Sunday, January 8, 2017

Kahj's First Week

We now have our 8th guide dog puppy to raise from Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, FL.  His name is Kahj and his sponsor is Theresa Wells.

From left: Cheryl, Fred holding Kahj (a yellow lab) and Theresa, greeting him for the first time in the Southeastern Kennels on Dec. 30th, 2016.

 Theresa raised the money to sponsor and name Kahj and we agreed to raise him.  Here's how Theresa tells the story of how his name came about:

"Yes, there is a story behind that name. Kahj is a future superhero AND charming prince. Kartie, my successor guide dog (we were matched back in January 2015 - he is one of elite extraordinaire) and I flew to Cleveland, OH to visit my daughter and her family to meet my second grandchild. My 5 years old grandson, Tahj had a HUGE fear of giant dogs and doesn't want any part of it especially with pictures. I was silent and very confident that it would change. When Tahj and Kartie met for the first time, I gave Tahj a few pieces of frozen green beans. They were 5 feet from each other -- Kartie sat there and decided to sit next to him waiting for the treat. Tahj gave him one piece at a time. Kartie was very, very gentle to him. After a few minutes, it's the love at first sight for both of them. Three days later, Tahj became so obsessed with Kartie and decided to have professional photo shoot with him! I was in awe how they got connected in just a few days. That's how I came up with the name after both of them, Kartie and Tahj. I decided to name Kahj to honor their unique connection!
Photo of Theresa holding Kahj in her arms.
His birthday was on Sept. 12th, 2016.  So, when we got him, he was about 15 weeks old.  We didn't have school on Monday the 2nd, but he did go to school with me on Wed.  However, he spent the day in the library as we are doing a slow introduction of him into the school.

Kahj napping on his tie-down in my office.
Since we didn't want to overwhelm him, we were very careful to only let a few people say hello to Kahj during his first day.  Once his limit had been reached, no more visitors.  One person at a time, and Kahj had to sit in order to say hello.

It helped that Kahj is calm and knows the sit command like the back of his paw.

Kahj showing off his sit.  He has a little bit of an Elvis lip going on.
 Of course at home, he was a goof ball and would be silly and flip out and roll on his belly.

Kahj sleeping on his back.
Kahj's fist visitor was our good friend Michele Timothy.  She is usually our first visitor to meet all of our puppies.  They got along great.

Michele with Kahj on her lap.

Kahj also has the distinction of living with Jam, the dog who loves too much and Willow, the Duchess of Everything.  Willow has already declared him lovely and made him her plaything.  She rarely is immediately accepting of a puppy, preferring to have a period of grumpiness where she can bark her displeasure of having a young dog bother her.  Much to our surprise, Kahj is sweet, calm and not at all bothersome.  Willow loves him.

Jam has declared him a brother, although he could do without the occasional humping. 

Jam and Kahj share some toys together.
 All in all, it has been an amazing first week with a delightful new puppy.  We know that every puppy is different and this one is no exception.

Kahj wearing a green bow tie that was supposed to be Jam's Christmas present, but was a bit too small for him.  It looks mighty cute on Kahj.

Kahj on the bridge with his bow tie.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Talking While Pooping

I work at a pre-k to grade 12 school and I take Bassett in to school with me on M-W-F.  If you have been following this blog at all, you know that I have had a very close relationship with poo in all its myriad forms.  I have not run across this particular problem before.

Usually, I try to make sure that students are spared the sight of Bassett doing his business.  I know when the pooing hours are and I have poo places to take him that are set away from delicate sensibilities.

But sometimes, a dog doesn't want to poo during the regular pooing hour.  Sometimes, a dog holds it all in for a while.  On Friday before an Admissions appearance and photo shoot, I noticed a certain look which belies a fateful turn of events.

I take Bassett outside pretty quickly and we rushed over to some pine straw where the poo would be easy to pick up.  Bassett immediately turned three times in a circle and started to poop.  Almost at the same time (this being lower division book sale day), I heard a small girl child call out:

"Is this a good time for me to pet Bassett?"

Mind you, Bassett is STILL pooping, big horse poops. The girl's mom, instead of saying "Of course not, walk on sweet girl and avert your eyes!" She says, "Just wait a second...Ooops, I think he has some poop stuck to his butt."

OMG! Could it get more embarrassing?!

Yes, yes it could, because to get the dangling poo-horse turd to release, Bassett comes out of the pine straw and onto the sidewalk, right next to ME! I have a bag on my hand and am frozen.

Should I grab the poo and yank it out of his butt in front of the little girl?  Would that be traumatic?  His butt is pointed away from her.  Or should I wait and see if it will naturally fall out.  Give gravity a chance.

Please work, gravity!

PLOP.

I have never been so happy to see a piece of poo hit the floor before.  I scooped it up in the bag and added the other poo and then threw it into the trash.  I wiped my hands with the sani-cloth and turned to the mom and child.

"Bassett would be happy to say hello." And so she got to pet Bassett, who was very attentive and friendly.  Funny how that happens after a good poo.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bassett Learns a Lunch Lesson

Bassett is a very good boy.

Usually, when we go out to eat, we take Bassett and Jam.  Jam being the elder and a picture perfect restaurant dog, he counsels young puppies on proper restaurant behavior: lay down and go to sleep.

It's been a routine that works.  Puppy after puppy. And our baby Bassett has been doing really well.  So, today, I took Bassett with two friends to the Olde Bay Cafe in Dunedin for lunch.  It is very dog friendly and we have been there many times before with the boys (Jam and Bassett).

As we walked up to the outside patio, I heard barking as two mutts seated at a corner table got wind of Bassett.  A big brownish fuzzy dog and a black and white small dog continued their obnoxious behavior as we proceeded past.  Now, I could use the word lunge, but it is so charged with meaning. Let's just move on to the lady who owned the dogs, who said, "Don't worry. They're friendly."

Really?  You can't tell by their behavior.

On the amazing side, all I did was the switch command to put Bassett on my right side, walk him past the miscreants (Bassett walked past them without pulling on the leash or trying to get to them - awesome loose leash walking!) and sat as far away as possible.

Yea Bassett!

Bassett close up.  He's looking down, kinda sad.
But I did notice that he was inching a bit under my chair, which was in the direction of the "bad boys." I had to pull him back.  He also got a bit restless and would stand and look mournfully over at a table not far away that had a nice black lab at it.

Bassett was really being put to the test as he had the "bad boys" and the black lab and couldn't play with anyone.  His only fussing was the mournful look, full of longing for a romp that wouldn't happen.  One of the ladies at a neighboring table smiled at Bassett, I got the sense that she thought Bassett was dealing with the situation in a grand fashion (no barking or fussing).

Close up of Bassett looking hopeful.
Then, a new group moves onto the high top table next to us and they bring with them a highly excitable boxer who begins a staring match with Bassett.  Bassett looks up at me.  "Should I look at him?"  I turn him away from the boxer.  So rude.

Not five minutes later, another couple arrives with two Pomeranians.  They put their fluff balls on the patio floor with a treat stick, food and water.  Really?  Why not set up a play pen for them too? Just take up the whole entire walkway, because honestly, your dogs are the most important ones in the entire world and as patrons of this restaurant, I enjoy having to walk my dog not only around your dogs, which isn't a problem, but now, I have to have him avoid your bones and treat rawhides that you have thrown out onto the porch.  Thankfully, as we leave, Bassett does not try to eat their food or take their treats. 

Bassett is a very good boy.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Corky's Day: Corky Is A Guide Dog!!

Cheryl, Chris with Corky and Fred at puppy raiser day.

Puppy Raiser Day:

We have now been to three puppy raiser days: one for Dewey, one for Coach and one for Corky.  But by far, Corky's puppy raiser day was the most nerve wracking. Why?

We really wanted it to go well.  

After 6 dogs, lots of different things have befallen you and you just want smooth sailing.  

So, it was a very distracted driver who drove down to Southeastern this morning.  I am very thankful that we got there intact.  The whole way there I am thinking, 

"Will he like us?"

"Will Corky remember us?"

"How am I getting all the cookies into everyone's bags?" 

"Will Corky love him?" (Which I dearly want him to do!)

"Did I just miss my exit?"

Fred, who was fairly calm about my almost missing the exit, was a bit nervous too.  But we waited for our trip into the cafeteria for the bios to be read.  I was able to quickly shove cookies into everyone's bag of goodies.

Chris.  His name is Chris.  He is a grandfather.  He lives in Georgia.

Time to watch the partner walk.  Chris and Corky are mid pack.  They come out.  Corky finds the curb.  They cross the street.  Then they are making their way down a sidewalk. All of the puppy raisers are about 20 feet off to the left hand side in a pavilion able to take photos without the dogs noticing us.  But as I stand next to the column looking out, Corky sniffs and turns and looks right at me.  

Chris and Corking walking.  Corky is looking at the camera.

He goes right back to work.

I take more photos of my working guide dog Corky and his new partner Chris.  They are great match.

Chris said they are a match made in heaven. That they had Corky wait so that he could be matched with him.  I agree.  Corky has an odd gait: fast and slow, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, which is just exactly what Chris wants.  

They say there is a guide dog match for every person who needs one.  I believe it.  Corky was waiting for Chris. Now they can lead each other on new adventures.  

We can't wait to hear about them. Because in the end, for me, the day is all about them: seeing them, meeting them and honoring their bond. It was a really lovely morning with a wonderful new team.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Amazing News about Corky!!

Face on portrait of puppy Corky.

Big News about Corky

Pensive Corky looking down in a stand of bamboo
We just received some very good news about Corky.  Surprising, actually, because on June 10th, this was the report card that we got:

Comments from Last Report Card:

"Corky is such a sweet boy. I have only had this guy for a few weeks but he is doing pretty well. He is still a little immature which we are working on but this has improved. We have also been working on his jumping. He does love to work in harness and has been doing well. Thank you for raising this sweet boy."

Our Thoughts:

We were a bit worried.  His other report card from the previous month was super positive.  We thought perhaps he is regressing.  But one can never know what is going on inside the kennel and it is really hard to interpret one trainer's comments from another's.  It's like when you have that one introspective friend who hardly says anything and is really low key.  For her, when she says, "Yeah, it's cool."  It's like a bomb went off and there were huge dance parties and people were shouting, "OMG!! It's the best thing ever!!"  But you don't know that, because you don't know that's the kind of trainer who is now writing your report card.

It's similar to the comments on your child's report card.  Everything that isn't MY CHILD IS AMAZING is equated to THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY CHILD.  So we worried about the jumping and his immaturity and we worried he might not make it. And we should have looked at the SWEET BOY (of which there were TWO, among other compliments). And we should have trusted the process.

Big News:

Then, when we were in Paris, I got a Facebook message from our Area Coordinator, Lois, asking if I wanted to hear some good news.  Well, heck yeah!!!!

"Corky has been matched!!! (Then she added icons for celebrations, wine and balloons) Puppy Raiser Day is July 9th. (More celebration icons!)"

There was much celebrating in Paris!!  Here's to you Corky!

Corky, Jam and Willow at Christmas 2014.
 You are an amazing boy.  Do good, be good and we will always love you!

Our handsome Corky.



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day Dreams

Day Dreams

Bassett is usually a very calm dog. As you can tell by the photo below, he can be almost angelic in his sleeping position. 
Bassett in his crate with an angelic look on his sleeping face.
More often than not though, he is sleeping with his head at a crazy angle, hanging over the edge or sleeping while having the hiccups or snoring VERY loudly.

But sleeping is the big constant.

Bassett, in his crate, just befor closing his eyes for a nap.

I guess he is a bit angelic.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mine, Mine, Mine!

Daffy Duck

Jam, the dog who loves too much, tends to look at the world as his oyster.  It's all his.  Every last bit of it.  Consequently, he pees on a great deal of it.

He reminds me in many ways of Daffy Duck, a character who also was concerned with owning everything.  This scene is from one of my favorite cartoons with Bugs and Daffy.

 

Jam and Establishing Ownership

So, back to the peeing.  Jam generally pees on lots of items.  Sometimes this means walking into a new home and taking possession of the best pillow, the one previously owned by the small male dog in the house.  Method: Pee on the pillow.

Meet a new friend? Why not pee on their head?  Guaranteed to let the neighborhood know whose friend they are.  Jam's friend!

Where Shopping Is a Pleasure

My favorite place to shop is Publix, so of course I went to the Publix Paws booth to sign up for Publix Paws at Walkathon!! And I took Jammy with me while I signed up.  Jam was quietly sniffing the banner and sizing up the tote bag and the two water dishes that they were giving me (two dishes because Publix rocks!) and then Jam had a brilliant idea.  Why not own Publix? Why not become a part of Publix Paws? Really get into it? Make it his program?

Wait for it...

So, he peed on their sign.  In front of them.  Standing next to me.  While I was obliviously filling out my form.  That is until I looked up to see the wide open, staring eyes of Publix employees locked onto Jam.

I turned to catch him shake it off, so to speak, and lower his leg.  Quite pleased with his aim as it hit the paw print right on the money and  kinda blended in with the cornflower yellow of the banner.

I could only think that "Wow. I'm glad that banner is water proof, um, pee proof, and all the pee is beading up and running off it." 

"Bye! Love Publix!" I grabbed my tote and yanked Jam away from the booth.  

Jam, sitting by the Publix Paws banner, he loves Publix and so do we.
Despite the peeing, Jam is very grateful to Publix for all the treats and toys he will be getting in the near future from the Publix Paws program coupons.  He's hoping to pee on the toys.