Thursday, November 19, 2009

Puppy Name Guessing Game!

I got my e-mail from Guide Dogs letting me know a little bit about the puppy that I'm picking up on the 16th of December! I'm going to have another male Black Lab and his name starts with a 'J'. I would LOVE to hear some of your guesses on the name of my future pup in training!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Puppy Fever!

Well, I think that's it time for an update! I found out that I'm going to be getting my mew puppy on the 16th of December! The puppy truck will arrive at Oregon campus between 3 and 3:30 and I'll finally get to have a puppy again! Yes, I'm excited. There are two pups reserved for our club and I get to go get them both. I just can't wait!!!! Knowing that there's a puppy who's already born and has my name on it has amplified my puppy fever. I just want to get my hands on the little bundle of fur already!

Once I get my pup, I'll have it for a week before he gets to go on his first trip. We're driving for 6 or 7 hours to spend Christmas with my mom's family in Missoula. It will be a real treat to have a puppy around for the holidays!

Our puppy raising club has a new meeting place now too. We were generously offered a space that I think will be perfect for our needs. It will be nice to have a place that we can actually go and know that we'll be able to get into regularly!

I hope that everyone is having a good time as we build up to Thanksgiving. I know that this is a busy, busy time of year and I know that we're all looking forward to the break! I'd love to hear some stories of how everyone's doing with their own pups to keep me happy until I get to go pick mine up!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Puppy Withdrawl

Since Faulkner has left, I have not spent very much time "puppyless."

The day that he left I took on Niven (a 13 month old black lab) for a few days. He was pretty fun and a good distraction to have right after Faulkner got on the puppy truck. Once Niven went back home, I only had a couple days before I took on a pup being raised through a local service dog organization called Genesis Service Dogs. The puppy is a 6 month old labradoodle (lab/standard poodle mix) named Chester. He's been a bit of an adventure and has reminded me of the huge differences between labs and poodles. The past week was a true learning experience for us both! Chester has gone to spend some time with another of our currently "puppyless" raisers so that we can continue to try to help him succeed. But, that leaves without a dog again.

I don't know what to do with myself when I don't have a puppy in training with me. Really, I'm lost.

I always forget what a huge part of my life puppy raising really is. If I had to pick one title to describe myself, it would be "Puppy Raiser." Plain and simple, I have an addiction. And I'm going into withdrawls. No matter how many pups I have go through my home, if I'm not raising one of my own, I don't feel like a complete person. I've noticed for the past three years that I always have a dog with me in my dreams. The dreams are VERY rarely about the dog, though. Most of the time, I'm just holding a leash with a dog attatched because that's what I do. And the dog just goes with me.

I've been told that my club has puppies reserved that will be leaving California around December 15th and I can't wait to get my hands on one!!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seattle and Saying Goodbye

This is a BIG update. And by the end of it, I'll probably be crying.

Well, our trip to Seattle was so much fun!! Faulkner and I got to do so many things together and I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my last week with him. We went to the local GDB puppy raising club's meeting and got to meet Faulkner's brother Faraja. They were very cute and interested in meeting each other, but it was not the excited litter mate reunion that we were secretly hoping for. It was amazing to get to meet all the people from that club and meet even more people who are working for the same cause as I am. The connections through GDB are incredible and I think that it would really behoove us all to make some real people connections through this organization. I've discovered that I would have had a lot more information on my puppy if I had bothered to cast my net outside of my club. Luckily, I'm doing that now!

Back to Seattle, Faulkner and I spent most of the week just living in the dorm and going out to eat. We got to visit a few friends' houses and went to a lecture at UPS. At the end of our journey we went out to dinner with my friend and my father. It was a nice restaurant and all of the staff (including the manager who talked to us on various occasions) were the best about having Faulkner there. Everyone of them would look at him and smile, but no one tried to distract him from his job and no one used the dog as a focal point during dinner. It was the best restaurant experience I've ever had with a puppy in training.

When Faulkner and I got home from Seattle, we only had three and a half days left together.

The first day that I got Faulkner, I took him to my mom's office so that she could see him and the entire Department of Commerce fell in love with him. Ever since, Mom has been taking Faulkner to work with her and he has continued to melt the hearts of her co-workers. As a farewell to Faulkner, we had a little party! We made cookies and stamped Faulkner autographs. I brought my scrapbook of dogs and we collected money in exchanged for the cookies and autographs as well as love and pictures with Faulkner. All the money that we raised went the United Way fund that my mom's office often donates to.

We raised over $25 in 2 hours.

We had that celebration on Thursday and then on Friday, we had to take Faulkner to the puppy truck. I clipped his toenails one last time and cuddled with him for a good hour before I felt I was ready to go. We waited for the truck to arrive. The group around us included my leader, two other raisers and my mom. Once the truck arrived we rushed to help walk and relieve puppies. I jumped at the opportunity to meet Fullerton after hearing from Megan that he would be on the puppy truck. Not only did I get to love on Fullerton, I also got to meet his brother Forte! They are both amazingly sweet and have the darkest honey coloring I've seen in a long time. Another very interesting characteristic I discovered is that they both have the softest coats in the world. I couldn't stop running my hands across those boys!

In true "Nerd" fashion, Faulkner hopped right up into the truck and strolled into the kennel with no problems. He flopped right down, found a bone and was happily chewing on it when I came up and disrupted the whole process. I opened the kennel to stick my head in and get one last love from my puppy. While every other dog was upset, whining, panting, or just restless, Faulkner stared out at me with his lovely eyes. Then he went back to chewing on his bone.

I don't think that I will ever have another dog like Faulkner. I know that every dog has their own personality. Anyone who works with dogs can tell you that. The reason that I know I will never have another dog like Faulkner isn't because of his personality though. Faulkner and I went through A LOT together this past year. He was the constant for me in a very uncertain, confusing and scary year in my life. The bond that I have with him is different from any other that I've had with another dog.

I'm going to miss him greatly, but I know that special bond between us will help him to create an equally special bond with someone who needs it just as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Puppy Fix"

Well, Faulkner and I made it safely to Seattle! The plane ride went really well and Faulkner was not at all upset with anything on the ride over. He slept for then entire hour and a half. Not much to report on yet. We stayed with my dad at his apartment on Monday night. His apartment complex is made up of a bunch of pretty brick buildings that are usually only about 3 stories tall. There's grass and there are benches and paths everywhere and it gives a real neighborhood feel to the complex. The problem is, there aren't any trash cans!!! I took Faulkner out to relieve him yesterday morning and we ended up having to go for a ten minute walk to get to the one dumpster in the complex!

After flawlessly adapting to the apartment, Faulkner and I got in the car to drive to my friend's dorm. Everyone here is SO excited to have a puppy in the dorm! Whenever a student sees Faulkner, they want to cuddle him and get a "puppy fix." There are three other girls in my friends apartment who have all fallen in love with Faulkner in the 19 hours we've been here. Our first real experience on campus was going to my friend's orchestra concert. It was great to have a dog there because a huge part of one of the songs was amazingly high pitched trilling in the violin section. Faulkner was interested when he heard it at first, but he got bored of them very quickly.

It seems that wherever we go, Faulkner manages to make friends around every turn. He actually made a very good friend with another student that I'm friends with here. He got a great puppy fix and fell asleep cuddling with Faulkner! That's the picture in this post. I'm looking forward to more and more picture opportunities and sharing our busy week will be so much fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Upcoming Trip

Well, I've worked it all out so that Faulkner will get to go to Seattle with me!

This is going to be more than just a trip on a plane. I think that this will actually be the most intense traveling experience I will have ever had with a puppy in training. We will be flying to Seattle (which I've done before, but not with Faulkner) and staying a night with my dad at his apartment. Then the next day, we will be on our way to stay with one of my best friends who is going to school at PLU. This is where the new experiences come in. Are you ready?

We're going to live in a dorm for 5 days!

I have visited a dorm with a puppy in training before, but this will test us both with it's newness. Luckily, the school is very happy to accommodate us and I'm almost positive that it will be a great experience all around.

As I mentioned in my last post, Faulkner and I will also be getting to visit the Guide Puppies of Seattle puppy raising club and get to meet a lot of new raisers! I'm really looking forward to this trip and everyone here should look forward to upcoming pictures from our grand adventure!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Countdown Extends

Faulkner's recall date has been changed! He's going to be with me until right around the 22nd now. That gives me 11 more days than I thought we would have!!

The biggest issue with this new information is that I'm going to be out of town for 7 of those extra days! I'm going to be taking a trip to Seattle to visit my friend for the week. I've asked if it would be possible for me to take Faulkner with me on the trip. It would be a great experience for him and it would let me spend more of that last week with him.

Cross your fingers with me in the hopes he'll be able to go!

If he is able to go with me, I'm going to contact the puppy raising group in Seattle to see if we could show up at their meeting and make some new friends! I think that it would be an exceptionally good time and I'm hoping that it will work out!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Countdown Contiunes...

Well, we're into the last week of Faulkner's stay with me. Only five more days until my Nerd goes on to become something more than a goofy pup. No matter how many times I send a dog back to Guide Dogs, it never really hits me that they're gone until a couple weeks after the fact. I blame it on puppy trade. As a raiser, you get used to not having your dog for a week or so each month and I just feel like I'm sending my pup out on trade right after they leave.

But then they don't come back.

Out of all the dogs that I've raised, Faulkner is the only pup that hasn't been transferred during his raising. My first, Yamaha, came to me at 11 months. He was a wild and crazy boy. He hadn't been neutered and, coupled with his size, he was tough to handle. Baskin, my second, came to me when he was 4 months old. He had been started by a family in my club, so I got to be involved, but I still had Yamaha and didn't feel up to the challenge of overlapping. Then came Donna. I got Donna when she was about 3 months old and then offered to transfer her to a first time raiser in my club who wanted to finish a dog instead of start a puppy. So I only had her until she was 6 or 7 months old. I think that I had Chantilly, my fourth, from when she was 8 weeks until she was 5 or 6 months. And then Gene came to me at 10 months old. He was quite the challenge as he didn't even know the command "down" yet.

But Faulkner, I've gotten to see him through from the beginning. I don't know if it will make it harder to see him go, though. I have made a point of giving myself over heart and soul to each dog that comes through my home. Without that mutual unconditional love, it's a lot harder to train a dog.

My biggest challenge this coming week will be saving some love for the new puppy who will come into my life at the end of this month. I hope that Faulkner doesn't end up stealing it all away from me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Amazing, Expanding Dog

So, I have never had a problem with my dogs being over-weight. It's a problem that a lot of raisers in my club experience, but I have always had the almost too skinny dog all the time. No matter how much I feed my pup and how often we just laze around the house, we've been able to feel their ribs. Faulkner had been following this pattern for his entire stay with us until just a couple weeks ago.

Suddenly, he's a chunk!! We can barely feel his ribs and he's more active than ever. We've had to cut back his food by half (he gets one cup at each meal now instead of 2) in hopes that he will take off at least some of that extra weight before he goes back to school on the 11th. He's not missing the extra food, but he's also not been losing this weight real quickly either.

I guess it was my turn to deal with the overweight pup.

Besides his suddenly expanding waist-line, Faulkner is doing very well. He's adjusted to the addition of Eliot Jones (the dog that we rescued and are trying to find a home for) very well and the boys get along great. They are both about a year old and love to play with each other. Since Eliot Jones isn't fixed I'm having to keep extra close tabs on them when they play because I caught Faulkner coping Eliot Jones' attempt to mount during play. Oops.

With only about 11 days to go until Faulkner goes back to school, I'm getting more and more excited about a new puppy! I can't wait to get to post pictures of another adorable baby!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apples, Peaches and New Dogs

Yesterday my mother called me from Williamson Orchard and Vineyard to tell me that there was a dog that had showed up and nobody had come to claim him. She said that she was pretty much in love with him and that, for some reason, her heart had just gone out to this dog immediately. She told me that if no one had claimed him by 4, she wanted to take him and spare him the pound while we searched for his home. Later that day I got another call from her asking me to go out to the orchard and get a box of Honey Crisp apples, a box of sweet but tangy peaches, and a dog. It was quite possibly the oddest request that I have ever gotten!! Mike (my boyfriend and Faulkner's co-raiser) drove me out to the orchard and we were recognized right away. It's difficult to miss someone described as the "cute little redhead in the neck brace" as my mother had told the employees.

When I saw the yellow lab lying serenely on the porch it didn't register right away that this was the homeless dog that no one had claimed. He looks to be a pure bred yellow lab with one of the most gorgeous faces I have ever seen on a dog. He is friendly, calm and overall too good to be true. And then I put a leash on him. He's not a fan. He wasn't out of control at all. He just didn't want to move! After a lot of coaxing and a little bit of yanking, Mike and I got the two boxes of fruit and the dog into the car.

We stopped by the vet's office to get him scanned for a microchip, but one wasn't detected. The vet tech who helped us at the front desk confirmed that he was just over a year old as I had guessed. We got him home and he's been doing amazingly well ever since! He just hangs out in the living room with us. Happy to lie on the floor and come over for an occasional love.

My mom has fallen completely in love with this boy and we have named him Eliot Jones for the time that he's here. We've put him on Craigslist, hoping that his family sees him and they can be joyously reunited. If nobody claims him, though, I'm thinking that Mom won't mind having him around. With a little bit of work, he's going to be an amazing dog!

When we brought him home, we brought out Honey (the pet dog) to meet with him to make sure that dog interaction would be civil. Eliot Jones passed the test with flying colors and he and Faulkner have become good buddies in the day that he's been here. We're always extra careful with bringing new dogs into the house because Faulkner got bit in the face when he was about 6 months old and it was a traumatic experience for all of us. He's recovered from it fully and has no problems with other dogs these days, but it's always better safe than sorry.

Having this new dog in the house is fun and new and he fits right in. He sleeps a lot and is incredibly low-maintenance. We're all falling in love with Eliot Jones and hoping that he's claimed early on so that we won't have to suffer too much heartbreak. But for now, we're letting sleeping dogs lie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Puppy Trade Blues

I'm missing Faulkner quite a bit on this trade. It always surprises me how much more I miss a pup when I send them out on trade and know their recall date. It just makes it a little harder to let them spend time with someone else, no matter how many puppies you've raised. The emotional attachment you feel does not lessen as time goes on. As a matter of fact, it's actually strengthened my bond to the puppies I have at home.

Kayla, the lovely black lab that I have on trade, is keeping me on my toes. She's 9 months old and well into her "rebellious teenager" phase. She has good intentions and she is really a sweet girl, but it's hard to love on a puppy that you have to correct the minute you try to love on her. =] She's a smart girl, and very pretty too, but all I can do for her this week is show some tough love.

She knows her commands. If you tell her "down," she goes down. But then she gets back up a minute later. We've been working on a lot of calm behaviors to help re-enforce good house manners. She's pretty good in public, the head-collar helps that a lot, but she's having some trouble with being calm in the house. Long hours of being on her bed on a tie-down have seemed to help her understand that it's ok to rest every once-in-a-while.

While it's difficult to love on her and cuddle with her since she's so hyper, it's nice to have a little bit of a challenge. Those challenge dogs are the ones that I thrive with. It'll be nice to have my "perfect" Faulkner home tomorrow night though.

And yes, I know that there is no such thing as a perfect puppy. And I do not believe that there ever will be. But Faulkner is as close as you can get.

Included in this post are some baby picture of Faulkner as a look back before her goes back to school. He is between the ages of 5 and 9 weeks in all three. Wasn't he simply the most adorable puppy you have ever seen?!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Puppy Magic

With Faulkner going back to school soon, I have been thinking a lot about just what Guide Dogs means to me and these past few months have confirmed how much a person can get out of an experience such as this. The feeling that you get when you are able to help someone else, while helping yourself in the process, is beyond explanation. I don't know that I'll ever truly be able to express what Guide Dogs means to me and what they have done for me. The organization came into my life at a time that I most needed it, even though I didn't know it yet. Through all of my medical adventures, and times of not knowing what life would bring day to day, I had at least one constant: a dog. Every morning, no matter how terrible I was feeling, there would be a wriggling ball of fur just waiting for me to wake up. Not because they wanted to ask how I was feeling and not because they needed to take me to another doctor's appointment. They simply wanted me. And even in in my days of not knowing where my life was going or when I would be able to really start living it again, I knew that puppy needed me. And not just that puppy, but, in extension, a person needed me. After the first graduation that I attended five years ago, I couldn't believe that I was actually a part of what the working team had become. Bob and Yamaha were soul mates and you could tell by just looking at them. To think that I was even a small part of that beauty and freedom still makes me swell with pride. I don't know where I would be now if it wasn't for Guide Dogs coming into my life when they did. But I do know this: This organization is magical. And not just for the blind that get partnered with a Guide.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In Regards to Training a Puppy While in a Neckbrace...

Well, as none of you on this blog know, I'm in a neckbrace for the time being. I had some surgery done on my neck a few weeks ago and I'm in the brace until the 30th of this month. With my lovely, 15 month old puppy who knows everything, this isn't a problem. I rarely (if ever) have to correct him, and he never pulls on the leash. Also, it's a rare occurrence that I ever have to even look down at him. Last night, however, brought puppy trade.

Our whole club has about a meeting a month downtown during the summer for an outdoor concert event that's free and happens every Wednesday. Last night, we all met there and went through our paces. Dodging in and out of the tightly packed crowd, walking by the large fountain with children playing in it, strolling past the speakers blaring the live music, and kicking cups and bottles that have been forgotten on the ground under our dogs' feet. At the end of the meeting, I acquired my new puppy for the week.

Her name is Kayla. And she really is a sweetheart. But, she's 9 months old. With that comes pushing limits and being stubborn. Having a pup in that stage when you are in a neck brace doesn't work very well. I think that we've established a good pattern though. This morning when I took her out, I only had to give one little tug on the leash and she was very nice! I'm hoping that this trend continues so that my neck brace won't continue to get in the way of our training. Lucky thing that I'll have it off by the time I get my new puppy!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Exciting Faulkner News!

Faulkner will be going back to school on Friday the 9th of next month, October! Very good timing considering that I was just talking about how ready to go back he is! When Pat Cook comes to do evaluations, she is going to take Faulkner and his brother Franco back to campus along with a puppy being raised in Elko, Nevada named Montessa. Hopefully, she'll be accompanied by new puppies for us as well!!

Finally, An Update!

Sometimes, life gets in the way of all the things that you decide you're going to do. Most recently, for example, I had another medical relapse that led to months of testing and an eventual surgery which put keeping up with a blog at the bottom of my list. Luckily, Faulkner is so amazing that not much has been missed! After surgery, Faulkner's house manners continued to be superb and I trust him more in the house, by far, than any other puppy that I've had.

I'm recovering wonderfully from my past surgery which means that I'm able to take Faulkner out and show him off a lot more often. He's had more outings in the past week than he had in two weeks last month. And, being the Nerd that he is, he's done wonderfully in every situation that he's been in.

On Sunday, we went to CostCo which is one of the ultimate tests in Guide Dogs. First of all, there is always a lot of people around with big carts and surrounded by big displays and loud, echoing noises everywhere. Secondly, the floor is cement. This doesn't sound like the biggest test of a dogs abilities to someone who doesn't raise puppies, but let me tell you why it is.

In Guide Dog raising, our puppies are trained from the moment we get them to relieve on the cement. No other surfaces until later in their training. This sounds unnatural, and it really is, but not everywhere that a working Guide goes will have a convenient patch of grass next door. Having a pup in jacket and walking around on so much concrete can be a challenge since they usually associate it with emptying their bladder. Luckily, Faulkner was nearly flawless on our trip. No accidents and not even a sign that he thought about it.

The only not so wonderful thing that happened was, for some reason, Faulkner decided the lady in line behind us was going to be his absolute best friend in the world. He kept turning around to stare at her even though she made no move to say hi to him. She was looking at him, of course, but who can resist an adorable puppy staring at you? After a minute of him not behaving himself, we had to go for a little "refocusing" walk away from the woman Faulkner was flirting with. After that, he was much more responsive to me and, while he still looked over his shoulder at her occasionally, he stayed facing forward.

With small things like that being our only thing to work on, Faulkner and I are definitely ready for him to go back to campus. Faulkner is now 15 months old and is definitely ready. I can tell that he's starting to get bored and is in want of some new challenges. That's the best sign that a puppy is ready for "school." We're currently waiting on a recall date from Guide Dogs. After raising puppies for so many years, it feels weird to have a dog around that knows what he's doing. Puppy raisers train themselves as much as they train their pups and I'm trained to have a puppy!! Hopefully this month or next, Faulkner will get to go to school to show off what he knows and I'll get to start over with a new pup.

For now, we're in a waiting period. So we're having as much fun as we can! With the end of summer drawing near, we're spending a lot of time outside running around and playing. Not only are we having a blast at home, going out in public with Faulkner has become like going out in public with an extra arm. He makes it so easy that I don't have to think twice about taking him anywhere!

Puppies On The Web

Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc. is not just a website anymore!

Visit their Facebook page to support the organization and see pictures (or links to pictures) of all their activities. Follow them on Twitter for updates on the blog, shout outs to puppy raisers and information on upcoming events. And, don't forget to keep up with their blog No Bones About It for stories of raisers, working dogs and all kinds of fun!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chantilly News

I just found out that my little girl, Chantilly, is in class to graduate!! That gives me a 100% success rate in the GDB world, so far! I'm very excited!!!!!!! Go little pirate puppy!


Friday, May 8, 2009



Faulkner (AKA the Nerd) - 40S1
black lab, male
current puppy in training

Faulkner will be one year old on June 8th of this year. He is an absolute goofball! The older that he gets, the more he reminds me of my second puppy in training, Baskin. This boy is wonderful. He knows his commands and does pretty much everything that I ask of him. We're still working on staying when Honey (our pet dog) is in the same room, but that's a hard one to accomplish.

Faulkner is pretty much the top of his class. Not only is he great with his commands, he is an excellent house dog. I've always had issues with my pups in the house. They are wanting to run around crazily and get into trouble all the time. Not Faulkner. He has the best house manners of any dog that I've worked with.

Now, while I sing his praises, the Nerd is not without fault. He has been known to dig and have the occasional accident. Every day shows improvement and I am SO happy with him! Today is Wednesday which means the club will be meeting. It'll be a short meeting since all we're doing today is showing up at the mall and trading puppies.

Why do we trade puppies? Well, it's a training tool for both us and our pups. The trade allows our puppies to experience a different life style than they're used to which is great for Guides and also allows the raiser to learn from a new pup. We can see what the puppy is doing differently and if they have problems for someone else that they don't normally have in their raiser home.

This week I'll be working with a Genesis Service Dogs pup named Valentine. She's a 6 month old Great Dane. And she's already huge!! She's having some issues with listening and self confidence so that will be what I'm working on this week.

Genesis Service Dogs is a local organization in Boise, Idaho that raises dogs for a variety of disabilities. Those of us working with Guide Dogs for the Blind sometimes help them out by taking in a pup to give us an experience with a different breed of dog and impart some of our training techniques if they are needed.

Below are some more pictures of Faulkner. The two "puppy" pictures are from when he was about 4 months old and the one in the snow is from when he was about 7 months old.

My Past Puppies

Well, these are my past puppies that I have raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB).
I will have a whole post devoted to my current puppy, Faulkner, coming soon. The main reason for me putting them on this blog is to give anyone who may be reading some knowledge of them since I'm sure they come up again later. I honestly love every one of these puppies, no matter how long or short a time I had with them, they all managed to make me fall in love with them!

Yamaha- 4E57x
black lab, male
Working Guide

I got Yamaha as a transfer pup when he was 10 months old. I only had him in my life for about 7 months, but he was amazing. He taught me SO much about training dogs and mostly about patience! Yamaha is currently working as a guide.

Baskin- 4J32
black lab, male
Working Guide

I started working with Baskin when he was 8 weeks old, but he lived with another member of our club (4 Paws for Freedom) until he was 4 moths (16 weeks) old. He was a very easy going pup who was there for me through some though surgery. He was the puppy to teach me the most about starting out with basic obedience. Baskin is currently a guide working with Dawn and I still hear from them occasionally!

yellow lab, female
Working Guide

I worked with Donna for about 5 months. I got her when she was 4 months old and then transferred her to a brand new raiser in the club. Being the easy girl that she is, she was the perfect fit for a brand new raiser who wanted to be able to learn the basics and take her dog to school right away. The raiser that she went to, Emily, was the one to go to her graduation. Donna is currently working as a guide.

Chantilly (Tilly for short)- 49N1
yellow lab, female
Working Guide

Chantilly was the first dog that I was responsible for housebreaking. And boy did she teach me a lot about it! She was a more difficult puppy, but I loved her very dearly. When she was 5 months old, she was still having quite a bit of trouble with self confidence and we had to talk to Guide Dogs about it. They decided that they wanted her closer to the campus for closer examination. Of course, by the time that she was transferred, she was doing much better. It was very tempting to change my mind about it, but if I had, I wouldn't have gotten the chance to work with Gene. Chantilly was my pirate puppy and is currently working as a guide with Erica whom I get to talk to all the time!

Gene- 43M4
black lab, male
Working Guide

Gene was quite possibly my favorite puppy that I've been involved in raising. I love them all, but this boy has the best personality! He is quirky. But he was paired with a lady just as quirky! I was the third or fourth raiser that Gene was sent to. He was having some behavioral issues because he was with a brand new raiser family who didn't quite know what to do with so much personality. I completely understand their hardship because, even though he was my fifth puppy, he gave me a run for my money too! Getting to Gene's graduation was hard because I wasn't feeling too well and my mother was going to be out of the country. Luckily, my dad and I were able to work out a way to be there which was amazing! Gene is currently a working guide.