Pupdate: Emma

Emma at her last puppy class on September 2nd 2014

Emma at her last puppy class on September 2nd 2014

We found out this week that our 8th puppy that we raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind has been adopted. Remember back in November they discovered that she has a bad back so she couldn’t be a guide dog. So they have been looking for just the right situation for her and her luxating lumbar. Emma’s mom’s family wanted to take her but their life style was too active for Emma. On December’s update they said that another family was considering her. I don’t think that worked out either. But when we got the latest update they said that a long-time volunteer at GDB has adopted Emma. This person is retired to Emma isn’t home alone much and they are doing well together. I think that after 30 days we will get the official paper work on Emma’s adoption. Hopefully they will want to keep in touch. I have a hard time imagining a volunteer at Guide Dogs for the Blind not being willing to keep in touch with a puppy raiser, so I’m hopeful.

Today also marks 6 years since our very first puppy, Apex, graduated as a guide dog with his handler Sue. He will be 8 years only in May. The age that the “R” word starts to creep into the picture. We hope he will enjoy working for another year or two but it is a rare dog who works past 10 years old. So far he is a happy and healthy guide dog. Since he is very well-loved and taken care of, I think he will be working for a while yet.


Pupdate: Emma


It has been almost two months since we got the dreaded phone call that Emma would not be a guide dog. The official cause: luxating lumbar. Which means that her lower back isn’t stable and it moves in ways that it shouldn’t. This is our first career change for medical reason. It is sad because Emma would have mad a wonderful guide dog. She was born with this condition and in hind sight there were signs of it. She was terrible at tug. Sometimes when you pulled her on your lap (while sitting on the floor of course) she would let out a little yelp. She was always very slow to sit when given the command.

There is no way to know just how her future will progress. Hopefully her condition can be managed with pain meds and lifestyle choices. But she might need surgery. This makes her placement in a new home by Guide Dogs for the Blind more challenging. Not everyone is up to taking on a known medical challenge like this. Emma’s mom’s family met Emma when they brought Mauve to campus and seriously considered adopting her. But after talking with the vet at GDB they realized that their lifestyle is too active for Emma.  We get a monthly update on her, which is really awesome. Here are the two we have gotten so far:

Emma #52J1 is “spunky, smart, and a lot like her mom”, per one of the Training Department staff who happened to be filling in in the whelping kennel when Emma and her littermates were born, and who is now working in the kennel where Emma is living. An dog adoption applicant  family is considering adopting Emma, pending some thought about her orthopedic issues.
Emma #52J1 is “willing and very nice” per an employee who has been caring for her. Emma is building a rapport with a staff member who has recently been assigned to Emma as an appropriate permanent adoptive home is being sought for her.

Pupdate: Yakira in Florida

Yakira by the pool at her new house

Yakira arrived safely in Florida on Tuesday after an uneventful flight across country. She seemed to handle traveling in cargo without any distress. She was quickly sharing wags and kisses with her new family. It feels good to know she is exactly where she belongs. Yakira also known as YaYa greets Sharan with licks on the face. She is loving going for walks and they have snuggled on the couch for naps. Yakira’s happy energy is the perfect addition to her new household.

Yakira and Sharan

Yakira and Apex after a romp in the backyard

Pupdate: Yakira at our house

Dune, Emma and Yakira by Karen Fuller

I know dog posts are supposed to be on Fridays but you will have to indulge me this week. We got Yakira here safe and sound late last night. I guess it was actually early this morning. It has been so much fun to have the three girls (Yakira, Dune and Emma) here today. They have been great together. Emma is especially smitten. Dune no so much but they are getting along great. Sometimes Dune is a bit jealous and sometime Yakira wants to exert her own brand of dominance.

Yakira got to see three of her favorite people. My friend from college, Lisa and a fellow puppy raiser, Karen stopped by. Yakira also visited our neighbor Virginia. All our pups have had a special place in their hearts for Virginia but Yakira even more so.

Karen who is between dogs took Dune home with her for a puppy visit for the next few days. I miss Dune already and boy the house is quiet without her, even though we still have two dogs here. I didn’t realize how much energy Dune brings to our household. She is kind of like Banta in that.

We will be up very early in the morning to get Yakira to the airport and checked in at least two hours before her flight. It has been a treat to have her here. I can’t wait for her to get to Florida and start her new life there. She has a bright future ahead.

Pupdate: Yakira, Dune & Emma

Yakira’s first Halloween

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.


Pupdate: Yakira

Yakira at six months

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!


Yakira Update


We got news today on Yakira. She will not be reissued as a guide dog. I’m sad about that. We wanted to have them look for another service organization for her but her official paper works says she was dropped for scavenging instead of the puddle issue she was returned for. They are doubtful that another organization will take a risk with the scavenging history. I don’t understand the scavenging because she has great house manners, so it might be stress at being back in the kennels. We will probably never know. We could bring her home and keep her or place her with someone. Guide Dogs for the Blind will also place her with someone on the long waiting list for career changed dogs. I never dreamed that of all the puppies we raised this would be Yakira’s path in life. This is the downside of being a puppy raiser.

Yakira and Waffle News


Yakira – photo by Karen Fuller

I got the official news today. Yakira will be returning to Guide Dogs for the Blind in just 12 days for breeder evaluations. It has been a bit of a roller coaster. First she is going in October, then no I think we will wait until November. But now it is real. I thought that the date was the 14th but we have an extra day. This is good because we like to do a farewell party for our puppies and Sunday is the easiest day to do that. She has to be to the truck very early in the morning so if her recall was the 14th we would have to do her farewell party this Sunday. I’m glad to have an extra week to get ready and to spread the word about her party.

Waffle – May 2012

Now for the really good news! Waffle was placed on August 31st with a middle-aged woman with special needs. She shares her home with two other mature women. Waffle goes nearly everywhere with her new partner, including on plane flights. The two of them are continuing their training with private session with a GDB employee. The adopter is VERY happy with Waffle. It is standard procedure to wait about a month to make sure that everyone is happy with the placement before the let the raiser know. I’m so happy that our little girl has her forever home and that she gets to be a service dog! Way to go Waffle!


Career Change

Waffle – photo by Lisa Thompson

We got news today that Waffle will not be a guide dog. Our CFR (Community Field Rep) from Guide Dogs for the Blind was in town this weekend to evaluate puppies. We knew that she would decide whether Waffle would return to GDB for training or head down another path. We also knew that the odds were that most of those involved seemed to think Waffle wasn’t guide dog material. We didn’t see that when we had her for a few days in May but it is possible that we didn’t have her in the kind of situations that she didn’t handle well.

Her high school puppy raiser isn’t able to keep her so we get the next option to adopt her or place her with someone else. Soon after we started raising puppies we decided not to adopt any of our puppies if they were career changed. I’ve seen many puppy raisers who have to stop raising puppies because they adopt their cc’d puppies and end up with too many dogs to effectively  raise puppies any more. So that level placing her with someone we know. As we have thought about this option over the last several years we have decided that we would only consider placing one of our puppies if it was a situation where they would be more than just a pet. For most people who want to adopt a career change dog we think it is the best for them to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind. That way GDB can match the right dog with the right family. Then the chance for a successful match is much greater. My sister’s neighbor is looking for a dog that she can train as a therapy dog. But we don’t know her and we don’t completely know if being a therapy dog is the right career for Waffle. So it is looking like Waffle will return to Guide Dogs for the Blind next week and they will look at everyone they have wanting a career change dog and find the best place for her.

I wish that we could see her one more time before she leaves but I’m heading off to girls camp really early on Monday morning and won’t get home until after Waffle will leave. I’m so glad that we got to have that time with her a couple of months ago. Maybe Bill can make arrangements to see her before she leaves. When we were raising her they had an extra connection between them. Waffle is a sweet girl and I think she will be happy as a pet dog.

Clifford Sleepover

Clifford and Casey

Clifford came to stay at our house for a few days while his new family went to St. George. He has been to our house for sleepovers before while he was a puppy in training. It has been fun to have Clifford part of my extended family since my sister adopted him. Clifford was career changed from Guide Dogs for the Blind for cataracts. They are still searching to find the right training so Clifford can help her boys as much as possible with their challenges.

Casey and Clifford has lots of fun together. They are rather kindred spirits in that they are both rather calm laid back dogs. They can even go for walks together without any trouble. We really enjoyed having Clifford stay with us and it is so great to have another dog in the family, especially one as special as Clifford