McLean Puppy Chronicles: What happens when you do the unthinkable and open yourself up to raise a puppy to give away to someone else: You create joy and freedom for a visually impaired person. We're puppy raisers for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Read about our journey.
My Dad likes to send me random photos of things that he likes: pretty flowers, javelinas that are in walking by his office window, new haircuts my mom gets and any service dog that he sees when he is out and about. I love getting these photos as they are usually accompanied by some funny remark.
The service dog photos are a little different though. Those I think he takes on the sly without letting the dog's owner know that he is capturing their puppy for posterity. I never thought about it until yesterday when I was stopped at Nature's Food Patch, our neighborhood grocery store and go to dinner spot for a quick salad. I had put Jam into a down stay by the cold drinks and was taking a photo while I waited for Fred to get his salad from the amazing salad bar. I was approached by one of the store managers.
Guide dog puppy in training Jam lying down.
"Hi!" He said as he strode up to me. He was a little out of breath as if he thought he might have missed us and hurried out from behind a counter to talk to us. "You know I have a photo of him on my phone."
I looked at him. "You do?" I smiled. We go to Nature's Food Patch a lot. We like salads and even more, not cooking during the week.
Encouraged, he continued, "Yes. He or she?"
"He has a bag of treats in his mouth and is sitting." He smiled at me. "He's so beautiful."
Now at this point, I could quiz him on the bag of treats he says are in Jam's mouth (Seriously! What?!! Fred says it never happened.), but I decide that quizzing this clearly besotted man is not the right thing to do, so instead I start talking about Jam's impending IFT date and how smart he is. Jam is calmly lying down and being good and not lunging for crumbs under the drink holder. (Thank you!)
Fred comes over to take Jam and the manager walks away with his secret photo of Jam.
At school, during one of the all school convos, I happened to sit next to one of the girls who was taking photos of Jam with her phone. She showed the photo to her friend. I caught just a glimpse of it.
"Oh, can I see?" I asked.
"Sure." She showed me. It was a great shot of Jam. I told her so. She said she had a photo of Jam as her phone background. I asked her to send me the shots she took of Jam.
It made me think of all the people who take secret photos of our puppies and think happy thoughts of them or dream big dreams for them. They are so excited to get to know one of our puppies. I know my student was thinking Jam would make it. And the store manager will always ask about Jam.
Guide dog puppy in training Jam at the check out counter.
At the checkout line Jam was ogled by three checkout girls. They commented on how pretty he was, how good he was and how calm he was. We gave them our hopes for his bright future as a guide dog once he goes in for training and they nodded and looked down on him with optimistic gazes. Yes, they believe in Jam.