Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow Day in Texas!

LOOK!!! Something big was here!!!
It's not often south Texas gets snow. Jethro was having a play date with Floyd, Lila and Cassidy. Jethro wasn't sure what to do with the snow. He made huge footprints that look like a cougars. The other dogs are more experienced and thought the youngster was pretty silly. Floyd was just happy to have someone else to play with, so a romping good time was had by all.


Tag you're it!

Catch me if if you can Floyd!

Really? You want a piece of me? I can take you young one!

All that playing in the muck leads to one thing. BATH TIME!! Jethro is a baby, so his buddy Floyd went first. Floyd is brave and is used to being in the bat tub. As you can see, Jethro wasn't so sure that was a smart idea. He eventually allowed his self to be bathed, but he wouldn't allow photos to be published on the Internet (smart boy!)

I don't think you should go in there Floyd!

What are you doing to him?

Now you smell funny...

Whats going on in there??

We will be doing lots of training walks with Michelle over the next few weeks to get ready for puppy swap! The time of year when all the puppies change handlers for a month!! I think Beth ( ) is getting Jethro for the swap! she better be doing push ups to get in shape. Her pups have been small and MANNERED!!! HA shes in for a surprise!! :) I'm not sure who im getting in the swap yet, but it should be interesting!

Monday, February 22, 2010


oops, it appears Jethro has a "thing" for cats.

After spending some time with Phil and Sharon Schermerhorn in Austin it appears we have a little homework. While we hosted Debby Schuh at Scrapbook911 and Guide Dogs of Texas' casino night Jethro was enjoying getting to play with his yellow lab friend Floyd and all his cats. he really likes Buddy, but thinks they are all tasty.

Looks like we will be meeting with Michelle to do some cat manners learning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Puppy Wrangling

Sorry about the long absence between posts!! I seem to say that a lot to you! bad blogger! no cookie!
We had a great Christmas together, all the kids were together for the first time in a long time. It was fun to have them with us to celebrate Jethro's first and only Christmas with us. All the holidays seem to be special when you know this is most likely the only time you will experience it with the puppy you are raising. Jethro will be off to big boy school this summer so he wont have Christmas with us again.

He thought we were really strange when we brought a tree into the house. He sniffed it for a good long time before he would walk out of the room, then came back in to see if it was still there. We have had enough guide dog puppies in the past to know a few tricks about Christmas trees in and puppies.

1. put non breakable ornaments on the bottom half of the tree. If you have ornaments you cherish, leave them safely in the box in the attic (after 4 dogs, we got a little lax, Jethro tail wagged off 10 ornaments in the first 24 hours, and ate 3 more before we opened presents. )

2. do not put the presents under the tree until you are ready to open them. (Mike got a pound of fudge for Christmas from our 23 year old son, hes been around for all the guide dogs, he put the fudge on the top shelf of the book shelf next to the tree, i couldn't even reach the shelf, Jethro's nose knew it was there and he tried reach it, he must think like a 4 year old child, because he came back over and over again and tried to stretch even taller on his back feet to get it, much to his dismay, because he got scolded each time, but it was FUDGE! yummy! we moved the fudge to a dog free room)

3. no not let the cat into the house for a month. (Really! I mean it, cat, trees and big puppies do not mix. The cat is equally leery about having a tree in the house, he's 9 for heavens sake, get over it already it happens every year. This time however, we let the cat in the house because he HATES Jethro! Its the only guide dog pup he will have nothing to do with, go figure. So Dot got to come in because we knew he'd stay out of the living room. You see it coming, don't you? Dot was eating in the kitchen, Jethro was watching him through the puppy gate. Dot finishes and takes a lingering stroll near the puppy gate, cleaning his face, stretching, and basically taunting Jethro into a frenzy. -- bad kitty-- Jethro had had enough and TRIED to come through the gate. He did NOT succeed, however, children thought this was the best time to go from the kitchen to the living room and OPENED the gate, in runs Jethro, out runs Dot. Jethro turns on a dime, back through the gate to get his new best friend. Dot, being a smart cat, says if i go up a tree dog can not get me, poof, up the Christmas tree he goes and Jethro goes right after him. My 23 year old lunges for the tree to save it, my 17 year old lunges for the dog to wrangle him out from under the tree, and my 26 year old sits on the couch laughing his behind off! thanks for the help! Tree survived, cat survived, dog survived {he got in the 2nd most trouble -- teenager got in the most})

4. take a picture of the puppy in front of the fully decorated and presented tree so there was proof that s/he was present for Christmas. (this is a WHOLE lot more difficult than you think. Did i mention hes not real sure why there is a tree in the living room and now why are you hiding things under it and telling me i can't play with the brightly colored new smelling things? My 17 year old daughter is by far the best in the house with all the guide dogs. She a horse girl, shes been riding since she was 5, the giant Jethro doesn't intimidate her at all, so i enlisted her help for the photo session)

Take 1

That's a GREAT smile Mellisa, but did you really think it was going to be that easy?

Take 2

Good girl, use the cookie in your hand to keep him there... but I'm thinking he should look AT the camera.

Take 3

"I'm a smart German shepherd I can get the cookie in your hand"

Take 4

and I'm the human in charge and I can take it BACK!

Take 5

Oh so close, she found the infamous "off" button on the boy

Take 6

LOVELY!!! but where is the great smile from the first picture!?!?

Take 7

And that is what Christmas is all about!

I know we are coming up on valentines day and i could have talked about all the wonderful work Jethro has learned, all the progress he's made and how much he is maturing, but honestly, this past Christmas was wonderful and i could not help but share the process with you. This is what puppy raising is. Real Life. Next year at Christmas time Jethro will be ready to assist a visually impaired client, and then i will boast about all his progress, until then, i will share real life.

Until next time (which i promise will be sooner rather than later) ... happy walking!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Busy Days!

Hi All,

I'm really sorry its taken me so long to update the blog, it's been a really busy time around here. Jethro got to spend a lot of time with sitters over the last month for a variety of reasons, the first was i have a new granddaughter!!
Here name is Kaydence and I flew out to California to be there when she was born, so Jethro went to jail. He really likes the guys at the Dominguez prison, and they adore him. He gets lots of attention (24/7 -- it is prison after all) and he gets LOTS of obedience work which he can always use since he is now 10 months old and 90+ pounds (i stop counting at 90).
After I got back from California, I got him back from jail and we went about our normal puppy raising work, and it was time for his Penn-Hip xrays. For those of you who follow any of the other blogs, you know this isn't entirely normal procedures, which means there was something questionable in his regular xrays when he was neutered! We all had paws crossed as he went over to South Texas Veterinary Specialists in the VREC building to have his xrays done.

Thankfully after a week of fretting, the all clear came back and he is good to go. Assuming he and i survive adolescents. He's a big fat teenager!
Then i got really busy at work, and Michelle at guide dogs was helping me sit him and get some extra work into him. She's much harder on him than i am. :) But SHE just got finished training a client for three weeks at the training center, Dakota the labradoodle ( was trained as a diabetes alert dog! He was matched with Ben a 12 year old middle schooler here in San Antonio with Type I Diabetes. While Michelle was busy with class and I was busy at work, we didn't want Jethro's work to suffer, so he spent some more time at prison. He was such a happy boy and they work so hard with him.

Michelle graduated Ben and Dakota ( and Jethro came home and we started off like there was no break at all. That's the joy of having other puppy raisers puppy sit for you, there is no regression of work, it's like he never missed at beat, and he even came back better than he went.
We had lots going on around here, he went to Lowe's with me to pick out some hardware for an art project I'm working on. He went Christmas shopping with me at Target, and he spent some time with us at the 3 day retreat at Scrapbook 911. All busy and fun times. his work is coming along nicely, even if he is a really big dork.

We still have to deal with all the puppy things 10 month olds do, like chewing open the seem of the ottoman trying to get the lab to play with him, getting an ear infection, and finding some weird fungus on his head. That had him in quarantine for 10 days while the vet decided what on earth it was and whether or not it was contagious to other dogs, cats or humans. Its some weird name i can't pronounce and apparently you can only get it if you come in contact with the live spore. Go figure. All the other critters and humans are fungus free. Leave it to the German Shepherd to find some funky fungus while playing. :)

i promise not to let this go so long next time. I'm off to an artist retreat this week in Arizona, so Jethro is going to Greenwood school for a week. ( Tracy is a brave puppy raiser who runs a great school. I don't know who i should be more worried for, the kids or Jethro... I'm leaning toward Jethro. But i CAN count on Tracy to take some awesome pictures and video for me!!! :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

A day with my peeps!

Time to get schooled!

This has been a busy time for Jethro. He went on vacation to the Dominguez State Jail where Guide Dogs of Texas has a great program called PAWSitive Approach, where the offenders raise pups just like I do. They even get to leave the prison and train all over town in all the places we traditional puppy raisers do. They even come to the training center and participate in the group puppy classes.

We had just such a training last Saturday. All of the puppies in training, all of the puppy raisers, all the offenders (and their corrections officer) and all the potential puppy raisers waiting for puppies, and some of the volunteers who help with the pups at the prison came to the GDTx training center. I asked John, who helped with Jethro at the Golf Tournament, to help me at class too. Even Jethro's Sister Twist was there! Michelle the Puppy Nazi had all kinds of crazy stuff for us to do this time. We played with hula hoops to practice obedience with dog and human distractions, soccer cones to practice down stays as puppies and humans walked passed by is, we practiced tuck in in under chairs so that we could make sure our pups were always as inconspicuous as possible in all places, and then we practiced all that on a pretend bus. Ernie, our volunteer coordinator and guide dog user supervised the correct spacing of the "bus seats" to make sure Michelle didn't make to easy for us. Let me tell you, getting on and taking a seat on the buss, with PASSENGERS ALREADY ON THE BUS is not as easy as it sounds!!!

She forced us to work the dual sided lunch buffet with dogs on BOTH sides. She did make a great comment I'd like to share with you. She pointed out, when we all complained that it was HARD to get our food while controlling PUPPIES, there were people everywhere, puppies everywhere and at one point MUSTARD everywhere. So Michelle tells us, think about the end goal. Would this be acceptable behavior for YOUR GUIDE DOG, if you were invited over to your in-laws, for a Thanksgiving buffet, and your GUIDE DOG was behaving like your guide dog IN TRAINING is? Wow, you know, we spend so much time dealing with the normal issues of raising a puppy, getting the next skill mastered, that sometimes we really loose sight of of the end user. A visually impaired Texan, who is going to rely on this puppy we are raising to get them through life's little moments, and some not so little moments. It really made us all pause for a moment.

We ended the day hearing the story of Dakota, the once guide dog to be who has been re-purposed to be a diabetes alert dog. What a fantastic story. You can read all about it on his blog! you will be amazed! That last hurrah of the day is always a free run for the pups all together. I love to watch dogs play and just be dogs, even the working variety! so play they did!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Visit to Big Boy School

This was a fun and exhausting week for Jethro. He took a trip to Guide Dogs of Texas' training center. He spent the day getting used all the different things at the training center that all the "big boys" learn when they graduate.

He spent time in each of the offices, as you can see we all have puppy gates built into our office doors, its a very user friendly office for dogs. Annie the office manager gets dog visitors all the time. She has the patience of a saint!

Jethro had to get used to the potty pens that the big dogs use, it similar to people using public bathrooms, some dogs cope really well going "busy" away from home, and others really have some issues. The different textures of the pea gravel and the different doggy smells made for some interesting challenges. He didn't participate in that process very well, he was quite happy to get home :)

he spent some time in the puppy managers office, where he finally laid down and took a nap instead of getting into everything. He did all kinds of naughty things that all the puppies do in a new situation.

he then got to go out to the kennel and hop up on the grooming table and learn to lay there for grooming and nail triming. he was not real excited about the whole stay on the table, thing but he sure liked the cookies he got for being a good boy!

then off to the scale for a weekly weigh in. 68.8 pounds. hes a BIG boy for only 6 1/2 months. His work is really nice, and he's learning really well. he is hitting adolescents, which is not so fun for the humans in his life. he is testing all the rules at the house like any teenage boy! YUCK! but he'll get over it and we will like him again! but let's not mention the black paint on the beige carpet ok!
the next 10 days Jethro is spending out at the Dominguez State Jail as part of the Pawsitive Approach Program. We like to expose all the dogs to all the environments!
stay tuned!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Its that time of year when Guide Dogs of Texas has their charity golf tournament. This past Friday we spent the day in the rain at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Golf Course. It is a BEAUTIFUL facility and even in the pouring rain we had so much fun! Jethro got to spend some time out on the 11th hole checking the closest to the pin contest. He hung out with one of our volunteers while I worked back at the registration table.
Jethro even got to run out to the hole on a golf cart. Not as easy as it sounds when your a 65 pound puppy between he feet of a guy who is 6'4"

Now that its cooled off a little bit training has been really nice. Although he has a LOT more energy when its not so hot. That has been interesting to work with. he can walk longer and play longer too! He is teething also and wants to on everything from a water bottle to your hand. Ruby is still his favorite chew toy, much to her dismay. I think she keeps waiting to see when he wont come back from one of his adventures. When we get back from a training walk she looks like, dang it, you brought him home again!! :)

His work is really starting to progress nicely and he has learned to find doors, counters and the girls room. Which came in very helpful at the golf course because I had no idea where it was!!

hes not so good with trash cans, and buttons yet but we are working on it.

Here's to a good cool work week!