Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canine Good Citizen! Therapy dog!!

Hooray! in a double coup tonight, Harvey banged out his CGC and TDI certification!

I took him and Beckett hiking on the Metacomet trail earlier (a fool's errand since it's been raining for forty days and forty nights and the mosquitoes are out in full force). We covered the part between Route six in Farmington and Plainville Of course while we were up on the top of the mountain the thunder started rumbling in the distance. IMG00183-20090702-1456.jpg
I debated taking refuge in Will Warren's den ever so briefly, because I had no idea how long it would take to get to the car, but i knew it wouldn't be short. We beat the rain though, thank God.
(No, really, THANK GOD!! We had a hell of a storm for the rest of the afternoon into the night!)

The boys napped after their hike.

So, Harvey's whole class has been working towards the CGC together, but I am extra proud of Harvey for several reasons:

1) There were two strange (SMALL) dogs in the room- Harvey totally ignored them after a few interested looks (this is the dog who used to lose his mind every time there was a new dog in our drop-in class- especially a small dog or anything bully)

2) Three of the dogs were afraid of and barking and growling at one of the members of the crowd- our trainer took a moment to try to introduce them to him, but he was pretty awkward and not a dog person for sure, so the dogs were REALLY riled for a while, Harvey was calm- not cool as a cucumber, but when he started thinking about getting involved a simple "sit" and "watch me" brought him right back to earth!

3) During his stay, while i was walking across the room away from him one of the kids who were there for the therapy test ran by him, passing about a foot in front of him and he didn't break his stay- didn't even budge!!!

4) there must have been a full moon tonight, because several of the dogs bombed items on the test that are usually easy ones for them. each of the dogs in this class has passed the whole test several times over during the course of the class. our trainer, in light of that fact, allowed some dogs do-overs when they blew an item she's seen them ace repeatedly. -not Harvey! he aced every item!!!

I am so so so so proud of my boy, there were nine dogs taking the test and harvey was definitely in the top three in his performance tonight. he's come so far from the dog who couldn't get through a class without leaving the room six or seven times to come back to earth. -- he was SO reactive!

we celebrated with a trip to Friendly's for a scoop of vanilla topped with peanutbutter sauce and Reeces Pieces


and then he partied some more by gutting a hedgehog

woohoo! CGC!!

Monday, June 29, 2009


So, originally when I started this blog, I thought I would just hike various places in Connecticut with Harvey and my other dogs and sort of review them here. Seemed like a good idea, except for three things...

1) Friggin Harvey hates the summer time. HATES IT. He also hates winter. And rain. So there are only about four days a year that he enjoys being outside for any length of time. I bought him a Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler to try to make summer hiking a little easier for him, and it does keep him cool, but he's still not interested in exerting too much energy when it's hot and humid (unless there's swimming involved).

In fact just this weekend I was walking my three dogs. It was probably seventy degrees out, but nice and breezy (again, Otis is a MALAMUTE mix- he is NOT made for heat and he was doing just fine) and Harvey kept dragging me towards the grass. Harvey is a very polite walker most of the time and only pulls when he sees another dog, a friend to greet, or when he really has to relieve himself. No dogs or smiling faces in sight, so, figuring he has to poop, I followed him up to the grass. He just stood there. No sniffing or posturing to go to the bathroom. Just stood there looking at me. Annoyed, I "let's go"-ed him and continued along. Not fifty feet later he did the same thing again. And again after that. I finally realized that what he was doing was dragging me into the SHADE.
2) Harvey is a fascinating pet. He makes friends with everyone everywhere and his fan club includes everyone from little kids to old ladies to golden retriever pups in need of a role model to lifelong dog haters and people who are petrified of pitbulls. He oozes personality (and when he shakes his head it splatters all over my walls!) and his universal appeal never ceases to amaze me. He is the fifth dog I've had in my life and he has an amazing host of followers. So I have decided to blog about Harvey the dog and his adventures in general. For a dog, he has a lot of adventures...

Just this month he's been skunked:




he's eaten a brand new out-of-the-bag tags-still-on-it bra

spent an afternoon in a bar, where he befriended waitresses, bouncers, grizzled bikers, and a couple of strippers.

and today he befriended our plumber and then my hairdresser's five-year-old daughter who spent her afternoon barking orders at him which he reluctantly followed. She made him roll over so many times, the room is probably still spinning. when she left she announced "Harby is a good dog, but I don't like him. He's too drooly."
so here he is, and here's his life. He goes for his CGC and TDI testing on Thursday. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Penwood Park

The weather being what it was today (sunny and breezy and not too warm or too cold) and our time being what it was today (limited) we opted to go for a short hike. Checking out my sources, I found that there was a trail in Bloomfield at Penwood Park that could be hiked in just over an hour. Since I was assured that it was a fairly easy hike, and there was a fully paved trail Harvey and I decided to bring the old man.
After an extremely frustrating drive, a GPS that insisted that I enter the park via a private drive and abruptly deposited me in the middle of nowhere with a cheery "You have reached your destination" despite the fact that I was somewhere between two residences with nowhere to park and no trail to hike, and poor Harvey crammed under the dashboard on the passenger's side so that our hundred-plus pound guest of honor could have the entire back seat to sing and dance and fret as he does in the car, we were finally there! (My frustration would increase 100fold upon leaving when I realized that were directly across the street from the Hublein Tower Trail. A trail with which I am very familiar and know a MUCH shorter route than that which my dear GPS selected for us!)
Our companions on this hike were Otis (a 9 year old Rottweiler/Malamute mix) and Affa (a 4 year old Border Collie mix). It was a good place to take the geriatric. Although he's pretty spry, he tends to overdo it and regret it later. Both of his ACLs were repaired when he was younger and he gets tired and sore pretty easily. We stuck to the paved road and it was about a half-hour hike to the picnic area.
There were several picnic tables set out in a grassy knoll near some buildings (we didn't check them out to see what they were, since time was a little tight) but we did stroll up the hill and take a water break by a pond and a nice pavilion with four tables inside. Grills were also available, although we didn't take advantage (Harvey is reluctant to carry his backpack as it is, I'm sure he would rebel if I added steaks to his load of water bottles!).
Several signs periodically remind you to leash your dog, but one of the two other dogs we encountered on our hike who was coming down from one of the unpaved trails was off-leash and the foot traffic on this particular day was pretty light. Affa enjoyed a romp off-leash in the picnic area while the boys rested.
We happened to pick the first nice day after days and days of rain to take our hike, so it was good that we chose a paved hike. The edges of the trail were a little squishy and there were lots of little streams and puddles for the dogs to try to drink from. Everything was green and beautiful though!
The one complaint that the dogs had was that the big beautiful swimming pond we passed was definitely off limits. It took Harvey quite a while to come to terms with this.
Overall I really liked Penwood Park. It was the perfect choice for the day. I definitely plan to come back on a day where I'm not limited by time constraints and the ability of my hiking companions and explore the other trails to see what else Penwood Park has to offer!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heeeeeeeeeere's Harvey!

Harvey is the kind of dog everybody loves. He makes friends wherever he goes, and is the kind of pit bull (mix) who makes pit bull haters say "he's what kind of dog?" in disbelief and pit bull fanciers say "of course he is". He's a lover. Loves people, loves kids.

Harvey is also the kind of dog who makes his owners want to tear their hair out. He's a terrier, through and through. Stubborn, active, impulsive, tenacious, bossy, driven, and brazen... he lives fully in the moment and never thinks anything through before doing it. He drives other dogs nuts with his insistence that they play with him- his games- his way. And if they get mad at him- well, he's just as happy to squabble with them. Any attention is good attention and a good fight is as much fun as a good game!

He had a rough start as many dogs do, but he's on his way now. He had two luxating patella surgeries (one on each knee) a couple of years ago, but both legs are strong and stable, and he tears around on them like there was never a problem. He's a far cry from the little dog who would leap off the back steps and land with an 'oof' on his belly because his knees would give out under him.

Being such a solidly built high energy dog, Harvey can take- and requires- a lot of exercise. He loves car rides, swimming, meeting people, and going to new places. As a result he's decided to spend some time investigating the many great hiking destinations in Connecticut and the surrounding states. We'll document his findings and his adventures here.

He's pretty excited to get started.

harvey snoozes