Banta’s Book – conclusion

Once Banta started her formal training as a guide dog she moved along quickly. On May 16th Mark was introduced to Banta who had all the traits he wished for in his third guide except her smaller size. We got to meet Mark and see Banta at their graduation on May 28th. It took her a couple of seconds to realize who we were and then she exploded with excitement to see us.

We knew Banta needed just the right kind of handler and Mark is that person. He said, “I think GDB did a perfect job matching Banta and I. As soon as they handed me her leash I fell in love with her, she is a great little girl.” Mark calls her Little Bit and Reina which is Spanish for queen.

[photo: Mark and Banta on the GDB campus with rocks, a willow tree and calla lilies in the background – Banta has turned to the side a little and looking up at Mark]

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Banta’s Graduation

Mark and Banta

Banta graduated as a guide dog today with her handler Mark. We had a chance to see Banta and meet Mark before the official handing off ceremony.

We arrived at the Guide dogs for the Blind campus at about 11:30 a.m. and gathered with the other puppy raisers in the dormitory day room. A little while later we were escorted to a sitting area down one of the wings of the dorm where Banta and Mark were sitting. Banta just looked at us for a few seconds as we approached while she processed who we were. You could just see her mind at work and when she realized who we were she got all excited and let loose with lots of hopping and jumping around. We spent several minutes just enjoying her antics. When Banta settled back down we had some time to get to know Mark and hear about how their training went. It seems that in the almost 7 months that Banta has been on campus she has gathered quite a fan club. Lots of people stopped by during class to say good-bye to Banta.

Mark said that Banta was everything he asked for in his next guide except for her size. He is accustomed to larger dogs but when the instructors asked what was the least important of his criteria for a guide he said size. Banta fit the rest of his requirements perfectly. He calls her “Little Bit” because she is only 20.5″ tall compare to 24″ with his previous guide. We are looking forward to hearing about how they develop as a team. And maybe next year we will plan a trip to Denver to see Banta again and see where she now calls home.

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