Friday, February 11, 2011


MAXMOM here...

Hello there everybody.

There are only 102 days left before the curtain raises on

It’s turned into a truly hectic time here in our household with all the training I have to do with Toby for his stage debut in the musical production of "ANNIE", in May this year. Almost every spare moment I have is concentrated on something to do with this production. Consequently, I’ve not had much time to visit and leave comments on your blogs lately.  I am really sorry.
The bad news - and my sincere apologies for this -  is that I am sure that my time constraints are going to continue until the end of this big challenge.
Please may I appeal for your understanding about my time difficulties. I will do my best to continue to write about our progress, but this too might not be as regular as usual.

(Toby and "Aunt Tam" share a blade of grass)

Toby’s training for his role as “Sandy” is progressing nicely, even though we haven't met the rest of the cast yet.  I must say however that the training is both intensive and painstaking. Just when I think I’m making excellent progress, young Toby turns himself into a hooligan!!!
 It’s at these times when I simply have to stop, take a breath and allow him to be ‘just a dog’.  I have to remember that I am working with a pup who is only 6 ½ months old.
(Toby chasing his tail)

There might be some wisdom in the old adage:
Toby however thinks (correctly!) that the “Play hard” part takes priority.
He spends all of his spare time playing with "Aunt Tam" in the garden.

(Can you believe that Tammy is 10 years old?)

("Gotcha, Aunt Tam!")

On Wednesday we met up with the director/producer of Annie and had a long discussion with her.  We chatted about each ’scene’ where Toby will be involved.  I am very happy to report that she is incredibly dog-friendly and empathetic about the intricacies involved with animals on stage.  She understands the things that could go wrong and really does have Toby's best interests at heart.   She tells us that the rest of the cast is really excited about having Toby on their team. They have even offered Toby his own dressing room, LOL!

There are four scenes where he has to take part and we used the meeting to dissect them to the nth degree in order to try and work out each step of Toby’s training.

I am both excited and daunted by this big challenge which lies ahead of me. I have to remember that although I am aiming for Toby's best behaviour, he might actually produce exactly the opposite.  If this happens, I have to still be pleased with the result. Afterall, he is trying his best for me. 
 This is is going to be a growing experience  - not only for Toby, but  for me as well. But I feel really honoured to have this opportunity to work towards such a project.

For this reason, I would like to extend my sincere thanks again to

Shannon McKay
as well as Toby's formal obedience trainer,
Belinda Thomas,
for their patience, encouragement and help with this awesome project!


Yesterday morning we were invited to visit a Grade 2 class at our local primary school. The children loved having Toby in their classroom and I did my best to make our visit interesting for them too.

(Toby at the school - old picture)

They got to interact with Toby and to help him get accustomed to all the sounds which young children produce.
(The children had great fun clapping 'loudly' for him )  

I also told them a little about the Golden Retriever Breed and caring for animals in general. We listened to their little stories (Children LOVE telling you about their own animals!) and then Toby did a few tricks for them.

We got the children to stand in line to greet Toby and shake his paw. Then I asked Toby to ‘play dead’ so that two of the children (who we'd identified as being nervous of dogs) could come and stroke/brush him. I then got Toby to ‘talk’ (bark) to the children and I demonstrated his new move....his ‘stage bow’. 

 I must say that I am delighted and still can’t believe that I have actually managed to teach him how to ‘bow’! (For the final curtain call) In my ten years of training Maxdog, I was never able to achieve this, yet Toby got it first time! Although it’s still a very new command, he understands what’s required and enjoys trying to do it.

Finally Toby gave them a little card which I’d make . One of the grade 2 students got to read it out aloud to the class.

Despite all the fun with this visit, it wasn’t one of Toby’s best days. He was keen to sniff at the kids' shoes in the front row and broke his ‘Down Stay’ a number of times - much to the delight of the children. He also tried to fish in the classroom dustbin (from the end of his lead). I am learning how tricky it can be to keep an eye on a dog in these settings when his attention is not quite on me.

Once again, I must mention that it is virtually impossible to get pictures of Toby at the school at the moment. I have my hands absolutely full at these times, so please forgive me.

So...we have 102 days to go...and counting!
"Get some sleep while you can, Toby!"

Sending lotsaluv to you all and wishing you all a happy, fun-filled weekend with your animals.


Bouncing Bertie said...

Hi MaxMom
Just remember that anything worth doing requires effort. A friend yesterday quoted me a wonderfully surreal Chinese proverb on this subject "A man will stand on the top of a mountain with his mouth open for a long time waiting for a duck to fly in"!
Cheers, Gail.

Homer said...

Oh wow Toby, you have your own dressing room! How cool is that!


Ms. ~K said...

I am so happy and excited for you and Toby! I love seeing he and Tam enjoying each other!

Pepsi the Lazy Bum said...

Hi Maxmom! I think that as long as you have fun and bond with Toby, and give it your best shot, it'll turn out great! Have faith, like we do in you!


Anonymous said...

OMD Toby I cannot get over how BIG you are getting. Aunt Tam is the one that looks like a pup next to you!

Keep doing a great job with practicing. We know that you will be a Star!

woo woos, Tessa

Two French Bulldogs said...

Wow Toby you are going to be a star before you know it. Bet you are loving visiting all those little people. Good luck
Benny & Lily

The Life of Riley said...

What a wonderful experience being in Annie is for you both! Toby is going to learn so much, and in the process be so well socialised by being put into different situations like noisy classrooms.

Does Toby have an understudy waiting in the wings? I'm sure Aunt Tam would happily follow in his footsteps.

Sending you woofs,

Brandon - The dog with a blog said...

Rudy is so jealous of Toby, now he wants me to let him have a role in some play!
Good luck with all the training,

Rudy's Raiser

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Maxmom ,
the most important thing is for you and Toby to have fun.
It is an adventure for both of you.
Of course we understand - no worries from us- that you cannot communicate with us am much.
We will always be here for you.
We just want you all happy

Suka said...

hey Toby,

You are such a busy pup! I am so impressed with all that you are doing and learning. I am sending you lots of positive vibes as you prepare for your big stage debut! I know you can do it. Congrats on learning to bow. That is pawsome!

Very cute card you gave the kids. What a sweet pup you are! And LOVE the pics of you and Aunt Tam playing! She looks great!


The Bumpass Hounds said...

Hey MaxMom,
If Toby needs a stand-in you can use Jubal. Jubal's bad behavior is to lie down and rest his head on his crossed paws. He also wears his Canine Godd Citizen suit when he's socializing in public. We think that your a GReat DogMom. Youse sure does have lots of patience and you're not even a vet. We're traning for Annie as support for you and Toby. "OOOhhhhhh it's hard knock life, for us, it's a hard knock life."

Louisette said...

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Louisette said...

Visited my page links kennel and other blog Louisette's golden, Love to golden

Mrs. JP said...

You and Toby are gonna be great! Just keep us posted when you can.

Scout 'n Freyja said...

OK, first, Toby 'really' made the card and you're taking credit, right? We know you are talented but we also know that Toby is a genius pup who can do anything - even a little scrapbooking!

You've got the perfect attitude. Toby is a dog and will do dog stuff. The two of you are doing this to have fun and anything beyond that is gravy. Of course, I know that you and he working as a team will be smashing!

MySpecialDoggies said...

Hi Toby
Sorry for the late post & Happy Valentine's Day to you & yours!

Good luck with your training - sending you extra licks from Philadelphia.

Nadine & Neeli
Angel doggie Apples (1994-2010)

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

Love to Toby and yoo all on Valentine's Day!

The Race Against Time said...

You have beautiful dogs... love all the pictures! Send our love to Toby.
Happy Valentines to you all!

Piappies World said...

Hello there Toby,

You got lots of your paws now but we are happy that you are doing so great. You got nothing to worry about for MaxMom is there beside you every step of the way and we are here for you, of course!

We are so excited to read all about your adventures.

Happy Hearts Day, Toby, Tammy, King Toffee, MaxMom and Mr. d Boss!

Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie