Jul 242009

Here are some more friends from the animal medical center: Dakota, the German Shepherd, and Steve, his handler. These are a really proud and nice team!

dakota_steve_3Dakota guides Steve, who cannot see his way.  Dakota was in the hospital because one morning when Steve was going to work and the two of them were going up an escalator, Dakota’s paw got stuck. He too was in a lot of pain, just like I had been.  His toes were also broken, like mine had been. He too has to wear a collar, just like I did.

When they are walking together, Dakota helps Steve to walk in a straight line and around obstacles. Outside, Dakota also tells Steve where the curb is so Steve knows where to stop.

However, only Steve determines when it is time to go.

When they are stopped at a curb where there is a traffic light or a stop sign, Steve uses his sense of hearing to determine when it’s safe to cross.

Dakota and Steve are best friends but each one has his role and they work together as a team to ensure Steve’s safety and happiness.

I speak for Dakota when I say that dogs, even guide dogs, cannot understand or obey traffic signals and stop signs, and cannot make decisions about when it is safe to cross the street.

Jul 092009

Today was a really special day.

I have one birthday every year at which time my parents usually give me a special treat such as potatoes or potato chips or something that I love. They also sing me this song; tonight they sang me a song with a really joyous melody that made me really happy. At the end of the song they said “Joey” then “Yay!” and that made me really happy.  Then they sang it again and then once more.  I love my parents. They teach me new words so I feel smart and smarter.  They try to understand me even when we have trouble communicating.  I have friends who let me jump up and kiss them, even when my parents say “Joey, off”.  I have doctors and technicians who are kind who let me kiss them and who really care about me and about dogs.  I have everything!

here's a picture of me on my 10th birthday

here's a picture of me on my 10th birthday. if you look carefully, you can see the full moon and the crescent moon in my eye.


I pose for my birthday photo in a moment of peace the garden


May 102009

How do dogs perceive something far off in the distance? Do they use their sense of sight, hearing, smell, or touch? Why would the doctor not allow our friend Joey to chase a squirrel?


Wait.  I perceive some movement beyond the fence.  Who’s that I see and hear off in the distance?  Is that my little neighbor, Zooey, and her mom? Oh, it is! Can she see me?  I’ll just quickly wag my tail and say hello!

Zooey’s mom calls hello back, and tells Zooey to say “Hi Joey!” They wave. Then Mom calls out, “Joey … can have visitors today!” Soon Zooey and Zooey’s mom come over to my home to say “Hello, Joey!” closeup.  They walk slowly because Zooey is only now learning how to walk.  This is great. When Zooey and her mom come into our home, I am very excited, because I love to play with children. However, I’m a big dog and almost 10 years old, and Zooey is a small child and only 2 years old.

So on this afternoon, Mom puts me in the living room and closes the new gate that we have, and Zooey stands in the hallway in the arms of her mommy, and she waves at me from there, and says, “Hello, Joey!”  Then she smiles, and I wag my tail.  Both Zooey and I are happy.

We have great neighbors, and I’m a Labrador Retriever, after all, and being neighborly is one of my and our favorite hobbies.

May 072009

What can we expect after our dog has surgery? How should we treat him after we bring him home following surgery?

Is there anything we need to do to our home to protect our dog?


One of my new friends was Evan. Even has a mixed Labrador Retriever puppy. He said that he hopes his Lab will grow up to be as strong and healthy as me. Wow, that’s quite a compliment!

When I was leaving, I saw a lot of people who made me happy, and I let them know that by wagging my tail. I think that people really like it when dogs are friendly to them.  When I go to this hospital, people who pass by me, or who I pass by, say “Good boy” and “He’s a beautiful dog” and “He’s so friendly.”  I don’t understand “boy” or “beautiful” or “friendly” but I do know that people are saying the nicest things!

Outside of the hospital, I jumped into the back seat of my parents’ car, they jumped into the front seats, and we drove off.  Suddenly I started to feel really tired.  My dad opened the back window so I could get some fresh air. That was nice. But still, I felt very slow, very low on energy.   At some point the car stopped and Jane got out of her seat and ran around the car to the back and got into the back seat with me, and petted my head, and kept saying, very softly, “Good boy. Good boy, Joey.”  She said, “We’re going home!” I felt so knocked out and barely heard the word “home” but I do know that I was with my parents, and that was just fine with me. Mom scratched me under my ears, and in between my eyes,  some of my favorite places. It was so pleasant that I kept dozing off.

Maybe my being so groggy was a good thing. When we got home, Mom walked me into the house with the lead on, and then she took the lead off of me. Freedom rang and I was able to walk around the dining room and the living room and the kitchen on my own.  I was able to drink my water right in the kitchen, in its old place.  Life had the ring of familiarity to it.

But many things about our home, and about my life, had changed.

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