Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
He & Ben have been hard at work lately.
...Actually, that looks like fun!
Keep on wishing them well as they continue their training together!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Now you know why you could've knocked me over with a feather when I got a call from Michelle early yesterday afternoon saying that within 20 minutes of being handed over to Ben, his new owner (yeah! I got permission to tell you his name!), Duckie accurately alerted him to high blood glucose levels. GO, DUCKIE!!! :-) I was literally choking back the tears (of joy!) in Wal-Mart (which is where I was when I got her call)...I'm sure everyone thought I was a bit odd but hey, I'm sort of used to that by now! I thought I couldn't be happier until...
I think Dakota has finally found his niche. Keep up the good work, Ben...you guys will do great!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This has definitely been a family effort!
Our last week with Duckie was pretty relaxed and normal, and we made a last visit to many of our favorite spots.
A walk in the woods is fun this time of year!
Of course, Duckie had to help me run some errands and do a little shopping, just like always.
Just a dog doing his job!
Dakota loves to "find the counter" when it's time to pay for our purchases. 95% of the time he also finds me the shortest line -- what a talent! I think that's because he's aiming for the counter itself and just wants to get me as close as possible...he certainly doesn't mind waiting as much as I do!
Guide dog puppies are NOT supposed to "shake hands"!...and, I promise I did not teach him this! I mentioned it to Sarah, Willie's trainer, once...she said, "Oh yes, all our doodles have done that! We call it 'the paw of love.'" Then she gave me some helpful tips for how to discourage it. After all, if you couldn't see, you really wouldn't want your dog doing this randomly. He could spill your drink...knock you off balance...who knows what. But eventually, when Dakota left the guide dog program, I just gave up. So here he is, giving me his solemn pawshake that he'll do his best and make us proud!
Probably the top question/comment that we puppyraisers hear is, "But how do you give them up?" or just flat, "I could never give them up!" Of course, they're right, it's no cakewalk. But honestly, how many worthwhile things in life are easy? The people who eventually receive these dogs are amazing individuals who have decided not to let their physical setbacks define their lives. They inspire me...and I am so happy that I can help!
We'll definitely miss Dakota, but I'm not the slightest bit sad for him. He's got a fabulous, loving home, a family who needs him, and a job he loves. He'll do great! It's bittersweet. But we're so, so very proud.
When Michelle came to get him he was ready...brushed to within an inch of his life and all bursting with excitement.
"OK, Michelle, what are we waiting for?"
A last pat from Katharine...
...and he's off! We love you, Duckie!
Starting Monday the 16th, Dakota embarks on a 3-week intensive training program with his new handler. The first portion is in residence at the GDTx center. Then they'll move on to work in his home and daily routes.
I've withheld personal information about Duckie's new family in order to respect their privacy...BUT...there is a rumor going around that his new partner might be starting a blog of his own!! If so, I will most definitely post a link here so that you can keep up with them. They'll be quite a team, that's for sure!
Also, Michelle all but promised me a few photos from their training, so you certainly need to keep checking back for that also...
...AND...of course you'll want to stay tuned for new doodle puppy updates!
And so life goes on. The house seems empty and I miss the squishy doodle nose in my face every morning. But I wouldn't have it any other way, and Dakota's doing what he was born to do. That's what it's all about!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
And it probably doesn't take too much to figure out what the next step is for our family. Of course, another guide dog puppy! We got to meet these six adorable puppies at Dixie's Doodles for their 5-week test last Saturday (forgot my camera, can you believe it?!) Here's a link where you can see them all...which one do you think is volunteering to be the next guide dog?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The most challenging real-life situation was at lunchtime, when the puppy raisers had to go through a buffet line and fix their plates with one hand, while keeping us dogs under control with the other. When I saw Twist on the other side of the table, I was tempted to just make a grab at her, but Mom was pretty determined that wasn't going to happen. Oh well!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I'm less than excited, I'll admit, about the actual goodbye! Dakota's last week here will probably be the first week of November, and since we have some family travel planned between now and then, his time with us is even shorter. It really seems to me that the more ups and downs you share with a puppy, the more invested you are in his future and the tougher it can be to turn over the leash. We've been through so much with this guy...remember back when he was a guide dog puppy? That just seems ages ago now! In the last couple of months our lives have changed so much as we've researched Type I diabetes, diabetic alert dogs, and scent training. We've learned a lot in such a short time, kind of like Dakota!
But despite goodbyes, I'm so eager to see him at work in his new job that honestly, I'm looking forward to it too...albeit with butterflies in my stomach! And while we're counting down here, I imagine his new handler is counting down too. I can't imagine what that must feel like!