Monday, April 26, 2010

Fullerton is a working dog now

What a crazy, quick, emotional weekend. It went by way too fast but was absolutely wonderful and totally worth it. There are about a trillion pictures so I will narrate as they go along I suppose. :)

We left Friday morning at about 6am. I took the BFV (the Big family van) so the the Paris could have some room. She didn't seem to mind at all. I took out one of the benches and then stacked her two beds together and she had a nice cushy ride. She was such a trooper because we spend about 32 hours in the car in a 3 day span. What a good girl!

[Paris laying on her bed in the fan.]
We arrived at my aunts house around 8pm and were super exhausted and headed to bed shortly after. I attempted to get some sleep before graduation and that didn't go well. So, I was up at about 4:30am and couldn't get back to sleep, it was a very long morning. Finally 9am came and I started getting ready. Then I headed out the door around 9:45am. It didn't take nearly as long to get to campus as I thought and we got there around 10:20am. We sat in the car and watched some girls walking the dog in training for a while. At 10:45 we headed over the the kennel kitchen to drop off the Paris. I mentioned that she had some diarrhea (I don't think the trip completely agreed with her) and they said they would probably move her over to the isolation area because of it. Poor kid, I probably should have kept my mouth shut. . . Anyway, I snapped a couple pictures of the training board.

[A whiteboard that has the names of all the dogs on campus and who is in charge of them.]
[This part made me especially happy. It's the In Class section of the board and Fullerton's name is on it.]
The we headed over the the Visitors Center where the raisers all gathered before they took us over to the dorms to meet the graduates. I met the other raisers and was able to chat with them for a while. It was neat to hear all the different stories. Then a guy came over and told us about what to expect from meeting our grad and our dog again and the graduation procedures and stuff. Then they walked us all into the dorm and separated us into different areas. I was put into the library. It felt like forever and I couldn't sit still, I kept sitting and standing and pacing and then I finally heard someone say "Your puppy raiser is in the library." My heart started racing and then they turned the corner. I shook hands with Fullertons partner and introduced myself.
[Me shaking hands with Fuller's partner, her trainer is standing next to her and Fullerton is giving me a good sniff.]
It took him a second but then he realized who I was and went crazy and jumped all over me and game me kisses all over. I was so happy to see him too!
[Fullerton jumping up on me.]
He looks so filled out, happy and mature. I got to talk to his partner for a long time and she is absolutely amazing! Fullerton is her forth guide dog, 2nd from GDB. Her first two were a golden and a shepherd from Canadian Guide Dogs and her last two have been yellow labs from GDB. She absolutely adores Fullerton and says that he has the work ethic that her shepherd had and she loves that about him. It was amazing to see their bond after being together only three days. She said he was flawless and she was just waiting for him to mess up but he just doesn't. That is so great. His partner is a puppy raisers dream and I feel so fortunate that my puppy got placed with her. She is retired but still goes out every day with friends and travels all over the world. She said all of her dogs have been all over Europe and the states and Fuller will definitely be traveling with her too. She also said that her dogs are spoiled rotten and that is just perfect! I loved how open she was and willing to tell me about everything that goes on in her life and about her past dogs. She is just an amazing women and I couldn't be happier with this match was such a success.
[Fullerton standing between me and his partner with both of us smiling and giving him pets.]
We went and got our pictures taken and visited some more and she put Fullertons harness on for the pics. He looked absolutely breath taking in his harness. Here is a picture of the lettering on top of the harness that says, "Guide Dogs for the Blind."
After pictures we exchanged gifts. I brought Fullerton a nylabone, a nylaring, and a rope toy. I handed her the bag and she asked Fuller if he wanted a toy. He got really excited and popped up to watch her get the bones out of the bag.
[Fullerton's partner taking bones out of the bag and Fullerton watching intently.]
[Fullerton chewing on his new nylabone. He loved it and put a pretty big dent in it already, he was always such a tough chewer and destroyed more than a few toys.]
Then I gave her the leash and she loved it! She had to go and show it off to her trainers too. I am so happy she liked it.
Then I opened a gift from her. She gave me a picture frame to put the picture of Me, her, and Fullerton in. It is a really cute frame I like it a lot.
Then it was time for the graduates to go into the auditorium so me and Fullerton got a few minutes alone together. It was so cute to see how concerned he got when his partner left. He loves her a lot. He was so sad when she left.
[Me and Fullerton watching his mom walk away, I was being sad for him that is why my face looks ridiculous.]
I was happy to find out that he still gives kisses. If you say, "can I have a kiss." He will lift his head and let you kiss his nose. It's so cute and I love that he still does it.
[Me kneeling next to the most handsome guide dog ever!]
He looks so good in harness.
Then the trainer came and got all of the puppy raisers and led us into a glass box room. And then led us out one at a time to present our dogs. Me and Fullerton were second.
[Me and Fullerton waiting to go on stage for the graduation.]
[Fullertons partner and trainer on one side of the stage while me and Fullerton walk towards them.]
[ Fullerton's partner talking about him.]
[Me talking about Fullerton. I honestly have no idea what I said I was way nervous, hopefully nothing too inappropriate.]
[Fullerton wearing his harness in front of the Guide Dogs for the Blind sign. I still can't believe how handsome he is.]
Fullerton's partner with her trainer and Fullerton sitting. Since she has only had Fullerton for three days she will be staying on campus until Wednesday before going home. GDB has never done this before and her trainer is excited to see how it goes.
We were able to go to her room and let Fuller roam and blow off some steam and we chatted some more. Fullerton came over and sat in my lap and gave me kisses it was really cute.
Fullerton's partner bending down to give him a nice ear rub.
After that we went and sprung Paris out of isolation. They said she did great and just slept the whole time. I was very proud of her. We were able to take Fullerton's partner out for dinner. We went to Olive Garden. We were there for a long time and visited some more, it was great.
[Me, Paris, Fullerton's partner, and Fullerton waiting to be seated. Silly Fuller has his tongue sticking out]
After we ate we were getting up and brought Paris out from under the table and the lady at the table next to us said she didn't know there was a dog under the table and asked if she could pet her and I said yes, then Fuller's partner brought him out from under the table and the lady was even more surprised. Then she asked me if I had raised a puppy before, I said yes and told her that I raised Fullerton as well. She asked if it was hard to give them us, I said yes, but then I pointed at Fuller and told her it was definitely worth it to see your dog so happy. It was neat and probably won't be in that situation ever again. Then we went outside and she let us see Fullerton work a little bit. It was amazing to see him navigate the crowded restaurant without running her into a person, table, chair or other obstacle. WOW!! On the way out the door we ran into her trainer and talked to her for a bit. It was funny. Anyway, than he worked through the parking lot and found our car. I was so impressed and one proud puppy raiser.
[Fullerton's partner working through the parking lot with a huge smile on her face.]
When we were back on campus I got a picture of puppy #7 and #8 together.
[Me sitting on a cement wall with Fullerton and Paris both sitting down.]
Then it was late and time to say goodbye. I gave Fullerton an ear rub and told him to keep it up and work hard and to keep his partner safe.
Then his partner gave me a big hug and asked if it was okay if she sent me pictures of him. Of course I said that would be amazing. I wished her luck in the rest of her training and she wished me a safe drive home and we partned ways.
It was absolutely amazing! It was definitley worth the trip and I could not be happier with her. She and Fuller are going to have a great life together.
The next day we were on our way home. Here are some random pics from the drive home.
[Paris does this in the morning a lot, when she stretches and then just stays that way, it's weird so she sits with both her legs extended back but her upper body is still in a sit possition, if that makes sense.]
We stopped at Multnomah Falls on the way home. It was a great morning hike and just what we all needed to get some energy out. While we were going up to the falls a train drove past. I was amazed because Paris didn't flinch at all. It was really loud!
[Me and Paris standing right under the bridge that the train is driving over.]
Me and Paris by the Multnomah Falls sign.]
[Me holding Paris on my shoulder so we could get a picture of the waterfall behind us. It's 530 feet high.]
[Me and Paris walking up the trail, it's amazing how green and moss covered everything is, it was so pretty.]
Paris sitting on a brick wall with the falls behind her.
At a random rest stop in Oregon they had a train so I took a picture of Paris sitting on the back of the train.
It was an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I really hope this post made sense since I am running on about 5 hours of sleep in the past five days. . .


Mandy and Cancun said...

I love everything about this post. Congratulations to all involved for a job well done.

Lacey said...

Elphie- Who took all these pictures of your trip? Did a family member go with you or did you just ask a lot of random people?

So, funny story . . . I was talking to Jan today and mentioned you, and of course I called you "Megan." Then I was talking to Tonks and talking about my conversation with Jan, and I called you Megan again and she laughed at me. You know we are the only two new students this year?

Congrats, on the grad though. Sounds like you are one lucky puppy raiser and that you had a great weekend.

Sarah and the Pack. said...

Wow! What an amazing graduation for you! Looks like a perfect match. Can't wait to see all the fun updates you get about Fuller in all his travels!

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

What an amazing day you had!! The pictures are priceless and just brought tears to my eyes. I know you are so proud and you deserve to be!

Megan, Paris & Fullerton said...

Arwen, I dragged a friend along to be my photographer. She recently started going to puppy classes with me so she was really excited to see the finished result.

Wow, we are the only ones? That's crazy, guess we'll be seeing a lot of each other then. ;)

Carrie and Waffle said...

congrats, hard to believe that big handsome boy was that little guy who came off the plane - just a little while ago. Loved your post, never been through a graduation so it is nice to see what goes on. What a great partner for fuller,he is in for a great adventure.

Ro said...

Wow great post! So cool to experience graduation from the raiser's perspective. Congratulations! Oh my raisers said that Jayden had gained weight and I explained to them about how they fill out because of the harness work, so I'm glad to see that you didn't think he'd gotten fat hehe!

GDB Puppy Sitter :) said...

I'm not an emotional person, but between the picture of him looking for his new partner and the one of you guys hugging at the end, I admit, I shed a tear when I read your post. :)

I really wish I could have come to see you, Fullerton, and Topeka graduate, but my niece has still yet to arrive in this world (hopefully soon!) We are planning on going down this weekend if it happens or the following weekend (which would be awesome because I found out this morning that Donata is in class!)

Congrats to you, Fullerton, and his new partner! :)

Amanda said...

Fullerton looks amazing in harness. I'm glad that you had an amazing weekend. Your boy is so handsome. :)

Natalie said...

Yay! What an incredible trip! I'm so happy for you, congratulations to Fuller and his partner! :)

Emily and the Labradors said...

Sounds like an amazing time and match!! And Fullerton is very, very handsome indeed! Congratulations to everyone!

Martha G said...

I loved reading your post about Fullerton's graduation. It sounds like it was an amazing experience. I'm also sorry I couldn't make it to campus on Saturday! I had watched Fullerton's progress throughout his training and had every intention of going to his graduation, but just couldn't make it up there. I guess I'll just have to go to Paris's graduation (if she goes to Oregon for training).

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

Congratulations, Megan! It's so awesome to see it all come full circle. Fullerton is going to have such a great life with his new partner. I don't consider myself all that emotional either, but I definitely cried a few tears reading this post.

Reddunappy said...

OH that was so awesome! what a great person Fuller has!

Brings back great memories about going to Luxors graduation! He also has a great person and is in St Paul Minnesota!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

WOW, so amazing - I was in tears reading your wonderful account of everything. What a neat match. Fuller will have some amazing experiences. Glad you were able to make it and see him graduate in style.

Anonymous said...

Aww that sounds soo cute and rewarding!
That is so nice! Glad he was matched with just a nice partner!