May 6, 2011

College Bound

Yesterday, we got the official word.  Joey goes back to Southeastern Guide Dogs on June 4th to start learning how to be a guide dog.  Up until now, our family has had the task of teaching Joey how to be a sociable, well behaved dog, exposed to as much “life” as possible.  Soon, Joey will start learning the skills that will help him change somebody’s life for the better.  There are several paths Joey’s life can take, with being chosen as a breeder at the top of the scale, to being removed from the program and being put up for adoption at the lower end of the scale.  No matter which path he ends up taking, he will have a great home with a loving family.  We don’t want Joey at the top of that scale.  He has demonstrated his desire to be selected as a breeder, and we understand that only the best dogs get selected.  We would be very proud if he was selected, but hope he is passed over for that honor.  We want him to be a guide dog.  We want him to be somebody’s first guide dog. 
Southeast Guide Dogs is changing the way the dogs are turned in for training.  They are turning it into a more festive event, “Freshman Orientation at Guide Dog University”.  The always tearful turning-in of the dogs is quickly followed by a walk to the puppy kennel for some therapeutic play time with the young pups.  Then, some blindfold walks with dogs nearing their end of training, presentations by trainers, guest speakers representing graduates and handlers of career-changed dogs, and words from the CEO.  

Joey is back home with us after 10 days with a puppy-sitter.  During our vacation at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, we enjoyed our freedom away from the responsibilities of having a dog, but we also missed having the big lugnut with us.  SEGD does not want the pups at the big theme parks, but the days we spent at the water parks and Disney Quest would have been great exposures for Joey.  You should all be familiar with water parks, whether you have actually been to one or not, but some of you may not know about Disney Quest.  This can very simply be described as an arcade, but there is nothing simple about the place.  Remember, this is Disney! 
We ran into a service dog at one of the water parks.  He was a peanut detector for a child with a very severe allergy.  This is one type of service dog I had never heard of before, but I can easily see the importance of it.  We ran into the same dog at Disney Quest a couple days later.  I think Joey would have enjoyed both places.  We are returning to Ft. Wilderness next week for a weekend with the Cub Scouts and Joey will be going with us this time.  One last camping trip before going off to college. 

1 comment:

  1. Good luck Joey! Enjoy your last few weeks with the big guy! Joey will also be going IFT with Joe’s sisters Lexie and Snap.