Sheriff is a five year old, neutered male Lab/Poodle mix that I rescued in January 2008. He is my best friend and my service dog. Before I got him, he was rescued from an abusive and neglectful home. Therefore, he was extremely skittish and under-socialized when we brought him home. Every sudden sound or movement scared him, and every person was someone to be feared. He would submissively urinate if you made eye contact with him or if anything startled him. With lots of patience, socialization, and time he began to overcome his fears. Now, as my service dog, he helps me with my fears. Its ironic how these things work out. I used to take him to Petco so that he could meet friendly people and learn to trust. Now he takes me to Wal-Mart so that I can shop and feel safe in public places.
Sheriff really enjoys being with me. He also loves going out into public and car rides. He isn’t very fond of children that rush up to him…but he is never aggressive. He doesn’t play with dog toys, probably because he was never introduced to them as a puppy. He tolerates other dogs but it takes a special dog to really get him to rough-house and play. He likes bones, rawhide, and a plethora of things he shouldn’t have access to. For example, he used to really likes to eat my pajamas on the days that I forget to put them away. However, with training this is really no longer an issue. Sheriff has also found a new love for jogging on the treadmill. Sheriff was trained in obedience by me, although he attended several obedience classes so that he could practice his commands in varying situations. Sometimes we still find time to attend a class or two. He was trained to be a service dog by Kevin Cooper of Canine Connections. Currently, Sheriff goes nearly everywhere with me with the exception of a few places. He doesn’t go to loud or very long movies…asking him to lay still on a hard floor for over 2 hours isn’t fair to him. He also rarely goes to Petco because I have found that often, people are not paying attention to their own pets and they rush up to Sheriff…I have to be ready to protect him if such dogs are aggressive. When he does go to Petco, it is in their not so busy hours and he is not working…he goes as a pet. He has received from me the start of some training in Agility. He knows how to jump over obstacles and run through tunnels. He has recently learned how to do the catwalk obstacle as well.
Rex is a Senegal Parrot who was born on March 24, 2009. He has not been sexed but for the sake of his name, we assume his is a boy. He is the newest member of our family and was acquired from Petco. Rex is a real sweetie and loves to cuddle. He likes to rest on your chest with his head on your chin. He also likes to preen your face, especially your nose and around your mouth. He also likes to sit on your shoulder. He isn’t a very loud bird. His vocalizations are limited to beeps, whistles, screeches, clicks, and “bird talk.” He has learned to mimic the sound of a door squeaking and can say “Hello”,”Whatcha doin?”, “Cute”, “Sheriff”, “Pretty bird”, and “Sheriff”. He recently learned a call that sounds oddly like a monkey. In his cage, Rex loves his swing and enjoys his toys. His favorite toys are ones that include wooden blocks with sharp edges…such as squares. He loves to chew these up. Another favorite is shredder toys made from palm leaf. He also likes to hop around on the bottom of his cage where the dogs can see him…taunting them to no end. However, he would much rather be out of his cage and playing with someone. Rex also enjoys bathing in his water bowl. Lately, he has reached adolescence and grown quite testy. He likes to see what he can get away with and is often moody. He tries to get away with biting and I must be careful not to show him that biting will make me leave him alone. Instead, I am teaching him that there are other ways to demonstrate that he wishes to be left alone. On his good days, he remembers this lesson. Rex has also developed a strong preference towards females, and very rarely does he tolerate a male interacting with him. On nice days, Rex enjoys a trip to Petco in his birdie carrier. He likes to help me pick out toys and he also enjoys visiting all the employees that knew him during the time he lived at Petco. Of course, he also enjoys going outdoors and listening to the local songbirds.