Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dog Police

Recently I was shocked when an Animal control officer came to my house because of a call about a starving dog. You could knocked down with a feather. The report was anomalous of course. The officer knows a good friend and dog trainer who works for animal service and knows me and both my dogs. She understood when i told her that Bud has elbow display and can't be too heavy.I told her that the vet at UCDavis want him to never weight more than 74lbs. She looked at Jetta and Bud and to anybody that knew me would know how much I do for my dogs would laugh at claim of dog abuse. I think it's great to notice dogs and try to protect them. But this officer lost 3 hours on this call took three hours that she could have used on an actually case. It burns me up that someone wouldn't come talk to me. It's bad to let your dogs get fat. I weight my dogs twice a month so I can mange their health. The most important job for me is taking care of my dogs. I am lucky to have such great dogs, they are my loves.

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Book Signing

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Book Signing: "Friday Dec 17 th is another book signing. Last week were at, 'All About Dogs' in Cayucos didn't have anyone come for a book. Jetta laid on h..."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Signing

Friday Dec 17 th is another book signing. Last week were at, "All About Dogs" in Cayucos didn't have anyone come for a book. Jetta laid on her cozy dog bed brought for her highness. She barked out commands to the owner of the store, Tony. She trained him well. In only 2 hours Jetta had Tony doing her bidding. He brought her a bowl of water, he took her out for 2 potty breaks. I know Jetta has a better bladder than I have. She just wanted to sniff the new area. He brought her dog treats when she barked at him, once, twice, three times. I could not stand it any more, poor Tony, Jetta was really working him. We can home and she was back to her polite self again. Tomorrow we will be in front of Rabobank down town from 2 -6 pm....Jetta wants to have treats for her dog friends. I will have some of my famous home baked cookies. Jetta says, Everyone should have treats. Treats are good. Hope to see you, come by no worries have a treat and say Hi.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More On Jetta's Bump

The vet checked Jetta's paw again and he told me that he saved some tissue and wanted to run a biopsy. My heart stopped when I remembered the Mast Cell Cancer that the vet took off Jetta's back when she was 5 years. He said at that time that once the dog has one Mast Cell Cancer they are more prone to get more. I felt sick with the thought of Jetta having to go through a ordeal with cancer treatments. My gosh I thought what if the cancer spread?? Could she lose her back paw? I prayed for 2 days waiting to hear from the vet. Finally the call came. The vet who knows how much Jetta means to me, said there is good news and bad news. He said good news was the bump was a Mast Cell Cancer, but the good news was that all the cancer was gone when he cut the bump off. Man I felt a heavy load lifted. I'm very grateful to know about Mast Cell Cancers. Sadly, a dear friend of mine waited too long to get her dog for treatment and the poor dog lost his leg. The dog never could not get around and was so depressed that eventually she had to let him to sleep. I am concerned about how you can tell a good bump from a bad bump? Vets are so important, but sadly they cost money it takes to protect our dogs. How about having a vet tech look at the dog first? I don't think they can tell you anything by law. For now I'm glad to know what to look for. You need to give your dog on a regular basis a good close look for any bumps that you think are new. Old dogs get fatty tumors. These bumps are normal. Look for anything that changes color. The first Mast Cell looked like a little wart until the bump turned red. Good luck on the "Bump Patrol."

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog:...

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog:...: "Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Another Trip To MY Vet: 'I have been watching a bump on the top of Jetta's hind paw f..."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jetta What Have You Done?

Poor Jetta. Several weeks ago she had a lump cut out of her paw. Earlier this week she chewed off the dressing over her stitches. I didn't think she would do anything like that. Well, she did and when I got her back to the vet, he said it was too late for more stitches. So he wrapped her paw up again and told me to put the dreaded cone on her when I'm not around. Also he said that she now has to stay off her beach for 2-3 weeks. Poor Jetta, she is so good. I put the cone on her and she looked at me like "Gosh, why are you punishing me?" So, I had to reschedule her birthday party and everything for this weekend. At least now Jetta seems to have no pain when walking. I don't trust her to be out of my sight for too long, though. I put a bootie over the dressing. I leave the cone off most of the time now. She will go back next week for the vet to check her paw out again. Now every time I take Bud for a walk, she gives me this look that kills me. Jetta hears us coming back from the beach from several blocks away. She has keen hearing when she wants to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Trip To MY Vet

I have been watching a bump on the top of Jetta's hind paw for several weeks. It started out small,looking like a tick full of blood. I pointed the spot out when the vet plucked a small wart looking like bump off of her eyelid. The vet knows how much Jetta means to me. He's been my vet for 29 years when I came to him with my cats.I love my vet. Doctor Truax is a common sence kind of a guy that got his schooling at UC Davis. He humors me when I worry too, much but has always given solid guidance for my animals. He has a chapter in my book,"Lumpy Bumps." After Jetta's Maste Cell cancer for years I brought her in for every bump I found. We just saw our vet two weeks ago for her eye bump. He says when he sees us in his office again very good naturally, "Denise have you been on bump patrol again?"

We both smiled and we both know that Labs get bumps with age,all dogs get bumps. I guess it's in knowing the difference, from a bad bump,and a good bump. Trust in my vet helps me know that I'm taking the best care of Jetta as she ages. Jetta is moving more slowly with her paw wrapped up in a bandage to keep the wound dry for about 7 days. I just gave her more medication wrapped in ham. Bud was very sad not to get a treat so I gave him a little ham too. After all Jetta has the boo boo. Jetta is sleeping more. I give her extra loving.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

I wrote this list of questions from all the millions of questions asked of me when I'm in the community with my dogs. I'm most happy to answer those questions. I find myself in grocery stores with people circling around me with these questions. I try to stop for them even when I'm in a hurry. I'm overjoyed by the curiosity I receive from the public - this means that more people can make dogs a larger part of their life. No one plans on having a disability. It's my hope that people living with disabilities will find it calming to know that a canine will be there to help them, and if nothing else, love them.

Q: What does your dog do for you?

A: He gets the phone for me, picks up dropped objects like socks, clothing, utensils, pens, eye glasses and keys. He walks next to me on a leash without pulling me over. When I'm on the ground, he stands still so I can grab his back and use him as a bench. While walking without my walker, the dog has an anchoring effect for me, which helps with my balance.

Q: How long is the training period?

A: 18 Months for full duty. The dog needs strong mature bones to bear the person's weight without it harming the dog.

Q: When can the dog visit with people?

A: When I say the word "Release", the dog knows he's on break and that I'm not depending on his for support. (And then his tail goes crazy!)

Q: How can I get a service dog?

A: Go to a large group like Canines for Independence, or other groups that offer adult service dogs. You can also pick out a calm pup and pay for a trainer that specializes in service dogs, which is what I did. Starting with a pup can be a difficult challenge for a person with a disability, if that person has to be the puppy raiser. You can try to pick up a puppy that seems to have the right temperament, however you won't know definitely if the pup will become a good service dog until well into the second year.

Q: When does a dog get too old to work and what happens then?

A: That depends on what the dog's job is. For example, Jetta can still come with me to appointments. She walks next to me but can't do any weight-bearing tasks like helping me to stand up. Jetta is slowing down and getting tired; she still loves to work but also enjoys being lazy. Because she is my dog, Jetta stays with me for the rest of her life. With guide dogs, sometimes the person can keep the old dog but sometimes that's not possible. If your dog does not pass the tests to be come a working dog or is retiring from service, there is a long list of people waiting to adopt them.

Q: Who qualifies for a service dog?

A: Anyone with a disability that has a doctor's note stating that a service dog would make their life safer.

Q: What different types of Service Dogs are there?

A: Guide dogs, Seizure dogs, Hearing dogs, dogs for stress disorders, dogs for returning war vets with post traumatic stress disorders.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jetta Goes to Her Vet


I noticed a little spot that looked like a wart under Jetta’s eyelid – I’m always expecting the worst, like “Oh my God, she’s going blind”!. I do this because once Jetta had a little cancerous bump that had to be removed, it was called a maste cell. I took her to the vet and also took Bud for his monthly weigh-in. She walked in like a good service dog, she always loves to be there. Bud, who has had some painful toe-nail breakage recently, has been afraid of the vet. My helper Charlie had to basically force him to go, he had to be pulled. We got to the clinic, Jetta got weighed while Bud was trying to get out of that hell-hole, crying and jumping on my lap, carrying on like a big drama king. We got in the examining room for Jetta’s appointment and the vet gave her a thorough exam. He explained that the eyelid sore was starting to scratch and irritate her eye. He said we could put her under or take it off right then with his scissors. I said to do it the easy way. He said she probably wouldn’t have any discomfort, so I said “Do it without putting her under”. Good, patient Jetta. All the time Bud was crying, trying to escape and carrying on like a big baby. During the exam, we talked about how dogs age. She’s lost muscle, but her weight is perfect, so we can only continue what we’ve been doing with her, walking and swimming, for as long as possible. After the exam, both of them got a treat. The vet bought the book and loved it. Bud was so happy to get out of the room, but Jetta wanted to stay because she loves the attention of her fans and knows they have treats.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Old Dogs Have No Shame

Jetta's behavior has changed with age. Jetta has always been the most polite dog. Now that she is almost 12, she is rude. She looks at me and barks for treats. She never did this before. She barks at me to jump up to bring her the water bucket from the kitchen into the living room while I'm watching TV. I know this because I tell her that I don't know what she wants. Then she gets up and goes to the kitchen and drinks water from the water bucket. She barks at me when she wants to have a walk. When we go to the beach, she trots down the beach stairs then barks at me while I walk down carefully so I don't kill myself; she wants me move faster. She pokes her nose at pockets of people on the beach hoping that treats drop out. She backs her hind quarters in to every one she sees, hoping for bootie rubs. At home in the garage, where I keep a covered cat box, she puts her head in, looking for kitty poop. Gross! She knows how to open the refrigerator and kitchen cupboard where I keep the trash. At night I have to put the trash bucket in the sink. On three different times, when the front gate didn't get closed properly she took off and wandered the neighborhood looking for food. Jetta, much to my shock, has gone into other homes down the block and eaten any food left in sight. I can only think that old dogs don't care. They must think "Oh well, whats the worst thing that can happen." So I have concluded that old dogs have no shame because they know how much we love them and treasure every moment with them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dogs Visting

It took me a while to really understand Bud. He is so different than Jetta. He is an awesome dog when we are working. He is steady in chaotic settings. I think he gets more drained faster than Jetta, so I give him more play breaks. A good friend stopped by with her pack of four dogs. The dogs had tons and tons of energy from riding in a car for eight hours. This pack of dogs lives in the country way up north and are rescue dogs. The dogs came in. The owner of the pack has two little dogs that are friendly and meet my dogs well. The other two larger dogs got busy checking out my house and found toys right away. My dogs share toys and are used to this and know that's okay. One of the dogs played rough and barked and growled and snapped at Bud. Bud bared his teeth in defense and retreated to me and jumped on my lap, on the sofa, which he never does. He watched the pack of wild dogs with a look of disdain and then left the room to the solace of his crate in the den away from these wild crazy dogs. Jetta just laid on the floor not bothered by this at all. So now you know more about my dogs' temperament. We call Bud the sensitive one and Jetta the rock.
I would love to hear about your dogs' behavior in similar situations.

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Service Pups Need Play Time

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Service Pups Need Play Time: "This morning we played at the beach. Jetta loves to roam and sniff and look for food. Because I just got over an injury I kept Jetta on th..."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Service Pups Need Play Time

This morning we played at the beach. Jetta loves to roam and sniff and look for food. Because I just got over an injury I kept Jetta on the leash until I felt safe walking on my own. Bud wants and needs more fun. We old ladies walk and Bud runs around finding people to throw the ball. Jetta did the same thing when she was younger. When no one is on the beach, he digs and digs. He burns energy and this is good. He always find people to play. I trust Bud now to come back but there was a time when was younger that he followed people down the beach and out sight. Last year Bud met a man who walks fast with his yellow Lab and Bud started playing them, I lost sight of him down the beach and I Luciky found a runner who found him and brought him back. I just knew he had found a new home. Well, we saw that man today and Bud stayed with me. I tripped twice and Bud came when I blew my whistle, to help me to stand up. Good pup.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Swim Therapy

Old dogs need extra care to keep strong. With age dogs lose muscle and Jetta was getting weak in her back legs. Swimming with Chris at "Splash" in Morro Bay helps her. Bud swims too. Bud starts crying when we go down her street. Both dogs get excited when we go. After swimming, Jetta acts like a puppy and Bud is really mellow because he swims like a maniac.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day At The Beach

A perfect day at the beach this am Warm no wind. Bud is a ball freak while Jetta would rather meet people and search for treats and bones and dead stuff to roll on. I am grateful that Jetta has not taught Bud how to roll yet. She did show him how good horse poop tastes. Gross! Bud needs more exercise than Jetta so, I run him more when we are the 2 of us. When I leave Jetta home I make sure she is tired. When we are all at the beach Jetta enjoys while Bud is swimming buttie rub time. She can't get enough. She loves meeting folks but she back her hind end so they can rub her bootie too. Old dogs have no shame. She wade in the cool water and takes pleasure in the day and the moment. I need her to teach me that trick.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday Cayucos Book Signing

We had a lot of fun at the book signing and met two people who shared my experience with service dogs. One with a German Shepard and the other with a Basset Hound. Another friend was inspired to train his dog to be a service dog who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. I also met someone with two Samoyed's that are being tested to help the elderly as therapy dogs.The day was a good dog day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My embarrasment 9/26/10

Last Friday I went to a doctors appt. I took my younger dog Bud with me, Jetta stayed home because of the heat. Heat with an older dog doesn't mix. Bud is great in public but still more of a pup than Jetta was at that age. The doctor is a dog lover and when we get to his office the doctor rolls around on the floor playing with Bud. It's a sight to see. Of course I released Bud. Dogs make people happy. I sold two books there. Then we drove to another town. My helper drove because I'm carless now. In the confusion, I forgot the most important rule: always give the dog an opportunity to relieve himself before going into any place. Bud drank water when we got out of the car. Bud had never been to this beauty shop. The hairdresser has 3 small dogs that hang out on a sofa. Bud walked in and came face to face with these little dogs. The middle one showed Bud her teeth. Bud stepped away from the confrontation, walked several steps and squatted and urinated on an Oriental rug. Gosh, I couldn't believe I forgot to let him pee before going indoors. Bud always lets me know when he needs to go! Was my face red. I had a lesson in being here now...
Love, Denise

Friday, September 24, 2010

How I Managed to Train 2 Service Dogs

I know that I am crazy to raise and train another service dog on my own, especially with my being 10 yrs older and my disability. The truth of it is that I have had my friends and my community helping out all along. The fine men of the Lyon's Club built my beautiful fence around my yard when Jetta was a puppy and they also paid for my new pup Bud. Another friend gave me money to buy Bud also, but that money went to his training since he was already paid for. My friends from Aquanetics raised money for his training also.
When I sadly found out about Bud's elbow displacia when he was 7 months old, his surgery was paid for by an Angel Fund from UC Davis, because he was a service dog (and they fell in love with him and Jetta, too). Harbor Labs and other non-profit organizations also donated to the prayers were answered. The vet said that Bud would be able to be a service dog even with his displacia, and that I would just need to keep him lean, and swim him a lot, which of course he loves, (and Jetta gets to swim, too, keeping her legs strong). One of my goals of Jetta's book is to help to encourage people to find ways to have their dogs have a full enriched life by training them so they can really fit in with their families and be able to be with them as much as possible. It's tons of work but the joy of teaching your dog to help you is very rewarding. The dogs love it too. Let me know about any of your needs, so I can try to help find answers. And you can share your tales about your own pups here, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The book fair was a blast! Jetta was in her glory, she worked the crowds and worked the crowds, she was a diva. Everybody I met there was so nice and I forget how much I enjoy meeting people. I am so excited I can barely stand it. I've been busy networking, since I can't go out and pound the pavement (since I pounded the pavement with my head a month ago!)...but that's life, you gotta roll with it. Jetta and Bud have been having their beach time, they go swimming. I do this because it's really important for old girl Jetta to keep strength in her hindquarters. They go to a special warmed pool for about pampered pets! I'm finding that I have to train Bud totally differently than Jetta: He is Mr. Sensitive. But he's doing quite well considering I haven't been able to work with him a lot lately. To drain his energy, we do games at the house to keep him mentally stimulated and happy. It's time for their dinner and Jetta's barking at me; she began doing this since she retired, to let me know she's starving, a very impatient girl, can't wait to be fed. Jetta met her brother at the book fair - they could have cared less about each other...that's families for you. Much love, Denise, Jetta and Bud.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Tell me about your dogs. I love dogs and never get tired of hearing and learning more about them. I am blessed to be able to have my dogs with me on my daily activities. Jetta's life is different now since her retirement. I miss her when I'm working with my younger dog Bud. When I come home Jetta and I have our celebration of love. She wiggles and groans like a pup. I always bring her something yummy like a marrow bone or favorite vegetable. I let her ride along when the weather is nice. Not too hot or cold. She gets to work for me once a week, like sleeping in my gym while I work out. She is so proud to come out of retirement, she remembers where one of the staff used to keep cookies for her....the woman no longer works there but Jetta goes to her office to the desk and to the same drawer. She makes everybody happy.
This blog site is for you to tell things about your beloved dogs. Denise & Pack

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jetta's Journey Debuts Sunday - Mission Plaza SLO

Meet Jetta at Mission Plaza on Sunday September 19th!

Jetta and the human she cares for will be there! Jetta will be inscribing books with her special paw print!

You may also meet Isobel Hoffman whose charming illustrations introduce the chapters in Jetta's story, depicting Jetta's adventures as she learns to care for and protect her owner.

For further information, contact publisher, Billie Johnson Oak Tree Press

Telephone: 217 824 6500

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog

Hi Denise...welcome to your blog!  I will be sending you a link by email. Follow the instructions with the link and you will be able to post your thoughts whenever you wish!!