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.

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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

International Guide Dog Day

Banta on her graduation day - May 2011

Today is International Guide Dog Day and I would like to pay tribute to all the wonderful canines in the world who make life better for their handlers and enjoy the work they do. I am so blessed by my association with a great organization like Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy raiser. Being a puppy raiser is truly a win-win situation. Today I am especially proud of Apex and Banta the two puppies we raised who are now working dogs. They love their jobs and both are happy, loved and rather spoiled pooches. Give your dog and extra bit of attention today in honor of all the guide dogs in the world, past, present and future.

Apex - January 2011

I recently read “Thunder Dog” by Michael Hingson and then recommended it to my local book club. Many of the book club members enjoyed it so much that they shared it with others. Roselle is a great example of how amazing guide dogs are. Have you read any books about guide dogs that you enjoyed?

One Year Ago

Banta and Prestwick

It was one year ago today that we put Banta on the truck for Guide Dogs for the Blind. So I sent an email to Mark and Banta to let them know I was thinking about her. Mark sent back such a fun message and pictures of Banta with his previous guide Prestwick. The two of them look so much alike in their coloring that I was amazed. She looks so happy and I can tell how much Mark loves her by the way he talks about Banta.

Here is some of what Mark said about Banta:

We went to a hospital today forblood work and another test.  Banta was very excited.  Banta wentstraight to the lab and cafeteria with no direction from me.  She got alittle confused on the way to the Dr’s office, but it is a huge hospital withmany connected buildings.  I was very happy she remembered since we werelast there in June.  She is so funny when she is remembering routes shelearned but does not do frequently.  When she finds something she startsdancing around wagging her tail like crazy, I’m sure the food reward she getshas no influence on her excitement.  People probably think I am crazybecause I am usually laughing and talking to Banta like she is a person on dayslike today.  My first 2 dogs would walk towards their target and then turnand keep going.  As Banta approaches her target she speeds up thensuddenly jumps and does a 90 degree turn in the air then takes off towards hernext target.  I can’t help but laugh because she turns her work into agame and has fun.

Two Years Ago Today

Beautiful Banta on the fresh green grass
It was two years ago today that we first met Banta. She came off the puppy truck with lots of attitude, ready to go out and explore the whole world. Though she was a challenge at times, there was a moment in those first couple of weeks that I saw a glimpse of the dog she could grow up to be. We so enjoyed her wonderful spirit and we know that you do to. Just wanted to let you know that we are thinking about the two of you especially on this day. I sent an email to her handler in honor of this day and here is some of what he said about Banta:
She still has the attitude that she probably had coming of the puppy truck. Boy, I am finding out how stubborn she can be. Now most of our challenges have to do with her stubbornness, and what I call retaliation for going where she may not want to go. For example, if she does not want to walk to the grocery store, she will make it a long, slow, and miserable walk. When she wants to work she is a star.  She is very destination oriented, which is good and bad. If we are somewhere new she targets every door she sees. She still makes me laugh when she is happy and jumps off the curb and I can feel her bouncing up and down as she walks. She is a lot of fun to play with, but again only how and when she wants.
It is fun to get news of how she is doing. He really understands that sweet and spicy girl. I’m so glad for the good match they are for each other. They have been working together for about four months now. Time sure goes by fast these days.

Two Mile Stones – Banta & Casey

Today is Banta’s 2nd birthday. I sent her a figure 8 tug toy because it was her favorite tug toy of all the ones we had and it held up pretty good. I got it sent off early and then waited a few days to send an email to Mark to let him know it was coming. Well I waited too long and the package got there before my email. Because he has no vision I didn’t send a note or anything with it. I just figure my email would take care of that. This is what he said:

Hi Raelyn and Bill

We got the box on Friday.  Thank you very much.  She loves it!  I was wondering where it was from, I have not had anyone over yet who could read the box to me to see who sent it.  Mystery solved.

Banta is doing very well.  We will be working with another trainer this Wed and Th.  I do not remember if I mentioned, I only agreed to the 2 week class if I had 1 week of at home training.  We do not have many working issues, just a few minor things that need to be worked through.

We had 12 straight days of thunder storms, some severe, and only 1 storm seemed to bother her.  We had 2 lightening strikes very close to our house.  We learned the next day there was some pool furniture hit by lightening about 50 feet outside our door.  I think that is when we both jumped.  Now we are getting very hot weather.  Since we have been back we have either had very hot weather or hot weather with high humidity.  I think this has caused Banta to be a little less energetic than when we were in training.

We had a very long day today.  I took the day off work and went to 3 Dr. apts. at 3 different hospitals.  She did really well.  We only had some difficulties for the last 20 minutes, I hope she just got tired.  I was really happy with how she worked almost all day.  I get so many comments about how well behaved she is and how beautiful she looks.

Mark and Banta 

The other mile stone was Casey went into season today. I knew it was coming so it was a relief in someways that it finally got here. She has had some behavior changes the last couple of weeks with destructive chewing and peeing on walks etc. She even started to swell up a bit the last day or two. Lisa wanted to get a chance to have her over for a couple of days before she goes back but she had to cut it short when Casey came into season. So 28 days and counting of house arrest for Casey. The bad part is she will only have a few days a freedom before she goes on the truck back to GDB. It reminds me so much of the timing that Banta had too.