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.