Saturday, March 22, 2008

We've (finally) been invited!

After meeting us at the school for the Read Aloud Day, the new children's librarian at our public library called today to ask if we would like to give a presentation in July on Newfoundland Dogs! She was so impressed by The Count's behavior, calm disposition, and of course, good looks. We are so thrilled to be able to visit the kids and to tell about this magnificent breed.
When I first had Orion trained for entrance into the Pet Partners program with the Delta Society, I visted the children's librarian which had recently been hired. As I am a fixture at our library and my kids grew up participating in the programs presented by the chilren's past librarians, I was eager to let our new one know we'd be happy to offer our services (I've also taught origami to the children for many years there). She was one of those who asks a question then answers it herself, and she didn't even take my number. I also offered my origami skills, but she wasn't interested in that either. She had her own, different way, in which she wanted to do all the programs herself, and I respected that. It is her choice, afterall. A few weeks later when I visited to check out some books, she scolded me for not bringing my library card (well, everything is computerized, so they just type in my name, I don't even know where my card is). I visted the library every week for close to twelve years, so everyone there really knows me! I'm not exactly a kid, and I really don't care to be scolded by someone younger than me for something as trivial as my library card, so I found her a bit annoying. Whenever I visited, I tried to avoid her since she always had something to say which I found impolite, or if I asked someone a question, she'd answer from across the room (plus, I never brought my library card). For the next three years I rarely visted the library. So when I read we had a new children's librarian, I returned. She is a sweet, soft-spoken, very polite lady, perfect for a children's librarian. She has some great ideas for programs where she is once again getting the community involved in the programs, which I think is great.
Plus, she doesn't ask me for my library card.

Orion visits the school (by Mom)

I received a call from a dear friend of mine. She had been asked to read to a second grade class for the annual "Read Aloud Day" where community members are invited to read to the elementary classes. As a former teacher she loves children and is great with them. But unfortunately, she had just been diagnosed with pneumonia, and would not be able to attend. Might I be able to fill in for her? Absolutely! I ran to the school and left a note for the teacher whose class I'd be reading to: Could I bring Orion? She called me later that evening and said she'd be delighted to have him visit.
The next day we arrived bright and early, all brushed out, clean ruff, chili bandana tied around his neck, and his bright blue "pack-pack" on his back, which was stuffed with treats, some books about newfs, and a T/Y gift for the teacher and class. We didn't go directly to the class, but instead were invited to a breakfast with the other readers while the kids went to their classes and tended to their morning routines. While visiting with the other readers, I had the opportunity to introduce Orion the both the librarian and the children's new librarian at our public library (which I visit weekly, but they had not actually met The Count). He also met several other big dog owners (who did not have dogs with them), so he could give sloppy kisses to people who appreciated them.
Next, we were given a fourth grade escort to take us to our class, who was smitten with His Highness. While walking past other classes, we could hear kids saying, "What was that?!" "I just saw a horse go by!" "Holy cow, did you see THAT?!" Then we arrived at our class, and the kids were stunned, then delighted. They all sat on the reading rug, and Orion lay by my side as I read, "I saw an Ant in the Parking Lot", an amusing, rhyming book perfect for kids to listen to (it would have been in my home library had it been published when mine were little). Following the reading, I told the kids a bit about Newfoundland dogs, then had them each take turns feeding Orion a home-made seaweed cookie. They were very amused to find dogs like seaweed, carrots, and green beans. Orion was on his best behavior. Next, several of the kids shared their pet stories with me, which I always love. Then it was time to go, so we said our goodbyes, and Orion and I left the way we came.
Once we reached the top of the stairs we met a teacher out in the hall with a couple of her students. Not just any teacher, but a fourth-grade, big-dog loving teacher! She and her students had to come get newfie lovin's which caused the other studnets to come to the door to find out why the teacher was taking so long, which menat her class started filtering into the hallway. I asked if I could bring Orion into her class, and so we all went in, to the delight of her students. I told them about newfs, and walked around the class giving each studnet a turn to pet him, then he lay down on the floor and they all came over to cuddle with him. By the time we were done and left that room, then spoke with several other teachers in the hallways on our way out, we had been there for two hours! Orion was in his element; lots of fans, lots of little kids, lots of faces to kiss, lots of treats, it doesn't get any better than that for a newf.

One busy Newf

Gee, it's been a long Winter. I have been pretty much lying around, slugging by the fire, holding down the carpet, and leaving puddles of drool as I wait for Spring to arrive. With Spring, we can resume our walkies, you see. I LIVE for our walkies. So you can imagine my excitement when Mom loaded me in the car the day the kiddos missed the bus. I figured she'd just take them to school, but instead she drove right past our house after depositing them at their assigned places. Where was she going so early in the morning? Is that her turn signal I hear???? I jumped up from my spot in the back of the car, cuz I knew what the turn signal at that particular spot meant: A walkie!! I started bouncing around the car (shaking it, Mom said) and wimpering with delight. When she opened the door, I shot out at full speed. It had been months since I'd last been here, and all those smells, all those rocks, all those trees, and that was just next to the parking lot. When I noticed two other cars in the lot, I knew who they belonged to, so I ran as fast as I could to see my human friends and their doggers. They were all happy to see me, and I, them. The trail was perfect (perfectly ICY!) so Mom walked very slowly to enjoy the scenery. She has since taken me back, it's less icy now but much, much more wet, which is even better, though Mom is thinking she'd prefer it a little drier. Don't understand why she doesn't like to get her feet wet, it is so much fun to slop in the mud. Especially since I had just visited the beatuy parlor, and you know how dull it is to be clean.
So Spring is here, the crucus are blooming, the sun is warming things up. Life is just delicious!