Saturday, May 30, 2009

This was a big week!

I forgot how tired these little guys get, and quickly! Mental exhaustion is my best friend. Even though he can play with Ruby for waht seems like forever, a quick 10 minute walk has him ready for a two hour nap. This week we visites noisy places like Lowes and busy blanco road for some traffic work. We have to get him exposed really well before the fear imprint stage begins in another week.

Thursday Michelle, the puppy raising program manager, and our boss, took Jethro to do Great Day SA with Joseph. Joseph created an I-phone app as a fundraiser for guide dogs and Great Day SA on KENS 5 wanted to have them on. Jethro was a little freaked out, but did pretty well. Joseph was fantastic. If you have an I-phone, down load the app "pocket puppy raiser" and help a great cause while having fun!

One of the great things about raisng a guide dog puppy and owninf your own business is that the only person you have to worry about getting mad at you when the puppy reaks havoc on your place is you!! I took him the the friday night crop with me form 6pm to mindnight and while Michelle and I were helping customers, he decided to entertain himself. They always know when you are distracted right?

So after that little fiasco, back on the tie down he went! He looks so inocent don't you think?

Friday, May 22, 2009

We made it through the first week

The first week of raising a guide dog puppy is the hardest. .

You have to go to the vet and get vaccinations and all kinds of things squirmy pup wants nothing to do with.

He's learning a new schedule, hes settling in to a new routine, she eating everything in sight and waking you up at all hours of the night.

When you get over the fact that you have cleaned up six thousand puddles of pee and realised he ate another magazine, you start asking what were you thinking, again! After raising three guide dog puppies you would think we remember this part, but somehow, just like kids, we do it again, and discover it's because they are stinking cute.

Jethro has learned a lot this past week, starting with his name (sort of) and how to sit (when he wants to) and how to lay down (if you have enough treats) and how to "watch" which is the command to give his attention back to you. Granted he does it with a kind of glassy look and really is more following the treat, but hey, he is only 9 weeks old.

He did his first two training walks with my boss, the puppy raising program manager, and he did pretty good. He was only required to walk one block, and he did then promptly sleep all afternoon, and so did I! it is the most exhausting thing to engage this puppy for a whole block, to make sure hes not afraid (of the giant trash can) or the car whizzing by (as he scurries between your feet) or tries to sniff the grass (not in his job description) but at the end of the day, he and I were both better off for the experience.

Thanks to all of you who have asked after him, hes doing OK (and so am I!) More next week, right now we are off to walk in our first rain storm, then a nap.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Long first day!

Well Jethro made it to Texas after a long first day as a guide dog puppy. We started in South Carolina where we picked him up from Dogs For Autism. I was lucky to be able to go on the road trip to pick out my puppy, a special treat for a puppy raiser, and made even cooler by the fact that Jethro and his sister Twist are the first german shepherd pups in the puppy raising program.

We drove to Charlotte North Carolina to catch the flight to DFW, that's not as straight forward as it sounds when you are toting a wiggling 16 pound puppy with luggage from the rental car return, through baggage check, then security (where the screener is TERRIFIED of dogs) and then having to stuff the very unwilling puppy back in it's carrier then head to the gate, get boarded, stuff the puppy under the seat and not have your neighbor try to jam his foot in your space and step on the pup who is FINALLY quiet!!

Then you arrive early to DFW which would be great under any other circumstance, but that means longer time with the pups who are very tired of being in their carriers, so we let them out to potty and play (BIG MISTAKE) its time to board again, and they are NOT HAPPY about another trip into the carrier! Did I mention, Twist BARKS! people were trying to figure out where it was coming from, the carriers look like regular luggage so we could blend in.

They were really good travelers when all was said ad done, they slept most of the time, the two humans, not so much! We were very happy to be back in San Antonio, for a whole other adventure. Claim baggage, find the car and oh yeah, find a place for them to pee, and don't forget, San Antonio Terminal 2 is TORN APART! so we had to hike with the 2 pups that now feel like they weigh 50 pounds a piece!We finally get to the car where they can spread out in the big kennel and enjoy some space. We got to head directly to Sonic Drive In for a much needed caffeine boost on the way home.

Of course we get home and want to sleep, and these puppies are raring to go! They got to meet their new room mates, the pet dogs who have no rules, and try to figure out their place in the pecking order. No surprise when they learn just how far on the bottom they are. Thankfully the pet dogs are very patient with new recruits, and there was a tenuous peace.

We recruited the teenage son to stay up with them and headed off to much earned bed! We only heard them a few times through the night, not too bad for a first night, but being the 4th guide dog to be raised in this house, we know there are MANY more long nights (and days) to come. Every single one of them worth it, when you get to see these little guys turn into and amazing dog that offers independence to someone with a visual impairment.

So hang on this is going to be a wild ride, and you get a front row seat!