Fun Times With The Beckers

All the fun, even if it's not always blogged…

I Love My Dog Expo — March 1, 2010

I Love My Dog Expo

Saturday, THOR and I woke up early for our shift at the I Love My Dog Expo here in Lincoln! this is the 3rd year for the event and it’s all hosted by Domesti-PUPS.. which, by now, i am sure you all know i LOVE this organization!

THOR and i were stationed at the Petting-PUPS booth… and boy doesTHOR love the petting!

here he is right before we started the day:

and then, of course, here he is after:

i think i may have created an ice cream-loving monster!

he did so well! and to think, i was originally planning on not bringing him along… i wasn’t sure how he would do, and if it would be more hassle than it would be worth, but again, he shined (shone?) and was the star that i know him to be!

later in the day, I packed up Miss Lucy, so she could experience the wonder of the Expo. poor girl, i feel so bad that she misses out on the fun when THOR and i go out to “work”. We met up with my parents and “Uncle Neil” (as i like to call him). and we had a great time!

while there, i fell in love with Adoorables. If you have a moment, please check out their way-cute stuff! i picked up an awesome teal and purple lab for our front door. love it!!


Theraputic THOR — September 4, 2009

Theraputic THOR

Last night, THOR and I did our first Domesti-PUPSPetting-PUPS” therapy session. We took a trip to the Windcrest Assisted Living Community, and had a GREAT time.

THOR really latched on to his new job. He was so excited when i got out his red “Training” bandana, and hopped right into the car:
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i feel like it’s the First Day Of School!

We toured with Colby, a gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dog, and Daisy, the fluffiest little “pure-bred mutt” you’ve ever seen. Daisy was quite the flirt with the two boys and kept the evening fun!

the residents really loved having us stop by, and some even provided Beggin’ Strips!

It was really fun, and rewarding (though, you have to take a moment of pause when you realize that the brightest spot in some of these resident’s day is a two-minute visit from the dogs…)… we are excited for our next visits… six until we graduate! (five more, now!)

and, now AJ is excited to form a team with Lucy this winter!!!!


SUCCESS — August 10, 2009





THOR and I are now an Official Domesti-PUPS “Petting PUPS” Therapy Team In Training!

Saturday morning, we got up early, had a good breakfast, leashed up (with Lucy in tow… well, or… towing us!) and went for a good walk/jog/mini-training session.

It. Was. Hot… and the session didn’t go as well as i had hoped. but i kept telling myself that i can’t let my nerves flow from me all the way through the leash, or THOR will not do well at all.

we get home, i clean his ear (poor pooch has a chronic yeast infection in his left ear… i am open to suggestions on how to fix, if anyone has them), and then try a few impromptu commands in the kitchen.

he wasn’t having it.

at this point, i decided we were doomed.

instead of going ballistic in the kitchen, i walked away and decided to remain calm and consider today to be our FIRST test, and that would help us prepare for the second and maybe third (fourth?) test until we passed.

we headed out in the heat, to make our 10:30 test time, with a little padding to make sure he had plenty of ops to potty on every bush, tree, blade of grass in sight before the test.

i am attempting to remain calm…

we walk up to the testing area (amidst high heat and high winds… oh dear, this can’t be good), and meet up with Pam #1 – our awesome Class Trainer. From Day One she knew THOR would have a time at all of this… and kept reminding me throughout the class, “if he eliminates during the test, he will NOT pass!” (hence the pre-planned potty breaks!)… and she said to us, “don’t worry- we’ll hold another testing session in October.”

Great. event Pam thinks we will fail.

so i told myself to calm down (not an easy feat, if you know me), and take the test one task at a time, not to look at it as one whole mountain, just little hills to climb… we’ll figure out where we need improvement, and prepare for the test in October.

We were paired up with a test evaluator (she was awesome!) and proceeded to go through the following test objectives:

  1. Controlled Entry: we had to walk together through a door – THOR could not rush in front of me, or cower behind me = PASSED
  2. Greet a Stranger: “Hello, may I pet your dog?”, (THOR’s most favorite thing in the world: People loving on him) = PASSED
  3. Allow a Stranger to Pet: she brushed him, checked his paws and ears, being mindful of the tenderness of the left ear = PASSED
  4. Reaction to Loud Noises: dropping pans, moving wheel chairs, no problem = PASSED
  5. Controlled Heal with turns, & Sit Command: walk along an L-shaped course, right turn, U-turn & left turn, while leash is in loose Heal: PASSED (slightly shocked)
  6. Sit, Down, Stay, Come: Place dog in “Sit” (okay), Place dog in “Down” (still working on this, and didn’t complete), Place dog in “Stay” (90% on this, usually), Trainer to walk 15-feet from dog, turn around and then call dog to “Come” = PASSED (with the caveat to continue to work on “Down”)
  7. Greet a Stranger with a Strange Dog: we met up with Buster and Paco (i believe), “Double Trouble” as i told THOR, and of course, he thought this mean Play Time, and we had to go back and start over. the trainer was kind enough to give some ideas on how to work on this, we tried again= PASSED
  8. Supervised Separation: THOR got to stand in the shade with a very nice gentleman he had never met – i hid behind a tree for three (very long) minutes. Upon my return, i was told that THOR really didn’t know i was gone (he would go home with anyone) but that the kind gentleman might have some new bruises on his legs from THOR’s tail! = PASSED
  9. Loading & Unloading a vehicle: dog is to wait for the command to get in and out of the car – not just jump in and out at his own free will = PASSED

we walked back to the evaluation table, and our Evaluator and Pam #1 quietly discussed our scores, and Pam #1 grabbed a red scarf and placed it on THOR’s neck… um, what? We Passed? WE PASSED? i started jumping up and down… THOR, was kindly aloof, as per usual.
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Then i chatted with Pam #2, or other awesome Leader, and one that gave us lots of great tips and allowed us to join her class, and she said, “Wow, THOR definitely gets the ‘Most Improved’ award!”

and very sweet, Kendra, took our picture- which made me realize, i should have gussied up after the morning’s run. oh well!
(taken at my parent’s afterward)


what’s next? three-to-six months of on-site training where we will go to approved nursing homes, hospitals and retirement homes and display our “Petting-PUPS” skills. eeeeee!!!!!!!!

nerves — August 7, 2009
MORE Domesti-PUPS Fun! — July 21, 2009

MORE Domesti-PUPS Fun!

before i pop out of the office for the day, and rescue my pups from their naps… i wanted to give an update on the whole Domesti-PUPS situation.

with my crazy summer travel schedule, I was in Kansas City during the Testing Day for our Domesti-PUPS training group. apparently, this is a big dang deal (duh) as they fly in the evaluator and such… so THOR and I had to miss our day, and reschedule at a time when another evaluator is in town.

Well, once i learned this, i was oh-so-bad, and pretty much put the training on the back burner. THOR and I still went to the pre-test session the week before the actual test (of which we were to miss) and just as we started our pre-test, what does THOR the Wunder Pup do? Yep, potties in between stations… that would be an immediate FAIL!

so i was happy to know we weren’t testing that weekend!!! defintely more work to do!

and now, we are back in class- tonight it is – new people, another great leader, and we hope to be more steadfast in our goal!!! THOR has been doing a better job of waiting until i tell him it is okay to Potty (let me tell you, he was not very excited about this at first!) and hopefully, a few more weeks of practice and we will pass with flying colors.


Bring your THOR To Work Day — June 25, 2009

Bring your THOR To Work Day

WHOO HOO – i just got clearance to bring THOR into work with me tomorrow.

we will have our Therapy Pack ready, and i’ll probably even pack the Dirt Devil Pet Vac (just in case!)

i think this will be a great step in his therapy training – linoleum, elevators, meeting strange people, working on long-time stays without me around (all a part of the test, or real-world therapy sessions)…

i am so excited!!! Yea Forty!

the truth hurts — May 7, 2009

the truth hurts

this week, i have had two rude awakenings:

1) i added the height extenders on the wii fit… now, it says my balance is better (yea), but it also, now, accurately measures my BMI and weight… uggh. it was so much nicer living under the false realization that it was off by 20 lbs… uggh…

2) yesterday, i tried for the third time in one month to give blood. i walked in saying, third time’s a charm!… on my way to that 3 gallon mark… it all seemed like things were going to fall into place. The Community Blood Bank has a new hemoglobin testing machine thingie– much more accurate. accurate enough that they denied me again! uggh… but, its better that, then wasting the whole night on the couch looking gray and moody.

I will continue to seek out iron-rich foods, and try again, yes, i shall…

so, two things that are more accurate, and prove that i have been skating by before, but now, its time to face the music and move forward. oy vey!

so, since i still did not hear my favorite edict: no exercising – i forced myself to get out with the dogs each for a private training session.

then, later last night, they were ready to show off– kind of:

Thor Training, Closet Cleaning & Blood Donating — April 29, 2009

Thor Training, Closet Cleaning & Blood Donating

whew – file this under Doing Good Things!

THOR and I had another Domesti-PUPS session… it was work at the beginning. a true test of wills, on both our parts. but i started to notice, he’s very good around the two Trainers…. we’ll be walking around in a large circle as a group… while we are at the back of the circle, he is all over the place and not really obeying – (hency why my biceps are killing me today, and i have blisters on my hands from gripping and tugging the leash)… and then we get to the front of the circle, near the trainer, and he’s prancing and paying attention… AJ said that’s just how he was in school – ha!… a co-worker (probably, correctly) commented that he can sense the “Alpha” in the trainers… thus, i am still far below Alpha, as far as he is concerned.

Further to this point – we went into a small room – all 15 dogs, “masters” and two trainers, and i was anxious that he would cause a raucous…but he simply sat (shocker) and then… (wait for it)… laid down with a big sigh. Son of a…

show off!

But he did well, and after it was pointed out that i had his choke chain on backwards (eek, sorry THOR), he was much better… imagine that… end user error!

i am also feeling good lately, because AJ and I took some time to clean out part of our closet and donate to the Montessori School for Young Children annual Yard Sale that will occur this weekend. If you are in the Lincoln Area – please consider stopping out. (you can find the info on the site!)

And, later today, i am going to make my second attempt this week to donate blood at the Nebraska Community Blood Bank… darn propensity to low iron!
The best part about giving blood? well, the Cookies come in at a close second, but i LOVE that they tell you to eat three square meals and not work out for 24 hours! whoo hoo!!!!

if all goes well, today will be the 3 gallon mark for me!

the true test — April 28, 2009
A Day for our Earth! — April 22, 2009

A Day for our Earth!


i have to admit, i am kind of excited!

Last night, after some frustrating, but then very successful Pup Trainings with BOTH pups, i decided to pull out the Push Mower and tackle the lawn. we got quite a bit of rain last week, and those green blades of grass were long and strong… but i powered through. it does take me longer to mow with the Push Mower, but i like that i am saving gas and not polluting the air. I also consider it quite the work out – though i really need to work on my triceps, to make it run better! i also consider it another lesson in physics-2nd class levers and fulcrums – and i have learned you need to gather some sort of momentum and create inertia – however, when the ground is uneven, that which is in motion does not necessarily stay in motion. uggh!

while pushing the mower around, i was reminded of one of my favorite YouTube videos, and thought- if i don’t kick this mower’s @$$, it’s gonna come out and kick my @$$…

i did my best
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what more could a girl ask for as preparation to Earth Day?
For more inspiration, head over to Tamara’s Blog – great and easy ways to make a difference everyday. i also love the link she posts to (i was enthralled with all the unknown, useful, uses for VODKA!). YEA EARTH!

And of course, Happy Birthday to my niece, Sophie!