Monday, February 28, 2011

River - Her Oncologist Speaks...Go Dr. Fulmer!

Remember the Goal

It's all for OUR dogs...

To find a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday  (the book River stars in) into a movie. If you can help, contact me!

Day 54 of 365

Here's how the story begins:   (start here if you are new)

http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "When your oncologist agrees to have coffee with your mom...stay at home and wait for the news."

The first thing you need to know about Dr. Amanda Fulmer is that she's completely, I mean, completely approachable. There's an old quote by an unknown that says, "those who are truly great are those who are most approachable."

Dr. Fulmer is just that - great and approachable.

Today, she took an hour on her day off (she works 12-hour days by the way) to talk with me about a separate project that I'm working on for my publisher. Covert ops right now. But what I wanted to do is share with all of you that she's one concerned, appreciative and knowledgeable doctor. She cares for River every couple of weeks when she has to administer her chemotherapy and so when I asked her if she wanted to get together to talk about another gig, she completely got it.

Don't you love it when people just get it?

Dr. Fulmer is the only, I mean the only, oncologist in the Richmond area. This means that a) she's up on the cancer gig and b) she's a smarty. When I first met Dr. Fulmer, I thought she was an associate or a tech because she's looks to be about 24...she's not. She's married and is in her thirties and is new to the Richmond area. You won't believe where she's from.

Hope, Arkansas. I dropped my dentures.

Just what River ordered...a doctor from Hope to help her out. She explained to me that when she was in vet school that surgery wasn't her cup of tea. Standing in scrubs for hours (with that mask and all) didn't fit what it was that she wanted. I may get this wrong, but when she heard an oncologist speak at either her school or a conference, she said that she immediately knew that's what she wanted to do. So, she deals with cancer - helping animals palliatively and diagnosing and treating the disease.

I think cancer is one of the worst illnesses a human or animal can get. When you get it and you get an oncologist assigned to you, it seems that that particular doctor is gifted with an intuitive sense of the whole picture - not just the disease. Caring for the patient also includes caring for the family - or the owner. Although, I don't pretend to own my dog, rather she owns the contribution she's making in my life and in others.

Dr. Fulmer is gifted. You have to be if you're the only oncologist around. She's cogent, adroit, speaks well and very much wants to help promote and better the cause for canine cancer. Not only is she from Hope...but she went to LSU to get her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. She practiced in DC after a small surgical stint in North Carolina and then returned to LSU to do her oncology residency and to get board certified. Her special interests "include pain management in cancer patients, histiocytic neoplasia, and palliative treatment for end-stage patients." I know this because she's on the medical advisory board of Fetch A Cure (http://www.fetchacure.com/) and that's what it says. I'm not sure what histiocytic neoplasia is...but, I'm not worried. Fulmer knows.

So, love your local, talented oncologist at the VEC (Virginia Emergency Center).

She's cool. She's approachable. And, I hope anyone in my spot gets to meet her and work with her. Richmond, Virginia and its animal owners are in a much better place now that Dr. Fulmer has joined our vet ranks.

River thinks she's a star.

Love to you all today,

Ruth and River




River looks like she just ate a goat in this pic. All the other ones had too many red eyes...so, this is what we got for today.

For more information on Piper's Someday and the book River stars in, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

We love all of you. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

River - Gazing at a Cute Girl...

Remember the Goal

It's all for OUR dogs...

To find a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday  (the book River stars in) into a movie. If you can help, contact me!

Day 53 of 365

Here's how the story begins:   (start here if you are new)

http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Look at your friends and moms with a loving gaze...it'll get you everywhere."

Cute dog looks.

They kill me.

River was outside yesterday getting her movie star body into shape and Heather (her very cute other mother) was taking snaps of her. I took a couple myself...the one at the end of this blog is River gazing up at Heather.

Heather is hot.

When I look at River looking at Heather, I understand why a) I love River so much and b) why I love Heather's blue eyes so much. If anyone ever meets Heather - be ready for some cool blue eyes.

So, puppy dog looks and grown up dog looks aren't much different. I surrender to River every time I look at her. I surrender to her soft dark brown muzzle, her crazy flying nun ears, and her soft golden brown eyes that will make you feel all the love their is because it's pure - plain and simple. 

My dog is pure love. Your dog is, too. Today, I'm not worried about producers or making contact with Oprah or Ellen or Clint or Sissy or anyone. I'm just glad I can spend time outside with her...take a few pics...and then glance at Heather and understand why River not only looks at her A LOT...but wags that lethal tail of hers.

Marching on into the week, I'd love to hear your stories and anything you'd like to share about your dog.

Dogs are why my life is more enriched. Why my life is more powerful...

This week we'll be going back and talking about some of River's visits to see the children with autism and our first go at seeing the residents of the Virginia Home.

It changed our lives - forever.

Till then, love those dogs, play with them, and snuggle,

Love,

Ruth and River


For more on Piper's Someday, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Saturday, February 26, 2011

River - Chasing Logs as a Three-Legged Dog

Remember the Goal

It's all for OUR dogs...

To find a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday  (the book River stars in) into a movie. If you can help, contact me!

Day 52 of 365

Here's how the story begins:   (start here if you are new)

http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Go outside and play...make the sticks bigger."

Today, mom is feeling better. Yeah. Migraines back to back suck donkey snot. I just have to say it like that because it's true.

River went outside with Heather and me and the camera and since I'm still not 100%, we did a bit of filming for a Saturday blog.

Pressing onward in our mission, I did get an e-mail back from a documentary film maker. Halo films is the name... www.halomotionpictures.com It looks like they do a lot of great work, so I hope we can connect and make more connections. Even if they are not a good fit, maybe they can point me to someone who is.

This is my first e-mail back from anyone in e-mail land...so, if you want, check out their site and if you are brave, send them a note.

Till tomorrow. We love all of you and thank you for reading.



If anyone gets a contact for Ellen or Oprah or Rosie or Clint or Martin Scorsese, let me know.

Love, Love,

Ruth and River

Friday, February 25, 2011

River - Taking Care of Mom...

Remember the Goal

It's all for OUR dogs...

To find a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday
(the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 51 of 365

Here's how the story begins:   (start here if you are new)

http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "When your mom continues to be sick, lie next to her and listen."

So, for today, no blog...mom is sick.

Keep your stories coming....

Love,

Ruth and River

Thursday, February 24, 2011

River - Loves Saltines...

Remember the Goal

It's all for OUR dogs...

To find a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday
(the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 50 of 365

Here's how the story begins:   (start here if you are new)

http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "When your mom gets a migraine, crackers are extra good."

River and I share saltine crackers - a staple in our home. We always have two boxes in stock in case of peanut butter cracker attacks, in case we have some Campbell's soup that needs addressing, or in the case mom has a migraine.

Migraines suck. I have one now as I type this out but Immitrex seems to be assuaging me for the moment. At present mine are based on hormones and stress. The stress today is my new work and my large learning curve. But that's okay...I've still got all my appendages and I can see all right.

River is crunching behind me and as we celebrate 50 days of taking pictures, writing blogs, and doing videos - I realize we have much to honor. River is close to ten weeks out from surgery and as you've witnessed, she can sit fairly comfortably, run around with a stick, and still do half a dozen tricks. She can no longer do several because of the amputation.

But, I'm clear on one thing. You CAN teach an aging dog new tricks. So, if any of you have a trick you'd like River to learn, then send it in. We will train for a few days and then see if we can get it on video in honor of whoever sends in the request.

Let's have some fun!

Ask River to learn a new trick and we'll see if we can tube it for you.

For today, I'm back to bed.

Oh, by the way, if you can forward this blog to just one friend, River will appreciate it. Thanks to all who have written in and helped and sent in money to Fetch...people are taking note of the story...people are starting to listen.

Love, Love,

Ruth and River



For more on Piper's Someday, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Write to River and me on Facebook: just type in my name and send us a message!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

River - Treats are for Tricks!

Remember the goal:Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 49 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "When you get excited and do the wrong trick - who cares...you'll get it right the next time."

Mom is in training for her new job today, so when she got home, we did some tubage:



Love, love, love,

Ruth and River

Please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/ for information and reviews on Piper's Someday...the book River stars in...a prophetic journey, indeed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

River - Heather Campbell Blogs...

Remember the goal:Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 48 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Invite my other mother to weigh in."


Hello everyone out there.  Heather here, doing the guest blog :) 

I have to confess this is my first blog EVER.  I’ve somehow managed to miss the technological social networking train.  While I have a facebook page, I’ve never entered a status.  And, I’m aware of twitter and tweets, but haven’t a clue how it works.  Even this blog – I’m typing in a word document, which Ruth will somehow copy and upload to the website sometime this evening…

But, I digress.  I’m here to write about River.

If you’ve been checking-in each day, Ruth has been sharing stories of River’s early days throughout the blogs.  I have a few firsthand memories of Ruth’s exasperation with River’s energy and antics.  Dog tales would reference “the sweet dog” (Scout), and “the mad dog” (River).  However, as explained previously, once it was discovered that River’s energy and intelligence just needed an outlet (a job), she became a completely different dog.

I had the privilege to visit the Virginia Home with Ruth and River on a couple of occasions, and personally witnessed River’s therapy work in action.  The residents absolutely lit up with her presence and tricks.  The joy and healing that River offered were unbelievable and amazing to behold.

The journey from River’s diagnosis to surgery to ongoing recovery has been quite unbelievable and amazing, as well… and quite the learning process.  It is astounding what spirit and grace this sweet dog has exhibited.  I will never forget picking River up the day after surgery, and River pulling Ruth and me down the hall to the door.  Her attitude was one of “What leg?”  While the recovery of the incision did take some time, I still stare in wonder when River runs, plays, darts, rolls, jumps, and chases without hindrance.  Several people have stated “Wouldn’t it be nice if humans had the same outlook”.  No kidding.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying the pictures and videos.  I think the videos do a great job of showing River’s happy, beautiful spirit.

To make a quick plug for making Piper’s Someday into a movie --- I think it’s an awesome idea!!  If you haven’t read the book, please do --- you will totally agree it will be excellent on the big screen.

Much love and many blessings!  And, thanks for reading!

Heather (the other mom)


Monday, February 21, 2011

River - Lost in the Wild of Where to Go Next...

Remember the goal:Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 47 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Ask your friends for more help."

Yesterday, Fetchacure received a great donation for the cause. I was incredulous.

Today, we are asking for more leads. We're stuck, to be honest.

Tomorrow, my partner, Heather Campbell, will guest blog as I will be at a conference all day...so, we're excited about that. Heather is River's other mom and has been a steadfast pillar of support for the journey. If it hadn't been for Heather, I would not have been able to pay for some of River's vet bills. She gets an A+++.

At any rate, today we're feeling a bit stuck. We've been passing the word along and asking people to send us their stories and suggestions. I've run into dead ends on all of the leads except a few. I haven't heard back from a number of organizations I've contacted.

But, we'll trudge on...to make things easy, just type in Ruth Perkinson into Facebook and send me a message with your ideas. In the first week, we got aplenty, but as time marches on, we get distracted and that's absolutely fine.

But, time is of the essence for River.

So, if you know of someone I need to be talking to, then please send me a note.

Till tomorrow, we're sending hugs and wags and sloppy kisses to all of you. Please send this blog along to anyone you think may want to help. Also, don't forget to send us your dog stories. We'd love to write about them here.

Love,


Ruth and River



Love, Love.

For more information on Piper's Someday, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Sunday, February 20, 2011

River - Getting Help from a GREAT FRIEND!

Remember the goal:Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 46 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Friends always know when to show up and make a contribution."

Today we are ASTOUNDED that a generous donor has sent in to http://www.fetchacure.com/ a "significant" donation to help with people who struggle financially with their pets suffering from canine cancer. Veronica (I'm leaving out her last name) sent in enough money for one round of chemotherapy treatment to the "Companions in Crisis" fund and she also sent in a general donation to FetchACure. This means that Veronica sent in over $500.00 at least.

I got the letter in the mail this afternoon from Fetch.

Veronica is an angel. Veronica is a dog lover. This post is for her and the loving heart she has for our cause, the loving heart she has for her own animals. I hope that the money she sent in to Fetch will help a young child witnessing this to know that there is hope in spite of financial need. That people out there really care.

I am speechless. I can't believe that large amount was sent in. Even if our ultimate goal never becomes a reality, it has all been worth writing about over these last 45 days.

Today, Veronica made the world a better place.

Today, River fetches for her.




Thank you, Veronica.

Love,

Ruth and River

Saturday, February 19, 2011

River - Test Day for Therapy Dog To BE!

Remember the goal:Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 45 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Anxiety, Schmang-ziety."
Yesterday I was talking about our testing to get River certified to become a Delta Therapy Dog. I also mentioned that she and I both went through many, many weeks of training and that much of that was visiting grocery stores, malls, and places she was unfamiliar with so she would become desensitized.

Some visits were better than others. Then I found a place where we could practice on an elevator. You'd be amazed at how dogs need a bit of help stepping onto one and then lots of support once you're in motion. We went up and down, on and off. Lots of treats.

Instead of the actual test site being where River was taking classes, Delta Society held it at the Charlottesville SPCA. (We sent them a letter recently about our visit there.) On the day of testing, I took River for a run to wear her out. This was key. Then when we got to the testing site, I let River smell all around to get her sniffer acquainted. Since there are so many dogs there, she was going a bit ballistic...the hardest part she had in training was "Passing another dog - Greeting a person with a handshake." Most dogs have trouble with this. This is the piece where most dogs fail because, of course, they want to engage and sniff butts. In training and in therapy situations, you have to be able to control your dog when another dog comes around. If you can't or the dog goes nuts, then, you fail. Easy as 1-2-3.

During the test, I did not breathe. I anchored River and listened to "Greta" Van "Doubtsund," the feared tester, tell me each piece of the test and then what she was going to watch for. My heart raced. You could re-try, if I remember correctly, only one time if you did not do well on a particular task.

We made it through the following while I held my breath:

1. Sit and stay
2. Sit and stay with leash down and the handler backing away from dog...
    (we had to do this one over because I called River to me too quickly)
3. Loose leash walking from one mark to another with a tight turn
4. Leave it...there was a small stuffed dog we had to walk by
5. Then the Convergence where staffers run/walk toward River and try and touch her all over. The tester pulls her tail to see how she reacts
6. Handicapped equipment is used to distract the dog...and people try to take her leash from you (you must say nicely but firmly, "No.")
7. The "bang" of something behind her and then she's supposed to recover quickly from the noise...if a dog gets overly nervous...FAIL
8. Pass that other dog...meet and greet...shake hands
9. A few more I can't remember...

About half way into the test, her collar came off with the leash attached. At this point, I thought we'd failed because the tester marked it down on her clipboard. I almost cried.

My trainer told me to breathe. I did.

When we finished the test, Greta Van Doubtsund went over to score both River and me. It took nearly fifteen minutes as she marked her papers, made notes, and kanoodled over that collar coming off. In the meantime, River and I waited with our friends from class. They all seemed sure I'd passed but I couldn't get a read on Greta.

Finally, she came over and shook my hand and said that we had passed.

I thought I would faint.

When I called my mom a few minutes later to tell her that I now had a certified therapy dog. She screamed an allelulia and told me she'd been at mass praying for River and me that morning.

River passed her test on a Sunday morning in early August of 2007. We hooted and hollered and I took her for an ice cream.

I was elated. Greta had written on the test sheet, "handler was very nervous."

But, River wasn't. Good girl. Touche my sweet doggie.

Our first gig was an elementary school in Henrico County....more tomorrow.

Today, we are going to repost that picture of her eating that ice cream.

Love to you,


Ruth and River


For more on Piper's Someday, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Love, Love.

Friday, February 18, 2011

River - Persistence will Prevail

Remember the goal:

Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 44 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Persistence will prevail."

It's been a week or two since we were talking of River's certification training to become a therapy dog with the Delta Society. We are still waiting on a few e-mails I sent to them about our story...we'll nudge them today, again, or next week.

Like she says, persistence will prevail...just like on the number of boy dogs in the neighborhood who have taken a shine to her...and some neighbors, too.

Back to the very cool story.

During the summer of 2007, I took my dog trainer's orders and took River with me everywhere. She already loved the truck and the ride, but in order to desensitize a dog to a ton of stimuli (as they would get in a hospital), you have to take them bit by bit to places that are unknown to them and then walk them around. It sounds simple but it is hard to do.

I took River to the grocery store and let her listen to all the sounds: the people, the loud grocery carts, the noise of the chatter of the conversations, the semi-trucks pulling in and out. All of this with confirmation from me that she was a "good girl" and some treats to boot helped her to understand that stimuli was good. I walked her in a special way they taught us and made her sit on command, stand on command, walk on command, et cetera.

These trips started out at five to ten minutes and then we gradually added a few minutes each time. I studied my manual, studied River and her responses, and then took her back and back again.

Each week in class, I would see that the training would pay off. I began to hear from my trainer and others in class how impressed they were with River's progress. She did everything I asked on command...sometimes without asking. She seemed to know that it was her destiny to go to Charlottesville every week and train at the Canine Campus with Deven and a host of other people and dogs who were trying to make a difference in their community.

The tester was said to be "evil." She was very strict and failed over half the dogs that went through her testing. The trainers kept telling us to practice, practice, practice.

We did. River sometimes tired on practices and began to look for her to tell me in her body language that she'd had enough. It usually came in red eyes...or if she stopped listening to my commands. That means they are flooded - enough. You have to always advocate and be gentle with your dogs when you train them to be a service animal. Their health and welfare comes first before anything else - a great lesson I learned in class. You never push your dog and always advocate for them.

On the day of the test, I was a MESS! I was the most anxious I'd been since my first day of teaching school in Henrico County. My nerves wiggled to the surface.

More on the tester, the test, my buddies in C'ville tomorrow.

Till then, persist at everything you do...especially when it leads in the direction of your dreams!

Love,


Ruth and River




Here's a picture of River waitng for the mailman, waiting for news...really, she just loves to bark at her. What is it about barking at mail people that dogs love?

For more information on Piper's Someday, the book River stars in, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Thursday, February 17, 2011

River - Back to Harvey Milk...Back to Hope!

Remember the goal:
Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 43 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Remember - even in your dreams."

Harvey Milk feels like an old friend.

When my partner and I visited San Francisco last fall for the first time, we got lost in the Castro but didn't let that stop us. We just walked, talked, took pictures and looked for a good place to eat.

1978 was a while ago...but Harvey Milk felt alive and well as we meandered through the streets feeling like we were in a foreign world way away from Virginia where things always seem sticky and old and musty yellow, like a history book that has sat on the shelf for a hundred years.

By accident, we ended up at the camera shop where Harvey did a lot of his political work (as a headquarters of sorts) and I got chills as my partner took a picture of me by the door, the threshold where he'd stepped across as an unknown and then as an icon, probably thousands of times.

You're probably thinking, "what does this have to do with River?" I guess it's what he (Milk) delivered to all of us. A feeling that everything could and would be okay. His charisma exuded out and into the streets of San Francisco, out and into the streets of California, the USA...and, now all over the world. He gave us something to hang onto, a belief in the face of grueling circumstances...a belief that we would prevail even if he so prophetically believed that he would not (in body that is).

I lost a bit of hope last Friday as I endured a back to back migraine and then a UTI. Ugh. My physical maladies go on a bit...but the eyesight scares me the most. I'm glad the eye injections have worked and perhaps in a few years, stem cell research will help my right eye. Funny. I wouldn't take a billion dollars for my eyes. I wouldn't take a billion for River.

When things look down, I try to find examples of people like Harvey Milk, or the humor of Joy Behar or Ellen (a hero, too), or my editor (Katherine Forrest) who cracks me up, or my publisher who continues to believe in my writing, my mission. I also believe that phone calls from friends can last weeks in fond memories...like the one I got from KG today in Florida. I'm proud she will be keynote speaker at GCLS this year...she's a hottie and is always funny. I've always looked up to her.

I digress. This is about my pooch...because I remember back to the week in December when she first came home from surgery and she was lying stapled up and bloody and then came hopping in my room to lie near me in the dark. The migraine was pounding - but,  I put my hand down on her furry body and we connected. Like she's trying to connect with all of you who read this. Solace.

We are going back to River's history tomorrow...back to her Delta days and a few good stories about when we first went to the elementary school to visit children with autism.

I can't wait to tell you about the young boy who spent the entire time trying to kiss River on the mouth and then when he did, I thought he would flip out of his skin he was so happy.

Till tomorrow. River is giving us (and me) hope...hang on, hang on...it always gets better.

Love,


Ruth and River

For more on Piper's Someday, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Wags!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

River - Having some FUN!

Remember the goal:Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 42 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "When other people catch the story...I'll catch for you."

So, Kevin Clay from GAY RVA at http://www.gayrva.com/ posted his wonderful story of River today...please click on the link above as it will only be available for today.

River is doing tricks...here's some tubage as my brain is mush from taking the state insurance exam.




Thanks for your support!

Keep watching her progress...she's now up to six or seven boyfriends. Hysterical.

Love to you all,


Ruth and River

Go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ for a copy of Piper's Someday or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

River - Helping Mom Study...

Remember the goal:
Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...if you can help, contact me!

Day 41 of 365

Here's how the story begins: (start here if you are new)
http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

River's wags of wisdom for today: "Understanding health insurance is harder than sniffing molecules."

As we've learned, sniffing molecules is easy for dogs. They can sniff out cancer at an unbelievable accuracy rate. It's a wonder we don't hire them to work in medical centers and doctors' offices to see if the sniffer can detect cancer early on.

Hmm. There might be something to that.

Today has been arduous for me as I go in early tomorrow morning and take a state health exam so I can get licensed. For those of you who have been through the grueling, abstract material, I have a bucket of drool (I know, gross) and a brain that is complete mush.

I just put that material down, meditated, and then took River out to see the stars while she took a "whiz." Today, she road with me to find the testing site. I'm using my partner's vehicle and you should see all the pillows and blankets I have in the passenger seat for her. It's a small cocoon. She can lie down and still put her head up every now and again to smell the wind. It's one of her all time faves. I can't let her stand, nor can I truly buckle her in, so we take a leap of faith getting around town.

I'm still looking for leads. The leads I got when this was all fresh have not turned into much. So, we will push ahead and just keep asking readers out there to share with just one person. Perhaps your sharing with one person will lead to what we need at the end of our journey: someone who wants to produce the movie. Which, of course, will start a new journey. A new one for all of us...sounds exciting to me.

So, here's to all you lovely readers out there. Thanks for taking good care of your dogs and cats. If you have an interesting tale...bring it. We'd love to talk about you.

More tomorrow. Going to find a pillow and get some shut eye. River will hop in to sidle up next to me on her big dog mattress. She's got two...one for the living room where she sleeps with her penguin, assorted bonies, and a duck.

Good girl.

Love to you,

Ruth and River



For more on Piper's Someday, go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/


Monday, February 14, 2011

River - Anything is POSSIBLE...help the ripple effect

Day 40 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Anything is possible. Dogs can sniff molecules."

A BIG shout out to an anonymous donor out there (I know who you are) who sent in a donation to http://www.fetchacure.com/ in River's honor. You rock! They are elated that the blog is getting out there and that the ripple effect starts with just one person...

So, far we've had many people to help the rippling. The best thing readers can do for River is to share the blog with one person, just one person and then ask them to do the same.

That's all we need. One person at a time.

For today, a happy heart day to all of you with some tubage:


We HEART all of you. Thanks for reading and keeping the dream alive...day 40. Cool.

Love, Love, Love,

Ruth and River

For more information, please go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/
Please send us your dog stories! We'd love to share them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

River - Thinking about Amelia Newsom

Day 39 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "When our people friends are in need of help, we talk about it."

River has two very cool, very pretty friends named Linda and Lori. Linda and Lori are partners and they are extreme dog lovers (and cat lovers). When River was sick, they came to see her early on bringing breakfast pizza, humor, and lots of pets. I was thankful to them because they broke up the intense coma I was in (and my partner) over the intense care we were giving River. I was in the house for almost three weeks straight. It was Christmas and just plain hard.

Too much worry can make you mad. They came at just the right time. Thank God!

Friends like good neighbors and family know when to show up.

So, today our story isn't about our vision quest, per se. It is about Linda Newsom and her mother, Amelia. Amelia has been through the wringer physically and emotionally and at the root of saving her life is her son, Kenny, who tomorrow will give a part of his liver to her to save his mom's life. How's that for miracles?

I get chills to write that. I have watched Linda struggle this last year emotionally as the roller coaster ride of getting a transplant comes with test, re-test, yes, no, maybe, we'll see, we're not quite sure today but maybe tomorrow, ad nauseum. I really don't know how she's kept her sanity during the tumult that families go through when a loved one is critically ill.

Recently, Linda told me that her mom has read my books. It struck a chord in me. I wish River were able to visit her in the hospital. But, I guess this blog will have to serve as a kind of conduit from all of us here to Linda and her family - Amelia and Kenny.

Brave, brave people are all around us...not just in newspapers or magazines or books or TV or the movies. They are in our neighborhoods, in the grocery store, the guy you passed on the street, the woman sitting next to you in a theater. The unknowns.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It is National Organ Donor Day - Ironically - Wow!

River wants to say (if she could find the words)...Go, Amelia, Go! Go, Kenny, Go! We love your indomitable spirits. She probably doesn't know the word, "indomitable."

But, she knows what it means to have courage and to be brave even when you can't see the trail ahead.

God Bless Amelia Newsom and Kenny Newsom....and my friend, Linda.

More tomorrow.

Love,

Ruth and River

Saturday, February 12, 2011

River - Out for a Jog...Day after Chemo!

Day 38 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Take mom for a walk - strike that - a run."

Since yesterday was kind of a heavy day at the Emergency Vet, we decided to do a gallop around the 'hood...check out my three-legged wonder dog.


Thanks to an anonymous donor who has sent in some funds to http://www.fetchacure.com/
in River's honor.

Little by little, River is making a difference. Today, she would like for you readers out there to pass this along to just one friend if you can.

Love, Love,

Ruth and River

For more information on Piper's Someday, please go to my Web site: http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/


Friday, February 11, 2011

River - Hugs! Chemo Treatment 2

Day 37 of 365
For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Hug your owners with a nudge of the head against their skin."

Dogs hug. River hugs.

When I'm standing and she comes over to me, sometimes she will push her head against my thigh. I'm sure she's sniffing crumbs, too. But dogs hug with a head nudge. You have to be open to noticing it...but they do it more often than you think.

So, today's blog is about hugs. I had a migraine yesterday and then ended up at the minute clinic with a urinary tract infection earlier. We gals know about that...except me. It was my first one ever. I was peeved...bothered...angry. A migraine yesterday, now this. Ouch. I'm peeing orange because of the nifty medication they give you. I know, TMI!

I packed up my po-po after the doctor and the pharmacy and came home to take River to chemo. Her appointments take place at the Emergency Veterinary Hospital here in Richmond on Cary Street. The staff is very cool, very busy, and very helpful. They are all getting to know River. The surgical center where she got her leg amputated is on the second floor. So, River got to visit her tech buddies up there, too.

Today, when we walked into the back of the building, I was CRANKY. I was immersed in all of the crap that was bugging me. I was thinking of becoming AGNOSTIC because, well, you know...sometimes we just think that.

Two men. Probably mid-forties wearing scruffed up dark jeans and leather jackets were out back smoking as River and I approached. Cancer sticks. Ah! As we got closer, one was sitting on the ground and he asked if they (he and his friend) needed to move so River could hop a long into the center. I said,"no...she's good." River stopped and sniffed the guy on the ground and we went about our business. Knowing her, I'm sure she would have liked to hang out with them instead.

It takes about an hour for her chemo treatment. So, instead of sticking around, I went to the market and got some cranberry juice. About fifteen minutes later, I was back.

This time, things were different.

A lady from inside came out and got the two scruffy men and told them they were ready in room two. Immediately, I knew now what was happening. They were putting this guy's male dog down.

I went into the corner pretending to look at leaflets as I watched the two men go into the room. There was a couple sitting on the chairs with their chihuahua and they gave each other and me the "eye." Everyone knew what was happening.

At some point during those moments while those two men were in the room with their dog, I started to cry and couldn't stop. I kept staring at the leaflets and crying, staring at the leaflets and crying.

A few moments later, the first one came out (not the owner)...I was guessing a close friend or perhaps the brother. He started to walk out toward me and his eyes were swollen and red and he was trying to contain himself. I reached out and told him, "I'm sorry." And, then I surprised myself...I reached for him and gave him a quick embrace. He thanked me.

God. Then the owner came out and had to go up and pay the bill. Ugh. He was shaky and looking off here and there and everywhere. He was in the kind of pain we've all been through when we've lost an animal.

He came toward my way when he was done. A big guy...roughneck. A ruddy face from beer drinking, perhaps.

This time, I didn't hold back. I went straight to him. I said, "I'm so sorry." He said, "he was my good, good man." He embraced me - I embraced him. We held. When he released me after a moment he said,

"God bless you."

My ride home with River was a bit somber. I told her in the truck that one of her friends flew away while she was there.

But, I didn't need to tell her. She already knew.

Love to you all, (especially the two men at the emergency vet today)


Ruth and River

Thursday, February 10, 2011

River - Sit and Speak for a few Pretzels...

Day 36 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Eat, Eat, Eat..."

Today, we have some tubage:

Check it out...how cute is this:


More tomorrow after we go to get her second chemo treatment. For today, just a bit of fun.

Send us your stories. We love to hear them!

Love you,

Ruth and River

Go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ for more about Piper's Someday or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Love...Love!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

River - Lover of Naps...

Day 35 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "When you're tired, curl up on your favorite spot, exhale fully and wink your eyes till closed."

Today, I'm whipped.

Three days of travel to and from Charlottesville has given me the woozies. My eyes are red and I'm looking for a train of thought that won't get derailed.

On days like this, I have to remember that each day counts. Each day counts for River because as we all know - her days are numbered. We may have decades to bear out, but I'm afraid River is low on life dividends. She got re-upped on the life program in December...which is wonderful...we've got much to do yet.

We have chemo this Friday.

So, tomorrow...we will study our material to get our insurance license and I will take River on a walk or a fast drag (she drags me) around the neighborhood. If we get particularly experimental, I might take her to the park and video tape the escapade.

Today...it is short and sweet. We love you, the reader. Please stay with us...even when we're exhausted. We will be here to day 365 or to when River says "enough."

Good night.

Love to you,

Ruth and River


For more on Piper's Someday - the book River stars in, go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Love, love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Getting Presents from Fans...Oooo Whee!

Day 34 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "When someone gives you a gift, rip it open and eat it."

Today, I got home from another day of training in Charlottesville to a kind note sent to me via my mother to River. It is from a reader of my books...I'll just use her first name only - Laura. Laura went over to my sister's office where my mother is known as "Sue-the-Glue" because she holds everyone together - including me. They had a chinwag - as my dad says sometimes - and Laura gave my mom a note for her to give to River.

Since I've been out of town, my mom swang on by my house (my partner's house) and left the letter and the gift on the counter. My mom's been checking on River (and Heather, too) while I've been out of town for training.

Anyway, Laura wrote me and River about how she had gone to PetSmart and bought a special bone for River. I think it had bacon crack laced in it because River took to it immediately and ate it in a matter of minutes. Phenomenal. Laura told me how sweet the gentleman was at PetSmart who helped her and how they deliberated over the particular bone she bought for River.  Laura said that the fellow from PetSmart said (for me), "to keep your spirits up and follow your dogs lead."

Thank you, Laura. You are a dear human being for going out of your way on a work day and stopping by my sister's office.

This is River's first "treat" from a fan and so we are bringing you the pictures of her while she's chewing on it (it's hard to see...but the joy on her face is THERE) and then a picture of her licking her paws afterward.

Go, River, Go...thank you for your kindness. It doesn't go unnoticed.

For today, we're signing off. Too popped to poop.

Love,

Ruth and River



Monday, February 7, 2011

Home Alone

Day 33 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Home ALONE with the cat...stay low and clear of tight spaces; expect the unexpected!"

So, today I had to drive to Charlottesville to begin a three-day training seminar to become a licensed insurance agent in Virginia.

My brain is mush. This post will be short and sweet and to the point. Like Hemingway but without the absinthe...too trippy for me.

River stayed home today and I engaged Nanny Perk and my partner to come to the house at varying times to check on her. It's the first time we've been apart for more than several hours since I went to California in October.

I missed her. Class is fine...but I found myself saying to everyone as class introductions began, "My name is Ruth Perkinson. I live in Richmond, Virginia. I have a dog named River (and gave them the short of her tale) and if I were to win the lottery (one of the questions posed by our trainer), I would pay off my mortgage and give the rest to canine cancer. Whether they believed me or not is inconsequential...I then went on to say that we have a growing community excited about the prospect of making Piper's Someday into a movie. I got a lot of stares...but, who cares...right. We've got a dream...

Keep going...

I'm off to study for my class tomorrow as I'm up at 5:30 to make the trek. I wish our animals could go to work with us. Every company should have doggie day care, like child care, so we can visit with our pooches on breaks and go for a walk during lunch. Wouldn't that be cool?

And, as for insurance regulations in the state of Virginia...wow! I need to research pet insurance and see what the statutes are on that.

So, for today...woof, woof. Off to homework. River used to eat paper when she was a pup...hmmm.

Love to you,


Ruth and River



River loves a stuffed toy...here she's hanging out with the Aflac Duck...
For more on River and Piper's Someday, go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

Sunday, February 6, 2011

River Runs for a Cure...Love from Our House to Yours...

Day 32 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Keep running...show everyone how cool you are!"

So, today while you all are getting ready for your Super Bowl. We'd like to root for a good game and root for everyone to watch River here as she finishes a one mile run.

Shoo...


Tomorrow, I travel for training for three days...our blog may be delayed a bit, but we will still be here.

Please write to us and tell us about your dogs.

Love,

Ruth and River

Go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/ for more information on Piper's Someday.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

River - Telling you about the CHILDREN!

Day 31 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Get a bumper sticker, some business cards, and keep talking."

So, today we want everyone to think about children. Yes, I know when we grow up, we just become big kids...but, this one is for the children out there who all come home from school to their canine (and feline) companions.

6 million dogs this year will get canine cancer - 6 million cats.

I was lucky to have Heather (my partner) help me pay for some of River's costs - an anonymous friend sent me a check for $500.00 which paid for her first chemo. I'm still out of work and River has four more treatments at $500.00 a pop.

So, far we are around 8 thousand dollars. River is going on 9 years old.

It is all worth it. Every second, every minute, every nickel and dime. I would sell my last pair of big girl pants for my dog.

I spoke with Tracy from Seattle last night...she's been struggling with her dog, Idgie, and her bout with cancer. We commiserated for a while. Her expenses are exorbitant, too. Idgie has a stage 2 cancer in her front leg and they have had to go in twice to remove tumors. Tracy is carefully monitoring her progress and is doting over her sweet dog like a good mom always does. She has promised to keep River and me posted as to her progress and how she's handling the stitches and the t-shirt that's wrapped around her. Tracy is "mad" about her dog and is doing all she can to take good care of her. It's great to hear stories about people going through the same situation.

Then I heard from Beth via Facebook about her story of Indy and Buddy. Indy is a golden retriever who came from a rescue group to her ten years ago and her other dog, Buddy, lost his rear leg in a car accident. At first, Beth said she was afraid that the dogs wouldn't get along, but after the first week she said that Buddy would stand and wait for three-legged Indy to walk through the door without any "jostling." Indy lived a "happy three years" longer after losing his leg. Buddy is still with Beth, however, he's getting along in age at 15. Beth says he's a "sweet mama's" boy and knows that there time is "dwindling."

So, this post is for Idgie, struggling with cancer...it is for Buddy and Indy. And, it's for Tracy and Beth. Two owners who are sharing their stories with River and me.

On a personal note, I want to say that this is also for all the children who come home each day from school (much like my Piper did in my story), and glom onto their dogs and play with them and love on them. This is for the children whose parents might not have the resources to save their dog (or cat) from the incredible amount of money it takes to care for a dog suffering from cancer. Sadly, dog owners have to cut lives short because they are unable to pay for a dog in this condition.

It is like Chloe's story I shared a while back. I can't imagine being a young child finding out that they have to put her (or his) dog down because mom and dad can't afford the cost of the care. Lives of dogs are aken away from us too early, already.

Now, cancer is affecting dog owners...and children...all over this planet.

So, for today - love to our growing list of dogs who are making a difference in the lives of their owners. A list of dogs who are making it to this blog and SHOUTING out to the world that this has to be stopped...in a real, authentic way.

They are shouting with love from their hearts. They want to stay longer and healthier...

This is for River, Scout, Chloe, Idgie, Buddy, and Indy...

Please write to us and share your story. We'd love for you to pass along the idea that a film about my second book would raise money and awareness to the children, especially to them, who are affected by this crazy disease.

Love,


Ruth and River






The above picture is of Buddy...Beth sent this one to me via Facebook...
He's the one who lost his rear leg...

To get a copy of Piper's Someday, got to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ or to http://www.bellabooks.com/


Friday, February 4, 2011

River Goes to Grandma's House

Day 30 of 365
For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Going for a ride to grandma's house is PURE HEAVEN."

River had her leg amputated on December 14th, 2010...

Seven weeks later, she's going for her very first ride that is not vet-related:




That's all for today...we went to visit Nanny Perk...River got dog biscuits, a Frosty Paw, and a walk on the sidewalk near her house.

Life is good.

Love,


Ruth and River

Go to http://www.rutheprkinson.net/ for a copy of Piper's Someday or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

We have a sweet dog story to share with you this weekend that we received this week...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Therapy Dog School - Training Mom continues...

Day 29 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "When you've got a dream, you've got to dig, dig, dig for it and never let go." (a bit of a spin on a Carol Burnett quote)

We drove to Charlottesville every week...

River and I made it through the "Basic II" tricks class over the course of about two months. She could do the basics really well and she could even do the trick "leave it" like no other dog in the class. I remember one class in particular where dogs were actually allowed to come and play in the middle of the group - sniffing, hopping, arcing, and playing "tag your it" for about twenty minutes. River loved it and fell in love with every boy dog she came into contact with. Dang. Her flirtiness cracked me up.

Then, we went home after that one and signed up for the next class. Since we had struggled through most of the first class, I asked the doggie goddess, Deven Gaston, if she thought River had it in her to make it through the Therapy Dog class; it was rigorous and you had to work hard and the tester was TOUGH - she failed more than half the dogs.

Deven said it was really up to me. River had come up through the ranks in the first class and Deven said I would have to take a leap of faith.

I did. We did.

We began again in April of 2007. This time when we entered the class, it was much different. There was a wheelchair, a walker, hospital equipment, and other dogs who'd made it through boot camp like River.

Deven said one thing on the first day of class that resonated with both River and me. If you didn't practice at home, you would surely fail the test. She gave us a large manual and told us to ink up with the Delta Society for certification. The cost wasn't much, but River and I were on a mission.

For today, let's call it destiny.

In May, I got the edits back on Piper's Someday. I had thirty days to finish them and get them back to my publisher. After work each day, River and I practiced our gig (more on that tomorrow) and I edited the book. It needed work and I watched River everyday as I stippled in the edits that would make the book complete. River was an excellent model.

Our spirits soared. We practiced the exercises and I practiced my hand at editing. Life was hard but good. We were marching onward to better things and the whole time I kept calling on my dog in heaven, Scout, to give us the will and energy to keep plugging away.

We got the energy and started to fly.

Love for today,


Ruth and River



The above picture was taken at an assembly of children at a special school here in Richmond. I love how the boy is draped over River...the black smudge in the shot is actually River's nose as I'm retaking the picture that is framed.

Go to http://www.bellabooks.com/ for the book, Piper's Someday or to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ for more information. Please send us your dog stories...we want to here them...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

River - Getting Mom Trained

Day 28 of 365
For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "When life hands you too many leaves to rake, then just do what you can." (see pic below)

The first day of "Basics II" class, I walked into what looked like a large education facility without the chairs and tables. Instead, there was a large carpet in the middle of the room, a series of carabiners anchored to the walls with clips on them so you could "tie" your dog in, and it also had a great dog trainer by the name of Deven Gaston.

River immediately went buh-listi-ic. She was whining and barking at all of the other dogs (about nine or ten of them) and then she would turn and bark at me. I quickly clipped her into the corner near the bathroom, away from other dogs and gave her six treats in six seconds so she would be Q-U-I-E-T.

It did not happen. I couldn't shut her up. The sweat slowly dribbled from my temple and class had not even begun. Deven, sensing my anxiety and inability to get River to settle, came over and told me this: "You need to walk away from her when she does that, into the hallway, then wait about three seconds. When she quiets, come back and give her a treat and stick with her. The minute she gets mouthy again, then do the same except make her wait a little longer each time you treat her. She will follow you not the rest of us."

I stayed in the hallway doing my runs back and forth for the entire class. I thought we'd failed the "Basics II" class and would be asked not to return. It was miserable...I couldn't contain River as all she wanted to do was visit everyone else in the room...the people and the dogs. I attribute all of this to her early days of jumping fences and wanting to play with the neighborhood kids and checking out people blocks away in the hopes of getting pets and loving. The first day of class, however, she was clamped in, quite mightily trying to fling herself out of her leash and pull the carabiner from the wall.

When we left that day, we were given instructions on what tricks to do with our animals. One of the most important lessons I learned was that you only ever need a flat buckle collar for a dog. If trained properly, dogs should never be on a prong collar or anything where it might potentially harm them. A simple leash and a flat buckle collar...oh, brother. I felt bad as I'd used all different kinds of collars in an effort to contain River's exuberance when we walked.

I went home with my tail between my legs and, of course, River sacked out in the passenger seat having eaten an entire bag of Pupperoni on our first our class. I thought for sure she would be sick.

I considered not returning to Charlottesville for the second class, but each time I tried one of the exercises Deven had asked us to do, well, River ate it up - figuratively and literally.

On the following Saturday, we went back. We got there early so I could let River run around out back and get rid of some pent up energy. When I went in, I chatted briefly with Deven and said, "She's pretty willful." I meant that River was stubborn and a bit obstinate - always wanting her way. Deven stopped in her tracks and came over to me and quietly, and evenly said, "Dogs aren't willful. Owners are."

She put me in my place - kindly I might add. I'd never seen it that way. That I was trying to work my will over my dog. She was right. It was the best dog lesson I ever got.

By week three, I was out of the bathroom hallway, and River was progressing from the worst in the class to not-too-bad.

It only gets better.

Please send us your dog stories...we are listing out Scout, River, and Chloe...I've heard from a few other people but don't know if they want me to name their animals here. River wants to know your story, your dog story of survival (or not), and how you managed.

For today...here's a cute pic.

Love to you,


Ruth and River


Go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/ for more information on Piper's Someday or to Amazon or to http://www.bellabooks.com/