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.”

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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All Pups Pupdate

I’m finally getting around to writing an up date on all my pups. We had contact with all of them near the holidays. Boy time flies by. Is it really all ready a week into March?

Yakira and Apex

Puppy #1 Apex will be six years old in May. He is doing great and still has lots of energy. He and Sue have a busy schedule so his high energy is perfect. When they have long days at the office she gives him dog puzzles to keep him occupied. We got a delicious case of citrus a few weeks ago from Florida. That was awesome. The tangerines were especially amazing. We just had the last grapefruit for breakfast yesterday.

Banta and Mark

Puppy #2 Banta is doing great too. We got a professional portrait of her and her handler and they look so good together. Mark has had some health problems and had to be in the hospital recently. A local puppy raiser took care of Banta and even took her to the hospital for visits but she was super excited when he got home. Mark loves her dearly and they are so well matched for each other. She will be 5 years old in July.

Carrie and Casey

Puppy #3 Casey has matured into a very confident guide dog. Carrie graduated from law school last year and they moved to Vancouver. They now commute to downtown and Casey does great except when the weather is bad. She is a fair weather guide. I don’t hear from her Carrie very often but when she write she shares great stories and pictures. Casey’s birthday is in May and she will be 4.

Tucker, Shelley & Waffle

Puppy #4 Waffle has a good life. Carole added a new sister to the household recently. On a trip to Costa Rica she brought home a feral dog she named Shelley. Shelly looks like a black lab and her and Waffle get along great. Waffle spends almost every moment of the day at Carole’s side. Waffle turned 3 the end of February.

Yakira – aka Princess Yaya

Puppy #5 Yakira is a lucky girl living it up in Florida. She gets to see Apex all the time and enjoys romping with him and wintertime house guest Ruby (another black lab). But we got really exciting news earlier this week on her. Sue noticed that Yakira was alerting Sharan when the phone or the doorbell rang. (I didn’t realize that Sharan’s hearing had gotten so bad.) So Sue wondered if Yakira could be trained as a hearing alert dog for Sharan.  She checked into it and via GDB found a trainer. Since Yakira has already been a service dog the training should go pretty quickly and with some luck Yakira will be certified as a hearing alert dog by Easter. It is amazing the path that has brought Yakira to this place. She will be 3 years old in August.

Zodiac

Puppy #6 Zodiac has the perfect family and partner for him. They love him with all his quirks and everything. He celebrated his second birthday on Monday. Toni sends me photos and update regularly via email and Facebook. Zodiac looks so handsome and happy. He is really starting to bond with his David and give him is whole heart.

Bill, Dune, Raelyn and Emma

Puppy #7 Dune is still officially in the limbo land between being dropped from breeder evals (her patellas weren’t up to par to be a breeder) and showing up on the phase report. I’ve heard from sources that she has started her harness training so hopefully this next week we will see her name on the phase report. I hope she loves training. I think she has the potential to be a super great guide dog, if she likes it. If not she will be career changed in no time at all. She is an opinionated girl so she will let them know right away if she doesn’t like it. Dune will be 16 months old on Tuesday.

Emma

Puppy #8 Emma has adjusted to life without her Dune. Things are so much calmer and easier around the house that I said yes to having an in heat puppy in training from another club stay with us for two weeks starting on Monday. Emma will love having Verbena for a playmate. Emma turned 8 months old about a week ago and is showing some signs of teenager boundary pushing. But she really is an easy-going pup most of the time. Yesterday, I let her out on the deck for some fresh air and then forgot about her. More than an hour later I’m looking around trying to figure out where she is. Then I saw that the kitchen door was open but not the screen door and I remembered where she was. She got soaked from the rain storm that had come through while she was out there, but seems to have no lasting trauma from the experience. The good part is she was due for a bath and the rain did such a good job that now she smells and feels clean again.

So there is my novel on how all my pups are doing. It is great being part of such a wonderful organization as Guide Dogs for the Blind, that makes a positive impact on so many lives during the process of what they do. Being a puppy raiser makes my life better.

Pupdate – Zodiac’s in home training

Zodiac, David and Michelle on their first “walk” down the driveway

Zodiac’s been in Missouri all week training with his new partner David. I was so excited yesterday when we got the photo above. This is our first glimpse of Zodiac in harness. Doesn’t he look so good! I’ve chatted via email and Facebook with David’s other half Toni. It has been so much fun to get to know them and learn a little about Zodiac’s new life. I think that GDB has made another amazing match and that David and Zodiac will have many wonderful years together.

Zodiac on his new dog bed

Zodiac’s new brother Ringo Star

 

Pupdate – Banta

Banta at 5 months – photo by Lisa Thompson

Today is Banta’s fourth birthday! She has been a guide dog for over two years now. I’m sure that spunky little girl had a great day today. It is hard to imagine Banta ever really growing-up, but I suppose it is possible. I sent birthday wishes her way earlier today. Happy Birthday Banta!

Pupdate – Banta & Casey

Mark, Banta and a friend at the Bolder 10K

Banta:

This week marks two years since Banta and Mark graduated from the San Rafael campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Here is what Mark had to say about their anniversary:

“It has been a very quick two years.  Each day for the last two weeks I have been thinking about what we did in training that day two years ago.  It is all good memories.  I have really enjoyed Banta and she has taught me a lot about patience.  I can not imagine a more perfect puppy at this time in my life, I love her to death.”

Casey:

We got a wonderful email for Carrie and Casey this week. Carrie has finished law school and is now studying for the bar. She already has a job lined up for when she passes the bar. Here is what Carrie had to say about the past year:

“Casey is such a joy, I love her to pieces and she has saved me on quite a few occasions (stopping when I didn’t see a car pulling out of a driveway, disobeying my forward command when I didn’t see stairs, etc.). She has such a bounce in her step and playful spirit. Everyone who meets her, loves her. Her coat shimmers, and everyone comments on how she still looks like such a puppy. I have so much gratitude for her and cherish every moment with her. She has her head on my feet right now, as we prepare for another long week. I gave her today off and free ran her at a local schoolyard, then let her have a long sniff.”

Here are some photos from their recent vacation:

Pupdate – Apex, Banta, Casey, Waffle & Yakira

We have had news from several of our puppies over the last couple of weeks. It always makes my day when I see something in my in-box from one of them.

Apex on the cruise to Alaska

Apex:

Today is Apex’s 5th birthday. He is getting a doggie cake made from dog food, fruits and veggies. It is vet approved. Photos will be coming later of his celebration. We also got a few photos from their recent trip to Alaska. What a lucky dog!

Glacier Bay National Park

Banta:

Two years ago Banta was in class. Mark said last week “Banta has been an awesome guide, even with some of her stubborn traits.” They enjoy participating in 5k and 10k walks on many weekends during the summer months. They are doing a 10k in Bolder this weekend.

Casey:

Casey’s 3rd birthday was yesterday. And last year at this time she was in class preparing for graduation with her handler. My how time flies.

Waffle

 

Waffle:

Earlier this month marked two years since we first met Waffle. And this week I got an email from Carole and Waffle, including photos.

Waffle is doing wonderfully! She is incredibly smart and likes agility and playing with other dogs. She also has quite an independent streak like to go off exploring on her own whenever possible.

Waffle and Tucker

Yakira:

Last month I got an email from Diane and Yakira. They have had some adjustments as a team, which is normal. But with adjustments they are back to being a happily working team again.

Pupdate

Black Lab Clifford, Yellow Lab Dune and Black Lab Zodiac

a Dune sandwich – Clifford, Dune and Zodiac

It has been a few weeks since I actually got a pupdate post written. Zodiac and Dune are doing good. It looks like Zodiac probably won’t be returning to Guide Dogs for the Blind on the next puppy truck in May. There are 25 dogs older than him and the truck only holds 19 dogs. I’m glad to get a few more weeks with him.

We were a three dog household for the last three days. My sister’s career change, Clifford was here. The three of them had so much fun together. Clifford looks very like Zodiac so it takes careful observation to know who it who.

The other great news this week was an email from Yakira and Diane. It sounds like they are doing great. Here is some of what Diane had to say:

My orange tree is in full bloom complimented by the newly opened scents of my roses freezias and lilacs.   From many other gardens the sent of jasmine contributes to the spring ambiance.

Today Yakira and I took an absolutely delightful 5 mile walk.  This has been a bit of a struggle for Yakira but she is finally demonstrated a willingness to walk decent distances at an excellent rate of speed. Honestly I would call our walk today a 10.  Before to long I can see that we will be enjoying a routine walk of 9 to 10 miles.

I have recently taught Yakira to drink from a safe water bottle.  Our walks are long enough and the weather will be warm enough that she needed the compliment to her food rewards of, of course, a portion of her daily food ration, as well as teriyaki beef jerky from Costco.  My retired Guide, Bettyjo, enjoyed the jerky as a reward and so I anticipated that Yakira would also find this an excellent motivation when developing new behaviors.  I am looking forward to also incorporating apple slices into her food rewards.

I absolutely love giving Yakira water from the cute little 8 oz water bottles.  She is so cute that everyone who passes by while she is drinking uuus and ahhs about her.

Yakira and Bettyjo get along famously and the cats have come to accept her as a member of the family too.  It is really nice to see all of them getting along so well when we are not working.

I have to say that Yakira is the best shopper I have had.  We walked along the arcade here yesterday for the first time.  She did a really amazing job in stopping at each open door to determine whether or not the store was the one I was looking for.

Yeah for news from one of our puppies! Yakira sure has an awesome life with Diane.