I got sick today. Mom and dad got kinda worried. I whined and paced and slurped up tons of water. I stuck my whole nose in the water dish and swirled it around, which I had never done before.  I pulled my pillow out of my crate to let them know something was wrong. They looked up something called bloat and thought I needed to go to the vet. It is a human holiday today so they found an emergency vet to take me to.  They knew it would cost lots of money but said they knew I was worth it! I threw up while mom was driving and felt a little better. Then I pooped in the lobby of the vet office while she was filling out the paper work. The people there were so nice and kind. They weighed me and now I am 44 pounds. The vet lady asked lots of questions about what I might have eaten, like chocolate, candy, medicine, illegal substances, non-food items, etc. But my people are very careful about doggieproofing and none of that had happened. However, what they didn't know was I got into the closet where they store the doggie food and ate a hole in the bag. I guess I ate too much. The vet said I was not the body type that gets gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) bloat and that the internet scares people unnecessarily sometimes. She reassured mom that dogs throw up undigested food fairly often and was pretty confident what I had was overeating bloat.  So they decided I didn't need an x-ray and mom paid the $120.00 bill.  Mom took me home and I slept a lot. Now they are rationing my food and water.  Hmp! 
 
 
My people think I should bring them things they throw when they say "fetch, bring, drop". What they don't understand is I get tired pretty quickly. After about eight throws I need to lay down. It is pretty hard work being a puppy! Trainer lady says my previous owners didn't teach me how to play this game and I am getting to an age where it isn't as natural. She told mom and dad that I, Rocky the wonderdog, should be able to choose what game is fun. So now we play "find the treat under the cup". They have three cups on the floor and I have to choose which one has the treat. Hee hee, I'm  very good at this game with my super sniffer!
 
 
One of my jobs is to walk to the bus stop with little girl. Mom has me wait next to her and "park", which means sit or lay down calmly. Little girl is transitioning from the special ed bus to the regular bus so I'm never sure which one she gets on. When I go to the big bus stop there is lots of other kids. I want to jump and play with them but mom doesn't let me. She holds my collar and says she is a tree. When the bus brings little girl home I am learning to sit quietly while they pet me. At first they threw a little kibble on the ground when they walked up, but now I just get a pet for sitting nicely. Then we all walk home. 
 
 
Oh oh, on the second week with my family my poo got all soft and mushy. Dad came in after I did my business and asked mom what she thought. This was the day after the string cheese so they thought the little white bits were from that. However, the next day dad saw live, wiggling things! So mom took a sample into the vet. It was tapeworms. They cleaned my backside and washed my bedding. Mom vacuumed the whole house to get rid of the segments which looked like little grains of rice. The vet gave me some medicine and after two days all the worms had passed. Some were over six inches long! The vet told mom it just happens sometimes and I had had them for a while. They said my coat would improve and I might gain more weight. Sure enough, I gained four pounds in less than a week. At my six month visit I weighed in at 44 pounds!
 
 
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I love bully sticks!
Chomp, arg, I need to chew! Right after little girl feeds me breakfast I start looking for something to clean my teeth. Those kitchen chairs are lovely, but the people don't seem to appreciate the scrapes on the chair legs. I also like the rugs, but they got put away. And I'm not allowed to chew on the backpacks or books or the toilet paper rolls I fish out of the garbage. So my people are figuring out I need a hearty chew after each meal. They got some real bones, compressed raw hide things, cow hooves and my favorite - bully sticks! Yipee! What is a bully stick? Why it's a bull's pizzle. (snicker) Everyone kinda went "ewe" at first, but I prance around all happy when they give me one. It digests easy in my tummy and makes me calm and sleepy. ZZZZzzzzzz
 
 
My people are learning how to reward me with lots of treats. Trainer lady said to cut the store-bought circle treats in half. She also suggested bits of string cheese, hamburger bits or sausage, along with some kibble bits and biscuit  pieces. I love to work for food!  Unfortunately, cheese gives me a bit of tummy trouble and sometimes I get the toots from those liver flavored treats.

My people already knew never to feed me from the table or counter while they were cooking to help me learn not to beg. I get to stay on my rug while they are cooking.  I've already noticed they sometimes cook a little extra eggs or meat and set it aside for me to enjoy later.  Smart people!
 
 
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chilling out on a rug
Trainer lady showed mom and dad how I could lay on a rug next to their chair. Since I will be a therapy dog I have to be able to lay down quietly when out with little girl in public places.  They are using towels which are easy to wash. I like it, and mom told little girl it is like the carpet squares in preschool. I know where to go and they even let me in the office when they are working, as long as I stay on my rug. Trainer lady told them to quietly toss a few bits of kibble on the floor when I am laying down to help me remember this is a good idea.  Trainer lady pointed out when I lay down with my hips sideways that I am very relaxed and calm.
 
 
So trainer lady reacted strongly when mom  said she read people have to be alpha.  Trainer lady doesn't like "a certain celebrity" who promotes those methods and asked mom to read about Sirius training methods by Ian Dunbar. She also recommended Turid Rugaas and her dog communication articles.  All training is done with lots of love, rewards and treats.  That makes me happy because none of us dogs wants to be shamed, yelled at or hurt. I'm glad mom listens to trainer lady, she has some great ideas.
 
 
My people took me to the vet. The first visit is paid for by the humane society fee. I had some paperwork that showed how I was neutered and had a rabies vaccination. The vet lady talked to my people about all sorts of things - heartworm, lymes disease, Frontline flea protection, brushing teeth, food, vaccination schedules, and  toenail trimming. Mom felt kinda overwhelmed but the vet said they would call with all the dates and help her learn what to do. 

Because I came from Oklahoma they needed to do a heartworm test.  The humane society gave me a heartworm pill but if I had heartworms before I got there in April, I might have to have a big operation.  Fortunately, the test was negative and all is well. So from now on, once a month I get Frontline flea protection, one heartworm pill and follow the basic puppy vaccination schedule. They like me at the vet and told me I was a very fine gentleman. 
 
 
Trainer lady has all sorts of information for my people. She and mom talked about our goals of me being an emotional support animal for little girl. They want little girl to feed me, learn some tricks and how to interact with me in a safe and calm way. Dad and mom will teach me how to be a good canine citizen and little girl can take that test when she is bigger and I understand what to do. 

The first lesson is for me to come when called and know my name. My people really don't know much about dogs!  Trainer lady showed them how to carry small bits of treats mixed with doggie kibble to reward me instantly every time I do what they want. I'm pretty smart and they like how fast I learn. It takes about eight tries and then I know what to do.  Little girl has to learn how to hold the treat close to her body because sometimes her flapping hands look like a toy! My people also had to learn dogs don't like being hugged. It makes us feel trapped. We want to be scratched under our chins too - no pounding on top of our heads!

Trainer lady wants my people to take turns calling me so I come to everyone. It's kinda tiring, so once the treats are gone I usually go lay down. ZZZzzzzzz