Pupdate: Emma

Emma on the puppy truck

We got word yesterday that Emma has been dropped from consideration as a breeder. She will be spayed and when she has healed she will start training to be a guide dog. She was dropped for TVD (Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia). It is a congenital and heritable heart defect that is fairly common in labs. Her condition is referred to as equivocal which means that the EKG shows she is in the gray area of the condition. From my research they don’t really know how much valve leakage is “normal” in dogs. It seems Emma has some leakage but not enough to be a problem for her health. But since it is an inheritable condition they don’t want to use dogs with even the equivocal form of the disease. I wonder if this is the same reason Yakira was dropped. All we found out for here was that her EKG wasn’t perfect.

Now the waiting begins for Emma to show up on the weekly phase reports. My guess is that it will be at least two weeks but could be as long as 4 more weeks. It would have been fun to see little Emma pups but I didn’t really expect her to be selected for breeding. Just doesn’t seem to be our lot to raiser breeders. I’m super happy to be raising guide dogs.

p.s. Fable is making great progress and is a fun and sometimes challenging puppy but very sweet and cute.

p.s.s. Today marks 5 years since we put Apex on the truck back to GDB to start his training as a guide dog.

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.

Dune’s Tune

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We are off for a quick weekend camping trip so I’m taking a vacation from the writing challenge today, but I thought I’d share this crazy video I put together for Dune. The lyrics were a collaborative effort of an email group I’m on called the GDB Lounge with guide dog users and puppy raisers. I song is so much fun that we did our best to sing it at Dune’s graduation. It certainly isn’t a musical master piece but it is very Dune. I hope you enjoy it and that our very imperfect voices don’t mess up the spirit of the video too much. Click on the image above to see the video.

Dune’s Graduation

Ashleigh and Dune

It has been more than a week since Dune graduated as a guide dog to Ashleigh! It was so much fun to see her. She looked so happy and healthy. Ashleigh is very good with handling Dune and her energetic personality. The class supervisor called Dune a pistol. She loves guiding and I think she will be a great guide dog for Ashleigh once she adjusts to the heat of Arizona. Yeah Dune! We are so proud of our spunky little girl. Here is a very crazy video of the moment we saw Dune for the first time since February.
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Dune: d-day

 

Tomorrow is the big graduation day!

Dune’s recall was unique for us. Because of timing she was due to return to GDB in February when there is no puppy truck to Utah. We volunteered to drive her and Esme and Felix (two other recall dogs) to campus. We got there a couple of days after a huge snowstorm. It was fun to see campus covered in snow. We took her for a walk around campus before leaving her in the kennel kitchen. Dune was excited to be there and not at all concerned about us. I’m sure she was happy to have new faces to meet and places to explore.

Dune: down

 

Two more days until Dune’s graduation!

I’m not sure how this started but Dune didn’t learn to do this until she was older. When Dune saw one of us going down the stairs when she was upstairs, she would run around to the railing that overlooks the stairs and wait for you to make the corner. The difference in level puts our head about the same height as the floor above. Dune would squat down and stick her head under the railing and get all excited and want some attention as you walked down the stairs. So cute!

Dune: dropper

 

Only three days left until Dune is an official guide dog!

Dune invented a game she played with herself. I’m guessing that the first time this happened it was accidental but she decided it was fun and played it regularly.

Step One: take a toy to the top of the stairs.
Step Two: drop the toy and watch it bounce down the stairs.
Step Three: after a short pause, run down the stairs.
Step Four: snatch up the toy and run around with it.

Sometimes she would repeat the game. The funniest thing is that Dune taught this game to Emma.