Welcome to Puppies and Life! This blog is about my life as a teenage puppy raiser...enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This One's For You, Sam!

A certain someone has been bugging me lately to do a blog post... I complained that I had nothing to update about but since she is one of my favourite people, I relented and here is what I have been up to lately.
Fielder turned THREE on August 10! Crazy to think of when he was a little mop of fur who fit into the palm of my hand. I emailed his handler, and I got back a very nice email that said they were doing well and he is a very smart little dog. She also sent a picture of the two of them at their local Walk for Dogguides!! I was VERY happy and excited to see my little man in jacket for the first time since grad. It's a little weird since I cropped out his handler to respect her privacy, but here is HED Fielder!Lately I have been really missing being an active puppy raiser, as well as the good old Samysnat and POOP Group days, so one day when I was very bored I made this picture. Hard to believe it's been a whopping 24 puppies between the four of us! Every single one of them have been so special and unique, and as much as they've affected their puppy raiser, they've also held us together and made our friendships that much stronger. No one quite understands what a puppy raiser goes through as well as fellow puppy raisers do:)
As to what I've been up to here in Halifax... the Tall Ships Festival came to town this year, and a couple friends and I went to the waterfront to see them. It was pretty cool, although scorching hot and resulting in a sunburn. This is one of the many tall ships passing through during the parade.
Last month there was a day where I saw service dogs EVERYWHERE! There was a CCI team, a yellow lab with his handler who was a young boy. I actually stalked them around the waterfront for a while because I thought the blue jacket was a SSD team from Dogguides, but was still very happy when I saw it was a CCI team. Then there was the gorgeous black lab from GDB. It was very cool to see him leading his partner confidently around, stopping at curbs and a door. Lastly, I was very lucky to run into a CVC team from Dogguides. Since they were from my school, I was confident enough to say hi and have a little chat (instead of "Hi! Your school is awesome, I know because I creep people's blogs who raise for your school!"). It was fun, and I hope to see them around sometime.

Of course, I didn't get to pet any of those dogs, and I have been extremely dog deprived lately, so when my friend Katie and I decided to randomly go on a roadtrip to Quebec, I was very happy to stop at our friend's house who has two dogs and two cats. This was my best friend for the night, Zorro:

After we left her house, we went to Quebec City where our one and only mission was to have a good poutine. (Note for my American friends, poutine is a french/Quebecois dish that is absolutely amazing- french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Yes it is a heart attack on a plate, but so worth it). If anyone goes to Quebec, eat at Chez Ashton's. This poutine was easily the most delicious poutine I've ever eaten in all nineteen years of my life, hands down. The cheese curds were so fresh they were still squeaky, and the hot dog on top was the best idea this chain's ever had. I pretty much wolfed this down in two seconds.
We also went to the famous Chateau Frontenac and hung out there for awhile. That's me in the pink shirt!
Those are the only really noteworthy adventures from the past month or so. I've spent a lot of time working and hanging out with friends. This past week has been a bit of a bummer, though. My ear hurts pretty badly thanks to an ear infection, the boyfriend's gone home for a couple weeks, and I'm covered in itchy bug bites after a trip to the beach last week. I know, poor baby, right? ;) One thing I'm grateful for is that school doesn't start for another week and a half, and all our friends who left for the summer are slowly starting to come back. The weather, which was humid, muggy and in the 30's (high 80's fahrenheit) all of last week disappeared after Hurricane Bill passed by on the weekend, and is now a much more comfortable sunny 20 degrees. So here's to fully celebrating the last weeks of freedom before school with friends and beautiful weather!

Also, here's to being 19 (or 20, in the case of my friend)and thinking it is perfectly acceptable to build and play in a fort on a Friday night to hide from hurricanes.

ps. To Ruby, who commented on one of my posts, I don't know which and can't find it now so I can't track down your profile/contact info. School to raise for in Toronto- there are none, but the one I raised for is the closest to it, running out of Oakville (an hour away by car), and Breslau (close to Guelph). It's called the Lions Foundation of Canada Dogguides, website is http://www.dogguides.com/. Good luck and let me know how your puppy raising adventures go!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mega Update, Many Puppies Included

So I know I promised a post from home, but I got so busy with seeing friends, family and of course puppies that I didn't have any time. Here is a super long post complete with 21 pictures!! All of adorable puppies too.

On my second day home I went to Woofstock, Toronto's annual dog festival, the largest of its kind in North America. I met up with Amy and Bea, and Brooke, Cessna and her foster puppy Reece. There were many vendors for food, treats, collars, harnesses, toys, rescue groups and much more. One of the groups was giving out free doggy snowcones, which poodley Bea enjoyed, but left my hand smelling like beef after.
And of course it was tons of fun spending the day with Amy, even though on the way home we accidentally drove halfway to her house (the opposite direction out of Toronto) before we realized we had gone the wrong way.
On Thursday, I visited Dee and picked up Friday. Although I only had her for a day and a half, it didn't take her long to win me over. She is such a well behaved lovable, happy, fluffy and huggable puppy, I told Sam she wasn't getting her back by the end of the night. We had a busy day as I visited with some friends downtown. We went to the Eatons Centre, surprise surprise. On one of our relief breaks, I discovered that one of the venues for the North by Northeast (NXNE) music festival was across the street. Friday was unphased by the loud screamy band onstage and even posed for a picture.

We went to dinner at Swiss Chalet after where she curled up under the table for a nap. The manager fell in love with her too and offered her a bowl of water. Afterwards, my friends and I wandered around downtown. We ended up at one of University of Toronto's campuses and I took Fri's picture on the steps of Convocation Hall. It's like she's graduating from university! (Sorry about the terrible quality, it was pitch black except for the gross yellow lighting from the building).

One of my friends attempted to take a picture of Friday and I but Fri had weird coloured eyes in all of them. This is one of the better shots. We match in our green outfits!

We then headed home from Museum St. of the TTC which has all these cool statues.
Friday was very tired but was a trooper and took the train and escalators in stride.
I thought she would pass out, but my pet puppy Lesley enticed her into a little bit of playtime before going to bed. They loved each other and Friday helped Lesley improve her dog socialization skills a little bit.
The next day, we woke up bright and early (7 am, Sam, I'm not complaining about 10 am this time). Amy and Bea came to pick us up to visit Sam and all her dogs. Bea and Friday both wanted shotgun but the poodle prevailed and Friday was stuck in the back.
This was definitely one of my favourite days home as I spent most of the day with Sam, Dallas and her puppies!
We went out for lunch and a walk, visiting many places downtown. This is cute little Friday by the water.
That is me on the left with Friday and Sam on the right with Fiyero. Check out the loose leash action and Fiyero ignoring all the goose poop on the ground :) Friday was fantastic to walk both on the Halti and just on the flat collar, even amidst chaotic downtown Toronto.

These dogs are both so wonderfully adorable and beautiful, these pictures don't do them justice. Fiyero in the front, Friday at the back.

After lunch, we found my first geocache! It was fun looking through the trail for it, and there was lots of stuff inside too. The puppies quite enjoyed the leafy romp as well.
Then it was back to Sam's for more puppy watching!! Mr Pink was nursing upside down and I love this picture because it looks like he's waving at the camera.

Mr Yellow was my favourite puppy. He's the littlest one right now and we bonded over some cuddling time where he snuggled right down into my arms for a little nap.
It was so much fun seeing everyone again, but this time my downtime at home was made a million times better than usual because our family now has a pet dog, a mini schnauzer named Lesley. We became fast friends and she quickly started following me around everywhere, including "helping" me at the computer. I just love her big bat ears and huge puppy dog eyes, plus she is a very kissy dog and loves to give lots of licks. She is still working on her basic obedience as she's only 5 months old but she is very smart and I can't wait to watch her grow up!
Nothing says welcome home like a little puppy warming your feet :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Well, it's been exactly one month since my last post ...what can I say, this being a puppy blog, it's a little hard to update without a puppy.

Life has been pretty awesome lately. I got a job as a patient attendant, which means I basically look after patients in hospitals. I live in a house with three of my best friends, and most of our other friends who are here for the summer live together in another house a block and a half away. The weather is gorgeous and we go for frequent walks along the waterfront where I jealously watch many people walk their adorable dogs. We also sometimes go to Peggy's Cove, a tourist attraction which is basically a huge expanse of rocks and ocean and watch huge waves soak unsuspecting people.Amy came to visit a few weeks ago, and it was great to see her even if it was only for a day. We went out to an old military base with a few of our friends and ran around and pretended to shoot cannons at each other.Besides that, nothing very exciting has happened. It's been a very relaxing summer so far, full of friends, good food, good weather, and almost daily barbecuing. There have been many steaks consumed in this house... Oh yes, and there has been one puppy in my life- my friend's one year old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Sandy. She is so bouncy and smart and a joy to have around. She's a little small because she was the runt of the litter and was sick as a puppy but isn't she the cutest thing you've ever seen? That happy puppy grin is a heart-melter for sure.In other news, I will be heading home in a couple weeks so check back then for updates on my new family puppy Lesley and puppy-stealing adventures as I visit Sam and Amy! Have a great summer break to my fellow students (and teachers too of course :))

Saturday, May 02, 2009

No Day But Today

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post! Life has been crazy busy since then-I had four term papers due in a week and then lots of stressful finals in addition to packing up my room and finding somewhere to keep all my stuff for a week before moving in to my new house.

Thankfully, that is now all over and I am writing this post from my new room! Four of my friends and I are sharing a house for the next year, embarking on the poor student living adventure. Just this morning I had a breakfast cupcake as it was my only option, but hopefully we'll be able to get some grocery shopping done soon. My room is a mess right now but I decided writing a blog post would be more entertaining than unpacking.

The last five days have been a whirlwind of travel and visiting people. My friend Katie and I took off after her last exam on the 25th at 8 pm and drove 17 hours to Rochester NY to see the Broadway tour of RENT. Our parents were quite convinced we were going to die, but the drive was surprisingly easy. We each took 4 hour driving shifts and managed to stay awake the whole time. Both of us have a tendency to speed (I know, bad habit, but driving on a straight highway at night with no traffic makes it easy to forget how fast you're going) so we managed to cut off quite a bit of our travel time. Also, what up New York Thruway with your million police cars and equal amount of toll- I think we paid over $20 in New York alone. But it was all worth it to get to our final destination...RENT!! What can I say- seeing Sam again was awesome, and the show was phenomenal. One of the best nights of my life for sure. Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal live and five feet in front of my face- I got chills listening to them sing and finally seeing the production live in theater. Thank you Jonathan Larson for writing such an amazing, moving musical! We got to meet Mekalea as well, which was so much fun!! Puppy raisers never run out of things to talk about when they get together :)

After the show we were hoping to get to the stage door to hopefully meet the cast and get some things signed, but they ended up doing a fundraiser after the show (where Anthony Rapp auctioned off and took off his pants on stage!) so unfortunately we didn't get to do that, but I DID meet one of my favourite ensemble members, Telly Leung.Yay! It was so awesome. Of course, being the dork that I am I blurted out that I loved his blog and he replied with an "Aww, thanks" so it wasn't too embarassing at least. It was the perfect way to end such an awesome night, and I'm so glad everything worked out. I got lots of snuggle time with Friday too, and catchup time with Sam so I was very, very happy.We also had Cracker Barrell for lunch the next day- oh happy times with biscuits and delicious food!! We had a lot of fun reminiscing about our trip to Mississippi. On the way home, we stopped by Niagara Falls as Katie had never been to them before. Living a couple hours of away from the falls, I've seen them too many times to count, but the vastness and natural beauty gets to me every time. After that, it was off to HOME at last! I haven't been home since early January, so I was definitely looking forward to going back. My parents also got a puppy the day before I got home. She's a little 14 week mini schnauzer named Lesley.
She was still in the quiet, not doing anything stage when I was home but I hear since then she's been starting to test boundaries and her place in the pack but hopefully my parents have learned something from the puppies that have passed through our house and will train her well. She is oh so very cute though, and I had lots of fun snuggling her and starting her training in basic obedience.

After three days at home, it was time to come back to Halifax, sadly. I got to meet up with lots of friends while at home though, and I will hopefully be back for a couple weeks at some point in the summer. Now it's time to find a summer job, unpack, set up my room and enjoy time with friends before school starts up again....here's to a relaxing and adventure-filled summer!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Cure a Nail Biting Habit

Spend six hours at an ER with your violently ill friend, four of which are spent being separated only by a curtain from someone who apparently has the Norwalk virus which is so contagious the doctors are outside talking about how they have to throw everything in the room out as soon as the patient leaves.

Is it possible to bathe in Purell?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Don't Stop Believin' - Habitat '09

I am back! Man, this past week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. It definitely alternated between really fun happy events and some very sad ones. 150 people from my school's chapter of Habitat for Humanity set off for Mississippi to build houses for people affected by Hurricane Katrina. I was on Bus 2 (of 3) with about 20 of my friends, which made the whole trip very interesting and lively to say the least.

We started off with an almost 36 hour bus ride from Halifax and drove through 2 provinces and I think 13 states to get to Ocean Springs, Mississippi where we stayed at Camp Victor. I love travelling in the states, so I was superpumped to be doing a roadtrip. There's so much more variety, especially in grocery stores, and everything's bigger and cheaper! We stopped in Fishkill, NY on our way down and everyone was seriously in awe of the Shop Rite. Also we ate at three different Cracker Barrels which we don't have here in Canada and it was delicious. But despite the many movies and singalongs ( Don't Stop Believing by Journey being one of our main songs), everyone was ready to get off the bus and start working after almost two days of being squished together on a bus.

The first day we worked was the most emotional for sure- we worked on a house that hadn't been touched since the hurricane hit in 2005. Our task was to gut the whole house, and we started in on it right away. After working all morning, we managed to take everything out of the house- furniture, toys, papers...pretty much everything was covered in water but we saved as much as we could and put all the salvageable items on a tarp outside the house. We then came back from lunch on the beach to find a little old lady digging through the her life possessions spread out on the dirt ground beside her house. It was unbelievably sad and there wasn't much to say, so we were standing around awkwardly when her daughter walked by and said "That's someone's life right there...". She had stayed through the hurricane but was forced to evacuate the next day and hadn't had the chance to come back until that day. It was hard to have to watch that, but we had to get back to work anyways and so we spent the rest of the afternoon gutting the inside of the house, which was very cool. We took out everything until just the frames were left. My friend Matt lifted me up and I punched out a wall! It was all very physical work that day, but it was tons of fun.

After we finished work that day, our site manager came on our bus and took us on a tour around the neighbourhood in Biloxi. There were still buildings that were severely damaged standing and we got to see where the water had hit, and the water lines on some of the houses. It was just incredible how much work there is still to be done, but it was also good to know that slowly but surely, things are getting better.

The next day was Mardi Gras, so our group got the day off and headed into New Orleans to celebrate. It was insane and crazy, but so much fun. Everything was so colourful and awesome, it was basically a huge party on Bourbon St. It was a very long day, we left Ocean Springs at 6:30 am and didn't get back to camp until about 10 pm, and I'm sure everyone had a very good sleep that night.

The next three days, the busses were split up- two went to build sites and did construction work, and the bus I was on went to a building site and did finishing work which means the houses are already built, but we fixed up everything to make it livable. There was some construction going on too, siding on the houses and building sheds and whatnot. I was assigned to clean out houses and I was somehow put on a team with three of my best friends, making the time go by even faster. We accomplished a lot in those three days- we cleaned out two houses. It's amazing how many little tasks have to be done in order for the house to be ready- we spent 8:30-3:30 every day touching up paint, installing appliances, putting on doors and doorknobs, caulking, cleaning, sweeping, vaccuuming, cleaning windows and putting on screens (which, incidentally, is how I found out I am terrified of being 15 feet in the air on a ladder). There are new laws now stating that new houses must be built three to seven feet off the ground, which was really cool to see- the houses are standing on wooden poles and we were able to walk right under them.

We worked with a team of Americorps and general site/construction managers which was a blast. Y'all are so nice down in the south! They have the cutest little accents and everyone we met was so friendly and welcoming. Also, we Canadians very much enjoyed Mississippi and Louisiana's 70 degree weather (that's 21 degrees Celsius)- we were romping around in shorts and tshirts even late into the night. It was hilarious because everyone we ran into just stared at us incredulously and told us we were underdressed for the weather. One of the team leaders on the job site told us one day that it was "finally beginning to warm up to spring weather". We all started laughing because that chilly spring weather is our middle-of-the-summer weather. At the end of every day, most people would head down to the beach and just chill. It was an amazing way to unwind after a long day of working.

Despite the fun factor though, there truly is still so much work to be done on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Four years later, there are still buildings that haven't been touched since the hurricane hit. One night we travelled into New Orleans, and on the way drove through the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the hardest hit areas. Some of the buildings still had identifying marks on them- X's, codes as to which organization had checked the building, the number of how many live people had been found and how many bodies were found. It was devastating to see, and a slap to reality. Four years is a long time, and people are still suffering from the aftermath of Katrina.

It wasn't all bad though- we heard some very uplifting stories from the workers at Camp Victor and witnessed some ourselves. One of the toughest guys in our group went into a grocery store just to pick up some food and came back nearly in tears because he had gone in wearing his Habitat shirt and a man had went up to him and slipped him grocery money. He of course tried to refuse it, and the man had told him to take the money or he would consider it an insult because we were rebuilding the community. Another group was thanked by an old woman who used a walker to get out of her house just to talk to them. It's amazing how people who have lost so much can still have so much faith in God and humanity and still be joyful and hopeful.

A big thank you to the hospitable staff at Camp Victor and everyone we encountered along the way- as our site manager said "It's been an incredible week seeing everyone work together- for a few days our countries merged together. There's no big difference, just a little border to hop across... with a passport and no illegal substances or drugs, of course ;)" Truly the last week has been a life-changing experience, and I absolutely cannot wait to go back and do it again next year.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy IWYPRS Day!

International Wear Your Puppy Raising Shirt Day was a great success judging by the 50 confirmed guests on Facebook and the number of posts that have gone up! I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the posts and proudly wearing my shirt around today. It was very interesting testing where to put the camera and running back while it was on timer in order to actually get pictures of the shirt, but it was tons of fun.

We begin the day with some last minute reviewing (read: cramming) for my Canadian Lit midterm...very exciting life of a student.I think I did fairly well on the exam, so after lunch it was back to the computer to send out resumes for summer jobs. (Don't mind my laundry rack in the back, I just did a load of laundry last night and have yet to complete my least favourite part of the process- folding and putting away the clothes)

Nothing really eventful happened today, so I want to take this opportunity to announce something I am VERY excited about! On April 26, Sam, my friend Katie and I will be in Rochester, NY to see the touring production of RENT!!!!!!! It features my loves original Broadway cast members Adam Pascal (the green dude) and Anthony Rapp (in blue). I am so beyond excited for this, I don't even have words to express it. As anyone who knows me knows, I just love this musical and the messages it espouses- no day but today, and accepting everyone for who they are. Absolutely cannot WAIT!I ended the day as I have for the past couple of days- Sam, being my hero, sent me her copy of "Without You- A Memoir of Love, Loss and the Musical RENT", Anthony Rapp's memoir. Seeing as how it wasn't to be found anywhere in Toronto and Halifax, I've pretty much been on a reading rampage since I got it. Thanks a billion Sam! Hopefully we can get it signed at the stage door in Rochester!My shirt ended its day in the emptyish hamper after an exciting day of being out on the town. I love IWYPRSD and can't wait to do it again next year!!!

On another note, I'm leaving tomorrow for Biloxi, Mississippi with my school's chapter of Habitat for Humanity. We're going to a build site where some of the houses have not been touched since Hurricane Katrina hit- we'll literally be the first ones to be inside after the families evacuated. I am so excited to be a part of this trip, and hope to help make a real difference in some peoples' lives. I'll be back next Sunday with lots of stories and pictures!