The ‘Ranch’

Wow, let me tell you about a cool place my momma calls the ranch. This is where she grew up and it is the coolest place on earth. There were horses, cows, cats, and even a stinky old elk. I barked at them all cause when I smelled them it was like nothing else I had ever smelled before. Especially the elk…

Since I use my nose for so many things, it is really quite an experience when I smell new things. It is like seeing and hearing something for the first time. Scent is really the first sense we dogs use in this world. Usually, our nose is the first to tell us that a new person or animal is around and then we will see and/or hear them. This is actually good for me because my nose tells me everything.

There were these really big fields of grass that Sombra and I ran through. I do love Sombra. Momma says she is my sunshine. Anyway, the grass was so tall I had to weave my way through it. Every once in a while it would hit me in the face and startle me. Momma explained that the cows and horses eat this tall grass so they can grow big and strong. Yuck!

After we played in the fields my momma and daddy showed me the river. Wow! Now that was fun. I have had lots of baths and been rinsed off with the hose in my backyard, but never have I had all four paws in this cool, flowing water that my humans call a river. I was a little unsure at first, but after a few minutes of being in the water, I realized it was OK. I then started to bite at it and jump around in it. I also found some black, stinky mud and played in it. It was wonderful.

Daddy wasn’t happy, but being an Arizona dog I didn’t know when I would see it again, so I had to! Once he saw how much fun I was having, he didn’t care and let me play all I wanted.

One day, when we were exploring, there were these smaller cows that I could smell and my momma explained to me that they were calves or baby cows. I wanted to bark at them and try to chase them but my momma also told me that is a ‘big no no’. She explained that Master Grandpa would be really mad at me and that the only time we are supposed to be around the cows is when we are helping move them where humans want them to go. This is what is called herding. There are many breeds of dogs that have been trained to herd livestock (sheep, cattle, goats, and ducks), and I am one of them.

Herding instincts are strong in all Australian Shepards because that is what we have been bred to do. It’s in my blood. We just have to learn when the right time to herd is and follow our human’s instructions and cues.

My mistress grandma was really sweet. I helped her in the garden when she was watering all the plants. She would spray me a little with the hose if I got in her way and I would run around all crazy like. It was actually great when she would do that because it was so hot there compared to my house.

Mistress Grandma had never been around a blind and deaf dog before. She learned a lot about how to train me along with all the things I can do. She signs my guestbook every once in a while which makes me really happy. I hope to see my Mistress Grandma again soon. And, I hope I can go back to the ranch sometime to smell everything again.

Everything about the ranch was awesome, except for the stairs in the house. They were really hard for me to navigate the first day or so. But, by the time we left I had figured them out and I had mapped most of the house and the backyard. It was cool because there was way more space at the ranch than in my backyard. I think I would like to visit there again.

Take care, and may all your adventures be filled with fun and wonder (and stinky mud!).


Teaching a Blind Dog “Fetch”

fetch1Well, believe it or not my human momma is teaching me to fetch. Yes, you read correctly. She is teaching a blind and deaf dog to fetch. She says I am really smart and can do just about anything I set my mind to. Now, I know I have my limitations like I can’t just go herd livestock or run through the fields without some help from my sisters or my humans, but just about anything else, I know I can do.

So, let’s talk about fetching. My momma read this great book called Living with Blind Dogs, by Caroline D. Levin RN in which it mentioned some games to stimulate a dog’s mind. So, she decided to modify a game to make me really have to use my brain and my nose to find my favorite squeaky. This is what we do:
Momma takes my favorite squeaky and shows me she has it. Then she takes me to the long hallway in the house. She chooses to use the hallway since it is a confined space and is best suited for me to figure out what she is doing.

So, we start with my favorite squeaky and Momma lets me know she has it. She then puts me on her left side (she is right handed) and runs the squeaky down my right leg twice before placing it just out in front of me. I smell it right away and pounce on it. I sometimes want to have Momma play with me and the squeaky; instead she taps me twice on the nose and opens my mouth to make me drop the squeaky in her hand. Well, what is the fun in that? But, before I realize it she has me on her left side again and is running the squeaky down my right leg and putting it just out of reach in front of me.

Lots of praise, hugs and kisses are the reward I receive for getting the squeaky and bringing it back to Momma. She decided not to use treats as a reward for ‘Fetch’ since this game is based on smell, and the treats might distract me.

Learning how to ‘give’ has been a challenge for me. I now know my momma will throw or roll the squeaky so I can go get it again, but sometimes I still like to keep the squeaky all to myself (since I can’t see my sneaky sister Sombra coming to steal it).

Longer rolls or throws were the objectives of the game for the first few days. My momma would start each game of fetch with just a short throw so I would know what we were doing. Then she would go farther down the hall each time. Sometimes it takes me a while to find the squeaky, but I don’t give up. Sometimes she throws/rolls the squeaky so it goes a little ways into one of the doors in the hallway. This is always a challenge, but I usually find it. Every once and while Momma has to help me find it, and then I am really happy because she is the one fetching.

This week my Momma said she is going to move the game outside to the grassy part of the yard. I think I will be able to find the squeaky out there too. She will just have to show me where the boundaries of the game are.

If you have a bind and deaf dog or a dog with just one of these special needs you might want to try to teach them to fetch. Some dogs may learn easier and quicker than others, but don’t give up, because it will be so beneficial to brain development and the bonding that occurs between the two of you.

Good luck, and may you have many good games of fetch in your lifetime.


Pink Eye

Because I can’t see or hear I am a very sensitive woofie. When my humans touch me it means the world to me. But, I get scared when someone holds me really tight or close like when they have to put medicine in my eyes. My eyes are super sensitive and I don’t like them to be touched. My human mom has been working with me on this. She will rub my ears, face, feet, muzzle, and my eyes. I don’t mind the ears, feet, muzzle, or face at all, but my eyes, well that’s another story.

I got an eye infection and my humans needed to put drops in and, well I didn’t want anything to do with that. So I fought and struggled, howled, and barked. This made my mom so upset she just sat on the floor and cried. So she and Daddy tried treats like peanut butter, lunch meat, Vienna sausages and all sorts of other tasty treats, but I wouldn’t have it. I just didn’t want them to put the eye drops in.

I think they finally started to have some luck when they would hold me on the floor, but give me treats at the same time. Then I knew I wasn’t in trouble, just that they were going to put drops in my eyes and then I would get something really yummy. I also think that Momma talked to me, even though I can’t hear her I can feel the ‘vibe’ she is sending out to me, and I better understand what she expects from me. They found the best thing was to be super patient and to wait for me to ‘present’ my eye to them and then they could get the drops in easily. Although, they did say it took a long time…

So, if any of you have to ‘doctor’ a woofie just remember to have the dog be as calm as possible and so should you. Then do the ‘doctoring’ as quickly as possible. When you are done you should give them good pats and lots of treats to make them forget they just got ‘doctored’. If you have a blind and deaf woofie they may wander around after you do this. I think it is good to let them wander around for just a little bit and then pet them to reassure them they are ok. This is because they are sensitive to touch and just need a few minutes to chill out.

Good luck.



toofies1So, let’s talk about baby teeth. I am loosing all mine and let me tell ya, it has been an adventure. First of all my mouth really hurts, and I want to chew everything I can get a hold of. My humans are pretty smart though because they make sure I always have a squeaky, chew bone, or peanut butter Kong to chew on. They know I need something to help with teething and the associated pain. Because my mouth hurts it makes my head hurt so I sometimes run around chasing things that I think I see. My human mom will squirt me with water from a spray bottle which I don’t like at all. So, I stop chasing and go back to chewing on my toys.

Another thing is my human master is totally fascinated with my new teeth. He will look in my mouth what seems like a million times a day to see if there is a new tooth coming in. He even saved three of my puppy teeth to show his friends. Boy, humans are funny sometimes. My human mistress took the three teeth in the picture and threw them to the sun while she asked for new ones for me.

This is a Hispanic tradition in that kids throw their tooth to the sun and ask for a new one. The Spanish version that my Mistress said when she was a kid goes like this:

Sol, sol, tan grande y como una flor.
Toma este diente con amor.
Y traigame uno más major!
Sun, sun, so large and like a flower.
Take this tooth with love.
And bring me a better one.

I knew she had thrown them to the sun and spoken this verse in human so I sniffed around all day in the back yard for my teeth, but never found them…darn. I hope I do get new ones that are big, white and really strong.

Hope you are well and if you loose any teeth may you receive new ones that last a lifetime.


A Snow Day!

We finally got snow on January 19th, 2006. My humans were very excited, but I didn’t know what the commotion was all about until I went outside, and, oh my gosh…I had never experienced snow. There was this fluffy, cold, stuff falling from the sky. It kept hitting me on my nose and ears, then my back and tail. I started biting at it, but the fluffy cold stuff just kept coming and it was really falling fast. So, I barked and started running around the yard trying to get away, but it kept coming, I jumped in the air and tried to get the fluffy, cold stuff out of the air, but it kept coming. By now I was covered as were my sisters Kai and Sombra.


Click the above image to watch me play in the snow

Then all of a sudden I stopped running around and felt something cold and wet under my paws…oh my gosh again, what was this? My humans explained to me that this was snow, or frozen water falling in from the sky. This winter has really been dry in Northern Arizona and they were really happy to get even a little bit of snow. Maybe next time it snows this winter there will be more than a foot of the fluffy white and cold stuff. Hope you stay warm wherever you are this winter.

A Bit About Me

I would like to share a bit more about being a blind and deaf dog. Even though I am physically blind and deaf I don’t actually consider myself to be blind or deaf. I actually ‘see and hear’ with my other senses much better than a human can. I ask that you don’t feel sorry for me because dogs are different when it comes to our senses. Even thought I can’t see or hear I can smell things you can’t even imagine.

We are just dogs, like any other dog, but since we can’t see and hear like most dogs, we need some time and patience and lots of love. I am told I am very smart and use smell and touch to understand. My humans say there is so much I can teach others about helping to understand their blind and/or deaf dogs. So that’s why I’m here to help, so lots of people can learn about blind and deaf dogs and will understand more about us.

So far I have learned to sit (a double tap on my butt), lay down (a double tap between my shoulders), come (a run of the fingers under my chin from my chest up to my chin and toward my humans), and my mom is working with me on stay (which is a hand flat against my chest).

I think the coolest thing my humans have done with me is they have taught me to go for walks. They use a ‘Halti’ on me and I have learned how to stay right beside them so I don’t run into anything. Some times my big sisters are walking in front of me so I can smell them and I know I am not alone out in the big, big world. We go to all kinds of neat places like the park, the lake, and even this place they call Campbell Mesa. I get really tired toward the end of these walks and tell my humans by talking. They think it is cute because I am kinda yawing, moaning, and erring all at once so it is funny to hear me. I usually take a long nap when we get home because I am pooped. Then, I am off to play some more with my big sisters Sombra and Kailua.


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