Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doing My Research

I an effort to update some records on a couple of my puppies that I have raised, I discovered a surprising fact. I remember getting my first puppy in training for Guide Dogs, Yamaha, when he was about 10 months old. While digging through files, however, I found a monthly report form that I filled out for him when he was 8 months old!

This discovery makes a lot of sense now that I have studied it, but I guess that it is difficult to remember everything for five years. It turns out I got Yamaha when he was 7 months old. I started going to meetings and puppysitting right before I turned 16, so the time line is a lot easier for me to follow now. I guess that keeping a couple monthlies isn't always a bad thing to do!

The Worst Blogger Ever...For Real

Well, I've been away for a while so this is going to be a loooooong post. Last time that I checked in, I had a baby Jerry and a Faulkner that was graduating! Since then, stuff has happened. Let's start with Faulkner.

Faulkner graduated and is working with a wonderful lady named Karen Karsh. She is a singer/songwriter and she sang a song at the graduation that she dedicated to me. Even though it was my sixth graduation that I attended, it was the first time that I cried. The song that she sang for me is called "Wings to Fly" and is from her album After The Rain. The lyrics touched me so deeply that I feel I have to share them with you all:
You’ve given me wings, wings to fly
A song to sing
The way that you touch my life
It means everything
And with my wings spread wide
Now I know, I always know that I
I’ve always had wings, wings to fly
Before, before there was you in my life
I never realized, never knew before
All that I could do in my life
And I was lonely, so very lonely
I never knew which way to turn
Should I cross that bridge or let it burn?
Then you gave me wings to fly
The sweetest song, you gave it me to sing
The way that you touch my very soul
It means everything
And with my wings spread wide
Now I know that I, I’m gonna always have wings to fly
I look up and see
I see some rivers of golden sun
Somehow it makes me feel part of everything
Part of everyone
I never knew before
Life was such an open door
Just waiting for me, opportunity
Now you gotta look, now you gotta look, look at me soar
‘Cause you give me wings to fly
A song to sing
The way that you touch my very soul
It means everything
And with my wings spread wide
Now I know, now I know that I’m gonna always, always have wings
Always have wings to fly
Now, this lovely jazz piece could easily be about a person, but I like to think that it is about a dog. So many things about Karen are wonderful. The most wonderful of all, of course, is that she is positively in love with my Nerd. One of the really cool things that we found out was that Faulkner is Karen's sixth guide dog and he was sixth puppy to raise and sixth puppy to graduate. It just seems too perfect!! After working together for eight months now, their bond is strong and the lovely puppy that I raised is doing something amazing. Here are a couple of pictures from graduation:

When I went to Karen and Faulkner's graduation I brought my little Jerry along with me. He was between four and five months old when we took this trip and it was a lot of fun to have both my boys together. We took a couple of picture opportunities as well!

Ever since going to this graduation, I have loved getting to do some emailing with Karen and I even received some pictures of her working with the lovely Faulkner in his new Colorado home.

If you are at all interested in listening to some of Karen's music, please visit her website! I am a big fan of her jazz compositions and if you like jazz at all, her work is definitely worth a listen.

Now, a Jerry update. My little Jer-Bear is now a year old!! A very interesting story surrounds his raising, actually. We had a new raiser move to Boise from California. She was through the application process and ready for a puppy when her life circumstances changed a little and she ended up moving. Once here, we had to re-submit her paperwork and she finally had a puppy on the way. Unfortunately, when the puppy arrived he was very sick. Our raiser, Alina, and our club leader spent a lot of time at the Emergency Vet and the poor little dear almost didn't make it. Guide Dogs recalled the pup and had him scheduled for surgery. Luckily, he is doing very well and is a happy little Career Changed love! On the not so positive side, Alina didn't have a puppy. Since she works and is a full time student, Alina was counting on the summer hours to get her puppy ready for school. By the time all the drama was sorted out with her sick puppy, Alina had run out of summer to be with a brand new, 8-week-old. This is where I stepped in.

I love puppies. The brand new, puppy breath, pot-bellied, wobbly, sleepy puppies. I think that it is a mild form of addiction for me, actually. At the time Alina was struggling with not having a puppy, I was thinking that it would be fun for me to get a new baby. My school schedule was set up in a way that it would be really easy for me to be home often and it just seemed like fun. I decided that I would transfer the then 9-month-old Jerry to Alina. It seems to have worked out perfectly. Alina is very happy with Jerry. He is spectacular with her kitten and he gets to go to school and work with her all the time. To top it all off, Jerry and Alina share a birthday! I'm very happy with the arrangement and Jerry seems to be doing very well in his new home. I'm excited about the possibility of going to graduation with Alina as well. She's a lot of fun and I think that a trip to campus would be extra special with both of us there.

Since you were obviously gypped out of Jerry pictures, here are some to make up for it!!

The puppy that I got in return for transferring Jerry is another lovely black lab, male and his name is Mark. Mark has more personality than any other dog I have known. I don't know exactly where it all comes from, but it sure is fun. Mark is currently 5 1/2 months old. He is quite possibly the biggest sweetheart of a pup that I have ever encountered. All he wants to do is snuggle. Whenever he is cuddling, he turns into a fantastic rag doll. His coat is silky smooth and I can't get enough of running my hands over it. With his immense personality come a couple of training frustrations.

He seems to be too smart for his own good. For instance, we were working on his "Go to Bed" command. He loves getting to work with food so this was very exciting for him. He was doing pretty well for his second time really focusing on the command so I gave him a break at a high point. Later that day we came back to work it just a little more. When I asked him to "Go to Bed," Mark ran straight over and plopped down directly next to his bed. When I gave him the "Not quite, try again" look, he stared at me for a second and then very nonchalantly lifted his paw up to place it on the bed.

After that display of attitude I couldn't do anything but laugh at him. Needless to say, we abandoned that particular training session and went back to work the next day. He has "Go to Bed" down pretty well these days.

I am absolutely loving the chance to deal with Mark's quirks. He comes with a few issues but I am feeling very confident that they will resolve quickly.

I know that this is a longer blog post than anyone should have. Congrats and thank you to the people who have stuck around long enough to make it to the end!! Future posts will be much shorter as I have a schedule these days that permits me the time to post on a regular basis. Hopefully I will be able to have a daily post for a while!