Pupdate: Waffle

Shelley, Tucker, Waffle and Lola

Just 6 days until our “F” puppy comes and 8 days until Emma leaves but we got some news about Waffle this week that I wanted to share. Sunday marked two years since Waffle and Carole met so I sent off and email to mark the day. I got back an email with news on a big change coming in Waffle’s life. It turns out that while Waffle is wonderfully behaved everywhere she goes with Carole as a medical service dog, she really doesn’t like her job. Add to that is that she lacks confidence in new situations (saw this as a puppy) and Waffle can get stubborn when she doesn’t want to do something (saw this too).

So Carole has been looking for a new service dog to replace Waffle. I knew she had rescued a feral dog, Shelley, from a trip to Costa Rica but didn’t know until now that she had hoped that Shelley could take Waffle’s place. But while Shelley is smart she can’t deal with the long plane flights etc. and her prey drive is intense. Not surprising when you think about her origins.

At that point Carole had four dogs in her household. Tucker, an old boxer, Waffle a soon to be retired service dog, Shelley, a now healthy and happy rescued dog but not cut out for service, plus Lola who belongs to a family that helps with things when Carole is away for work. Adding a fifth dog just isn’t going to work. Time to cut back before adding a new dog. Shelley went to live with a couple, both veterinarians, with lots of land and things for Shelley to chase.

Waffle is going to Cape Cod to a wonderful family with an old lab, 2 boys (5 and 12 years old) and their parents. The mother met Waffle about a year ago at a two-week seminar in Tucson. She bonded with Waffle during the conference and went running with her everyday. Lauren never forgot Waffle and felt like Waffle was “the dog of her heart”. So when Carole started looking for new homes for Waffle Lauren asked if she could have her. They have sent Waffle cards, texts, and photos! Isn’t that so sweet. They are sending shirts with Waffle’s sent on it to Cape Cod and vice versa to help the two dogs get used to each other. I’m sure that Waffle will have no problems adjusting to the new dog. She has never been the only dog in the household in all of her life. Carole and Waffle will be going to Massachusetts Halloween weekend and Carole will stay for 3 days while Waffle settles into her new household and reconnects with Lauren and bonds with the rest of the family.

Carole will make sure that we get contact information for her the new family and they get ours. I’m a little sad because Waffle won’t be a service dog anymore. But she just isn’t cut out for it and I appreciate that Carole wants her to be happy in her work. Mostly I’m sad because I was looking forward to meeting Carole and seeing Waffle when Emma graduates in a few months from San Rafael (that is assuming she isn’t career changed). Carole lives not far from there and assuming the timing worked for her to be in town. The only possible way Emma could graduate by the end of October would be as a breeder and that is still fast to get all the tests back and her status confirmed as a breeder. But mostly I’m happy. I think that Waffle will love her new home and family. Now we will have another pup on the east coat, the farther east you can go in fact. Maybe we will get a chance to see her out there and meet her new family. Cape Cod is a beautiful place and the family sounds perfect for her.


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.


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.

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


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


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’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.




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


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.

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.


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.

Waffle Book – addition

Below are the additional pages I added to Waffle’s book to include her time in the high school program.  The first thing I did was to rework the Claraliz page to include the basics of what happened to Waffle after her transfer. Then I all the photos that Claraliz sent me plus a few of my own from Waffle’s first birthday visit and the five days she came for an evaluation. The bit of text on these pages is based on an email that Claraliz sent me when I asked her for memories and stories of Waffle. I ordered the book today, taking advantage of Blurb’s 25% discount code. I’ll be sending this book to Waffle’s new partner for Christmas. I hope she enjoys getting to know more about Waffle’s growing up time.

On September 30, 2011 Waffle was transferred to Claraliz Fernandez to finish raising. She was part of the Salt Lake Tech Guide Dog class for high school students. The students work hard in this class and have to attend for a year before they can get the opportunity to raise a puppy. Waffle remained with Claraliz and was apart of her life and family though out the school year.

Then in July of 2012, it was determined that Waffle wouldn’t be happy being a guide dog. She was evaluated to be a K9 buddy for a blind child but Waffle was too energetic for the kids that needed companions at that time. In August the perfect place was found for Waffle.

Yakira and Waffle News


Yakira – photo by Karen Fuller

I got the official news today. Yakira will be returning to Guide Dogs for the Blind in just 12 days for breeder evaluations. It has been a bit of a roller coaster. First she is going in October, then no I think we will wait until November. But now it is real. I thought that the date was the 14th but we have an extra day. This is good because we like to do a farewell party for our puppies and Sunday is the easiest day to do that. She has to be to the truck very early in the morning so if her recall was the 14th we would have to do her farewell party this Sunday. I’m glad to have an extra week to get ready and to spread the word about her party.

Waffle – May 2012

Now for the really good news! Waffle was placed on August 31st with a middle-aged woman with special needs. She shares her home with two other mature women. Waffle goes nearly everywhere with her new partner, including on plane flights. The two of them are continuing their training with private session with a GDB employee. The adopter is VERY happy with Waffle. It is standard procedure to wait about a month to make sure that everyone is happy with the placement before the let the raiser know. I’m so happy that our little girl has her forever home and that she gets to be a service dog! Way to go Waffle!


Waffle Update

Waffle with her “go to bed” blanket – photo by Lisa Thompson

We got some more news this week on Waffle. She has been in a foster home to assess her potential as a K9 Buddy. But she has a little too much energy for any of the kids that are looking for a K9 Buddy now. They still think she is a really nice dog and so they are looking for a community placement for her before placing her as a pet. A community placement could be another type of service dog or a therapy dog or anything else beyond being just a pet.

So now more waiting to see what Waffle’s future will be. They probably won’t give us more information until they are sure that any placement they make is going to work out for her.

Waffle Update


Waffle as a young pup in a basket (from Lisa Thompson’s photoshoot)

Yesterday we got a bit of news on Waffle. Her official “Dog Drop Notice” came. Here is what it said:

DOG: 50B7 – Waffle F\LAB\Yellow – PRP\REL  DOB:2/27/2011

RELEASED DATE: 7/24/2012

PLACEMENT: Pull for K9 Buddy evaluation.

SUMMARY: Waffle is a sensitive dog with a history of confidence issues.  She has shown sensitivity to heights with some improvement seen with use of the food protocol.  Her general demeanor on outings is subdued and although she has made progress in some areas, she continues to lack the confidence needed to enter formal guide training.

Waffle displays very good house manners and is a wonderful pet. She is snuggly and enjoys people of all ages.  She may have potential as a K9 Buddy or other Community Placement.

RELEASE REASON(S): 21301 – BEH: Fearful Behavior Environment  Generalized
LOCATION (if applicable):

I had no idea they were considering her for the K9 Buddy program. I’m so excited. This program places dogs with blind kids who are too young to have a guide dog. The kids get a chance to learn about taking care of and handling a dog so they are better prepared when it comes time to get a guide dog. Here are a couple of videos on K9 Buddies.

Nearly Blind Boy Gets Furry Friend




Career Change

Waffle – photo by Lisa Thompson

We got news today that Waffle will not be a guide dog. Our CFR (Community Field Rep) from Guide Dogs for the Blind was in town this weekend to evaluate puppies. We knew that she would decide whether Waffle would return to GDB for training or head down another path. We also knew that the odds were that most of those involved seemed to think Waffle wasn’t guide dog material. We didn’t see that when we had her for a few days in May but it is possible that we didn’t have her in the kind of situations that she didn’t handle well.

Her high school puppy raiser isn’t able to keep her so we get the next option to adopt her or place her with someone else. Soon after we started raising puppies we decided not to adopt any of our puppies if they were career changed. I’ve seen many puppy raisers who have to stop raising puppies because they adopt their cc’d puppies and end up with too many dogs to effectively  raise puppies any more. So that level placing her with someone we know. As we have thought about this option over the last several years we have decided that we would only consider placing one of our puppies if it was a situation where they would be more than just a pet. For most people who want to adopt a career change dog we think it is the best for them to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind. That way GDB can match the right dog with the right family. Then the chance for a successful match is much greater. My sister’s neighbor is looking for a dog that she can train as a therapy dog. But we don’t know her and we don’t completely know if being a therapy dog is the right career for Waffle. So it is looking like Waffle will return to Guide Dogs for the Blind next week and they will look at everyone they have wanting a career change dog and find the best place for her.

I wish that we could see her one more time before she leaves but I’m heading off to girls camp really early on Monday morning and won’t get home until after Waffle will leave. I’m so glad that we got to have that time with her a couple of months ago. Maybe Bill can make arrangements to see her before she leaves. When we were raising her they had an extra connection between them. Waffle is a sweet girl and I think she will be happy as a pet dog.