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.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dewey's Last Day in Rudolph Library

Sometimes, your best moments come in the quiet spaces between times.  Between those times when you are supposed to be doing something.  Something supposedly IMPORTANT.  

I had just finished a meeting with the lower division librarian.  I thought the library was empty, but there were four lower division students left in it.  They had been very, very quietly waiting for us to finish what we were talking about.

"Is now a good time for Dewey to take off his coat?" While it was the red haired girl who asked, they all had pleading in their eyes. I did have somewhere to be, but it was so quiet and Dewey was so still. 

He looked at them.  He looked back at me. "Sure."

We are all gathered around Dewey who is on his back getting belly rubs.
The kids were ecstatic.  We started to talk about dogs as we petted Dewey.

They were all very impressed with his soft coat.
And then he did what he always does when he gets lots of love and attention: He smiled.

Dewey, on his back smiling.
Which made all of us laugh.  Or maybe someone said something funny.  It was just a lovely moment in the library with Dewey and the students.

Laughing in the library with Dewey and the students.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

First Day Jitters

By Fred
In just a few weeks Dewey will be In For Training, and we'll be sad. It does not get easier, letting these wide-eyed creatures go after spending a year taking care of them and giving them every indication (in actions, if not words) that we are big creatures who they can trust to be good to them and to keep them safe and to not abandon them.

Yesterday Dewey and I made another trip to our favorite Dunedin restaurant but this time with a new waitress on her very first day. She was nervous from the start, bending over to get closer when I gave my order--as if I talk too softly and mumble (which I don't). Then she forget the order and had to ask me again. Dewey just wanted her to go away so he could nap.

Later she returned with my food but the plate was hot and she spilled some pinto beans on the floor just inches from Dewey's face.

Many dogs would have eaten a bean or two before the mess could be cleaned up. But not Dewey. He watched her calmly as she rushed to clean the floor near him. "What a good dog," she said, amazed.

"I know."

Then later I asked her to pack up my lunch to go, but she didn't--I don't know where she went or what happened to my food. But that's beside the point. It was her first day, so I gave her a nice tip.

Everybody has a first day. Dewey will have a first day of training soon, and he will probably be nervous. We feel fortunate that he's going in to work with some wonderful trainers and that they will learn what he special dog he is. Otherwise it would be just too hard to let him go.

He'll be fine once the jitters go away. Or maybe he'll be fine and it will just be Cheryl and me with the jitters...