A Walk in the Park

Casey and Waffle happily enjoying a rest on the cool grass

Today Lisa and I took the girls for a relaxing walk in the park. It was pretty hot so we stuck to the shade as much as possible. We all enjoyed ourselves especially when we just hung out in the cool shade for awhile. Casey and Waffle are so cute together. I can’t help but remember when Banta was the grown-up dog and Casey was the little one.

Father’s Day Tie

Bill testing out his new tie

Apex sent Bill a doggy Father’s Day gift. It didn’t make it in time for Father’s Day but we got it today. His handler is so thoughtful. I tried to take a video of Bill opening his gift but I didn’t operate the camera right and missed the whole thing. Can’t wait for Bill to wear his Apex tie to church on Sunday. Everyone will get to see it because we “get” to speak too.

Bill actually wearing his Apex tie with Casey and Waffle

Banta’s Book – conclusion

Once Banta started her formal training as a guide dog she moved along quickly. On May 16th Mark was introduced to Banta who had all the traits he wished for in his third guide except her smaller size. We got to meet Mark and see Banta at their graduation on May 28th. It took her a couple of seconds to realize who we were and then she exploded with excitement to see us.

We knew Banta needed just the right kind of handler and Mark is that person. He said, “I think GDB did a perfect job matching Banta and I. As soon as they handed me her leash I fell in love with her, she is a great little girl.” Mark calls her Little Bit and Reina which is Spanish for queen.

[photo: Mark and Banta on the GDB campus with rocks, a willow tree and calla lilies in the background – Banta has turned to the side a little and looking up at Mark]

Banta’s Book – Businesslike

Businesslike: efficient, practical, capable

The first time someone called Banta a calm dog I was shocked. Then I realized that she indeed had grown into being a calm and businesslike puppy. When out socializing she was so great to work with. She quickly learned what was expected of her and handled everything like a pro. It is amazing what a year of maturing can do.

[photo 1: close-up of Banta laying alertly in our dinning room, photo 2: close-up of Banta as Bill scratches her neck before graduation at GDB, photo 3: Banta standing on the landing looking straight ahead, photo 4: close-up of Banta puppy in training collar with it brass plate with contact information for Guide Dogs for the Blind and Banta’s tattoo#]

Banta’s Book – Bullheaded

Bullheaded: obstinately opinionated

As a puppy Banta was a challenge. She would sometimes do things just because she could, in kind of a rebellious way. For example on walks she would pick-up something off the sidewalk not because she really wanted it but because you had prevented her from doing something else she wanted to do and it was her way of showing her independence. One thing you didn’t want to get into with Banta was a battle and trying to get something out of her mouth was one of the worst battles. As she matured Banta chose not to be so bullheaded about things and it was rare for her to pick-up something off the ground.

[these photos where taken by photographer Lisa Thompson in a studio setting with a white background – Banta is 5 months old – photo 1: Banta with brown reindeer antlers, with a silver jingle bell tied on with green ribbon, on her head – Banta is looking at the floor with her ears pulled back and down, photo 2: front view of Banta sitting in her puppy jacket – she has a very focused look in her eyes, photo 3: Banta laying on her side with a red Santa hat draped across her head with the white fur ball on the top in her mouth]

Banta’s Book – Bright

Bright: animated; lively; cheerful

Banta has such a bright and cheerful attitude to life. Her big spirit can fill up not just a room but a whole house. She is a bit of an oxymoron because she doesn’t require lots and lots of sustained exercise like 5 mile walks. But she vibrates at a fairly high frequency. She does things with all her heart and spirit. She enjoys life and gives it all she has.

[photo 1: close-up of Banta with her head turned to the side – her mouth is open with her tongue hanging out, photo 2: close-up of Banta with her tongue curling up to lick her nose, photo 3: Banta on her back with her legs in the air and her body and head twisting in opposite directions, photo 4: close-up of Banta laying on the floor of our family room with her mouth open reaching for a sterilized bone]

Banta’s Book – Breeder

Breeder: an animal that produces offspring

On November 3rd, 2010 Banta was recalled for breeder evaluations to Guide Dogs for the Blind’s San Rafael campus.

On December 9th we got word that Banta had been “pulled” for breeding but still had final testing to go through before being confirmed as a breeder.

On February 9th, 2011 we finally got word that Banta’s breeding clearances were in and she was officially a breeder.

One week later, on February 16th, we found out that Banta was going to be spayed. It seems her drama queen side came out and she had started to react negatively to needles and other equipment commonly used with breeders and it became clear that they didn’t want to use her as a breeder. Banta, that was a very short career as a breeder!

[photo taken the day Banta was recalled to GDB – photo 1: Bill standing in front of the GDB puppy truck with Banta sitting by his side – the truck has photos of young lab and golden retriever puppies, photo 2 & 3: close up images of Banta in the kennel on the puppy truck – one she is looking to the side the other she is looking straight ahead with a curious look on her face]

Banta’s Book – Breakneck

Breakneck: likely to end in a broken neck

Even though Banta can run at breakneck speed that isn’t what this is about. Banta is a master at playing tug and she knows how to use all of her resources to the best of her ability. She has this incredible way of using all her weight and just the right timing to whip her head. Sometimes if you are not prepared it feels like she is going to dislocate your shoulder. If she had to be a hunter to catch game for her children she would have no trouble at all dispatching what ever she caught. With one shake of her head that poor creatures neck would be broken.

[photo 1: close-up of Banta with her teeth showing as she grabs hold of a red canvas tug toy that is shaped like a bone with a handle on one end, photo 2: Banta low to the ground playing tug with the same toy, photo 3: Banta playing tug with Lisa Monson – Banta at the bottom of the stairs in our family room and Lisa sitting on the stairs]

Banta’s Book – Brash

Brash: impertinent; impudent; tactless

Banta has some unique ways of sitting. One of her favorites is to rotate so far back that she is sitting on her spine instead of her hips. When she does it her hips relax and she looks so slouchy.  Another favorite way is almost the opposite. She sits with her weight shifted forward and her knees tucked in with her feet out to the side.

[photo 1: view of Banta sitting from behind with her tail stick straight out the back and her back legs spread wide – in the background are several other puppies in training – the was Banta’s last puppy meeting it was taken in our living room, photo 2: close-up of Banta sitting with her back legs tucked tight into her sides, photo 3: front view of Banta sitting on her dog bed – she has rolled so far back on her tail that her back legs are sticking out in front of her and her belly is in full view]