Tuesday, November 6, 2018



Today is Nikita’s 3rd birthday.  She has been with us for about eight months now and has found a place in our family and our hearts.  For the first fourteen months of her life she was with a “puppy raiser” for the Guide Dogs of America foundation. Nikita was socialized with lots of other dogs and people and taken to so many different places for her training.  The ‘puppy raiser’ was kind enough to send me pictures of her life before I got her.  Nikita has been to restaurants, parks, Boy Scout troop meetings, children’s hospital, painting classes, doctors and dentists offices, movies, on a ferry ride, Santa Anita racetrack, Christmas parades and many more places too numerous to mention.  At the end of her training she was assessed by the foundation and sadly turned down because she didn’t have the right temperament to continue.  I was told she gets too distracted to be a good guide dog.  I could definitely see how that would be true. 

Nikita was raised with two female Labradors, so transitioning to one sister, Ginger, my Australian Shepherd, wasn’t very hard for her since she was always trained with her sisters and many other dogs too.  At first they got along great and then not so much as they both vied to become the dominant one.  Nikita won for a while but somehow Ginger is now dominating and Nikita follows her around and takes her lead.  She won’t even go out by herself unless Ginger goes first. So they’ve worked it out between them. They play and run together and have a good time all in all.

The only thing that Nikita has still to master is her unauthorized horse herding.  She will sometimes run into the paddock and bark and chase the horses.  They mostly ignore her but Rosie did give her a warning kick out with her back legs once.  She’s getting much better at behaving and sitting and staying during turnout and bring in times. 

Here are some pictures of her life so far:

"How cute am I"

"Valentine Puppy"

"I'm a Halloween Butterfly"

"It's Election Day, I voted for the candidate with the most treats!"
"Here I am at Santa Anita, I bet on the winner"

"Saying Goodbye to my friends was hard"

"Nikita in her new home with us"
"I'm in my new home now with my new sister Ginger"
" I don't know what this white stuff is but I like it!"

" Um, I never saw one of these before"

"It's my stick...no it's MY stick"

For a California girl she loves the snow

My Co-Pilot

Can't get in the Kubota without an assistant to help me drag the arena

"Soaking up some sun on the patio"
"No I'm not coming in, one more step and I'm outta here"
" I know nothing about how these flowers got crushed, I think it was Ginger"

" I heard it's my birthday, where's the treats!"

Quote for Today
 My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am


  1. Wow, she is absolutely gorgeous!! I've been thinking of adopting a young service dog that doesn't make the program. Apparently it happens a lot. Looks like she is full of personality & loves her family! Happy Birthday to Nikita!

    1. Hi Aurora,
      She's very sweet and gentle. While Ginger is running around barking(usually at nothing) she comes and sits in front of me. With all her socialization she loves people and is always happy to see new people. Her only problem is she gets so excited meeting people that she squats and pees a little. We're working on that! The absolute funniest thing she does is tattle tale on Ginger. She comes to me and whines if Ginger lays in her bed or takes a bone away from her. I've never had an older dog that was already trained, always puppies, but it's a pleasure to have a dog house trained already.You can't go wrong with a service dog.

    2. She tattle's on her sister?! Too funny!! It's so enjoyable to have animals with awesome personalities. Glad Nikita found her way to your family! I am having a hard time deciding between a puppy vs older dog and purchase vs adoption. Not to mention which breed/mix. I've always adopted. It's such a huge decision for me. For the first time, Brad & I don't actually own a dog. The last dog that chose me as his favorite human was a Shepard rescue mix. Maverick was a big sociable guy who looked 100% German Shepard. He was my gardening buddy. The past 16ish years I've loved & cared for our other family dogs, and never felt the need to get one of my own. However, our daughter moved out (too far to drive) and will be taking her lab. Jameson has lived with us his whole entire life, and I spend tons of time with him. He is an active hunting bred lab (7 yrs old) and has the ultimate spoiled dog life with us. I know he will be happy to be with his mom. She is fantastic with animals (worked over a decade in vet clinics) but has multiple jobs and an active social life. Any who, I'm leaning towards an older dog who can join right in and do chores etc with me - but I love puppies! Who doesn't. Gah!! When the grand dogs visit it will be a zoo around here lol!

  2. Happy Birthday! She’s a lovely dog and landed in a great home

  3. Happy birthday, Nikita! She is so beautiful!! I'm glad she didn't make the program and ended up with you. Must be fate. I'd love to have a dog in the same situation. It would be nice to avoid all the chewed up shoes, accidents on the floor, and running the opposite direction when called. We hope to get a new dog this year. We never want any of ours to be alone, and our oldest wolfhound will be nine this spring.

    1. Thanks Linda. I'm happy she didn't make the program requirements either. Honestly, I can see why, she didn't. She'd be a danger to anyone who needed real guidance. I've always had 2 or 3 dogs together and I think it's good for them to have companions to play with and keep each other company. As for puppies, I've always raised my dogs from pups, but I'm over that now. I can do without the puppy training, it's nice to have a dog that's already been trained. Saves a lot of wear on tear on everything in the house and me. I think rescues dogs really appreciate the new home they're given and bond quickly with their new people.

  4. Happy birthday, beautiful!
    Love the photo of her being Ginger's "assistant branch manager"!
    We got a puppy last thanksgiving, and it was definitely a challenge I won't take on again. But Shadow is maturing and mellowing out--as mellow as a border collie/Aussie cross can be, I suppose!

    1. Thanks! I think my puppy days are over too. I can't imagine the energy in a border collie/Aussie cross. You should post some pictures of Shadow I'll bet she/he is adorable!

    2. Shadow is all over my FB page--I've pretty much given up the blog. You don't have to join FB to peek: search Laurie Herzig, or the farm page is: Even.Song Equine Retirement Farm.

    3. Hi Laurie,
      I don't have a Facebook account but was able to check yours out. Shadow is beautiful! I love her unique coloring. Kate is looking good too.

  5. Wow - I love all the photos from her earlier life. She is gorgeous and a huge Happy Birthday to her! We are excited about Ciro coming home in February. It will be interesting and I hope boring introducing a new young adult canine into the mix here. Nikita and Ginger worked it out so I have hope things will work out here as well. :)

    1. I'm happy her 'puppy raiser' sent me her earlier pictures. She's was so active and has done so much already I feel a little bad that she's not doing as much anymore. She must be bored or maybe she's happy she's not in training anymore. She seems happy to just hang around and play with Ginger.

      I'm sure when Ciro arrives there will be a "getting to know you" period. But it will all work out because it always does.;)

  6. Aw, Happy Belated Birthday, Nikita! I love the ears on German Shepherd puppies!! What a cutie she was and still is. That's great that she and Ginger get along well. We always had dogs as pets growing up, German Shepherds were my dad's favourite and we had a couple of real characters. I'd love to have a dopey GS dog one day. Thanks for sharing the pictures, so lovely to see where she's been and how she's grown :)

    1. Thanks Joy. She was an adorable puppy. I'm so happy the woman sent me the pictures of her early life and what she's done.


It's so nice of you to take the time to visit. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting on what I've written. Even though I sometimes don't have the time to reply to each comment, I do enjoy reading them.