We got Fable on the puppy truck early Sunday morning without mishap. She was excited to go and started up the steps before it was our turn. Once in her assigned kennel on the truck she was more interested in saying high to the female lab across the aisle and male golden retriever next to her than in saying good-bye to us. No surprise there.
Me and Fable on the puppy truck
Our friend and fellow puppy raiser came to say good-bye to Fable on Sunday and took some beautiful photos of Fable just as the sun was coming up.
Fable – photo by Karen Fuller
Galaxy, Bill, Raelyn and Fable – photo by Karen Fuller
The big surprise that day was Galaxy’s reaction. She went with us to drop Fable off and we walked the beautiful trail by the hotel before hand. Galaxy seemed fine until we got home from church. When we got inside she stopped abruptly on the landing and just stood there like she didn’t know what to do with herself. She is adjusting and I’m learning that Fable did a great job of keeping Galaxy entertained. She has gotten herself into a bit of trouble in situations that she handled with ease while Fable was here.
Galaxy – photo by Karen Fuller
We got word that she arrived safely on the campus for Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon on Monday. Then we just had to wait for Thursday’s phase report to come out and hope that Fable’s name was on it. It was with the expected “0” in the phase column. Phase zero is all about adjusting to campus life and medical screenings. It can be a big adjustment to go from living in a puppy raisers home to the kennel environment. But GDB works hard to make them comfortable and happy. They get walks and play time with other dogs and kennel enrichment activities that could be anything from bubble machines to flavored ice and other tasty things.
In about 36 hours we will be on the road to drop off Fable at the puppy truck for her trip to Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. It has been a fabulous year with lots of ups and downs, triumphs and frustrations. While we will miss Fable’s big spirit we are excited to see what she decides to do with her life. She has huge potential to be a fantastic guide dog if she wants to be. The big question is does she want to be a guide dog. Fable isn’t the kind of dog that you can “make” do anything. If you do there will be unwanted side effects. She has been very challenging to raise and she has taught us many new tactics and strategies along the way. The rest of her litter have all been dropped from the program. They are an energetic, assertive and fun-loving bunch. At least two are doing other types of service careers. Fable has made huge progress in the almost 14 months that we have had her and she is ready for her next adventure. The house is going to feel rather empty without her. Good luck Fable! We love you and are proud of you no matter what path you choose.
Still working on Fable’s puppyhood book and her video. Despite plans to work on it each week, I didn’t ever get it done, so I’ll be working on it after she leaves and hope I’ve taken enough photos to complete both projects. It will be good therapy to work on them when I’m missing her.
I’ve been working on this video of Dune’s puppyhood for several weeks now. I stayed up late last night and got it finished off. I’m excited because it is the first time I’ve figured out how to use the custom features in ProShow Gold (the software I used). It was easier than I thought it might be. I had so much fun mixing photos and video with the music.
Now I want to make lots more videos. Too bad I just can’t spend all my time playing around. I could think of lots of videos I’d like to do. Each of my pups “need” one and then there are people videos too. Lots of possibilities. Time is the challenge.
The biggest thing this week on the puppy front is having the plans in place to get Yakira to her new home in Florida. Her journey starts tomorrow when a generous puppy raiser will pick Yakira up from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Sunday morning they will drive her to Ontario, Oregon where we will meet them. It will be a super exciting moment to see Yakira again. We will head home as soon as we can get back on the road. Dune and Emma are joining us on the trip so it will be fun to have these three girls all together in the car.
Monday, we get to spend the whole day with Yakira just hanging out at home, having fun and taking lots of pictures. I’m sure a few of Yakira’s friends will stop by to see her too.
Tuesday morning we take Yakira to the airport for the last leg of her journey to Florida. She will arrive late afternoon to a very excited and loving new owner and an amazing extended family. I can’t wait to hear about her new like and see photos of Yakira and Apex together.
This week Dune had her first official eval. It went pretty well. She had some trouble with not wanting to lay down for our CFR (Community Field Representative) and her toe nails need trimming.
Emma is a fast growing, happy little puppy. She got all her shots last Friday and so now has lots more option socializing. Emma is a wonderful combination of calmness and confidence.
It was kind of strange today, realizing that it has been a week since we got the news that Yakira had been career changed. The first few days after that were kind of crazy. We had decisions to make about her future. Since Yakira was a guide for less than a year it was our responsibility to decide what should happen. Saturday morning the perfect placement for Yakira came to light. Yakira is going to live in Florida and join Apex’s extended family. Apex’s handler, Sue was chatting with her mother about Yakira and the inspiration hit that Yakira would be the perfect companion for Sue’s mom. Sue called us to find out if it was possible and we said yes and agreed that it was a great idea.
We have spent the last week trying to figure out the logistics of getting Yakira from Oregon to Florida. Not an easy task because there are no direct flights making it too long for Yakira to go by cargo. 18 hours in a crate is just not a good idea. So the current plan is to get Yakira to us in the next week or so and then send her by direct flight to Florida. There are a few possibilities and if those don’t work out we will drive to Oregon to pick her up. I’m excited to have Yakira stay with us for a day or two between the legs of her cross-country trip. I’m just as excited for her to get to Florida and get adjusted to her new family!
We got some not so good news on Yakira recently. Her handler has decided to return Yakira to Guide Dogs for the Blind. They ended up not being a very good match. Diane loves to talk long walks and hike in the mountains and along the beach. While Yakira did great guiding in stores and malls and her house behaviors were great, she just didn’t do well with the long walks on the bike trail. Plus she didn’t deal well with puddles and mud and ddebris from trees so she never dared take her on trails for to the beach.
We have been concerned for their partnership for several months but hoped that we were just not reading between the lines correctly. We are very grateful that Diane made this decision soon enough that there is a chance that Yakira might be reissued to another handler. She will be evaluated when she gets back to campus and they will decided if she will be career changed or partnered with a new blind person.
Yakira gets on a puppy truck headed to San Rafael tomorrow. When she gets there, someone from their Oregon campus will meet her and take her back to where she was originally trained. While we hope and pray that Yakira still wants to be a guide dog, we realize that may not be the case. Whatever her future brings, I’m sure that she will do something wonderful with it. If not as a guide dog than maybe as another kind of service dog. We hope to have an update on Yakira in a couple of weeks.
We have loved having Zodiac as part of our family for just over a year. He will always have a special place in our hearts. While we miss his happy outlook on life, we are excited that he has chosen to be a guide dog. With his exuberance we know he has a great life ahead of him. He has a good heart and Zodiac will effect all who come into his life in positive ways. At under 18 months at the start of his career, maturing is bound to bring out the best in this sweet boy. We look forward to hearing about all the new adventures.
On August 5th I got the call telling us that Zodiac had been chosen for in-home training and would be leaving on the weekend. A few days later we made a quick trip to Oregon to see Zodiac before he left for Missouri. We didn’t recognize him at first with all his new chest muscles but he recognized us. Zodiac had continued to mature in the almost three months since he left. It was so much fun to see Zodiac for a couple of hours. We walked around campus and on the Oregon Trail and he got to romp with Dune. My favorite time was the four of us just hanging out together in the paddock. The day was very different than a graduation day. It was strange to be sending him off to be a guide without having met his new partner.
Michelle Cliborn and Zodiac traveled to Missouri for Zodiac’s in-home training with David Pinkley. On Monday, August 13, 2013, Zodiac and David met for the first time and started their training together.
We were so excited when Toni (in her words), David’s other half, sent us photos of their first route together. More photos followed and as we got to know David and Toni better the more confident we felt that GDB had made a great match for Zodiac. There is no doubt that Zodiac will be loved and well cared for. In return we hope that Zodiac will be a great guide for David, giving him the freedom to travel independently and to do so in safety for many, many years to come.
Not surprisingly Zodiac loves to zoom around our back yard. We usually keep a Jolly Ball out there and his favorite game is to grab the ball and run from one end of the yard to the other as fast as he can. Once his mouth got big enough he started carrying it around by the ball and not by the rope. He has to crush the stiff plastic with his teeth to do it, but he is plenty strong enough. While he loves to run he isn’t the fastest dog around. He is built more for sturdiness than for speed. I love watching him run happily in the back yard.