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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good Luck, Dewey

By Fred
Cheryl and I watched today as Jam chased Dewey around the yard, both of them flying like birds but, to our surprise, with Dewey easily and gracefully in the lead, winning a game that Jam usually owns. It was Dewey in charge all the way, running and almost laughing with confidence, making Jam look a little like an old man.

Another year has gone by and it's time now to say goodbye to Dewey. Saturday morning he goes to school. We have fingers crossed that his confidence and maturity will continue to grow, that he'll do well with his training, but mostly that he will continue to be a happy and sweet dog for the rest of his life.

And of course we'll miss him very much.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dewey's Last Week: A Concert at the American Legion

We were invited to hear the band Two Dog Night perform at the American Legion today.

Sign for 2 Dog Night.
 It was great because the bass player is also a puppy raiser for the Pinellas East Group: Alan Horner.  So, of course we went!

Here's a shot of Alan singing and playing.
It was nice to be at "the band's" table. The music was wonderful: the Eagles, 3 Dog Night, Jimmy Buffett, Beach Boys.  Their playing was great and their voices blended well too.  

Dewey looking very relaxed.  
Dewey took his cue from the laid back music and chilled under the table.  He mostly slept.  Although he perked up when Clara, the little black lab female made an appearance later in the after noon.

Dewey stares at Clara under the table. Clara is getting a belly rub.

Clara pretty much had eyes only for the humans.  They could give her belly rubs and kisses.  Even at this young puppy stage she is a master manipulator.

Dewey stares at Clara with lovesick eyes.
Dewey didn't care, he just stared and stared at her with his lovesick eyes.  Romance was in the air.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dewey's Final Goodbye's from Jan and Christina

It's a tradition that on the last day that our Southeastern Guide dog puppy is in the Cone Library that Jan and Christina take their goodbye photos with them.  Now, while the goodbyes have all had an element of sadness, it is not secret to say that people had their puppy preferences.  Some puppy's acted out and some were always sweet.  Some were a bit excitable, shall we say... But none were as gentle and loving as Dewey.

Sweet Dewey Dewdrop, who climbs up in your lap and snuggles.

Christina with Dewey in her lap in a snuggle.
Dewey has been a special favorite of everyone this year.  He is uncommonly sweet and gentle. He has been a student favorite, that's for sure.

Dewey and Christina.
Dewey even made Mrs. Connors a softie. Every morning, Dewey and I would come in the front door of the library and after sitting and being released, he would run to see Mrs. Connors.


She always gave him a tiny taste of peanut butter as his welcome to the library morning treat.

Dewey and Mrs. Connors with the peanut butter jar.

It was their thing.  It was just that once.  In the morning.  And after she put it away, he would lie down and be quiet. Next to her.

Jan smiling as Dewey licks the top of the peanut butter jar.
 But, Dewey was her favorite. She said so.  They had a rapport.  So while they can't be there on IFT day, Dewey, they send you all their best wishes as do all the students and I'm sure everyone at school.

Be good.  Do good.  We just can't see how you could do anything else.