Saturday, February 23, 2013

Puppy Swap

So about 2 times a year our group does a big puppy swap where our dogs go with a different raiser and we get a different dog for a week. Well this week marks the first puppy swap of the year. Malcolm went to a family who is raising their first puppy and will get to go to high school with the daughter. I'm sure he'll do great. So while he is there I have Nikon a male golden 16 months old. He looks a bit like Malcolm. Agent is a little unsure about this new house guest and keeps looking for Malcolm this will be good practice for Agent for when Malcolm gets recalled in April. Ill update on all my adventures with Nikon this week.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pascal (cont.)

So when I did my story on Pascal my 2nd puppy I didn't have any pictures of him. However, I managed to find some of him as an adult. So enjoy.

Pascal in his bow-tie before my jr. high graduation

Pascal and I on stage getting my diploma for graduating jr. high

My little sister Pascal and I the day he was recalled
Pascal as a working guide sorry it is sideways


Fabrica was my third puppy I raised. Fabrica was a female black lab, and my first girl. I received Fabrica off the puppy truck in September, and it was actually the day of homecoming and the day I turned Pascal my second pup in. She was such a cute puppy and had the cutest little zipper on her nose.

Fabrica was a smart girl who I became very attached to. At 5 months old she started going full time to high school with me. It was really funny taking her out in public because people would be shocked when I would say she was a girl cause she looked like a boy. On top of that most people could not say her name they would think I said her name was paprika. Her one issue we had with her was she would get very distracted by other dogs.

I didn't do any big trips with Fabrica while I had her. She did get to partake in my school's homecoming rally when I was a sophomore. The principle and I set it up to prank the school. Our school has a tradition where the guys at school could get there head shaved into a mow-hawk during the rally, so we decided to pretend like we were going to shave Fabrica. Of course everyone panicked at first but laughed once they realized it was a joke. Unfortunately a week or two before the annual guide dog fun day she went into heat, so she didn't get to go which was disappointing. Other than that we didn't do anything big.

In December 1 of my sophomore year of high school she was recalled for training. She was on breeder evals as well as in harness training. Back when I raised her things were a bit different the dogs in breeder evals also did harness training while it was being decided if they would become a breeder or not that way they wouldn't be behind in training. By phase 4 of 10 it was decided if a dog would be a breeder or not. In Fabrica's case it was decided not to use her as a breeder in phase 4. Also in phase 4 it was decided to career change her for severe dog distractions. I was actually excited when she got dropped because I thought she would be my forever girl. Well my parents said no we couldn't keep her which left me heartbroken. It was then decided shed go live with one of my teachers, but two days before we were to give her to him he had to back out. At that point I was hopeful my parents would change their minds, but nope answer was still no.

In the end some family friends we've known for a while asked if they could have her. They had lost their dog a month or so before and were wanting another dog. We arranged for them to come see her and they fell in love with her. The day after they met her they came back over to officially take her home. I cried my eyes out for weeks. The great part is her family lives a few streets down from us, so I have been able to see her and for a while when they went out of town I would get to watch her. She is very loved by her family, and they have a beach house so she gets to go there sometimes too.
Me with baby Fabrica the day I got her (my hair was green because of spirit week at school)
My Sweet Fabrica love her zipper

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Polaris

Happy 2nd Birthday to Polaris my 8th guide dog puppy!!! He was ccd just a few days before his first birthday and GDB placed him with a couple. Choosing to have GDB place him instead of me placing him was the hardest choice i have made I miss him so much and hope hes having a special day today.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


So Pascal was my second pup I raised. He was a male golden retriever. I received Pascal off the truck the same day I turned my first puppy Wilbur in. He wasn't a very fluffy pup when I received him, but he grew into a handsome fluffy golden. I had Pascal during my 8th grade year and beginning of my freshman year of High School. The first night I had him was rough he cried a lot and in the end I put one of my big stuffed goldens in the crate to give him something to snuggle with and he then fell asleep (note guide dog puppy raisers are not suppose to do this lol but I was desperate for sleep). The nights after that he did better and did not need the stuffed golden. Pascal was a very smart boy and loved to work. However, his only real issue was his strong dislike of being separated from us. If he was in the kitchen and we were in the family room eating dinner or watching tv he would bark nonstop. One of the neat things while I was raising him was one of my friend's was raising a half brother at that time they had the same mom. As Pascal got older his barking when left alone got worse and since I was in 8th grade I had lots of homework which made it difficult to work with him. It actually got to the point I was ready to ask to have him transferred, but my sister had fallen in love with him so we decided to coraise him. Just like Wilbur Pascal spent a lot of time at volleyball tournaments in LA. The one big thing I did with Pascal was to take him on my 8th grade graduation trip. At our school our graduation trip is about a week long. We took Amtrack from Bakersfield to Sacramento where we got to look around and tour some places. Our trip also took us to San Francisco where he got to go to China town and walk half way across the golden gate bridge and he even got to tour Alcatraz. Our final stop was non other than San Rafael where I got to show my classmates the Guide Dog campus. During this trip we stayed at a hotel. Well since we took Amtrak up I couldn't bring his crate so I figured he could sleep on a tie down well there was no where to put a tie down. To add to the frustration the original arrangement was my room was to be me and one other girl but once we got there things changed and 2 more girls were added to my room so that was 4 girls and 1 dog to a small room. Needless to say I did not get much sleep that week since Pascal was so excited. On the last day we were there I had fallen asleep in the hotel and he chewed through his gentle leader. Thankfully he behaved himself on a flat collar. On the day I graduated jr high Pascal got to walk across the stage with me to receive my diploma. In September of my Freshman year of High School he was recalled for breeder evals. He lasted only a week and was neutered. Once he started training he moved pretty quickly through the phases(at that time there were 10 phases today there are only 8 phases). We were pretty shocked he was going through the phases since he still had his issue of barking when left alone. However, Guide dogs said that his working behavior was so good that they decided to overlook the barking and placed him with a person who was ok that he barked. Pascal graduated as a guide in March the following year and has been working in Texas. A funny story I heard about Pascal while he was in formal training he got loose from the play yard one day and trotted around campus marking his territory as trainers tried to catch him. They caught him after a few min of chasing him. So needless to say he is now known as the one who escaped. He worked for a few years before being retired. However, a year after being retired the school decided to unretire him and issue him to the same person again. This has never been done before. Sadly a year after he graduated we lost contact with him and his partner. He was a good boy even if his barking did drive me crazy some. Sadly I do not have any pictures of him here in Fresno the very few I have of him are packed somewhere in Bakersfield.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy 16 month Birthday Malcolm!!!

Today Malcolm is 16 months old!!! I can't believe hes that old already. I have fallen in love with him and have great hopes that he'll make it as a guide dog. Malcolm should hopefully be recalled next month. He has been going to school with me every day and does great!!

Also a little side note on January 31 8 more Medford pups were born 3 girls 5 boys mom is Trumpet a female cross. That means medford is up to 53 pups now. I'm very proud of my boy!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My first puppy

So as I said before I will be spending the next couple weekends telling about my past puppies. This weekend I will tell you a little about my first puppy Wilbur. Wilbur is a male yellow lab who was born November 30, 2001. When I first got my puppy assignment I was told I would be receiving an 8 week old male black lab puppy name letter W. I was sooooo excited to receive him we had a few of my friends over for a sleepover the night before I got him, so that they could come see the puppy truck too. On February 2, 2002 we went to pick up my puppy.Well when the truck pulled in the driver asked if we could guess the name we all took turns guessing names but never were able to guess Wilbur. Well you can imagine the big shock we had when the driver brought out a huge male yellow lab pup. We actually told him that he had the wrong pup our pup was suppose to be 8 weeks old and yellow. Well he didn't get it mixed up paperwork said we were to get a male yellow lab and yes this pup was 8 weeks old. After being handed this huge moose we were told his name was WILBUR. We all fell in love with the name and in reality the name fits him perfectly since he LOVES food. When we brought him home we weighed him 18ib at 8 weeks old. Sadly the day after I got him I had to leave for camp keep a week long trip 6th graders at our school take, so I had to say goodbye the next morning that was really hard. I spent the whole week missing him and looking at pictures I had brought of him. Once I got back it was time to start working with him. He was a smart boy, and loved to learn. Unfortunately a week after I got back Wilbur started having loose stools, and for a while would wake me up in the middle of the night because he had an accident. As you can imagine that can be quite frusterating to deal with especially since it was so cold out. My mom said if it was to much to handle we could transfer him and be done raising well I had waited many years to get a dog so I was not about to give this pup up. He continued with tummy issues until about 8-9 months old. During the time I raised him I was in 6th and then 7th grade. In 6th grade he went to school about 2-3 times a week once he was old enough and then almost everyday in 7th grade. During this time I played club volleyball and would have travel to LA on saturdays, and Wilbur went to every game. He even went to the end tournament we played in, in Sacramento where he stayed in a hotel with my mom and sister and dad (I had to stay at college dorms with my team). Even when I played for my jr high volleyball team he went to games. One special trip we took with Wilbur was to Sea World. I have not done this trip with any other pup since him though I hope to some day. My family and I met up with some relatives in San Diego and decided to go spend the day in Sea World. Wilbur did great and really liked the dolphins the best. Another big trip we took with Wilbur is to Pittsburgh, Pa. This was in the days where Guide Dogs for the Blind let us take the pups to states that weren't puppy raising states. We were going back there for Christmas and received permission to take Wilbur with us. I'm sure you can imagine the looks we got walking through the airport with this huge lab who by this time was at least 80ib. He was a great traveler. Funny thing is most people on the plane had no idea he was there till we got up. He got to have lots of fun and experience tons of snow. Another thing only Wilbur got to do was go to church camp with me. Our church's youth group every summer spends a week up at a camp with other youth groups. It was a lot of fun having him there and he did great he slept in a kennel by my bed and would go in there when we had activities he couldn't be apart of. He was a huge hit at camp. However, many of the kids could not understand why I was allowed to bring my dog and they couldn't so they asked that I not bring any more of my dogs. While I was raising Wilbur my family and I attended my first Fun Day. That year the theme was Hawaiian, so since I was young I had lots of fun dressing up Wilbur in a hula skirt and bra. He was such a good sport and wore it most of fun day. The following day we went into San Francisco and rode a ferry around the bay. The latter was not one Wilbur could go down so my dad had to hand him down to the captain to get him onto the boat and back up at the end. I did many fun things with Wilbur that I can not cover them all. On the last day of school my 7th grade year it was the day I had to turn Wilbur in. I did my best to compose myself in school ( many of my friends knew why I was sad but at the same time could not fully grasp the emotions I felt that day. Really unless you are a raiser you will never fully understand all the emotions we feel when turning in our dogs). When the time came to put him on the puppy truck I lost it and cried and cried my eyes out. I had worked real hard with him to overcome his soft stool issue and his food stealing issue (unfortunately he partner fed him people food so hes back to his old tricks again). On that day I received my next puppy to raise.

Fast forward a few months and we received the call. The call every raiser is proud to hear. Wilbur was matched and would be graduating. On November 6, 2003 (which also happened to be my 13th birthday) I had the honor of presenting him to his partner. He went on to guide his partner in Georgia. During the 6 years he guided I was lucky enough to be able to stay in contact with his partner, and see him twice. At the age of 8 years old he retired and came home to live with me and my family. He continues to be a spoiled pet and has taken over the couches and pillows.

Some funny things about him is he LOVES food we have to put him outside or on a tie down if we have food or he will take it from you. When he was a puppy in training he stole Zucchini out of a skillet while it was cooking once. He even ate a plate of cheeseburgers and sticks of butter. He also has a small scar on his nose from when a cat scratched him while being puppy sat yet he still loves cats. His first meeting he went to we worked on stairs that were a little steep well he had so much extra skin it fell over his eyes and he couldn't see.

Wilbur off the puppy truck

right before I left for Camp Keep

Wilbur as a puppy in training

Wilbur at Fun Day

Wilbur in Pittsburgh

Wilbur and I getting ready to leave for church camp

Wilbur and I at his graduation

Wilbur as a retired guide and my spoiled pet

Fire station

Well today was one of my favorite meetings, the one where we go to the fire station. Malcolm and I arrived early so we waited for everyone to arrive. Once everyone arrived we worked the dogs on commands. We had to wait a few minutes for the firefighters to get back from a call. Once they got back we went into the station. The first thing we did was have a firefighter put their full gear on, and have the dogs approach them. Malcolm was nervous about this strange person, but was willing to go up and sniff him so thats pretty good I believe the ventilator part is what made him nervous. Once the gear was off he was happier and was happy to go up to the firefighter and the gear on the floor. I was a little shocked since hes seen people in different outfits and has had no issue at all. After that we went and toured the firehouse. After a quick tour we had them pull the truck out and turn the fire engine on as well as the lights. Malcolm had no problems with this part. We were able to get some pictures of the dogs on the truck. At the very end they took the hose and turned the water on. This of course got Malcolm's attention and he really wanted to go play in it lol.

The fire fighter who put on the gear

in full gear

Malcolm in the fire engine

fire fighter malcolm. guess if guide dog thing doesn't work out he could be their new poster boy

Malcolm in front of the fire engine

Graham(one of Medford's pups) and Malcolm on the fire engine