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!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Catching up!

Hi all, I'm sorry its been so long since and update. I've been out of town a lot, which means Jethro goes to a sitter! being at a sitter is a really good thing for guide dogs in training. they learn to cope with transition, they learn that rules are the same wherever they go and they learn that there is a whole other scary world out there to cope with. Jethro can use all of that! he just turned 6 months old and is starting adolescence. I hate teen age boys!!
Jethro went to visit a puppy raiser in Austin who has some great experience not only with guide dogs, she is raising her 4th, but also with German Shepherds. She also has a crazy menagerie of all kinds of critters, including a cat named Buddy, who shall we say is "special". Jethro LOVES Buddy! he loves Phantom, their guide dog in training and Floyd, their therapy dog, and he even probably likes Lila the dachshund (although she barely tolerates him). There is Cassidy, the shepherd too. not too mention the giant turtle and all the other cats and a huge bird! Jethro didn't know what he was in for!! By the time i picked him up, he was used to all of it and happy as a clam. Even if he Sharon was ready to kill him for throwing a hissy fit in her office!! bad puppy!! no bark!!
After the first round of puppy sitting we had Jethro home long enough to take care of some necessary business. we had him neutered! He was pretty good about the whole thing, he whined some, and was a little groggy from the anesthesia but overall he bounced back pretty good. And even though he was required to wear the cone of shame (SQUIRREL) because he refused to leave his stitches alone, he flew around the house like nothing was the matter. he didn't care that he pounded the back of our legs with the evil cone, or knocked stuff off the coffee table, or moved furniture or sliced the back of my ankle. he was perfectly happy with the cone!

Right at the end of his confinement we sent him back to Austins so i could go on another trip. He loves going to Sharon's and he got to swim in the baby pool, he really thinks hes a lab, and check in with all his pals and Buddy his favorite cat. He really doesn't understand why the cat at home doesn't like him as much as Buddy does!

We are all back to normal now and he is fully recovered and we are back to training all over town. his work is really coming along nicely even though he is still so young. its really hard to think of him as a young pup. last week he weighed 64 whopping pounds!! he now is the biggest dog in our house, and the youngest! he's a full 2 inches taller then ruby!!

The hard work begins now. we need to start teaching some of the finer work, so off we go for a new adventure!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Road Trip

It was a special week for Jethro. He got to go on a road trip with Michelle the Puppy Raising Program Manager for Guide Dogs of Texas, basically my boss. Michelle's been know to grab a dog from anybody handy when she needs to do a presentation or event, so it wasn't a surprise when she said she was taking him. So off to the Wisconsin he went! Here is Michelle's Entry for you!

He thought looking backward would help get him there faster, maybe he just wanted to see what he missed being in the back seat. but we were sure to give him a traveling companion. That's Dug from the movie UP, if you haven't seen it GO see it!
From south Texas to northern Wisconsin is a bit of a haul, we went through Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We had some weather to deal with so we didn't get all the state signs but we got a few :) Jethro was a rock star with the crazy traffic noise while he stood on the side of the road for pictures, they will go in his album of the road trip!

We spent A LOT of time in the car, 2900 miles to be exact, and he was good as gold, most of the time. After all he is a 5 month old puppy. He decided to shred the box that holds all the travel poo bags! not much i could do while driving, except clean up the mess at the next gas fill up.

he slept and slept and slept in the car which was GREAT, but by the time we were done driving for the night all he wanted to do was play!! UGGG!! Feeling bad for him being cooped up all day (but so was I)

I made sure he got a nice walk around our hotel, all the new smells and sounds and moths and this weird stuff called rain, tired him out (finally) and we got to bed, but up early the next morning to start over again!

We fianlly made it to beutiful Merrill Wisconsin, the weather was a very balmy 86 degrees, but after how many days of 100+ it felt blissful! it rained and thundered and was COLD the first night we were there. Jethro got to play with all his cousin dogs.

We were on 85 acres of freedom to him so off leash he went.

We did lots of whistle recall and he was FANTASTIC! this is the exact reason we work so hard on recall, so that he can go out and be a dog and come back when needed!

Just blow the whistle and he comes running from waaaaaay far away, sits like a champ and waits for his reward for being such a good boy!

After hours and hours of running and chasing and playing with all the other dogs, exploring the weird lizards that popped up, a random frog and countless flying things he was completly exhausted!

When the boy is tired, he is never far from someones feet. He curled his 55 pounds into a tiny ball and slept slept slept!
After all was said and done we still had another 2 days in the car to get home. All the playing from the last day really tired him out and it was a peaceful ride the first day.

The second day however, he was done with the whole idea of the road trip. he kept pestering the driver to hurry up, no matter now many times we told him his help was unnecesary an he was too young to drive he still tried to worm his way up front to drive.

We stopped for a break and let him burn off some energy and play in all the corn we'd seen for a million miles.

Then like the good boy he is, he crashed for the remainder of the trip home!

Now Jethro is home safe and sound and was happy to reunite with his puppy roomates. He wasnt tired for long and was raring to go. He is getting ready for an even bigger adventure this week...

the nueter!