Though we are sad that Emma’s future didn’t turn out to be as a guide dog, we are so grateful to have had Emma in our lives. She was a joy to raise and we will always remember her droopy eye, snuggles and happy disposition. Emma has a bright future with Dennis. Time will tell if she will need an operation. Whatever happens Emma will live a good life and make a difference in the world. We look forward to seeing just where her new life takes her.
Finally in January 2015 Dennis Marino, a volunteer at GDB wondered why Emma was still in the kennels? He had walked her several times I thought she was a really nice dog. He wasn’t looking for a dog but his question started the ball rolling and Dennis adopted Emma.
Emma lives in San Francisco and goes with Dennis to campus when he volunteers in the gift shop. Dennis’s dog walking is now with Emma, twice a day. They are a nice pair and so far Emma’s back is doing great. She has adjusted to life in the big city and the hills of San Francisco.
On March 27th 2015, we met Dennis on campus and got to see Emma again. It was so fun to see how healthy and happy she is with Dennis.
Because we want to keep raising puppies and Emma’s back wouldn’t be helped by an ongoing stream of young puppies we asked GDB to find the best place for Emma. Her mom’s family meet Emma one day when they were on campus and fell in love with her. But after talking to the GDB vet they decided that their lifestyle was too active for Emma’s condition.
In December Emma was assigned to a staff member to build rapport with until they could find just the right place for our Emma. She was well cared for and loved while she was in the kennels.
Emma was evaluated for her potential as a breeder when she got back to Guide Dogs. But her EKG showed TVD or Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, so she was spayed to prepare her to start her training as a guide dog.
Before she was assigned to a training string, Emma showed some signs of having a problem. As they investigated they discovered the last vertebrae in her back moved around more than it should. That was when we got the call puppy raisers dread, Emma was career changed for a “luxating lumbar”.
In hindsight there were subtle signs of her back problem but we didn’t recognize them. When I talked to GDB’s vet he said that her condition was something she was born with. Now it was time for Emma to find a new path in life, a different one then we had expected or hoped for.
Our year and seven days with Emma was over before we were ready. We had hoped that there would be time for her to mentor a new puppy in training but alas, Fable came just two days before Emma’s recall to Guide Dogs for the Blind. The day we put her on the puppy truck for San Rafael was much like the day that she got off the puppy truck a year earlier. But we had mixed emotions. While were excited to see what her future would bring we wished we could have just a few more weeks with our sweet Emma.
While Emma was part of our family she went just about everywhere with us. Here are the kinds of places she went often:
- work with Bill
- church & choir practice
- grocery & other stores
- movie theater
- post office
Here are a few of the other places she went:
- Kimball Arts Festival
- Pool Party
- C Street Preschool
- Antelope Island
- Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point
- Camping at Palisades State Park
- Jordan River Parkway
- East Canyon State Park
- Collage Baseball Game
- Emigration Canyon Fire Station
- Eye Doctor
- Blood Drive
- Wedding Reception
- Utah Lake State Park
- Camp Floyd
- This is the Place Monument
Having raised seven puppies previous to Emma we had seen a variety of energy levels from the super calm and low energy to very excitable and high energy. Emma is a surprising mix of energy and calm. She has plenty of energy to get up and go anywhere and everywhere but she is also just as good and hanging out and chilling all day if that is what the schedule calls for. Not many dogs, at least from the ones that we have known, have that kind of mix. Seemed like she would make the perfect partner for a blind or visual impaired person one day. I could imagine her enjoying the big city life.
One very memorable day with Emma was at East Canyon State Park. I waded out into the water and encouraged Emma to follow me. She did at first and then decided that running along the shore was so much more fun. There was a little creek flowing into the reservoir and she took great joy in running back and forth and leaping over the creek. It was spring and the ground was soft and muddy so she was quite the mess but It was such a joy to watch her playful exuberance along the shore.
Emma’s biggest flaw was her occasional destructive chewing. Mostly this was just when she was a young puppy. But the few weeks before she went into season this weakness came out again. (It isn’t unusually for dogs in heat to do this.) In retrospect the funniest incident was with an ink pen. Bill lost a pen out of his pocket. Emma and Sandler (who We were puppy sitting) found the pen and starting playing with it. We were downstairs and when we discovered them, Sandler was the one who looked guilty. He was covered in blue ink along with the carpet but Emma was the one who pooped blue for the next couple of days.