Jun 28, 2011

Another Hurdle Cleared

During the first month that SEGD puppies are back in for training, the dogs do not get any training.  They are in an adjustment period where they get aclimated to kennel life without the added stress of training.  They get a complete medical checkup, including xrays.  We received word today that Joey passed his hips and elbows evaluation, so he has reached another level in his journey to becoming a guide dog.  But, he is also still a breeder candidate.  If you have been following this blog, you know how we feel about that.  We would be very proud of Joey for being special enough to be selected for breeding, but we would rather see him fixed and become the great guide we know he can be.  Cindy and I avoided talking about what we would do if Joey was selected as a breeder, because we just don't want that to happen.  Since the time is drawing nearer that we would be hearing something, we finally sat down and discussed it.  It was a very short discussion.  If Joey is not going to be a guide dog, then yes, we do want him back in our home.  A lot of SEGD puppy raisers live too far away from the school to be breeder hosts, so we need to take advantage of our proximity to the school and have Joey come home to us. 
We have been keeping a close eye on the Blue Coat Journal blog hoping to catch a picture of Joey, but we haven't been able to positively identify him in any of the pictures yet.  I could spot his blonde brother, Deni, very easily.  But, all the black dogs jumping and playing together look too much alike.    The pictures show bunches of dogs having fun playing together, so even if we can't single out Joey, we know he is having fun.

Jun 4, 2011

A Very Quiet House

Today was the most feared day for puppy raisers.  IFT Day. (in for training)  We took Joey back to Southeastern Guide Dogs for him to begin his guide dog training.  I have to admit, SEGD did a wonderful job of preparing for this day.  They had about 25 dogs coming in today.  As we drove onto the campus, the street to the parking lot was lined with signs.  Each sign had the name and picture of a dog that was coming back in for training.  Of course we had to get pictures with Joey’s sign. 

We got more pictures at the main sign in front of the Administration Bldg, then headed for the event area to meet and greet other pups and raisers.  While talking to some of the staff, we found out that the missing brother of Joey was indeed scheduled to be there and that his name was Deni (pronounced “Denny).  We kept an eye open and soon saw a large yellow dog having pictures taken at the Admin bldg sign.  Our boys walked over to ask if that was Deni.  We got the thumbs-up from our son and started walking over as they started toward us.  Deni is every bit as large as Joey and just as sweet.  But the similarity ends there.  Joey’s fur is just a little longer than a lab’s but is silky soft.  Deni’s fur was longer, like a golden, but coarse.  Joey has the pointed face of a golden, only black, and Deni has the more squared classic look of a yellow lab. 
The meet and greet was followed by the turning in of our dogs at .  They called a dog’s name, he came forward, and they took him away.  Joey was the second dog called.  Just like they said he would, he walked away with the trainer without a backward glance, anxious to see where he was going. 
After 5 dogs were turned in, those families were taken over to the puppy kennel for some therapeutic puppy hugging.  After playing with the puppies, we got back to the event area for refreshments and blindfold walks.  That is where you put on blacked-out goggles and go for a walk holding the harness of a dog in training, to give you an idea of what it is like to put your faith in a dog.  Very enlightening! 
Then, presentations by a trainer, and some guide dog users.   
In all, it was a very nice morning.  It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to a dog that you have lived with and loved for the last year.