For each of the puppies we raise for Guide Dogs for the Blind, I make a book about them and their puppyhood. I finish it up once the puppy has graduated or moved on to his or her chosen career. Casey’s is now finished and I have a hard copy, printed on Blurb.com for Carrie, her handler.
To make getting each book completed more doable, I have a basic template for all the books with two main color schemes depending on if the pup is black or yellow. I change the accent colors and font to reflect the personality of the puppy. Using the first letter of their name, I pick words that help to describe the traits of each puppy. I find it a fun way to tell about a puppies growing up years in a non-chronological way.
Casey comes from breeding stock of the highest caliber. Her dad, Jay, was donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind from Korea and the Asian Guide Dog Breeding Network (AGBN). Exchanges between Guide Dog schools is part of an on going effort to improve the quality of dogs world wide.
The first word that comes to mind in describing Casey is calm. She is by far the calmest puppy we have raised for GDB and I think the calmest we have seen grow-up in our puppy club. She is content to hang out and wait but she is always happy to be out and about too. Casey is amazing in her ability to deal with lots of excitement around her and still keep her calm attitude. I doubt we will ever see another puppy quite like Casey.
Our house is built so the main floor cantilevers out over the basement. This create a narrow ledge by the stairs that go upstairs from the split level entrance. I’ve tried to keep this ledge blocked off so that our puppies in training don’t get out on the ledge and then fall off and hurt themselves.
Well it didn’t take Casey long to figure out a way to get past the barrier but she didn’t fall off so eventually I just removed the barrier. She only fell off once that I can remember and that was when she was laying down. In getting off the ledge she really has developed her skills at backing up.
I think she really liked to go out here because it put her at eye level with whoever was walking up the stairs. She also used it to keep Waffle (another puppy in training), from steeling her toys, which Waffle took great joy in doing.
Casey has a captivating personality. While being calm by nature she also loves to have fun and interact with the world. When she wags her tail her whole body gets involved. Her sweet nature is so charming that everyone loves her.
Casey has been blessing with a very loving and caring spirit. She seems to sense when someone is in need to some puppy love. One in the grocery store I notice that someone down the aisle had Casey’s attention. This was unusually because she was so far way and Casey was so focused on her. When the lady got closer we allowed Casey to interact with her and they enjoyed a few moments together.
We never learned why Casey gave her special attention but she has shown over and over again an uncanny ability to recognize those that she can help with her loving and caring.
Like most labs, Casey is a happy soul. She enjoys life to the fullest and is pleasant to be around. Casey loves it when the door bell rings and the opportunity to meet someone new or to see and old friend appears. She thinks that everyone is her friend.
Casey has been cherished all of her life. Guide Dogs for the Blind has volunteers who go into the whelping kennels to lovingly handle this precious puppies.
That didn’t change when she was placed in my arms as she came off the puppy truck. There was a moment of shock when it was a little black lab instead of the yellow lab that we had been expecting but we didn’t care what color she was. It only took a second to fall in love with this sweet little girl.
She was amazingly easy to raise and stole the hearts of everyone who met her. Casey will touch many more lives in her future and she will be cherished by everyone of them.
Casey loves to chew. Her favorite nylabone shapes are the wish bone and the ring. She chewed through three wishbones while she was a puppy plus a ring and she even chewed the end off a Goughnuts stick so that it had to be replaced. She also destroyed a couple of Kongs.
When she really gets into a chewing mode, her lips get all slobbery and her paws get wet too.
If Casey has a flaw it is her drive to keep things clean. We often refer to her has our Hoover Girl because she is always looking for an opportunity to get that last little crumb or lick-up that tiny spot on the floor. If she thinks she can get away with it she will go after whatever it is especially if it is edible. She is also know to clean the cupboard doors etc.
Sometimes Casey is so silly and comical. Casey lacked confidence when she was little and so we let her win at tug. This really seemed to help. She now plays what I call virtual tug because she takes turns at who wins. She actually looses on purpose so that I get to win too. Casey’s not a very good at pretending to lose. She just opens her mouth and lets go of the toy.
I really play it up after one of us wins and Casey gets all excited and wiggly. She will play this game with any toy that she can fit in her mouth, size doesn’t matter.
On May 21, 2012 just two days before her second birthday, Casey met Carrie. They trained together for two weeks at Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Oregon campus. It is interesting to note that Carrie celebrated her birthday the second week of their training. Now Casey is Carrie’s companion and partner. Carrie’s job is to love and care for Casey. Casey’s job is to love Carrie and keep her safe in their travels.
Casey has some unusual sides to her personality. She seems to have an obsession with ears. We got Casey when Banta (another puppy in training) was a year old. Casey and Banta were together for about three months. When Casey started teething she really got into chewing on Banta ears and Banta’s ears where often slobbery. One day Casey was loosing a tooth and she covered Banta’s ears with blood.
When Casey was about a year old we got Waffle. To our surprise, Casey decided that she should suck on Waffle’s ears too. We worried that Waffle’s ears would get sore with all the slobber so we used bitter apple to discourage Casey. It would work for a while but was only so effective. Neither Banta or Waffle seemed to mind.
In most ways Casey has a very compliant nature. She wants to please and she pays attention so she knows what it is you would like her to do. She was so nice to work with because of her willingness to obey. I’m sure that her compliance will serve her will in her future.
Casey is unusual in that she overlapped with three other puppies during her puppyhood. Banta was her mentor and taught her confidence. For Waffle, Casey was there through the five months we had her. They were true sisters having both affection and conflict. Casey and Yakira only had a couple of days together.
With a broad range of vocalizations, Casey is very good at expressing herself. She doesn’t really bark much but she as a full range of groans and grumbles and other little noises. She isn’t shy about sharing her feelings. Casey is so funny in they ways that she uses those subtle tones to communicate. We have never had such a verbal puppy.
Casey has ended up in costume several times over the 14 months that we had her. She looks so cute and the bright colors looks so good with her shiny black coat. I’ve ended up with costumes for Christmas, Halloween, the 4th of July and birthdays. I even made a bandana for her to wear on the day we put her on the puppy truck for GDB.
Even though Casey has a very calm way about her she knows how to have fun and just being a crazy puppy. She of course loves to chew and she also loves to use my body parts as a prop for her toy. As Casey got older she learned to use her paws to hold her toys. One of her favorite things to do is squirm around on her back will chewing on a favorite nylabone or dental dyno.
Sometimes Casey would race wildly through the house just for the sheer joy of running. It is so fun to see her tuck her back legs up under her body and bolt off down the hall. Then moments later she would come flying back into the room only to do it all over again.
You gotta love those crazy lab antics. They brings such youth and joy to a household.
I love cuddly puppies and Casey is one of the best cuddlers out there. Bill has a tradition of sitting down on the floor after he gets home from work each day to spend some one on one time with Casey. She would come and curl up between his legs and just revel in the attention from Bill. I have a dog bed under my desk and Casey spent lots of time curled up by my feet under my desk. We also took lots of naps together.
Besides being a calm, sweet and caring pooch, Casey completes the perfect puppy package by being cute not only in looks but also in personality. She has grown up to be an amazing dog and we so much enjoyed the time that she was part of our family.
We were so excited to finally hear the news that Casey would be a guide dog. It was a long time coming because she was in foster care with Pano for several months after she completed the final phase of training.
It was worth the wait. Casey and Carrie are a wonderful match. Casey now lives with Carrie, her husband and Sammy, their cat, in Victoria, British Columbia.
Casey was an easy puppy to raise and we hope that she will be a good guide for Carrie for many years to come, bringing joy to her life just as Casey did to ours. We look forward to hearing about their adventures together.