Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jammy Is Loved

We are so proud of Jam.  He is still in Phase 3: Polishing and Blindfold Walks.  On his last report card 

Jammy sitting and looking off to the right.

his trainer said that Jam still got distracted, but they were working on it.  As you can see by the photos, Jam is a VERY happy boy and he certainly loves his trainer!

Jam is standing and his trainer has her arms around him.
Jam has his head thrown all the way back almost in a howl of happiness.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Coach Goes Away to Puppy Camp!

Coach went to puppy camp today.  What is puppy camp, you ask?  Well, puppy camp is when we take our Southeastern Guide Dog puppy and we give him to another Southeastern Guide Dog puppy raiser family to raise for two weeks.

Why, you ask? There is a method to the madness.  If it is only one week, then the puppy is still on its good behavior and any bad behaviors we might want them to be on the look out for (say trash picking or side table surfing) might not come out.  But by week two, they unbutton their pants, so to speak.  They settle in and get comfortable.  They might take your hair scrunchie off the coffee table and try to eat it (are you listening Jordan? 8-)

So, I drove Coach down to the Kriseman's house for his puppy camp.  Not only are they experienced puppy raisers (Eckerd, who went in with Jam has already been matched and just graduated with her person last week), but they are experienced puppy campers.  Unfortunately, they don't currently have a puppy.  That means we are without a puppy to bring to school for two weeks since the deal with Ava fell through (Coach being intact and all, see previous post on humping).

Coach staring at me with a solemn expression in the car on the way to camp.

I did take two photos of Coach with Kerry and Jordan.  One had Coach as a blur and everyone else was a bit blurry as well.  The other one wasn't blurry, but we had to take it so quick that not everyone had on their pretty face.  So, I'll just leave you with Coach's serious face photo on his way to puppy camp.

I have a good night photo that I just received in a text from Kerry (woot!!).

Coach, very tired after playing all night with Peppermint!
Evidently he has played with every toy in the house and Peppermint is guarding his big container of food.  Just in case anyone is thinking of stealing it!  Good Peppermint!

I know he will have a lot of fun at camp.  I can't wait to see photos and hear about his adventures.  I'll keep you all posted.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coach and the Boy Scouts

 On Tuesday our meeting was with the Boy Scout troops that meet at the Heritage United Methodist Church up by Countryside Mall.  There were LOTS of little boys (and some girls) there who were very eager to hear about Southeastern Guide Dogs, what they do, what puppy raisers do and to see a puppy and interact with one.

If' I'm not mistaken, the lecture was the most exciting. Haha! Really, Andros, our newest puppy in the group was the most exciting and the mob to get into his group was really a sight to see.  Although, all dogs did have happy children in their groups.

We waited outside while Michele gave an explanation of everything

Here we are trying to wait patiently in the lobby.  We are partially successful.
At last we are called into the main meeting room with the boys.  Now the fun can begin.  Ooops.  Some Q&A first.

Here is a shot of the boys all seated at tables looking at a half circle of puppy raisers with their puppies at the front of the room.
 After a few questions, it was time to divide up into groups of about 4-5 boys to a puppy.
Here's another shot of the boys patiently waiting to get a puppy group.

I have to say that my group was pretty good.  There was one boy who tended to get really excited, but when you explained that you had to be calm around the dogs so that the dogs stayed calm he tried really hard to stay calm.  It is so hard for some boys and he really wanted a dog at home.

The boys sat next to Coach and patted him on his body.

Coach did an excellent job.  When the excitement level would start to rise, he would stand up and we would have to get the boys to lower their voices and get Coach back in a down stay.  Then we would be good for a while.

Coach had one boy who really loved him and gave him a big hug.
Coach is a little unusual in that he is a cuddler.  He has been that way from the start.  He loves to be in your lap and he loves to be hugged.  So, there wasn't a problem when one of the younger kids wanted to give Coach a hug.  We knew that Coach is very accepting of this.  It's one of his super powers.

Fred took over for a while and had another group petting Coach's side and the top of his head while Coach was lying down.
Fred's group was quite a bit more quiet and calm than my group and Coach spent most of the time lying on his side relaxing.

All in all, I think everyone had an excellent time!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Austin and Coach

Every now and then Coach's sponsor, Austin, will come by to check on Coach and see how things are going.   

Austin is sitting on the floor with Coach in his lap.  Coach is
looking back over his shoulder at the camera. 
As you can see by the photograph, Coach adores him.  I'm glad Coach is such a good boy.  They make a nice pair.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back to School with Chemistry!

This week we had a full week of classes.  Coach and I went to the Honors Chemistry classroom to teach thesis statements and research. Ms. Schneider is one of the Honors Chemistry teachers and she also happens to be a good friend.  She recently donated the earnings of the Serve Tutors to Coach's Walkathon effort in order to help the SLPs name a puppy.  That donation was over $800!

She is also very involved with the St. Francis Society which helps spay and neuter homeless and feral  cats.  They are also very active in finding homes for kittens and adoptable cats.  As you can imagine, she has all sorts of interesting kitty cat smells on her, coupled with the chemistry smells!  Coach loves her.
Here is a photo of Coach sitting next to Ms. Schneider.

We had two class periods with each Honors Chemistry class: one to talk about thesis statements and then one to talk about research and annotated works cited and the podcast assignment.  Coach generally remain sleepy and quiet nearby.

However, during one class, Ms. Schneider and I were sitting at the long table in the front of the class and students would bring their thesis statements up to us to have them approved.  Coach was sleeping in between our chairs.  Ms. Schneider had wheels on her chair and started to roll back without realizing that sleeping Coach had his tail directly under the wheels of her chair.  The wheel caught up his tail hair and zipped it into the wheel covering mechanism, which then yanked it out of his tail in a big hank.

Coach leaped straight up into the air going from sound asleep to immediately awake in zero to 100 flat.

All of the students cried, "Oh! Ms. Schneider!" and rushed to the front of the classroom.  Coach had crowded in close to me and was giving Ms. Schneider the hairy eyeball.

Now, you have to know something about Ms. Schneider.  She's a very no nonsense, kind of person.  So, with all the class looking on and Coach over at my side, she says, "Oh, you're ok," and patted her leg.

Now, Coach never let out one little peep. In fact, at this point, he scoots a little closer to Ms. Schneider and wags his tail.

"You probably just want me give you a big apology." Coach circled around to her, wagging his tail and sat down looking up at her.  The kids all relaxed and started to sit back down.

Soon the next class started and Coach was off into dreamland.
Coach, lying up against the wall dreaming.
The Honors Chemistry podcast project just isn't interesting enough to hold his attention.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

With the Flu

By Fred
Today I thought I could do it. I thought I could get dressed and take Coach out for lunch to our favorite place. In fact I did get dressed, and I got Coach into his leash. But a cold and rainy wind hit my face when I opened the door, and I could hear my mother's voice in my mind saying "You can't go out in that, not with the flu."

So like a child I turned around and went back into the house. As a younger man I would have said "screw it" and drove to the restaurant. I've grown older with a generous regard for illness--for the flu and pneumonia and all the things tougher than I am.

Coach doesn't seem to care. We did some doggy push-ups, and maybe he got a special treat. Coach is such a good boy. I'll be glad when this flu is gone.

Also, good news from Dr. Woodman. Willow has come out of her surgery very well (she had a bump removed from her eyelid).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Macho, Macho Man

Have you considered humping lately?  I thought not.  Now, if I were talking about our previous Southeastern Guide Dog puppy Jam, you would already be thinking of several stories, but Coach, not so much.  He's a laid back dude.  Nary a stray thought about the opposite sex passes through his brain.

He's much more concerned with where his blanket is and when dinner is.  Are we going for a walk?  Where is his nylabone? Can I take a nap over there?  Those are the thoughts of our Coach.  But not doing the wild thing.  On the couple of occasions when he has tried it with Willow she has rolled her eyes and sat down.  Coach just sort of stops and wanders off as if he intended to do something else the whole time.

"Uh, I meant to go find my nylabone.  I think it is over in the family room.  I'm going to go look for it now."

It is a requirement that all guide dog puppies have a puppy camp experience where they go to someone else's house and experience a completely new family and way of life for two weeks.  So, we had worked out a puppy camp experience with our friend Nancy because she had sons and a different work environment and they also had Ava, a cute little black lab that we would be getting in exchange.

They also had Orchid, a female breeder lab, who had just been inseminated.

Ah, do you see a potential problem? Coach didn't.  We didn't.  He would have been content to wander around clueless (probably), but can you really ever trust a male dog's libido?

Nancy did the only sane thing a breeder host mom would do: she checked with Southeastern to see if there might be a problem.

Now, I suppose, if one were to look at this a certain way, you could say that Southeastern views Coach as a very macho dog.  He is now not allowed to co-habitate with puppies of the opposite sex during any puppy sitting or puppy camping. He must go to a home without another puppy or with a male puppy.  Oh, Coach, you are such a macho man!

I think this is a smart rule.  It's a lot like letting your dog guard your lunch.  There are very few dogs who have the strength of character to not eat that sandwich when your back is turned.  And Coach is only 9 months old.  Granted he isn't Jam, but he is totally functional.

And when totally functional gets in the same room with highly scented with intriguing pheromones  that's when you get oopsadores.

Close up of Coach's face.
And seriously, he's so handsome.  I think Orchid might have thrown herself at him.