Monday, June 30, 2008

First Session down and some bad news. . .

Our first session is done! I think it went really well. Of course we had a few hiccups and some very stressful and frustrating moments but we all pulled through okay. This first session was a family camp and I was co-counselor with a VI guy named Rambo. It was fun working with him he is a really sweet guy. We were in charge of three families one had two VI kids, the other one VI kid and the third was a completely blind boy. It was so great to get to know them and see how excited they were for all the activities. I had a very fun week. :)

Today is Spankys birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FAVORITE BLACK LABBY NAMED SPANKY!!!! I don't have anything really fun planned I got a few new toys for him and he will wear his silly birthday hat too. Right now he is curled up in a ball sleeping on the floor in the arms of a guy named Hercules. He is such a sweet doggie and I think in the last week we have really bonded. I love this boy!! (Okay, so I tried to upload pics but the Internet connection is supremely slow so I may have to wait until after I get home from camp in August and post one big picture post.)

Now for the bad news:

DOG: 40M0 - Sherman M\LAB\Black - TRN\REL DOB:1/20/2007
RELEASED DATE: 6/27/2008
SUMMARY: Sherman is an average-sized male black lab. He is a very willing, manageable and attentive dog. He is affectionate and playful, but settles very well
when asked and has an average energy level. Very good house behavior when home for a night with instructor- appropriate with older pet dog.
Sherman has adjusted well to the kennel and has done nicely with a couple different roommates. He plays well with other dogs. He received little formal
training at GDB, but has very good basic obedience and manners. I feel that he would be suitable for any sort of placement, including community/special
Sherman was CCʼd for soft trachea. He is currently eating 2c BID of SD L&R, and is on no medications.
RELEASE REASON(S): 10014 - MED: Trachea, sensitive

I am way bummed about Sherman being CC'd. He was my perfect puppy and I so looked forward to seeing him in harness. He is also my first medical CC and I just want to say it SUCKS because he is such a great dog. I have to wait until I have cell phone reception later today before I can call GDB to decide on placement for him. I so wish I could keep him, I have cried lots of tears the last few days because I know he can't come home. I hope he finds the perfect place for him, it sounds like GDB really likes him though he got a very good report. I am so proud of my boy and want him to be in the best place for him. I know GDB will find him the perfect home. That's about it for now. Talk to you all later.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Howdy from Camp Bloomfield!!

We finished our first week at Camp Bloomfield!!! And now we are on our first break. Which we so needed because a lot of us are getting burned out. :) It has been so much fun as well as exhausting and blazing HOT!! This first week we spent training and preparing for our first session which starts on Tuesday, so we have to report back to camp tomorrow evening. There are a lot of great and fun people here I had no idea how diverse it was going to be. We have quite a big chunk of international staff from all over like, Ireland, England, Kazakhstan, Korea, South Africa, Columbia and a bunch of others. It has been fun to get to know them and their cultures and everything.

Anyway, training week has been a lot of fun, most of it has been meetings and such but we have been doing some blindfolded activities too. I got partnered with a very sweet girl named Panda (I am only using Camp Names here) We would alternate meals where we would do sighted guide and guide the person from the cabins to the dinning hall and load up their plates and then sit them down and explain where all the food was so they could eat. It was a great exercise and was really eye opening how difficult even the simplest things are when you are blind. Panda was a great guide though. We also did a few activities blindfolded like climbing a rock wall and archery. After a few days they partnered us with new people and the guy that I was with ended up running me into things and dropped me off at the table and left so I didn't know where my food was, I ended up sticking my fingers in my pasta, salad, juice, and pudding. It was very frustrating so I just gave up and didn't eat half the meal. It really was a great experience.

There are also six guide dog puppies here, it is so fun to have such a great group of well-mannered dogs. Black labs definitely dominate there are four, 3 boys (Spanky, Sherwood, and Daughtry) and a sweet little girl (Miata). We also have a yellow lab (Frisco) and a Golden Retriever (Godfrey) It is definitely going to be a fun summer with all of these pups. Spanky is doing really well, I am so proud of him. He really does love me and even whines and barks when I walk away (which is super annoying) But he is a great puppy, he does have his issues but we are working through it and he is making slow and steady progress. I love this big doggie!!!

And Sherman is in phase 1! He has been for two weeks but I didn't expect him to move, I think there is only one dog in his string that went up to phase 2 this week. So maybe next week my perfect puppy will be in phase 2. I am proud of him no matter what, but I really hope he does good. At least make it to phase 2, I haven't had a puppy in phase 2 since Tahoma. . . so I will be happy if he can just make it to phase 2. :)

Sorry no pics but they take forever to load and I have not put them no my computer yet. Maybe next break I will try to get a few pics on here. Happy Sunday!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Day Yesterday

I have not been taking Spanky out because I wanted him to get used to me and my house and neighborhood before I took him out anywhere new so yesterday I brought out the jacket to see how he would do. I started by attempting to get some pictures of him in jacket but he was not as cooperative as I had hoped, he kept making funny faces or sneezing or licking me. . . so here are three from that, that are still kind of cute.

First we went to Grease Monkey to give my car an oil change. Spanky was great in the waiting room. I was very impressed.
Then they give us a free car wash coupon when we go to Grease Monkey so I used that and let me tell you Lola (my car) is sparkling now. He was fascinated by the car wash. (Yes, I know he is on my seat and standing in my car, but we aren't moving and he just wanted to watch. He was laying on the floor before we started moving again.)
Then we took my car over to my friends house (who is a mechanic) to have him look over Lola and see if everything is good so that we can get to California in one piece. :) Spanky was on tie-down while my friend was checking over my car. He would whine at me when I went behind the car. (I think he likes me) He is such a sweet boy, I really like him!
Then we met up with some other friends and we went to see Horton hears a Who (very cute movie BTW) and I had to get a picture of Spanky with my pal Steve Carell. :) Spanky was excellent in the theatre and there were no major hiccups like past theatre experiences, I was really hoping that it would go well.
After the movie we went back to my friends house and talked for a while. Then Spanky got to do his very favorite thing ever! Eat!!!! :) I love when he eats if I talk to him his tail wags really fast, and he starts eating faster. It is so cute.

We had a very good day with all successfully outings. Today we are probably going to Wal-mart to pick up some last minute stuff to pack for California. So, hopefully that goes well too. Spanky is definitely growing on me, he is super sweet and so cuddly. I love it. I was always sad that Sherman wasn't more cuddly. So, I love that Spanky is. If I sit on the floor he comes over and flops down on top of me. I think the hardest thing for me is remembering how young he is, since he is so much bigger than Sherman. I just have to keep reminding myself that he is only 11 months old and not perfect. But I really LOVE this dog. He is easy to manage and responds well to corrections, even though most of the time I can get him to stop something by telling him to leave it or that's enough.

Today is the first phase report day since Sherman left. I am really excited to see it, although he may not have made it on yet. I am still on pins and needles to see it. I also found out that Sherman is NOT on the fat list. YAY!!! Which means that he has at least done some of his health eval stuff, since I believe it is after the vets see all the dog that they write up the fat list. (the fat list is a list of dogs that go IFT over weight usually there are quite a few fat dogs that go IFT that way.) I am also excited because at his last evaluation my CFR told me that Sherman was slightly overweight. So it looks like all of our work payed off. My CFR also used Spanky of an example of an overweight dog at our meeting on Saturday so it looks like I have my work cut out for me. We have been taking two neighborhood walks since he got here and his food got cut down so hopefully we can get that weight off. :) It has been a LONG time since I have had a dog IFT, I forgot how nervous and almost sick I feel while I am waiting for the phase report. (As you can see by all the rambling that I have done in the last paragraph. lol)

Anyway, this will be my last post for a while since I leave for California TOMORROW!!!! I am so excited! Hopefully I will finish packing today. I keep procrastinating (like writing this post instead of packing) I don't know how often I will be able to post while I am there but I will try to let you know how everything is going and how Sherman does. :) Bye everyone, have a fantastic summer!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

He's a keeper!

Looks like Spanky has Cannon approval. That is good enough for me, Spanky is definitely a keeper. :)

We were trying to teach Cannon to pet nice. It was really cute how hesitant he was because he wanted to do it right. Go Canoli!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hello . . . Goodbye . . .

Well, it is all done. The GDB Workshop was a lot of fun. I got a ride down there with another raiser in my group, it was nice to chat and get to know her better. She is a really interesting lady. Anyway, I got up at the crack of dawn *yawn* after not sleeping well last night. I kept waking up and I was tossing and turning all night. Anyway, I got all ready and packed up some stuff for Sherman before she picked me up. We drove to the Blind Center in Salt Lake (we were a little late because we got LOST!) Our CFR started with a power point about all the options for a puppy in training after they leave the puppy raising home. Here is Sherman during that, he wasn't very interested. :)

Then we took a break and our CFR pulled out different age groups of dogs and explained what they should be learning at each stage and the typical behavior and different equipment seen on each age group. First she pulled the dogs up to 5 months old and had them do a sit, some had to be placed in a sit and others were able to do it. Then the dogs from 5 to 10 months, she had them do a sit and then a down. Then all the rest, so me and Sherman stood up and started walking to the front and then she changed her mind and said that she would do the recall dogs last so we went back to sit down. That is when I met my new pup, he walked by being handled by Lindsey. I only got a short glimpse of him but he seemed nice enough. All those dogs went and she had them to a sit, down, and then a sit from a down and a few did stand (kudos to Hobbs for doing it flawlessly, what an amazing stander!!) :) After that the recall dogs got to go. She had us do the same as the other group. After I had Sherman do it my CFR pointed out that I didn't have to say my commands very loud because Sherman is focused on me and doesn't need it. So kudos to Sherman for being my awesome boy!! After that we took a break so that all of the dogs could practice relieving on concrete and NOT grass. lol Sherman has always been my star reliever so we went outside, took off his jacket and gave him the DYB command and within seconds he was doing him #1 and then about 30 seconds later a #2. YAY SHERMAN!! After everyone was done we went back inside and our CFR talked about relieving and singled out Sherman and said that the trainers at GDB are going to love him because he is a fast reliever and will go wherever I tell him to so YAY SHERMAN AGAIN!!! After that she did another power point on training equipment and did some demonstrations with dogs wearing a training collar and a halti. Then we had a break for lunch and when we got back together it was puppy truck time. (NOOOO!!!!!) During lunch I talked with a few raisers ate my food and then finally got to meet my new guy up close. Here he is with Sherman. He makes Sherman look like a baby! He is at least 10-15 pounds heavier than Sherman and quite a bit taller but still oh, so handsome.
I took them outside to get better pics without the flash (camera flashes and black dogs don't mix) Apparently there was something more interesting for the new guy to look at because out of the 7-8 pictures I took he wasn't leaning in one and that one Sherman looks stupid so I didn't use it. :)

While I was taking the one above one of the raisers in my group walked out and asked if I wanted a picture with me and the boys. Of course I said yes, so here is our first group picture. Aren't the boys cute! That chick in the middle isn't toooo bad herself. ;)
So then it was the puppy truck time. They handed out babies first there were six and they were adorable, the ones I remember were Curry-MYL, Zinfendel-FBL, Orion-MYL, Owen-MYL, Parsons-MBL, and there is another C that I just cant remember but it was cute. :) They gave some time between puppy delivery and loading the recall dogs, when it was time everyone headed out to the puppy truck. I stalled for a while, I was very proud of myself though I kept it all together until he was on the truck. But that time had to come, so I unclipped his puppy coat and slipped it off, took off his training collar and handed him over to Mick who lifted him into the top corner kennel. I said goodbye and took a few pictures. I left my sunglasses on so you can't see my red, puffy eyes. (ha ha I am learning) Upon exiting the truck Lindsey had a surprise for me, she handed me my new puppy, literally picked him up and handed him over, and boy is he heavy. :) That made me laugh. I wish I got a picture of it. . . too bad. Anyway, I know you have all been waiting for this so here goes, my new boys name is . . . (drum roll please!!!)
I thought that the name was awful when I first heard what it was. (About the most undignified guide dog name ever) But now that he is here I am getting used to it, it is not that bad and it kinda suites him. (by the way Kelsey guessed it, so kudos to you) I thought that I would call him Sherman a lot but so far I have been calling him Hobbs. Dunno why. . . Anyway, he was born on June 30, 2007 so he will be one at the end of this month. His parents are Domingo and Vintage. He is a very sweet dog too. He is on a diet because he could afford to loose a few pounds, but even without those pounds he is a lot bigger than Sherman. He is already starting to understand that he has a set of rules that he has to follow here. He was a little stand-off-ish after we got home so I sat on the floor across the room from him and let him investigate for a while. Then he layed down and looked at me and then started slowly inching his way over to me. He was finally close enough to touch and so I started petting him and massaging him and he got closer so that his head was in my lap. I got out the zoom groom (man does he shed) and brushed him while he was laying on me. I think he likes me, he has started wagging his tail when I talk to him, and he tries to be close. He is a pretty cool dog, and I think that the next few months are going to be a lot of fun with this guy.
Other than all that Thursday was my last day at work so now with all my free time I will be getting ready for CAMP!! (and taking Spanky on a couple walks a day to take off those pesky pounds) Only six days before I leave!!! I think Sparky is going to be an awesome camp dog. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Last Day . . . . . :,(

Well, today is the last day with Sherman. I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. It is so weird that my baby puppy who used to suck on his ears in his sleep, and honk the horn when I would take to long to fill my car with gas is a grown up college bound dog now. I am really going to miss my boy but I hope to see him in a harness sometime soon. :) I had my sister come over last weekend and take some pictures of me and Sherman and they turned out pretty good. It is going to be so hard to put Sherman on the truck tomorrow, but I am also excited to meet Mr. "S" so hopefully that will help, and hopefully he is a good puppy. I am starting to get really nervous about him, I don't know why. . . Anyway, our last week has not been all that exciting, mostly I have been taking him to all the places that he likes and to say goodbye to all the friends, co-workers and family who have enjoyed him this year. I really wanted to take him hiking on Wednesday (because I have been pretty busy this week and that is the only time that I could do it) but it was very stormy and rainy that day. I was so sad because I really wanted to take him one last time. I really hope that I can squeeze it in sometime on Friday, but we have a lot of errands and running around to do. I probably won't post again until Mr. "S" is here. So wish us luck! :)

Here are the pics from my photo shoot. :) My boy is SO HANDSOME!!! And I really love his eyes, always have, they are so expressive and gentle looking.

I just thought this one was funny, he kept trying to give me kisses and my sister wanted us to look at each other. :)