Posted by: bree1972 | December 2, 2010

Good Things! 12/03/2010

My favorite things to write about usually involve my family or my dogs, and tonight you’ll get a bit of both!

Dog “good things” first (it actually started off as a “bad thing”, but it’s getting better):  I’ve been working with Bear all week to help him overcome his fear of loading into the SUV we purchased last week.  At first it was absolute refusal, meaning Ted had to come outside and bodily lift him in.  Then when I got wherever I was going with him and was ready to re-load, I had to find someone strong enough to haul an 80-lb golden into the car for me.  I was not a happy camper, since I basically changed cars for the express purpose of making said 80-lb golden a happy camper.  With as many miles as we hope to rack up with our Delta Society Pet Partner volunteer work (80 miles round trip just to get into Albany, before we even start driving from site to site), I knew that the seemingly 2″-wide Honda Civic backseat just wasn’t going to cut it for the Bearster. 

So yesterday and today – three times a day – I’ve put his leash on him, walked him to the SUV, and tried various methods of getting him inside.  And we finally hit on one that works!  I’ve given up for the moment the idea that he will ride in the cargo area at the very back – I think the trauma of being that far away from my shoulder – where he is usually resting his head – is just not going to be tolerated.  So, I open the back door on one side, loop the end of Bear’s leash around the headrest, ask him to “stay”, then walk around to the other back door.  I open that, reach in and unloop his leash, then call him to “come”.  He jumps right in (probably thinking he will just jump out the side where I’m standing).  But instead, I’m standing there with lots of praise and hugs AND his favorite dog treat!  The first few times we did this, I had to then loop the leash around the headrest on that side so I could close the door and go around and close the other door before he jumped back out.  Now I can just tell him to “stay” once he’s in.  In six attempts, he had pretty much conquered getting in, which was wonderful.

Now we have a second problem.  Once we’re in, and we’re on the road, he wants to climb into the front seat with me, sprawl across the console, and put his head in my lap.  Well, that isn’t going to work either.  Today, I opened the console, and it provided a barrier between the two front seats, and that semi-worked, except he kept trying to come over it.  Since it’s not anchored, I had to put my arm across it to give some steadiness.  So right now I’m searching catalogs for some kind of barrier made to keep dogs from climbing between the seats.  I’ve found a couple, and if we can’t stop the problem in the next day or so with positive reenforcement, I might have to order one. 

Oh, the other thing I did was this.  Each time he loaded, we’d take a little ride down the road to a big field, where we’d get out and play with the tennis ball.  Whenever he’s traveled exclusively with me, he’s usually going either to the vet or to the groomers.  On the other hand, he thinks loading into Ted’s truck means we’re heading either to Mackinac Island for the summer, or to Arkansas to see the grandchildren – both major FUN things in his book.  I wanted him to know that not ALL car trips with mom end with baths or needles.

All in all, I’m VERY pleased that Bear has responded to several short work sessions and gotten past what could have turned into a major problem with transporting him.  He is such a smart, sweet Bear Boy!

Another Bear item – on one of those practice sessions today, we went into Cordele for his Pet Partner physical, which he also passed with flying colors.  All that remains now is to get Ted to snap a digital photo of the two of us.  I will email that to Delta Society, where it will be used for our official badges (I will wear mine – Bear’s will be attached to his collar).  When we start working the hospitals, we’ll have official hospital ID badges also.  I am SO impressed with Delta Society and the professionalism of the national, state, and local organizations.

Now family good things! 

While Blake was here for a week over Thanksgiving, he ventured beyond the seawall and walked out over the mud of our beach to capture some photos from a different perspective than we are used to getting.  Blake is quite the photographer (his photographs from all over Asia are unbelievable, and I will try to share some with you soon).  Here are a few he snapped last week at the ri’vah.

You remember the old (and new) "War of the Worlds" movies where the alien beings had those long, spider legs. Our boathouse reminds me of one of those in this pic.


Whenever the water is down, and I see how slender the pilings are that hold the boathouse up, I wonder how the thing is still standing.


I love the way the clouds are reflected in the water in this one.


My favorite - the dock next door. Blake has a special talent in his compositions to capture "lines" in a unique way. This is an excellent example of that.

One more family “good thing”, and it involves Blake also.  The company that sent Blake to China the first time (right after college – and before seminary) is flying him out to their headquarters in Ft. Collins, Colorado on Sunday.  They have a position open for a recruiter – someone who will travel to college campuses across the US to encourage other young Christian men and women to make the commitment to serve at least one year in China – teaching there.  He wouldn’t be living in the South, and it would involve a lot of air travel (which Blake is not overly fond of), but if the position is offered, he will think very strongly about accepting.  Prayers lifted for all of this would be so appreciated by Blake – and me.

Have a wonderful weekend, God bless, and I’ll be back on Monday with more “good things”, good Lord willing.

Blake and Bear on the floor snuggling - on the island this summer.

P.S.  If you’d like to watch the lighting of the Mackinac Island Christmas tree, you can do that this afternoon (Friday) at 5:30 p.m.  Click on the following link, then scroll down the menu to “Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau”.  Enjoy!



  1. Love the picture of Bear and Blake cuddling. Will keep Blake in my prayers this weekend. Enjoy the weekend.

  2. Hi Brenda, Beautiful pictures. Especially the one of Blake and Bear.
    Those trees look like little bottle brushes out in the water. It’s difficult to see where the waterline is because the water is so calm in the boat house picture. It makes the legs look stretched out, like you said, like long spidery legs.
    I understand the battle royal of where Bear will ride in the car. My poodle wants to ride in my lap! Or under the gas and brake pedals–where he’s looking for dropped McDonald’s crumbs from Sunday morning breakfast on the run.

  3. What a sweet picture of Bear and Blake cuddling. I will certainly continue to keep him in my prayers, especially for this potential position. The pictures look so serene. Our lab, Payton, loves to try and sit on my lap when driving to the Vet’s – he doesn’t think he belongs in the backseat either. But he does think the cat should have to sit back there if I take them both somewhere 🙂
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Excellent job on getting Bear to get into the SUV! You’ve become quite the dog whisperer! There are quite a few contraptions designed to keep dogs from climbing into the front seat-the trick is to find one that won’t allow him to stick his head between the bars. Our dear departed rottweiler found that once he had his head thru, his shoulders would also fit and there he was, standing on the console halfway between the front and back.
    Those last 2 pictures are just wonderful. I love the perspective of the dock photo-it’s very easy to imagine standing there and taking in that lovely view. And you really captured a moment with the Blake/Bear cuddle photo. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for Blake’s interview and hope it goes well. Have a great weekend!

  5. Bear is quite amazing, how quickly he learns. He is such a good dog! He makes me miss my Rocky especially when I see pictures like Bear and Blake cuddling. Rocky liked nothing better then to be laid on by the kids and always the center of attention. Maybe we could do a time share with Bear. I know he would like it here, especially tomorrow when we are suppose to get a couple of inches of snow 😉
    As always I will be thinking of Blake and continue to send good thoughts his way. Keeping my fingers crossed for you Blake!
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Brenda,

    Please tell Bear that I’m proud of him for beginning to conquer the fear of getting in that new car. Before you know it, he’ll be jumping right in.

    I certainly wish I was the photographer Blake is. Those are very good pictures.

    Like others, I sure liked the one you took on Mackinac Island. It reminded me of our little Yorkie mix we had many years ago. Every evening I would lie down on the floor to watch TV and he would immediately lie down right next to me, between my arm and my body, and with a deep sigh, he would lay his head on my shoulder. Believe it or not, we named him Cujo.

  7. Hey, I did it. I watched the tree lighting on Mackinac Island. While I was watching, I realized I was becoming as excited as a little kid – and just like a little kid I became impatient when it took longer than I thought it should to turn the lights on.

    Who was the master/mistress of ceremonies? Was it Margaret Doud?

    Thank you for the heads up.

    • Yeahhhh! I watched it too! Jill and I were on the phone together watching it at the same time – trying to figure out who everyone was. She said she thought it was Trish Martin who was leading the singing, etc. We both thought we saw Margaret in the crowd though. We also spotted a couple of other friends. So cool!

  8. I missed yesterday’s post, and missed the lighting of the tree!! The cam picture is not too good this a.m….will probably look a lot better tonight! I’ll try to remember to ck it out!!

    Lovely pic of Blake and Bear….so sweet. Keeping Blake in my prayers. I can understand his not being real fond on flying………..I won’t fly anymore, or drive the freeways…….at 72 I can’t keep up with the cars and still feel comfortable. It is the back, scenic roads for this ole gal!!

    Roses to you and Bear for figuring out the seating arrangement. Would his favorite blanket or toy help him relax? He’s such a sweet thing. Perhaps his attitude will change once you start your visitations. I’m sure he’ll love the love he feels from everyone. God Bless you both for working so very hard to bring some joy to others!

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