Fable will be 16 weeks old on Monday. This is a milestone in a puppy in trainings life. She gets the last round of her regular vaccinations which lifts some restrictions on where she can go, place like parks and other high traffic dog areas like the pet store. Recently they added an extra parvo vaccination as an extra precaution against the virus. For puppy raisers 16 weeks is like the threshold of the puppy from preschool to grade school.
Fable had an unexpected trip to the vet this last Monday. About a week before I wondered if she might have an ear infection. Bill cleaned her ears and they were pretty dirty. Then when he checked the next night one of them was really dirty again. He cleaned it every day and sometime twice a day but it wasn’t improving. So I took her in to get it checked out. Turned out she has a lot of yeast in her ear so the vet put some thick medicine in and he will check it to make sure it is all better on Monday.
Here are my drawings for Inktober for the past week. Just one week to go. I’m super happy that I’ve been able to do a drawing everyday so far. I plan to keep it for one more week.
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.
I finally finished Dune’s puppyhood book. I’m excited to see it in print and share it with Ashleigh. Even though she has no vision, I’m sure her family will enjoy the photos and she will enjoy the stories about Dune’s growing up year.
Dune finally showed up on the weekly phase report yesterday in phase 1. Having been in breeder evals is the equivalent of phase 0, so it is what I expected. She is actually learning what to do to be a guide dog! Yeah. If you want to know more about what she is learning I have a post here about phase 1. For more details there is another post here.
the pre-story of Dune
I’ve been working hard on Dune’s book. Remember the plan I had to get a page done every week or so. Well I totally failed on that. I wanted to have it mostly done so I could send a pdf of it with her along with photos from her puppyhood on a DVD. But I just didn’t get it done so I just sent photos. When the dogs are in class with their new partner they will give them some information from their dogs puppy raiser include photos or CD’s etc. This give the new handler a chance to know something more about their new dog. Dune’s future handler will have to wait to get her book until graduation.
But I’ve got it done now except the couple of page that will be about her new career and graduation day. So I’m going to share Dune’s book over the next several weeks. I’ve done a book for each puppy we have raised. Here are links to their books (except I haven’t put Apex’s on-line yet, I should do that soon!):
I think Yakira’s book needs updating with some additional pages after she had a change of careers and location last fall. (Another thing for my to do list.)
I find making these books really helps me with the process of sending the pups off after having them for a year. People ask all the time “how we give them up and don’t you get attached?” I tell them we miss them but it is worth it. But doing things like the books for them helps me celebrate the time we have had with them and honors the impact they have on our lives even though they are only in our home for about a year.
I’m working on a slide show/video for Dune that should be done soon. I can’t wait to share it with you!
We have loved having Zodiac as part of our family for just over a year. He will always have a special place in our hearts. While we miss his happy outlook on life, we are excited that he has chosen to be a guide dog. With his exuberance we know he has a great life ahead of him. He has a good heart and Zodiac will effect all who come into his life in positive ways. At under 18 months at the start of his career, maturing is bound to bring out the best in this sweet boy. We look forward to hearing about all the new adventures.
On August 5th I got the call telling us that Zodiac had been chosen for in-home training and would be leaving on the weekend. A few days later we made a quick trip to Oregon to see Zodiac before he left for Missouri. We didn’t recognize him at first with all his new chest muscles but he recognized us. Zodiac had continued to mature in the almost three months since he left. It was so much fun to see Zodiac for a couple of hours. We walked around campus and on the Oregon Trail and he got to romp with Dune. My favorite time was the four of us just hanging out together in the paddock. The day was very different than a graduation day. It was strange to be sending him off to be a guide without having met his new partner.
Michelle Cliborn and Zodiac traveled to Missouri for Zodiac’s in-home training with David Pinkley. On Monday, August 13, 2013, Zodiac and David met for the first time and started their training together.
We were so excited when Toni (in her words), David’s other half, sent us photos of their first route together. More photos followed and as we got to know David and Toni better the more confident we felt that GDB had made a great match for Zodiac. There is no doubt that Zodiac will be loved and well cared for. In return we hope that Zodiac will be a great guide for David, giving him the freedom to travel independently and to do so in safety for many, many years to come.
Not surprisingly Zodiac loves to zoom around our back yard. We usually keep a Jolly Ball out there and his favorite game is to grab the ball and run from one end of the yard to the other as fast as he can. Once his mouth got big enough he started carrying it around by the ball and not by the rope. He has to crush the stiff plastic with his teeth to do it, but he is plenty strong enough. While he loves to run he isn’t the fastest dog around. He is built more for sturdiness than for speed. I love watching him run happily in the back yard.
Zodiac is great at being zonked. Especially after a challenging outing or in the evening. He is very content to curly up on a dog bed or stretch out on the floor. Usually he has an ear listening for anything interesting happening but sometimes when he is really tired it takes some real effort to get him up and moving again.
Well since Zodiac is actually an animal he certainly is zoic. He has just two siblings, Zenith (male black lab) and Zulu (female yellow lab). His brother Zenith has a white spot on his chest, while Zodiac has just a few white hairs between his toes called Bolo marks, named after an English dual Champion Banchory Bolo because he produced many of these marks in his offspring and future generations.