Visual Description: Joy and Roja with Joy’s husband and two daughters against a red curtain backdrop at Guide Dogs for The Blind Canine Heroes Wine Auction

It’s been awhile, I know.  Joy just keeps me hoppin’. Salt Lake. Portland. Leavenworth. San Fran. Most of those places had guide dog friends for me, though, so I’m not complaining.

Of course, on each of these trips, Joy planned a million things.  She even tried to get me on a giant bicycle in Golden Gate Park that she called a surrey.  It was terrifying!  Thank goodness her husband talked some sense into her.  i’ve always liked that guy, partly because he’s hairy like me, but mostly because he has common sense:  you don’t fit a 60 lb dog on skinny bicycle seats..


Visual Description: Joy embracing a frighted Roja while her girls look onward on a 4 seat Surrey bicycle.

Joy and family went a few weeks later in Newport Beach and left me snoozing at home.  Thank the Lord.


Visual Description: Joy and her family riding a 4-seat Surrey bicycle on a beach in Southern California.

That pretty much takes us through September.

Now, onto October, and my big beef.

No one told me Halloween is an ANNUAL thing.  I was really hoping it was a one-time deal.  But when I saw Joy pull out the big bin filled with fuzzy spiders and sparkly pumpkins, I knew what was to come.

The lion costume. The ITCHY, ANNOYING lion costume

This year Joy’s girls entered a group costume contest AND WON.  It was totally me.  Just sayin’.


Visual Description: Joy’s daughters and neighbor dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz with Roja dressed as The Cowardly Lion.


Visual Description: Joy with engaged students in the class she’s teaching about guide dogs.

In other news, I’ve been helping Joy out with teaching kids who are homeschooled in Orange County.  All about me, of course.  What other topic would anyone be interested in learning about?  I mean, I have a rubbery pink tug toy, soft velvety ears, and a face that makes people say “AWWWW” everywhere we go….kids love me!

With the exception of one kid that is.

I heard this girl at the park telling another girl that my harness is a MUZZLE!  Can you believe it?  Joy would never muzzle me! I was just sitting there, minding my own business while on duty, and the little girl was just chatting away as she swung up and down, spreading LIES.

I guess her friend asked what my harness was, and instead of asking Joy, the girl just made something up, “Well that thing around its waist is a muzzle, and it’s because it bites.  One time this dog bit a girl’s head off at the park, so now dogs like that have to wear muzzles.”  Her friend must have looked doubtful because she added,  “I swear it’s a true story.  It happened in the 1950s or something.  I read it in an article.”

I looked at Joy, expecting her to jump up and defend me, but she just SAT there.  As we walked home, she told her husband, and they laughed.

She called it hilarious.  I call it heresy!

Joy said if the girl was standing a little closer, she would have told her it’s not a muzzle, but she didn’t want to walk in front of the girl’s swing and scare her, so she let it go.  Humph. If someone was talking about Joy like that, referring to her favorite locket necklace as a choker collar or something, I’d do more than just sit there!  Oh, humans.

Well, at least I know Joy is doing her part to educate kids in Southern California, and I’m hoping they’ll spread the word and tell all their friends at the park about service dogs and why we wear harnesses, and what guide dog handles are for, and how we have the best job on the planet.


Visual Description: Joy facilitating an outdoor activity with students while Roja stands at her feet.

That’s why I obey Joy so well while she’s teaching, to show kids what we working dogs are made of. Fortunately the students see me when I’m on my best behavior in harness, except for one girls and her mom from Joy’s September class who came over for a playdate last week and saw me doing my crazy spins all over the house, racing up and down the stairs and being my big old goofball self.  I only bring out my goofball self for very special friends, so I hope they enjoyed it.  Joy told me to calm down because I might scare them off, but I could tell they loved it.

What’s not to love?


Visual Description: Roja resting in an attentive position wearing a “Dorothy” wig.

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6 thoughts on “Roja Reports: Halloween, Homeschooling and Heresy

  1. Roja – I loved seeing you in Salt Lake and Portland, and your visit to Leavenworth was so fun! I know you impressed everyone out here in the Northwest! Use that sweet puppy dog face to beg Joy to bring you back to Leavenworth soon!

    Aunt Nelly

  2. Thanks Roja! Please tell Joy that I miss her and her hairy husband and fun kids here in Illinois. You do a great job with your service. I hope our paths cross soon.
    Kevin Kuhn

  3. Geesh, Roja, the things you put up with! Grammy will protect you. It was fun to play with you when I visited! Congrats on winning the Costume contest!

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