Thursday, April 4, 2013

Just another day in paradise

Dodger And I continue to learn to work together as a team and to bond even more so than we already are. He never ceases to amaze me with the wonderful things he knows and does for me . He always brings a smile to my face with his Eager to please personality. His tail constantly wags while we would make our way down a supermarket aisle, to a seat on the bus, Or when we are just moseying along. Dodger Truly loves to work.
About Five or six months ago, when Brian and I worked dodger together , I knew this was going to be a great match ! Brian is the trainer at guide dogs of America for those who don't know. Anyways as we were saying I knew it was going to be a great match, Brian had put a lot of hard work into this dog and it showed. Even that early on in Dodgers training, he always had Such a focus on his work and keeping us safe. The route we worked Was short small, and I didn't see my boy after that, but that one day was enough for me to know that I was going to get a really really good dog. But that day also showed me something about Brian that I liked very much, it showed me his heart and his passion for each dog he trains. I could tell there was something special between Dodger and Brian I knew my boy had whittled his way into Brian's heart . I knew dodger was fond of Brian as well. And so that day when I was done working this dog. That I had no name for, and this trainer that I had no physical description for, I decided to call a friend who was a puppy raiser at GD a and get the scoop On what Brian looked like so I could paint a picture in my mind. My friend described him to me and told me a little bit about his personality which I was also getting to know. Brian is a very cool laid-back easy-going kind of guy. He loves his dogs with all of his heart, and he is not afraid to show it either. He expects a lot from his dogs and you can tell, but he always gives equal praise and love .
What does this all habe to do with the price of tea in china you ask ? Eell ... I have a little story to tell .
Today we were working in home depot . I was looking at the fencing and trying to feel my way through the maze of boards slats and do it yourself fencing materials . Dodger was standing patiently by my side when i herd this voice - " can i help you find something mam " i had to do a double take because it sounded just like bryan !!!! Dodger also swung his head to the hard left and wagged his tail as hard as he could . After telling him what i was looking for and having him help me , my mon came around the corner . We all started talking about dogs and he asked if he. Could pet dodger . I normally might have said no , but this guy sounded so much like bryan i just had to for dodgers sake . I removed his harness and he barreled twards this guy as if he knew him - dodger is a gentelman with meet and greets but this was so not his character . He immideately flopped on the floor and rolled over on his back as if to say " pet my belly " . The guy loved this , and so did dodger ! When i finally peeled dodger off the floor and put his harness back on , his brain went back to his head and we left the store as if he had never seen the guy . I asked my mom for a description of the guy , and only then did i realize it was more than just the voice . Apparently this guy looks a lot like bryan , and dodger probbably thought " hey its bryans brother " ! Or he thought it was bryan ? Im not sure , but im glad he got to have that time with that guy .
So bryan if your reading ... You for sure need to say hi and love up on your boy at graduation cuz he misses you !!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another Day another blog

Hi guys, not too much to blog about today. Dodger and I have been very busy as usual. We tend to do a lot of small little errands every day which is good Because the scenery is always changing. One thing we have been doing a lot of recently is trips to Home Depot, and the Garden store nearby. This is the time of year when we get things ready for spring planting, and we already have some stuff in the ground. Dodger has been a very good boy helping me to pick out plants and waiting patiently while I stand for hours in front of the racks in the stores picking and choosing. Now if I could just teach them to read print we would being great shape Oh yeah need to teach him how to drive also Since I can't drive and he can't drive we do use a bit of public transportation while in town. Mostly though my mom drives us everywhere. When we are not in the area of temecula , Which actually happens to be quite often, we utilize public transportation. Many many trips on buses, in taxis, and on trains. This October we will be flying together for the first time. Since dodger was raised in Colorado, and the guy dog school is in California, I am sure he had his fair share of flying. I do not anticipate any problems on the airplane. We are taking a five hour flight direct to Florida. Once we get off of the plane, we will be there for two weeks. Steve calls this my seven islands in seven days trip LOL we plan to visit Walt Disney World for the first four days and then go on over to St. Petersburg Florida area and Tampa area for the next three days. After we are done in those areas, we will go down to Port Canaveral where we will board the Disney fantasy cruise ship for a weeks voyage to the Eastern Caribbean. The only port I plan on taking dodger off of the ship , is castaway Cay. Since this is Disney cruise lines private island, I do not anticipate access issues at all. The ship is the only Ship docked in this port, they do not allow other cruise lines it is exclusively for their passengers. I have been to this Island several times with Denver, and we always have a great time. As for the other ports of St. Maarten and St. Thomas, I will leave dodger on the ship in his crate in my state room. I am positive he will be safer in the room, versus being subjected to being denied access everywhere with me. These ports are pretty good about guide dogs and service dogs as they see a lot of them, But there are no a D a laws governing service or guide dogs in those countries so I choose not to chance it. There usually is one or two people from our cruise group that will stay back on the ship, so I always give them a Heads up and let them know that my dog will be in the room in a crate. My state room host or hostess also knows this, and does not enter the room during the time that I am gone. The captain of the ship will also get memo of this, so that if there were any emergency someone will go to retrieve my dog. It is not my favorite thing to do believe me, but after talking to Andy at guide dogs of America, we both decided the ship is the safest place for my dogs. I generally will stay gone for 2 to 3 hours and then come back and check on him. And if I feel like it, I will venture back out for another couple of hours. When I get back on board, I will usually take my dog up to the fenced in basketball court and let him run around and chase the ball. Anyways after we are done with our cruise, we will head back over to the Walt Disney World area for one more night. We will go back to the parks as we have an annual pass. The next morning we get on an airplane bright and early at 8:00 AM Florida time which is 5:00 AM my time. We have another direct flight home and arrive in San Diego at 10:30 AM.

I just know dodger is going to do great with this trip. I plan on giving him lots of breaks during the day when we are in the park as it is very humid in Florida and neither one of us are used to it. We will probably go back to the hotel in the afternoons during the hottest part of the day, and take a nap. Disney also has a wonderful kennel facility in Florida unlike their facility in California which is just mediocre in my opinion. I will be able to book daycare for him here, and he will have his own sweet complete with indoor and outdoor run , raised dog bed, TV, and air-conditioning. I don't plan on making my dog worked theparks from sun up until sundown. And I know I will be using the camel at sea world one of the first four days, since we will be at discovery Cove waterpark swimming with the dolphins. I forgot to mention this part of our trip earlier. Sea world has a great kennel facility as well, inboards service dogs for free. I will be making frequent trips back and forth during the day that we are at discovery Cove to check on dodger and walk him and spend time with him. And lucky for him the park opens at nine and closes at five LOL

Well that's about all I have to blog for today, I leave you with a picture of dodger and his bird teddy . Teddy is a green winged mccaw and has a very large beak !!!! Dodger has learned very quickly to leave him alone . Teddy is very curious about dodger and dodger is equally as curious , but they both seem to respect each other :-)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Disneyland !!!

Dodger and I made another trip to Disneyland. I have an annual pass so this will be a frequent spot for us. The day went really great ! My mom and I decided to go for a few hours since dodger will have to build up to an entire day. Theme parks can be a lot for Guide dogs because there are so many people and they are constantly looking for a way around them and how to guide you through situations . Lots of breaks are Suggested if you have a dog that is not spent a ton of time at an amusement park. , But as the dog gets more adapted to these situations the less you need to Give the dog frequent breaks and you can go a lot further. Dodger and I stopped and rested about every Hour. I know I could probably take him and work him through it and he would do just fine, but I want to set my dog up for success. This is also the case when you have a new puppy in training that you would take to an amusement park.. Speaking of puppies in training, we met our friend Denise Brown Who also raises puppies for guide dogs of America. She has a new puppy in training named Pismo, but Pismo is not old enough for the parks yet. When Pismo is ready though, I'm sure dodger will show her the way. Denise also has an annual pass so she frequents Disney often with her puppies. I would think if you got a puppy from Denise that it may not require as much resting and breaks at Disneyland in the beginning as a dog like dodger. This is because Disney is something Pismo will be doing on an almost weekly basis. Dodger did not get exposure weekly to an amusement park like Disneyland So this is why he requires more frequent breaks in the beginning. Dodger however, did get raised on a horse ranch so there was no adjusting or acclimating when he got home. He fell right into the routine as if he had been here his whole entire life. This is something I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams. Finding people who actually live on ranches these days is hard to do. I was delighted to hear I would not have to break dodger in to the ranch lifestyle. Dodger was raised out-of-state in Colorado, so he has lots of experience With land , Where a dog like Pismo lives on a small amount of acreage but has more experience with Disneyland. I am trying to make the point that just because a dog is not raised in a certain situation does not mean that they cannot adapt to it, it just means it may take them a little getting used to. This is the case with Dodger and Disneyland. It has nothing to do with him not being trained or not being a good guide at all. I hope all of that makes sense LOL.
Back to Disneyland!!! We started our day by making our way down busy main street. There were lots of strollers and kids and balloons the dodger was never once distracted he led me down the sidewalk and took me around people when they Were in the way. We would walk up to a group of people standing in the middle of the sidewalk he would take me off to the left stop at the down curb I would tell him forward then he would go forward take me around the crowd of people back to the right to the up curb, and back up on the sidewalk. He is a very very smart boy. We went on a few rides that day also. We did Mr. toads wild ride, and dodger lay at my feet while the car Swung left and right through the crazy maze. After Mr. toad we walked through Tom Sawyer's Island and went through a few shops that my mom wanted to look in I love the fact that dodger can go go go When we are outside, but he can adjust his Speed right when we get inside a building to shop. We wove through aisles and around people and strollers again. Having the freedom to move around in a store and not bump into things is so nice. When you have a cane it shows you were obstacles are, when you have a dog they take you around those obstacles and you never know that they are there. This is especially nice if you are shopping and there is things in the isle . After we were done shopping, we walked over to meet Denise's family in front of autotopia. This is a ride where you can drive cars on a track. Denise and I often joke because last time we were there, Disney let me drive my own car by myself. We laughed when they said it was okay that I could drive even if I was blind. This time she asked me if I wanted to drive with dodger in the car. I thought about it for a few seconds and then told her no LOL. This is something we will conquer later when Dodger is more comfortable with Disneyland and me bumping into the car in front of us LOL After we met up with her family we walked over to small world. Dodger absolutely loved this ride. I could not believe it. He watched all of the moving dolls and singing toys inside as we snaked our way slowly through the water in our boat. He was absolutely thrilled !!! What were these things that were making noise and moving inside of this building, what were we doing in this boat, who decided to put a boat in a building with water? I'm sure all of this was going through his head. The ride was nice though, and a great starter for dogs who have not been to Disney a lot. After we got off of the ride we took dodger over to get him a drink. I took his harness off and he drank a whole bowl of water LOL this dog loves his water. Lots of people commented on him as they walked by,(wow what a beautiful dog) , (Look a doggy) . We get these Comments a lot when we go to Disneyland. After dodger was all tanked up on his water, we walked over towards New Orleans Square . We met up with the rest of Denise's family , Talked for a little bit, and then it was time to go home. We had to come home early because we had horses we needed to put in and feed . My mom and I stopped for a drink and then Made our way back down main street and out to the shuttles. We took the shuttle back to the parking lot and when we got out I decided to play a little game with dodger that Denver and I used to play. It's called find the truck . Denver used to have an amazing skill of being able to find the truck or car that we came in no matter where it was parked in the parking lot. He could've written in the car only one time in his life and if you parked it went into Disneyland and came back out he would know where that car was. The same thing went for the mall , The grocery store, the baseball stadium, anywhere we went really. So as dodger and I crossed the Tactile strip into the parking lot I asked my mom to tell me when we got close. It went something like this. Dodger find the truck, we walked a few feet walk a few more and then he started to pull even harder
Me : good boy dodger find the truck . ... Dodger walked. About another 3 feet and turn right. I thought he was headed for our truck when my mom said, you passed it. Okay I said, I'm going to let him work this one out. He took me about another 20 feet turned left and lo and behold plopped me right in front of the Passenger door of a humongous semitruck. To most of you this means nothing, but to his puppy raiser this means everything. Dodgers puppy raisers used to drive a big Rig . He would spend six hours traveling across the state of Colorado to deliver goods. He even knew how to climb in and out of the truck. Well I guess I got what I asked for. Lol !!! He was so proud of himself when he stopped me at the door of that big rig. He wagged his tail as hard as he could , I praised him and pet him , Good boy dodger good find the truck! After that I decided to give him the command find the car. I told him back because I knew the "car "was behind me, and sure Enough he took me right back to our truck. This dog totally cracks me up !!! I am Including a picture of dodger placed on the floor of the tram on the ride back to the truck. He has a tired look on his face, and his head Is resting on the bench of the tram. Have a great day Everyone , And thanks for reading.
I am also going to post a video on dodgers page since i cant post here
Facebook - dodger guide dog

Friday, March 15, 2013


Just a short update to fill everyone in on what's been going on in dodger and i's world . Dodger and I have been busy Running errands and doing every day life. Denver dodger and I have also been busy preparing the garden for spring. Dodger and I took a trip to the nursery yesterday to get some Vegetable seeds and vegetable starts. The nursery allows dogs, so I thought it would be nice for dodger to not have to work In a harness, but rather relax and just enjoy being out as a dog. Little to my disbelief dodger guided me anyways. Ue . He stopped at all of the turns as if to say do you want to go left or right? He stopped at the down curb, he stopped at the up curb, and he stopped when there were people in front of us at the register. Dodger continues to amaze me every single day. I have included a picture of dodger in the seed area of the nursery. He is laying down enjoying the cool floor while my mom reads the seed packets to me. He waits patiently, watches other out-of-control dogs walk by, and does nothing. He is so patient and so kind. He is the perfect gentleman. I am always so pleased with his behavior out in public, and at home. I always work dodger on a flat color, he never needs a correction and never needs a choke chain for corrections . He really and truly is a push button dog.
At home dodger has enjoyed being around Denver, even sharing the Dog bed and taking naps together. Both of them love to come out to the garden with me and lay in the sun while I work in the raised beds. It is almost as if Denver knows that things will be okay now, and someone is there to help him with his job of taking care of me. Dodger has never been pushy, or pushed his way in with Denver. It seems as if Dodger knows that Denver was my Right hand man, and still is. But now they are both my right hand man :-) How lucky am I to have two wonderful wonderful dogs out of such a wonderful organization . Guide dogs of America could not have matched me with a better dog last time and this time. It always amazes me How well they match their dogs to their recipients.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Training day nine - we are a team !

Sorry it has taken me almost a week to post about our last day of training . Dodger and I have been very busy since we finished training .
On the last day Steve came and picked us up to work a short route around our local duck pond . When we arrived at the pond , dodger and I made our way across the parking lot twards the pond . Once we located the gate I told him to find right - good boy ! We gently snaked our way around the pond and many ducks passed in front of us along the way . Dodger never broke his focus ! He did his job and ignored the distractions ! Good boy dodger ! Once we went around the pond in both directions , we headed back to the van so we could find a starbucks for a bagel chai tea latte and to sign paperwork . We drove a little ways and behold - a starbucks ! P steve parked the van and we worked along a very narrow sidewalk and found the door to the starbucks . These dogs are taught the find it command and they are usually pretty dead on once you know your close . Dodger does a great job at this so locating the door was no problem .
Once inside we found the counter and ordered . Dodger stood quietly in front of me against the counter and out of foot traffic until i gave him the command to find right . We located a seat pretty quickly . Once we were seated steve and i went over the paperwork , and i signed my life away - ha ha ha just kidding . I signed a few papers and we were done ! Steve and i finished breakfast and he drove me home . Steve did such a great job with my home training ! And bryan did such an amazing job training dodger at the school ! So many thank you's to so many people . To lisa and manny for this wonderful gift and companion - your countless hours and hard work puppy raising. Have shone through . To sherri and adam for opening your home and heart and doing the painful task of turning dodger in for training . To ned colletti and the dodgers dream foundation for sponsoring dodger ! Your donation is so appreciated ! Thank you !!! To lori bernson at guide dogs of america for always being there to dry my tears and hug me and tell me its possible to love again . To andi krusoe at guide dogs for always being rock solid and supporting me for the last 9 plus years ! You are so appreciated ! To chuck jordan ! Oh chuck what can i say ? You tell me you have a match , keep me in total suspense until the day you dropmy dog off t and then try to run us over with the crown vic ! Now that was fun ! Thank you chuck for all that you do , even if its sometimes followed with that evil laugh ! -smile -
To denise for managing this blog and for your friendship . For not. Killing me for not telling you my dogs name until i was allowed lol - i o u an ice cream at disneyland ! And finally to those who read this who were dodger fans from his puppyhood and the school who also read during training . To those who are just now reading and supporting us .
Our adventures dont end here and i will continue to post updates as much as i possibly can - hopefully every few days ! So stay tuned and keep on reading - we have a lot of years to blog and a lot of miles to walk !
Cari and dodger

Monday, March 4, 2013

Training day eight - almost done

Well today was another great day ! Steve picked me up a half an hour early so we could stop by the school and see the vet before we went to do platform work in south Pasadena . We were going to go to union station , but decided to go to Pasadena instead .
We worked a route from a little ways away from the school and down to the kennels . Dodger did great ! I just love how focused he stays on guiding us and keeping us safe . He is such an intense worker !
Once at the vet department at the school . He was looked over and Steve was given the heads up to sign him over to me tomorrow . When you leave class at guide dogs of america you own your dogs , same thing with home training . Some other schools retain ownership for a year and some forever , it just depends on the program . I really like having sole ownership of my dogs .
After that was all taken care of , Yvonne came and got me and we took my picture for my ID and a few other pictures of my handsome boy .
We stopped at the admin building on the way out so i could say hi to Andi and Lori before i left . Just before i went in the door i herd my friend Denise's voice ! She is a puppy raiser for GDA and was there to pick something up for her puppy Pismo . She had an envelope for me that she was going to leave , but it worked out and i was able to get it from her . Here is what i found in my envelope :-)

Okay so hopefully that Picture posted above this and not below it but if it did, we will call it and I failure LOL. After Stephen I left the school we made our way to downtown Pasadena. We parked on the side of the street and I unloaded dodger from the van. Dodger , find left- good Boy ! We came to a busy crossing, dodger forward. Good boy !!! Steve then instructed me to tell him to find the ramp . Dodger, find the ramp. My boy found it with ease of course :-) We zigzagged back and forth down the ramp until we wound up at the bottom on the platform. Once we We're at the bottom of the platform Steve asked me to drop my harness handle and told me he was going to give me a brief lecture about safety and platform work. After the lecture, he asked me to pick up my harness handle and ask dodger for the forward command. Dodger forward- Good boy. Then he told me to ask dodger for the Hault dodger Hault -good boy! Then he asked me to ask dodger for the left command. Dodger left , But this time dodger would not do as I instructed. He gently pulled me off to the right away from the platform. This is what they call intelligent disobedience. Intelligent disobedience is where a dog refuses a command because they know it is not safe. This is a critical part of becoming a guide dog. If we tell our dogs left and it is not safe and Vago left anyways we could get seriously injured. If we tell our dogs left and they do not go left we are taught to follow our dogs. . This is where trust comes into play. You have to have 100% trust that your dog is making the right decision and knows better because they can see and you cannot. They are taking you away from an unsafe situation. My dodger boy was doing just that. Way to go big D !!! I praised him after he took me away from the edge and continued down the walkway. I walked about 10 feet and ask him to go left again. My boy or refused the left turn again, pulling me a little harder to the right this time as if to say no mom stay away from there it's dangerous . We reversed directions this time me on the same side as the platform dodger on my outside. We walked about 10 feet and I asked him for the right - Dodger right- Dodger refused the right command and immediately made a U-turn putting me back on the other side, and him on the platform side. . WAY TO GO MY SMART BOY ! And thank you for keeping me safe. Although this was a set up, just because the trainers leave does not mean dodger would not do this for me again . He has this so dialed into his brain, he will never forget. We will always be a safe team walking by platforms and drop offs . Stephen I D cited the exercise was over, and to end on a great note. We worked back to the van. Steve took me home and gave me an evening assignment To do on my own. I was supposed to put booties on dodger so that he could get used to them. A lot of guide dog teams use booties when the pavement is hot so that their dogs feet do not burn. We also use them in rough terrain or snowy and icy conditions . Later this evening I slipped the booties on him for what I think might have been the first time? He was absolutely hilarious !he was like a fish out of water flailing his feet everywhere. . At first he did not want anything to do with them, trying to get them off of his feet. After a a while though he accepted the booties and joyfully played in the barn with the other dogs. I love how willing this dog is to please, and how willing he is . I just want to end this post by saying I love my dog ! I also included a picture of him in his booties - enjoy !

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Training day 7 - we are a team

Well where to begin ? Lets start out with this morning . Chuck was good enough to come out and do traffic with us ! Steve came and got me and we went to town and parked in a parking lot that had multiple exits . Chuck was lined up and ready to do the traffic check . I walked my boy out to the curb and started down the sidewalk . Once we got to the first down curb , steve told me to ask him for the forward - forward boy - we stepped off the curb and got half way out in the crossing when out of nowhere came this crazy guy driving a crown vic right at us and then screeching the breaks - ah the chuckster ! My boy had no idea this was a set up and he did his. Job with perfection !!!! He stopped and backed us up a little clearing us both out of the way YES!!!!!! We got to the up curb and as soon as we were out of the street i praised my boy like crazy :-) what an amazing feeling it is when a car comes at you and you can put total confidence in your dog knowing he will get you out of the way !
We continued forward through a few intersections and then ol chuck got us again ! This time he came around the corner really fast ! My boy stopped before we even got close ! Double yes !!! We were sailing through our crossings !!!! We worked up a hill into a residental neighborhood where we had our last traffic check . We went to cross the street and got revenge of the chuck again ! Only faster and this time he was turning left ! Ha ! My boy pushed me out of the way like a champ ! I was so happy ! We were safe .
After the workout we met up with chuck and went to breakfast where i got to learn about my puppy raisers and my dogs sponsor ! This is the exciting part !!! My raisers name is lisa and she and i both live a simillar lifestyle :-) my boy DODGER was raised on a ranch around horses ! What a great match .
We finished eating and chuck took me home so we could call lisa . We got to the ranch and unloaded Dodger and went inside . Chuck called lisa and after a second he handed me the phone :-) it was all over at that point lol i hope chuck has a good cel plan cuz i think we talked for like a half hour or more ! We clicked right away ! I cant believe how well we clicked ! She told me dodger was sponsered by ned colletti and the dodgers dream foundation ! She and ned are friends :-) how cool is that ? I then found out that we have a friend in common on facebook and that she had raised a puppy for her husband too ! Small world ! They kept dodger for three weeks before turn in and turned him in on turn in day . This is the day puppy raisers say goodbye to their beloved babies and send them off to college and cross their paws !!!
I can not begin to tell you how happy i am that i have such a wonderful dog and a very special puppy raiser and puppy friends sherri and adam ! And lisas boyfriend who is very attached to dodger too ! I especially hope he can come for graduation ... We can all cry together :-)
So that was our eventful day besides a little outing tonight . Tomorrow is subways light rails and platforms , cant wait to share that adventure with everyone :-) thank you all for reading and supporting us !!!!! MEET DODGER !!!!!

Training day six

We had the day off . Took a nap and enjoyed some fun in the barn .

Friday, March 1, 2013

Training day five

Day five conplete . Today we worked on some off leash obedience and took a trip down to san diego . Once we made it down to san diego , we parked the van and i worked up to the trolly station . My boy did fantastic ! He stopped at every street crossing and waited for the forward command to move along the route. We found the station no problem and located the loading area . Shortly after arriving a trolly approached and stopped . Find the door boy - good find it ! We loaded with ease and off we went . We took it only a short distance , stopping at the next station . Once the trolly stopped we disembarked and found our way out of the station. We came in on top of a bridge and i had no idea, but i followed my boy and we found the way out together . Steve instructed me to tell him to find the steps . Find the steps boy , good boy! He stopped me at the top of a bery steep set of steps . We carefully made our way down the stairs and i told him find left . Find left means to go left . Once we made our left i told him to find the bus right / good boy !!! We boarded the bus and away we went . We took it around the block amd exited and worked back to the trolly station . Once we found the station again we decided to take the elevator up to the top - find the elevator boy - bingo , he found it with ease and took me directly to it . I praised him and his tail wagged happily like it always does when he gets praised , which is a LOT!!!! We took the trolly back to the other station and worked back to the van . He did a magnificent job :-) ! He is so smart its insane .
We got in the van and decided to go grab some lunch .we found a spot to eat and unloaded him and " found inside" . Once we ordered we found a spot to sit . He went right under the table and layed right down . Huge thank yous to his raiser mommy for this ! Steve always compliments on how great he does with this . I am here to tell you that this task comes with persistance , patience, and lots of pratice ! And hes obviously had all of those .
After lunch we drove home and steve gave us the rest of the day off . I decided today was the day to allow him to have a couple of the toys and things i bought him . I gave him his baseball mylabone and he chewed on that for a while . Once he was kind of bored with that , i went to the opposite end and gave him his moose . Its a flat toy with no stuffing , but it has squeakers in the hands and feet and antlers . He LOVED this toy !!!! He gently chewed on it and sucked on it , being so nice and not tearing it up. He played with the moose for half and an. Hour until i put him up . After playtime he got a drink , went out in the run for a pee and came back in and flopped down on his bed and fell fast asleep .
I love that he is so easy to work and so awesome in the house ! He and denver seem to be getting along well to because they napped side by side today .
More tomorrow , i think we are working a night route . Happy friday everyone !
Here is a pic of his baseball nylabone - i will post his name and lots of pics just as soon as i can !

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Training day four / disneyland!!!

Hi everyone ! Today was another great day in the life of my boy and i . Our morning started out by goimg to disneyland ! We parked in a lot which was a mile or so from the main gates and boarded the city bus . My boy and i walked on to the bus like we had been doing it for years . We quickly found a seat and off we went . It was crowded so steve instructed me to keep him on a sit rather than a down . We got to the main gate drop off area and got off the bus . When we got off we headed through the security check point and he guided me through with ease . Once through i told him to find left - again he totally rocked it ! We walked to the area where i was going to relieve him before we went im the park . I took his harness off and told him to get busy , two seconds later we had success . After we got busy we headed for the turnstyles and made our way to main street . We headed up main street and he weaved in and out of the crowds with ease . He did amazing ! He guided me perfectly from curb to curb and around crowds , taking me off the path and back on . We went off to the left where we went on a couple of rides . He was very curious on the rides but did very well with them . I was very pleased with his ability to adapt so easily to the craziness of the happiest place on earth . We hung out in the shade and did a lecture and just worked the park in small little bits . Pretty soon it was time to make our way back down main street and back to the bus . On the way out i got kind of turned around , but my boy found the way back to the bus no problem !!! Way to go boy !!!!!! We headed home and talked about a little night workout . We decided i would meet steve tonight for dinner but he would watch from a far to see us go in and order and find our seat . Mission complete , we did it without a hitch . After dinner we headed home and i let my boy run in the barn and chase the ball a little . He really loves to do this every night .
One thing i forgot to mention is that we also went to petsmart today to get him some food . We worked up and down the isles and worked on food distractoions . He did really well with this as well .
My boy is amazing and i absolutely could not be happier ! This has been an amazing journey so far and im looking forward to sharing more with all of you tomorrow , so stay tuned !

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Traning day three

Well today has come and gone in the blink of an eye . My boy continues to amaze me with every step . He is so good and so smart it just makes me smile all day long ! Kudos to his trainer and double kudos to his raisers !
So this morning steve picked us up at 8 and we headed to old town to work a route and eat breakfast. The boy worked like a champ . We worked straight down a sidewalk , weaved around people and objects , and he found every up curb and down curb without a single flaw . After the workout and breakfast , we headed over to the mall to work escilators and do a lecture about moving sidewalks . My boy found the escilators and we went up and down several without an issue . He rides very well . After we did escilator work we found a place to sit and talked about moving sidewalks . Steve and i talked about the safety of the dogs paws and how moving sidewalks were not safe like escilators were . I would never do anything to put my boy in harms way so once it was explained why , i was good with it and it made perfect sense.
In the afternoon we worked in costco and talked about the routes amd trips to come in the next week . I have a fun trip planned for tomorrow that i will tell you all about tomorrow . So stay tuned for that ! Im also looking forward to having chuck come out from the school to try to run us over next week lol . For those of you who think im serious , im not lol . Next week chuck will come help steve set up what they call a traffic check . They set it up like they are the driver who comes out of nowhere and comes around a corner really fast while im in the crosswalk . My dog should pull me out of the way like he has been trained . I know he will do great as he already is very sensitive to traffic :-).
Anyways that was about all for our day . We decided to make it a shorter day because we have a big trip planned tomorrow .
Goodnight all -

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Training day two

Well I have lots to blog about tonight . Let me just start by saying I could not be happier with my boy ! He is an absolutely amazing dog . He is such a good worker , and so very smart .
Our day started off at around 8:30 this morning. Steve picked us up and we headed straight to town . We parked in the lowes parking lot and he explained the route . First we would find the rampway to the sidewalk , and when at the botton we would turn right. After that we would work up a long path making our way through some small street crossings and eventually make it up to the busy intersection and crossing. After we crossed we would find the starbucks and grab a chai tea and chat about the route.
I put my boys harness and away we went . Find the ramp boy - good boy ! We approached the end of the ramp and he took me out to the curb . Right boy / good boy ! Thats it ... We walked with ease getting more conmfortable with each step. We finally came to a street crossing . He took me right to the edge of the curb and stopped - yes! Well done . When we were clear i gave him the forward command . This is a command we give our dogs to tell them we want them to move forward . He moved right across the street and found the up curb. He stopped , let me find it with my foot , and we were off . Forward boy . We did crossings like this until we hit the big busy intersection . I stood at the corner and listened to the traffic around us. There were big loud trucks bustling past and lots of cars going by. As soon as the cars on my left stopped and the traffic on my right went , i knew what was going to come next. I waited until i herd the surge in traffic and once the cars started passing on my left , i gave my boy the command - forward- we stepped out , glided across the intersection and he found the up curb . Again i gave him the forward command . He gladly moved forward and we went on our way. Up another block was the Starbucks where we ended our route. We chatted over chai tea about our workout and what we would do next.
After we finished our teas we worked back to the intersection and whem we got to the up curb we went left this tine . We headed to a neighborhood where we worked on some crossimgs where there were no curbs. My guy was amazing as usual ! We passed a barking dog on the end of a long line , a crazy barking dog behind a fence and a father and his little boy walking and my boy could have cared less . He is a very focused worker .
Half way through the route back to the van we came across a total barricade. This is when there is something blocking the pathway that your dog must figure out how to guide you around . He slowed then stopped . I gave him a reassuring " hop up " command and he did nothing . I reached forward to figure out what it was , and found a car parked right in the middle of the sidewalk . We let him figure out how o get around it, and of course he did !!! Did i mention how much i love this dog ?
We made it back to the lowes parking lot and did sone work inside the building before heading back home.
Steve came back later that day and had me work my boy to the front gate of the property alone . Of course my boy was great ! We worked back to the house and steve met us there . We decided we would do a little obedience in the barn since i would be going to my friend wendis obedience class and playimg games tonight with my dog since it was graduation . We closed both ends of the barn and worked obedience both on and off leash . Do i have to tell you my boy was perfect again ? Steve and i made a plan to meet at wendis class and he left .
Tonight i met steve and worked my boy in class . We played doggie tic tac toe , a game of horse , and a heeling game where you have to hold a big spoon in your left hand and balence a ball on the spoon all while heeling your dog through cones . It was a lot of fun to play games with the boy . He did great ! After class i grabbed dinner and headed home .
My boy is asleep at my bedside on his fluffy costco bed . It was a fantastic day and i cant wait for tomorrow . Stay tuned and thanks for reading :-)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Training begins - day 1

Hi everyone ! Well today went great . Steve came this morning and we fit my boy for his harness and played around with the different lengths of harness handles until i found the right length. After that we sat down and came up with a game plan for the day . We decided to go easy today and just do a few things to start the boy off slow. We got in the van and drove to home depot . At home depot we worked on sweeping left and right turns and finding the door in and out . My boy was a champ !!! Then we went over to the bank so i could make a deposit . After i told him find the door inside , he took me right to the door . Good boy ! He went through the line and up to the teller like he had done it a zillion tines ! After that we headed over to the coffee shop and worked on the under . For those wondering what the under is , its a command we give our dogs to go under a table and get completely out of the way of foot traffic . The whole idea behind a good guide or service dog in a restraunt is out of sight . The best compliment you can get as a handler is " i never even saw your dog , i didnt even know he was there " . My boy does a beautiful under :-) gosh ! He really is flawless !!! After the coffee shop we headed home and did some light recall work in the barn . He came when called and loved the praise he got for it . Gosh i just love working with him ... He is so easy !
Tonight we didnt do much . Im not allowed to work him in harness alone yet so we just drove through for dinner . He is always so good about not begging .
Anyways , thats about all for today . More tomorrow ! Thanks for reading !

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last day of our weekend together

Well today went great ! We slept in , hung out all morning and listened to sunday service online . This afternoon we went out to the garden to get the beds ready for spring and to clean up the asparagus boy laid quietly in the sun , shifting every so often into the shade . He is really starting to bond to me , because i went around the corner to turn on the hose and i herd him get up right away as if to say ... Hey where ya goin ? And even though we have not started working yet, i think he knows im his person and keeping me safe is his job ! Well done good boy ! This evening was pretty uneventful , just more bonding .
Denver seems to like the little guy and sig loves him . Phoebe has her nose out of joint , but she will adjust. Fivel kitty does not seem to be bothered in the least by him , which is a great thing. I can always tell when a good dog comes in because fivel wont be disturbed by a good dog .
Tomorrow Steve comes in the morning and we will do our first workout together . I have worked him a couple of times already so at least we kind of know each other there . I will post more tomorrow so stay tuned ! Thanks for reading :-)

Correction from last post

Ok so im tired and camt type lol re read my post . So it ment to say .... For those of you who know me sitting home all day and night isnyt really me , but its crutial we bond and this is the best way .
Double yawn
Thats all - night

Day two of our weekend

Well today was another great day ! I woke up tomy boy politely putting his paw up on the edge of the bed as if to say ... Im excuse me , um i need to pee please ... Then when my eyes opened he started wagging his tail and kissing me in the face !!!! I loved waking up to this :-) i took him out and he went right away . After that was breakfast - the bowl worked ! He ate much slower . After breakfast he came with me to do my outside chores with the horses . He was perfect as usual .
We spent a lot of the morning snuggling and hanging out sippimg coffee and listening to the gac channel . Our afternoom consisted of a walk outside and some more bonding time inside . This evening we loaded all of the dogs up and drove through in n out . My boy rode like a champ and he never once begged for food !!!! Way to go boy !!!! We went home and spent some more time just hanging out together . For most of you who know me , sitting home all day and night , but this is critical i do this to ensure me and my boy form a good solid bond.
He seemed to like the fact that he got to eat two meals today too ! And that he gets a cookie at bedtime too . Hes just so darn cute .
Tonight he also got to go for another run in the barn . He really likes to do this and i think he remembered from lastnights run that the barn is his running spot ! He ran for a while then got tired and ploped down on the barn floor as if to say - ok i give lol .
Its late now and he is sound asleep next to me on his bed while i type this frommy bed .
Anyways thats all for today - stay tuned for another update tomorrow and thanks for reading !

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our first day together

Well today went great ! Steve came and stayed a couple of hours and dropped my boy off . I am not allowed to post his name yet ,so we will just call him my boy for now . The reason the school does this is to protect us as a team and ensure its a good match before we go announcing it to the www .
My boy seemed to gravitate to me pretty well right from the get go . He is super sweet and very affectionate . He will come up to me and rest his head on my lap and let me scratch him behind his ears until he falls asleep ... All while standing up ! We took a little nap together on the floor today too . Hes so good i still cant get over it . He acts like he has always lived here . Later today I took him up to the barn while I put the horses in and he behaved like a perfect angel .
After the horses were in , it was his turn to eat !!! I fed denver and sig and phoebe first to let him know he was low man in the pack and keep him humble lol . When it was his turn , he did a beautiful sit ... Wait ... Ok ... This is what we tell them when we feed them . They must first sit , wait while i set the bowl down and are not allowed to break that sit and eat till I say ok .
I noticed right off he was a typical lab ... A scarfer !!! He demolished 4 cups of food in about 30 seconds no joke !!! So guess where we landed tonight ? Yup ... Off to the feed store for a slow feed bowl we went . The bowl is designed with sections , it makes getting food out take longer , thus allowing them to eat slower . Ive got the food ready for his morning feeding , so stay tuned ! Ive also talked to steve and was given the ok to feed him 2 times a day vs 1 big meal all at once . This will help him gain weight too since steve and I agreed he can use a few extra pounds .
After the pet store we drove through for a taco salad and headed home . More bonding when we got home . And finally to end the night I let him loose in the barn for a few min. Just to get the wiggles out . Man is he a crazy silly boy off leash ! He is identical to how denver was at that age ! He will for sure be the kind of dog who enjoys a good run at the end of the day just to clear his head .

All in all i cant ask for a better more well behaved dog ! He is so good and fits right in . I guess lori bernson at GDA was right when she said to me ... You will love again I promise . And shes right , im falling in love already . Even though it will never be the same love I have for Denver , its love in a new different kind of way ! And i know when its this boys time to retire in ten years I will never love another the way I love him . Not having kids of my own ,i can see now how parents can love all of their kids all in different ways but all the same .
Goodnight from sleepy me , and zonked out puppers asleep on his huge fluffy bed on the floor next to me .

Waiting ....

I rememember the day i got Denver . I sat in the dorm room and listened as they brought dogs up one by one . And now, 9 years later ,i am sitting here at home waiting . Steve just called to say he would be here very soon ! Im excited and nervous and tearful all at the same time . I hope my boy likes it here . Its been a long road and Im ready to get the show going

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homecoming date

Just herd from Steve at GDA ... My boy comes home Friday !!! Its going to be in the afternoon sometime because his puppy raisers are coming to say goodbye to him Friday morning... I can not begin to tell you all how much a puppy raiser means to me ! Without them , I would not have my dog , my eyes . They take these dogs into their homes, love them like their own , and give them back . For a lot of raisers their puppy is like a child ... Imagine having a child and giving it up after a year and a half .
I know from personal experience raising a guide dog puppy Is a lot of work , and . My greg was a tough puppy from the get go ! He was a banshee all through his raising . You turn them in , say a prayer , and hope they make it . You wait and you wait and you wait ! Every time the school calls your heart sinks ... You think did he fail ? Did he pass ? Why are they calling me ? Then someone on the other end of the line says the words you have been waiting to hear ... Your dog has passed and is graduating ! And when the shock of that wears off , the reality sets in that you run the chance of never seeing your beloved friend again . In my case I never hear from Gregs recipent , even though he has my contact info and said he would keep in touch . I know how it feels to have the holidays pass and not even an e mail to say Greg is good . But im ok with that because I know this is the risk I ran when raising the dog .
I can only hope my raisers will want to stay in touch as I know some do not want to have relationships with their recipents . Whatever my raisers involvement is if any though , i promise to be there for them 100% giving them the reins to interact as much or as little as they would like . After all how do you not do this for someone who has given you your independence and your sight back ?
I like this saying ...
1 bag of dog food 35$
One chewed favorite slipper 15$
One bus ride to train the puppy 3$
One graduate walking independently with their guide dog

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting excited !

Bought the boy a new bed at costco today ! It wont be long now until he comes home :-) theres a chance he will come home friday , it just depends if steve gets finished with his other home train in time ! Paws crossed :-)
Heres a pic of his new bed ...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Date for training !!!

Just a quick update I got a call from guide dogs today! Steve Berkman will be doing my training. He called to let me Know that my training will begin on Monday, February 25, 2013 ! I still don't know my dogs name but that's okay whatever his name is he is an amazing amazing dog I know that much !!! I am looking so forward to starting my training with my new guy !

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Denvers birthday ...#11

So today is Denvers 11th birthday . I cant believe that 9 years ago we were celebrating this very day in class at Guide Dogs Of America ! I always said he was the best Birthday present ever ! Today is his " offical" retirement date too . I told myself if he could just hold out till 11 , i would be ok with getting a new Guide . Although its been a while since he's really "worked", i still needed that mental closure for myself .
So as this day comes to a close , and my boy is another year older and retired .... I wait for what is just around the corner ! My new Guide Dog :-) ... I wonder when his birthday will be ? Already knowing him and knowing he is coming home soon is already another awesome Birthday gift ! And for those of you who don't know ... Tonorrow is my Birthday

Friday, January 25, 2013

For every door that closes, another door opens.

So much to blog about and I don't know where to begin. I have had a wonderful guide dog for nine years. The day I decided to retire Denbur, was one of the hardest days of my life. His mind was sharp ,his guide work was flawless, but his old body could no longer keep up. I didn't know what to do. Would Denver understand that he was going to be retired? What would he do if I got another dog? Would he be okay with me working that other dog? All of these things raced through my mind but I put my faith in God and let it happen the way I knew he had planned for me. This blog is the sequence of events and stories to come of me and my new guide dog.

I got a call from Andi at guide dogs of America telling me I had been excepted for home training. She told me a call from Chuck Jordan would follow soon after. Chuck called me a couple of days later and set up a time with me to work a few dogs. These dogs were not dogs that he had in mind for me as far as guides, but more of dogs to help Him and the trainer Brian figure out my needs in a dog. Pace, Pull, personality, and gender. I ran three dogs that day falling in love with the third one I test drove. The second I put my hands on that third dog I was in love. Don't ask me how this happened, because I am still trying to figure it out myself but there was an instant connection. He was such a cool dude he wasn't your typical labrador I mean he was but he wasn't if that makes any sense? He was more of a hey what's up Kinda lab versus oa hi"8 hi hi hello hello I'm a Labrador want to go for a walk when a play where's the ball huh huh ? I "think he was more of a hey you want to grab a cup of coffee? Maybe go run a marathon afterwords? LOL he was just such a class act. I kept telling Brian on our walk that I love that dog , and if he could get me a dog like that I would be in seventh heaven. Apparently Brian and Chuck took in everything That I had mentioned, because when I went to work dogs a second time at a second meeting guess who was there? This beautiful wonderful dream of a dog. It was him again ! First I did some Juno work and then iworked out with the dog. The workout was great, I felt like I've been working the dog for at least a year. He moved down the sidewalks and around obstacles and people so effortlessly. Brian had done a wonderful Job training that dog. I was so excited to know the possibility of this dog being mine. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that there would exist another dog on this earth that I could fall in love with or that would work nearly as good as my boy Denver. But it was happening I was falling and he was working LOL and so I waited .... And waited and waited and waited. Until one day I got a phone call from Chuck telling me that Brian would be calling me after the January class to set up a time for home training. I still don't know the dogs name, I still don't know when he will come home, but I am hopeful it will be very very soon. I will post updates as I get them so stay tuned . And thanks in advance for following along in my new adventures with my new dog.
I will leave you with a picture of my beautiful Denver Boy