May 31, 2010

I'm going to Disney!

Took Joey on an overnight trip to the Wilderness Lodge in Orlando. Joey went up and down lots of stairs, including some that were semi-open. Lots of elevator rides, walking over steel grates at the doors, and up and down ramps. Lots of walking on boardwalks and over small foot bridges. We rode buses, boats, and the monorail. Nothing phased him at all. Even the fireworks going off in the evening were totally ignored. Once in the monorail, the door warning chimes made him lift his head and look around, but after that one time, he ignored it. He is fascinated by anything laying on the ground. It should get easier to control that as he grows and his face is a little further away from the ground. He spent a lot of time laying under the loungers at the pool. Even the geyser going off every hour was ignored. In one of the restaurants, A waitress dropped a tray of dishes and made a very large noise, but he never flinched. At another meal in the hotel, the servers got very loud as part of their western characters, but he didn’t pay any attention to them. Only when a waitress was dancing very close to our table, did he start to scoot a little closer to where she was. Once he is laying under that table, he ignores everything . But, we haven’t dropped any food yet.

At Downtown Disney, they have little water jets in the ground that little kids play on. I got Joey standing near one just waiting for it to go off. He happened to stand directly over one just as it shot him in the belly. But, he barely acknowledged that he got wet. He met a lot of people that were interested in petting him. I swear to god I will probably scream the next time I hear anybody saying “AWE” !

I was worried about him during the night in the hotel room. I knew we might have a problem in the morning trying to get him outside in time to “busy”. He was on a tiedown at the foot of the bed, not in his usual crate. I woke up in the morning hearing him playing with his toy, not with the whining I usually hear. I got him to the elevator, down the long hall, out the door, and to the grassy area. He took care of business in a very professional manner. There were ducks that he ignored, and leaves and flowers from the trees that he found irresistible. We realized in one of the hotel stores, that Cindy has to turn over the leash to me while shopping. All I do is hold everything while she does the actual looking at stuff. Cindy had Joey right by her side on a very short leash, and talking about him to a lady that was interested in the puppy raiser program when she felt something strange on her leg. She looked down and saw that he had grabbed a stuffed toy off a low shelf and was shaking it violently. She got him to turn it loose. It wasn’t damaged, but was very wet with slobber. She figured we just bought a toy, but the other lady said that it will probably dry off before anyone besides a little kid tries to touch it again. She tossed the toy to the back of the shelf and we moved on. Hey, Disney toys are ridiculously overpriced!

May 29, 2010

Open House

Went to the open house at the campus today. Joey was a big hit as he seemed to be the youngest puppy there. He did get to interact with a bunch of older dogs. We met Cathy and her dog Angel, from one of the videos on the website. But Angel did not like meeting Joey. She snapped and started to growl. We got them separated very quickly. Cathy explained that Angel had recently been attacked by a Chihuahua and was not too trusting of other dogs right now.
Then, we got to meet Joey’s sponsors, Jimmy and Stefanie. We got to share some stories and we hope to get together again.

May 11, 2010

The First Night

Joey’s first night with us didn’t exactly go the way we were expecting. We tried to keep him awake thru the evening, but it had been a very big day for him and by 8:00 he had transformed into a limp black rag doll. He was unconscious for the evening. At around 10:30 I had to carry him outside to “busy”, but he just laid there in the grass. I put him to bed in his kennel. Then the crying started. At first it was just a couple small whimpers lasting about a minute and a half. Then, the silence. Cindy and just looked at each other in disbelief. But reality sunk in as we realized he would wake up in the night and let all the neighbors know who he was. We waited for the inevitable serenade but it never came. Then, at 6:00 AM, he started SCREAMING. I think he had a paw stuck in the bars of the kennel, but had gotten it out by the time I turned on the light.

But, we were up for the day. About an hour after breakfast, Joey walked over to the sliding door were we always go out to “busy”, and sat down. He pawed the glass a little, but stayed sitting there. We took him outside again and he gave us a big present. Cindy and looked at each other in disbelief again. Could housebreaking him really be this easy? Did the puppy staff start the training? There were no accidents or even any close calls all day. We had our first exposure outing today. We went to the vacuum parts store where they had all kinds of strange smells of carpet cleaner. Then, we were off to Lowes, to get tie-down materials. But then, I decided to go to Ace Hardware instead. I almost always find what I want there, if Lowes or Home Depot doesn’t have it. It’s a smaller store with more personal service. Perfect for a new guide dog puppy. At both stores, Joey was perfect. He sat or laid right at my feet, stayed quiet, didn’t nose around at anything. No accidents. Also, Joey pays absolutely no attention to the vacuum cleaner. Who trained this dog before we got it????? This is too easy!

May 10, 2010

Puppy Arrival Day

At our PR (puppy raiser) meeting a couple days ago, they were talking about the group getting some new puppies during May and June. I was sort of disappointed, because the people waiting for puppies already had dates to receive them. We just had our home interview two weeks ago, so I knew I was still pretty low on the list, but it still hurt a little to be left out.

Last night I started getting the feeling that I would get a phone call this week telling me that a puppy was scheduled to come to us next month. This morning, the feeling was very strong that the call would come today. I was out with my wife Cindy this morning. We were just getting back in the car to come home, but the car next to us parked too close for us to open the driver’s door. So, Cindy was trying to crawl over from the passenger side. Then we heard the cell phone ring. She was pretty well stuck with her butt in the air, trying to get seated behind the wheel and cussing the phone for choosing that moment to ring. But, it was my phone, not hers. I saw the call was from our group leader, Rita, and I got pretty excited. Then she told me she had some good news. A puppy that was supposed to go to another group suddenly became available for us. We could pick him up anytime this week. An hour later, we were on our way to Palmetto to get him. Since we weren’t really prepared for a puppy yet, we stopped at Target and picked up some dog toys and other stuff.

We were very excited and nervous on the half hour drive to SEGD. We met our goldador, Joey. We found out he was one of the four puppies we were playing with a couple weeks ago when we brought my dad there for puppy hugging.

On the way home, Cindy drove while I had Joey sitting at my feet. Soon he was up on my lap, looking out the window and getting to know me. We got home in time for him to have some lunch and check out the house. Then I had to pick our youngest son Colby from school. I didn’t say a word to him about the pup. We got home and he went in to say hi to Mom, and saw Joey laying in front of the couch. He was speechless! Now I had a couple hours before our other son gets home, so I went out to get a cage, since they didn’t have one at Target. I had the cage set up in the bedroom by the time Brandon got home. Another speechless kid!.

Throughout the day, we were getting emails from our puppy raiser group, congratulating us and looking forward to meeting Joey. It seems that Rita had emailed the group right after informing us that we were getting Joey.

We had our first housebreaking accident while I was making dinner and Brandon was playing with Joey. I had just told him to keep a close eye on Joey, that he may have to go outside. It looks like our first outing tomorrow will be to the vacuum parts store to get our little spot bot carpet cleaner working for the first time in a couple years.

Joey has spent most of his first day with us just sleeping on the floor. The kids have taken him out for a couple walks, but he tires out very quickly. He walks very well on the leash, but doesn’t like going out the door.