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Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Puppy, New Problems

Saturday the 4th dawned bright and sunny...a perfect day to drive down to the GDTX center in San Antonio for their 20th anniversary celebration/volunteer appreciation day.
Dakota loved the entire day but was waaay too excited. There were so many wonderful people and dogs there, and he just wanted to meet them all! Not only were all the puppies-in-training there, a number of clients came with their working guides. Amazing the difference that a little (well, OK, a lot!) of training -- and some growing up -- can do! Those working guide dogs were calm as could be. The puppies, on the other hand, were...puppies! This cute little black puppy, "Travis," sat right in front of us. Doesn't he have the sweetest sad eyes?
Dakota had a blast. This clip pretty much sums up what he felt about the day.

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Of course he liked it best when he was the center of attention!
Meeting new friends is so much fun.

This was also the day of the puppy swap, where we puppy raisers all pass our pups to a new handler, then take home a different one for the month. It's good for the puppies because it gives them lots of different experiences. Plus, it's just fun. So...here we go!
Dakota went to Mary and Wes Reimer, who have raised several guide dog puppies already. He's in great hands. We'll miss you, Duckie!!

"Taxi" is our new puppy for the month. He's a lab/
golden cross, and a really sweet natured guy. I know, he looks all grown up on the outside, but he's only 12 months old and there's plenty of puppy left on the inside! His handler, Charlie, is raising him through the pawsitive approach prison program (http://www.guidedogsoftexas.org/pawsitive-approach.htm).
We had a great afternoon with Taxi and he seemed to settle in once we got back. He did keep very close to me all afternoon and seemed upset when he finally had to go to his bed for the night.

Little did I know how upset he was! He cried, barked, howled, moaned, scratched, and whined all night long. And yes, I do mean literally all night! It's a good thing I'm not a violent person because I got VERY mad that night. I thought of just letting him out, but during the afternoon he'd been so anxious that he'd jumped on the bed several times and I was afraid he'd wind up there again. Or worse, in his current frenzy, I thought he was fully capable of some major property damage. So we left him crated, but finally around 4:30 I escaped to the kids' room for an hour or two of rest before church next day.



Here's how I felt about Taxi in the morning:


In desperation and frustration I called Michelle for some puppy 9-1-1!



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At that moment, I would've been happy to give him back and never see another dog in my life. In the afternoon, fellow puppy raiser Tracy came to the rescue and kept Taxi for a few hours while I got a nap and regained some sanity. Michelle gave some useful advice, but just as important, was a sympathetic listener to my ranting. That really helped.

Sunday night, doped up on benadryl (the dog, I mean, not me!) and a little more settled in, Taxi slept all night long. After 8 hours of rest, I was a new person too. I'm happy to say that he's crating well now, even without medication. Which is good, because I would've been the one needing medication otherwise! He does fuss a bit, but he realizes now that it's not going to get him anything, so he gives up after a couple of minutes.

We're actually getting on well together now, and I'm getting pretty attached to him. Maybe that's because he's decided to become so attached to me! Taxi likes to be as close as possible to his people (preferably touching) at all times. If he were a person, he'd be the one always saying things like, "Let's all hold hands!" or, "Group hug!" He likes it when everybody sits together and he can lay on all our feet at once.


Our walks are going pretty well too. He's a big, strong dog and can really pull if he wants to. But so far he feels more comfortable encountering new situations close by my side.



We've worked on overheads...


encountered barking dogs...














...and braved plenty of screaming children.


I think Taxi's going to do just fine.




1 comment:

Erin,Bubs,Tex and Veda said...

Ah yes, the separation Anxiety. Veda was a lot like that when I first brought him home, but we exercised and got him through it! I'm sure Taxi will be fine!