A Basic Pup-date

Zodiac curled up under my desk

Nothing major going on with the pups but plenty of little stuff. First off Zodiac is part of a three-way puppy swap this weekend. He has gone with Stacey. She is a Jr. High Drama teacher and I wanted him to get some practice being around animated kids and clapping more. He can easily get over excited by such things. Stacey’s puppy Trapper has gone with Karen so he can experience what it is like on a college campus. We have Karen’s pup, Nairobi with us for the weekend. He was transferred to Karen about a month ago and he has made great progress under her care. Nairobi has a good personality and responds well to commands.


I was hoping that Yakira would show up on the phase report this week but she still isn’t there. A couple of weeks ago a fellow puppy raiser was on campus for a graduation and took a picture of the kennel assignments in the kennel kitchen and sent it to me. It was so nice of her to do that. I love getting any bit of info on her. None of the other pups in her kennel have shown up on the phase report either. Next week for sure she will be their. Today Yakira turns 15 months old. It is probably good that it has taken a month for her to get into training. You don’t want them too young when they graduate.

Yakira’s kennel assignment on November 3rd

We will get Zodiac back on Monday at puppy class. Beacon will come home with us that night too. His raiser is going out-of-town for Thanksgiving so Beacon will be with us until Friday. One of the good things about having only one puppy in training is that we are available to puppy sit for other raisers when needed.


Puppy Pool Party

Lotus swimming

This week was the annual puppy pool party. Every year about this time our puppy raising club makes arrangements for the puppies to get a chance to go swimming. Most of the years we have raised puppies, the party has been at Gael’s house. Her daughters have raised three puppies. Right now she is being a puppy sitter. For most of the pups this is their only exposure to swimming. You would think that with a bunch of labs they would take to swimming with no trouble but for puppies in training the norm is not that at all. It is rare that any of the pups really take to the water and enjoy themselves. I’m sure with enough exposure over time that most of them would learn to love the water. But since swimming isn’t part of their formal guide dog duties that doesn’t happen, at least not as puppies.

Bill and Zodiac

We have been puppy sitting Lotus this week, while his raiser is at girls camp. Zodiac went to Lisa’s for the week so that we could take Lotus. Lisa has puppy sat Lotus before so this gave him another experience. So Bill took Yakira into the pool, I had Lotus and Lisa had Zodiac. Yakira was the best swimmer of the three. She was probably one of the best of all the puppies there but not by much. Bill eventually took all three puppies swimming. I think all the puppy raisers ended up with at least a few scratches and bruises from flailing puppy paws and claws.

pool party fun

Gael generously also provided pizza and soda, while Karen brought some fresh fruit. It was a fun day. The pups had the most fun running around the outside of the pool. We were all exhausted by the end of the night.

puppies having fun outside of the pool

Sony and Yakira after the pool fun




The Revolving Puppy Door

Yakira and Zodiac

There have been lots of coming and going of puppies in the last few weeks and more to come in the next few weeks. Zodiac has been on puppy sits two weekends in May because we went to Wood Badge. He also had two weekends in June. The first because he was too young to go with us to Casey’s graduation.

Parker at Rockaway Beach

Next my friend Lisa had a family reunion to go to. Her dog Parker needed to come to our house to be puppy sat because he had some anxiety issues and was most familiar with us and our house. Parker and Lisa went with us to Casey’s graduation. So Zodiac went to Karen’s and Parker came here. Instead of Parker going to Karen’s. Osaka, Karen’s dog was in season and her house isn’t approved for an in season female. Another puppy sitter could take Osaka for about a week but then had committed to puppy sit someone else dog. Yakira was still on house arrest from being in season herself and they don’t like us to have three puppies in training in the same household. So that meant that Zodiac had to go off again. That meant that we had Yakira and Parker for a few days.


A few days later Parker went home and Yakira was cleared to socialize again, so Osaka came here and Yakira went to Karen’s and Zodiac came back home. Osaka was a good girl but she is a lab golden cross (mostly golden retriever) and she has that soft golden coat. Soon after we got her I noticed that she had mats behind her ears. She had been at another puppy sitters before we had her and they have a swimming pool. Osaka must have gotten the mats while there, maybe from getting wet in the swimming pool. Well I didn’t have a clue how to get the mats out. I tried but with no success. So Karen came back to our house toward the end of that week and brought some golden retriever type grooming tools. Plus she worked for quiet some time getting the mats out from behind Osaka’s ears. Goldens certainly need more grooming than labs. Well Karen was nice and let us keep Yakira for the weekend. We stretched the three puppy rule but it was fun to have her home. All three dogs got along very well together.

Finally we got Yakira back home early this week. We have had Zodiac for about two months and he had only gotten to go out and socialize with Yakira a couple of times. By the time he earned his jacket, Yakira was in season. Then she swapped with Osaka. I’ve really had to think hard to keep track of which dog I’m talking too. A couple of times I just couldn’t come up with the right name in a timely manner.

This next week we are headed off to Martin’s Cove for a short pioneer trek. We had originally planned to take the dogs with us but it is so hot that we decided it would be better not to have them there.  We will be home less than 48 hours before I head off for Girls Camp all the following week. Bill is helping out the first day so two more puppy sits are in the works. My friend Lisa’s dog Parker went back to Oregon for formal harness training yesterday so she will thankfully be available to puppy sit both dogs. Summer is crazy with puppy raisers going every which direction. She will take Yakira and Zodiac while we are in Martin’s Cove and then while Bill is helping us get up to Girls Camp. Then she will take Zodiac while I’m gone the rest of the week. That way Bill won’t have to come home from work in the middle of the day and a puppy won’t have to spend the whole day in the kennel.

That should take care of our puppy swapping around for a while. We want to take a trip to Colorado toward the end of the summer to visit Banta. But I think we should be able to take both puppies with us on that trip.

Puppy Sitting Pierre

Yakira and Pierre playing with the jolly ball in our backyard

We have had another puppy in training here since Friday, March 30th. Pierre will turn one year old on the 14th. He has been a very good boy and Yakira has loved having him here. The only challenge is that Yakira wants to play and Pierre is easily tempted. So we had to keep them separated much of the time. They got to play in the backyard most days plus a couple of romps in the house but it wasn’t as much as they wanted. The first couple of nights they had to sleep on tie down to prevent them from playing all night long. Then we tried just pretending to hook them up at night. Finally they just put them selves to bed. It helped when we didn’t tolerate any playing in the bedroom. On Pierre’s last night here the slept the night on the same bed. It was so cute! Today when his family came to get him, Pierre was so excited. He couldn’t calm himself enough to respond to a sit command. It reminded me of how our pups are when we see them at graduation after having been apart for several months. I expect to see Pierre graduating as a guide dog or a breeder before the end of the year.

Yakira and Pierre snuggled together on Yakira's bed

An Afternoon at City Creek Center

The opportunity came up to see the new City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City today. So I packed up the pups, (we are puppy sitting Pierre this week) and picked up my friend, Lisa and her niece, Jessica. Lisa is an official puppy sitter for Guide Dogs for the Blind and so she can work with these puppies in training. Otherwise I would have had to leave one of the puppies home.

City Creek Center is an amazing place with lots of wonderful stores and so many people there today enjoying the spring weather. They had the retractable roof open. I’m really impressed with the design of the place. We didn’t go everywhere. We spent all our time on the upper level so I’m sure I’ll have to go back again in the near future and take a look at the creek that runs through the center. Both Yakira and Pierre did perfectly. They had lots of opportunities to meet all kinds of people and go in all kinds of stores. For the most part we resisted buying anything. Except I picked up a fun sweater at Macy’s for $13. Yakira got tired of going into stores near the end and wanted to stay outside in the sunshine.

Swap with Osaka

Yakira – photo by Karen Fuller

On Tuesday Yakira went on a puppy swap and Osaka came to our house. Karen brought Osaka here and the girls had a grand time playing before she took Yakira home with her. Osaka is a lab golden cross who is mostly golden and has that soft long golden coat. She is a couple of weeks older than Yakira. I could tell before Karen left that Osaka was going to be easy to integrate into our home. It just felt like she was already at home here. And she was easy especially after having Sinclair here who was a good pup in many ways but a challenge most of the time. Today we met Karen and her mother at The Old Spaghetti Factory. We enjoyed a good meal and lots of fun conversation before we swapped puppies back. It is good to have Yakira home but we enjoyed having Osaka here too. She can come back to our house anytime.


Today we added another puppy to the household. His name is Sinclair and he is a lab golden cross. He is just a temporary addition for the Christmas holidays while his family is on vacation. He is an energetic boy who has trouble settling down and can be rather noisy in his crate and is resistant to relieving on concrete. He and Yakira like to play together though so Yakira is going to love having him here until after Christmas. Hopefully he will settle in and be easier to have around. He is a cute puppy and two weeks younger than Yakira. But he didn’t come until the last puppy truck so he doesn’t have near the home training that Yakira has.

Yakira/Hallie Swap

We have had Hallie here for the weekend. It was lots of fun having her. I especially enjoyed having a break from a puppy trying to mouth and bit me several times a day. Hallie was a good girl except yesterday. I was trying to do too many things at once. My parents were visiting, there was a cousins party that I needed to get some food started for and I needed to go across the street and visit a neighbor. I got the food in the crock pot and ran out the door forgetting to put Hallie in the kennel. My parents were downstairs and I don’t think that Hallie even new they were home. Lindsey had warned me that she could be a problem if she was left alone. Well when I got home she had one of my shoes in the living room. It seemed to be fine. But when I took it back to the closet I found one of my boots. She had taken a nice chunk out of the top of it. I didn’t pay much for the boots and I can still wear if my pants cover up the top. I can’t believe a totally forgot to take care of Hallie before I left the house. Opps!

When Lindsey came to swap Yakira and Hallie back, she said that Yakira was very, very good. She didn’t bit at all. Wow! She left her home quite a bit to try to get her energy built up so that she would show her bad side but she didn’t. She does seem to be a bit tired. Maybe she had too much fun playing with Cobb. Or maybe she is just going through a growth spurt and all of her energy is going to build muscles and bones. Time will tell. But she is being a very good girl. Sinclair is coming tomorrow. It is going to be a very busy holiday season and it won’t be hard to keep her stimulated with Sinclair here.

First Sleepover

Yakira went on her first sleepover this weekend. Lisa has been wanting to take her and show her off at church so she took her for a few days. She was a good girl on Friday and on Sunday but Saturday she was a real challenge to handle. Now Lisa knows some of the challenges we are facing with the spunky little girl. It was good for Yakira to have her first sleepover. We went to Lisa’s tonight to pick her up. Lisa kind of wanted to have her stay another night but I just wanted her to come home. It is so good to have our little black monster back home.

Four Blabs (Black Labs)

Radison, Clifford, Casey and Hallie on the deck

Today we had four black labs at our house for a few hours. In addition to Radison and Hallie we have been puppy sitting Clifford while the Johnson’s are out of town for a few days. Then we added Casey. She has switched to Lisa’s house for last half of the swap. Lisa has been wanting to take Casey one last time before she goes back and Lindsey is really busy and having two dogs means that one of them has to be home in the kennel for extended periods of time. So it works out perfect. But Lisa was going to the temple with her family today and that is the one place that she can’t take Casey with her. So she dropped her off here. It was fun to see one of our little girls for a few hours. It was also fun to have four crazy black labs all in the same place.


We got news about Waffle’s future today. The rumor had been going around that she wouldn’t be transferred to the high school program until the next puppy truck could bring the school dogs from Colorado in the middle of October. But we got word today that no the transfer will happen on September 30th. That is less than two weeks away. The morning after Waffle gets back from the puppy swap she is going in to be spayed. The recovery is 5 to 10 days. Then it will only be a few days after that until she will be transferred. Wow that is going to come fast.