Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bringing Corky Home

Yesterday we picked up puppy Corky.  He is named in honor of Corky Taylor, Vice President at BB&T Insurance Services by the BB&T Insurances Services Walkathon team in appreciation for his long standing support for Southeastern Guide Dogs.  Already Corky, the puppy, has shown himself to be a self confident, friendly, and sweet natured puppy.  I'm sure Corky, the human, shares many of those same qualities!

Tara at Southeastern was very kind to let us do our pickup on Friday afternoon, which we so appreciated!  We wanted to have the long weekend to get over some of the sleepless nights associated with a new puppy, but thankfully, that puppy program is amazing and Corky slept through the night (almost).  He slept from 9:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.!

Cheryl and Corky say hello with a kiss.
Tara said his report card said Corky was a confident pup and sweet natured.  We are finding that to be true.  He also seems to possess much more common sense than our career changed dog Jam does!  Already today I think Corky has rolled his eyes at Jam more than once as if to say, "Really?"

Corky settles into Fred's arms in contentment.
Corky and Fred got along great from the get go.  Could that be because Corky's dog dad is named Fred as well?  Who's to say?!

Corky gives Fred a big smooch.

Fred is in love! (Fred smiling at Corky)

Cheryl leans in to kiss Corky who is in Fred's arms.
Corky was very calm through all the meet and greet.  We even had a couple of dear friends with us to photograph the moment: Michele, my teacher friend, and her son Kelland.  They have been there for all of our puppy pickups either in coordinating them, sponsoring them or being there when we got them.  So, even though they moved to another school this year, it was only fitting that they met us to get a glimpse of Corky!

Corky and Kelland.

Michele and Kelland and Corky

Michele and Kelland and Corky
Corky did get a little frisky with the camera and I got a nose shot.  It was kinda cute.

As I mentioned, the puppy program is fabulous.  Corky already knows sit, is working on stand and has a basic understanding of down.  He sat for the car.

Corky walks up to the car.

Fred asking Corky to sit.

Corky sits.
Corky only tried to jump up twice.  Then he settled right down and played with the toys we brought for him.  He loves the set of keys. He must be a car guy! We'll have to ask his sponsor about that! haha!

He got along great with Duke.
We stopped off at Melisa's to pick up Jam and he met Duke and got Duke and Melisa approval.

Corky's first portrait.  He has a lovely smile.
He's a go getter. He's tail never stops wagging.  He's curious and friendly.  We just love him and can't wait to tell you more about him!
Jam's first Corky photo bomb.

Sounds of Breakfast

By Fred
After a pretty good first night--Corky slept through to about 4:30am--we had our first breakfast. What could be going through that little puppy mind, with so many new things, new people, new routines? And in particular, breakfast time offers up plenty of new smells and sounds, starting with our Vitamix blender, which has as much horsepower and attitude as our lawnmower, chewing through frozen fruit with a determination to wake the neighbors. But Corky was amused. So far, he is a very brave little guy. Then the espresso machine started hissing and coffee beans started grinding. Ears perked up and still the waggy tail. I love this dog.

Corky sat and waited like a big boy for his breakfast (with more patience than his new brother, Jam). And after breakfast we went outside and he pooped right away. (He did the same for Cheryl last night.) The puppy people at Southeastern are doing a fabulous job training these guys. It really makes a difference for us.

Unfortunately, our happy day yesterday was mixed with some sad news about our friend, Dave. We wish him the best and fastest possible recovery.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chapter 6 of the McLean Puppy Chronicles Start on Friday

Friday, Fred and I will go down to Southeastern Guide Dogs to pick up our sixth guide dog puppy to raise.  His name will be Corky.  We will get the sponsorship papers and find out why he is named Corky, because for the first time in a long time, he won't be sponsored by my school.

Corky's mom is named Sugar and his dad is Fred.  So naturally we think this is a match mad in heaven. 8-)

The protocols for raising a puppy have changed substantially, so we are busy rereading the manual to make sure that we understand what it is that we need to do to raise up a confident, happy puppy.

I went yesterday to buy two new baby gates as ours had finally fallen apart.  Coach and Dewey and Jam had taken their toll on them and the last one had finally given up the ghost.

Fred and I talked about what puppy toys I needed to buy before Friday came.  Just to have on hand for baby Corky. It has been a long break for us. We usually get a puppy right away.

We are very anxious to see our new little guy. Here's to a great, fun year!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dewey's Report Card

By Fred
We got some news about Dewey yesterday that made us smile and breathe a sigh of relief--his first report card. Dewey is our quirky, shy child, just the opposite of our charismatic Jam in some ways but with the same desire to please and be loved. We weren't sure how he would do at the kennels, whether he would be stressed and overwhelmed. So far, he seems to be on the right track, and his trainer seems to understand him:
Dewey is such a sweet and easygoing boy! He is always so excited to go work. He is getting along very well with his roommate and behaves very nicely in the field and during feeding time. He's quickly learning the skills he's taught on route, and his forward response has improved with each route (initially he just wanted to hang out beside me, sweet boy). I look forward to working with him more in the coming months!

I can never say enough good things about the trainers. They are amazing, and we appreciate everything they've done, not just with Dewey.

So, back to more breath-holding and waiting for the next report card. We love you, little man. You can do it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Puppy Sitting: Barrett

On Sunday, I asked the girls in my advisory what day they wanted to have advisory tea and I got a surprise request from one of my advisees.  She wanted me to bring Dewey by the hospital to see her.  Her appendix had burst and a therapy dog had been by to visit and she would love it if I could bring Dewey by to see her.  It just about broke my heart to tell her the day before we had returned Dewey to Southeastern.  So, of course, I asked around to see if anyone would lend me their puppy so that I could bring it by the hospital to visit her.

Barrett at St. Joseph's in Tampa.
Carolyn was going to be at the Sheraton with family for July 4th and needed someone to watch Barrett, so I took over for her already scheduled sitter.  She brought Barrett by on Monday morning and by lunchtime we were at St. Joseph's.  Turns out that Barrett has a highly developed empathetic streak.  She sidled right up to my advisee and stayed next to her and let her pet her.  

We stayed for about 45 minutes and then left.  We didn't want to overtire her.  But St. Josephs was great with Barrett.  Very friendly and helpful.

Barrett and Jam became fast friends.
Jam was feeling the loss of Dewey, so having Barrett there to run around with was very helpful to him.

Barrett did have to learn to like the blue pig in the yard.  
We did discover that some of our garden art was a little scary for her.  Although, I don't think that Fred has ever really warmed up to that pig, now that I think of it...

After a long day of playing, Barrett and Jam would crash.
Barrett is asleep on the floor.  Jam is sleeping on the chair.
 Jam and Barrett would take naps together. Although Jam did not use Barrett as a pillow.

Portrait of Barrett in tall grass.
I had a lovely time with Miss Barrett.  She was very sweet and a tail wagger, which I adore.

Barrett by cactus.
She also followed me around, which was great for helping out with missing Dewey sadness.

Barrett looking serious.
Of course, now we have a Jam and Willow looking sad and our house feeling quiet with two dogs.  How is that possible?  Thanks for a great stay Barrett.  You were a lovely house guest.  You can stay anytime.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dewey Goes In For Training

Dewey went in for training on Saturday.  Strangely, the house is even more quiet with him gone.  Why strangely? Because Dewey was one of the quietest dogs ever.  He never barked. He didn't whine.

Although, he did occasionally make a small bird peeping noise at the door when he wanted to go out.  We miss that.

A lot.

Fred standing in front of the Guide Dog U sign with Dewey.
Dewey was ready for Guide Dog U.  He is smart, able and very capable of being a guide dog.

Dewey's poster.

We had time to fill out his paperwork and time to think about our year with him during the 6 weeks before we brought him in to Guide Dog U.  We thought about whether he really know that find the elevator command and if his sit and stay commands were strong enough.

Fred and Cheryl with Dewey at his poster.
Dewey is so calm.  He's a very low energy kind of dog.  We like to call him, surfer chill.  We thought, he would be really good for a CEO who needs a dog who likes sleeping through meetings, or a teacher who wants a dog to sleep through class.

Dewey finally met his brothers Hairy-cane and Bowser.
Hairy is next to him on the right and Bowser is on the far right.
Even in finding and greeting his long lost brothers, Dewey's response was still pretty low key. (Of course, we use Jam as our comparison.  So, perhaps we have the most extreme dogs ever.  Jam on the far left and Dewey on the far right!)

We filled up his treat bone and took it in to his kennel.
 Dewey has always been a very good sharer and play partner.  He does play dates with Duke and is one of his favorite friends.

Dewey's roommate is our neighbor Barpal.
Dewey and Barpal had a playdate when they were little puppies.  Of course, Dewey and Jam play all the time and they play HARD!  Every now and then, Willow will try and join in, but the boys run past her and ignore her.  No girls in our play.

Dewey in his new home.

 After Dewey went back in to the kennel, we were taken over to do some puppy hugging. It was very much needed.

Fred got some puppy kisses.
They had some very cute puppies.

This little yellow lab has all the toys around him.
After puppy hugging though, we were so worn out.  Dewey was our fifth puppy to give back.  The new assessment kennel was so nice and the ceremony was incredibly well done.  I think it was amazing how far the puppy raising services has come in making such an incredibly heartbreaking event not so traumatic.  They really did a super job.  

We want to take this moment to thank all the people who took the time to give up their Saturday (the puppy raising staff, trainers, volunteers, kennel staff, employees, and anyone I missed).  You made that Saturday into a momentous day for us.  You gave it weight, significance and meaning.  All of your hard work and effort is deeply appreciated.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dewey's Last Puppy Meeting - Last Lunch - Last Dinner: The Night Before IFT

It is our last day with Dewey.  So there are a lot of tears today.  Secret tears and not so secret tears. There will be tears tomorrow.  And probably more later.  He is so sweet.  We will miss him tremendously, but he has a big job to do and we need to let him go on to the next stage to do that.

Today we went to Bon Appetit and ate on the patio.

Dewey was lovely and calm. We had a water view.

Dewey mostly sleeps at restaurants.

So does Jam.

We took one last photo by the water of the boys and Cheryl.

There are a lot of forms that we have to fill out when we take our dogs back in for training.  One of them is a Puppy Raiser Bio Form.  It asks for additional comments on why we chose to become puppy raisers and our wishes for whomever is matched with Dewey. This is what I wrote:

"We wanted to find a way to give back that we could incorporate into our lives. We love dogs and we thought that puppy raising would be a perfect match.  What we didn't realize is that every dog of every raiser is important to you.  You care about the dog you puppy camped, the dogs you puppy sat, and especially the one you raised.  You love them not just because you raised them, but because they are the embodiment of Southeastern's mission.  They are what we do and why we do it.  We do it for you, the graduate.

I thought it was about the dogs.  But it isn't.  It's about the freedom, the independence, the self confidence.  It's about making sure we raise up a happy, self confident puppy for you.  So you will have a guide you can depend on.

We hope we got it right.  We wish you all the best.  Dewey is tenderhearted, sweet and loving.  He will be an amazing companion."

Photo of Dewey, 2014, out for dinner, looking handsome.
Do good. Be good.