Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014!

("Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, filled with treats and ear scratches, good friends, a cozy bed, and exciting adventures!")

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bye Bye, Dreaded Treadmill

May, 2012. Chou was 13 months old, not diagnosed with hip dysplasia yet. I bought the dog treadmill so she could use it on hot or rainy days. After she was x-rayed, all the more reason to have it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Aftermath: Chou Chou in the News, and an Injured Finger

Puppy Therapy Day was a big hit with the students on campus, and a feel-good story for the media.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Two Little Girls and a Briard Puppy

Thanksgiving weekend, and we had company. Last time the little girls saw Chou Chou, they were tentative. This time, they fell in love.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Puppy Reunion

I love reunions. As a psychologist, I've been doing research on lost love reunions for many years. So I am happy to report that Chou Chou and Toffee are playing together again ... sort of. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

That Volvo Again!

1979 Volvo. Sometimes it runs. Always an exciting adventure! Remember my 12/23/11 post, when Chou got locked in and I was locked out? 

Yesterday the tow truck came  to change the battery. I took Chou Chou outside to expose her to the noise and big truck. 

The tow truck driver wanted me to pop open the hood. I opened the car door and she pushed past me and jumped in. Let's roll!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Autumn Colors

I miss the maple trees of the Northeast, the beautiful gold and red leaves when the weather gets cooler. When I looked down at Chou Chou, resting in her bed, I was reminded of those Fall colors.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

She did lots of tricks and earned lots of treats! What a perfect Halloween costume for Chou Chou: in Japanese, chou chou means butterfly!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chou Chou's Pre-Hallowen Q & A

Q: Hi Chou Chou! Are you doing anything for Halloween?

A: ("Oui! I will bark every time children ring the doorbell! So much fun!") 

Q: Anything else?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chou Chou Visits An Agility Dog Show

("What's going on here? I thought you were taking me to watch a dog show?!")

Yes, it was an agility dog show, the first I've ever attended, although I've seen videos of dogs performing in agility online.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homecoming Weekend

"Pets For Stress" is a new student organization at California State University, Sacramento; they invited our animal-assisted therapy teams to Homecoming Weekend. Chou Chou and I are a certified team, so we participated. Can you find Chou in the slide show? ("Don't confuse me with the doodledog!")

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chou Chou the Therapy Dog at the Library

Chou Chou and I have continued our animal assisted therapy work in libraries that offer Read to the Dogs programs once a month. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Chou Chou On Guard Duty

It was 1 a.m. when Chou Chou started barking and ran to the door. She was agitated. She continued to bark, so I was getting worried. I went outside with her on leash, holding some citronella spray. ("You think that will help you? Really?")

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chou Chou, What Are You Doing?!

Tonight my pup went to play with her BFF, Toffee. He is more assertive in his own yard than at my house, and Chou becomes less dominant, so they are better matched.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

("Some Walks Are Not So Good!")

It was a cool evening, and I took Chou Chou for a walk in the neighborhood. I saw that a lot of dogs were in the park, so I took side streets instead. I thought there would be fewer distractions. ("That was so wrong!")

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chou Chou's New Friend

Chou's dog walker said she saw a black dog that looked like a briard, in a neighborhood not far from mine. No, it couldn't be; it must be just a shaggy dog.  

At a dog park, a man mentioned seeing a "black briard, a couple years ago." But if another briard lived in Sacramento, surely someone in the briard club would have told me. So I dismissed these sightings ... until a car stopped, and a woman handed Chou's dog walker her card.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Therapy Dog! Entertaining The Children After School

It was a nice day. I put on my red shirt with the animal-assisted therapy logo, and my handler ID on a lanyard around my neck; then I put on Chou Chou's red collar with her therapy dog ID, and off we went to participate in a monthly after school program --  to put on a show and teach children about dog safety.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

An Unexpected Dog Show

Labor Day Weekend. A Dog Show in Grass Valley, about an hour from me. I thought about entering, but I didn't have a handler and would have had to do all the grooming and showing myself. It seemed like too much trouble. But when my briard friends posted a photo online last night, taken at the Grass Valley show, I decided to take Chou Chou and drop in for the second day of the show. We needed another road trip, anyway, to end the summer.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Am A Therapy Dog!

After completing a shadow visit, an evaluation, and 6 probationary visits to nursing homes and libraries, Chou Chou and I are a certified animal-assisted therapy team! Chou Chou is showing off her new ID tag.  I have a tag, too.

I was awarded our certificate tonight at the monthly meeting. I am excited about the opportunity to do this! 

Monday, August 19, 2013


It's too hot to play outside during the day, so Chou Chou was running in the yard and playing with her glow ball  at night. 

Then it landed in a patch of ivy. Chou was very interested!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Libraries, Less Fear

Chou Chou and I are working through our six trainee visits to certify as an animal-assisted therapy team. Since our first library shift, we have done 3 more. 

Children bring books to read to Chou: she never criticizes, so they gain confidence. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our First Therapy Dog Assignment

Tonight Chou Chou and I were scheduled for our first trainee shift as an animal-assisted therapy team, in a library.

Monday, July 22, 2013

We Passed! We Passed!

Yesterday was our evaluation to be certified as an animal-assisted therapy team. I almost didn't go. Chou had a stomachache, I had a migraine headache, and I am always nervous when I am being evaluated for anything. But we went. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Behavioral Consultation

Chou Chou and I met with a veterinary behaviorist today. There are only 60 board certified behavior specialist vets in the entire country! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ventura Dog Show, Day 3

Last day, a third blue ribbon, then the same puppies to compete against. I learned my lesson yesterday and stayed out of Chou Chou's sight when she was in the ring. I stood at Ring 3 while she competed in Ring 4. So I have blurry pictures taken at a distance.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ventura Dog Show, Day 2

It was the second day of the show, with a different judge, but the same briards.  This time, I really messed up, not Chou Chou!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ventura Dog Show, Day 1

We didn't sleep much last night. Chou Chou was panting and shaking the bed. I kept turning up the air conditioner fan   until finally she was cool enough to sleep.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Road Trip!

What do people do on the Fourth of July? We go to Ventura to the dog show! There are more than 2600 dogs entered. It's a long drive for someone like me who doesn't like to drive (although Chou is very good in the car). But ten days of temperatures over 100 degrees is enough, and I was ready for cool ocean weather! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Worrisome Development

I've been worried about Chou Chou recently. She startles at noises and barks if a dog gets near her. She has never been reactive -- always playful and curious.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chou Chou's Summer Q & A

("I know I'm cute, but you can't have me!")

Q: I read that in Sacramento it's been over 100 degrees for several days! What do you do when it's so hot?

A: ("Oui! Too hot for playful pups! I take daytime naps and play outside at night." 

"And I pose for photos in my chapeau magnifique, made just for me! It can keep the sun out of my eyes, but my pawrent says it's an inside pretend hat. ")

Thursday, June 27, 2013

An Ordinary Day

("Don't think I just sit around like this all day long! I'm a busy briard girl!")

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Good Day For A Swim!


Chou Chou and I visited my friends. I sat in the shade while Chou swam with them in their pool. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Therapy Dog Orientation

Today was the  orientation for prospective animal- assisted therapy teams. Chou Chou and I had to be there at 8:45 am. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

It's unbearably hot today: 108 degrees outside, a Sacramento record for the date. 

People who have lived here all their lives dismiss the temperature as "it's just dry heat." Well, so is an oven, but you don't put your head in!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Activities of May

Ever since Chou Chou was attacked at the schoolyard, I am reluctant to (ever) take her back there. That aggressive dog could come back. So we play in my yard at night instead of the schoolyard. It's small, but it's safe. 

Monday, May 20, 2013


Tonight was not a good adventure. We wound up at the emergency 24/7 vet, and we just got home, 11:30 pm. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chou's Professional Grooming

A couple weeks ago, Chou and I were in PetSmart and a man came over and said he had raised briards for 40 years. It took a minute for us to recognize each other: he had helped me with Mimi many years ago. I knew he moved away, but I was delighted to learn that he is back in Sacramento.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Went Wrong?

There are two animal-assisted therapy groups in town, and some people are in both. So I thought I'd explore certification with Chou Chou in the other group, too -- the more education and learning experiences, the better.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Unexpected Therapy Dog Practice

The next steps in becoming certified as a therapy dog are not for a couple of months. But very unexpectedly, Chou Chou was "called to service" in a nursing/rehab center.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A New Adventure Begins

Chou Chou and I are starting the process of getting certified for animal-assisted therapy. I've wrtten about my library (shadow) visit. But tonight was the first time Chou would meet with everyone from the certifying group at the monthly meeting, and I wasn't sure if she'd lie down quietly with other dogs nearby. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Never Underestimate a Briard

Chou Chou went out with her dog walker. Chou had an upset stomach, so the veterinary instructions were "no treats, and no eating grass." They came back early.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chou Chou Likes to Eat

When Chou was 6 months old, I bought her new food bowls. She sneaked up to the bowls, a little afraid. But not for long! She loves her kibble. Unfortunately, she eats other things, too...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coming Soon: New Adventures

So what's next for Chou Chou? Maybe some volunteer work with children in the library.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reminders of Chou Chou

I went out tonight without Chou Chou, for  training as a volunteer at a convention this weekend. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Liebster Award

Chou Chou is proud to announce that her blog has been nominated for the Leibster blog award. Merci, Bear'sPaws for the recognition!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Glasses

Earlier, I described taking Chou to get her eyes checked; her eyes are okay. But my eyes have changed, so today she accompanied me to pick out new eyeglasses. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

National Puppy Day

March 23 is National Puppy Day, a day each year to celebrate our love of puppies. 

It also represents a day to educate people about the harm done by puppy mills and the pet stores that sell these dogs. 

Monday, March 18, 2013


It was a beautiful, warm day in Sacramento -- a great time for a road trip, with a friend, to the snow! This was the first time Chou Chou saw snow.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Naughty Puppy

No photos for this one! 

We arrived at U.C. Davis, a few minutes early, for underwater treadmill. I wanted to use the restroom. I took Chou into a big stall with me and wrapped her leash around the door handle. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chou's Expectations

The dog walker took Chou Chou for her 45 minute walk, two and a half times around the park. Janet said Chou kept veering off the sidewalk, pulling her over to the "shortcut" paths that go through the park. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Old Sacramento

It was overcast today, but no rain, so I took Chou Chou to Old Sacramento. It's an historic area, not far from my home, and it's a wonderful place to socialize a puppy, walking through crowds.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chou Chou's Q & A

Q: Your hair looks different colors in different pictures. Are they photoshopped?

A: ("No, no shopping! Briards change colors. I was a dark, reddish little puppy, and now I am a big puppy in my 'light phase.'")