Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!

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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A New PT Program: Chou Chou's Agility Baby Steps

Chou Chou Briard is in a new physical therapy program. She will continue her 45 minutes of underwater treadmill exercise, so that her hip dysplasia remains asymptomatic. But she will also do exercises, after treadmill, with her veterinary technician. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chou Chou's Adventure: FIRE!

It was a beautiful Fall day. Chou Chou loves to run through the leaves. But at night, my house almost burned down! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Therapy Dog Chou Chou De-stresses Students

It's December -- time to de-stress college students before final exams.

Typical therapy dog shifts are one hour. The university event was three. And then, an hour library visit!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is Chou Chou Briard A Spy?

There are many meanings to the pronunciation of Chou Chou's name. I named her Chou Chou, French for cutie pie, because briards are French herding dogs. But the sounds "shoo shoo" in Hebrew can mean spy. 

Is Chou Chou a spy dog? I didn't consider this until someone saw her Halloween costume and suggested that it might actually be a disguise.

So let's look at the facts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chou Chou Meets the Mayor

Today was a therapy dog library day for Chou Chou, and 3 other dogs and handlers. It was also election day, and the library was a crowded polling place. Lots going on!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chou Chou Briard Does Halloween

Happy Halloween from Chou Chou Briard!
("I'm a sheepdog!")

She's been a busy therapy dog, going to her visits in her sheep costume.  But first, she paid a visit to her vet, to cheer her up, and said goodbye to her physical therapist, who is moving.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chou Chou Therapy Dog Gets Ready for Halloween

("This was my Halloween costume last year. I was a butterfly! You will see this year's costume soon -- it's perfect for me!")

("I have been wearing my new costume for therapy dog visits, so children will smile.") 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kayaking Chou Chou Briard

On a beautiful Fall day, my two friends picked up Chou Chou and me, and off we went to Folsom Lake to go kayaking! Nick was  our trip leader and Debbie was our photographer. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chou Chou Briard Does Couture

Today Chou Chou went to be measured for her Halloween costume, which is being made just for her. ("But my costume is a secret!") And she tried to renew her friendship with Tinsel ("We met in a Tricks Class!"), who is not sure he likes her.

See more of Tinsel and Chou Chou on YouTube!

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Chou Chou Briard Finds a Playmate

We were outside a Starbucks, waiting for friends, when Chou yanked me over to the window next door. It was a designer consignment boutique. I peered in the window and saw racks of clothes. Chou Chou saw something else.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chou Chou the Therapy Dog: In the Library

Chou Chou has her AKC Therapy Dog title now -- that means she has accomplished more than 50 therapy visits -- but she can still getting herself in trouble.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chou Chou's Q & A

Q: Do you like wearing your beret?

A: ("Oui, of course! I am a French herding dog! When I was outside for 4 hours, to give hug therapy to stressed college students, my hat kept my head warm!") 

Q: You kept it on your head for 4 hours?

A: ("No, no! Just on and off! My pawrent puts it on, then later I shake it off! It's a fun game!")

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chou Chou in the Therapy Dog Photo Opp

Our animal-assisted therapy  organization scheduled a group photo on the steps of the State Capitol building, Sacramento. There are more than 100 certified therapy dogs and handlers. Could all these dogs -- with a few cats and rabbits -- sit together nicely for a group photo? Could Chou Chou do this? See what happened...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chou Chou Earned Her ThD!

Chou Chou just earned her AKC Therapy Dog title, ThD! I am so proud of her! We worked hard as a team -- therapy dog and handler -- going to libraries, schools, and nursing homes with our animal-assisted therapy organization.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Briard Mobile!

There's a new addition to my backyard landscaping. It's a briard mobile, made for me in Austria by a talented woman who loves these dogs. Attached to an evergreen branch, it blows in the wind and the briards, heart, and paw print swing. 

At night, with the motion detector night light, the briards cast shadows on the fence. ("The mobile pups look just like me!") Love it!

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mobile created by Karin at

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Chou Chou's Follow-up Eye Exam

Chou Chou had a second eye exam, at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital. She was hesitating when she walked in the dark and seemed to fail the "cotton ball test" during her annual eye appointment. That could mean nothing, or it could be early PRA leading to blindness. I was considering doing more sensitive testing. I wanted a second opinion.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

It was hot today, with not much to do. It was like being cooped up with a toddler. So I took Chou to a pet store, to see what we could find, and to have someplace cool to go. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bath Day for Chou Chou Briard

This afternoon was bath time -- a good thing to do on a warm summer day. Tomorrow we will visit a new library as part of our animal-assisted therapy program, and Chou Chou has to be clean and brushed for the children.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Land Treadmill, Again

Chou Chou's physical therapy veterinarian wanted her to try the land treadmill again. She doesn't like it. But unlike the water treadmill, it has an incline that the vet thought would be good for her hips. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sad: The Day Chou Chou's Adventures Paused

Did you ever feel guilty, that you weren't giving your dog what he or she needed? Too sick, or an out of town trip, or working too many hours at the office?

Our loving dogs give us so much comfort, but then something happens and we are at a loss to reciprocate this devotion. 

Chou Chou waits patiently for me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chou Chou Briard: Best Therapy Dog Ever!

My mom has been in the hospital, in the ICU, and is very ill. We were not on a therapy team visit, but the nurses let me bring Chou Chou to cheer my mom. Because my mom is in an isolation room, we all had to cover up with disposable hospital gowns when in her room, so as not to spread bacteria. Chou Chou was no exception. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chou Chou Briard Begins Agility Training

Something new! Chou Chou started agility training. I think she will like this. Doing therapy dog work, she has to sit still. But in agility, she can run and jump!

We will go every other week, in the early evenings when it's cool. The agility course is large, 100' x 130'.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Therapy Dog Chou Chou Teaches Dog Safety

The 2 little girls came again for a visit. Chou Chou is very good-natured  with children's actions that other dogs might mind -- that's why Chou is such a good therapy dog. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Chou Chou Briard, "Stalker!"

On summer evenings, the neighborhood dogs are allowed to play off leash in the local schoolyard. On this night, Toffee and Chou have arranged a play date; and Toffee is the only dog  in the yard when Chou Chou enters. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Therapy Dog: Too Friendly!

May 6, University De-Stress Day, a  four hour therapy dog event. Eleven teams signed up for  2 hour shifts; but I was the Team Leader, so Chou Chou and I were there for all 4 hours. Everything was going well, with the dogs sitting on the grass. And then ... a surprise.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chou Chou's Eye Exam: Failing "Cotton Ball"

I took Chou Chou to her annual eye exam. Every May, veterinary ophthalmologists across the country volunteer their time to provide free eye exams to service dogs and therapy dogs like Chou Chou. That's so generous!

So Chou Chou waited for her doctor to come in and check her eyes. I expected a normal outcome, as in the past. But, she failed cotton ball.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Some Briards Gained Vision and Helped Blind Children

This is the true story of how blind briards gained vision and, in the process, helped visually impaired children to see.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Road Trip With Chou Chou Briard: The First Aid Kit

Going on a road trip with your pup? Be sure you take what you will need in an emergency. Here are some suggestions for your dog's first aid kit. ("And don't forget the treats!")

No, Chou Chou will not be the driver. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day With Chou Chou Briard

Happy Mother's Day! 
Chou Chou supplied the breakfast! Coffee and hot cocoa. What could be better than that? 
("Something for me could be better!")

Thursday, May 1, 2014

It's National Purebred Dog Day

I rescued my cockatoo, and I rescued my tortoise. But I did not rescue Chou Chou Briard. I purchased her from a responsible briard breeder. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chou Chou Goes To Pet-A-Palooza

Chou Chou Briard and Friends went to the Pet-A-Palooza in Citrus Heights, CA.  There was a petting zoo -- what a great opportunity to meet sheep! Chou is a French herding dog, so I wanted to test her instincts!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Rescued Tortoise

The continuing saga of The Great Tortellini -- climber, escape artist, and Chou Chou Briard's new housemate.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Parent In Denial

I took a couple weeks off from underwater treadmill. It's so expensive. She still had her walks and her playtime with other dogs. But over the two weeks, it seemed like Chou Chou was running a little crooked, then more so. 

Puppies Grow Up

Did you ever have a close friend in middle school and suddenly your interrests were different? That's the story of Chou Chou and her BFF, Toffee.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chou Chou Does Pilates?

My Pilates teacher sold her business and moved away, so my friends and I had to find new classes. We chose a studio, not too far away, that meets Monday evenings; our other class used to be on Wednesdays. That's how Chou Chou wound up in Pilates class.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Stuff... New Activities

Chou Chou has a new toy. She had the smaller version when she was 6 months old, but she chewed through the rubber. Sharp little puppy teeth! This one is much bigger. How could I resist a toy with a briard on the package? ("I don't care about the package! Please open it so I can play with it!")

                   *   * 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Warning for Herding Dogs: MDR1

Caleb is an Australian Shepherd that excels in agility. He became very ill after being treated with an Ivermectin product; he was rushed to the ICU, in a coma, and put on a ventilator. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Chou Chou Takes the Cake!

We had a special birthday party for my mom. Family and friends came to celebrate with her, in a nursing rehab facility. Chou Chou Briard attended, too, and quickly got into trouble!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chou Chou! Playing in the Schoolyard!

Chou Chou hasn't been back to the schoolyard to play with other dogs since she was attacked last year. Today was her first day, free to play there. But would all the dogs play nicely? Chou Chou had no fear. But I did!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Tortoise For Chou Chou Briard?

Yesterday I got a text from Mary; her law partner found "a turtle" in their parking lot. Would I know what to do with it? I drove right over. 

It was a small tortoise. His shell was dark brown... until I washed off all the dirt! He must have been hibernating underground, dug himself out, and wandered off on an unseasonally warm day. The parking lot was not a good place for wandering!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brave Briards in War


The briard has been the official dog of the French army. They served valiantly in World War I and World War II.

These old photos tell the story of the brave briards in war.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chou Chou Goes to the Palace

I have a talented friend, a professional photographer with a special interest in pets. Some of Debbie's photos are posted  throughout this blog. 

A few days ago, we went to the Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco, for Chou Chou's photo shoot. What a beautiful location on a beautiful day!  Deb's husband, also a photographer, took this wonderful picture.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chou Chou's Message: Microchip & Register!

("Here I am, out with my dog walker, going to the park. I heel well! Until I don't!")

("Even a perfect puppy like me might chase a squirrel! What if my dog walker, or my pawrent, drops my leash? What if I get lost? It could happen!")

("I almost got loose from the car once, trying to dash out before my leash went on!") 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chou Chou And Her Little Feathered Friend

Chou Chou lives with a Moluccan cockatoo. ("We are going deaf! What a screamer!")

Brandy needs a lot of attention. If I don't provide it, will Chou Chou?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

In the Mood for Sochi

Chou Chou watched the Sochi 2014 Olympics and dressed appropriately.

She wears her medal proudly. ("Yes, it's gold, and yes, I earned it!")

Monday, February 3, 2014

Watching the Big Game With Chou's BFF

Toffee came to visit, to watch the Puppy Bowl. It went much better than I had imagined. Two big dogs in a small space filled with antiques, but nothing was chewed, broken, or spilled.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


This is McKinley Park. Chou Chou walks a mile around the park with me, or her dog walker, almost daily and sometimes twice. As we walk on the sidewalk or on the running path, I take the opportunity to do some training.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meeting Lulu

Toffee still comes to see us. But he still doesn't want to play; Mary and I don't know why. Chou jumps around, thrilled that he is there, and he wants to hide. I feel sad about that -- as if Chou were a little child and her best friend abandoned her. 

So being a concerned mother, I looked for other friends for her.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Not Quite Bald, But Not Good

Chou Chou looks so innocent, almost angelic, and sweet. So when she turns into a regular dog, I am surprised. My finger still hurts from when she yanked it on leash last month. And now ... I can't believe she did this! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A "Totally Briard" Evening

Just a quiet evening at home. I watched a 2006 French film, Tell No One (it has English subtitles). 

It's a wonderful movie, but that's not why I chose it: it's one of many movies with a briard in it. The dog plays a small but meaningful part in the film. ("Oui! French briards are important!")