Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Breeder vs. Shelter Dog

I had an email from one of my readers who was concerned that we are getting our puppies from a breeder.  The reader was obviously a huge animal lover as well as an animal activist.  I was asked why would I get the dogs from a breeder when there are numerous shelter dogs that could be used.  What an EXCELLENT question.  I want to explain so that everyone can read my answer.

We chose to use a breeder instead of a shelter because with a reputable breeder we have a better idea of the health of the dog.  Before we chose our breeder, and believe me...we did our research, we interviewed, asked multiple questions, and made sure we got clear answers.  We decided on a breeder who allowed us to visit their facilities rather than those breeders who meet you at the nearest coffee shop.  (believe me, they are out there)

We chose a breeder who stands by her dogs and breeds responsibly.  Another BIG reason we chose Masonridge Kennels is because the breeder knew River's breeder and the litter of puppies we chose from was actually related to River.  Even though the relation isn't direct, it is a comfort to know that they share a similar pedigree. 

I have nothing against a shelter dog being trained for service work, in fact, I think it's a wonderful if you find the right dog.  In my case, with 6 kids, 3 with special needs, I feel the breeder is the best choice for our family.  I hope this clears up any questions you may have.  I would love to hear any stories from my readers who have trained a shelter dog for service work.  It warms my heart to see that that option in full swing.

As I advance on my dog training skills, I will be volunteering my services to our local shelter with the hope of helping difficult to place dogs get a better chance of a forever home.  A shelter dog with some obedience training is much more adoptable.  

Warm wags, 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Playtrium Fundraiser

Our first fundraiser is coming up!  It will be a really fun one too!  "Service Dog for Sienna" will receive 40% of the profits if we bring in at least 10 families, so we really need your help!  If you are local and would like to attend please see the details below.  It is going to be a really fun evening and a great way to have some quality family time!  We hope to see everyone there!

Where- The Playtrium
541 Days Road, The Atrium Mall, Kingston, Ontario
tel- (613) 389-5553

WHEN- Friday November 9th, 2012- drop in anytime between 3pm to 7:30pm

WHY- to help support Service Dog for Sienna and to have a fun-filled evening with your child(ren).

We have been told that the media will be there but I am not quite sure at this time.  Our whole family, including service dog "River" will be there.  Jedi and Griffin will NOT be there because they are still with the breeder and we need to raise some money to bring them home on November 15th.  We hope to see everyone there!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Some News to Share

We went to see the puppies again last week and they are doing so well.  They are all so friendly and they manage the noise and all the handling the got from the 5 girls beautifully.  Sienna was so happy to see Jedi again and Jedi seemed happy to see her.  Sienna was given lots of kisses and snuggles until Jedi fell asleep on her lap.

Yesterday Asia (Sienna's big sister who has River, our other service dog) had a really rough day.  We had gone to the park and when we got home River was was very upset.  Asia came outside and told me that River was acting "weird" and wouldn't leave her alone.  My first reaction was to give Asia meds so I insisted that she take 200mg of Pyridoxine. (the med of choice for her seizure control)  Asia insisted that it wasn't her she was alerting for but I was convinced because River wouldn't leave her alone.  She barked at her, followed her everywhere and wouldn't take her eyes off of her.  To make a long story short, River was right about what was going on.  She was able to sense the pheromones that are given off before a seizure.  So, thanks to River... Asia took her meds and about 10 minutes after she took them she was hit with a horrible seizure aura.  She got pain in her eyes, had trouble seeing, lost her balance and had horrible bouts of dizziness.  20 minutes after taking the extra pyridoxine the aura went away.  (the time it takes Pyridoxine to work is about 15 to 20 minutes)  Asia was still very unwell for the rest of the day but never had the seizure.  River saved the day once again.  We are so proud of this dog!
This is the type of work the Jedi will be trained to do for Sienna. Sienna suffers from the same seizure disorder that Asia has, but also suffers from autism.  As we visited with our Breeder Carol and the beautiful puppies we decided that since River is so important to Asia that we really can't be without the help she gives us, we are going to take a second puppy from Jedi's litter and train him for Asia.  Yes, I know...we already have River and she is doing a terrific job...so why get a second...the answer can be given quite easily... River is 10 years old.  Sadly, she is getting older and there will be a point when she won't be able to work anymore.  So, we are going to train a new dog with the help of River.  By the time the new pup is ready to work River may need a break.

So, on November 15th we get to bring home Jedi and her brother Griffin.  Both pups will be welcomed into our family and River is going to be delighted to have them here.  We are doing the puppy raising at the same time so I am thankful that Asia wants to be a big part of this.  River was trained for Asia but I was the handler.  This time Asia is old enough to be the handler so I will be training Griffin for her.  The excitement around here is huge...2 new puppies, lots of love and high hopes.   River will never be retired since she is part of the family and always will be.  I can't just turn off her amazing skills and tell her that she gets to retire.  She is beautifully healthy and will hopefully be with us for many years.  The only difference is that if she doesn't want to go out and work in the community, tagging along while we do errands she won't have to. (especially in the winter months)  It will be a good 18 months before the puppies will be able to do that anyway so River is still working until SHE decides she wants a break.

The black lab in the picture is Asia's Griffin. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Looking for Jedi Sponsors

The cost of obtaining, training and maintaining a service dog can be a very pricey journey.  A dog trained as a working dog is not the same as a pet dog, even though the dog does fill the emotional needs that a pet fills as well.  We are now looking for a Sponsor for Jedi.  Here is a run-down of the costs for the first year...

Costs for Service Dogs

  •  it costs $22,000 to train and place a service dog with a disabled child..
  • Upon completion of training, service dogs are required to be re-certified annually
  • It costs about $1,500 – $2,000 to maintain a service dog each year…about $100 a month.
  • initial cost of dog $1100.00
  • 1st year of vaccinations $305.88
  • Spay done at 5-6 months of age $486.96
  • equipment costs (vest, service dog i.d tags and "in training" tags", training equipment,  approx. $500.00
  • monthly food cost, training treats, etc $100/monthly
So, as you can see, the cost of a specially trained dog is quite expensive.  We are cutting the cost drastically be training Jedi ourselves and by June I will be a certified trainer, so this helps off-set the cost as well.

How to Sponsor Jedi

If you are interested in sponsoring Jedi please email us at 6kidlets4me@gmail.com  If you are a business we can offer a badge with your business name put onto Jedi's jacket for all to see.  It would be a professionally embroidered patch sewn directly onto her vest. Your business would also be featured on this blog as well as on www.petmatehomesitting.ca.  

Sponsor spots (with badge on vest/banners on blog and www.petmatehomesitting.ca) are $500

sponsor spots (with banners on blog and www.petmatehomesitting.ca) $50

If you are unable to sponsor Sienna and her dog Jedi, you can also help tremendously by sharing our story.  Please share with your facebook friends, twitter, or any other social network you can.  This will help us eventually find our sponsor. 

Thank you in advance for all of your help

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Love at First Sight

Today we got to meet Jedi for the first time.  Sienna was so excited to be able to meet her.  We drove 45 minutes to a beautiful little town called Mallorytown to visit Masonridge Kennels.  The owners, Carol and Randy were so welcoming and encouraged the kids to handle the puppies.  Sienna went in first and immediately Carol put Jedi into her arms.  Sienna was so happy to be holding her pup.

The puppies were all very healthy, active and alert.  "Spirit" the mom was absolutely wonderful.  She didn't mind us visiting her beloved puppies.  The mom was such a gentle lab, full of love and sweetness.  She reminded me so much of River, Asia's service dog.

Sadly, Asia was not feeling very well today because of a night of seizure problems.  She was unable to visit with the puppies for long and hopes to do so another time.  Sienna, on the other hand, was healthy and happy today.  She made a card for Carol and Randy because she is so happy that they are taking care of her puppy.  
Jedi was very cuddly with each child that held her, which is a very good sign.  I don't know if they have ever seen kids but the 5 kids that went to visit didn't phase them at all.  All good signs.

We won't get Jedi until mid November.  It's hard for Sienna to wait but the puppy needs to be with her mama much longer.  Thank you Carol and Randy for opening you home up to us.  It was so nice to meet you both.
For anyone local, the black male lab is still available from Masonridge Kennels as well as the 4 year old mother "Spirit".

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Jedi is almost 4 weeks old

Our wonderful breeder sent us a beautiful picture of Jedi today.  Her eyes have finally opened.  They look a little wonky at the moment but they will look better as she matures a bit.  Sienna loved seeing the picture so much and even showed her piano teacher what her dog looks like.  Here is the most recent picture of Jedi. Enjoy!

We get Jedi on or around November 15, 2012.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Oct2012 VocalVibes Phoenix Rising

This our 12 year old daughter Raven and her little Phoenix.  We are so proud of Raven for everything she does for animals.  Take a peek. :)