Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jazz It Up!


When the kids first met Jazz, they were really interested to learn what his middle and last names were. Not having either, I didn't have a very good response for them... Evidently, my honest answer was unacceptable for 7-10 year olds. So, they decided to name him themselves. One little boy decided that his full name should be Jazz It Up. This was a hit with his cohorts, and so, Jazz It Up it is!

As Jazz and I were leaving work this evening, we ran into this little boy with his visitor. They had been playing ball in the gym, and the boy was so excited to see Jazz (It Up) as they walked out of the gym. Jazz (It Up), still developing his sit-to-be-pet skills, jumped excitedly at the boy. The boy set his large beach ball down on the ground so that he could pet Jazz (It Up), and Jazz (It Up) pounced on the ball, straddling it with his entire body, high centered on the large ball. He clumsily rolled off the ball as I pulled back with his leash, explaining to the boy that Jazz (It Up) isn't allowed to play with balls. As the boy continued to try to pet Jazz (It Up), I was able to quickly get him in a sit, which he popped out of just as quickly. We continued this game of Jack-in-the-Box as the boy attempted to pet him. Jazz eventually sat his bottom on the ground, but proceeded to climb up the boy with his front paws, attempt to grab the ball, and otherwise act like a puppy. Eventually he settled and laid down on his own. Then he started to chew on the boy's shoe lace. As I constantly resituated Jazz (It Up), the boy smiled and laughed, appreciatively stating, "I'm so glad I saw Jazz today." As I asked the boy to say good-bye for the night, Jazz (It Up) popped his head up and gave the boy a big kiss on the face.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Learning Curve

For a 15-week-old puppy, Jazz is doing very well at work! He spends most of the day sleeping on his bed in the office, occasionally waking to play with his toys and take potty breaks.

I have gradually been taking him out and about more - attending meetings, therapy sessions, and visiting the kids. He LOVES the kids (as most Labs do), and the kids love him! Problem is, he's such a puppy ;) He thinks kids (and pretty much anyone he sees in the hallway) are for pouncing on. After all, they are all there to see him, right? Visualize multiple children excitedly running towards a cute little puppy, exclaiming his name as they approach with hands extended. Ack! So..., the kids (and adults) and Jazz are having to learn appropriate greetings together. My multitasking skills are in overdrive as I put Jazz in a sit (and keep him there) while verbally reminding the kids to stop, wait, ask nicely, approach calmly, and keep their voices and bodies calm, only petting Jazz while he's sitting calmly. I keep reminding Jazz that he's a Guide Dog. He keeps reminding me that he's a puppy :) Inevitably, the kids squat down to pet him, and he reaches up to kiss them, and smiles erupt. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it.

Professional Puppy?


Arriving late to an early morning meeting, I didn't have time to put Jazz in the office first, so I decided he could just go to the meeting with me. As I entered the meeting room, I found the only open chair to be between the CEO and VP. I sat Jazz down next to me, and the CEO reached down and gently started petting him. I gave Jazz a quiet toy to play with, and asked him to settle on the floor. Within minutes he was bored. He began his favorite game of chewing on his leash, followed by the game of rolling around biting at it when I tried to correct him for it. While being sure to continue to pay attention to the meeting, I reached down and rearranged Jazz, removing the leash from his mouth, putting him back in an appropriate down, and placing his toy back in front of him. Within minutes he was rolling around again, crawling under my chair, chewing at his leash, grabbing at my hand, and attempting to chew on the VP's leather purse handle. Fortunately, I caught that one before he was successful!

After a while, I decided enough is enough! I pulled Jazz up into my lap and placed him in the "calming puppy position," careful to stroke his belly very gently, as he is rather ticklish and starts kicking with all four legs, which would have had the opposite effect. As I gently stroked his big puppy belly, he calmed and relaxed. Within minutes, he was sound asleep. He adjusted himself slightly, curling up in my arms like a baby. Then, he began to snore. Loudly. And he continued to snore, loudly.

As I pretended to not notice that there was a snoring puppy in the room, my coworkers smiled at him and chuckled with amusement. As our consultant (on videoconference) wrapped up on something we were all done listening to, the CFO teased him that he had bored the puppy to sleep.

Jazz may need to work on his professionalism a bit, but he kept us all sane through that meeting!