September, 2000

I had accidentally left my computer on when I left the house the other day and found this on the screen when I came back. Very unusual...

Dear Mom,
Daisy here. Sorry I haven't written. My people hardly ever leave me alone, plus it took me forever to get on-line. Don't worry, I've seen Dharma, Visteon, Star, Gracie and Mulan. We're all doing fine. Don't know about the other four yet. Anyway, just wanted to let you know what's been going on. 

Once your humans dropped us off at Leader Dogs for the Blind, they sure didn't let any grass grow under my paws. I was adopted out within the week, in fact I was the first of the litter to be picked up. My foster family are strange, but I'm getting used to them.

There's a tall skinny one called the Ami. She's the one you gotta watch out for. Eyes in the back of her head. She thinks she's the alpha dog. Yeah, right. When will these humans learn? Don't worry, Ma, I'm workin' on her.

Then there's a little skinny one who is really nice. She's the Jennie. The Jennie and the Ami have the same agenda, but she is SO much easier to deal with. Then there's my favorite, the Steve. From what I gather the other two were supposed to be my primary people, the ones in charge of my training, but as soon as he saw me, well, what can I say. I am cute, right? I've got him wrapped around my little paw. This guy LOVES me.

There are also a couple of other dogs in the house who look just like me, but they won't come out and play. There's one behind the door in the bedroom upstairs and one that looks really frightened on the bathroom counter. Every time my humans put me up there I freak out, so I haven't gotten a really good look at her.

Like I said, my people are kind of weird. Don't get me wrong, they mean well, but you know, they're like from a different planet. First of all, they are totally fixated with my bodily functions. They measure everything I eat and then watch it come out the other end. People, get a LIFE! The Ami is especially strange about this. I gotta do tricks before she'll even put the dang bowl down. Something called SIT. I think I've got that part down. I get real still, look her straight in the eyes, and give her the "I love you" look. She eats it up, but then she sticks her paw in front of my face and says STAY. Like I'm gonna walk away from my food!? What is she, nuts? So I jump up and dance and whine and jump some more to tell her not to worry, I'm so hungry I could eat the bowl and part of her arm too, and then she does the "talk to the paw" bit all over again. She just won't give up. I wish I knew what I'm supposed to do here, but truthfully, I'm clueless.

To show her how much I like her cooking, even though I know she can't cook (gets the stuff right out of a bag.) I eat as fast as I can. Then.....

I belch really loud. She seems to enjoy the burping part 'cause she laughs, but the faster I eat the more difficult she makes it the next time. Sometimes she feeds me a little at a time. Couple of times she fed me in my crate, spreading it out all over. Didn't slow me down a bit. Once she put my food in a muffin tin. A couple morsels in each compartment. What a dumb bunny! I still snarfed it down in record time. I just put my feet in all the compartments really fast until the food jumped out on the floor.

She was whining about my eating habits to one of the ladies at Leader Dog. The Leader Dog lady told her to put a big rock in my dish and make me eat around it. Well, as soon as I heard THAT, I figured maybe I should slow down. Jeez, where do they come up with this stuff?

Well, like I said my humans are odd. No sooner do I eat then they take me outside to "park." This is their cute little word for, well, you know. They take me outside (nice yard, no fence, gotta wear this dumb leash) and they chant over me. PARK, PARK, PARK. Over and over, like some religious thing. I could take it, but they're doing it all the time, for Pete sake. Like every 15 minutes. It's driving me nuts. As soon as I wake up, before I eat, after I eat, before we play, after we play, before we get in the car, after we get out of the car. It never ends.

And what is it with them having to watch all the time. A girl needs some privacy. Once I snuck off and parked in the house. I just couldn't stand the prying eyes any more. Boy, was that ever a mistake. The Ami caught me in the act and did she go ballistic. Something about her "studio" and then her voice got really low, like that poor kid in that movie. I thought her head was gonna spin and I'd be covered in pea soup. To her credit she didn't even bite me, just scooped me up and ran for the door. Then as nice as you please, she started with the chanting.

Well, let me tell you. I've learned to "assume the position" every single time they start up with the chanting. These people are worse than Moonies at the airport. They don't give up. It's better to just go ahead, even if I don't have to go, if only to keep them quiet.

But, get this! This is too much. When we're away from the yard and I like to surprise them and, you know, (giggle) PARK on somebody else's lawn. They whip out a plastic bag, scoop it up and carry it around! Are they crazy, or what?! Once the Ami and I were out really early in the morning and I left a "present" right at the end of the driveway. She had that baggie out so quick I thought she was gonna catch it before it hit the pavement. Anyway, she hardly broke stride. Put the baggie IN THE MAILBOX and we kept on walking! (Can't remember if she took it out....)

Anyway, I'm getting used to some things, but other stuff is so hard. For example, they don't like barking. Go figure. They keep telling me Leader Dogs don't bark. We're not watch dogs. We're supposed to be friendly to everybody, and baking is out. "Aunt JoAnne" our puppy counselor, told my humans to mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle and zap me in the face every time I bark. Well, that sure took all the fun out of barking.

The other thing they don't like is biting. I don't know what's up with that. How are you supposed to greet these humans. They seem to like the tail wagging, but a friendly bite on the leg, arm, hand, ankle, shin, hand, ear, stomach, or chin appears to be out of the question. No sooner do I open my mouth for a nice nibble than they jam in a Daisy Appropriate Toy. And they've got a million of --. The Ami even keeps one in her purse, for crying out loud. The DATs are OK, but the humans taste so good I can hardly stand it.

And what's wrong with picking stuff up off the ground? They don't like that either. My humans have ACORNS on the driveway. Ever eat those? They're swell. They also have gravel and dirt and insects, twigs, flowers, and Tuesday's garbage day. And they won't let me have any of it. As fast as I pop it in my mouth, they're prying it open and digging out whatever I put in.

As soon as I so much as drop my head to suck something up, I get a "Leave it!" Lately, I find myself wanting to do what they say. The other day we were walking out on the side of the big road (my humans say I have to get used to traffic) and I walked right by a flattened possum. Didn't even sniff. What's wrong with me? I'm not going to get in trouble with other dogs for this, am I?

One thing I really like is riding in the car. I've got this part down so good, they think I'm some kind of wonder dog. First they open the door to the car. I'm supposed to SIT. The Ami gets my attention and says "One, two, three....UP UP!" That's my cue to run like crazy and take a flying leap at the car. This is the strange part. I know there's no way I can make it. I'm a good jumper, but it's just physically impossible. It's a VAN---the cheap kind without the running boards. I think what happens is the Ami bends down after I hurl myself at the opening and LIFTS me in. I can hardly feel her, but that must be how it happens. (I've tried it a couple of times on my own and never even got close. Once I missed totally and wound up UNDER the car. Another time the Ami stepped in front of me and I smashed into her leg. And then another time I got my coordinates all wrong and wound up kissing the step, if you know what I mean. Ouch!) Anyway, once I get up there, my place is right at the Ami's feet. (And Mom she's got HUGE feet. I can hardly squeeze in.) The Steve or the Jennie drives, but I get the best spot down on the floor, with, you guessed it, my choice of DATs. I love it down there. I try to stay awake and enjoy it, but the vibration knocks me right into snooze land.

When we arrive wherever we're going, we do the (roll eyes) "park" thing AGAIN and then they put on my Future Leader Dog Bandanna. It's so cool. Pale blue and I look so cute. Well, my whole personality changes. I'm practicing working, and you know, I want to do a good job. When I'm wearing the bandanna I get to go into all sorts of cool places and they make such a fuss over me. It's so awesome. Sometimes I wag my tail so much it hurts!

I've only had one "accident" with my bandanna on. It took so long for the carry out at the Chinese restaurant I left Puppy Juice on the floor. The Ami had her clean-up kit out so fast it made my head spin. I heard later she was so mortified she sent the Chinese restaurant lady a bouquet of daisies. Hey, that was when I was just a pup. I'm 3 months old now, and I've been very good since then.

Anyway, gotta go. I hear the garage door....they're home and they'll be in here any minute. Gotta shut down Windows and get back in my crate. (I'll tell you about the crate later.) Tell your humans hi from me and bite 'em for me if they'll let you. I'm doing fine. I'm gonna to take a nap.

I hope this installment brought you a chuckle. If it did, please think about sending the extra change in your pocket to help train dogs like Daisy. Make your check payable to Leader Dogs For The Blind and send it to:

c/o Mallery Press
4206 Sheraton Drive
Flint, MI 48532-3557

I will personally see that it is delivered to Leader Dogs For The Blind for the good work that they do. (Did I mention it's tax deductible? Any amount you can send, no matter how small would be appreciated.
Thank you,
Ami Simms (and Daisy too!)