Friday, October 31, 2008

The sixth of the sixth

I'm doing Heather's above is the sixth picture from the sixth album in my picture files.
This is Claudius, my Dad's guide dog, playing tug with my Dad and Hunt. If you can tell by the look on Hunter's face, this is an all time favorite activity at my parent's house. For starters, it's one of the few occasions that The Claudster gets to act like a real dog and not a guide dog. His "ring" is one of the few toys Claud can have so we all really enjoy it...not gonna lie either, Claudius wins everytime. He's 85 lbs of pure muscle.
Ok, this is a hard post...there is so much I want to share about my Dad and Claudius and guide dogs in general. I'm going to have a hard time of organizing my thoughts so bare with me.
One day I'll explain how my Dad became blind, but for now I'll just say that it was THE most life altering change in my family's life...moreso than Hunter being born or anything you could even think of. It's been about 2-1/2 years now but for someone to go from full sight to no sight in a matter of days is more than most can comprehend. So last February when my Dad went to California for "dog camp" (as we like to call it...) and came home a month later with Claudius it was the greatest gift we could have hoped for. Claudius gives my Dad some freedom to do things on his own and not be dependant on us.
Since Claud is "working" most of the time, he doesn't get to do normal dog play fetch or chase squirls. He doesn't get normal dog treats...but my Dad and the kids make him "dog-sicles" which is a piece of his regular dry food frozen into the center of an ice cube. Lord have mercy does Claud ever love those...if you open the freezer at my parent's house he assumes it's to get him a treat, so you better have one ready. We can't stand to disappoint The Claudster.
Little guide dog trivia for yall...there is only one guide dog of a particular name at a time, so there's only one trained dog named Claudius...on the off chance my Dad and him are out and cross paths with another guide dog, we'd hate for there to be any confusion. In my mind, when Claudius retires, his name will go back into the eligable dog name databse (which may or may not be a real's just how I understand it). And by "retire" I mean, retire from work as a guide dog, not retire in the final sense of the word.
Isn't Claudius the best dog name EVER though? It's so Spartan. You can't beat Spartan in my house. It's the ultimate compliment you can bestow upon a person.
From the day she was born, Claudius has had a slight aversion to Ryland. We think he's jealous. He LOVES Hunter and Cierra, he'll always be my Dad's dog first (he's been trained to be loyal to my Dad first and's like the guide dog creed or something, I don't know) but Hunt is a very close second in Claud's world. As she does with all dogs, Cierra has a tendancy to "over-love" Claudius, but he's a trooper. Anyways, he'll love on the big kids, cuddle with them, let them use him as a pillow...whatever they want, but Ryland...he literally turns his nose up at her. When my Dad holds her, The Claudster full on pouts. I think he was ok with our family as it was when he met us...but then this new baby comes along and steals all his attention, and he's not havin it!

I need to dig up some more pics of Claud so yall can see how beautiful this dog is...he's the most gorgeous things there ever was.

I apologize for the non-flow-ed-ness of this blog but my baby girl has a cold and is refusing to nap and my big girl has asked me if we can go trick or treating every ten my usual blog time has been compromised today!

So yall go do it now too...find the sixth picture in the sixth file in your pictures and blog about it! And do it now, before the sugar coma that comes along with this evening's activities sets in :)


Amanda said...

Loved hearing about Claud!

Heather said...

I love Claudius! The name, the beautiful dog, and what he means to you and your family! I loved this post, Erin!

Anonymous said...

I agree...great post Erin