another beautiful picture of Reyna sitting in the snow.

After the snow park we headed back to my mom’s house. As soon as we got home, Reyna fell fast asleep on her bed!

Reyna is exhausted and she is asleep on her dog bed.  What a day!