Thursday, April 24, 2008

We're back!

We made it back from Colorado, 3 tired dogs, and two even more tired people, possibly covered in more dog hair than the dogs.  Note:  driving with the windows down will not suck the dog hair out the window, it only blows it around more, and ends up in your drink/on your clothes/in your mouth.
It was interesting to drive back with three, vs. driving out with two.  The jockeying for position, constant panting in your ear from the one who didn't score a window seat, and lots more potty/water/relief from panting dog stops were needed.
We took I-80 out to Colorado, it was quick, but cold and boring.  (The trip back we took I-70, which was longer, but much prettier and warmer.) Once we got to Boulder we meet up with Tom's mom and had dinner, and then headed up to Nederland for sleep.  In the morning we let the dogs run and have a great time (the house has a HUGE fenced backyard!).  I think they would have stayed there if we would have let them.

The boys enjoying themselves in the backyard.
After that we headed off to Denver to pick up Sterling.  We went into downtown Denver and walked around with Marley and Hugo.  

Here is Tom with the boys outside of the courthouse.

Hugo, the boy that never stops.
True love!

Outside a really cool old church.
Tall buildings, which very much fascinated Tom!  Big mountain, no problem, but put him in a city...

Right after we picked up Sterling.  He loves Marley.

When we went in to get Sterling, he sniffed Tom, then me, and got really wiggly and excited!  He started licking my hands and dancing all around my legs; I was so glad that he remembered me.  There was a lot of excited whining when he got in the car, but the boys all quickly realized that they knew each other and settled back down to the important business of sleeping and/or looking out the window.

That evening we went to the Boulder Puppy raising group, where Sterling was welcomed with open...paws?  Or maybe lots of butt sniffing.  Anyway, he got to meet the very cute Angel and her wonderful raiser Emily, who had invited us to the meeting.

It was really cool to see the differences between how clubs run their meetings and interact.  This was a much bigger club than we are used to (ours currently has 6 dogs, that is big for us!).  They were covering dog-dog interactions, and I learned new things about dog behavior.  In particular, I did not know that there are different types of hackling!  It is not always bad, sometimes it just means they are really excited.  It can also mean anger or fear, depending on how widespread the hackling is, and if there is any vocalization.  

In the end, it was really cool to go to their meeting, and Sterling was a very good ambassador for Utah pups!

No Sterling!  Drop it!  (The things puppies find in mountain backyards!)


Drum roll please......

Sterling's new custom Guide Dog's for the Blind puppy...bandanna!

He doesn't seem to hate it as much as his jacket, but it still seems to bug him.  For now we are not doing any outings other than going to work. (I have been warned that I will most likely get hassled anyway because of the bandanna, so why push it before I have to.)  I am just trying to let him settle back in.
I will try to take some better pictures of his vest, wait, no, bandanna, tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008


We drove to CO today, and quite forgot just how exhausting it is to drive that long.  So we have decided to stay an extra day, and drive home on Wed.  Sterling is waiting in Denver, and we will pick him up tomorrow, bandanna and all.

That is his new thing.  Instead of wearing his vest when out, we are going to try a bandanna.  Hopefully this will allow him to focus on being out, and not how annoying his vest is.  He will wear his vest basically all the time at home, eating, playing, sleeping, and will hopefully learn to re-associate it with good things!!!

It was a very long drive here, but the dogs got their reward of going to Nederland and running, running, and running some more in the woods and around the house (it is kinda in the middle of the woods!)  

Boulder is a little weird about dogs, it seemed like all the people on the paths we went on today were really surprised to see a dog.  Even driving around the city we did not see very many!  Definitely not "Bark City"!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Coming Home

Sterling has been in Colorado with my CFR for 7 days now, and we can bring him home!  Unfortunately plane tickets have gone up since I looked last week, so we are going to drive out.  We are planning on leaving Mon morning, and getting back Tues evening, by 6pm so I can make it to my last Wilderness 1st responder class.

If we drive we will get to see Tom's mom, and we can bring the dogs, but it will take a little while longer to drive than it would to fly.

Sterling is coming home!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

End of Winter

It snowed again last night.  I am ready for it to be spring again.  Hiking with the dogs, haning out at the park.  Last summer we would hang out down at the park and let them play for 2 hours, just soaking up the sun and talking with other dog parents.  
The last day Sterling was here was a beautiful day that was very reminiscant of spring, so we went to the resort and took some pictures.  He loves the snow!  

After Sterling left, we went around Park City with Hugo and Marley.  There is a bench that all the tourists take pictures on.  Since Marley is becoming very good at going where ever I tell him, he hopped right on the bench at sat for some pictures.  He blends into the background, everything is brown right now.

He is really doing well on public access training.  He will maintain an off lead heel, keep attention on me, and doesn't spook when kids come up and grab him.  His one weakness is food.  
There is still a week and a half before I can go get Sterling.  I am deciding between driving out with Tom and the dogs, or just flying out myself.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

T-Shirt Ideas

I want to get shirts made for my group...and would like to put funny/cute sayings on the back of the shirts.  Does anyone have any guide dog puppy raising specific ideas?


Monday, April 14, 2008

New Puppies

On Friday our club welcomed 3 new puppies.  Mario is a MBL being raised for the high school raising program. Lisbon is a MYL also being raised to be transferred to the high school program. Foxboro is a MYL, the fifth for his raisers.

This is Lisbon.  All the puppies were cute, but he was WAY cute!  He is a very dark yellow lab, with an wrinkly face.
New pup Foxboro, then Motown, and career change boy Brent.
Foxboro, then Lisbon, and little Mario in the back.  The M puppies were tiny!
Our club now has 8 pups!

Tiger Dog?

I have had Marley out around town lately, working on public access behaviors.  People come up to me all the time and comment on how he looks like a tiger (sometimes they say lion, lol).  He has the strips, but his contrast is not as noticeable.  To me he is more of a camouflage dog.  When he is off in the brush I have a very hard time spotting him.

Tigers are by far my favorite of the big cats.  It is so sad the plight that these beautiful cats face in the wild.  While there are some amazing captive programs (Tiger Island in Australia being my favorite, Hogel Zoo here NOT falling into that category), it is very sad that we cannot seem to stop the decline of their wild counterparts.

Waiting to come home

I had hopes that Sterling would only be out in CO for a week, and that we could go get him this weekend, but it is looking like he will be out there for at least 2 weeks, possibly longer.  

Tom and I are making plans to drive out there the weekend after next, in hopes of bringing him home soon.  Everywhere I go, from the grocery store, to my classes, to work, people are asking where he is.  I miss his sweet little kisses, and playful antics around the house.  Even the way he begs for belly rubs in class!

I hope he continues to be a good boy, and that there is a protocol to help him like his vest.  

As soon as he is ready, we will bring him home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

7 Months

Here is a little Tribute to Sterling. He is leaving on the puppy truck for Colorado today. My CFR is going to evaluate him to see if there are any underlying medical problems. As soon as I get the call, he is coming back home! Even if we have to drive out and get him ourselves.

9 1/2 weeks old

12 weeks old
13 weeks old
15 weeks old
4 months
5 months
6 months
7 months

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Now it is my turn to fill out this quiz.

How many puppies have you raised?
I am raising my first puppy, Sterling.  I got him in Nov 2007.

Why did you start raising?
The leader up here was the trainer for the dog class I had my dogs in, and when she talked about there was such passion in her voice, I wanted to give it a try.

How long have I been a puppy raiser?
5 months.

What is one thing you have learned in raising?
Starting a young puppy in the middle of a really cold and snowy winter is probably not the best idea. 

What have your puppies taught you?  
Sterling has taught me that praise and patience are key to training.

What is the strangest thing someone has asked/said to you about your puppy?
They asked me when the guide dog schools started breeding miniature labs for guides. (The guy thought I was blind, it was when Sterling was only 4 months old!)

Do you give your puppies real name out in public? 

What is the most embarrassing moment you have had with your puppy? 
When I was talking to someone I had gone to High School with, telling her how well behaved Sterling is, and then he puked on her shoes.

What is the proudest moment you have had with your puppy?  
The first time Sterling went into a store and did not try to get his vest off.

What advice do you have for new puppy raisers/owners?
Never underestimate the power of puppy breath on your emotions!  Get addicted and love these little guys.

Internship with WBR!

I have to do an internship as part of my capstone for my major, and I contacted Wasatch Backcountry Rescue to see if I could get on with them, and they said yes!  WBR is a non-profit that trains dogs for search and rescue, primarily for avalanche rescue. 
I will be assisting on rescues and helping with general administrative tasks.  I am hoping that this will help me make some contacts in the SAR world.  I would love to train a SAR dog.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Accident Prone Marley

Two weeks ago, Marley was skiing with Tom, and got cut on his front foot.  We went to get the stitches taken out on Saturday, which meant they had been in for 14 days.  

Two hours later we were back at the vet.  The whole incision had reopened!  Poor Marley now has 3 layers of stitches, and a wrap on his paw.  The vet (laughing) said she would see us back in two weeks for another try.

Marley is a perfect case in point for pet insurance! (Thank god I got it after the first surgery!)

One free dog
OCD surgery (bilateral)
paw injury (after hours) 
Waking up to kisses in the morning...(still making payments)...but truly priceless.

Day with the Dogs

A beautiful day for the big boys.
Relaxing with the toy he found, and dug up, all on his own.


Run boys!  Biggest to smallest.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


For my birthday, I worked until 6, and then it was off to a concert at the Canyons Ski resort.  Slightly Stpuid was playing, and there were a ton of people!  Even quite a few dogs.  We brought Sterling and he had a good time.  We hung out there, watching the cops walk aorund and ID people.  One even almost ran me over in the parking lot!!!

After the concert, we made our way over to Redrock brewery and had a great dinner.  My mom, dad, sis, Tom, and 3 friends were all there, it was a great time.  After that it was off to bed since I had to work the next day.

All in all, it was a great 21st!  Now I just have to make sure Tom's is amazing, since he has had to sit through everyone elses.


I know there are many sayings out there for puppy raisers about how you can only raise a guide if they want to be a guide....but at what point do you know that?  Sterling is not even 7 months yet, and sometimes I just cannot figure out what he wants!  On Monday, after our club meeting, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home.  It is a store Sterling has been in, successfully many times. (Well, he does try to lick the floor every now and then...).

When we went in, about half way into the store, he started crying.  I stopped right away, thinking something was in his paw.  I checked all his pads, in-between his pads, and didn't find anything.  I checked his collar and his jacket to make sure nothing was out of place or pinching him.  I didn't find anything, and so said "lets go" and started walking.  He walked next to me, with his body turned out, crying every so often.  Anytime I stopped, or really even paused in my step, he would sit right away.  I could not figure out what was wrong.  I decided to take him outside, thinking he needed a potty break.  When we got out there, he was not interested in pottying, rather he bolted right to the car.

This continued on Tues as we walked to my class, and then even outside when we walked to my car he whined.

On Wed he only went into Smiths with me for a couple of minutes, and when I went to walk back down an isle to grab something else, he sat down and would not move.

Thursday, same thing with the not moving.  Once we were out of the coffee shop, I just wanted to grab a napkin, but there was no way he was going to let me take him back inside.

Now my leader has him, to see if it is behavioral, or could possibly have an underlying medical cause.  It just came on so suddenly that we are kinda stumped.  He has always disliked his jacket, wanting to rub it off, but he has always liked going places.  I just do not know.  

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Today is my 21st Birthday!  I got to wake up to happy doggie kisses and snow.  Why is it still snowing in April?  Sterling will get to experience the DMV with me when I go to get my new license.

And then it's off to work... bleh!