Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From Rachel, Instructor at JBCFS

“Eight Pack”

Part 1: Everything is New!

Cast of Characters:

Litter Mates 1:
Caprice: Female Black Lab
Captain: Male Black Lab
Stark: Male Black Lab
Hulk: Male Black Lab

Litter Mates 2:
Eli: Male Golden Retriever
Stutz: Male Golden Retriever

Romeo: Male Yellow Lab
Morsel: Male Chocolate Lab
Rachel: ECAD Instructor

This pack of eight is truly starting a new adventure in their lives, let's watch as it starts to unfold…


The first Monday morning of school in a pen outside of the ECAD classroom on the campus of JBCFS in Hawthorne, NY.

“Everything is new!” Morsel states to who ever will listen.
Attempting to do a back flip over Caprice, Stutz pants, “When are the teens getting here? I want the same one from last year!”
“Did you see all the goose poop out there? G-O-O-S-E P-O-O-P!!” Hulk whoops as he stares through the fence panel.
“Don’t you get it man, this is all new. A new kennel, new dogs, new school, and I bet that even means new trainers”, huffs Stark.
Caprice wrinkles her nose at Hulk. “What is this place?” she quietly asks glancing around at the nearby buildings.
Romeo grins at her, “This is school. Haven’t you ever been to school? Oh girl, this is going to be fun!”
Doing his best to place a body block on his brother while keeping an eye out for Rachel, Eli ends up bumping clumsily into the fence, “What I want to know is why we are not still at the old kennel, with the other dogs, and why do we need new trainers?”
Captain sidles up to Caprice winking at her, “Don’t worry sis, school is fun. The best thing is we get to train our own teens. Everyone calls them ‘trainers’, but us dogs are the real trainers. We train them to play with us, take us for walks, hug and snuggle with us, give us treats, and even pick up our poop. We even trained Aurelie, Dale, and Rachel to drive us around last year in the pick-up!”
The boys fall to the ground seized by side-splitting laughter as Caprice flicks her ear trying to figure all of this newness out.


Last school year the boys lived at the ECAD kennel facility in Torrington, CT and were in ECADemy Elementary School at Green Chimneys while Caprice took private classes in Maine with a puppy raiser where she lived for approximately 8 months.
This school year, the “Eight Pack” will be attending ECADemy Middle School at JBCFS. They have also moved to Dobbs Ferry, NY to the ECAD kennel facility on the campus of Children’s Village. Here they have met many new dogs and remade acquaintance with some of the older dogs, which had visited them last year in Torrington.

Rachel will also be starting a new adventure! Last year she was an Assistant Instructor-in-Training under Dale at Green Chimneys. She will take the lessons she has learned from many paths to develop her first ECAD class as an Instructor.

Monday, September 28, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

It's good morning time again! Elli and I go "get busy" (Shadow is still asleep, she was out late last night) and then it's time to eat! I love my kibble. There aren't any toys out now - Jeanie says three dogs and one toy won't work so we play "watch me" and "get the phone."

Mikey is still throwing things out his kennel, oh,that's right, it's a playpen for humans, and Shadow stole one! Uh oh. Roger has her bring it back to Mikey and told her to "leave it." She's going to help with the laundry instead. I love to help with the laundry. Shadow says her favorite thing is opening the refrigerator, but it's usually Elli who gets to do that. Shadow said that when she was little she used to steal the food. Once she ate a whole soda bread right off the table, and another time, she took a pepper out of the refrigerator! Now she knows that it's not right to take the humans' food, but back then she didn't know any better. Before she came to live here, she was lost, and had to sleep outside in the snow and find her food where ever she could. I'm glad I'm an ECAD dog because I'll always have a warm kennel and plenty of food, and good humans.

Elli and I are going to the store! Thee is a gas station on the corner here, and we're going to it. We'll get to see some different humans and I won't bark. Here we go. Elli is off leash - she goes here alone sometimes when Jeanie needs help. That's when she "speaks." It took a long time for Elli to learn to speak; I hope it doesn't take me as long to learn to be quiet. I'm right next to Jeanie. There are a lot of different kinds of cars, and they're all moving. Elli is on Jeanie's other side. She says Jeanie will watch out for the cars and won't let us get hurt, but we have to sty right by her side. No problem there.

Here's a human. Elli is giving him a dollar and he's giving Elli something. She gets to go into the store all by herself. She says Jeanie can't always get in, because there's a step. I wonder what Elli has? It's in a bag, and she carrie it all the way home. Boy, she's strong. All the people say what good dogs we are. I'm so proud of myself - I didn't bark!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

Shadow is a lot of fun! She's older than me, but younger than Elli. We're not allowed to play in the house and we can't roughouse outside, but we played with my Kong ball together, and we played at practicing our commands. Shadow said that Jeanie found her when she was just six month old and living on the street. She was afraid of everything including humans. In another place, the humans used to hit her and the other dogs attaceked her. That would NEVER happen around here. Jeanie spent a long time getting her to be confident. She used to bark all the time. She siad it took eight months for her to stop barking every time she heard a sound, but now she's better. Now, she's not afraid of anything. She lives in Hempstead with Roger, and jumps up on him before he has a seizure. Normally, we wouldn't jump on anyone, but sometimes that's the only way to get Roger to sit down before he has a seizure.

Jeanie took me somewhere new for our nighttime walk. I still get a little nervous at night - things move so quickly and there are more shadows. We went to a diner - not inside, but up a ramp and to the door. Then someone named Katy came out to see us. I wanted to go in, but Jeanie said I'm not ready yet. I guess she's right, because I tried to pull her in, which I'm not supposed to do but she remineded me to "sit" and I remembered my manners.

On the way home, we met a lady and her little girl. They were a little bit afraid of me, but they're afraid of all dogs, except Elli. Everyone loves Elli! I want them to love me too, so I sat and shook hands and was very polite. I only tried to sniff a little. Then, a whole car full of people stopped! They said I was soooo cute! They didn't get out, which was good, because there were a lot of them, and I get a little nervous around a lot of people at once.

Now, we're home! I'm so excited I'm running as fast as I can around the backyard! I LOVE going back home, even if it's Elli's home and not mine. I'm safe here. Someday, when I graduate and get my own human, I'll have my own home, and Elli can come and visit. We play "sit" and "down" and then it's time for bed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

Sorry....I'm a little late reporting on my weekend!

It's Saturday! I don't know what that means, but the humans love Saturdays. Today, we're going to play "get the phone!" First, we have our morning routine. I already know where to "get busy" in the backyard. There are a lot more "neighbors" around, especially the kids. I love neighbors now, and when we're in front of our house, I don't bark at them anymore. I still have to bark when they come in, and sometimes when we go for a walk, but we're working on that.

Mornings sure are easy around here. First, I get busy in our special spot in the backyard. Elli always goes after me, and right on top of where I went! She says that's because it's really her yard and that's how she let's all the other dogs know. Then we go in and eat (I LOVE to eat) and we take a half hour nap.

Now we're going to play "GET THE PHONE!" I'm so excited. There's a black thing on the floor. I wonder if Mikey threw it there. No, Shanee is pointing to it and saying "get the phone." When I look at it she says "that's it!" I got it! I bring it to Shanee and I get a piece of kibble. My favorite! Now Jeanie's saying "get the phone." It magically appeared on the floor again.

I must have gotten the phone 10 times! Now, Jeanie's saying "get the phone" again, but it's not on the floor! Where could it be? She points to a black thing -but it's not lying on the floor! It's upright, and I'm a little confused. I go to look at it and - "that's it!" I pick it up - it's a little different to pick it up when it's not lying down - and I ge a GOOD WASABI and a treat! I'm in heaven. I guess that thing is a "phone" no matter where it is. I want to play this game a lot.

Now we're going to play "out back." That's what everyone calls it here. Elli and I go out with Jeanie, Shanee and Mikey. Elli likes to roll around in the grass, but I like to run, run, run. Uh oh, I ran right into Elli and knocked her down! I kissed her to make it better (that's what the humans think, but I'm really telling her she's the boss), and she's okay. She wants to play with me! We chase the ball (
Elli lets me win) and play "sit" and "wait." It's time to eat.

What a nice meal! Kibble is my favorite. We're all taking a nap now, so that when we get up, we'll have the energy to do something else.

That nap went so quickly. We're getting ready to do the laundry and ....THERE'S ANOTHER DOG! Where did she come from? Jeanie is taking her to meet me in the front of the house. She's HUGE! Her name is Shadow and she's a German Shepherd. She's a seizure alert dog for Shanee's father, Roger. She says she used to live here, and they're coming to visit for a couple of days.

Shadow knows all our commands!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

From Dunkin, Service Dog in Training

3:00 pm
We're done for the day. Now I'll go home with Yuka and ...what's this? Where are these humans taking me and IN WHAT? That's not our truck! The older dog (her name is Elli May) is already in the thing...LOAD. load where? There are two humans, two Service Dogs, a wheelchair and my kennel (I'm so glad I have something from home) and we're all squished into this thing they call a subcompact car. Of course, I'm in the back and Elli May is in the front. Talk about low dog on the totem pole! WHERE'S THE AIR CONDITIONING? We're driving but the scents are different. I don't think they know the way home. I'll just wait patiently until they figure it out. Humans always do.

We've stopped and are getting out. First Jeanie then Elli May, Shanee is next and I finally get out. They're taking Elli and me to the street side of the house. What a busy street! Elli likes me! She really likes me! THERE'S A HUGE KENNEL DRIVING UP THE STREET! Elli says it's okay. Jeanie calls it a truck. That's a big truck but they're not worried, so I'm not either. Time to get busy.

We're going into the the building called a house. There are other humans here and one is really small. He's in something that looks like a crate but it has no top. They're introducing us. He's called Mikey or the baby. Hi Mikey I'm Dunkin. Can I have your.,.WHAT was that noise? Jeanie's calling me. I go and she says GOOD and pets me. I like when they pet me but if I try to nudge them to pet me some more, they say NO and ignore me.

There are a lot of things called NO in this place especially around the food and a place called the kitchen. It smells SO GOOD in there. Shanee is bringing me to Mikey. She says DUNKIN SIT and GOOD SIT and I'm very proud of myself. Mikey pets me. He's a little rough but Shanee is right here to make sure it doesn't hurt and he doesn't go too close to my eyes. I REALLY LIKE WHEN THEY PET ME. Shanee takes me out to GET BUSY again. This is called a yard. There are so many new smells here! I want to go and...but I have to GET BUSY first. NOW WE'RE PLAYING. I can run in the yard and have fun! I love the yard.

Dinner time. The humans eat first, right in front of us! Ill just lie here like Elli does. She's been patient with me and shows me how to act in the house. We'll get along fine. Elli eats next. She has GOOD food! Finally, I get to eat in my kennel. Kibble, my favorite! Soon I'll get a drink of water and then go and GET BUSY. It's 7:30. Everthing's done and it's time to relax. Jeanie's calling me. We're going for a walk! She knows the STEP command! I'm really good at that. STEP, WAIT, STEP, WAIT. GOOD DUNKIN! Now we're walking and there is a lot of commotion. It's a Police Car she tells me. No problem. There's a Kennel with sirens coming down the road. Fire truck, she mentions and we just ignore it. We get to run together. I'm at a perfect SIDE and I can keep us. YES, GOOD BOY! I'm a good boy. I have to get busy but she seems to Know. I get busys and Yes, I'm good. Boy am I tired. My first day with these handlers was really busy. I'm so proud of myself. Jeanie said I was GOOD when I ignored those fire tgrucks, ambulances, plice cars, sirens lights and whistles. They seem to know I'm tired. Shanee has me KENNEL UP and its' good. Time to sleep.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

From Dunkin, Service Dog in Training

Hi, I'm Dunkin and I'm a GOOD DOG. I live in a kennel with 20 other guys like me and I'm learning how be a Service Dog which is a GOOD BOY who knows how to help people. This morning five of us came in the truck with Yuka for that long ride down to Mercy First.

I'm so excited. This is my school! Our trainers are called at-risk teenagers. I don't know waht that means BUT I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! i CAN'T WAIT...but I'm waiting because I'm GOOD DUNKIN!

Who are these people? Where are my teenagers... and what is that older dog doing here???? I'll just wait and see what happens. Oh, this is fun. They have no idea what to do with me. Yuka is talking to them. Let's see if I can walk the human...WHOOPS! She learned how to correct me. They learn fast. I'll just bide my time and...THERE'S A COOKIE RIGHT BY MY NOSE!!!! Wait for it..wait for it...She said LEAVE IT, but if I catch her at the right moment, I think I can get it. Here I go, she's not looking ...Just a minute more...another inch and I've got...OH NO, WHERE DID THAT NOISE COME FROM??? My human is calling me, she'll protect me. Oh, that's nice. She said GOOD LEAVE IT! I'm so happy.

They gave me another human to train. This one uses a wheelchair. Service Dogs know all about wheelchairs. If we're really GOOD DOGS we get to help people like this one. Sometimes the person with a disability uses crutches or canes. other times, they don't have any of those things but we have to do special things for them to help them out.

This one has everything backwards. HEEL you foolish human! I'm supposed to be on your LEFT. Oh wait. I remember - SIDE means I go on your RIGHT. How silly of me to forget something that simple. I guess it's because my teenagers have been away on vacation for a while.

She seems to know what she's doing. She seems pretty confident for someone who can't use a choke collar. She said DUNKIN, SIT but I'm going to wait and see if she really means OH NO SHE'S IN MY FACE. I didn't know people wh used wheelchairs could get so big. I'm sitting and I'm a GOOD DUNKIN! Whew Yuka is talking to the humans now, saying something about controlling space and being above a dog. That's what the alphas do. I think I get it. These new humans are to be our alphas. That's good because I wouldn't know what to do if I had to be the alpha.

Friday, September 18, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

WE'RE GOING FOR A WALK! I LOVE walks. This is a very long walk. We're going into "town" whatever that is. Jeanie and I play "watch me" all the way. I'm good at playing watch me. There's a human Should I bark? I usually bark when I see a human...but we're playing "watch me" again. Oh, now we're playing "sit,stay and watch me." Where did the human go? Oh well, maybe I'll bark next time.

There sure a are a lot of humans in this "town" place. I'm getting ready to bark, but before I can even open my mouth, Jeanie says "watch me." I don't think I'll ever get a chance to bark again.

Whew, back home (that was a long walk) and I'm back with Elli. She gets to open the refrigerator and takes something out for Shanee. I can't wait until it's my turn. We're taking a nap now. I really need it.

Now we're playing "get it." I have to wait until my nose is pointing in the right direction, then either Shanee or Jeanie says "get it" and I pick up whatever is right in front of me. Then I "bring it" to whoever wants it. It's so much fun! Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, I get a treat for bringing it.

Tomorrow, we're going to play "get the phone." I heard that's very important for humans. Elli tells me that once, when Jeanie's mother was sick, she had to "get the phone" and "bring it" all the way up the stairs! She saved a life!

Its's SUPPERTIME! Did I say how much I love to eat? I'm sitting, waiting patiently in my kennel, and waiting for "watch me." Here it is, and I get my delicious kibble. Now, I have at least a half hour of peace and quiet, so I can digest my food properly, then it's PLAY TIME! I love play time. I have my own Kong, but I don't get peanut butter yet. She said that's because Jeanie is her human and when I get my own human I might get peanut butter too.

Elli is getting dressed to go out. I don't like that. I want to "get dressed" too, but I'm not ready yet. Shanee and Jeanie have to take another class, and then we have a test before we go out together. Maybe when I go to high school I'll get to "get dressed" and go to work with my teenagers.

Elli is back! She said they went to the supermarket. SHE GETS TURKEY! Oh, I can't wait to get a human. They make such good companions if you train them right and really need our help. Elli tells me she pulls Jeanie's wheelchair through the supermarket and gets things off the shelves for her. Then she carries a bag of food to the car without eating any of it. I could do that! I don't know how to "pull" yet but I know how to "get it" and "bring it." When we go walking, I'm always right next to the wheelchair. I can't wait.

We're taking it easy now. Elli, Jeanie and I are on the floor. Part of me always has to touch Elli - it makes me feel comfortable. I hope my new haman has a dog like Elli. Mikey is in his kennel and he keeps throwing things to us, but he doesn't say "get it" so we ignore him (unless we want him to pet us, then Shanee or Jeanie brings us to his kennel and says "careful" and he reaches over to pet our backs." We don't let him too close to our eyes. he keeps trying to catch my tail, but it's almost alway wagging and someone always stops him.

Jeanie is going to wash our ears, which me makes me feel so much better and soon we'll all "kennel up" and go to sleep for the night. When Jeanie washes our ears we sometimes get to "jump on" so she can reach us better. She doesn't get up and down very easily but Elli helps her. She says "stand" then leans on Elli to get up. I'm too short to help her get up, but I'm really strong! Maybe my human will be shorter and I can help them. I'll "stand" still for as long as it takes for them to get off the floor.

Even though Elli gtets to sleep next to Jeanie's bed I sleep in my kennel in aonther room. I don't mind. I love my kennel. It makes me feel safe. If I'm tired and we're not doing anything I go into my kennel to take a nap. The first night I was here I was so tired that I "kenneled up" at 9:00 before they even told me to! I'm such a GOOD WASABI!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

It's good morning time! Yep - 6:30 on the dot. Here comes Jeanie. We go out and I get busy (which means I toilet outside) and I hear "good get busy!" Now it's time to eat. I LOVE to eat! I go into my kennel and wait patiently...soon, it's coming. OH I have to sit and "watch" Jeanie before I can eat. Okay, I'm sitting and watching and NOW I'M EATING! I need a nap.

They have a couple of other humans here. One is really little. He has a funny looking Kennel which is open on the top. They call it a playpen. His name is Mikey. He's very lound for a human, but he pets me. Sometimes he's a little rough, but I don't mind, I can always walk away. He has a command too. When he pets us, Shanee tells him "careful."

There are two other men here too. There's big Mike, who is very quiet and Jeff who is not here all the time. Both of them can pet me when I'm not wearing my leash. I love when they pet me! Mike is learning some of my commands like "kennel up." A lot of people come to this house to visit the humans. There's Stan, who smells like cars - Ellis says he fixes them. Then there's John who comes to see us dogs. I think he likes to talk to the humans too, but he LOVES me and Elli. Then there are pople called the neighbors - there are a lot of them. Some are old, some are young, and some are teenagers! They don't know our commdands though, so I just sit and shake with them, as long as I don't bark. I have to be calm and play "watch me" before I can meet anybody.

There are a lot of humans outside too. Every afternoon, Shanee takes me outside to watch the kids who go to school around the block. Yesterday, I only barked once. I just couldn't help it - I was so excited! I'll do better tomorrow, but I think I was pretty good today. Shanee said I was a "good Wasabi," so I'm happy.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

I've never seen a car like this one. It's so small. These humans seem to know my commands, and we're going for a ride. I love rides, but I alsways have to lie down and can't look out the windows. Finally, we stop and walk close to the street. THERE'S ANOTHER DOG!!! She's old. Her name is Elli May and she says she's been working for Jeanie for almost 10 years now. She says if I'm good, she'll teach me a few things. I'll be good. I hope she likes me.

Elli says this place is her home. I like that word. She says that when my training is all over they bring in some humans that need assistance dogs, and we get to pick one! I can't wait. I don't know if I want a boy or a girl or maybe an older person, but I want a HOME and my own special human like Elli has.

After dinner, Jeanie let me help her with the laundry. It's so much fun taking the clothes out of the dryer and handing them to her. She says "good" and "thank you" every time. Someone trained her very well. Then Shanee took me for a nice long walk. Elli and I snuggled for a little while. She likes me and Elli doesn't always like puppies (even though I'm already a year old, she still calls me a "puppy") so I'm really proud of myself.

I's time for bed. You don't have to say "kennel Up" twice to me! I just want to sleep for a while.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From Wasabi, Service Dog in Training

Hi, I'm Wasabi and I'm training to be a Service Dog. I'm just a year old but I know more than 60 commands already and I'm REALLY GOOD!
My training started right after I was born. Every time I ate, a human would talk to me. Now every time I hear a human voice, it reminds me of those cuddly, happy times with my mommy and siblings. Sometimes, I had to climb over some gravel to get to my mommy and eat. Other times, there was a rug, or some tile. This helped me learn that I can walk on anything and I would get something really good just as soon as I got over the obstacle.
When I was eight weeks old I went to school. There I met at-risk teenagers. I love teenagers! They get so excited when I learn something new and they tell me what a GOOD WASABI I am.
One day, all the teenagers went away and I was almost all alone. They call it summer. I still had Yuka, the trainer, and Lu and Dale would come by and there were other humans and dogs but I really missed my teenagers. I wish they would come back.
Someone is coming to the kennel! Maybe it's my teenagers - no, it's someone named Shanee. She's young, but not a teenager. She's taking me out! Now she's handing me over to someone called Jeanie. She's in a wheelchair. I'm so excited...I think I'll run over there...whoops, I shouldn't have dragged Jeanie. Okay, I'm back and I'm a GOOD DOG.
More tomorrow.