Monday, December 31, 2012

Live Nativity

A few weeks ago we went to a live nativity at a local church.  Being our first Christmas here, we were not exactly sure what to expect, but decided to bring Dante anyways.  The church that it was at is fairly large and there were a ton of animals that Dante got to meet.  There were sheep, donkeys, horses, llamas and they even had three camels.

Dante was on sensory overload, but did really, really wellAs expected, he was extremely interested, but not terribly distracted and didn't bark at any of them (yay!).

Dante and the llama.  Sorry about the poor quality; the only camera we had was my mom's phone.

Taking it all in.

The camels

Dante watching

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dante's Birthday

Last week on Dante's birthday, he had the special treat of getting to go to a doggie bakeryWe have been here once before and Dante loves it.  He gets so excited because he knows that this is HIS store.  I let him get a "pupcake" decorated as a reindeer to bring homeThey also gave him a mini one for free because it was his birthday.  He ate the little on there and has been getting a piece of the larger one every day since then.  

Choosing his birthday cake.  Can you believe all of that is dog food?!

With his goodies.

"Waiting" for his treat.

The reindeer "pupcake."
 After this, we headed over to the park and Dante got in a nice long walk.  This boy loves his walks!  Happy birthday, Mr. D!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One Year

Today is Dante's first birthday.  There were so many "little" milestones leading up to and after getting Dante.  This one seems to have come far too quickly.  To think that I have but a little over six months left with him - so exciting and sad at the same time.

The last ten months that I have had Dante had been the closest to a roller coaster that you'll get me on.  But the fun and joy of having this ball of fur in my charge have far outweighed the rough spots.  He has come so far and is still learning so much.  

But enough with the sentiment.  ;-)  Here are just a few of the things that Dante has learned and accomplished his first year.

  • Traveled 2,163 miles at eight weeks old to get to his puppy raiser.

  • Learned that walks are fun and Gentle Leaders aren't half-bad either.

  •  He learned that growing puppies need sleep. . .

  • And more sleep.

  •  Learned to love his people.

  • And trust us even when he is unsure.

  • Explored lots of new places.

  • And learned (and still is) to behave well, be still and quiet and that he doesn't have to be afraid of anything.


Love this boy :-)

Happy 1st birthday, Dante!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


A few weeks ago I went to dinner with a friend (when we were in the mountains).  She knows and loves Dante, but had never been out in public with us before.  

During the time that we were together, she said multiple times how weird it was that everyone was staring at us, and talking to/about us.  It got me thinking about how slowly and steadily I have learned to ignore these things.  Sure, I hear The. Funniest. comments from people on a daily basis, but somehow in the course of the last ten months, it has become normal.

The first few times I had a puppy in public were weird.  I don't like being the center of attention, and I enjoy eating without being stared at.  The fact is, with an adorable puppy walking next to you, having someone ignore you is very rare (but, Oh, so welcome!).

When I don't have much time or even just really working on Dante's focus, I have learned to not make eye contact with anyone.  Sure, I love to tell people about CCI or educate on service dogs, but for those people who just want to get their hands on my dog, I keep it short, and move on.  Lately, Dante has been getting distracted by people, so there has been no petting allowed.  For the record: saying "no" to petting gets so much easier the more you do it.  

On Wednesday we went to the mall.  A few of the things that were said about/to us included:
  •  (My mom heard after she had passed us.  About me telling her she couldn't pet Dante)  "Well, I've never heard that one before."  All I said was that he couldn't be pet because he was working right now.  Apparently, she has not met many service animals.
  • A mom explaining to her children: "You see that lady holding the doggie's leash, she's can't see and the dog is guiding her."  I really do appreciate your effort to educate your kids, even though it was slightly off :-)
  • After I explained to a very nice woman why I wasn't allowing Dante to be pet: "So, can you pet him?"
There were probably countless other comments made out of my hearing.  The funny thing is when I go out without Dante, now that is weird.  I just said "let's go!" to myself.  What do I do with my hands without a leash in them?

Yup, I think it's official: this is my new normal.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thanksgiving: Part 3

I promise this is the last one, as I'm sure you're tired of hearing every last detail of Dante's life.  But hey, you still came back ;-)

Saturday morning, we went to pick out our Christmas tree! 

Dante was not exactly on his best behavior here, as he kept trying to eat the tall grass.  But he responded pretty well to some "don't"s and a few corrections.  He was a little unsure of the chainsaw, but was never too nervous or afraid.

That night, we met some of our friends at a little BBQ place.  This was by far the most challenging situation Dante has been in.  It was a small place but very popular and crowded.  And the floor was pretty gross.  When they led us to our table, I knew there was no way I could ask Dante to behave with what was under the table, and honestly I didn't want him laying in it either.  I felt bad about asking them to sweep before we sat down, but they were very nice about it.  There was still plenty that he could lick/eat and it took my constant attention/correction for 25 minutes before he settled down.  But he really did do very well, considering.  

On another note, I was talking to the woman at the next table about Dante, and it turns out that she knows someone who raises for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in my old region.  Small world!

Sunday morning we left for home.  About halfway, we stopped at our friends' house.  Dante was not very well behaved here.  Well, let me clarify - he looks well behaved to people who are used to your average pet, but not up to my (or CCI's) standards.

More traffic, and stopping for dinner and we were finally home about 10pm.  Dante danced around the house (read: tried to chase the cat) for half an hour, and very happily went to sleep, finally back home.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving: Part 2

On Friday morning, Dante and I made our morning trek to "hurry," and he got to greet the resident dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever, and very sweet, on the way back in.  We went back to our room where Dante did his "I can't believe I'm still here!" dance around the room for 20 minutes.  We met my parents downstairs for breakfast where my mom didn't even realize he was under the table until we got up to leave.  Now that is pretty darn good. ;-)

My family went into town to do some shopping, but Dante and I stayed in our room so that I could get some homework done.  And the cute shops in town aren't exactly doggie tail-friendly (small, not a great amount of space to move around).

"Stop whatever you're doing and come play with me."

My family came back and we went out to lunch, where Dante was an angel again.  I think he was so good because he was never bored; always something new.  But I must say that I was very impressed with the people of this town, as we had not one access issue anywhere we went, or even a question or acknowledgment from any employees - VERY nice!

We then went to Grandfather Mountain.  It was so, incredibly windy.  Poor Dante did not know what to think at first, but trusted me and trekked along anyways.

We walked across the mile-high bridge that was actually moving because it was so windy.  I think Dante did better on it than I did. ;-)

Dante's "why the heck are we here" face.

We then went into the gift shop, where Dante kept his nose to himself, then back out to the car where he "hurried" for me.  I was soooo proud of him (as only a puppy raiser can understand) that he went in such wind.

A little ways down the mountain there is a zoo-et (10-is animals).  CCI puppies are not allowed in real zoos, but only a few of the animals were out, and it was good for him to smell all the smells.

He did get to meet the otters, though.  There were some people up at the  glass watching them play a little ways back.  We went up to the glass, and within a minute, they caught sight of Dante.  They LOVED each other!  They played along the glass for about 10 minutes.  All the people who were around loved seeing it too and, needless to say, got lots of good pictures of the otters that day :-)

As you can see, Dante was a little over-exuberant at first, but settled down pretty well.

Another gift shop/small museum to see, before we called it a day, and headed back to the hotel for dinner and some much needed play and crate time.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thanksgiving: Part 1

I'm so sorry for the delay in posting.  Blogger was giving me trouble, but I finally figured it out and am back up and running (hopefully!).

Two weeks ago Dante left for his first trip with us.  We traveled to the Mountains for Thanksgiving.  What should have been around nine hours turned into twelve (traffic, getting lost), but Dante did amazing.  I was really worried that he was going to get restless, but during the three hours he wasn't sleeping he played with his toys calmly.

We only stopped twice the whole trip, so I was very glad he held out so well.  We got to the hotel about 7:45pm.  When my dad made the reservations a few months ago and told them we would have a service dog in training, they said OK, but they would need an ID and pay a pet deposit.  We were like we'll talk about it when we get there.  When we got there, they were fabulous, and never said a word about him.  

Dante LOVED the hotel.  Oh my goodness,  I have never seen him more excited.  he was over the moon that he was free in a new space, and his crate, bed and favorite toys were there!

He also let me know when it was time to stop doing homework.
 I was a little really worried about getting Dante to "hurry" in the mornings, as our room was the farthest from the entrance.  But, Dante did fine the whole seven minute walk outside each morning (time it, seven minutes is looong when you have a puppy with a full bladder).

On Thursday morning, we went hiking.  Dante did a little more pulling than usual, but it was so new and sometimes hard not to wait, but do it in one big jump.

Trail head
Dante had so much fun, and was so tired out from not just the exercise, but all the new experiences.

Tired, anyone?
I can do ups on weird things!
  Dante did not come downstairs for Thanksgiving dinner, but stayed in his crate unwinding.  But after that, we headed into town to walk around, and enjoy all of the decorations and quiet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This is a non dog related post, but if you would like to know a little more about me, feel free to read!

Days with Dante has been awarded the Sunshine Award from my friend Lauren at Jacob and Lauren Goetze.  Thanks, Lauren!

Here are the rules:
1.  Thank the person who awarded you.
2.  Place the Sunshine award on your blog.
3.  Answer the questions  about yourself that can be found on the blog of the person who nominated you.
4.  Nominate others for the award!

Here are Lauren's questions:

What is your favorite holiday movie?  I have to say "It's a Wonderful Life" because my family watches it every Christmas Eve and it is such a great movie and tradition.  

What is your favorite flower?  Ooo, this is a hard one.  Sunflowers are one of my favorite!

What is your favorite drink?  I hardly drink anything besides water, but on special occasion my favorite has to be an Izze.

 What is your passion?  Well, more obviously one of my passions is raising puppies, but I am extremely passionate about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Not so much a passion, but a hobby, I love to crochet and have been sooo inspired lately (Pinterest, anyone?), but can't seem to find the time I need to get it all done :-)

What is your favorite time of the year?  Fall.  Hands down.

What is your favorite time of the day?  Depends on the day!  Hahaha!  Probably right before bed when Dante has been crated and I sit on my bed reading my Bible and whatever other pleasure books I'm reading at the time.

 What is your favorite physical activity?  I enjoy walking D and love jumping rope (which I still haven't been able to start up again after breaking my ankle in June).

What is your favorite vacation spot?  Beaufort, NC.  Cutetest beach town EVER.

As I was writing this, I realized that a good portion of my readers don't know me outside of this blog, so I hope your enjoyed this break in "regular" post to learn a little about me.

And now it's time for me to award.  I am awarding YOU.  Yup, that's right.  If you are reading this, you are now awarded!  Take the award on you blog, copy the rules, answer the question and then comment on this post so that I can see what you answered!

P.S. Come back soon to see how Dante's first Thanksgiving went.  It is long and will probably take more than one post!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My sister, Rebecca is an aspiring photographer, and got some great shots of Dante the other day!


 And what's a picture post without the goofs? ;-)

Classic Dante look.

I do love this one - soooo him!