Since making our twice weekly rounds to the schools last Spring, Jeep’s popularity has continued to soar. Jeep’s personality is certainly suited to the work of a therapy dog. She is extremely calm, especially for a puppy. She loves visiting students and staff alike. A number of parents have shared with me just how much their children talk about Jeep at home.
Hopefully students, staff and families will enjoy reading up on the antics of Jeep as she continues her training journey. I appreciate how Jeep has helped me to connect with children and with staff. As a superintendent, I know I have a much clearer understanding of the day to day operations of all our schools.
Thank you for allowing us both to be part of the greater Lake Villa community!
Dr. Lynette Zimmer, Jeep’s human sidekick and partner
Many dogs love squirrels – love to chase them that is! Dot Com and Jeep are no exception, although I do have to say Dottie is probably overly enthusiastic in this regard. Dot gets so excited when she sees a squirrel in a tree or on the ground, she actually starts to tremble and shake. Because she is a German Shorthair Pointer, her hunting instinct is quite strong. I sometimes feel quite sorry for the squirrels she torments.
Often Jeep will join Dot on the squirrel chase, but then usually she loses interest and starts eating snow. Jeep is much kinder to the squirrels. She thinks every day should be Squirrel Appreciation Day! Check out how one person celebrates by making a squirrel obstacle course – the squirrels are going to get to your bird feeder anyhow so you might as well make it interesting! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWU0bfo-bSY
(Check out our fuzzy snow cruncher in this short video. I think her snow beard looks cute, don’t you?)
Our friend Jeep celebrated her second birthday on January 2nd!
Do you remember when Jeep first came to school how small she was? She could sit in my lap, take a bath in our kitchen sink and be carried up the stairs. Not anymore!
I am sure the one who is probably most surprised about Jeep’s growth spurt is Dot Com. I am sure Dottie had no idea that Jeep would grow more than twice her size. Now there is just more fluff to love!
I am often asked by students how old Jeep is in people years. There is a common belief that a one dog year equals seven people years. Using that formula Jeep would be fourteen people years old. However, the math is not that simple.
According to the American Vet Medical Association, the first year of a dog’s life actually equals 15 human years. By year two, a dog adds on nine years for a human. So how old is Jeep now in human years? (See if you can do the math in your head BEFORE looking below at the handy chart.)
Keep in mind the size of a dog matters. Large dogs (like Jeep) age faster than small dogs. Researchers are still trying to understand why that happens. The average life span for a Great Pyrenees is 8 – 10 years although I met a male Great Pyr who was 14!
(By the way, I am delighted that the designer of the chart chose a Great Pyrenees picture for the “Large” dog. That’s Pyr Power!)
Finally the last day of school before Winter Break has arrived! Jeep is certainly getting in the holiday spirit with all of her friends. Looks like someone we know will be settling in shortly for a LONG winter’s nap! Nighty Night Jeep!
In the meantime, be sure to check out this video of none other than Santa and his puppy elves! That’s right! See for yourself all the puppy elves working at the North Pole!
You might recall seeing Nora the Polar Bear last year. We thought she might be the perfect friend for Jeep. (SSSHhhh! Don’t tell Dot Com!) Not only do Nora and Jeep look alike, but Nora also enjoys playing in a kiddie pool – only her’s is filled with ice cubes, not water. The holes on the sides of the pool look a little familiar.
Below is a video of Nora one year later. Boy! If you think Jeep has grown a lot in one year, wait until you see Nora! (Besides, we all know Jeep isn’t big; she’s fluffy.)
Jeep wishes we would get as much snow as Nora did at her zoo in Ohio. Jeep is keeping her paws crossed for a BIG snow storm. All our buddy Jeep wants for Christmas is SNOW and maybe a play date with Nora. Let’s hope Santa delivers!
We are only one week away from Winter Break and Jeep is getting in the holiday spirit with her friends. Jeep is hoping that Santa will bring her more snow to play in. She is such a good sport about donning reindeer antlers. All she needs is a red nose!
I did have to remind Jeep earlier that Santa is watching her when she decided it would be fun to sit on top of a table we have outside that is covered in a tarp. Who knew Jeep could even get up on a table? I bet Dot Com tricked her into going up there. It is not like our Jeep to be naughty just nice.
The lovely Paige Turner and Booker the Lake Villa District Library dog were married today in front of dozens of young children and their families. The puppy nuptials were followed by a cupcake reception and dance party. Our friend Jeep was pleased as punch to be an official guest of honor.
For those of you wondering if Jeep is going to get married, she has no plans to do so. She is enjoying her single status. Besides that, since Jeep is not quite two years old, she is way too young to date!
Jeep is a huge fan of the Lake Villa District Library. She is especially fond of her
library pal Booker (even though he never gets scolded for barking) and their Scooby-Do reading dog program (with real therapy dogs just like Jeep) for kids. Likewise, the Lake Villa District Library has so many interesting materials and activities for families to enjoy. Our school district is so fortunate to have such a great partner in learning! In case you missed it, here is a copy of their latest newsletter filled with exciting opportunities for families. Library Newsletter
So what could be better than the Lake Villa District Library? How about a brand NEW Lake Villa District Library! That is right! The new library will be ready to open sometime in February 2019. There is going to be a completely updated youth department with fun things for kids to do (and hopefully with even double the amount of books about dogs) as well as an entire technology focus area for students in middle school thru high school to use. You can find out much more at http://lvdl.org/ and click the link on the right.
Today Jeep and I attended the official Library groundbreaking ceremony with a number of community officials including two mayors. I was especially proud of Jeep resisting the temptation to dig in the dirt herself – thankfully she let the people with the shovels handle that part. I am sure that was hard for her knowing how much she enjoys a satisfying fresh dirt dig. Good girl, Jeep. She also was a great sport about wearing a hardhat in a construction zone. What a dog!
We all know our friend Jeep can sleep anywhere at anytime. She didn’t earn the nickname Sleepy Jeepie for nothing! (Did you know that the average dog sleeps about 14 hours a day? Of course, I always think Jeep is above average.) There is plenty of time to watch Jeep sleep. From time to time Jeep’s paws twitch and she whimpers while she is catching some Z-Z-Zs. But, does that mean that she is actually dreaming?
According to leading dog researcher Stanley Coren, the scientific evidence strongly suggests that not only do dogs dream, but they are very likely dreaming about waking activities much like people do. Like humans, dogs cycle through stages of sleep. During one of these cycles our eyelids remain closed, but our eyes dart quickly all over. This particular stage of sleep is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement). We dream in both REM and non-REM sleep, but during the REM sleep our dreams are more memorable. Scientists speculate that dreaming helps our brains learn and retain information. This is why it is so important for our own brains to get a good night’s sleep.
But back to Sleepy Jeepie. Dogs enter REM sleep in about 15 minutes and stay in REM for only 2 or 3 minutes. This is when we can see Jeep’s legs twitch and sometimes hear her utter a soft cry. Interestingly, this twitching muscle movement is much more common in puppies and old dogs. This is because the area of the brain called the pons which keeps the body from acting out a dream is not working well. In puppies (and babies) it is underdeveloped and in old dogs (and old people) it isn’t working as efficiently.
Oddly enough, different breeds of dogs make different movements when dreaming. Pointers (like Dottie Com) often point while dreaming. Labs and Dobermans often make running motions with their paws. Be sure to check out this funny video to see some sleeping dogs in action! Dogs Dreaming
In the meantime, it is best for Sleepy Jeepie that we remember to follow that old saying “Let sleeping dogs lie” since we know she is working on building a better brain. Doesn’t that make you want to take a nap, too?
While Veterans Day is officially observed on Saturday, November 11th, Jeep and I are looking forward to seeing staff and students at all the schools tomorrow honoring the men and women who have served.
Jeep wants to be sure that we also remember our four legged friends who have bravely served our country. Did you know that there are roughly 2,500 dogs in active military service today and about 700 deployed overseas?
Officially dogs have fought alongside American forces since World War I. It was in this war that a stray Pit Bull named Stubby saved an entire company from a deadly gas attack. “Sergeant” Stubby fought
bravely in several campaigns and was wounded twice. He went to the White House and met 3 presidents. Stubby’s remains are still on display in the Smithsonian.
The most decorated WWII dog was a German Shepherd named Chips. Chips broke away from his handler and attacked an enemy machine gun nest forcing ten enemy soldiers to surrender.
German Shepherds and Labs are the two breeds that are the most popular with the military. They can detect weapons, bombs and gases more accurately than any available military equipment. Trained dogs have a 98% accuracy in their detection skills. But it is not only muscular Shepherds and Labs that become great military dogs. The Navy Seals are very fond of the Belgian Malinois which resemble a smaller German Shepherd. These dogs are incredibly fast and great sniffers. Their smaller size makes them ideal for parachuting and repelling missions with their handlers.
If a military dog dies in combat, he or she is honored by their entire human squad. Their feeding dishes are symbolically placed upside down and a special poem called Guardians of the Night is read to honor their commitment.
Thank you military dogs and people for your valuable service to our country!