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Category Archives: E Litter

The Smokey Bear and the Maidens Fair

The Maiden Fair

Smokey Bear and the maidens fair,
Euka and Emma

“Oh come” they said,

Oh come to the fair!”
“The fair?” said he,

“But I’m a bear!”

All black and brown,”
And covered in hair!” . . . 

Oh! sweet she was,
And pure and fair,
The maid with honey,
In her hair! Her hair,
The maid with honey,
in her hair!” *

You said we’re going to the Ohio State Fair today? asks Euka.  That’s cool. What category do you have me signed up for?
What category do I . . . um, what are you talking about? I ask.
What. . . cat. . . uh. . . .goree, she says slowly with the hope I might understand this time. For winning a blue ribbon, right? Surely, you’re not thinking it’s called a dogegory. That’s just weird.
No, I wasn’t thinking about categories, dogegories or anything involving winning a ribbon, I said. Actually, Euka my love, I’m concentrating on making sure I have everything we need in your Going Out bag. Your water bowl, cape and Gentle Leader and stuff.
And dog cookies? asks Euka.
Ok, just a few in my pocket, I say. But it’s long past time to wean you off the stuff. It’s like seeing a five year old kid still using a binky. But tell me, Euka, what were you planning on doing to win a blue ribbon anyway?
Oh, I don’t know, she says, tossing her ears back. Maybe something like Best Looking Puppy Ever in the Universe or a special mention for my incredible intelligence. Is there a competition for having the biggest brain in the smallest head?
I don’t think you’d win for having the smallest noggin, I say. About now I’m worried that you’ll be able to fit that big head of yours into the back seat of the car. And I drive a full size.
I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean, she says, totally knowing what it means. 

Euka meets Smokey Bear 

Emma and Euka

The Ohio State Fair is designed to be good family-style fun and we show up planning on a great time. Euka and I ride to Columbus with Emma’s puppy raisers to volunteer at a Meet & Greet Table for Canine Companions for Independence.  Our table is set up in the space sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who gives us a warm welcome.  Plenty of room to put up the tri-fold display and set out brochures, bookmarks and the like.

And hey, speaking of bookmarks, I have to tell you traveling around with these E puppies is like being roadies to a rock band. Sometimes I’m just the chick with the car, driving Miss Euka from gig to gig. I’m her people.
CCI made bookmarks with the E litter for us to hand out at our Meet & Greet and various fundraising events. They’re ridiculously adorable, photo courtesy of Chris Kittredge Photography.  No, I mean it.  Just look at this, willya?
Guess who the sassy pup is, locking eyes with the viewer.  Go ahead, guess.  That’s right, envy me, y’all.  I won the diva lottery.  I know, I should have seen this coming.

Ok, but there’s more.  Take a deep breath now, because you’re gonna have a big d’awwww coming up next.

Told ya. Even I think that’s stinkin’ cute every time I see it. And I live with the puppy.

Did you make a yummy sound?
I called for a knight!
But you’re a bear!
A bear! A bear,
All black and brown,
And covered in hair!*
Directly outside the pavilion is Smokey Bear** to greet fairgoing families. In the spirit of exposing the puppies to the new and different, we walk Emma and Euka over for a quick intro.

At over fourteen feet tall, Smokey Bear has been a fixture here at the Ohio State Fair since  the 1970’s to test the mettle of young children. 
You see, not only is Smokey one big honkin’ beast of a bear in Levi’s, but he also moves about and talks. No, not like Godzilla moving around; he just rolls that head of his back and forth scanning the horizon and his hairy left arm is of the animatronic genre. Which is quite enough for some toddlers, I observed.  Dog forbid if the fellow starting walking, too.
Oh, and when he talks, he refers to you by name. Really. It’s either magical or creepy, depending on your level of heat exhaustion for the day.
Hi Emma and Euka! booms Smokey. What beautiful dogs!

Euka enjoys the tunes of Loosely Strung
Free Bird!, shouts Euka.

In response the yellow girls give this ursine greeting a Say WHAT?! look.  They stare down the two story bear creature, deem it take downable should the need arise, and turn back to each other to continue on with their girly gossip conversation.  Emma’s puppy raisers and I have already noted and agreed on this — these two girls are the same dog in two different packages. 

Dominant, confident and smart.

Hey, Emma, says Euka.  I think that bear wants a bookmark or something.

Yeah, I know, says Emma. I’ll tell my people.

If I don’t graduate as a service dog, says Euka. I can do search and rescue.
Well, except for that thing where I don’t like water too much.

It was raining when we arrived, which
had Euka worried. It was a such a
good hair day and all.


*Four alarm Geek alert, y’all. Here’s the full lyrics to that song from Game of Thrones. Special bonus points go to those who knew that already. We speak the same language of nerdish, you and I. 
The Bear and the Maiden Fair
“A bear there was,”
“A bear, A BEAR!
“All black and brown,”
“And covered with hair!
“Oh come they said,”
“Oh come to the fair!”
“The fair? said he,
“But I’m a bear!”
“All black and brown,”
“And covered in hair!”
“And down the road,”
“From here to there,”
“From here! To there!”
“Three boys, a goat,”
“And a dancing bear!”
“They danced and spun,”
“All the way to the fair!”
“Oh! sweet she was,”
“And pure and fair,”
“The maid with honey,”
“In her hair! Her hair,”
“The maid with honey,”
“in her hair!”
The bear smelled the scent,
“On the summer air!”
“The Bear! The Bear!”
“All black and brown,”
“And covered with hair!”
“He smelled the scent,”
“On the summer air,”
“He sniffed and roared,”
“And smelled it there!”
“Honey on the summer air!”
“Oh I’m a maid,”
“And I’m pure and fair,”
“I’ll never dance,”
“With a hairy bear,”
“A bear! A bear!”
“I’ll never dance,”
“With a hairy bear!”
“The bear,the bear!”
“Lifted her high,”
into the air!”
The bear, the bear!”
“I called for a knight!”
“But you’re a bear!”
“A bear! A bear,”
“All black and brown,”
“And covered in hair!”
“She kicked and wailed,”
“The maid so fair,”
“But he licked the honey,”
“From her hair!”
“Her hair! Her hair!”
“He licked the honey,”
“From her hair!”
“Then she sighed and squealed,”
“And kicked the air,”
“She sang: My bear so fair,”
“And off they went,”
“The bear! The bear!”
“And the maiden fair!”
**Yeah, so it’s Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear.  There goes another childhood memory.

Wordless Wednesday: Chubby Bunny

Um, Euka my love?  What’s in your mouth now? I ask.

Muthin’, says Euka.  Why?

Because it looks like you’re storing marshmallows in there, I say.  Or auditioning for Brando’s role in The Dogfather.

Nope, says Euka. I got muthin’.  See? 

Ok then, I say.  Look me in the eye and say Chubby Bunny.

Shubby . . . says Euka.  Alwight, alwright! graaack [spit]

Ah, blades of slobbered grass fall upon her front paws.  Not the worst thing she’s rolled around in that adorable maw of hers.  But still.

I love how Ella’s in the background looking on with that I’m-the-Good-Girl expression.

Aw, c’mon, Ella says.  You’re not fooling anyone here with that innocent dog act.

Yeah, I know, says Euka. [wink]

Wordless Wedesday: Caption This #9

Photo credit Facebook: Chris Kittredge Photography

Not your average California blondes, these two.

The lovely Emma and Euka are six weeks old in this archival photo from their Canine Companions for Independence volunteer breeder caretaker.

Miss Euka is giving off an aura of sassiness, meanwhile Emma looks on with a look of practiced patience.  It hasn’t even been two months yet, but she has her sister figured out.  That attitude of yours, says Emma, is going to get you in big trouble, sis.

Let’s try some photo captions for these two fun and furry personalities. What are these two girls saying, do you think?

Where’s the Off switch on this thing?

Euka II and Emma

[Blam! slosh slosh splish]

The former Bob II. He told good jokes.

Girls! I cry. That’ll do for nowLet’s leave the fish tank out of it.  One hundred pounds of wound up yellow dog have t-boned the saltwater tank cabinet bringing about an ominous sploshing sound.

What? says Euka in a tone of innocence that takes quick and dark turn into teenage sass.  It’s not like there’s even a fish in there. Doesn’t that make it just a dirty water tank?

Not even the point, missy, I say. Fourteen gallons of saltwater on the carpet isn’t any less a catastrophe just because it’s missing a flopping clown fish. 

Bet he’d be funny to watch, says Euka. Clown fish! [snort].

Alrighty then. I say. Look, I can see you and Emma have a lot to catch up on. Now that you’ve shown her every toy you have and you two have both performed a full dental exam on each other with your mouth play, well, I continue, let’s go take a walk and burn off that remaining puppy energy.

Littermate Emma was dropped off a couple of hours ago for a play date while her puppy raisers attend a family event. And it’s been Game On ever since with these two. Micron and Jager have positioned themselves on the sofa as spectators of the coliseum event on the carpet below.

Only thing missing from this gladiator battle are dog thumbs to determine the fate of the conquered.

Seems to me like a walk in the metro park will bring a sense of order back to the day.  As we’re getting dog gear together, the two pups are circling around me chanting Park! Park! Park!

I’m already exhausted and we haven’t left yet.

We get Emma and Euka to jump into the backseat of the car and prepare to head out.  As I pull to the end of the driveway, I take a quick glance to make sure they’re behaving.

I see this.

Really?  If I knew a simple car ride could bring such domestic harmony, we would have left a whole lot sooner.

Englewood MetroPark is part of the Five Rivers MetroParks system in our greater Miami Valley area. From their website:

“Englewood MetroPark is one of five natural areas created by the construction of earthen flood control dams. Stillwater River, lakes, woods and wetlands serve as focal points of this 1,900-acre MetroPark.”     


It’s rather wonderful to have this natural area so close to home. Merely just down the street and around the corner. When there, I always keep a lookout for a glimpse of one of the nesting Bald Eagles catching the air currents above.  A rare sight which makes it all that much more awesome.

With the recent rains, we decide to keep to the paved walking path this trip. Muddy Dog Alert is Code Yellow and honestly, I’m too tired from this morning to even consider bathing these two today.

This next shot may concern those who know the nature of water dogs. So let me relax those fears to let you know that my favorite kid and photography assistant was at hand with a firm grip on those leashes just out of camera range.  Avoiding mud is one thing, people.  Chauferring two web-toed puppies smelling like river water in the backseat of the Mercury is a whole nuther animal, so to speak.

Euka and Emma by the Stillwater River.
 No cars were stinkified in the making of this picture.

And holy cow, have you seen the ticks this season? One of the thirty CCI commands to be introduced by puppy raisers is Roll.  Different than Roll Over, this is more like a Roll for Exam.  We ask the pups to roll onto their backs and just relax for a few.  This position of comfort is intended to make the dog more accessible to a person with a disability to handle grooming tasks and such.  A puppy in a Roll position is now available for ear cleaning, a dental check, toenail clipping and under carriage brushing.

Today we use this command for an post-walk tick check on each pup.  Before we even feel about our own noggins for the little buggers, the kid and I are examining the yellow dogs.

I absolutely hate ticks, which is natural I think. But then, I have a serious problem with anything traveling about on eight legs.  Some dark force was involved with this octopedal thing, is my way of looking at it.  Think about it for a sec. Nothing good ever came about with an eight-legged critter. Ticks, spiders, scorpions, mites, even crabs – the spiders of the sea. Ah, but not an octopus, you know. Those are arms, so they’re all good. And I don’t want to hear any of that spittle about spiders being helpful because they eat other insects. Birds eat bugs too and they’re not evil, now are they?

See?  If a sparrow was perched in the corner of your bathroom, you wouldn’t squash it by throwing your husband’s shoe while screaming, right?

Dark forces, I say.

Anyway, no malicious parasites to be found on the girls. A blessed relief to not have to put the tweezers to work.  The kid and I came out of it clean too.  Another bonus, as we both still carry the emotional scars from the time I had to tweeze a fully engorged tick from between his big and second toes.

And now I think we’ve finally worn the pups out. They still have an attitude of puppy playfulness, but seem satisfied to lie on their sides and play something like patty cake with their front paws. It’s like there’s no real Off button on a puppy, you’re just to wait until their batteries drain.

Which brings to mind another helpful CCI command.  Euka! Emma! I say, pointing to the dog crate. Girls, Kennel!

Ah, peace. Now some time to charge my batteries, too. Because I think the Round Two bell will be ringing very soon.

Emma looking rather lovely.
No ticks were harmed in the making of this picture.
Because we didn’t find any. Otherwise I would have sent the little
buggers to a fiery death by match in the bathroom sink. They
make a satisfying popping sound when meeting
a hot match head. [bwahahaha snort] 

Wordless Wednesday: Easy on the eyes

[click to see larger image]

Headshots of littermates Ella and Euka at six months old.  These girls share personality traits and fight like sisters during their play dates. And yet, they differ in body structure. 

Euka remains the petite beauty of the Ohio Four. Ella, Everett and Emma all sport a more robust build than our little girl.  But all are, of course, gorgeous pups.  They can’t help it, you know; they were born with it.

Can you see the difference here in the faces of these two girls? Ella has the broader head and snooter, while Euka is composed of more delicate features.

We know good looks really aren’t important in their preparations to be service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence.  Being easy on the eyes is just a life bonus for these two.

Wilbur, the bull terrier from obedience class would agree with this.  He trills a love warble for Ella like a love struck teenager.  [sigh] Another star-crossed romance, the poor guy.


Be sure to check out our dog blog post on Going all out Diva style to help us choose some bling for our lovely girl.  Euka has been around me long enough to know not to trust my fashion sense. She’s counting on you for this one.

We’re tallying up the suggestions and will announce the popular choice on April 21, 2013.

Nothing to fear

I am a Eukanuba puppy, says Euka the puppy.

Wake up, Euka. We’re here.  Euka blinks her eyes and looks out the car door to see what today’s adventure might be.  She’s slept soundly during our road trip to the regional center for Canine Companions for Independence, but the the sights and smells have snapped her to attention. Discovering new stuff is caffeine for puppy brains.

I slip on her working girl cape and gentle leader while she’s still in the backseat of the car, then lift her out to explore. A moment is needed to evacuate the puppy hydration tank before we step inside the center. This is her first time meeting so many other CCI puppies outside of her litter and I’m prepared for the excited response her quick little puppy brain will command of her agile peanut sized body.

Ha ha, just kidding y’all. I really did think I was ready for her puppy reaction, but that was just me being silly.

Hi! Hi! Hi! Hey! Hi!, says Euka.  Hi! I’m Euka Don’t! who-are-you-do-you-like-to play-piranha-attack-i-sure-do! i’ll-go-first-and-debone-you-rawr!

Oh sure, the girly girl gets some slack for being a ball of electric energy driven by a two month old random puppy thoughts. But let’s work on some self-control here. I walk her aside and give her a few minutes so she can observe the room and process all this activity going on around her. Euka’s a clever girl and it doesn’t take long for her to understand that all the older pups are in a calm Sit or Down. She wants to play, but senses the mood of the room is different. I realize we’re working on a puppy timer that’s about to ding. I’m looking forward to starting the training session to get her moving again.

The CCI trainers have stations set up pretty much like the local session earlier this month (Time to ramp it up) with the Ohio Four. This time around is kicked up a notch and offers more distractions with new dogs and a different venue. Euka experiences a second wave of excitement to see that littermates Everett, Ella and Emma are here as well.  A sniffed greeting among the siblings assures all is as it should be and we all move on to the challenge stations.

On the left is Everett looking rather confident after stepping up and onto a novel surface. In the background is Ella on the balance beam following the lead of her puppy raiser, Maggie.

Other training stations are designed for the older puppies and we find we needed to tweak things just a bit to ensure that the session ends on a positive note.

A Sit or Down is an implied Stay for a service dog. Fully trained, a service dog understands that he is to stay in place and be alert for the next request of his handler. Some of the stations were designed to build on the foundation of this behavior.

A young pup is introduced to this, then the puppy raiser increases the duration and distractions over the next few months.

And as nothing should feel weird under service dog’s toes, or even his furry butt, there are novel surfaces about for the pups to perform Sits and Downs. Here on the right we have Euka going for extra credit by sitting on the station sign and the plastic sheeting, the little over-achiever.

Oh! But what’s that jingle we hear, puppies? Could it be? Look pups, Santa Claus showed up  to introduce you to the novelty of a traditional myth sporting a full beard and fuzz trimmed clothes. That right kids, even Santa is part of your training today.

But let’s pause here a moment and think this one through. How many photos have you seen of a screaming kid propped up on Santa’s flocked knee?  I’m not talking just miserable, but the kid is out and out scared spitless and possibly a little swampy in the knickers. What brings this about, do you think? The fella’s generous facial hair or the victorian era fashion sense perhaps? The wafting essence of Stranger Danger? It’s all a bit heavy for some kids to process.

So what about an adult dog that has never encountered such a thing before? Lookit, a highly trained service dog is just not a fella that is gonna raise his hackles and startle bark at big, bearded men. So we start now.

Heyya Santa! Heads up there, big guy! We gotcha a puppy alert, code blue & yellow!  The Ohio Four pose rather nicely for an adorable portrait of calm repose. What’s that you say? How did we do it? How many people did it take to make this happen? Oh, merely just a few experienced puppy raisers at hand, plus a professional CCI trainer. Pretty helpful that Santa is a puppy raiser too. Yeah, and that squeaky toy to get all four pups to at least face the same general direction.

From the left is Everett, Ella, Euka II and Emma.

Santa does love puppies. But we knew that already, didn’t we?  Euka gets a extra lovin’ squeeze from the jolly old elf.

Four puppy noggins, so many things to discover. From a curly beard to shiny boots to flashing Christmas lights, and just what is in those boxes anyway, it took a few shots to get these critters all looking one way.

But look again to see what’s missing here.

Discomfort, fear, lack of confidence. Right, stuff like that. Not a snippet of negative response. A fine gift indeed to the puppy raisers of the Ohio Four.

Here at the Sword House we wish a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to all of you. Be safe, enjoy renewed family time and make some new memories, y’all.

Time to ramp it up

Everett & Ella invent TubeBall, a new puppy game. It’s a little hard to explain because the rules keep changing depending on who has the ball.

Fergo, my friend, you know how much I love you, I say to this handsome black dog. Just because you’re you.

But the old fella just looks up at me with those soulful brown eyes. Eyes that have seen puppy after puppy pass through his puppy raisers’ home. Eyes that have known love and can return deep affection without a word being said.

Eyes that are now looking deep into my own and saying “Cookie?”  He nudges my right front jeans pocket.  The magic place that dog treats come from.

Alright, you handsome fella. I have to give in to his sweetness. There’s just nothing else to be done about it.  Just one. I need the rest for Euka’s training today.

Fergo and I, we’re old friends. A CCI release dog and beloved pet of Emma’s puppy raisers. We once took Fergo on a vacation road trip with us (see Ten Ten in Penn) when his folk needed a puppy sitter for a week. You know, nothing is as bonding as traveling in an RV together. After a solid week of shared residence in a six wheeled rolling house, everyone inside has experienced, and shared, the complete toolbox of emotions. And have revealed all hidden personality traits. Ah, but Fergo was a doll the entire road trip, the best dog in the house. I do love this big sweetie.

But today’s about working with the E’s and exposing them to different experiences. The dog treats in my pocket are currency to pay the young Euka for a job well done. I’m hoping to be broke by the end of the afternoon.

Along with Euka, we have littermates Everett, Ella and Emma. A few minutes of playtime is an excellent idea to get some of the puppy heebie jeebies out.  Run puppies! Run!, we encourage. As if they need it.  A handful of dog lovin’ neighbors pop by with their kids to help with socialization. Well, so far so good. Easy peasie. Ok, now it’s time to psych ourselves and get down to business here. Put on your working faces puppies, this is serious stuff now.

Many of the training stations are similar to the experiences the E’s had with their breeder caretaker and so won’t be the first time they seen such things. But repeated positive experiences as their growing puppy brains develop will help them as they continue to encounter the new and different that crosses their path.

On the left, Euka and Emma are walking on a wobble board. As working dogs, they’ll be asked to walk across different surfaces. A service dog can’t try to avoid or move around an unfamiliar surface, so confidence here is a requirement.

The photo at the top of the post has Everett and Ella in a tube during playtime. As a training exercise we put the pups in a Sit/Stay at one end, then called them through to the other. An enclosed environment is another situation that we want them to be comfortable with. Think about air travel; there’s not much room at the feet of an individual traveling with their service dog by airplane. That’s indeed some tight quarters in the cabin, for both man and beast, so we want the pups to know that it’s still safe when in a space that surrounds their body.

Moving along, we reach the ramp station. Can the pups accept this surface, one that will have them exposed above the ground?

Everett says it’s a cake walk. He doesn’t just strut up the thing, but does it with a frisbee in his mouth, the little show-off.  C’mon girls, he taunts. Bet ya a dog cookie you can’t get me up here!

Hey you girly girls! I got the frisbee and you don’t!  Emma has a look on her face like, I’m gonna pound him.

The girls, of course, rise to the challenge of their brother. He is in possession of the frisbee, after all. And that just won’t do.

Ella is next up the ramp, giving the thing a close inspection before she makes it to the apex so she can smear her brother and claim her victory prize.

We clear the deck chair of the distraction of now rastlin’ puppies and give Euka her chance to explore. And the usually fearless Euka surprised us by needing some encouragement. We tried with a dog cookie a couple of times, but it wasn’t until Everett came tearing back up the slide (Comin’ through! he yells) that she found her motivation. Yep, the spirit of competition. With Everett standing at the top, wagging his tail, Euka looks at him with a Like heck you are expression and charges to the top to pound him.

Aw, this ain’t nuthin’, says Euka. Try to gimme a challenge next time.

Emma has at it like she’s done this all before, too.

Well done, little pups!  And with a renewed sense of purpose and control, we then move on to a photo shoot of the four to bring their first training class to a successful close.

Wanna take a guess? How many puppy raisers does it take to get four eleven-week-old puppies to sit nicely on a lawn swing. Ha ha, y’all. No, it’s not twenty, but thanks for thanking that. Actually, I’m not gonna tell you because it’s too embarrassing.

But I will admit that Fergo was a huge help as a photographer’s assistant. The big sweetie.

Fergo helps to set up the E’s for their photo shoot.

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