Casey update: No Bones About It blog post

Carrie and Casey

I was so pleased to see this post about the third puppy we raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind on their blog today:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Meet GDB Graduate Carrie Moffatt

Carrie Moffatt lives with her guide dog Casey in North Vancouver, British Columbia. At the age of 16, Carrie began losing her vision and was eventually diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a dual sensory impairment that affects her hearing and sight. She didn’t let this stop her and went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies, as well as a communications diploma. She later completed her law degree at the University of Victoria, where she ranked near the top of her class and won several awards, including a research fellowship.

Carrie also graduated from Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) with her first guide dog Casey in the summer of 2012. “My experience at the Oregon campus was fun, intense, and so rewarding,” said Carrie. “The instructors were professional, respectful, thorough, empowering, and all around awesome people. I left feeling fully prepared and confident that Casey and I could face whatever obstacles are thrown at us on a daily basis. The small class size, the student-instructor ratio, the meals, well organized schedule and supportive atmosphere allowed me to focus on learning and developing my relationship with Casey. GDB makes it possible for people who are visually impaired and blind to be fully engaged citizens and participate in the workforce and society. Empowering people with vision loss by pairing them with a highly trained guide dog benefits everyone.”

Now a lawyer at Lidstone & Company in Vancouver, BC, Carrie advises local governments in the areas of municipal, environmental, constitutional, administrative and land use law. She conducts legal research and analysis, drafts legal opinions, memoranda, and written advocacy. Carrie is also an avid supporter of Cycle for Sight, which is a fundraising event in support of the Foundation Fighting Blindness (Canada’s largest charitable organization raising funds for vision research). In 2012, she was chosen by the GDB Alumni Association Board of Directors as the recipient of the annual Reach for the Stars Scholarship. “Losing your vision is a really difficult process to go through and having a guide dog has turned my blindness into a positive experience,” said Carrie. “I feel like I can walk with my head held high with Casey by my side. Most people do not realize I am visually impaired because through our teamwork, Casey gets us to our destination with grace and speed. She also provides comic relief by groaning loudly in meetings or sprawling out on her back when she’s off duty, demanding belly rubs from co-workers.”

Carrie has traveled around the world to several countries and looks forward to more adventures with Casey. “I reflect a lot on how incredible it is to have this inter-species relationship, and I am constantly in awe of our symbiosis and teamwork,” said Carrie. “It is very humbling to have wholehearted trust in a dog. I am dependent on her as a second set of eyes and ears to help me navigate and weave through crowds and traffic. She is dependent on me for food, play, warmth, and shelter. We depend equally on each other for unconditional love and companionship. What I have learned from having a guide dog is that I can be both independently strong and interdependent at the same time.”

Advertisements

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.

Lots of Pupdates

It has been a fun week in getting news on our pups. When I think about it I’ve heard something from all of our pups in one way or another so lets take them in order.

Apex: you may remember that we are planning a cruise to Alaska with Apex & Sue. Sue is a super organized planner and she is keeping us on track in make plans for this exciting trip. This week she sent us an update some of the little details of our trip.

Banta: She is in perfect health. Banta recently had her annual trip to the vet for shots etc.

Carrie and Casey

Casey: We got a wonderful update from Carrie and Casey about their holiday travels including photos from Invermere. Plus some stories about a “couple of typical lab incidents.” She had some trouble eating a fleece blanket and the stuffing out of her dog bed while in her crate. Thankfully she didn’t develop a blockage and all is fine there. The other one had me laughing because she pulled something similar when she was being puppy sat when she was young. Here it is in Carrie’s words:

One night, I was up extremely late preparing for two important presentations the next day. I had 3 hours of sleep in total. Sometime in those 3 hours of sleep, Casey got up and consumed half of the cat’s litter in his litter box! Gross! I was in my business suit and high heels, cleaning up large amounts of upchucked litter, wondering if I could take her with me to the courtroom and if she was going to throw up cat litter all over the place while I made my submissions! She looked a little green but I called the vet to make sure she didn’t need to go in again and they said she should be okay. That was a really rough day. Since then, Casey is now happily on tie down on her bed, and I’ve installed a door thing to prevent her from gaining access to the litter box. She is so sneaky and mischievous sometimes but it is hard not to resist her beautiful brown eyes.

Casey running in the snow

Waffle: Bill was going through some mail and found a card stuck between two other pieces of mail from Waffle’s new partner! This was our first direct contact with Carole! We didn’t even have her name. I’d sent a couple of things to her via Guide Dogs for the Blind. But with career change situations if is up to the new owner to decide if they will have any kind of contact at all. Carole offered to send photos, so I popped her an email and we got a few photos of Waffle in her new life. Here is a little of what Carole said:

Waffle has a busy life.  She travels with me for work.  She’s been to Boston, Arizona, Costa Rica, New York so far. When we’re home she’s with our elderly boxer, Tucker, and her best friend, Evie – a 2 year old black lab.  She still doesn’t swim in the pool but I’m planning to teach her this summer.

Waffle

Now I can do the last version of Waffle’s puppyhood book, including or career and a little about her home and family.

Yakira: Puppy #5 is continuing to move along through training. This weeks phase report has her in phase #7! She will most likely be class ready next week and a new class is starting in Oregon on the 21st so it is possible that Yakira could be graduating as soon as February 2nd. Of course it will probably take longer than that for her to be partnered but who knows.

I need to get moving on Yakira’s book too. I’ve worked on it a bit but I’d like to have it pretty much done by the time we go to her graduation. Coming up with words that start with “Y” for her book isn’t the easiest thing to do but I think I’m close.

Zodiac: Our current puppy is doing well. He is really starting to mature and he kept things lively around here and he probably makes me laugh every day. He is such a fun-loving boy.

Puppy #7: Our club leader said to keep next Wednesday open for a new puppy to come. It isn’t 100% for sure yet but it is the first hard info we have had on our new puppy. Thinking of a new cute little puppy always brings a smile to my face.

It is amazing to me that with seven different dogs involved that we could have some kind of contact or information on each dog within a week span. That makes this week extra special to me.

Pupdate – Yakira, Casey, Puppy Club and #7

Yakira – photo by Lisa Thompson

Yakira is continuing her stead pace through training. She is in phase 4 this week. Keep it up sweet girl, we are cheering for you.

Guide Dog News, a quarterly publication of Guide Dogs for the Blind, in its News of Our Graduates section listed Casey’s handler, Carrie as this years recipient of Reach for the Stars Scholarship. Congrats to Carrie on this accomplishment.

Our local puppy club has gotten too big and this week was our last meeting together. We meet at the Cold Stone in South Jordan to see Frosty and the other candy windows along with enjoying a tasty ice cream treat. It was a wet evening but lots of fun.A new club is being formed and we will be part of it. It is going to be fun to see what it takes to organize a new puppy raising club. We need to pick a name for our club. Any suggestions?

Right now the new club only has 5 puppies but more our expected soon. It seems that GDB has too many puppies in the kennels and they are looking for raisers. So we decided yesterday to apply for our next puppy, #7! He/she may be a co-raise with my friend Lisa, but we decided it was a good time to add another puppy to the household even if she decides now is not the best time to co-raise a puppy. So puppy #7 could arrive, by plane, in just a few weeks.

Waffle Book – Wet

Waffle had wet ears many of the days she was in our home. Casey has a weakness for puppy ears. She loves to suck on them. She just can’t seem to help herself. The only thing that helps is bitter apple. But that only lasts a day or two and then she is back at sucking on Waffle’s ears.

Waffle is very patient about it and in some ways actually seems to enjoy it when Casey sucks on her ears. Sometimes even the top of her head gets all slobbered on. So Waffle with wet ears is a common sight.

 

Update from Casey

Casey

This week marked one year since we put Casey on the truck back to Guide Dogs for the Blind. So I took that as an excuse to send a quick email to Casey and her partner. I was so excited when I got an email including photos back! Here are some excerpts:

Casey and I are doing really well. Casey has settled into the school routine nicely and has been well received at the law building. She provides comic relief in lectures because she tends to groan, snore and grunt her way through class! We have some long days – I have night classes on Tues. and Thurs. but she manages to get me home safely which I very much appreciate.

I just ordered her a raincoat because she HATES the rain! We have had nothing but sun all summer and fall – very unusual. It just started raining really hard a couple of days ago. She does not like puddles – avoids them like the plague, and slows down to a crawl when it rains. Did you guys notice this? I am hoping the raincoat will make her happier – rainboots might be next!

She’s also doing well at the swimming pool where I swim (she stays on deck with a tie down). She keeps a watchful eye on me when I get into the pool but eventually has a nap.

She happily chews on her nylabone and rolls around on her back, chasing her tail a few times a day. Our cat, Sammy, is still quite cranky about her but she steers clear of him. We have many, many different routes that we do around the neighbourhood and she knows them all – loves the chip trails at a nearby park and walking near the ocean. I love being able to go out for pleasure walks now – was not able to do that before, and now I walk a ton with her which is amazing. We get our fresh air and exercise every day.

Casey

Casey and her “cousin” Jasper

Nothing makes my day better than an email from one of pups unless it is an email from one of our pups including photos and I got both! We hadn’t heard any thing since just after they got home from class and I was concerned that we were going to have any ongoing contest with Casey. So this email was even more cherished. I sure hope that we can have some contact with the puppies we raise as they move on to the main purpose of their lives.

 

Casey’s Book

For each of the puppies we raise for Guide Dogs for the Blind, I make a book about them and their puppyhood. I finish it up once the puppy has graduated or moved on to his or her chosen career. Casey’s is now finished and I have a hard copy, printed on Blurb.com for Carrie, her handler.

To make getting each book completed more doable, I have a basic template for all the books with two main color schemes depending on if the pup is black or yellow. I change the accent colors and font to reflect the personality of the puppy. Using the first letter of their name, I pick words that help to describe the traits of each puppy. I find it a fun way to tell about a puppies growing up years in a non-chronological way.

Casey’s Book

Casey comes from breeding stock of the highest caliber. Her dad, Jay, was donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind from Korea and the Asian Guide Dog Breeding Network (AGBN). Exchanges between Guide Dog schools is part of an on going effort to improve the quality of dogs world wide.

The first word that comes to mind in describing Casey is calm. She is by far the calmest puppy we have raised for GDB and I think the calmest we have seen grow-up in our puppy club. She is content to hang out and wait but she is always happy to be out and about too. Casey is amazing in her ability to deal with lots of excitement around her and still keep her calm attitude. I doubt we will ever see another puppy quite like Casey.

Our house is built so the main floor cantilevers out over the basement.  This create a narrow ledge by the stairs that go upstairs from the split level entrance. I’ve tried to keep this ledge blocked off so that our puppies in training don’t get out on the ledge and then fall off and hurt themselves.
Well it didn’t take Casey long to figure out a way to get past the barrier but she didn’t fall off so eventually I just removed the barrier.  She only fell off once that I can remember and that was when she was laying down. In getting off the ledge she really has developed her skills at backing up.
I think she really liked to go out here because it put her at eye level with whoever was walking up the stairs. She also used it to keep Waffle (another puppy in training), from steeling her toys, which Waffle took great joy in doing.

Casey has a captivating personality. While being calm by nature she also loves to have fun and interact with the world. When she wags her tail her whole body gets involved. Her sweet nature is so charming that everyone loves her.

Casey has been blessing with a very loving and caring spirit. She seems to sense when someone is in need to some puppy love. One in the grocery store I notice that someone down the aisle had Casey’s attention. This was unusually because she was so far way and  Casey was so focused on her. When the lady got closer we allowed Casey to interact with her and they enjoyed a few moments together.
We never learned why Casey gave her special attention but she has shown over and over again an uncanny ability to recognize those that she can help with her loving and caring.

Like most labs, Casey is a happy soul. She enjoys life to the fullest and is pleasant to be around. Casey loves it when the door bell rings and the opportunity to meet someone new or to see and old friend appears. She thinks that everyone is her friend.

Casey has been cherished all of her life. Guide Dogs for the Blind has volunteers who go into the whelping kennels to lovingly handle this precious puppies.
That didn’t change when she was placed in my arms as she came off the puppy truck. There was a moment of shock when it was a little black lab instead of the yellow lab that we had been expecting but we didn’t care what color she was. It only took a second to fall in love with this sweet little girl.
She was amazingly easy to raise and stole the hearts of everyone who met her. Casey will touch many more lives in her future and she will be cherished by everyone of them.

Casey loves to chew. Her favorite nylabone shapes are the wish bone and the ring. She chewed through three wishbones while she was a puppy plus a ring and she even chewed the end off a Goughnuts stick so that it had to be replaced.  She also destroyed a couple of Kongs.
When she really gets into a chewing mode, her lips get all slobbery and her paws get wet too.

If Casey has a flaw it is her drive to keep things clean. We often refer to her has our Hoover Girl because she is always looking for an opportunity to get that last little crumb or lick-up that tiny spot on the floor. If she thinks she can get away with it she will go after whatever it is especially if it is edible. She is also know to clean the cupboard doors etc.

Sometimes Casey is so silly and comical. Casey lacked confidence when she was little and so we let her win at tug. This really seemed to help. She now plays what I call virtual tug because she takes turns at who wins. She actually looses on purpose so that I get to win too. Casey’s not a very good at pretending to lose. She just opens her mouth and lets go of the toy.
I really play it up after one of us wins and Casey gets all excited and wiggly. She will play this game with any toy that she can fit in her mouth, size doesn’t matter.

On May 21, 2012 just two days before her second birthday, Casey met Carrie. They trained together for two weeks at Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Oregon campus. It is interesting to note that Carrie celebrated her birthday the second week of their training. Now Casey is Carrie’s companion and partner. Carrie’s job is to love and care for Casey. Casey’s job is to love Carrie and keep her safe in their travels.

Casey has some unusual sides to her personality. She seems to have an obsession with ears. We got Casey when Banta (another puppy in training) was a year old. Casey and Banta were together for about three months. When Casey started teething she really got into chewing on Banta ears and Banta’s ears where often slobbery. One day Casey was loosing a tooth and she covered Banta’s ears with blood.
When Casey was about a year old we got Waffle. To our surprise, Casey decided that she should suck on Waffle’s ears too. We worried that Waffle’s ears would get sore with all the slobber so we used bitter apple to discourage Casey. It would work for a while but was only so effective. Neither Banta or Waffle seemed to mind.

In most ways Casey has a very compliant nature. She wants to please and she pays attention so she knows what it is you would like her to do. She was so nice to work with because of her willingness to obey. I’m sure that her compliance will serve her will in her future.

Casey is unusual in that she overlapped with three other puppies during her puppyhood. Banta was her mentor and taught her confidence. For Waffle, Casey was there through the five months we had her. They were true sisters having both affection and conflict. Casey and Yakira only had a couple of days together.

With a broad range of vocalizations, Casey is very good at expressing herself. She doesn’t really bark much but she as a full range of groans and grumbles and other little noises. She isn’t shy about sharing her feelings. Casey is so funny in they ways that she uses those subtle tones to communicate. We have never had such a verbal puppy.

Casey has ended up in costume several times over the 14 months that we had her. She looks so cute and the bright colors looks so good with her shiny black coat. I’ve ended up with costumes for Christmas, Halloween, the 4th of July and birthdays. I even made a bandana for her to wear on the day we put her on the puppy truck for GDB.

Even though Casey has a very calm way about her she knows how to have fun and just being a crazy puppy.  She of course loves to chew and she also loves to use my body parts as a prop for her toy. As Casey got older she learned to use her paws to hold her toys.  One of her favorite things to do is squirm around on her back will chewing on a favorite nylabone or dental dyno.
Sometimes Casey would race wildly through the house just for the sheer joy of running. It is so fun to see her tuck her back legs up under her body and bolt off down the hall. Then moments later she would come flying back into the room only to do it all over again.
You gotta love those crazy lab antics. They brings such youth and joy to a household.

I love cuddly puppies and Casey is one of the best cuddlers out there. Bill has a tradition of sitting down on the floor after he gets home from work each day to spend some one on one time with Casey. She would come and curl up between his legs and just revel in the attention from Bill. I have a dog bed under my desk and Casey spent lots of time curled up by my feet under my desk. We also took lots of naps together.

Besides being a calm, sweet and caring pooch, Casey completes the perfect puppy package by being cute not only in looks but also in personality. She has grown up to be an amazing dog and we so much enjoyed the time that she was part of our family.

We were so excited to finally hear the news that Casey would be a guide dog. It was a long time coming because she was in foster care with Pano for several months after she completed the final phase of training.
It was worth the wait. Casey and Carrie are a wonderful match. Casey now lives with Carrie, her husband and Sammy, their cat, in Victoria, British Columbia.
Casey was an easy puppy to raise and we hope that she will be a good guide for Carrie for many years to come, bringing joy to her life just as Casey did to ours. We look forward to hearing about their adventures together.