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!

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