Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dewey Report Card

Good News on Dewey!

Dewey in the gym at school.
He is in Phase 3: Blindfold Walks. Woot!

We are so proud of Dewey.  He is a calm and very sweet boy and we are so proud of him.  Here are the comments from the trainer:

COMMENTS: Dewey continues to do well in training! We are going to lots of different venues and he is generally a very mature and well behaved gentleman. He still needs some additional support from his handler, especially in more challenging work environments. He has a great settle and it's clear that you put a lot of time and love into teaching him to be such a nice boy. 

Now, you might wonder what a nice settle is.  We are pretty sure that is Dewey being lazy and plopping into a down stay after about 30 seconds of standing up.  So, yes, we will take credit for that.  Dewey was a lot like Bob, another puppy we puppy sat years ago.  When I tried to introduce Bob to people, if I talked for more than 15 seconds, Bob would fall into a deep trance and lay on the floor.  We called Bob: surfer dude.  Nothing bothered him.  

Now, Dewey is super chill as well.  He also likes to lay down and nap.  We always said he is the perfect dog for someone with an office job because all he wants to do is lay under the desk and sleep.  In meetings he just curls up by your feet and sleeps.   

We love you Dewey.  Stay strong.  Work on those challenging work environments.  You can do it.  You were a champ at school.  You've got this!  Go Dewey!

Dewey by the French doors.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A 4-Woof Treat

By Fred
When Corky is at home with me the dogs can only get approved treats like little stinky salmon pellets, but today anything goes because Corky is at school with Cheryl, a fact that is not lost on Willow, who is especially happy when it's time for my first coffee break.

After about 13 years of coffee breaks, Willow has developed a way to reward me for picking out good treats. I should note that Jam trusts her judgment completely and defers to her in every way.

Yes, 13 years, at an average of two coffee break per day, three days a week (though we only started raising guide dog puppies six years ago, so I could adjust that number, but even so...), I've had about 4,000 unrestricted coffee breaks with Willow. Her level of approval is marked with woofs, and this morning I received a rare 4-woof rating.

Of course, the woofs come before she has actually tasted the treat (just before we head upstairs), so it is solely based on smell and presentation. Okra, I found out years ago, does not interest Willow to any degree. Nor do Brussels sprouts. Little bits of chicken might get me a single woof, but I might as well get no woofs as only one.

No, in order to get above one woof, there has to be some bread involved, and I've learned that it has to be toasted so that the nutty smell can capture her imagination while I make coffee. Plain toast is almost always a two-woof treat, unless I get to be predictable about it, then only one. I really have to be inventive to get beyond two woofs.
Willow and Jam, waiting for the treat

So this morning I took some whole grain bread with pumpkin seeds on the crust, toasted it to almost burnt, then covered it with a layer of mascarpone cheese, so that the cheese melted quickly and the knife made a nice crunchy sound.

And like usual I ate most of it.
Willow bows her head when she sees that I'm eating the toast

That's right: woof, woof, woof... woof

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Play, Nap and Repeat

By Fred
Corky and Jam napped together and got into such a complicated pile that, because of my inadequate photography skills and Corky's dark coat, I needed to caption. I'm sure this couldn't have been comfortable for either of them, but they continued to nap this way for quite a while.
A picture of Jam sleeping, using Corky's
head as a pillow.

Last night Corky had a fun puppy kindergarten class at Cathy Saunders' place and with our friend John Bauer running the class and doing an excellent job. At the end we gathered all the puppies together on a screened porch and let them loose to play with each other.

I had been feeling pitiful all day, suffering with allergies and the general insult of old age, and for a few seconds there, with the puppies running and playing, I was back in grade school, running on the playground and having real fun. Wish that feeling would last a little longer...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

First Week of School

Corky, our Southeastern guide dog puppy in training, had a slow first week of school.  He will be five months old this Monday, but even so, we wanted to take it slow with him at school and not rush things.  He is a sensitive soul.

On the way into work we pass by a fountain.  As we got near, the splashing of the fountain got louder and louder.  Corky stopped. He looked around.

"It's ok." I said and tried a "Let's go." But Corky was still analyzing the situation.  I waited with him. Finally he looked up at me.  "Ok?"

"Let's go." We started off towards the library.

Corky meets Head Student Library Proctor Gabby, who shows him his big bone toy.
I decided that the first couple of weeks Corky would spend in the library only, getting used to the office, the library and students in general.  Then we would slowly work up to some open halls, a classroom and after than maybe some crowded halls and a convocation.  

He's a real friendly fellow. Greetings aren't a problem for him.  But sounds are distracting, so I want him to be comfortable in his new environment before moving to the next level of sound.  The library is very quiet, but certain hallways can be noisy.  And certain times of day are noisier than others.  

Assistant Head Layla tried to take the bone away from him.
Needless to say, he won't be venturing into the cafeteria any time soon for lunch!

He got very good at sleeping under my desk.  Excellent work Corky!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Corky's First Bath

There are some big events in a boy's life.  Events when you just need to man up and get clean. One of those events is going to school.  Corky will be going to school tomorrow and he needs to be smelling nice for the ladies.  That means, he needs a bath.

Fred takes Corky outside and starts lathering him up.
Corky was a real trooper.  
Fred is running the hose down Corky's back.  Corky's head hangs down.
He got a bath like a real outdoorsman.  
Corky looks in despair for some help, but doesn't see any.
No yelling or screaming or whining.  Just standing firm and getting wet.  Good boy.

After the bath, the toweling process begins.
Then the toweling.  Oddly, there were no puppy crazies here either.
Corky is toweled vigorously with a brightly colored towel and he looks off to the side for help.
He was very calm and cool.  
Close-up of a smushed face Corky wrapped in a brightly colored towel.
A little tired and subdued perhaps, but calm.

Tired of the toweling, Corky just closes his eyes.
All in all, a good bath time was had.  And a clean smelling Corky is now in the house!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Home Depot and Clowns

Corky had a Southeastern Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser meeting this morning at Home Depot. Home Depot was having a safety expo for kids, which was a great exposure for dogs as it had lots of things going on.

Close-up shot of Corky
 Now, Corky is still a little guy, so we stayed mostly in our area and just let Corky do a little meet and greet.  But he did get to hear the sirens of the fire engines because they were right next to us.

Roger specifically wanted a shot of him helping with the orange table cloth.
He did an excellent job folding!
 We had two pop up tents, so we had plenty of space in which to retreat from...

The Clown Krewe was opposite of our tent.  I am scared of clowns.  Yuck. 
Clowns!  Well, I don't care what sort of exposures Corky needed, he wasn't getting a clown exposure!  Not with me by his side.  I don't care what you say, they are creepy and I'm not putting a dog through that.
Leo, looking handsome.  Leo is a chocolate lab.
Jalika didn't have a fear of clowns and neither did Leo.  He handled his clown exposure with ease.

Bingo was so sweet.  She is a black labrador.
Bingo and Leo are the same age.  They are both 6 months old and seemed to be real favorites with people.

Nancy, a puppy raiser, has Cleo, a yellow lab.
Nancy was nice enough to offer to drive up to Palm Harbor, so Corky and I carpooled with her and Christy.

Sylvia and Denny are in our group and are puppy sitters for us.  Denny is a remarkably sweet former guide dog candidate who didn't make it.

Sylvia with Denny.  Denny is very white around the face.

Close-up of sweet Denny.  He will greet any dog with good humor.

 There was a pygmy goat wandering around on a leash and they always have issues.  They would rather be regular goats.  So, we made sure to keep our distance.  Same went for the chicken and the horse.

Keep it light, keep it small, keep it clown-free.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A True Music Lover

By Fred
One thing I've come to accept is that dogs don't care for my piano playing. For years and years our dogs have consistently snubbed me, usually by leaving the room at the first note. A few would literally boo me and howl before they walked out. Even our good-natured guide dog puppies have run politely into the kitchen to escape.

Then Jam came along. As a little puppy he sat patiently while I played and would gaze up at me as if to say I really love that. But the fact is that Jam hates to be alone. He hates it so much that he will put up with anything. The look he gives me probably translates to this: Can we please, please leave now?

Now we have Corky, who runs over when I play and seems to enjoy it. He's a sweet boy and is probably just being kind. We'll be getting his ears checked for sure.
A picture of Jam and Corky sitting under the piano.