April 2001

Dear Mom,
Well it's getting close. In about a month I'll be on my way back to Leader Dogs for the Blind for my formal training and I won't be able to write for a while. Miss Ami will have to keep you up to date after that. They don't let the dogs use the computers at school.)

After almost 10 months of socialization you'd think this would get Miss Ami to let up a little, but No-o-o. I'm still required to go to work with her every day.

Here I am holding a post-it note on my head for her.

And do Family Stuff. Here I am with Miss Jennie at the Band Festival. (We did real good. I only exhaled loudly out of boredom one time and I didnít sing.) Miss Jennie played her trumpet in the "pit orchestra" for her high school production of Damn Yankees. I got to go to one of the performances. She did great, but that was to be expected since I was able to coach her whenever she practiced at home.

I helped the music come out by sticking my nose in the end off her horn.

At the performance all Miss Jennie had to do was play her trumpet, but I had to sit really quiet even during the shouting parts. The actors walked right by me and I didn't lick 'em or anything. That was hard because I knew some of them and they taste really good. Mom. you would have been proud of me.

We also still go to Puppy Class. We have them at the Mall sometimes and then go shopping afterwards. Hereís my sister Gracie and her human.

While us big dogs work on important stuff, the babies get to sleep.

They better get their sleep while they can. Itís non-stop when you get growd up like me.

Even at home Miss Ami makes me practice my commands. From the looks of this picture, Iím either about to go ďdownĒ or run 47 times around the dining room table. I canít remember.

Hoping that my socialization would include every possible situation, Miss Ami took me with to visit her Amish friends in Indiana. I got to meet the big dogs that pull their buggies. We don't have any pictures of me introducing myself, because Miss Ami had her hands full trying to keep me from eating road apples. Iím such a goof.

When those dogs with the buggies are working you can't really visit anyway, or you'll get squashed. And when they're not working and just standing there, they don't much care about us little dogs, except when they look like they're going to eat us.

It took me a while to get use to them especially because Miss Ami insisted that we walk really close to their parking lot. And when they say "parking lot" they're not kidding. Once I saw how they made those road apples, I didn't want to eat any more.

So, socialization is going well. Once you figure out what the humans want, it's not hard. One of my best things is not eating people food. We get the most compliments at drive-through windows because Miss Ami puts the food bag right next to me in the car and when I don't eat the bag (or anything in it) the workers say what a good dog I am. (And I am, Mom.)

Itís funny because I didnít used to be so good around Junk food. Three months ago, when I was just a puppy and didn't know any better, I found out dogs like Doritos. Somebody left one of those lunchbox-sized bags on the dining room table. It was empty except for some crumbs. I know because I sort of jumped up on the table and Iím NOT supposed to do that. Boy did I get in trouble. See what happened was, I inhaled a little too deeply, trying to identify the aroma, and somehow the bag got sucked onto the end of my face! The more air I sucked in, the farther up it went. It got stuck there on my snout just when Miss Ami found me, and boy, was she mad.

She gave me the "Drop It!" command but the Dorito particles swirling in my nose affected my brain and made me run in circles around and around the dining room table instead. The more I ran, the madder she got, and the more fun it was. Here was Miss Ami chasing me around the table, and you know, Mom, she's no spring chicken. It was no contest, especially since it takes her so long to crawl on her hands and knees between the chairs.

It was a great game! So pleasurable, yet so frustrating. I could smell those Doritos, but the bag was so tight, I couldn't open my mouth to eat any. Turns out Miss Ami had to leave the house for an appointment that she couldn't be late for and she had to "drain the dog" and put me in my kennel before she left. Well, we weren't too far into the game when she started to laugh! And then she stared to cry, and then she went back to laughing! (I think she has a psychological problem.)

I really wanted to obey her, but I was still under the influence of the Dorito fumes so I kept running in circles. (I just donít get how junk food makes you fat!) Then I thought Miss Ami totally lost it. She up and dumped about a pound and a half of dog food right on the kitchen floor! When I ran over to get some she grabbed me by the collar, yanked the Dorito bag off my nose, and had me in the kennel so fast my paws didn't even touch the floor! It wasn't until I heard the front door slam that I realized I hadn't even gotten a bite of dog food. Outwitted again. I keep forgetting that what they lack in speed and good looks, they make up for in cunning and ingenuity.

Personally, I am usually very smart and always good-looking. Miss Jennie says I'm a "guy magnet." She's right. I am a very cool dog.

©2001 by Ami Simms

If you enjoyed this letter home, please consider donating $1.00 to Leader Dogs For The Blind in Daisyís Name. You can send your tax-deductible donation to:

Dollars for Daisy
Mallery Press, LLC
4206 Sheraton Drive
Flint, MI 48532-3557

If your donation arrives before May 15, 2001 and you include your email address Ami will email you a coupon good for 10% off any in-stock merchandise on her web page.