Golden Days of Summer – Part I

Although the payback has begun, Barnum and I have had a couple of terrific days. I’m very grateful. Finally, we’re getting a chance to enjoy summer together!

It started Friday, when I finally got a sunny day and male goldfinches at my feeder, allowing me to take a “golden days of summer picture” of the view from my window. I guess you will just have to take my word for it that these are goldfinches in the foreground, because they are in shadow, so their beautiful yellow color does not show up on the photos.

Framed by window panes, a clear lucite feeder on the window in the foreground has two birds in it, though they are in shadow and not identifiable as to species. Outside the window is lush, tall green weeds and wildflowers, especially gold flowers that resemble very tall black-eyed susans. The sun is shining brightly, casting a golden glow on the greens and yellows.

Gold flowers and gold finches in the golden sun.

Of course, somebody had to see what was so interesting. . . .

Very similar image as previous, except there is one bird in the feeder instead of two, and Barnum's head is at the bottom right of the photo, looking out the window that is open. Just the silouette of the back of his head, ears, and neck are visible.

What are we looking at? Is there a squirrel?? Is there a chipmunk?? I don't hear one...

But after ascertaining that there were no exciting rodents to watch, he got bored and went to his crate.

By the way, I have not yet definitively identified these flowers. They are not black-eyed Susans or Jerusalem artichokes. One of my PCAs says they are brown-eyed Susans; she’s probably right. I need to look them up.

Anynoodle, later that day, Betsy drove Barnum, me, and my revitalized Jet powerchair to the pond, and we had a great time. Barnum ran around sniffing, peeing, and running some more. He was quite good, overall, at keeping within visual range, visually checking in, and coming when called. He did not come promptly every time I called, but he did always come eventually, even when there was an interesting person or dog to follow.

There were a few times my chair made worrisome noises, or that it jerked a bit, which makes me suspect wheel-motor issues. However, it did get me safely from the van and down the trails to the pond and back again. I don’t know how long it will last, but hopefully at least until the rest of the summer or fall, and maybe by then I will have a replacement for the purple chair.

Betsy went into the water, and Barnum had a terrific time bounding into the water to her, then running back to me for a treat, then back to Betsy again. This was a great way for us to practice recalls and also to ask for behaviors (sit, touch, chin, down) when he arrived before receiving his treat.

Betsy was able to entice him to let his feet leave the bottom for just a moment to get a treat from her. This is good, because if I ever get my PICC line removed and am well enough, I would like Barnum to provide swimming assistance for me, as Gadget did.

He got the zoomies and ran around and around the beach, in the water and then out. He certainly is entertaining to watch!

Amazingly, he tuckered himself out enough that he was very interested in working for treats. On the way up the path away from the beach, he actually walked next to my chair, as if doing a loose-leash working walk, even though he was off-lead. He eagerly responded to cues for sit, down, stand, touch, chin, etc. We even did a couple of short sit-stays!

Then, this morning I was able to get a video of a training session. Barnum is now picking up the dumbbell from the floor! Short video of that is below. Link for captioned version is below that, and for transcript below that.

In the video you can see that he sometimes nose-nudges or paws the dumbbell before picking it up. So, I will have to eliminate that part of the behavior before we move on to combining the “take” with the “hold.”

This is the captioned version of video.

This is the transcript of the video.

Part II will cover Saturday’s adventure, when we spent the day at our town’s annual celebration. Public access galore in a super-high distraction environment. Stay tuned!

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SDiT and beach zoomer

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1 Response to “Golden Days of Summer – Part I”


  1. 1 Karyn August 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    It really sounds like you two are enjoying yourself and his training is taking hold well. It must be so hard not being able to swim at the pond due to the PICC. I love that you were able to bring your Jet back to life. It gives me some hope that one of my two dead chairs that are better with rugged aspects might also be able to do that. Maybe this winter I will take a look at the P200 wiring like you did recently. I highly suspect its the issue.
    Thane and I are also having great days at times which is allowing me to enjoy some summer even if its just on our way to an errand.
    I can relate to your confinement- all the times I sat and waited on these venders who acted as though a wheelchair was a luxury item- gosh I am so glad you are out to enjoy the summer a bit. For you the winters must be so much worse than they are for me with the confines snow brings to you.


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