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.

Pupdate: Banta & Zodiac

We got pictures from both Banta and Zodiac this week. I love getting emails from our pups and photos make it even more exciting.

Banta and Mark

Banta was recently at a family wedding and she got a special outfit for the event. Not sure why a tie, but she looks cute in it all the same.

David and Zodiac

Zodiac is earning a little bit a freedom around the house and mostly using it wisely. He is still young and sure to test the boundaries a bit. But he is learning.

Pupdate – Banta

Banta at 5 months – photo by Lisa Thompson

Today is Banta’s fourth birthday! She has been a guide dog for over two years now. I’m sure that spunky little girl had a great day today. It is hard to imagine Banta ever really growing-up, but I suppose it is possible. I sent birthday wishes her way earlier today. Happy Birthday Banta!

Pupdate

Zodiac & Dune

Dune and Zodiac are both so cute. Well maybe Zodiac is more on the handsome side these days. He is a year old now and no longer looks like a puppy. They really enjoy each other’s company. It is amazing how many times the two of them will be laying down near each other and Dune looks like an exact copy of Zodiac, except she is smaller and yellow (of course).

We found out at puppy class this week that Zodiac is scheduled to go back to Guide Dogs for the Blind on the next puppy truck. That truck is expected to come on May 18th. I’ve had it in my head that he would be returning sometime in June but it isn’t looking that way. I figured out how to put a count down widget here on my blog so I can count down to his departure. I was so proud of him on Sunday. I got up to teach a lesson at church and left him by my chair. I forgot about him because I was so focused on teaching. But he was very good, even with a little toddler distraction right by him.

Dune has had some challenges this past week or so. Our snow all melted and she didn’t like not having snow to pee on. She had 4 accidents in one day! It had been about 3 weeks or more since she had a single accident let alone 4 in one day. She is doing better now but we are having to pay a lot more attention to her relieving. Since she was very young she would let us know when she needed an extra potty break by sitting by the door. Dune isn’t doing that much any more.

Dune is making some progress on her kennel stress. While she still isn’t quiet while we are gone she isn’t stressing out so much about it. Before she would get so stressed that not only her jaw was wet with drool, but the whole front, down to her legs would be soaked. Now even her jaw is dry. She also got the last of her puppy shots this week, so now she can go on walks and to parks and places like that.

We also got an email for Banta and Mark this week. It is always so exciting when I see that I’ve received an email from one of our puppies. Here is some of what Mark had to say:

Banta is doing very well.  For the most part she is working perfectly.  She has her stubborn moments.  We finally had a big snow a week ago.  Banta likes about 6 inches of snow.  We got about 10 inches and she seemed annoyed that all of her favorite places to play had too much snow.  Eventually she got in there and played like a crazy little girl.  She is so much fun, I love her to death.

All in all it has been a good week on the puppy raising front.

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

Photos from Florida

Apex at the Office with a Christmas tree

I love it when I see that I’ve gotten mail from either Apex or Banta’s handlers. Tonight I had one in my inbox from Florida. It was photos of Apex from Christmas. We sent all the puppies in our lives a nylabone wishbone. As puppies they all loved the wishbone shape the best. In a previous email Sue said he was enjoying the bone but was mostly tossing it around and chasing it. Banta’s handler said that she really liked it better than another nylabone she had because it was smaller and her mouth fit around it better. Well anyway Sue sent photos of Apex with his wishbone and one at work with a Christmas tree. So here they are.

Apex on the couch with his wishbone
Apex chewing on his wishbone