Saturday, January 31, 2015

Southeastern's Open House and How Corky Schmoozes

For our meeting this month we went to the open house for Southeastern Guide Dogs and talked with visitors to let them know more about the puppy raiser program.  

Two of Southeastern's employees at the welcome area.
The open house is always a fun event to go to because all of the areas are open to see: the kennels, the dorms, the vet center.  So the places that are really interesting and usually off limits are open to the public for tours and an explanation.

A cheerful young lady mans the volunteer opportunities table.
 Nancy with her yellow goldadore Cloe and Fred and I with Corky set up shop near where some of the visitors were and we managed to have several really nice conversations.

Fred talking with this really nice couple.  The man and woman had two dogs and lots of
experience with labs. They really liked Corky.
 Funny thing about these types of gatherings.  You wouldn't think that talking would tire you out, but it can be very demanding.

Puppy raiser Woody with his black lab sitting on a bench taking a break from the schmoozing.
 It is a challenge to be up and informative and cheerful all at the same time. But it's an important cause and the dogs do incredible work.

The boy's grandma wanted his photo with Corky and Cleo.  I also took some shots.  Here he is with Corky.
 While we were walking around we were asked to be in photos.  Well, not really.  Corky and Cleo were asked to be in photos.  No one really cared about us.  Corky did really well with his meet and greet.

Here he is with Corky on the right and Cleo on the left.  
 The dogs were a big hit with volunteers working the open house as well.

Cleo is giving a kiss to the ladies working the crosswalk.
Southeastern has been growing and has some new buildings and gardens.  It is an amazing place.  To our surprise there was someone there we didn't know was going to be there: Dewey!  Our friend Katie took a blindfold walk with him and sent us this photo! Go Dewey!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What It Means to Sponsor a Puppy

Southeastern Guide Dogs' primary mission is to provide dog who blaze a trail of freedom for their visually impaired partners. A secondary and lesser know mission is the one the dogs have embedded in their brains: their name. For each dog is named for someone special and he or she carries the hopes and dreams of that person's legacy with them. 


The naming process is a very special process.  A person or a family or group will come together and make a decision to honor someone.  At Berkeley, we decided to honor our retiring headmaster, Joseph A. Merluzzi: JAM.

Joseph A. Merluzzi holding puppy Jam upside down in his arms.

One year, we had one particular student, Austin Iglehart, who raised all the money himself and wanted to recognize and honor his football coach for being such a role model and mentor.  That was Coach. Our sponsor was shy.

Austin Iglehart with Coach on the football field.

And sometimes the honoree touches everyone's heart.  

Christie Bassett

This January, 16 year old Christie Bassett lost her life in a  tragic automobile accident.  In addition to being a competitive swimmer, she was a vivacious young lady with a zest for life and a love for dogs.

Christie with her Uncle Chris's career changed guide dog Johnny.
Christie is a little girl in this photo.
And I know that while you all may be thinking that this is very sad, but I don't know why this matters to the McLeans and why it should matter you.

Christie with Wally, Chip and Chris's current guide dog in training.
Wally is asleep on her lap. Christie is smiling.
When Jam went in for training, he had a problem: he had bad separation anxiety.  Perhaps you have seen the Jam Cam or remember the posts about all the problems we have been working with him on about separation anxiety.  Well, at some point, Southeastern felt that for Jam's mental health that he needed a break and he needed to go to someone who would help him not only with his anxiety but would help him complete his training and allow him to come back, eventually.

They sent him to Chip and Chris.

Chris with Jam.
Chip and Chris got him through.  Chris is Christie's Uncle.  Chris has also been volunteering with Southeastern since 1997. Both he and Chip have been our friends since we got Jam back.  

Sponsorships are a way to let that loved one live on in memory.  We were thrilled that we had an opportunity to be a part of helping to name a puppy after such a sweet girl. Our hope is that you feel that same way.  Will you be a part of helping her name to live on in the spirit of a lab, golden or goldadore puppy?  Just click on Walkathon and go to our walkathon page to make a donation.

Any donation is acceptable!  However, if your donation is $50 or over, I will personally handknit you a scarf like the one Jam is wearing.  Just tell me your favorite color.

Here's a video of Christie.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

All Dogs Are Black at Night

Last night was a late night for me.  Fred had worked out in the yard and was very tired.  He went up to bed early.  So, left to my own devices, I meandered along on the internet and became trapped in that sinkhole of time known to many as Pinterest.

I took a detour into the cul de sac of doom: Etsy.  When, with bleary eyes, I looked up, it was midnight and Fred had thoughtfully left me with all the dogs.

We trudged with heavy feet up the stairs.  There was one light on in the bathroom.  The dogs fled into the darkness of the bedroom.  I began to put on my pyjamas, brush my teeth, take my pills.

Turn out the lights.  Sweet darkness.  One more holiday day and then work beckons.

I round the corner to my side of the bed and my feet make contact with a dog.  A soft fluffy one.

"Ah, Corky.  You are so sweet for waiting outside your kennel." I said to him.  I patted his head and did a small tug on his collar.  He walked right into the crate.  I pulled it down behind him.

I got into bed.  Closed my eyes.

Snoring.  Such snoring.  Fred was sawing away!  And then, just underneath the snoring, I heard a little peep.

Wheep, wheep.

SNORE. SNORE. wheep.

What was that whistling?  I elbowed Fred, but he didn't move.


It got a little louder.


Was it Corky?  Did he need to go out?  Fred rolled over and the snoring stopped.


It WAS Corky.  I turned on my light.

Jam stared back at me.  Jam was in Corky's crate. In the darkness, all dogs are black and I had grabbed Jam and pushed him into Corky's crate and shut it behind him.  He was staring out at me. 

"Why? Why?" His expression asked.

I jumped up and let him out.  Corky came out from around the corner. He was so happy to be free.  I grabbed him and put him in the crate.

Order was restored.
Close up photo of Jam, our yellow lab, looking handsome.