Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sien  Zostac  Chodz 

Being a non-game person, I thought it wise to try a few games first. After 10 minutes of Cooking Madness and My Dog Simulator for Free, my heart raced as hamburgers burned and my dog dodged walls but was run over by a bus. So, DuoLingo and learning Polish seemed perfect.

90 minutes of play on Surface

I played for almost 90 minutes- reading, writing, listening and speaking while earning points, being congratulated, gaining crowns and lingots while seeing myself move up the leader board from 44 to 16 to 12.  I felt good about myself, was learning, having fun and wanted more.

New aspects
Each game/lesson is self-paced while giving players choices as they finish lessons.  A perfect score gets even more points (like extra credit). A choice to either delve deeper or learn a new aspect of the language entices the more academically minded player. Lingots and gems, the game’s virtual currency, allows players to go shopping. I was hooked!

DuoLingo’s creators have seamlessly woven social media aspects into their game. Here are a few:

New features
·       DuoLingo offers a free version as well as a monthly fee version that is ad free.
·       The concept of ‘not being alone’, giving away lingots exists.
·       Players see others’ scores compared to theirs.
·       Players can join/create a club and invite others (mobile only).
·       Taken directly from DuoLingo’s webpage – “For more Duolingo news, contests and product releases, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @duolingo.”
PS Now I know sit, stay, come in Polish! Let's test the girls!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

If a Nose Could Talk!

Every pet owner, especially one who owns or has ever owned a canine should watch this amazing 4 minute Ted Talk video, How do dogs see with their noses?  by Alexandra Horowitz.  The graphics are not only charming but also educational allowing  a non-scientifically minded person like me to comprehend the complex makeup of the dog's ability to navigate the world through his/her nose's "moist, spongy outside which  captures any scents the breeze carries" and more.
Zoe's amazing nose!
Here are some interesting facts:
  •  A dog can smell separately with each nostril.
  • By smelling in stereo, and SNIFFING,  she can determine the direction of the smell's source, what is out there and it's location.
  • When air enters a dog's nose, it is divided by a tissue in the nose into two chambers - one for breathing and one for smelling.
  • In the smelling chamber, there are "several hundred million olfactory receptor cells compared to a human's five million".
  • Humans breathe in and out through the same passage; dogs exhale through slits in the side of their nose, "creating swirls of air to draw in new molecules...allowing odor concentration to build up over multiple sniffs."
    Let me tell you, mom, there's more to this freesia than you know!
    The dog's brain also has an olfactory system that is far greater in size proportionally to its brain in comparison to the human brain's olfactory system.  Imagine this. Someone spritzes a spray of cologne in a small room.  You and I could smell and most likely distinguish it.  A dog would have no problem if the same exact spritz  were sprayed in an enclosed stadium. She could not only distinguish the smell but its components.
Here is what I found most interesting having two therapy dogs who seem to know which patient or resident needs them. The vomernasal organ (for the more medical version) located above the roof of the mouth detects hormones of animals and humans. In the animal kingdom it can determine hostile and friendly animals and  help in mating; in the human world it can read a human's emotional state and even tell when someone is pregnant or sick.

If a dog's nose could talk, oh the 'tails' it could tell as it revealed a whole world beyond our eyes.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Mommy's Back in School

You may have noticed that I have not posted a blog in a very long time.  Well, I'm back, and according to my secretary, mommy, I will be back more often!   Many things have happened in my therapy dog life, but I will get back to that in a future post becasue this blog is all about mommy!  I will let her take over now.
Some of you already know that therapy dog work is a very important part of my life, but you don't know how it all came about.

When my dad was in hospice care back in 2004, shortly before he passed, a therapy dog visited him.  It was at that time that I decided that if I ever had a dog that would have the personality to be a therapy dog, I would get the dog trained and certified.  Fortunately, I have 2 such dogs, Zoe and Mia; both visit Hospice of the Valley patients weekly. They are registered nationally with Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) and locally with Pets on Wheels of Scottsdale.

Zoe with Artie at a SCC Destressing Day
Therapy dogs need to have a certain disposition and love people.  They also need to have manners!  If you go to the ATD site, you can read all about the testing the dogs have to undergo.  It is important to have this certification for three reasons: it gives the dog credibility and allows the dog to participate 'legally' as a therapy dog in such places as hospitals, libraries, schools and even airports; in addition, certification carries a hefty insurance plan for the handler and dog.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) from the American Kennel Club (AKC) is also helpful.  Advanced titles, CGCA Community and the CGCU Urban can also be earned with additional testing. I am proud to say that both Zoe and Mia have earned all their titles.  It is quite an accomplishment, especially for Mia since she is under 2 years old.

Therapy dogs can also earn Therapy Titles based on letters of recommendation, documentation and the number of visits they do.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Novice (THDN). Must have completed 10 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog (THD). Must have completed 50 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA). Must have completed 100 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (THDX). Must have completed 200 visits. (Mia is just shy a few.)
  • AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD). Must have completed 400 visits. (Zoe)
So, there you have it. That's the "how"...  now for the "why".

Having a therapy dog is very rewarding to all involved - the patient or resident, staff, handler and of course the dog.  My girls know they get to do something special each time I put on my organization's smock or shirt and they don the appropriate vest.
from left to right - PHX Sky Harbor, HonorHealth and POW, ATD, HOV and Gabriel's Angels      

Each time we visit, it seems as if I have just given myself official 'play time' with my dog.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Retractable Leashes - DANGER!! - Re-Post

Take my advice- do not put yourself and your Fur-family in danger!
On Facebook there was a post about a German Shepherd that attacked a Maltese, the outcome for the little pup was not good.  Then I came to learn, through my "mom", that a retractable leash was involved. That got me wondering if there were other stories and  hard facts about these leashes . A good reporter has to investigate, so that's what I did.  I put on my Sherlock Holmes identity and went sleuthing! I learn a great deal watching one of my favorite TV shows Elementary.

My mom checks Consumer Reports for everything, so I started there. I found the article enlightening and kept on my investigation.

 The Doginton Post states the following:

Before using a retractable leash, make certain you’ve got one that’s strong enough to handle your dog. Dogs that have a tendency to bolt or take off running after perceived prey should never be restrained with a retractable leash. Aside from those dangers, there are other things to keep in mind when using one of these, often convenient, popular leashes.
What You Need to Watch Out For
· Prickling leash burns. Retractable leashes, especially the thin string variety, can very easily cause leash burns. This could happen when you let your pooch race past you with the retractable line zipped up across your bare skin. Unwarranted injuries, however, can be prevented if you try the flat, tape style retractable leash.
· Entanglement or strangulation. Not only can retractable leashes burn us, they can also get twisted around a dog’s neck or legs. Worse, if your pooch panics and jerks the moment they get hog-tied; it could cause the leash to pull even tighter. Although you can loosen the cords that have wrapped around his neck, the situation could quickly become life-threatening.
· Fatal accidents. There are times when our dogs dart away all of a sudden, and with a retractable leash on him, your dog might dart even farther, faster. Nevertheless, it’s the reeling that’s a serious issue here. It is possible that Fido may spot a squirrel or anything interesting across the street, and suddenly take off after it. If you’re not alert enough, his abrupt behavior and an unsturdy retractable leash could put him smack on the road, right in front of a speeding car.
Other Things You Would Never Want to Happen
· The leash drops. Because these leashes rarely have a wrist strap and are sometimes heavy and bulky, dropping them is a regular occurrence. What’s worse, if you drop the handle, the lack of tension can send the heavy handle hurdling toward your dog. Not only could the heavy leash handle smack your dog in the head, if your dog is spooked by the leash handle zipping deafeningly toward him, he may take off running.
· The cord is grabbed. If you grab the cord/tape while it is being pulled from the handle, you might suffer from immediate injury like cuts and burns.
· The cord wraps around you. Poor handling can also cause the cord/tape to twist around you or someone else’s fingers resulting in deep wounds, or worse, amputation.
· The collar breaks or comes off your dog. The moment this occurs, the leash could retract at top speed while the other end of the line whips around at the same full momentum leading to serious injuries to face, teeth, and eyes.

If you still don't believe me, check out what My Smart Puppy. com has to say and the various testimonials (positive and negative) on their website or Pet MD.  There are countless other sources and most put the "nix-ay" on this type of leash.

My advice in a nutshell is a question:

Why choose a leash that could put you or your pet in potential danger?  You supply the answer! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'm Back after a LONG Time

Where should I start??? Hmmmm.  You know let's start with today, March 31st, 2015. 

Mommy and I went on a morning walk when it was only 67 degrees.  It was the best and I got to do an unexpected therapy dog visit for a neighbor who just got some bad health news.  Mommy and I were on the opposite side of the street where she was walking, but I decided to cross in the middle of the block so we could meet up with her.  She lives about a mile from our house. We had seen her on many other walks and exchanged neighborly pleasantries, but today was different.  I took the lead to cross the street and when she saw us, she said, "Do you have a minute to talk?"  "Of course," mommy said.  Then Miss Marcy told us about her mom who was now in hospice and about her recent health problem along with other things that were complicating her life.  I sat very quietly while she and mommy talked and then Miss Marcy bent down to pet me and said, "Oh, I feel so much better just talking to you and seeing Zoe this morning."  I looked up at her and knew that our visit made a difference for her.

At the Cancer Center I got to wear one of my pretty dresses, but  the only bad thing was that I really can't do my tricks when I'm dressed, so I told mommy I just have to go naked!  After my visits on the 3 floors, I was back in the lobby "Au naturalle" and entertaining to my heart's content.    I guess there is a time and place for everything!

In the next few days I will tell you about the painting experience mommy had for the fund raiser for Animal Doctors to the Rescue - but here's a video about what they do!  I love you, Drs. Jill and Andrea!

Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Been a Long Time Huh???

I have been busy doing my therapy visits and helping with a number of causes. I have a new promise to myself and you, too. I promise to do at least 3 blog posts each month. Today, I want to let you know about my friends at the  National Canine Cancer Foundation.  It was because of a Facebook fundraiser done by Gizmo's Frens that I learned about the Foundation and it's work.

In January, I was honored to represent  Gizmo's Frens  and present a check to the foundation.
But first, a startling fact - canine cancer affects one out of every three dogs!  When I heard this alarming statistic, I was shocked.  As a daily Facebook "addictee", I really started to pay attention to the number of doggie friends that either are fighting cancer or have lost their lives and crossed Rainbow Bridge.  I asked myself, what can be done to help?  That's when I discovered the work that is being done through the National Canine Cancer Foundation.  Just like research for human cancer, research is being done for canine cancer, too. 

Mr. Gary Nice, the founder and president of the foundation, lost not one but three dogs to cancer all within a three year time span.  With the loss of Baily, his first Golden, he vowed that he would do everything in his power and dedicate his life to cancer research in dogs.  Here are his own words:
"I found out how much work needed to be done to fight cancer in dogs and how many dogs were dying every day, many prematurely, to cancer. It was at this point that I swore to myself that I would dedicate the rest of my life, and resources, to finding a cure to these cancers that are killing our dogs."
Presenting a $1000.00 check to Mr. Nice and Mr. Pike - Mommy and I were so excited to represent Gizmo's Frens. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Nice (President) and Mr. Pike (Vice President of Marketing) and Miss Lyn Lenizo ( Event Organizer) at the Paws for a Wish event this past January.  It was a great event with many vendors, activities for dogs, educational opportunities and some great NCCF shopping! 
In addition, I had some fun time SHOPPING and meeting with my Facebook friends,  Dreamer' s mommy, Miss Jennifer and also my friends Maggie and Molly with their mommy Miss Sharon.
Dreamer's mommy, Miss Jennifer and me.

Miss Sharon holding me; those are her two furbabies and my friends Molly and Maggie (They are puppy mill rescues!)

Please visit and support the National Canine Cancer Foundation.  You will find it very educational and enlightening.  Why should you go there?  Well, as my 'boyfren' Gizmo would say: "Cuz We're Frens".

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"One Zoe Moment Turned into Five"

Today, I am going to start my next mini series of one guest therapy visit that ended with four more unplanned visits.  I hope you enjoy them.
 Tail waggle,sniff and a lick, -"Nice to meet you, Ani." Is what I said in dog language which Ani understood immediately.

Today was going to be a day of no visits (and I was pouting a little), but a message came in my message section from a Facebook friend, Miss Angie. Luckily, mommy had the ‘puter on.  Miss Angie asked if I ever did hospital visits because her 7 year old daughter was being admitted and she asked her mom if any dogs would come and visit.   My ears went up, and I got quite excited when I heard this because although I had visited that hospital before, I had never visited the pediatrics wing.  Mommy got all of the details from Miss Angie but told me not to get too excited until she called security to get my clearance.  I am so glad that I am registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. because I heard the guard say, “No problem, just let us know what room you will be visiting and when you leave the hospital, so we can enter that on the board.”  It was so official.
Me at the side entrance to the hospital.
I asked mommy if I could wear my nurse outfit, so Ani would know I was there to officially help her get better.


Mommy sent Miss Angie a message through Facebook, and we were off.  I asked if I could wear my nurse’s outfit, so I could assist any of the nurses if they needed my help.   When we got there, I had to do some tricks for the receptionists because they wanted to take some pictures; I just wanted to visit  Ani.  I thought she needed to see me, stat! When we got to Ani’s floor, it was very happy!  Mommy had to speak through a special box on the wall for a nurse to let us in.  Safety first! When I got to Ani’s room, we peaked through the window, and mommy knocked ever so gently. Then, I waved my paw!  Miss Angie motioned for us to enter the room.  Everyone had smiles on their faces, especially Ani.

It was a wonderful visit.  Ani seemed shy at first, but it didn’t take long for us to become friends When it was time for the nurse to give Ani a treatment, I got to help!  A few tricks, some cuddles, treats and even some kisses worked like a charm. 
A little goodbye smooch, so we would never forget each other.

 This was the first time I met Miss Angie; I can thank Facebook for that.  I also met Ani’s daddy, Mr. Robert, and Ani’s older brother, Weston.  I even sat with Weston for a while, and he put his arm around me, too.  It was such an enjoyable visit; I hope you like our pictures, Miss Angie took them and Mr. Robert signed my photo authorization form.

Before I left Ani’s room, I tried my latest trick of waving good-bye.  I didn’t quite have the grasp of it yet, but by the time I did my 4 other unplanned visits at the hospital before we really left to go home, I had my princess wave down pat!  I will tell you about those detour stops, another time.  Probably tomorrow, okay?

It was a wonderful visit; I love you Ani!