Pupdate: All pups

As I looked back I realized I haven’t done an update on most of my pups since March so here goes:

Apex curled up on the car seat

Apex, the senior pup of the group turned 6 years old in May. He is still a happy and healthy boy. They went on a cruise to Key West in the spring. Apex is a frequent traveler. I wish I traveled to as many fun places as he does. Sue retired from a long-time position a couple of months ago, so Apex’s days are a little slower, though she has been super busy taking care of family and friends in need. Sue starts a substitute teaching job this fall. I’m sure Apex will enjoy being around the kids again after the summer off.

Mark and Banta at the Furry Scurry

Banta still loves being a guide dog. She and Mark went out to dinner a while ago and as they were leaving a group of people where admiring Banta. One of them said, “your dog looks so happy.” She had her head and tail up and wagging as they walked out. Mark loves her spunky personality. They are such a perfect match. He wrote this about her recently:

She has learned a new bad habit. When we are going home and I have my cane, I undo her leash when we are getting close to our back gate. She lets me walk about 5 feet and then runs and either jumps and hits me in the back or runs around and punches me in the stomach. She does this about every 5 feet until we get home. It probably does not help that I start to laugh and give her treats when she punches me. Sometimes I reach out to grab her and she will jump and do a 360 turn in the air, of course that is worth another treat.

Casey curled up on her bed

Casey and Carrie spent 10 days in Italy this year. She enjoyed the cobblestone streets and lounging in the sun. When they got home Carrie went through the final ceremonies for becoming a lawyer. She is working in the same firm where she articled. They moved her office to the sunny side of the building so that Casey could enjoy the sun. She is a fair weather girl.

Waffle met Carole two years ago on Sunday. She gained another sibling this year. It is a four dog household now. With Emma going to San Rafael there is a good chance we will be taking a trip there in a few months. Waffle lives in the area so I’m hoping the timing works out to see Waffle and meet Carole while we are there. No new photos of Waffle to share but Carole posted this Short Video on Facebook. I think you will be able to see it. Waffle plays the supporting role to her sister Shelley.

Sharan and Yakira on the cruise to Key West

Yakira got to go on her first cruise in May. Apex who is a veteran cruiser was there to show her the ropes. So awesome that two of our pups got to go on a cruise together. Sharan had hip replacements soon after the cruise and is now starting to get out and about again. Yakira is enjoying life in Florida at just the pace she likes, slow and easy.

Zodiac and friend Roxie watching over Kolton

Zodiac and David just passed their year mark as a team this month. They are now officially a successful guide dog team. Zodiac is devoted to David and remains the same fun-loving dog he was as a puppy. I am hoping to plan a road trip to Missouri to see them in the near future.

Dune chillin’ out in her new digs

Dune and Ashleigh have been a team for two months now. Though she is not a fan of the Arizona heat she loves being a guide dog. Here is some of what Ashleigh has said about Dune:

I have to say, Dune is an amazing guide. Dune is a spark plug. She always wants to get going and I am so happy to see her tail wag when I grab the harness. I really have seen her excitement and joy at being told she did a great job and getting a good pat on the head. It makes me smile regularly to see her tail wag in excitement at finding that tricky doorway or that randomly placed light post.

Emma’s Farewell Party Invitation

Emma will be getting on the puppy truck in two weeks from tomorrow. The last few weeks always go so fast. So much to fit into those last days. I never seem to get enough photos taken. I still need a really good picture for her official portrait. We are having the traditional farewell party for Emma a week from Sunday in the afternoon. If you are in the area and want to come let me know and I’ll send you our address. We are going to miss her lots, but she is ready to go and I’m excited to see if she wants to be a guide dog.

Puppy Truck Countdown14F puppy comes in just 13 days! Time to get geared up for a cute but clueless puppy. It is such a shock to go from a well-trained dog to the brand new puppy but it is also fun to see them for the first time, learn their name, and get to figure out their personality. Each puppy is different and we learn so much from each one of them. Still time to add names to the name guessing contest.

Boy that took longer than I planned. Guess I’d better do updates on the pups as they come in instead of doing them all at once. It will be my goal to get updates done every Friday.

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.

Zodiac

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.

Emma

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.

Pupdate: Banta & Zodiac

We got pictures from both Banta and Zodiac this week. I love getting emails from our pups and photos make it even more exciting.

Banta and Mark

Banta was recently at a family wedding and she got a special outfit for the event. Not sure why a tie, but she looks cute in it all the same.

David and Zodiac

Zodiac is earning a little bit a freedom around the house and mostly using it wisely. He is still young and sure to test the boundaries a bit. But he is learning.

Pupdate – Banta

Banta at 5 months – photo by Lisa Thompson

Today is Banta’s fourth birthday! She has been a guide dog for over two years now. I’m sure that spunky little girl had a great day today. It is hard to imagine Banta ever really growing-up, but I suppose it is possible. I sent birthday wishes her way earlier today. Happy Birthday Banta!

Pupdate – Banta & Casey

Mark, Banta and a friend at the Bolder 10K

Banta:

This week marks two years since Banta and Mark graduated from the San Rafael campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Here is what Mark had to say about their anniversary:

“It has been a very quick two years.  Each day for the last two weeks I have been thinking about what we did in training that day two years ago.  It is all good memories.  I have really enjoyed Banta and she has taught me a lot about patience.  I can not imagine a more perfect puppy at this time in my life, I love her to death.”

Casey:

We got a wonderful email for Carrie and Casey this week. Carrie has finished law school and is now studying for the bar. She already has a job lined up for when she passes the bar. Here is what Carrie had to say about the past year:

“Casey is such a joy, I love her to pieces and she has saved me on quite a few occasions (stopping when I didn’t see a car pulling out of a driveway, disobeying my forward command when I didn’t see stairs, etc.). She has such a bounce in her step and playful spirit. Everyone who meets her, loves her. Her coat shimmers, and everyone comments on how she still looks like such a puppy. I have so much gratitude for her and cherish every moment with her. She has her head on my feet right now, as we prepare for another long week. I gave her today off and free ran her at a local schoolyard, then let her have a long sniff.”

Here are some photos from their recent vacation:

Pupdate – Apex, Banta, Casey, Waffle & Yakira

We have had news from several of our puppies over the last couple of weeks. It always makes my day when I see something in my in-box from one of them.

Apex on the cruise to Alaska

Apex:

Today is Apex’s 5th birthday. He is getting a doggie cake made from dog food, fruits and veggies. It is vet approved. Photos will be coming later of his celebration. We also got a few photos from their recent trip to Alaska. What a lucky dog!

Glacier Bay National Park

Banta:

Two years ago Banta was in class. Mark said last week “Banta has been an awesome guide, even with some of her stubborn traits.” They enjoy participating in 5k and 10k walks on many weekends during the summer months. They are doing a 10k in Bolder this weekend.

Casey:

Casey’s 3rd birthday was yesterday. And last year at this time she was in class preparing for graduation with her handler. My how time flies.

Waffle

 

Waffle:

Earlier this month marked two years since we first met Waffle. And this week I got an email from Carole and Waffle, including photos.

Waffle is doing wonderfully! She is incredibly smart and likes agility and playing with other dogs. She also has quite an independent streak like to go off exploring on her own whenever possible.

Waffle and Tucker

Yakira:

Last month I got an email from Diane and Yakira. They have had some adjustments as a team, which is normal. But with adjustments they are back to being a happily working team again.

Pupdate

Zodiac & Dune

Dune and Zodiac are both so cute. Well maybe Zodiac is more on the handsome side these days. He is a year old now and no longer looks like a puppy. They really enjoy each other’s company. It is amazing how many times the two of them will be laying down near each other and Dune looks like an exact copy of Zodiac, except she is smaller and yellow (of course).

We found out at puppy class this week that Zodiac is scheduled to go back to Guide Dogs for the Blind on the next puppy truck. That truck is expected to come on May 18th. I’ve had it in my head that he would be returning sometime in June but it isn’t looking that way. I figured out how to put a count down widget here on my blog so I can count down to his departure. I was so proud of him on Sunday. I got up to teach a lesson at church and left him by my chair. I forgot about him because I was so focused on teaching. But he was very good, even with a little toddler distraction right by him.

Dune has had some challenges this past week or so. Our snow all melted and she didn’t like not having snow to pee on. She had 4 accidents in one day! It had been about 3 weeks or more since she had a single accident let alone 4 in one day. She is doing better now but we are having to pay a lot more attention to her relieving. Since she was very young she would let us know when she needed an extra potty break by sitting by the door. Dune isn’t doing that much any more.

Dune is making some progress on her kennel stress. While she still isn’t quiet while we are gone she isn’t stressing out so much about it. Before she would get so stressed that not only her jaw was wet with drool, but the whole front, down to her legs would be soaked. Now even her jaw is dry. She also got the last of her puppy shots this week, so now she can go on walks and to parks and places like that.

We also got an email for Banta and Mark this week. It is always so exciting when I see that I’ve received an email from one of our puppies. Here is some of what Mark had to say:

Banta is doing very well.  For the most part she is working perfectly.  She has her stubborn moments.  We finally had a big snow a week ago.  Banta likes about 6 inches of snow.  We got about 10 inches and she seemed annoyed that all of her favorite places to play had too much snow.  Eventually she got in there and played like a crazy little girl.  She is so much fun, I love her to death.

All in all it has been a good week on the puppy raising front.

Lots of Pupdates

It has been a fun week in getting news on our pups. When I think about it I’ve heard something from all of our pups in one way or another so lets take them in order.

Apex: you may remember that we are planning a cruise to Alaska with Apex & Sue. Sue is a super organized planner and she is keeping us on track in make plans for this exciting trip. This week she sent us an update some of the little details of our trip.

Banta: She is in perfect health. Banta recently had her annual trip to the vet for shots etc.

Carrie and Casey

Casey: We got a wonderful update from Carrie and Casey about their holiday travels including photos from Invermere. Plus some stories about a “couple of typical lab incidents.” She had some trouble eating a fleece blanket and the stuffing out of her dog bed while in her crate. Thankfully she didn’t develop a blockage and all is fine there. The other one had me laughing because she pulled something similar when she was being puppy sat when she was young. Here it is in Carrie’s words:

One night, I was up extremely late preparing for two important presentations the next day. I had 3 hours of sleep in total. Sometime in those 3 hours of sleep, Casey got up and consumed half of the cat’s litter in his litter box! Gross! I was in my business suit and high heels, cleaning up large amounts of upchucked litter, wondering if I could take her with me to the courtroom and if she was going to throw up cat litter all over the place while I made my submissions! She looked a little green but I called the vet to make sure she didn’t need to go in again and they said she should be okay. That was a really rough day. Since then, Casey is now happily on tie down on her bed, and I’ve installed a door thing to prevent her from gaining access to the litter box. She is so sneaky and mischievous sometimes but it is hard not to resist her beautiful brown eyes.

Casey running in the snow

Waffle: Bill was going through some mail and found a card stuck between two other pieces of mail from Waffle’s new partner! This was our first direct contact with Carole! We didn’t even have her name. I’d sent a couple of things to her via Guide Dogs for the Blind. But with career change situations if is up to the new owner to decide if they will have any kind of contact at all. Carole offered to send photos, so I popped her an email and we got a few photos of Waffle in her new life. Here is a little of what Carole said:

Waffle has a busy life.  She travels with me for work.  She’s been to Boston, Arizona, Costa Rica, New York so far. When we’re home she’s with our elderly boxer, Tucker, and her best friend, Evie – a 2 year old black lab.  She still doesn’t swim in the pool but I’m planning to teach her this summer.

Waffle

Now I can do the last version of Waffle’s puppyhood book, including or career and a little about her home and family.

Yakira: Puppy #5 is continuing to move along through training. This weeks phase report has her in phase #7! She will most likely be class ready next week and a new class is starting in Oregon on the 21st so it is possible that Yakira could be graduating as soon as February 2nd. Of course it will probably take longer than that for her to be partnered but who knows.

I need to get moving on Yakira’s book too. I’ve worked on it a bit but I’d like to have it pretty much done by the time we go to her graduation. Coming up with words that start with “Y” for her book isn’t the easiest thing to do but I think I’m close.

Zodiac: Our current puppy is doing well. He is really starting to mature and he kept things lively around here and he probably makes me laugh every day. He is such a fun-loving boy.

Puppy #7: Our club leader said to keep next Wednesday open for a new puppy to come. It isn’t 100% for sure yet but it is the first hard info we have had on our new puppy. Thinking of a new cute little puppy always brings a smile to my face.

It is amazing to me that with seven different dogs involved that we could have some kind of contact or information on each dog within a week span. That makes this week extra special to me.

50 for 50 #37 – Visit Banta

I have the goal to visit the puppies we raise about a year after they graduate. I was so happy last year when things fell into place to be able to visit Apex. So this tripped seemed like another perfect way to celebrate my 50th year. This weekend we got to reach that goal with Banta. Denver isn’t that far away, so going to see her wasn’t to expensive but time this summer was crazy so we decided to wait until the weather cooled and a few of my big time commitments were done. The cool thing about going this weekend was that Sunday marked three years since we first saw Banta as she was handed to Bill off the puppy truck.

We had a smooth drive to Denver except we discovered that Yakira is not a good traveler. Zodiac did perfectly, sleeping most of the way but Yakira was anxious the entire way. Other than that the drive was smooth. We took US 40 so we could enjoy more of the colors of fall and take a different route than we would take home.

Bill holding Banta with Yakira and Zodiac playing nearby

We got to see Banta on Saturday. It was so funny, because she recognized the sound of our car. Our GPS lead us to the back of Mark’s place and she jumped up and started to whine. We figured out where to park and walked to the front door. And she was so excited to see us. That was when we found out that she had an early warning system for our arrival. After a brief hello we got the pups from the car and let them get to know each other. They had lots of fun romping around the house and got along pretty well.

romping pups

Cherry Creek State Park

A while later we drove to Cherry Creek State Park and walked along a nature trail to the reservoir. There were so many sailboats on the water, I was amazed. It was an enjoyable walk. Banta and Mark have done a couple of 5k walks this summer but he had surgery on Monday and wasn’t up to too long of a walk but it was fun to just take a leisurely walk and enjoy the nice breeze coming across the lake. The temperature was perfect.

We dropped Banta and her handler back at his house so he could rest for a couple of hours before we went to dinner. It was so good to get to know him better. Graduation is such a crazy time that you just done get to know each other that well. That is something that I really enjoyed when we visited Apex last year, and it was the same this time. It is so good to get to see the puppy we raised and see that they are still the same as they were when we had them. A bit more mature and but so much about them is still the same.

Zodiac, Banta and Yakira

Sunday we spent a quiet morning sleeping in and then went to church. In the afternoon we went back to hang out with Banta some more and then out to dinner again. Saturday we went to an Italian place called a Mama Roma’s and Sunday we went to Rib City. Both had great food and not so crowded that we had to worry about making room for more customers as we lingered long after finishing eating just chatting about a variety of things. Last night it was especially tough to decided that the meal was over. But we eventually did. It was a nice and relaxing trip  and Mark said he hoped we would come back again. The two of them are so perfectly matched. He loves all of Banta’s quirks and has the skills to handle her strong-willed side and even appreciated it.

Banta at Rib City

I’m looking forward to seeing Casey next spring either before or after our cruise to Alaska.

Banta and the Furry Scurry

Mark and Banta

Banta and Mark participated in the Furry Scurry Fund Raising walk recently. His retired guide Prestwick was also there. They had lots of fun and as usual Banta was a little superstar. She didn’t do much guide work on the walk because there were over 7000 dogs there. She was really good and got a lot of attention. A local news crew interview them at the end of the walk but their interview didn’t make it on the news. They news crew said they hadn’t seen any other guide dogs at the Furry Scurry but they did see a companion dog. Banta had struggled with a sore shoulder but it is doing just fine now. I love it when we get photos from our graduated pups. Banta looks so happy and healthy.

Walking at the Furry Scurry