Friday, August 29, 2008

School, snow, and Recall.

The tenative news for the puppy truck....Sterling will not be on it this winter! Yay! They bumped back some of the dogs from the Oct 1 truck, and now it looks like Sterling will be here for snow (which may happen this weekend). Now if only I can walk (graduation this spring from college) with him, but that would make him an OLD guy when he goes back. I really don't care at this point, I just am happy for all the time I get to spend with him.

This week was the first week of school for me, and with a drawing class, a photography class, and only one major class and an internship, it will give me alot of time to focus on perfecting Sterling's training. He did wear his vest for the first day of each class, but now we have switched off it again, and as usual the difference is night and day. It does require a little more explaining, but I put his "guide dog puppy" vest strap around his leash and that seems to catch most people's eyes. That or the fact that I usually have a hat on that says Guide Dogs for the Blind. I wish there was some way to get him used to a harness so that I can see if that is going to be a problem, because without the vest on he is almost perfect!!!

That gives me alot of time to consider what my next pup will be, or if I will just say, "suprise me!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free dog? No such thing!

Marley was supposed to be my free puppy.  Already had shots done, the rest covered, a neuter date set and paid for.  He is a mutt, so they are supposed to be free of those weird genetic diseases that afflict purebreds, and hardy enough to never even get a cold.

Well, maybe not in Marley's case.  Bilateral OCD surgery when he was 7 months, leg laceration when he was 12 months (and after the stitches were taken out the first time, it reopened!), and now an ER trip for an obstruction!

Wed night Marley threw up his food, water, more water, and then some more water.  It went on for 3 hours, he was panting and licking the air obsessively, so we made the trip down to the 24 emergency clinic.  

His symptoms let up somewhat (of course) by the time we got there.  They checked him for bloat, perforated intestine, and obstructions.  They only thing they found was a staple.  

Yup, a tiny little staple.

They sent us home, I did fluids, and then watched him the rest of the night for any sign of distress.  In the morning we went to our regular vet who took an x-ray to make sure the staple was moving through his system.  It was.  And he was acting completely normal, still trying to over-enthusiastically greet everyone in sight!

$450 later, he is happy, healthy, and back to normal.

I love my dog, but remember there is no such thing as a free puppy!

More on Recall and New puppy...

First off, Thanks everyone for your responses.  I really liked Kelsey's idea of pulling my choice out of a hat!  Either that, or just not indicate a preference and see who I get.  I will stick with the labs, because I do want a pup when Sterling goes back, though I am sure the LGX are wonderful.

I have heard that the yellow labs shed more, as Emily said, their hair shows up on your work clothes, though mine are usually covered in dog and cat hair anyway...

Does anyone know if Guide Dogs will push back a recall date if you are willing to bring them in?  I just don't know if he will be good to go (though he is doing better with his vest), in 2 months.  Emily mentioned that some people have been able to fly in with their dogs, anyone else have any experience with that?

Thanks again for helping me navigate the sad, but wonderful, thought of recall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thoughts on Recall and a new puppy

I have been doing ALOT of thinking about Sterling, recall, new pups, and GDB in general. If Sterling does go back in October, that puts me right in the middle of the semester, with midterms and classes in full swing, making it a bit harder to get a pup. I did do it last year with Sterling, in November....

I have watched people put dogs on the truck and not get a pup the same day, and I have watched them get a pup the same day, and it seems easier on emotions if you have a pup to cry with that first night.

I think I will get a boy, girl, black, yellow.... stay the same, or mix it up so I am not reminded of Sterling? They are all precious and hard to give back, but the first pup it seems especially so.

I have never had a female dog of my own, anyone who has raised both care to share the differences between the sexes? How about between colors. And just what are those LGX about?

Thanks for any response you have!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The joys of puppy breath!

I work at an animal rescue, and this weekend we had 12 (!) puppies come into our program.  We have to foster out all of our puppies, and there was one little boy left over.

Meet Titian! 

(I have started naming litters of puppies and kittens at work how GDB does it, so that each littermate has a name that starts with the same letter.  It makes spay and neuter apps, and shots records much easier to do, as well as making it easier on my poor memory!)

Sterling loves having another puppy around; he is so good with pups!  Dante loves being able to steal food from puppies, and will play with Titian when he feels like it, but that is about it.

Titian looks like a lab, but his mom is actually an English Setter!  His litter came in because the owner of his mom wasn't careful, she had pups, and the pups were eating more than the family could afford.    So now we will place them in new homes.  (If you know anyone who wants to adopt...!)

He is a sweet pup!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Less than a year?

We got the last date for the puppy truck here in Utah. It is Oct 31, and if Sterling is on it....we will not have even been together for a whole year. (He came Nov 17th.) The raisers of Melrose, Motown, and Shaw all got their pups on the same truck. He will only be 13 months old, but if he waits until the April truck he will be 19 months.

These fall puppies are hard! I would hate to have such a short time with Sterling, but I also do not want to deny him opportunity to be a guide.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Funday, Pier 39 and Hyde St.

A mostly picture post of the last two days of the California trip.

Sammy and Sterling, the only two pups to show up to our littermate meeting!  Sammy was MUCH bigger than Sterling!
Bracken, the newest member of Summit Guide Dogs.  His raisers also raised his dad, Bingham.  He is one BIG boy!
Ok, what is that sound?
Sea lions?
But it sounds like a dog...a whole lot of them.
Oh well, time to take a group picture. Right to left... Owen, Mario, Lisbon, Shaw, Sterling.  Not in picture, Melrose and Bracken.
Blowing in the wind.
Can you say hi?
Sterling steering a really big wheel.  Well, maybe not.  But cute anyway!
Those were the highlights from our trip.  I will be going again next year with a different puppy to star in pictures.  Sterling will always be my first and biggest star of puppy raising, no matter what career he chooses.  I love this dog!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

California Day 1

Well the first day of our trip was very fun!  We did the follow the Instructor Activity with Guide Dogs where you follow guide dogs in training.  We saw three different levels, one who was just starting routes and learning the concepts of curbs, another who was in harness and learning more complex skills, and finally an almost finished dog who was just polishing off what they had learned.  It was very cool to see all these amazing dogs: and do they ever walk fast!!!   I also saw Angel, who was a beginning demo dog for another group, and we saw Sage, another beginning demo dog from the high school raising program.  Our almost finished dog looked just like Sterling, just the female version!  Her name is Fable.

Angel, doing an awesome job!

This was our first demo dog, notice the soft handle.  This is so the instructor can pick it up or drop it while working with the dog and not really effect their movement, just give them a sense of pulling.
Food reward at curbs!  Man they love the curbs!

Our beautiful second dog.  Already stopping at those curbs.

Checking out the intersection.
She looks so much like Sterling!

After training we went back to Guide Dogs and picked up our puppies who had been boarding there while we did our activity.  Then it was time to go to the beach.  We went to Stinson beach which was absolutely beautiful.  After some initial hesitation, Sterling starting jumping the waves as hey came in and swimming in the water!  Tired pups and lots of bathes followed our wonderful time at the beach.