Taking Home the Gold!

That’s right, folks, last night was the Helping Paws Summer Olympics! You may have seen it on the 10:00 news. 4, 5, and 11 had cameras there. Here is KSTP’s coverage, featuring Walter. WCCO covered the Puppy Swim, and you can see Seva in the blue gentle leader here! Seva competed in two events, the Puppy Swim and the Puppy Dash.

International Relations

The dogs formed 4 teams: Australia, Canada, France, and Tanzania. Here we are lining up before the Opening Ceremonies, promoting international peace amongst canines and humans. The event was a fun way for the dogs and trainers to show off their skills to their many benefactors.

Team Canada

Seva receives a pep talk before the big event from one of her more experienced teammates. “OK, kid, here’s the deal: stay in line, don’t eat things off the floor, and no matter what happens, keep that tail wagging!”

Seva’s first event was the Puppy Swim. She competed against her littermates. Each puppy took a corner and was released to race into the pool. First one with four paws in the water got the gold.

The Puppy Swim

They didn’t exactly race in. This thing? Looks like a giant water bowl. Roger, Storm, Seva, and Alta (left to right) consider the pool. After a few minutes, Storm climbed in to take the Gold! She had a blast splashing around while Seva and Roger wrestled outside the pool. Eventually, Roger put two paws in the pool and won the Silver. Seva brought home the Bronze, even though all she did is take a drink!

Storm takes the Gold!

Seva’s next event was the Puppy Dash. Now, you already know Seva is fast. You’ve seen the action shots in this blog.

Puppy Dash

Seva, Storm, and Roger race to their trainers. The judges are to my left–both human and canine because we believe in checks and balances.

Instant Replay

And we have a winner! Roger and Storm raced in the second heat for Silver and Bronze.

The Awards Ceremony

The Puppy Dash medalists: Seva on Gold, Roger on Silver, and Storm on Bronze.

Seva and me

The proud pup displays her medals and her coach!

The intrepid photographer

The man behind the camera! And behind him, a tired out puppy ready to head home.

Training for next year has already begun. Do you think there will be competitive “Shake”?


Busting With Pride

Seva got her backpack! She has been getting accustomed to it at home. Service dogs even learn to dress themselves.

1. Seva has to show interest in the pack, e.g. by nosing it. I click and treat.

2. I hold up the pack and hold the kibble out in front of it.

3. To receive her reward, Seva has to walk through the pack so the chest strap is in its proper position.


Seva models her pack.


We’ve been working with the pack for a few weeks now, and Seva will walk into it before I click. It’s as though she got bored with the intermediate step of nosing it. I hold it, she puts it on. She keeps it simple and expedites her reward!

Eventually, she’ll be able to find her pack and bring it to me. The dogs do as much of the work as possible. To get them to that point the pack has to be a wonderful thing. The other day, I was going to remove her pack and gentle leader before putting the rest of her kibble in the bowl, but she got so excited when I took out a packet of Fortiflora (digestive enzymes for dogs) that I left her gear on. Never miss an opportunity to form a positive association.


All dressed up for dinner.


Now, if you see us out and about, Seva will be dressed in her Helping Paws pack. She carries her own business cards–please ask for one!