Dune: delivery


This week’s phase report came out this morning and Dune is still in phase 2. Not sure if this is a sign that she is struggling with the training, if her trainer didn’t report or if something else came up and she didn’t do much training this past week. The 4 other dogs who were in phase 2 last week all jumped to phase 4. So while I hold my breath for more news on Dune (no news until next Thursday is a good thing), here is another page from Dune’s puppyhood book.

“All the rest of our puppies have come on the puppy truck but Dune came via Delta airlines. It was January and winter driving makes puppy deliveries by puppy truck too unpredictable. There were an unusually large number of puppies born so Guide Dogs need to send puppies by air so they could get them to homes in the wintry states of Utah and Colorado. Dune traveled with another young puppy, a black lab male named Eagle.”


Dune: the video

I’ve been working on this video of Dune’s puppyhood for several weeks now. I stayed up late last night and got it finished off. I’m excited because it is the first time I’ve figured out how to use the custom features in ProShow Gold (the software I used). It was easier than I thought it might be. I had so much fun mixing photos and video with the music.

Now I want to make lots more videos. Too bad I just can’t spend all my time playing around. I could think of lots of videos I’d like to do. Each of my pups “need” one and then there are people videos too. Lots of possibilities. Time is the challenge.

Dune: Phase 2 & “D” Puppy

Dune is in phase 2, yeah! It is so good to see her moving right along. So glad that the wait is over and she is on the weekly phase report. If you want to know more about what she is learning in phase 2 go here. Looks like I haven’t done a detailed post on phase 2 so there is another thing for my to do list.

The Story of Our “D” Puppy

This is the story of our long-awaited “D” puppy. We got our first puppy to raise from Guide Dogs for the Blind on August 2nd 2008. His name was Apex. I thought it was cool that our first puppy’s name started with the first letter of the alphabet.

When we were awaiting news of our second puppy in training, I was secretly hoping for a pup whose name started with a “B” but I didn’t tell anyone. When our second puppy was named Banta I was super excited.

I took it as a sign that I should try to raise a puppy from each letter of the alphabet. So when it was time for our third puppy we requested a puppy with a “C” name and we got Casey.

Then we ran into a snag with “D”. GDB requested that we start a puppy for a high school student. I said fine as along as it started with a “D”. There were no “D” litters. I said, OK, how about a name with a “D” in it. We got Waffle. No “D” but it did start with a ‘double U’. (As a side note Waffle has a sister named Wednesday that went to Colorado. I don’t know why we didn’t get Wednesday.)

I thought all right, we will only have Waffle for her first five months, I can get my “D” puppy next. But we didn’t quite make it. The “D” litter when it was time for puppy number five was a couple of days too young. But they had a “Y” litter so we got Yakira. After Yakira we got Zodiac to finish off the end of the alphabet.

So for puppy number seven we tried again for a “D” puppy and finally we succeeded. Our club leader sent a pink balloon in the mail with ‘Female “D” Yellow Lab’ written on it to give us the long-awaited good news.

Dune: book & phase 1

Title page of Dune’s book

Dune finally showed up on the weekly phase report yesterday in phase 1. Having been in breeder evals is the equivalent of phase 0, so it is what I expected. She is actually learning what to do to be a guide dog! Yeah. If you want to know more about what she is learning I have a post here about phase 1. For more details there is another post here.

the pre-story of Dune

I’ve been working hard on Dune’s book. Remember the plan I had to get a page done every week or so. Well I totally failed on that. I wanted to have it mostly done so I could send a pdf of it with her along with photos from her puppyhood on a DVD. But I just didn’t get it done so I just sent photos. When the dogs are in class with their new partner they will give them some information from their dogs puppy raiser include photos or CD’s etc. This give the new handler a chance to know something more about their new dog. Dune’s future handler will have to wait to get her book until graduation.

But I’ve got it done now except the couple of page that will be about her new career and graduation day. So I’m going to share Dune’s book over the next several weeks. I’ve done a book for each puppy we have raised. Here are links to their books (except I haven’t put Apex’s on-line yet, I should do that soon!):

I think Yakira’s book needs updating with some additional pages after she had a change of careers and location last fall. (Another thing for my to do list.)

I find making these books really helps me with the process of sending the pups off after having them for a year. People ask all the time “how we give them up and don’t you get attached?” I tell them we miss them but it is worth it. But doing things like the books for them helps me celebrate the time we have had with them and honors the impact they have on our lives even though they are only in our home for about a year.

I’m working on a slide show/video for Dune that should be done soon. I can’t wait to share it with you!

All Pups Pupdate

I’m finally getting around to writing an up date on all my pups. We had contact with all of them near the holidays. Boy time flies by. Is it really all ready a week into March?

Yakira and Apex

Puppy #1 Apex will be six years old in May. He is doing great and still has lots of energy. He and Sue have a busy schedule so his high energy is perfect. When they have long days at the office she gives him dog puzzles to keep him occupied. We got a delicious case of citrus a few weeks ago from Florida. That was awesome. The tangerines were especially amazing. We just had the last grapefruit for breakfast yesterday.

Banta and Mark

Puppy #2 Banta is doing great too. We got a professional portrait of her and her handler and they look so good together. Mark has had some health problems and had to be in the hospital recently. A local puppy raiser took care of Banta and even took her to the hospital for visits but she was super excited when he got home. Mark loves her dearly and they are so well matched for each other. She will be 5 years old in July.

Carrie and Casey

Puppy #3 Casey has matured into a very confident guide dog. Carrie graduated from law school last year and they moved to Vancouver. They now commute to downtown and Casey does great except when the weather is bad. She is a fair weather guide. I don’t hear from her Carrie very often but when she write she shares great stories and pictures. Casey’s birthday is in May and she will be 4.

Tucker, Shelley & Waffle

Puppy #4 Waffle has a good life. Carole added a new sister to the household recently. On a trip to Costa Rica she brought home a feral dog she named Shelley. Shelly looks like a black lab and her and Waffle get along great. Waffle spends almost every moment of the day at Carole’s side. Waffle turned 3 the end of February.

Yakira – aka Princess Yaya

Puppy #5 Yakira is a lucky girl living it up in Florida. She gets to see Apex all the time and enjoys romping with him and wintertime house guest Ruby (another black lab). But we got really exciting news earlier this week on her. Sue noticed that Yakira was alerting Sharan when the phone or the doorbell rang. (I didn’t realize that Sharan’s hearing had gotten so bad.) So Sue wondered if Yakira could be trained as a hearing alert dog for Sharan.  She checked into it and via GDB found a trainer. Since Yakira has already been a service dog the training should go pretty quickly and with some luck Yakira will be certified as a hearing alert dog by Easter. It is amazing the path that has brought Yakira to this place. She will be 3 years old in August.


Puppy #6 Zodiac has the perfect family and partner for him. They love him with all his quirks and everything. He celebrated his second birthday on Monday. Toni sends me photos and update regularly via email and Facebook. Zodiac looks so handsome and happy. He is really starting to bond with his David and give him is whole heart.

Bill, Dune, Raelyn and Emma

Puppy #7 Dune is still officially in the limbo land between being dropped from breeder evals (her patellas weren’t up to par to be a breeder) and showing up on the phase report. I’ve heard from sources that she has started her harness training so hopefully this next week we will see her name on the phase report. I hope she loves training. I think she has the potential to be a super great guide dog, if she likes it. If not she will be career changed in no time at all. She is an opinionated girl so she will let them know right away if she doesn’t like it. Dune will be 16 months old on Tuesday.


Puppy #8 Emma has adjusted to life without her Dune. Things are so much calmer and easier around the house that I said yes to having an in heat puppy in training from another club stay with us for two weeks starting on Monday. Emma will love having Verbena for a playmate. Emma turned 8 months old about a week ago and is showing some signs of teenager boundary pushing. But she really is an easy-going pup most of the time. Yesterday, I let her out on the deck for some fresh air and then forgot about her. More than an hour later I’m looking around trying to figure out where she is. Then I saw that the kitchen door was open but not the screen door and I remembered where she was. She got soaked from the rain storm that had come through while she was out there, but seems to have no lasting trauma from the experience. The good part is she was due for a bath and the rain did such a good job that now she smells and feels clean again.

So there is my novel on how all my pups are doing. It is great being part of such a wonderful organization as Guide Dogs for the Blind, that makes a positive impact on so many lives during the process of what they do. Being a puppy raiser makes my life better.