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.

Apex Day 2 August 2008

Apex in August of 2008
It was three years ago today that we first met Apex. We got to pick him up from San Rafael at an annual event at GDB called Fun Days. I fell in love with his sweet little face the moment I saw it and ran to take him out of the presenters arms. We put him in the car a short time later and drove all night back to Utah. Apex hated the drive over Donner Pass. The road was rough and vibrated through the car into the kennel. He did better after we figured that out and put extra padding underneath it. But he certainly kept us awake and he hardly whined in his kennel after we got home.
That day was the start of a marvelous journey and one of the high lights of it is seeing the great partnership that Apex and his handler have together. Raising puppies of GDB has expanded our world to include wonderful people Sue and her family. Apex will always have a special place in our hearts as our very first puppy but we have plenty of room to love lots more of these wonderful puppies. We have learned so much in these past three years and met some amazing dogs and people.

Graduation Anniversary

One year ago today we were in Boring, Oregon for Apex’s graduation. What happy memories I have of that day. When it was over I just couldn’t stop smiling, I was so happy to see Apex and his new companion and was a wonderful match GDB had made. Today we have gotten to know Sue much better and have confirmed that they are truly a great team. They had there follow-up with GDB this weekend and everything went very well. The rep said Apex was doing great and was well adjusted. She was amazed at how well the two of them work together and how well bonded they are. They did so well on their evaluation that unless a problem crops up they will probably do the check by phone. 

Apex relaxing with Sue

Update from Apex

Yesterday I sent this photo to Apex’s handler and gave her an update on Banta and introduced her to Casey. It was one year since we put Apex on the truck to go back to GDB. It is so much fun to hear how Apex is doing. Here are some excerpt of what she wrote:

Apex is doing wonderful and we are about to leave the country again bound for Haiti this time.  I am planning on traveling with the team from my office/church as we go to work with our sister churches in Haiti. I will be at the school, teaching during the days and working the revival services at night. Soon after we get back from there – I will be traveling to our cabin in GA for a few days of R&R.  This will be his 1st time at the cabin and I can not wait to see what he does with the ducks and the pond…
Apex is also having a wonderful time visiting the 3 local nursing homes.  The Alzheimer’s patients love seeing him come in.  The children finally are back at school and Apex loves recess time and lunch time more than ever.  Our 1 child that is autistic loves to read and pet him so Apex is learning to love story time as well.
He is up to 70 lbs and his chest is broader than ever.  He runs like a freight train out of control and then all of a sudden it at eye level.  My boss loves watching us play here at the office while I am waiting for the bus to go home.  He calls him “Tigger” -quite appropriate since I work just minutes from Disney.
I have been blessed with Apex and regaining my freedom to travel and go where I want to again.  I have been able to travel again with out fear of falling or of getting lost – both of which I did on a regular basis with the white cane. I have been able to shop for my own groceries again because he navigates the aisles and people for me. I no longer feel like a blundering idot while trying to find my way – Apex is wonderful and once we have been there – he can find it again and again – traveling with him is a great joy and long layovers are not so long now with him at my side.