Monday, August 24, 2009

Canines with Careers—Kimo, Guide Dog

I wouldn’t have thought courage was one of the primary traits for a guide dog until I met Kimo and her owner, Graeme. I was invited to their home, where Kimo was off duty because Graeme is in familiar territory.

Kimo’s Stats
Breed: German shepherd
Age (in human years): 9
Weight: 82 pounds
Food: dry dog food, twice a day
Treats: Dentastix; cheese
Favorite Toy: hard rubber ball
Favorite Activity: playing ball; swimming
One Word That Best Describes Kimo: courageous
Kimo was 18 months old when she came to work for Graeme. Prior to that she spent her first year with a family, being socialized and acquiring a few manners, and then she spent about six months training to be a guide dog.

The day I visited Graeme, Kimo greeted me at the door, then sprawled on the floor under the dining room table. She’s very good about not getting underfoot in the house. She went to Graeme as soon as he called her, though, and he showed me how her rigid harness and leash are attached. She wears both so he can release the harness but still have the leash in his hand.

As soon as Kimo is wearing her harness, she’s on duty. She always walks on Graeme’s left side, and she makes sure he stays in the middle of the sidewalk so he doesn’t run into obstacles. She ignores people in public, although when he took her for a short walk to show me how she guides him over curbs and through intersections, she kept looking back over her shoulder, no doubt wondering why I was following them.

Kimo and Graeme walk to work every day—he runs his own physiotherapy clinic—but she would much rather go downtown. She likes taking the bus and going to the mall, and that’s really where her courageousness comes into play. She confidently manoeuvres them through traffic and crowds of people and she even rides up and down escalators, which is apparently quite rare, even for a guide dog. Throughout it all, she remains focused on the job at hand and very protective of Graeme.

As with any dog, recreation is important for Kimo. Graeme runs once a week with a human guide, and Kimo goes along and is allowed off leash while they run. Graeme puts a bell on her, though, so he can always hear where she is, and she is trained to come when he calls. She’s also a very strong swimmer and likes to run into the water after a ball. She and Graeme have also invented a ball game they play in their sloped backyard. Graeme stands downslope and Kimo lets her ball roll down so he can catch it. He tosses it to her, she catches it, and rolls it back again. Fun!

Kimo is a service dog who’s prepared to bravely venture into the world. She’s also a very good guard dog and devoted companion. A truly well-rounded and amazing animal.

To meet more canines with careers, please join me and police dog named Panzer at the Wet Noodle Posse, and me and office dog Tipper over at the Harlequin American Romance Authors blog.

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday News—Catching Up

This has been an exceptionally busy summer, so this past Sunday I took a much-needed day off. First I met some friends for lunch (l. to r.: Luranah Polson, Sheryll Gallagher and me).

Then Sheryll and I met two other friends for a tea tasting at my favorite tea shop, Silk Road. (l. to r.: Rachel Goldsworthy, Jodie Esch, Sheryll Gallagher and me).

Our favorite tea was Velvet Potion, a blend of black tea, raw cacao and nibs, vanilla beans, exotic spices and essences. Delicious, especially with a little honey. After we stocked up on various teas, we went to a nearby coffee shop for some writerly chat. Altogether a wonderful day.

Other things of note:

On Monday, August 24 I’ll be blogging about Canines with Careers. There’ll be three posts—here as well as on the Harlequin American Romance Authors and the Wet Noodle Posse blogs—and each post will feature a dog with job.

Here’s what’s happening at the Wet Noodle Posse this week:
Monday: Merrillee Whren "Our Dog Pepper"
Tuesday: Diane Gaston "Seven Cats"
Wednesday: Maureen Hardegree "Out of the Ordinary Animal Encounters"
Thursday: Debra Holland—TBA
Friday: Q&A Day—What was your first pet?
Have a wonderful week!

Until next time,

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

The animal kingdom is alive and well on the Wet Noodle Posse this month, and here’s what’s in store this week.

Monday: Tori Scott—Learning about Love from Our Pets

Tuesday: Terry McLaughlin—Doggie Neuroses

Wednesday: Maureen Hardegree—The Day We Couldn’t Find the Cat

Thursday: Diane Gaston—The Cat on the Kitchen Table

Friday: Q&A Day:—What pet qualities have you used or would you like to use in a story?

Please join us!

Until next time,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Week with the Wet Noodle Posse

I have been AWOL this week—these are busy days!—but I’m dropping by to invite you to join the Wet Noodle Posse today. This month’s theme is “Creatures Great and Small,” and my good friend and fellow writer, Jodie Esch, is today’s guest blogger. She’s telling us all about Living with Unicorns (sort of) . Please join her!

Next week The Writer Side and I will back up and running. Maybe sooner!

Until next time,