Friday, February 29, 2008

Borderline

I was not nervous about Shermans evaluation until today. Me and Sherman had a very "off" day. We just didn't mesh like we usually do and he would not listen too me. Perfect timing for him to act like a teenager. Anyway, all during work I was frustrated because we were not having a good day, and customer after customer kept complaining at me. GRR! I got off work at four and me and Sherman went home. We went to my room and he settled on his bed right away and slept for an hour before I got him up to feed him his dinner. I decided to take him for a short walk and everything seemed to come together again. He was very focused on me and listened to my commands, he was so much better and I was relieved! We left for our eval shortly after that.

He did really well at the evaluation we practiced appropriate play with a bunch of different toys, did obedience, watched a couple videos and then had a little one-on-one with our CFR. Sherman did wonderfully on the obedience first we walked in a circle so that she could see how the dogs walked on a loose leash, we did some commands at the same time. Then she had us weave in and out of the dogs in a circle and Sherm did fabulously at that too, only trying to sniff a cute little girl once (sorry Angel). Then our CFR had each dog do a down one at a time so she could watch each dog do it, and then a sit from a down, then we did stand. (Stand is one that I have not worked on much, I need to get on that) After obedience we watched a couple videos. The first was about what the training experience is like when the dogs are on campus, it was really interesting. The second was about the original guide dog teams for The Seeing Eye. The narration was hysterical, this was also a really good video. After that we had our individual time with our CFR. She went around to each dog and discussed their weight, and answered any questions and discussed any problems the dogs had. She also asked for all the dogs 12 months and older to wait till last because she wanted to discuss recall with us. *GULP* I took Sherm outside to potty really quick before I went back in. I started chatting with the other raisers in my group who have older pups while we waited for Barb to talk to us. Sherman was dead last. First she said he was a touch chunky, she said he looks really good but in guide dogs eyes he could loose a pound or two. So his food got cut down a touch, he won't be happy about that but, oh well. We will try to get rid of that spare tire he's got. :) Then she was asking me how his relieving habits are, and a few other questions. The last thing she said was that he was on the borderline to be on the April or May recall. She said there are quite a few males around Shermans age that could go back in April so after she talks to Mick at GDB and figures out how many spaces need to be filled she will go over her list and figure out who is going back. So I should find out for sure next Thursday. She did ask if I didn't mind holding onto him a few more months. Of course I said "NO!" So, I still have to wait for the official word but I have a feeling that Sherm might be sticking around for a few more months. (I hope I didn't jinx myself by saying that) Sherman did marvelous overall though. I am very proud of him. He is now sacked out on his bed, snoring quite loudly! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wash day!

About once a month I put all of my dogs toys in the dishwasher for a deep clean. My sister walked in the door as I was loading all the toys and said, "You have a problem when your dog toys fill an entire "economy sized" dishwasher." Well, I have duplicates of A LOT of toys because without fail, when one disappears and I finally get around to replacing it, the lost one mysteriously appears again. (I think my dogs have figured that one out and are now hiding them so they get more toys.) I thought I had gathered all the toys, I searched my room, the kitchen, and office, and my car. (all the places that he frequents) Then I loaded all the toys and started the dishwasher. Sherman was walking around my room looking for his toys. I told him sorry they were all being washed. After ten or so minutes I look back at Sherman and he is chewing on a bone that I had been looking for for a few weeks. HUMPH silly dog. So far he has pulled a total of three toys from around my room and I have no idea where they all came from. :)



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thank you and a Sherman brag

I wanted to give a big thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. They really helped to cheer me up!! I had a much better week this week. :)

Yesterday, I went to see a play that my friend directed. She told me and another friend that we could have first pick of our seats if we came early and helped clean up the theatre and straighten chairs and help with some stuff backstage before the show started. So me, Sherman, and my friend got to the theatre about an hour and a half before the show started. We went into the theatre and started picking up trash. At first it was quite difficult with Sherman at my heals so after a bit I took him to the front front row of seats. (It was a black box theatre so the stage in in the middle with seats on all four sides. So I could see him from anywhere. And the seats where weird so I could not use them as a tie down) I put him in a down stay and started cleaning up and straightening chairs. I don't think I have had him in a stay that long and he did so good I was very proud. He stayed put for about 30 minutes while we did our cleaning. He watched me walk around the theatre never taking his eyes off of me. After that I released him and he got tons of praise. I took him out into one of the dressing rooms and fed him dinner and then we went and relieved. When we came back we had to do some backstage stuff with costumes and props and all of that. Again I stuck him in a down stay this time I even went out of view as I had to go carry arm loads of stuff to the stage. He watched me leave and had his eye on the spot that I left until I came back. So one time I went off one side of the stage and came back on another to see what he would do. He was looking the other direction, I got right up to him and said "good boy" I think I startled him because he flipped around really fast and was so excited to see me. He almost got up but then settled back down until I released him. I am a very proud mamma. He was fantastic through the play too. He sat under my chair nicely, he started fidgeting about 10 minutes before intermission but it was because he drank a lot of water and he needed to go out. He was okay until intermission and then I took him out to relieve and the rest of the show he just slept. I was amazed at how well he did during the show because there were all kinds of crazy, loud noises, there were sirens wailing every once in a while, and dogs barking, a clock chiming, gunshots, all kinds of noises and Sherman was a champ. The only time he got up was the first time everyone applauded he popped up and looked around at everyone and cocked his head from side to side. It was pretty funny. Other than that he slept. He did wonderfully.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Venting because I had a crappy week

I have been approached almost every single day last week by people telling me that what I am doing is horrible and abusive and all that crap. Normally I can brush it off and I don't care that much, but this week was just one after another. I am sick of it! They tell me that it is awful that I would force my dogs to work and that my dogs looks so sad. I feel like I have been getting stomped deeper and deeper into the ground every day.

On Monday it was this lady in a fast food restaurant. I corrected Sherman for going after a French fry on the ground. This lady just freaked out and started yelling at me. (I barely corrected him; it could hardly be categorized as a correction. He can be quite sensitive so he only needs a gentle reminder) But the lady railed on me about how it is just a little piece of fry and it isn't going to hurt him. I tried to explain to her about it being distracting and how he needs to focus on his job and not the food on the floor. The lady just would not listen! I finally just excused myself and left the restaurant. (In a fairly bad mood)

Then on Wednesday it was this guy who approached me and told me how sad Sherman looked. (completely disregarding Sherms tail wagging a mile a minute, so he has a droopy face, so what?!) He told me that it “disgusted” him how people forced dogs into a job, when dogs really want to spend their days being spoiled rotten and sleeping on the couches, and beds. (Sorry but my dog likes being with me, he could not be happy spending his day in the backyard by himself or left alone in the house for hours until I got home from work or school, and my dogs are spoiled and loved unconditionally) I tried to tell him that no dogs are “forced” to work and that if they don’t enjoy their job or don’t want to be guides they won’t be. That they can find happy, loving homes as pets. (Glennie is a perfect example. She was the third pup I raised and she HATED being a guide dogs puppy. She didn’t like going out in public and so GDB decided to have her career changed when she was six months old.) He obviously would not listen to me. I wanted to ask where his dog (if he even had one) was at that moment.

Thursday it was another “I can’t believe you force these dogs to work!” people and then on Friday someone sent this article to a yahoo group that I am on, and frankly, I was offended. This lady really needed to do more research before posting such a insulting article.

Saturday was the one day I was looking forward to. Our club was having a big outing in Salt Lake where we rode Trax and walked around this amazing Library with glass elevators (they freaked me out a bit) and glass walkways and stairs. It was really good for the dogs. After we get into the library we were given about fifteen minutes to walk around and let our dogs experience everything. I took Sherm on the elevators and down the stairs, let his sit by a railing on the third floor so we could look down. He did really well! I was done so I went down where there was a circle of raisers who were chatting while the rest finished walking around. This guy came up behind me and here is our conversation: (I am still mad that he singled me out especially because of all the other people this week who took thier frustrations out on me, and there was a good seven or eight other raisers he could have talked to)
Guy: How much would you sell your dog for?
Me: He is not for sale.
Guy: Do you know how much he is worth?
Me: I dunno, he is not for sale. He is in training to be a guide dog for the blind.
Guy: You don’t know anything about these dogs! I know everything about these dogs. These dogs want to hunt and catch birds.
Me: Well, these dogs are bred to be guide dogs. So they like just hanging out and being with their handler.
Guy: No you don’t know anything! They want to hunt and run and have birds in their mouths. (all this while Sherman is absolutely comatose on the floor)
(This is where another raiser jumped in, THANK GOODNESS!!)
Raiser: Thank you, bye!
Guy: (still spouting off something about knowing everything there is to know about dogs and how I knew nothing)
Me: Thank you, bye!
And the guy finally walked away. Still muttering things about dogs wanting to hunt.

I am normally a very positive person and it takes a lot to get me down. But even for me it is hard to recover from all that coming down on me at once. Oh, and then to top it all off. . . I drove another raiser up to Salt Lake and afterward I dropped her off at her house. I went to get back in the car, loaded Sherman and just as I was closing the door Sherman moved and his tail came out the door. I was already in the process of slamming the door closed, so I tried to stop the door so it would not squish his tail and in the process decapitated my thumb. (At least I managed to save my boys tail) My nail is all gross and black and blue and I should probably get a few stitches to put it back together, but since I am absolutely terrified of needles I am hoping that it will heal okay without them. :[

Thanks for listening to me rant. I thought that you all would understand where I am coming from in my frustrations with people telling me how horrible I am for raising guide dogs. It is so nice to have other raiser friends who experience all this too. I am so glad that it is a new week and hopefully this week goes better than last. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!!

Hey all,
Sherman here wishing a Happy Valentines Day to my girl Angel!

Love,
Sherman

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our Weekend Adventures

On Thursday when it was time for mine and Shermans walk I grabbed his leash of the hook by my bedroom door and Sherman got all excited and wiggly because he knew we were going out. I asked if he wanted to go for a walk and he froze (out of excitement, that is what he does it is very cute) and cocked his head to the side. I opened my door and told him okay. He took off around the corner and up the stairs. I still had to grab a few things so it took me another 30 seconds or so. I went out of my room, turned the corner and looked up the stairs. And this is what I see, Sherman laying at the top of the stairs and as soon as I am in view he heaves a great sigh. "Mom, you are taking FOREVER!!" We were off on our walk a few minutes later and he was so happy. Impatient puppy!
You may recognize this handsome little guy from this blog. This picture was taken about 7 months ago. Yes, I had Mr. Hobbs this weekend. He was such a good puppy too! He was a very good boy and behaved himself wonderfully. As you can see, seven months has changed them both a lot.
Hobbs and Sherman had a really good time together too. It was nice having two laid back dogs that I could let loose together and they wouldn't start a wrestling match. I am used to having to separate the dogs when I have had two at once but they were wonderful together. They even shared. Here are the boys sharing the bed while they enjoy a bone. This lasted until Sherman adondoned his toy and decided that Hobbs was better. So, he took Hobbs bone while Hobbs was looking at me. Hobbs looked down to start chewing his bone again and could not figure out where it went. He laid there and looked all around. He eventually found the one that Sherman was chewing in the first place and started chewing that one. It was pretty funny to watch his thought process.
Who is who? My family had a very hard time telling them apart. I didn't think they looked that much alike but I can see where they would get confused. :) They are pretty well matched. Hobbs is just a tad taller and longer than Sherman and has a more masculine face.

Umm. . . guys. . . you are both dudes. Stop it! (They became buddies really fast!)

I kept reminding them that they are both guys (well, Sherman is a little girly) But, they assured me that it is just guy love. lol

"Hey, he is hogging the bed!"

We had a good weekend all in all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Update of sorts. . .

I have always wondered what I would do in the event of a dog trying to attack my puppy in training. In the GDB manual it says not to get between the dogs and to drop the leash. I always told myself that i could never just let a dog get to my dog. Unfortunatly, I had the chance to see what my reaction would be. Don't worry nothing bad happened. I was leaving my friends house a couple nights ago and was almost to my car when i heard a dog barking. Not just a "hey, whats up" bark it was a mean . . . "police dog" bark. If that makes sense, like when a police dog is all revved up and ready to go find that mean person. Anyway, I look up and see a big, fluffy black dog charging at us from across the street. (Looked like an Aussie mix of some sort) I fumbled for my keys and managed to get my car unlocked, and picked up Sherman and got him in the car. As soon as I got the car door closed I turned around and the dog jumped on me and knocked me on my butt! I kinda crawled backwards a bit to get away and when I got back up the dog was jumping at my passanger window where Sherman was sitting. I ran around to my side and got in. When I started the car the dog ran away. Sherman seemed unphased, he just stared at the dog with a look of "what is up with you, you wierdo." He hasn't shown any signs of being afraid of other dogs so no harm done. I will definetly keep an eye on him though. But, I doubt he would be afraid since the dog never really got to him.

My parents are out of town and so I have to watch all of my sibs. It is our tradition to do something stupid whenever my parents go out of town. I decided to tone it down a bit from last time. This time we got our insperation from Calvin and Hobbs. :) I have not made a snowman for years! We had a lot of fun, and were not really prepared for the cold, initially we were going out to find the tramp. (it is fun to jump on in the snow) And then decided to make a snowman. So we were really cold and wet. My bro is over six feet tall so that tells you how tall our snowman is. It was fun. We used food dye to make eyes and for his mouth, and it got everywhere.

The little snowman that the big one is eating. :)
As for Sherman he has been really clingy the last few weeks. I have been giving him more freedom around the house and is really good at following me from room to room. Occasionally he will try to leave if he thinks that I am taking too long but if I ask him where he is going he will come back and lay down. He is not as cuddly as he was when he was a baby, which is kinda sad but I still love him to death. Still no news on a recall date for him, I know that I will have him at least until April 13th. Because that is when the next puppy truck is coming through Utah. I think that he will most likely leave then but who knows. . . There are still a lot of older dogs in Utah and Colorado that need a place on the truck. :) I know some of the older dogs from Colorado are flying back to campus sometime in the next couple weeks. You never know. I do know that I am getting a puppy on April 11th. I am really excited. I imagine my new baby will be born sometime in the next couple weeks. I can't wait. What does that mean?? That means that is Sherman does NOT leave on the April truck then I will be overlapping for a bit. So that is exciting too. I have been wanting to overlap for a while. We will see. Just waiting for that recall date. I should know in the next few weeks. :)
Also we have an evaluation with our CFR the end of the month. I am sure that Sherman will give it his all and show how awesome I know he is. I was really nervous for his last evaluation but this one I am not at all. I know that Sherm will do great, I have confidence in him to show off his stuff. :)