Denver - May 3, 2013
My arrival in Denver on United Airlines last October was pretty ordinary, all things considered. But I heard about a puppy named Oakley whose arrival in Albuquerque was WAY cool. Naturally, I had to ask for details!
JEB: Hi, Oakley! I understand you've recently arrived in Albuquerque from California. First things first - Who are your parents?
OAKLEY: Henna II is my Mom and Ross VI is my Dad. Who are your parents?
MARIANNE (interrupting): OMD! ROSS is your dad?! That's fantastic! We raised Ross. You are our grandpuppy, Oakley. That is so cool!
JEB (frowning): Are you done? This is my interview, you know.
MARIANNE: Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Carry on.
JEB: My parents are Rumor and Barnum.
MARIANNE (interrupting again): So you two are related through Ross's father, Baumann. He is is Jeb's great grandfather and Oakley's grandfather.
JEB (glaring): Seriously?
MARIANNE (meekly): Sorry. I'll just go read in the other room. (tiptoes away)
JEB: So Oakley, what's life like for you there? Who's in the family?
OAKLEY: I've only been at my new home for a few weeks, but I really like my new people. Amy is the one who is with me the most. She is teaching me things like, Sit and Wait. If I do that she'll say Release, and that means I can eat the food she put down for me. It sure is hard to wait before I can eat, though! If I try to eat before she says I can, she puts me back in a Sit and then I have to Wait all over again.
JEB: Yeah, I learned early on that if I got up, the whole process started over. Really annoying, huh? What else are you learning?
OAKLEY: I just recently learned Shake. That one is fun because I get a treat when I put my paw in Amy's hand. I just don't understand why I don't get a treat when I try to Shake even if she doesn't tell me to. Lately, Amy is saying a new word to me. She says, "Down," but I'm not real sure what I'm supposed to do with that yet. I think it has something to do with putting my tummy on the floor.
JEB: Yup, Down means lie down on the floor. You'll hear that one a lot. Who else is in your family?
OAKLEY: There is also a man named Tim who lives here. He's really nice and gives really good tummy rubs. Then there's a really tall boy, named Brandon. He comes in my pen with me and lets me crawl in his lap while he pets me. I really like that a lot! There is a girl that comes to visit every once in a while. Sometimes she even stays here overnight. Her name is Haley, and she is Brandon's sister. She is in college, so I guess that's why I don't see her very often, but she is really nice and I get really excited when she comes to see me.
JEB: Visiting you sounds like the perfect excuse to avoid studying for finals to me! Heh. Do you go to work with anyone? What's that like?
OAKLEY: I go to work with Amy and Tim but I stay in a kennel in Amy's office. It's pretty boring, except when people in the office come visit me. Otherwise, I just sleep until Amy says it's time to go home.
JEB: Yeah, that sounds REAL familiar. I hear you have a "sister" named Vienna who goes to Professional Training this month. Has she been a good role model or is she teaching you naughty stuff? Will you miss her or be happy to have all the attention to yourself?
OAKLEY: Yes, Vienna and I play all the time, but every time our play gets kind of rough and I start growling, Amy separates us and puts us in what she calls a Time Out. Hurumpf! I really like spending time out of my pen. I'm really going to miss Vienna when she goes to Professional Training.
JEB: Are there any pets at your house?
OAKLEY: There is a little dog named Roxie who lives here too. I used to be the same size as her, but I guess she isn't going to grow any more, because I've noticed I'm getting taller than her. Roxie is a toy poodle and is black like me. I haven't figured Roxie out yet. She acts like she wants to play with me, but sometimes my sharp puppy teeth accidently get caught in the hair on her ears, and that makes her mad. I don't like it when she gets mad at me. But Amy is always right there, so I can run to her for protection. Roxie gets over it pretty quick and will come and sniff me. Her tail wags, so I think that means she's not mad at me anymore. That's another thing - Roxie's tail looks like a ball and when she wags it, it moves back and forth really fast. If I don't remember it belongs to her and try to play with it, she gets mad at me all over again. Whew, learning so many new things makes me really tired! Maybe that's why I sleep so much.
JEB: Oh, that's hilarious about her tail! Probably not so much for her, though.So, I understand there was something a bit different about your arrival at the airport in Albuquerque. What happened?
OAKLEY: Oh, yes! It was pretty exciting, but I was really confused at first. One of the first people I saw was Amy. She put a piece of paper on the door of my kennel and then walked away. I thought she was going to let me out, so I was kind of upset. But then the big cargo door opened and a man pushed my kennel outside. Amy came to my kennel again so I thought she'd let me out for sure then, but she called Haley over to help her with something. Haley saw the sign that Amy put on my door. She started acting really weird. She kept saying, "What? What? What's going on right now?" I was getting more and more upset, because there were all these people standing around and NO ONE was paying any attention to me.
JEB (indignant): Well, yeah. That's NOT how Canine Companions puppies are usually welcomed to a new place! I would have been annoyed, too. What did the sign say?
OAKLEY: Turns out the note said, "Haley, will you marry me?" Then some guy called Bobby get down on one knee and then he showed a little box in his hand to Haley. Haley started crying, and everyone started whooping and hollering, including me by the way, but for a different reason. Well, once Haley got her wits about her, she finally told Bobby that yes, she would marry him. I liked Bobby right away, because he's the one that came to get me out of that infernal crate. He carried me in my kennel over to a grassy area and let me out . . . FINALLY!
JEB: Well, that is quite a story! I hope someone apologized to you for the delay. I mean, it's a long flight and an eight-week old puppy's bladder is only so big. Anything else my readers should know about you or your family?
OAKLEY: Oh, yes! The first Canine Companions puppy Amy raised was named Samantha II. She went on to be a Facility Dog with a girl named Kelsey. They live in Denver. I think you know them, don't you? Do they live close to you? Anyway, Samantha and my mom, Henna are sisters, because they have the same parents. They don't know each other though, because my mom was born three years after Samantha was born.
JEB: Oh, yes, I know Samantha and Kelsey! When I was about your age I went to one of the classes Kelsey teaches. I don't like to brag, but I was a big hit. Samantha was working, so we didn't a chance to play, but she seems like a great dog. Maybe some day she'll come over to my house for a play date.
OAKLEY: Amy's third Canine Companions puppy was Heart, Henna's sister, which makes her my aunt. Well, Aunt Heart didn't want to be a service dog, so she lives here in Albuquerque! Once I get all my shots and start taking public puppy classes, I will get to meet her because her girl, Shannon, is a dog trainer. She teaches some of the puppy classes, and when she teaches she sometimes brings Aunt Heart with her, especially when she knows Amy will be there.
JEB: Say, I thought of a few questions for Bobby and Haley. Bobby, man, that was brilliant! How'd you come up with that idea? All the details, please. Who else was in on it?
BOBBY: Thank you, I thought it was a pretty spectacular idea as well. To be honest with you, a lot of the idea came from my sister, Tiffany. She wanted me to ask Haley ever since I got the ring three months ago. Every day she was calling me and offering ideas on how I could propose, and when she thought of this one I just could not resist. I made a luggage tag that popped the question on it, and I had Amy put it on the crate when she went inside to retrieve Oakley from the plane.
JEB: Was Haley's reaction what you expected?
BOBBY: Her reaction was almost exactly what I expected. I am very good at keeping ideas this big a secret and Haley had no idea. She was so shocked that she took a little longer than expected to answer, but I already knew what the answer would be, so I wasn't worried. It turned out to be the perfect plan and Oakley was the perfect partner in it. These puppies become part of the family; Vienna and Oakley are definitely part of mine. That is the main reason it was such an amazing idea. I believe that the dog is truly the only thing on earth that loves you more than it loves itself - except for Haley and I of course.
JEB (wiping a tear away): Well, shoot. That's...just....beautiful, man. Haley, what went through your mind? Were you surprised? Is this the proposal you might have expected from Bobby?
HALEY: There were a lot of things going through my mind as soon as I saw the little luggage tag attached to Oakley’s kennel. I saw my and Bobby's initials and assumed my parents were doing something cute for my brothers and me. As I was standing there staring at the tag, a breeze came up and blew it over and saw that it said “Haley, will you marry me?” I thought it was some kind of joke, like they were having Oakley ask me to marry him, but then I thought, “That doesn’t make any sense.” I turned around to find Bobby getting down on one knee and I absolutely flipped! I had no idea this was going to happen. I was so shocked that it took me a little while to even say yes! But of course I did, how could I not? It was such a special day for everyone involved, and I love how creative Bobby was with the way he asked. I knew he would do something good!
JEB: When's the big day? Will Oakley play a role in the wedding, I hope?
HALEY: Bobby and I want to finish college before we get married, so we are planning a summer 2015 wedding. We are hoping Oakley makes it through Professional Training when it's his time to get turned in, even though that means he would probably not be able to attend the wedding. However, if he wants to be Change of Career dog instead of a working dog Bobby and I would like to adopt him. Then he will definitely be at the wedding!
JEB: Anything else my readers should know?
HALEY: We are all so excited for what is to come and I am so happy we got to include our new puppy in all the excitement!
OAKLEY: Thank you for taking the time to interview us, Jeb. I hope to meet you face to face soon. If you ever come to Albuquerque, tell Marianne to call Amy so you can come over to play!
JEB: Absolutely! Readers, be sure to look at the attached photos!
Chow for now!