Thursday, December 31, 2009

Up Command

We have been working on the "up" command a lot since Serena is big enough now to reach almost every surface.  She was very tentative at first and didn't like trying it on new things.  I worked on the water fountain at the barn and when we first tried she was like "uhhh I don't know" but eventually she tried but wasn't very confident.  Today I tried it again and she was like "oooo I get this!"  Then she figured out if she stayed up on the fountain for a little bit it will turn on and she can get a drink of water.  Once she figured that out she was LOVED it.  Here are some pics of her drinking the water...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dance party!

Serena and I had a dance party while I cleaned the kitchen today.  I was blaring music and she would dance with me.  It was a great way to work on the back command and get her to pay attention to where I was.  We did lots of spinning in circles and going forward and back.  She thought it was super fun and got really into it.

She is currently 42 pounds!  (she was 31 when I got her).  We went to the vet yesterday and got a lot more vaccines and stuff.  I brought a poop sample in this time (last time I couldn't get one) and they found round worms, pin worms and hook worms so she got dewormed again and has deworming medicine that she gets for 5 days.  I am going through the yard and OCD picking up any poop.  We will beat these damn worms! She also has dry skin so I bought her fish oil tablets that get put on her food.  Other than that she is a happy, healthy puppy.  She still is shy sometimes but we are slowly getting over that and her confidence is getting better.  She loves going to the barn with me and gives Reggie kisses on his nose everyday.

Friday, December 25, 2009

1st Christmas!

Serena has been involved in all the pre-Christmas and Christmas festivities! She drove down to Champaign with me on Monday for my friend's Christmas party. I wasn't sure how she was going to handle 8 girls in an apartment with tons of food and things going on but she did great! She basically slept most of the time (probably cause I took her for a 2 hour walk before we went to Champaign) or she got pets from all my friends. They all loved her a lot, even the ones who normally don't like dogs and she is invited back again next year if I still have her in training with me!
Hanging out with Lys:

She joined the photo without us knowing and look adorable!

Where she chilled out most of the party... out of our way and totally good

She has also been involved in wrapping presents and is not  very useful but is very cute so that makes present wrapping all the more fun!

Then she celebrated Christmas Eve with us and got a little crazy with all the commotion (Sophie our blind 14 year old Westie, two cats, presents food, and 5 people in an apartment) but overall she was very well behaved and enjoyed the presents my mom got her a lot!

Serena on Christmas Day with Santa:

Enjoying her bone from the butcher and her new stuffed (or currently unstuffed) monkey

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I started teaching Serena last week to ring bells next to the door when she wanted to go out. It started out with her thinking I was punishing her and she would avoid me every-time I went to the door. I the incorporated treats and made it a crazy fun experience and she was like "hmmmm this isn't too bad, I ring the bells and I get a treat." Eventually I would refuse to open the door until she at least touched the bells. It took a few days but now she rings the bells to go out. Today she took it one step further. We weren't fast enough to her liking to come let her out so she pulled the bells off the wall and brought them to us and shook them around and around. Then ran to the door when we got up to let her out. She is so smart! hahaha

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Shopping

Serena accompanied me Christmas shopping today after work! We first stopped at Walgreens to pick up more Christmas card photos. We apparently go there a lot because they know us and love Serena now. She is big enough now to put her paws up on the counter! So of course we practiced the "up" command. She eventually figured it out... she has to reach just a little bit. After that we went to random stores around the mall area (people who I was buying for read this blog so will not mention where I went). She has gotten very good at following me around in stores, laying down while I look and then following me again. I think sometimes she thinks I am crazy for walking back and forth up an aisle. Now that she is a little bigger a lot less people question me when I bring her into a store... they already assume she is a service dog. Here are some pics from the Christmas Card photo extravaganza...

Serena loves giving Reggie kisses on his nose
She is so cute and is getting so big! I won't be able to hold her much longer!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Video

Here is Serena doing what she does almost every morning... running crazily around the yard for no reason other than it is fun!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wow long time no update!

My life has been crazy so hence the severe lack of updating and puppy cuteness on this blog.  Serena is doing great!  She has gain around 10 pounds since we got her 4 weeks ago and is looking less like a puppy and more like a dog.  It is kind of amazing how fast they grow!!  Though I guess that is what 3 to 4 cups of food a day will do for a little puppy.  My last update was about Serena's  Thanksgiving.  Since then we have done a lot!

Over Thanksgiving I watched my mom's cats.  This was a great way for Serena to learn how to socialize with cats some more.  She got to play with Jax (the kitten) and learn her kitty manners from Emmy (the pissed off older cat who thinks that having a puppy and a kitten in the apartment is HELL).  By the end of watching them Serena was playing much nicer with Jax and would give Emmy her 5ft personal bubble that she demands.

Other than tormenting cats I have tried to take Serena as many places as possible.  She of course goes to the barn with me everyday and loves going and saying hi to Reggie.  One day the barn was empty so I took her in the indoor ring and we ran around and tried to jump a little jump.  At first she thought she was supposed to go under so I made it smaller.  Then she figured out I wanted her to go over it and then she kept wanting to do it.  It was a good way to make both of us tired!

  We also have gone to the beach since it was like the last nice day out a couple days ago.  She joined us in going to the The Christmas Carol in 3D IMAX.  At first she didn't know what to make of the loud sounds and the 3D screen.  She even watched the first part of the movie, looking back and forth at things moving across the screen.  By the end she decided it was boring and went to sleep.  Then she joined us in going to Chipotle afterwards.  The random scraps of rice on the floor was very tempting and I had to say a lot of leave its but eventually she gave up and just sat there.

Serena helped me hang Christmas lights the other day. Of course I had to put some on her and get a picture.  She thought I was crazy but let me do it.

Serena went for her first major clothing store shopping experience with me yesterday.  We went to the Old Navy in Gurnee.  Everyone there was so nice and friendly.  The store manger was the bomb!!  We spent forever talking to him and he said Serena was welcome anytime even if it was just to say hi.  He might even organize a fundraiser for My Angel With Paws.  Awesome!!! So go to the Old Navy in Gurnee off of Grand Ave because they rock.  Serena was really good too even with all the people that were there.  She became more relaxed after a few people said hi to her and told her how cute she was.  She even just lay down in the changing room until I was done.  Overall it was a great experience and we will be sure to go back and visit :-).

Overall she is doing great.  We are currently working on the commands "kiss" "my lap" "off" and "get it back."  She is teething so she is chewing on EVERYTHING.  She just chewed through phone charger #2 tonight after finding it where I hid it and taking advantage that I was distracted by updating this blog.  Oh puppy puppy puppy.  Another trip to Verizon tomorrow.... oh well another place to take Serena.  She is just so cute I can't stay mad at her for very long... :-).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

1st Thanksgiving

Today was Serena's first Thanksgiving.  I don't really think she had a clue what was going on but oh well.  Instead of using kibble for her training sessions she got some turkey giblets which she thought was like the coolest thing ever.  We went for a pre-meal walk with her to the beach.  It was cold outside but I think she still had fun.  While we ate the meal she played with toys and ran around outside.  Now I think she is just as full as we are and is passed out snoring on my floor.  So cute!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beach again!

This morning we walked Serena up to a little breakfast place in Lake Bluff.  She was very good and sat there while we ate and of course loved when the staff said hi to her.  I thought that after that good walk she would be tired for a little bit but alas no.  We put her in the backyard and she ran around and around and around.  So since it was such a nice day I decided to take her to the beach again.  Off we went and oh boy did she have fun.  There were other dogs there so she got to play with them and with sticks and with the tennis ball.  She loved it and didn't stop running the entire time we were there.  She even figured out the water a little bit more and would go get a ball if we threw a little ways into the water.  Now she is completely passed out in my room!

Random Stuff

On Thursday at work we found a kitten in the dumpster.  Apparently he  crawled in there looking for food and couldn't get out.  My mom was going to take him so I took him home to clean him up and stuff before bringing him to her house.  Of course I had to take puppy and kitten photos because really what is cuter?  They surprisingly liked each other.  Serena wasn't allowed to see the kitten until she stayed laying down then she licked him all over and he purred and purred and purred.  It was so freaking adorable!

I don't remember when this was but I cleaned up my room and put all my dirty clothes in the laundry basket.  Next thing I know Serena has decided it is her bed.  Next trip to petsmart I think I am going to get her a bed for my room because she is almost too big for the laundry basket. haha!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


On Tuesday Serena and I went to the barn late so there was no one really there.  This was perfect cause it meant Serena could come into the barn aisle and watch the horses.  I tied her to a stall down the aisle from where I was working with Reggie so she could see me but not get hurt if Reggie moved around.  While I was brushing Reggie I heard Serena making noise so I looked expecting her to be afraid or something.  Instead she was trying to get the two horses whose stalls she was outside of to play with her.  Annie and Dreams could not figure out what this little black thing was looking at them.  She seems to like the barn.

Kisses for the kids:

Movie theater

On Monday Becky and I went to go see This is It.  Of course Serena got to come too!  We first went to a China Buffet and then realized taking a puppy to a buffet was probably not the smartest idea but if Serena was bad we could just leave.  The lady was very nice at the restaurant and didn't mind at all that we brought Serena in.  Serena was perfect.  She stayed at my side as I wandered around and while we were eating she either sat or lay down next to me.  It was a great experience!

We then went to the movie theater and when we got there it was empty!  So we got to pick whatever seat we wanted.  Serena lay down for most of the movie and didn't complain at all.  She is the best!  Here is a picture to prove we were actually in a movie theater (even if she does look like a devil puppy because of the flash):

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Still here!

Between work, Serena, Reggie and life in general I have had no time to update!  I promise I will this weekend with TONS of adorable (Serena being cute and with horses and kittens) photos.  She has really settled in nicely and has turned into a crazy (but in a good way) puppy.  I also think she has grown... or at least gotten fatter because her vest isn't as big anymore and I had to re-adjust it to fit her rolly polly tummy.

Monday, November 16, 2009


On Sunday Serena and I ventured to the mall because I needed some jeans.  I was very amused with people's reactions to her.   I had people coming out of stores to say hi and people stopping me to ask questions and of course lots of stopping and going "awwwww look at the puppy."  Serena was very good. At points she was a little unsure of everything (like when 3 toddlers ran up to her and went "PUPPY!!!! EEEEEEKKKKK" at tones that I am sure could break glass.)  These were all good opportunities to practice sitting calmly next to me. We also had to ride the elevator for the first time. She walked right in and sat down next to me and calmly waited till we walked back out.  While I was trying on clothes she lay down in the changing room and just waited.  By the end of all this she was ready to get out of the mall (and I was too!).  After the mall we went to PetSmart to pick up things for the Guinea pigs and of course Serena got more treats and bones because she is so cute.  After that we had a very easy quite day at home.  Serena spent the rest of her day playing with toys, running around aimlessly and sleeping.

Serena waiting patiently in the changing room...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Stuff

Serena and I went for a wonderful walk this morning since it was so beautiful out. Then she joined me and my dad for coffee at Starbucks. After Starbucks we rigged a long leash in the front yard so she could stay outside while we did yard work. She played with toys while we raked and cut plants back. She got to meet our neighbor's dogs and now has two new friends who she will have play dates with. After lunch we went to a local cafe in town. Everyone there was so nice and I was asked a ton of questions by the employees and people eating. Serena enjoyed all the attention and behaved wonderfully. Then it was off to the barn where Serena passed out in my car while I took car of Reggie. I went to take her out and she was so sleepy! Apparently she was a tired puppy. Now she moving toys from room to room and just found her tennis ball again.

Behaving like a very good girl in Starbucks

Playing in the leaves

Vet Visit

Yesterday while at the beach and other times I noticed Serena peeing every 15min or so. I would even take her outside then like 10 min later she would pee again in the house. That is very unlike her so I was starting to think she had a bladder infection. Then she had a pooping accident in the house and it was bloody with worms in it so I called the vet and 2 hours later we were in their waiting room. Turns out Serena had the starts of a bladder infection, a yeast infection in her ears, and round worms. She also got a lepto something something vaccine (I am blanking the name). Let's just say she ran up a very big bill but there was a definite change in her behavior the next day and no more accidents in the house so it was well worth it! The vet's office said she was the best behaved puppy ever.

After the vet's office I still had to go take care of my other child (Reggie) so Serena and I drove up to the barn. After I was done riding the barn was empty so I took Serena into the barn to meet the horses. She kissed Strider on the nose, let Reggie sniff her all over and didn't care when Luke was like "PUPPY!!! Must go make it MINE!" She stayed in a nice heel and fell asleep on the barn aisle while I hung around and talked. Of course I was stupid and forgot my camera at home so no cute horse and puppy photos. Next time! Serena was very tired after her long day and was quite happy to go into her crate at bedtime :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009


Serena and I took a walk to the Lake Bluff beach today. She was didn't like how the sand felt at first but then loved it! It was a great place to practice "leave it" since evey thing smells oh so good down there. She was very good about ignoring everything but me. I tried to get her to feel the water but she didn't like getting her paws wet. Silly lab! She had more fun just sitting in the sand watching the world go by. Now she is a very tired puppy. I have videos and pictures to load tonight so stay tuned!

Make a Friend

Serena figured out this morning how to do "Make a Friend"!! It isn't perfect yet but when I say that she will lift her paw off the ground. It made my morning!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Easy Day

We didn't go on too many adventures today since I had to spend a long time at the barn clipping Reggie since he has decided to be a hairy monster this winter. Go figure. Serena and I went on short early morning walk with frost still on the ground (yuck). After that Serena played with her toys while I got some stuff done. We went for a noon walk all over Lake Bluff. I purposely walked her down the main street in town since it was likely the only place in Lake Bluff to be somewhat distracting. We only came across one person but she had two dogs so it was great for Serena to learn to just keep walking and ignore them. She really wanted to play but kept listening to me and was a very good girl. After that we went to the barn and Serena got to meet Reggie from the car. She wasn't scared of him at all but Reggie totally ignored her and wouldn't cooperate with putting himself very close to the door. I expected her to run to the other side of the seat but she stayed sitting and just watched. Serena got to enjoy a kong filled with cheese while I took care of Reggie. I came back out to find her completely passed out and dreaming. So adorable!

After the barn I had to go to the grocery store for a few things. We went to Dominic's since it was on the way home. I didn't get questioned while shopping which was good. We did get a few looks and one child screamed "PUPPY!!!!" The employees at the register were very nice and asked a few questions. Then as we were about to leave some random manager came over and started the whole "there are no dogs allowed in here" talk. I tried to explain to him why she was there and when I mentioned "Service Dog" he said "well she is only allowed to come in here if YOU really need her." I told him that she needed to be there for training and about the Illinois Law to which he just got frustrated and said "fine whatever" and walked away. I don't mind people questioning me at all if they are willing to listen to what I have to say. When they interrupt me and just assume I don't know what I am talking about I want to bang my head on a wall. I am finding that it really helps when other customers start coming around watching and Serena is just sitting in a perfect heel next to me because really how can you say no to her? hahaha. Linda sent us our ID badge so hopefully that will help with people like that manager. Oh how people amuse me.

While I cooked dinner, Serena discovered the toy basket in the TV room. She would run in there grab a toy and run through the kitchen into the living room. Then would play for a little bit before taking that toy back to the TV room and repeating the process. I saw her run by with a ghost, a bone, a bird and an elephant. Serena found a ball and then figured out she could throw it for herself and then chase after it. She did this around and around the living room then lay down and went to sleep.

We went for a late night walk and I just tucked her into her crate for the night. Tomorrow we get to start on our new homework from Linda! Serena has to start learning "Tug," "Speak," and "Kennel." She currently knows "Sit," "Heel," and "Busy" (her potty word). We have been working on "Make a Friend," "Down" and "Stay." I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Serena is way more interesting...

...than the CMA's.

Serena was keeping me company while I watched the Country Music Awards. That eventually turned into the CMA's being background noise and me watching Serena because really she is just so freaking cute. This is what happens when you give her toys...
After all that she passed out like this:
She got up to move spots and this is where she ended up... on my lap as my heating pad :-)

First 2 Days with Serena

I picked Serena up on Monday November 9th, 2009.  We joined Linda's puppy class so I could learn how to tell Serena what to do and so that we could get to know each other before I brought her home.  It was great getting to meet everyone at the class including other puppy raisers!  Serena and I made it home around 9pm that night.  She was very scared of entering the house but after telling her how wonderful she was she finally decided we weren't going to hurt her.  I showed her around the house, took her outside one more time then put her in her crate for the night.

The next morning I woke up really early to let her out expecting her to have had an accident in the night.  She did not!  We went right outside and potty time was a success.  After a short little walk she kept me company in my room while I cleaned and did stuff on the computer.  We went on our first outing to my mom's office.  She was afraid of the doors again but once she made it inside she was very social and well behaved.  Of course everyone who saw her wanted to say hi and Serena was very sweet!  After the office we went to PetSmart to pick up food and toys.  Serena quickly made friends with the employees there and loved all the attention they gave her.  They were very nice and even trimmed Serena's nails.  They said she was the best behaved puppy about her nails. She didn't try to bite or remove her paws, she just let them do whatever they needed to do.  After walking around the store and looking at all the critters they have there it was time for us to leave.  Serena did great shopping and didn't try to take anything off the shelf or disrupt any of the other customers.

For lunch my Dad and I went to Potbelly's with Serena.  She waited patiently in line and was not phased by the giant lunch crowd they had in there.  We got many "awwwwws" and a couple people asked questions.  Serena lay at my side while we ate our meal and acted like a wonderful puppy!

After Potbelly's, Serena and I headed up to the barn so I could take care of Reggie.  Serena's car manners are impeccable.  She either sits or sleeps in the back seat and doesn't bother me when I drive.  While I worked with Reggie, Serena slept in the car; she was a very tired puppy!  She also liked watched all the activity of the barn and didn't bark or whine at the horses.  Today I might let her meet Reggie since he loves dogs!

After the barn we relaxed at home for a little bit and then went to pick up dinner at Chipotle.  This was the first time I got questioned for bringing a puppy into a store.  As we were leaving the guy said "next time can you please not bring a dog into here." After I explained that she was a service dog he was very understanding and said she was welcome anytime.  Phew! I didn't want to argue!  Serena slept at my feet while I watched TV and finished up some stuff.  We went for an evening walk and then bedtime once again.

This morning I slept in a little bit longer (6:50 versus 6:00) and Serena didn't have any accidents again!  We went for a nice morning walk and practiced walking on a loose leash at my side.  She is getting so good at that!!  Our morning consisted of doing some chores around the house then errands.  I went to the bank and since there is a Starbucks next door I had to go there too!  Starbucks was very busy but Serena took it all in stride.  The employees there were very excited to see her and one said "I was so happy to see that she had a vest because that means she can come inside and say hi!!"  Serena makes so many people smile.  She also met 2 little girls who wanted to know all about her and what service dogs do.  They helped me practice "Make a Friend." That is the command Serena has to know when she meets someone.  She is supposed to sit and lift a paw.  She has the sitting part down but we just started lifting the paw.  The little  girls were very happy to help and did it a few times.  We also had a man talk to us and ask questions.  I am finding everything that used to take me 10 minutes is now taking me 20 or more with Serena because people want to ask questions and tell me about their dogs.  I love it!  It is really fun to talk to and educate people about what Serena is going to do.

We also went to Walgreens and the lady questioned me bringing her into the store but I explained that Service dogs in training have the same laws as Service dogs.  She looked at me like I was crazy but didn't stop me.  When I went to check out she asked a few questions about Serena and then seemed more open to why I brought her into the store.  It feels good making people more aware of the service dog training program.

Our last stop in my list of errands was Lowes.  Serena was so well behaved it amazed me.  She walked right next to the cart on a loose leash and didn't get scared of all the activity.  She even figured out that while I am stopped she can sit or lie down.  This was very cute while I walked back and forth up the light aisle trying to decide which light to buy.  I would walk to one end and stare at something and Serena would go to sleep then I would decide I liked one at the other so she would get up follow me then go back to sleep while I stared some more.  She wasn't bothered by people walking by or by the employee that came to assist me.  At the check out there was a very angry man. While we were talking to a woman, he proceeded to get very mad, throw everything he was going to buy to the ground and stomp out of the store.  Serena didn't care and continued to pay attention to me and stay in a sit position.  After that a ton of employees came over to clean up the mess and see what just happened so then all of them wanted to say hi to Serena.  It was great!  She is a little shy around people but continued to sit by me while everyone surrounded her and petted her and told her how cute she was.  They couldn't believe how well behaved for 4 months she was and a couple of them wanted to take her home.  It was a great experience!

I can't believe all that has happened in only two days!  I can't wait to see what will happen in the next year.  Stayed tuned for many many puppy updates!