Hello Ruff Life Friends- I wanted to share with you something that is particularly close to my heart. Dogs that serve in the military…. or what are called Military working dogs (MWD)… and March 13 is a day to Nationally recognize them.
I want to clarify some things. There are many types of working dogs. Dogs that work with law enforcement as well as the military, ones that sniff for bombs, working dogs for the blind , medical alert, therapy dogs and emotional support dogs. There are so many types of dogs that “work”…. but there are a small, elite group of dogs that are military, and an even smaller group we can also classify as veterans.
My brother is a Marine. He has been deployed more times than you can count on your fingers on both hands. He served our country and survived, but not without the lasting impressions of what war is. Many fought for our country. Some came home and some did not. The same goes for our MWD. There are MWD that stay stateside for training of them and their handlers. There is a group of MWD that end up overseas that assist the military for a multitude of reasons. For MWD, the majority of the jobs consists of alerting to danger or scent and potentially sniffing out a particular thing.
Here in Michigan we have a pet cemetery and memorial park dedicated to Military Working Dogs, Police Dogs and other working dogs as well as peoples pets that have passed.
The Michigan War Dog Memorial is a non-profit organized to educate the general public on the heroics and dedication that K-9’s give to serve and protect us
The volunteers from their organization travel all over to events to do presentations and talk with groups about the importance of their work and these dogs.
Their MISSION is to continue restoration of the public space they have to a park setting and maintain that setting for the purpose of allowing interment of retired Military Working Dogs and retired Service Dogs. Because they are non-profit and because of donations they are able to provide interment, with full honors, at no cost to the handler/owner. They also provide research for military records and/or service records.
Military War Dogs have been deployed and work alongside our brothers and sisters in uniform. Their job has changed over the years, but their dedication has remained true.
If you want to go pay tribute to the dogs that have served us, the War Dog Memorial is in South Lyon.
While Newman was on his adventures getting cookies to Santa’s Elves….. there was another problem that needed solving.
We still have to find Gallivanting Gryphon and get the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 back from him!
Dee Dee and Lulu need to find these 🪨 stones 🪨 and get them back SOON! They need to have them in less than two weeks!! Their 👰🏽♂️ humans 🤵🏽♂️ are getting 💍 married and they need them for the ceremony!
Who will help them get these 🪨 stones 🪨 back?!?! I think we have a couple of 🇬🇧 British 💂🏽♂️ 🕵🏽 detectives 🧐 that are up for the hunt!
DeeDee and Lulu knew they needed to hire professional help to get the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 back from Gallivanting Gryphon!
They decided to call 👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 , the most successful pooch private investigators!
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 were happy to jump in to help find the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨! Because they are well connected they had already heard about this dastardly deed and had intel to share with DeeDee and Lulu!!!!
How would they possibly know about this?!? They live in London!
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 (Part 3)
🧐 Sherbosco Holmes is an internationally acclaimed detective and he is often roped into assisting 🇬🇧 MI6 and Scotland Yard🕵🏽 when there are special circumstances, especially involving 🐕 canine criminals and bow-wow bandits 🐶!
🧐 Sherbosco had already heard of 👿 Gallivanting Gryphon! 👿 Gryphon has found himself unintentionally wrapped up in an international smuggling ring! He was somehow coaxed into taking the Charlevoix Stones from 💫 DeeDee and Lulu 🪶 to sell to the evil Prof Muttriarty!
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 needed to figure out why 👿 Gallivanting Gryphon would do this! From what they devised in their research, he seemed like a really good bloke outside of international stone theft!
Our pooch professionals were able to catch up with 👿 Gallivanting Gryphon and questioned him as to why…. stay tuned for details on their interrogation!
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 (Part 4)
The detective duo sat down with 👿 Gallivanting Gryphon and had a chat with him! They learnt that Gryphon took the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 because he thought 💫 DeeDee and Lulu 🪶 were so clever and smart, they could find more…. 👿 Gallivanting Gryphon’s judgement was also clouded with grief as he very recently lost his little sidekick Pippin to the Rainbow Bridge. He didn’t know what he was getting into!
Muttriarty also made an offer he couldn’t refuse! Instead of a 🪨 stones 🪨 SMUGGLING operation though, he thought he was going into a SNUGGLING operation! He was going to trade the 🪨 stones 🪨 for hugs🤗! He was sad and he just wanted more HUGS and snuggling to make him feel better! He never meant to hurt anyone.
He said he came to the 🇬🇧 UK to trade the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 but he was TRICKED and Muttriarty made off with the 🪨 magical stones 🪨…… but not before learning that Muttriarty was collecting 🪨 magical stones 🪨 to use in his giant space laser. He knew where Muttriarty was going! He could lead the way!
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 (Part 5)
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 learnt from Gryphon that the mischievous Muttriarty was headed to Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex. 15 years ago in this coastal village, there was a nuclear power plant, not running, but still standing. Prof Muttriarty played a role in the decomissioning of this power plant. Little did the contracting team know, Muttriarty was secretly collecting radioactive material and hiding it away, while also starting work on his space laser. No one knew he was building a vault under this power station. It was brilliant! All the infrastructure was there to power his laser, he just needed the right raw materials to make it work!!
That is where 👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 would be able to find the menacing Muttriarty.
Muttriarty made it back to is lair and greeted his sister and co-conspirator, Mischievous Mollie.
Muttriarty: Mollie, I’m back! I have the 🪨 STONES!
Mollie: Did you say SCONES!! I LOVE SCONES!
Muttriarty: Nooooo Mollie, I said I was orf to get the magical 🪨 STONES! STONES MOLLIE!!
Mollie: I was certain you said mouthwatering SCONES when you left! I don’t want 🪨 STONES! They are yucky!
Muttriarty: Of course their yucky, they’re inedible Mollie!
Mollie: But those shufty fancy SCONES! Let me try one…..
Muttriarty: Good Golly Miss. Mollie, they’re NOT SCONES!!! They are 🪨 STONES for my ⚡ space laser!!!
Mollie: That’s no fun, I want scones.
Muttriarty: I’m chuffed to bits! We are going to take over the 🌍 world!
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 (Part 7)
Muttriarty has been working all weekend even through all the noisy 🎇 New Year Celebrations! He is getting his ⚡space laser ready and he’s almost finished! He just needs to place the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 in the correct place to refract and condense the 🔅light. The ⚡ laser will then be all powerful! He will then use the ⚡ laser to take over the 🌍 world!
He’s so tired though from working all weekend, he needed to take a nap! He will rest and then place the 🪨 stones in the morning and then 🌍 WORLD DOMINATION!
Muttriarty: Mollie, watch the door! I am going to nap! Make sure NO ONE comes in here! Keep the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 safe!
Mollie: OK! I will keep watch. Do we have any scones to eat yet?
Muttriarty: No MOLLIE! WE DON’T HAVE SCONES!
Mollie: I just wanted to make sure!
Muttriarty: Just watch the door!
Mollie: Okay, I just really wish we had scones.
Little did Muttriarty know, 👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 had tracked him to is lair and they had been keeping surveillance all weekend!
Now that Muttriarty was taking a break, they had a plan!
As soon as Muttriarty was gone, Mollie heard knocking at the door. Who could it be!?
She opened the door and saw a lovely plate of SCONES!!! She knew they MUST be for her!!
She didn’t even think twice about protecting the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨! She was so hungry!
Mischievous Mollie 😜 ran right outside without any consideration for closing the🚪door and started eating the scones!!
Little did she know there were two schnauzers keeping watch and ready to go in and nab the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨!
That is in fact what they did! And so quickly, she hadn’t even finished eating her scones yet! Just like that 👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 retrieved the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨 for 💫 DeeDee and Lulu 🪶!
Now, they needed to figure out a way to notify 💫 DeeDee and Lulu 🪶 they have the 🪨 stones and the wedding can proceed! They have three days to get the 🪨 stones to the United States (Michigan) for the wedding ceremony of 💫 DeeDee and Lulu’s 🪶 humans!!
Will they make it in time?!? ⏰
As 👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 were making off with the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨, Muttriarty came looking for Mollie!
Muttriarty: Mollie!!!! Where are you!?! WHERE ARE MY 🪨 STONES!!
Mollie: Huh? What?! What 🪨 stones?
Muttriarty: THE 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨!!
Mollie: Oh, huh? They were just there!!!
Muttriarty: Well, now they are NOT! Where are they?!?!
Mollie: Uh, I think I saw two schnauzers……
Muttriarty: NOOO! NOT 👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 ?!?!?!?!?! They have my 🪨 stones! We must find them and get them back!!!
AND what is that all over your FACE?! 🐶
Mollie: Uh, nothing.
👓 Sherbosco Holmes & Dr. Kipson 🩺 made off to the Colchester airport with the 🪨 Charlevoix Stones 🪨! They need to catch their flight and get to Michigan ASAP!
This good doggie went to visit 🎅 Santa ❄️ to tell him all the things 🎁 he would like for 🎄 Christmas! He had quite the list!!
🌟 ☮️ World Peace 🕊️ 🌎…. 🚫 No more Cancer 🚫 for ANYONE, All the 😿🐶 shelter animals 🐹🐰 to find homes and for Newman to have a lifetime of 🦴🦴 snacks, 🧀 cheese and biscuits!
Well, 🎅 Santa ❄️ has been working on a majority of that list for a long time….. and knows it will take some time to fulfill part of his requests…. But getting Newman treats and snacks would be no problem!
But, in return for a LIFETIME of treats, 🎅 Santa ❄️ asked Newman 🐕 to do something for him! He would like him to make 🍪 cookies for 🎅 Santa ❄️ to take to his 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ back at the ❄️ North Pole 🏔️.
Newman agreed!👏🏾 🎅 Santa ❄️ also added one very important stipulation! The cookies need to have the ✨ magical sprinkles! ✨! But where can they find magical sprinkles? Do you know where Newman is able to find the ✨ magical sprinkles! ✨?
Newman had NO idea where to find the ✨ magical sprinkles! ✨!
Even though he didn’t know, he knew who to call to ask! BELLA! 🛎️
His friend Bella has been a traveler throughout the hills and heights of Madison and beyond….. she would surely know where to find the ✨ magical sprinkles! ✨!
So, Newman called her!
Newman: Hey Bella! Happy Howlidays!
Bella: Hey Newman! I heard you were lucky enough to see 🎅 Santa ❄️ !
Newman: Yes, and he needs our help! He needs me to make cookies with ✨ magical sprinkles! ✨! Do you know where I can find them?
Bella: If it is ✨ magical sprinkles ✨ you need, you must travel to the Mills of Nankin to the keepers of all the sprinkles, DeeDee and Lulu. They will help you with your quest!
Newman: Thanks Bella! For helping, I will make you some magical cookies too!
Bella: Those sound delicious! Thank you Newman! Can’t wait!
Stay tuned…. will DeeDee and Lulu have enough ✨ magical sprinkles ✨ to share with Newman!?
Newman was able to get directions and raced over to the Mills of Nankin to find Dee Dee and Lulu.
Will they have the ✨ magical sprinkles ✨? Will Newman have enough time to make cookies for 🎅 Santa ❄️?
Newman rushed to the Mills of Nankin and found Dee Dee and Lulu! But, he was too late!! All the magical sprinkles are gone!!
Dee Dee and Lulu told Newman not to fret, they could make more magical sprinkles but they would need magical dust from the moon! Newman was shocked! The Moon?!? Yes, the Moon!
Their friend Seamus has been harvesting magical, mystical dust from the moon they use to make the magical sprinkles! ! They need more to make the sprinkles for Newman!!
Good NEWS!!! Seamus is at the moon NOW!!! He is going to bring back MAGICAL DUST soon! Will it be in time to make magical sprinkles! for Newman to make cookies for Santa !?!
Newman knew he had to contact Seamus ASAP to let him know he needed to hurry back with the magic dust from the MOON!
So, he headed to Mission Control to radio Seamus!
Newman: Mission Control to Seamus, come in Seamus!
Seamus: Seamus here, is that you Newman?!
Newman: YES! Seamus, I need your help! I need you to hurry back to Earth with your magic dust! I need Dee Dee and Lulu to make magical sprinkles for me so I am able to make magical cookies for Santa and his Elves !
Seamus: Copy that! Loading up now and heading back to Earth.
Newman: God Speed Seamus! Be safe!
Will Seamus be back soon enough!?! Will Dee Dee and Lulu have enough time to make the magical sprinkles ??
Our friend Seamus is loaded up and heading back to Earth!!
Soon Dee Dee and Lulu will be able to make more magical sprinkles for Newman!
Yay!! Seamus made it back to Earth and was able to deliver the magic dust to Dee Dee and Lulu!!
To help save on time, Seamus offered to help them make the magical sprinkles too! You see, Seamus is not only an astronaut, he is also a 5 Star Muttchelin chef too!!
How long will it take them to make the magical sprinkles ???
Uh ohhhhh!! Houston, we have a problem!!
When the gang tried to collect all their tools and ingredients to make the Magical Sprinkles , Dee Dee and Lulu realized they were missing their special rocks they use to grind down the magic dust from the moon! These are special rocks as they come from Northern Michigan and they are called Charlevoix stones! These special stones are needed to make the sprinkles even more magical!
Where could they have gone!?! Who took the Charlevoix stones?!?!
There’s something brewing, but is isn’t magical sprinkles !!
Newman and his gang didn’t know they were being watched this whole time!!!
Newman & Seamus realized they had a thief on their hands!! So, they scampered off to their security room to review recent video surveillance at the Mills of Nankin.
There was a lot of video to review as it is a popular area for family photos and pictures, so many people coming and going…. but they spotted him!! The dastardly dog was caught on camera with the Charlevoix stones!!
Seamus knew that face…. even with the mask…. he knew that was his old friend Gallivanting Gryphon, former fluffy friend turned into the Bow-wow Bandit!
Seamus was shocked though! Gryphon’s thievery was typically only treats and snacks…. never something of this value!!
Why did Gryphon take the stones? What is he trying to do? Will they get the stones back?
The gang set out to find Gallivanting Gryphon and the stones… so they started posting flyers all over the town! 🏙️
THEY NEED OUR HELP FINDING THE THEM!! KEEP A LOOK OUT FOR GRYPHON AND THE CHARLEVOIX STONES🪨!
Newman has an incoming call from CHARLEVOIX, MI!
Newman: Uh, hello? HI! This is Newman
Brew: Hey, is this the chap looking for Charlevoix stones? My name is Brew… I saw your flyer.
Newman: Yes! Do you have Dee Dee and Lulu’s stones?!
Brew: I don’t have THEIR stones, but I have some extra Petoskey and Charlevoix stones if you want to come get some! They are everywhere where I live! We have some to share!
Newman: Maybe we can use yours until we find Dee Dee and Lulu’s stones!! Thank you so much Brew! I will send one of our fastest friends to come get them from you!
Brew: No problem, happy to help! Tell whomever you send to meet me at The Spare Key Winery!
Newman: Sure will, thank you friend!
This is so great! Newman can borrow some stones until they find Dee Dee and Lulu’s!! He has a call to make!
Newman knew he had to send his fastest friend to get to Charlevoix quickly!! So he called his GREYT friend Ginger!
Newman: Hey Ginger! I hope you’re GREYT! I have a favor to ask!
Ginger: Sure Newman! Hey, I heard you met 🎅 Santa ❄️! What was he like? Is he 🪄 magical?
Newman: 🎅 Santa ❄️ is very cool! I will tell you more about him later! But for now, he needs me to make 🍪 cookies for his 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ and I need ✨ magical sprinkles ✨ to do that and now I need Charlevoix stones 🪨 to make the ✨ magical sprinkles ✨! It’s a long story Ginger! I’ll have to fill you in another time! Are you able to run up to Charlevoix for me and pick up some stones from our new friend Brew☕?
Ginger: Sure Newman! I’d love to take a run!! Text me the address and I will go now!
Newman: Thank you Ginger! When I get these ✨ magical sprinkles ✨ and 🍪 cookies made, I will save some for you!
Ginger: That would be awesome Newman! I LOVE COOKIES!
Despite the snow and rain, she is on her way! She’s so fast she will make it in no time!
Ginger made it safely to Charlevoix! YAY!!! She found Brew☕ and was able to take a tour of his family’s 🥂 winery! It is really cool!
Ginger secured the mystical stones🪨 from Brew☕ and is headed back to the Mills of Nankin.
Will Ginger make it back with the stones🪨! Will they be able to make the ✨ magical sprinkles ✨ in time?
Ginger was so 💨 fast, she made it in record 🕝 time!!
Ginger met up with Newman and they are both jumping for JOY!
⭐ TEAMWORK ⭐
After celebrating, Newman and Seamus got right to work making the Magical Sprinkles from the magic dust!
Seamus told Newman he would show him the ancient method passed on to him by is Irish ancestors to make the Magical Sprinkles extra special!
Newman was so excited! He was ready to learn! He wanted to make Magical Sprinkles for EVERYONE!!
The recipe Seamus taught Newman was so good, Newman had to eat some of the Magical Sprinkles
Newman says they are DELICIOUS!
Quality control is very important to Newman! He wants these Magical Sprinkles to be perfect! So the cookies will be extra special for Santa !!
Dee Dee and Lulu were able to reopen their shop and start giving Magical Sprinkles away again to anyone that needed them!
Seamus and Newman helped them get back to business…… but, Dee Dee and Lulu still didn’t have their stones back! Even though Newman found new Charlevoix and Petoskey Stones…… they still needed their two stones back! They needed them back for a special event in January!
They need help to track down Gallivanting Gryphon! They need to know if he still had their stones or if he gave them away!! Who can help Dee Dee and Lulu get their stones back?
Now that Newman has Magical Sprinkles, he can make cookies for Santa and his Elves !
Newman has one problem!! He doesn’t know how to make cookies!!! He doesn’t have a good recipe for making cookies with Magical Sprinkles either.
Can you help Newman?!?! Do you know how to make cookies? Do you have a recipe you can share with Newman to make cookies with Magical Sprinkles??
Newman has been taking notes and devising a recipe for the magical cookies for Santa’s Elves . He heard from friends about different recipe ideas, proper and best ingredients as well as baking time for the cookies!
While doing his research, friends Vanya and Stella stopped by to give Newman a gift! You see, they recently went on a trip to VIENNA! How fun!
They brought Newman back a cookie stamp to make his cookies EXTRA special and for Santa and his Elves to know the cookies were made by a very cool DOG!!
They were also hoping Newman would make THEM some cookies too! Especially since they heard these cookies will have Magical Sprinkles !!
Now that Newman has all the Magical Sprinkles he could ever want, he needs to get his groceries for making cookies!!
Only the best ingredients for Santa and his Elves . Newman is going to try and locally source as many things he can, like the butter, eggs, sugar and flour!
Newman needs to get a lot of each ingredient, he’s promised cookies to so many people now!
Newman received so many recommendations for how to make the 🍪 cookies, but ultimately he settled on one from his friend Archie!
It was a recipe from his human, handed down to her from her babusya when she lived in 🌻Ukraine!
Archie asked Newman if he could make extra cookies and possibly send them to his cousins in 🌻Ukraine!! They could use all the extra love they can get right now!
OF COURSE! Newman doesn’t know how he is going to get them there, but he’s going to try!!
Archie called his friend, Ralphie, and told him all about the 🍪 cookies and Newman. Ralphie the Rescue Dog is a grass roots organizer that likes to spread awareness about very important causes!
Ralphie happens to be an expert about 🌻 Ukraine and all the things they need right now! Ralphie was excited that Newman agreed to help! Only one problem… Newman won’t be able to send cookies to 🌻Ukraine. It would cost too much and they may never make it!
So, Ralphie called Newman and told him he should make a BUNCH of cookies, like A LOT of cookies and sell them to raise money for 🌻 Ukrainian organizations! Because Newman is such a great guy, HE AGREED!!! He wants to help!! Newman is going to need to make A LOT of cookies now!!
Newman hasn’t checked in for a hot minute, he’s been SO SO BUSY!! He’s back now and wanted to catch everyone up on what he has been doing!! He’s been making 🍪 cookies! LOTS AND LOTS OF COOKIES!!! He needed to make them for the 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ and all his friends he promised them to!
He can’t wait to show everyone how good they look! He just needs to finish decorating!
Before Newman decorated the cookies, he had a thought, what if they taste terrible!!?? So, Newman took a break and tasted the cookies to make sure they were up to the standard of what Santa and his Elves would like! They are DELICIOUS!!! The humans will love them!! Quality control is SO important for Newman! Now he needs to add the Magical Sprinkles and package them up and send them to Santa and his Elves
Newman found out that 🎅 Santa ❄️ has his own 🐾 dogs too! Rosie and Riley! He couldn’t send 🎅 Santa ❄️ cookies for his 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ and not send biscuits for Rosie and Riley! He decided to take a trip to his FAVORITE dog bakery to get Rosie and Riley some of their own special 🍪 cookies!!
Newman has been so busy he has barely had any time to sleep! Making 🍪 cookies, getting biscuits for Rosie and Riley!! He’s so tired, he decided he needed a ☕ coffee! He still has so much to do!! Finish decorating the 🍪 cookies, package everything up AND get it sent out in time for 🎅 Santa ❄️ to get it on Christmas DAY!
Newman was able to finish decorating the cookies and get them packaged up and sent off to Santa and his Elves . Newman wears many hats and he just so happens to work for UPS!! He was able to get a really good deal with his employee discount and was able to do OVERNIGHT ship for the cookies ! He is hoping the weather isn’t going to delay the cookies to the North Pole
Guuuuuuys!!! 🎅 Santa ❄️ just made it back to the ❄️ North Pole 🏔️ after a long night of delivering packages to children 🧒🏾 👦🏻 all over the 🌍 world! He just finished up in Alaska and made it home safe! He was so excited to find 📦 packages waiting for him!!! They made it safely and ON TIME!!! ⏰
UPS did a great job delivering! Also, reindeer didn’t intercept either! Now that 🎅 Santa ❄️ has them….. will he give them to his 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ or will he eat them all himself?!?!
🎅 Santa ❄️ would never eat 🍪 cookies that weren’t meant for him! He set the packages down and went to tell his 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ there were 🍪 cookies for them!! He also told Rosie and Riley there were biscuits for them from Newman too!!! They were SO excited!! Everyone was so happy!
OH NOOOOOO!!! We have a problem!!! Something happened none of us could have anticipated!!!!
When 🐾 Rosie and Riley went to eat their dog biscuits, they ate all the 🍪 cookies too!!! This is terrible! Now the 🧝🏻♀️ Elves 🧝🏻♂️ won’t get their 🍪 cookies!! Newman wasn’t able to get them their cookies, so does this mean Santa won’t give him his wish of a lifetime of snacks and treats?!?!
Newman is very smart and clever! While he trusted UPS would get the 📦 package to the North Pole on time, he wanted a back up plan just in case! Newman contacted his identical twin brother, Truman, and asked him to mail a second 📦 package for him! Truman works for the USPS and was able to get a second set of 🍪 cookies and biscuits in the mail! It just so happens to be Monday, December 26 in the ❄️ North Pole 🏔️ and the mail is running today!! As 🎅 Santa ❄️ realized Rosie and Riley ate the 🍪 cookies he noticed his mail carrier drop mail and packages at his mailbox. He went to check the mail and found another container of 🍪 cookies!! Newman will get his lifetime supply of snacks and treats!!!
I wanted to round out the month with a highlight of a recipient of a Leader Dog. Lisa graciously allowed me to meet her at her home and photograph her with her Leader Dog, Lucian. My time with Lisa was one of my most educational moments and made me take a step back and respect those with disabilities and their ability to adapt. Lisa was a very humble teacher. I had so many questions and she was willing to answer all my questions.
When I am taking photographs of people, I normally ask people to mirror me and “stand like this” and sometimes “cross your arms like this”. While I wasn’t trying to create posed images with her, it was still so very important to give her direction and make sure she knew what I was asking of her and where I was. Through my communication, she was able to “see” what I was doing. I explained to her as I was taking pictures so she knew what I was photographing. “Lisa, I am now taking close up photos of Lucian laying on the ground in his harness next to you.”
Before Lucian put his harness on, we were able to go out in his yard and play fetch. Lucian has a lot of down time when he is home. He isn’t working all the time and mostly only when he and Lisa are out in unknow spaces. When home, he has a large backyard where he is able to run and play and chase after toys. Lisa knows her home space from memory and is able to navigate pretty well…. during this time, Lucian is able to relax.
Once the harness goes on though, Lucian knows he is responsible for his human. From here, he knows to watch her and take caution where she goes. Lisa is able to grab his harness and put it on through touch and memory of where everything is.
Lisa is also able to do most of the work herself when headed out of the home. It’s Lucian that watches for traffic and obstacles and helps her navigate around them when she doesn’t know where things are.
In observing Lisa and Lucian, I realized they mostly communicate through touch, grip and movement. Lisa will occasionally talk to Lucian, but it is in little movements that he stops her or directs her around a parked car and keeps her from walking into the street when traffic is coming. These little discrete movements are the balance between the Leader Dog and the human. This non-verbal communication is how they work together to help Lisa to move around.
When I was out with Lisa and Lucian, it was amazing to see the two of them work together. Maybe it was my imagination, maybe not, but it seemed as though Lucian stood a little taller. It was as if he looks forward to “working” and doing his job. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun running in the back yard, but the harness and protecting Lisa gives him purpose.
I want to share photos of Lucian from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Between puppy raisers and trainers and all the lovely people at Leader Dog, you are able to see how invested all the volunteers and employees are in the success of these dogs and the work they do. Leader Dog representatives often keep in touch with all the clients and check in on them often to make sure they are doing well and working well with their Leader Dog.
I’m sad that we have to talk about this as it is still a problem. I wish people would understand the problems of puppy mills and backyard breeders and the huge trauma they cause for these animals. When you “purchase” a puppy or kitten from a pet store (and it is not from a rescue)…. it is likely a puppy mill or backyard breeder where these animals are coming from.
I want to clarify, I am not against breeders that are responsible about breeding and do their research. I do believe there are so many responsible people that breed dogs for agility, showing and for working dogs, and it is not fair to lump them into this group. I have photographed so many pure bred animals and the owners and handlers of these dogs do their research and make sure these pets are healthy and well and have the right temperament to carry on through generations. This is so very different from puppy mill breeding.
Puppy Mills are usually on large properties in secluded areas where not many people are able to view the operations. With that said, it is also possible they are right in the middle of a city as well, in the basements of homes. It is scary to think about the kind of life these animals endure in their first few months and the trauma they go through before being sold off.
There are an estimated 10K puppy mills in operation throughout the United States
Over 2 Millions puppies are bred in puppy mills every year
Every year 1.2 Million dogs are euthanized in shelters.
Approximately 500+ pet stores are selling dogs from puppy mills.
PLEASE PLEASE! Do NOT buy a puppy from a pet store. Rescue a dog from a non-profit instead! If you want a pure bred dog, please do your research and ask for references! Make sure you’ve found a dog that was cared for and is happy & healthy!
There is a group called Bailing out Benji that is working to expose known puppy mills. They have a wealth of information on their website and have done the research. They have a map listing states and the number of puppy mills per state. If you click on your home state, you can see per county how many puppy mills are active as well. They also have a database of known puppy mills and list yearly the largest in operation. Before getting a dog/puppy, I urge you to check out their work and understand the information they are presenting. It could save so many lives.
A huge shout out to our friend Ralphie and his Human, Erica. They are both doing their part to educate on puppy mills and the importance of not purchasing a dog from a pet store. Ralphie has his own FB and Instagram…. Ralphie on FacebookRalphie on Instagram Follow him to learn about puppy mills and also see his very cute photos!
Continuing on from our last post about guide dog awareness….. I wanted to showcase one particular group – Leader Dogs for the Blind out of Rochester, MI. They graciously allowed me to observe a puppy raiser meeting as well as their more formal training of their dogs. Once the dogs have been with a puppy raiser for a year or so, they move back to Leader Dog HQ for more serious training with the staff at Leader Dog and when they graduate training, they are placed with someone needing a guide dog.
If you didn’t catch part 1, you can get caught up here. I dove into the basics of working dogs and what a guide dog is. It is important to understand these differences especially when you see a working dog out in public. Please read their harness signs/patches carefully to know what is appropriate handling of their dogs. If you see a therapy dog, there is a good chance the handler will not mind you petting the dogs, but if the dog is a guide dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind or a search and rescue dog, it is very likely petting or interacting with the dog is prohibited.
My first question was where do they get their dogs? Their group does their own breeding and their dogs range from Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers to German Shepherd Dogs and sometimes a mix of those breeds depending on the temperament they want to cultivate in their guide dogs. The breed isn’t as important as much as the health and personality of the dog. Leader Dog needs their guide dogs to be trainable and non-reactive. From the whelping process to puppy raisers, most of the people raising these dogs are all volunteer. After puppies are born, approximately 10% of these puppies are unable to proceed as a Leader Dog due to health concerns. This is called a “career change”. Any dogs that do not move forward as a Leader Dog are adopted out and career changed. If you have any interest in adopting a Leader Dog, get in touch with them ASAP! They have a long waiting list.
After the puppies go through training and living with a puppy raiser, they are then turned back over to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester for more extensive and formal training. As a puppy they wear bandanas or a fabric vest, but once they are in formal training, they are upgraded to a leather harness. When the LD is wearing the leather harness they are officially “working”.
Leader Dogs for the Blind has a very rigorous training regimen for their dogs. It is of the utmost importance to go through this training and to make sure the dogs pass. If at any time a Leader Dog does protect their training handler it could mean danger for a blind handler once they receive the dog. The clients receiving these dogs are at varying levels of blindness and it is the dogs job to keep them safe and out of danger. They are essentially the eyes for these handlers.
I have witnessed first hand the training they receive and the dogs love the job and like “working”. Leader Dog uses positive reinforcement to train and it is an excellent way to make the training enjoyable for the dog and instructor. The dogs in harness know they are working. Once the harness comes off, they are on break and are either “parking” (going potty) or able to relax or play. I think there is a common misconception that these dogs are always working, and never get to have a break, but that is not the case. There is plenty of down time for these dogs to relax and enjoy life.
Once a Leader Dog gradates and is handed off to a client, Leader Dogs for the Blind remains in touch with them and continues to make sure they are doing well with the dog and that dog is a good fit for the home. I was happy to see that once a dog goes to placement with a home, there are so many people within the Leader Dog community who follow-up and remain friends with all the clients. Between the volunteers that whelp, puppy raisers and the employees that are involved in the training, all of these dogs are a big part of their lives and remain in their hearts. It is always nice to get updates from the handlers on how the dogs are doing.
Leader Dogs for the Blind is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit. They are funded through donations made directly to their organization as well as the Lions Clubs. The Lions Club are a major part of the organization and are very invested not just financially but emotionally to the work Leader Dogs for the Blind does. They are proud of the organization they started and how it has grown over the years.
They could not do the work they do without donations from the public. If you want to assist them in helping the blind community, you are able to make donations on their website at https://www.leaderdog.org/donate/. This group of humans are incredible and I admire the work they do. The volunteers and staff put in so much time and energy to make sure every Leader Dog is successful.
September is National Guide Dog Awareness Month and is an opportunity for you to show your appreciation for all the working dogs helping those that have disabilities. This is a time to celebrate all the hard working trainers and volunteers that are putting dogs through training and schooling to be ready to keep people safe. They put so much time into working with guide dogs just to have them leave to help those that are blind.
Before we dig into the guide dog bit (and more specifically we will be talking about Leader Dogs for the Blind out of Rochester, MI in a three part series), there are some clarifications we feel we need to make. There is so much misinformation on what a guide dog is, or even sometimes called service dog, but there are also other types of service dogs and also therapy dogs. These are not necessarily all the same thing. It would be easy to be confused…. but it is so very important to understand the difference especially if you see them out in public.
For this first part, I want to give you some background on the different types of working dogs.
Guide Dogs- These dogs are specially trained to assist those that are blind. They are trained to be with their human/handler and assist them in there everyday activities while out in the world. They are trained to keep the human from walking out into traffic and also navigate around obstacles.
Service Dogs- help those in wheelchairs or who are otherwise physically limited. They may open doors or cabinets, fetch things their handler can’t reach, and carry items for their handler. There are service dogs that are trained to recognize seizures and will stand guard over their handler during a seizure or go for help.
Search and Rescue Dogs – From missing persons cases to natural disasters, dogs have been an integral part in finding people in extreme and dangerous situations. Search and rescue (SAR) dogs can either use a scent in the air or the scent of a specific object to find who/what they are looking for. They can be used in many different situations, including disasters, cadaver searches, drowning situations, and avalanches. Typical SAR dogs will be scent hounds like Bloodhounds and Beagles.
Explosive Detection Dogs – These canine HEROES work with the police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and military to locate dangerous materials. The dogs go through an intense training (sometimes years) to learn how to locate and identify a wide variety of explosives and to alert their handlers of its presence. Breeds that excel in this kind of work include German Shepard Dogs (GSD) and Belgian Malinois Dogs.
Therapy Dogs – These are are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. They provide comfort and relaxation. There is extensive training for certification for these types of dogs to make sure they are well behaved and non-reactive. Their goal is to assist in calming and relaxing people.
Cancer/Disease Detection Dogs – Just like explosive sniffing dogs, there are some that assist in sniffing out disease to help detect it early or even detect when someone may be going into a diabetic situation. Cancer cells and other diseases within the human body give off different odors than regular cells and they change the way a person’s breath or body smells– a dog’s keen nose can tell the difference.
Wow, yeah….. that’s a lot of information I know. There are so many working dogs out there that I didn’t even list here. Some that detect allergens in schools as well as dogs that herd livestock and animals. It is important to be clear though, not all working dogs are guide dogs. A Leader Dog or guide dog which we will be elaborating on this month are specifically for those that are blind and to assist them in the world and help navigate obstacles.
Stay tuned for Part 2! We will be discussing the phases of training as well as the time that goes into making GUIDE DOGS available to people that need them.
Ahhh, another reason do celebrate our dogs! September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month…. and this is a great time (with more time at home) to look into ways to be better and more responsible dog owners.
First, let’s talk about what being a responsible dog owner is about. This means keeping your dog healthy and happy as well as properly groomed and in a safe place. Here are ways you can do that-
EXERCISE! One huge thing you can do for your pooches is get them enough exercise! Depending on the size of your dog will determine how much walking and outdoor play they may need. If you have a Siberian Husky for instance, it is so important to walk your dogs several miles per day to keep them happy and calm. They need the exercise and opportunity to expend their energy. If you have a small terrier or a small companion dog, it’s more likely they only need short walks and less time for exercise. Knowing what your dog needs is so important and getting the appropriate exercise is vital in their longevity.
HEALTH & WELLNESS! It is so important to get your dog into your veterinary office regularly. Keeping up with vaccinations is so important too. Helping them prevent disease and disease spread keeps them living a healthier and potentially longer life. Keeping your dog on the proper dose of heart worm preventative not only helps your dog, but helps other neighboring dogs as well by keeping the spread down. While we know our dogs pretty well, it is important to get them a regular veterinary exam so they are able to get their weight checked and be looked over for any anomaly’s.
SOCIALIZATION! With the increase of dog parks and pet groups that do pet outings, there is no reason to not get your dog out there and socialized with other doggos. There are so many parks in Michigan, while some do charge a fee, there are some with no fee whatsoever. There are several websites you are able to search for dog parks near you. LINK You must have your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations to be able to enter most dog parks.
TRAINING! While most of us are working from home or spending more time at home due to Covid-19, there are many more opportunities to take a little time everyday to train our dogs. There are also so many businesses that you can drop your dog off too that will do the training for you! Honestly though, training could be as little or a lot of time as you’d like it to be, but any efforts in working with your dog will benefit them.
TRAVEL! Yes! I said it! I know….. most of us are not travelling right now… but if you are, there are places you can take your dogs! There are so many dog friendly cities in the United States alone that have dog bowls outside their establishments as well as treat buckets to snag a bone from for your fido. There is an app and associated website call Bring Fido where you can find all sorts of places that are pet friendly… whether it is a day trip or week long vacation, find dog friendly establishments here!
National Wildlife Day is an opportunity to step outside…… take a deep breathe and appreciate what surrounds us in the nature. Not just animals, but insects and plants as well.
I know I’m a pet photographer and love animals as our loving companions, but I think it is important to highlight National Wildlife Day for so many reasons. Animals, and not just as our pets, serve so many purposes for the earth. It is important to recognize and respect their existence.
It is increasingly common for species to become stressed and endangered or even extinct more quickly now than ever before. The Center for Biological Diversity wrote an article on human population growth and its correlation to the increase in extinction. LINK
When I ponder the human impact on wildlife and also what we call the “circle of life”, I’m concerned over the possibility of the harm we as humans have caused. Because of our increase in urban sprawl and decimating crop land and forests to do so, we deplete the habitat for which our wildlife can thrive. It is important to preserve land for wildlife to be able to continue to exist. Their existence continues to benefit us even when we don’t know it.
Consider this…… I’m sure you’ve read or saw on social media that opossums are incredible with eating and consuming lots of ticks… well, it’s true! The National Wildlife Federation wrote about their ability to groom themselves and consume 95% of the ticks on their bodies as well as on the ground. LINK By having the wonderful opossum consume these disease carrying insects, it helps reduce the population of ticks and and by default helping to curb the spread of diseases like Lyme Disease. So, please be careful with our wonderful wildlife and our earth. It is a delicate balance.
We are only about five months late…. but we wanted to get this post out anyway.
In April we were hoping to write about the amazing pooper scoopers we have out there that are taking the brunt of the task of taking care of our doggos poop…… but before we could get this out…. we had uh, what? Covid -19? Well, sh***
The first week of April is an Ode to Pooper Scoopers and is officially International Pooper Scoopers Week. We dropped the ball, or, er bag of poop on this one. So, we are here now…. showing some appreciation.
I will say, I know it has been a very crappy year likely for all of us, not just for our scoopers…. but I’m an optimist and always believe in making the best of everything. It will get better. I believe it will….
Well, Cristina does too. Cristina McKay is the owner/operator of Puppy Poo Patrol. Her business truly does its best at taking the Sh** out of your life. Literally.
If anyone can make scooping poop look hot, it is her. She is seriously legit. Before the Michigan Executive Order 2020-21 took place, I was able to follow Puppy Poo Patrol for a day on the job and see how they operate.
I’ve always known there are services and businesses that assist in picking up pet waste in residential yards, but I had no idea the detail that goes into the various aspects of the job. So much to think about.
When I showed up to shadow Cristina for a day on her job, I was prepared for the bucket and the poop and the picking up… but I had no idea how important it was to clean equipment between jobs and the idea to consider how you have to dispose of this waste as well.
After every yard, she wraps up every bag of waste and secures it then proceeds to hose down all her equipment with a bleach solution. This is so important for so many reasons. Did you know that worms can spread from yard to yard on soil or pet waste? In the off chance one of her client’s dogs had some kind of parasite or worm….. she has the potential to transfer that from one yard to another if she didn’t clean her equipment. She makes sure this doesn’t happen. Aside from parasites, there are other fecal spread diseases like giardia, parvovirus, campylobacter, salmonella, cryptosporidium. This stuff is nasty business. If she weren’t thoroughly cleaning her equipment like she does, contaminants could be spread around very quickly where other dogs can pick it up! I trust her process to keep it clean though.
You all know your dogs eat anything and everything in the yard?!?! If something was carried to a yard…. there is the potential for spread. Cristina is doing her best to make sure she isn’t aiding in the transfer of parasites. This is so much work! I am so impressed with her process and her professionalism. She even follows OSHA/MIOSHA guidelines on labeling for her bleach container. She has all her bases covered.
She even makes sure she secures the yards and takes photos of the latch on the fences to keep her clients at ease that she secured the area for safety for their pooch.
So, obviously I can’t say enough good things about her…. but don’t take my word for it. Puppy Poo Patrol was recently nominated in the “other” category for Click on Detroit, Vote for the Best PETS. WDIV Channel 4 does a great job at highlighting local business and does an especially great job at focusing on pet businesses.
Puppy Poo Patrol won 5th place. I think this is a little misleading though. She was actually 1st place in pooper scoopers as she was up against dog rescues, crematory services and photographers (yes, me) as well. If Puppy Poo Patrol has enough people standing by her to vote her that high in the polls, well…. she must be good.
So, my fellow pet loving friends…. tip your hat to this woman. She is amazing and does an incredibly professional job. If you would like more information about her services… visit the Puppy Poo Patrol website.