October 1, 2009


schoolI’m a working dog in many ways. I go to school on some days with Gretchen and let the students pet me, do tricks for them, and lie under their tables while they write in their journals. Then I walk dogs. The last dog of most days, Saber, goes to school too. He helps a boy who has trouble focusing in the classroom. If the boy does well during the day, he gets to hang out with us in the afternoon as a reward. If the boy struggles, well, no visit with his two new best friends — Saber and me.

But there are many other ways we get an education. In fact, as dogs, we’re constantly educating each other. I’ve taken it upon my shoulders to teach Saber the ways of the world just as Monty taught me. Still, I learn a lot from all the dogs we walk.

Our day started with, of all things, going to school. I helped Gretchen in her classroom and then we headed out to pick up Ollie and then Woobie. Ollie has taught me to walk with a little bounce in my step and Woobie has taught me to be stoic in even the most chaotic moments. We had some of those chaotic moments today when Gretchen was trying to get a photo of the three of us only Ollie and I weren’t behaving. Woobie was, though.

not behavingstill not behaving

misbehavingMs. Stoic

I mean, look at Woobie. Not matter the chaos around her, she sat in one spot, her long hair blowing in the stiff breeze, unmoved and well-behaved.

so goodstill not moving

Since only Woobie was well-behaved, Gretchen walked us back to our house so I could have some breakfast and rest up for the day ahead. When we got there, Jessica was there! Oh, I do love Jessica. We hung out in the backyard for awhile and I showed Ollie how to play, while Quillette showed everyone how much noise she could make, and Woobie continued to be well-behaved.

playingnoise maker

goofyMs. Manners

Ollie walked Woobie home and then Gretchen walked Ollie back to his house. After that Gretchen headed out to pick up Rosie for a walk over the hill and through the park. They stopped at the Northwest African American Museum (or the old Coleman School) for some portraits of Rosie. Yes, digitally schooled!

colemanold school

down?After Gretchen took the photos above, Rosie really wanted to jump down, which she eventually did, but it took her a moment to figure out how far down it was. Once she leapt, she frisked around, rolling herself on the green grass and showing Gretchen her very pretty paws.

I think there’s a lot I could learn from Rosie. I just wish she’d let me get to know her. She’s kind of nervous about meeting new dogs, so Gretchen has asked me to be patient.


On the way back to Rosie’s house, Gretchen talked to Rosie about a possible walking date. Gretchen told me later that Rosie was suspicious. “How do I know he’ll like me?” she asked.

“He pretty much likes every dog,” she told her, but I think Rosie is still hesitant. Okay, I’ll continue to be patient!


Gretchen stopped by Gemma’s house to let her out to do her business. Poor Gemma is kind of depressed. Confined to her backyard and the cast on her foot that won’t go away, Gemma tried to play with a ball Gretchen bought, but soon got frustrated with the bandage on her leg. So she started smelling Gretchen’s leg because that’s where Rosie had been just a half hour before. Gemma wants to meet Rosie too!

ball timestretch


Then Gretchen decided it was time for class and they spent the rest of the time practicing the “shake” command. Gemma almost has it!

class timeshake

After her short visit with Gemma, Gretchen picked up Bella who was once again frisky as the day was windy so they headed over to the tennis courts where Bella practiced healing, waiting, staying, and dropping the ball after she fetched it. Bella’s a funny one. Gretchen would throw the ball and then Bella would lie down and watch the ball roll off in the distance. Only after the ball was almost to the fence would Bella run after it. Silly girl! Gretchen thinks it’s because Bella is afraid of the fence. See, even a fence can school ya!


more fetchchewing

silly girlyep, silly

Once Bella had most of her ya-yas out, Gretchen walked her over to our house so I could walk the rest of the way with them. Bella was pretty well-behaved though I had to school her a few times about sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong…like in my face!

Then we walked down to pick up Saber and before we headed over to the school, Gretchen tried to wear us out by playing fetch. Gretchen hasn’t learned the phrase all dogs know — before the age of two, you don’t wear a puppy out, you build their endurance!

chasecatch me

on the rungetting bigger

Hey, I just noticed something. Saber’s almost as tall as I am! How did that happen? Oh well, he still doesn’t know which end of the toy to play with!

a lesson?favorite toy

By the time we got to school, I was certainly tired, but Saber was all puppy energy, racing around, biting his leash, and really having a hard time focusing on commands. When our student came out to play with us, it took all of our energy to focus on learning to crawl, weave between legs, and roll over (all commands I already know).  But we had fun and if it’s a good school then there’s always plenty of fun, right?

The rain came back tonight, but I have my paws crossed we can dodge the wetness again tomorrow. Cross your paws, too and our wish might come true!

Until Tomorrow,


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