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


Jun 262009

I don’t know what my veterinary doctors are going to think about this but here goes:

There I was – happy as could be – without the splint for the first time in months.

It was the afternoon and I was with my mom.  The telephone rang and my mom was talking and talking to my dad. Then my mom turned to me and said, “Joey, it’s “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” in Boston” and we’re going to go out! But she didn’t tell me we were going to see Dad.  Next, my mom dressed me all up (that is, she put the sock on my foot, the bootie over that and put the lead on me). Then we walked to her car. We drove to my dad’s work.  There, she pulled the car up to the curb and there stood Dad! Happiness and Joy!  Dad opened the car door and I got out. Jane drove away.  Dad stood and I sat until Jane came back (without the car). Then the three of us waIMG_0006_adjlked to Dad’s work, which was only a few feet away. We went up the elevator and into a new and special place.

Right away I was so happy to see new people and make new friends, and people were so happy to see me and I could hear the smiles in their voices. “Joey!” they called to me. This made me even happier. Then more and more people started coming to see me. “Joey! It’s Joey, from the blog!”  They were so excited which made me more excited. They especially got a big kick out of my sock.

Rachel, Tammy and me

Rachel, Tammy and me

Then we all walked to my dad’s office. After all, Dad had work to do. I’m not sure what that means, but I think it means that I’m supposed to be quiet and “sit” and “stay”.

Being quiet and sitting was difficult to do because more and new people kept showing up and wanting to pet me and wanting me to play with them, and take photographs with them.

Jane took a lot of photographs but she wasn’t very happy with the photographs. She kept saying, “Joey, stick your tongue back in your mouth”. But I ignored her.

Rachel, Tammuy, Jody and Jamie

Rachel, Tammy, Jody and Jamie

Then I went into my dad’s office and Jane said, “Joey, sit” while my Dad got quiet and then she got quiet. When I would sit, everybody would say “He’s so gooooood!!!” and then I would get excited and stand up.  Jane wasn’t so happy about that because I still had my injured foot and she didn’t want me standing up too much. But that’s happens when a dog goes to work: A dog has to work at making all the friends he can!

Soon my Dad brought me a bowl of water and Jane said “Joey, drink”. People were watching me drink and they said, “Wow! He’s so good!”  I felt happy to hear them say that with their approving voices.


so much work

Then it got quiet again and Jane said “Sit” and then “down”.  She kept piling books near me.  It depressed me that I couldn’t play with my new friends while she kept piling more and more books near me.

What's that?

What’s that?

Another big deal was the bald patches on my fur. Although my coat is beginning to grow back, people pointed and said “What’s that?” and my dad was explaining everything. I actually don’t understand what they’re talking about but I do know that they talk a lot and point a lot to my back.

Soon it was time to leave. My dad didn’t think he could work with me there, which I think means that I couldn’t sit and be quiet. Actually, I could sit and be quiet but all my friends there couldn’t stop coming and visiting me. So it was time to go back home with my mom.

The most important thing I have to say is that I love all of my new friends and that if my friends are reading this I want them to know that I would be happy to come back and see them some time.


this photo speaks for itself

The other most important thing is that it was really nice to spend some time with my dad in the middle of the day and I really love him a lot.  And Dad, if you’re reading this, I love you.

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?

Every day I have gone out for my daily walks but today I am finally allowed to go outside to sit outside on the grass, like I used to, as long as I am wearing a sock on my wounded foot, and have a plastic bag over that.  I still have to be on the leash at all times.  Dr. M said I might want to chase a squirrel or go run to say hello to a neighbor and the leash will prevent me from running off.  He knows me very well and we’ve just met; how could this be?  Doesn’t he trust me?  Still, it was fine with me.  I can’t run around much anyway, since my ankle is really sore from the surgery. For now, I’m happy to be outside in my world!

When I walk, sometimes I hop on my three paws, holding the fourth leg up in the air, and sometimes now I’m actually using my fourth paw, putting my 4th leg down every now and then. Dr. M said this was a good idea, because he wants my muscles to get nice and strong again.

(Here’s where a sentence was that my mom deleted from this blog post…)


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, my 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. Here you can see Evan and me, as I was about to leave the hospital. 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!

The air at Angell energizes and excites me. 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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