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Archive for August, 2012

Grady has caught the attention of the regional broadcast for a national radio network. Next week, they will be doing a news/chat piece on Grady’s rescue and how he is trying to raise money for blind people to get guide dogs.

I believe the audio clip will be posted on their site afterwards, and as soon as it is, we’ll let you all know!

Meanwhile, please encourage your friends and fellow bloggers to vote for Grady in the Fido Casting call. He’s slipped a bit in the ratings, but we’re still hoping for a top 100 finish. The more votes, the more money for the Lions’ Guide Dogs Canada program. And the more exposure for cast off, neglected dogs like Grady that are undiscovered treasures.

Vote here once a day until Sept.10.

I’m blind. I see with my heart.

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Okay, so that was a poor imitation of the Sesame Street Count, but it’s what I thought of when Grady’s latest talent surfaced.

I knew when Grady had mapped out the house in less than two hours that he was smart. And the fact that he can tell the difference between me going outside to garden, and going out to the car to drive somewhere, really floored me. Especially when he showed that he can find the car without any help whatsoever. But I never suspected he could count.

If it’s not too hot, Grady accompanies me on trips to town. He loves to ride in the car, and is very good, laying down in the backseat and never acting out. I think this stems in part from the fact that he has been so deprived of companionship, that he will do almost anything to get it, including trying to climb into the lap of unsuspecting phone repairmen.

Part of our summer routine, has been to go through a Tim Horton’s drive-thru line at the end of our excursion, during which I get an iced capp and Grady gets two plain Timbits. (Little doughnut balls.) He used to only get one, but he was such a good boy, and looked so hopeful, that now he gets two. (What can I say, I’m a pushover.)

Last week I had to head back to the vet’s to pick up some medication for his ears, so when we hit the drive-thru, I picked up his Timbits (the girls like to rattle the bag at him, to see his head perk up) but I only gave him one. There was traffic behind me and I figured I could give him the other one at the vet’s.

It was hot and humid, so we went into the office to wait, and I weighed Grady while we were there. When we finished, it was back out to the car. Grady has a very good sense of where things are and never forgets. Getting into the car is no problem at all, even though he can’t see where the door is. He touches the edge of the car, then leaps up ever so…well, almost gracefully.

Only this time, he made one fluid motion out of the jump, and then a dive between the front seats and grabbed the bag with the other Timbit. He knew there were two, and by George, he was going to have that second one! Being the strict disciplinarian that I am, I forced him to give up the bag, and snapped his seat belt harness in the lock. Then I got in, did up my own seat belt, and turned around and gave him the Timbit.

He doesn’t inhale them so much as they vanish into the black hole of his jaws. Then he smacks his lips, lays down and is perfectly happy. He never asks for more, even though he knows I have something, and may even rattle the bag. Because he knows there are only two of them. But they are HIS! And I better not forget it. Like he’d ever let me.

Beware: Timbit trap, open and ready.

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Hello our loyal friends, fellow bloggers and followers from all over the world! Please remember to vote for Grady in the Fido Casting Call contest. Every vote means a dollar to the Lions’ Guide Dog Canada program, providing seeing eye assistance for the blind. Grady himself is blind and it is fitting that he support this most worthwhile organization. In entering Grady we also hope to raise the profile of all the beautiful, but handicapped dogs who also need a home, and are not as lucky as Grady. Won’t you please add your support? You can vote once a day until Sept.10. Please share this link through your social media and friends’ networks.

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Why not? Why shouldn’t dogs leap to the heights of glory along with other athletes? Are they not physically adept? Graceful on their feet? Determined enough to focus on a single goal for their entire life? Of course they are. Although in most cases those goals are to chase the neighbour’s cat or steal anything edible they find, these minor deviations from the path of a true champion can be turned back in the right direction with a little work.

I was pondering this very thing the other day when I had Grady outside for a pee. He has style, grace and finesse, never shown more eloquently than when he’s watering the wisteria or urinating in the undergrowth. And voila, an idea was born. The Pee-Tathalon. Distance, speed, quantity, accuracy, and the artistic component: designs in snow.

In anticipation of the inaugural games, I have been putting Grady through his paces for the gruelling five component event. Since his bladder is only slightly smaller than a medieval vat of malmsey (approx. 1,000 gallons), the quantity win is a given. His ability to achieve any noteworthy distance depends on the locale of the contest, since tree branches tend to deflect his aim. We have no worry about accuracy because he can douse a mosquito in flight without even trying. The one possible bump on our road to fame and fortune is the speed portion of the competition. Grady has been known to stand in place, with stream in full flow long enough to run a marathon. Backwards. With his legs duct taped together.

When it comes to the artistic component, we’re going to wipe up the grounds with the competition. The very arch of his neck is enough to inspire rapturous tens from the judges. The majestic sweep of his tail and feathers along with a delicately poised paw, the appropriate distance off the ground and at the correct angle, pretty much has it in the bag already. We are keeping an excel spreadsheet of his progress, as I mark his efforts with each trip outside.

I really think this would fly. First, we’d have to get the AKC, CKC, IOC and other affiliated organizations on board. And they’ll want clearly defined rules and criteria as well as photos and videos. These may take me a while to supply. Grady has been somewhat uncooperative ever since I deducted half a point from his artistic score for expelling gas while he posed. I somehow doubt that tooting to “Pomp and Circumstance” will go down well with the judges.

You gotta be kidding! You took points off for what?

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Vote For Grady!!!!

Don’t forget to keep voting for Grady in the Fido Casting Call, folks! We are so grateful to our blogger, Facebook, Golden Retriever and personal friends who have put Grady into the top 100 dogs as of today. Remember that every vote means a dollar for the Lions’ Guide Dog Canada program. We are raising awareness of blindness in dogs with Grady’s campaign, and hoping that our efforts will pay dividends when someone else sees that an abandoned, handicapped dog is a treasure not to be passed up. Voting continues until Sept.10, and you can vote once a day. Share the voting site with your friends: Fido Casting Call

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Yes, I am soliciting. Not for myself, but for Grady. I have entered Grady in the Fido Casting Call, sponsored by a telecommunications company here in Canada. Every vote in the contest up to 200,000 means a $1 for Guide Dogs Canada.

As those of you who have been following this blog know, Grady himself is blind. He was neglected to the extent he was severely emaciated, and as I have since discovered, went blind when a vet visit and some inexpensive drugs would have saved his sight.

Please help me show people that a cast-off dog still has something to give. While we don’t expect to win, every vote helps a blind person get a guide dog, and maybe ultimately, raises enough awareness that another blind dog will find a home because of Grady.
Share with your friends, family, Facebook friends, Twitter, and any other ways you can think of.
You can vote every day up until Sept.10. Here is the casting sheet. And yes, Americans can vote too!

I am blind. I see with my heart.

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Adopting Grady has turned out to be an expensive experience, replacing the many things that…disappear. So I have turned my thoughts to devising some way in which he can earn his keep.

The first and most obvious thing that came to mind was renting him out for forest fire control, due to his mega sized bladder, and his endless capacity for water as noted in The Fifty Gallon Golden. But a dog can’t stand around with his leg lifted all the time.

Then it struck me. There is a theatre group putting on a performance of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. And if there’s one thing Grady knows, it’s how to steal. Not only will he perform magnificently, they will save a fortune on the rest of the cast because they can lay off the other 39 bit players. Believe me, all they need is Grady.

Of course, this will only work with a few changes to the script. The treasure hidden in the cave for instance. They’ll need to substitute food for gold. Grady has no interest in jewels, (his own family ones having been lost recently), but if it’s edible, he can find it.

But it will have to be valuable food to make it worthy of being called treasure. Perhaps some truffles, although they wouldn’t withstand storage very long and would have to be disposed of. Grady would be glad to oblige. Maybe some Yubari melons, which might detract him from his interest in my melons, recounted in The 50 Shades of Grady. They’re a mere $26,000 a pair. (Mine were free, they came with the basic girl kit.) And to wash it down, some Kopi Luwak coffee, made from beans that have passed through the digestive tract of civet cats before washing and roasting. Given dogs’ propensity for raiding litter boxes, this should be the pinnacle of gustatory treasure for him. The only problems I foresee, is first, the cost of such delights might be more than the production could carry (although they *are* saving on 39 other actors), and second, they would be hard put to keep Grady from consuming the treasure before the curtain comes down.

We could of course use Grady’s personal treasures, but they would hardly impress an audience. The cheese sandwich he stole off the counter the first week he came to live with me. The half a banana bread that followed the sandwich a week later. And his most recent prize, a loaf of fresh, warm, just out of the oven French bread that was destined for my supper. All of which impressed Grady with their mouth watering aroma. I was less impressed when my lunch, supper and even my tea time snack vanished into the bottomless pit known as his stomach.

Maybe he could get a gig with a magician. If the tools of the trade were toothsome treats. Or how about in a remake of “It Takes a Thief”…..

The picture of innocence. Hah!

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Deep pile carpet. Deep grass. Deep decomposing deer droppings. It doesn’t matter. Dogs just like to roll, and roll and roll. I asked Grady why, but he just gave me that one fish eye as he did another Olympic worthy twisting turn. Simply put, they enjoy it. Plus, I imagine it’s pretty funny to hear all the theories that humans come up with to explain it.

There is the post-it theory: that dogs are leaving a message for their pack, e.g. “Kilroy was here”. And the “cat” theory: that they are leaving their scent on things. The most popular one is that they are trying to cover their own scent, out of some primordial instinct to keep their next prey from smelling them.

I was explaining all this to Grady when he was on one of his marathon rolls while we were outside. He stopped briefly as I went into detail about covering his own scent, snorted a piece of clover up his nose and sneezed it out, hitting a Blue Jay in the tree behind us. I took that to mean he has little faith in theory. That, or he has allergies.

The only scented immersion experience he’s engaged in so far is prolonged and enthusiastic rolling in the half acre of oregano that grows wild and has taken over part of the yard. His next prey will think they are being stalked by an Italian chef. But then, I don’t imagine tennis balls think much about that kind of thing.

Grady, like many dogs, indulges in a good mouth massage on the nearest surface after he’s eaten. If the menu was particularly tasty (in other words, he stole something off the counter), the massage turns into a whole body experience, complete with a diving glide to the floor, wriggling, squirming, tongue flapping, and much wild eye glaring. In some Asian countries a simple burp will suffice to show your pleasure in the cuisine. It’s a good thing Grady doesn’t live there.

Theory is all very well for humans, but it doesn’t hold much water with dogs. If it did, they’d have drunk it all, then gone outside for a pee and a roll in the grass. Even if their brains are 1/10th the size of ours, they have a better grasp of the basics that make life bearable. Basically, it feels good. And if it feels good, do it.

Grady’s joie de vivre in snaking through the grass on his back, never fails to make me smile. If he can still find pleasure in life and the company of humans after being starved and neglected to the point he went blind, he can roll all he wants. I’ll just go out and roll around myself a bit, to make sure the skunks get the message that they should find another yard to go potty in.

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