Friday, December 9, 2011

Puppy club outing at the Hamilton Fire Station

 Our puppy club visited the Hamilton Fire Station in Novato. The folks there were great -- they led the puppy parade through the station, started engines, blew sirens, opened up the ambulance for the puppies to walk through and showed us all their gear. We had a great time!
 Lovely group photo. For more pictures of the outing, click on this link:
It will take you to a Google+ photo album.

I'll try and upload all the pictures from there to this blog later this weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

France and Half Dome

Here's a picture of France and me in front of Half Dome. It was pretty cold -- for us coastal folks. France did really well on his first trip to the mountains. More later.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Silky's 2 today!

Happy Birthday, Silky. Remember our trip to LA and how much fun you had with Dylan in Santa Monica? That trip was in January '11 -- not quite a year ago. Seems like a lot has happened since then -- especially after returning Silky to GDB in March and raising France since then. Best wishes, Silky, for a happy year and lots of kongs.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Big improvement

France is much better! Hooray!

His tests came back negative for parasites, so his digestive upset must have been caused by something he ate. I wonder about that little spider he snarfed up on one of our walks. Or gnats - he loves to grab gnats and little flies. I suspect we'll never know.

The combination of Flagyl and ID dog food/bland diet have worked their magic. France has given us a normal looking stool and we're back to work today.
Handsome boy -- hard at work!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poopy puppy

France has diarrhea. Yuck. Poor guy. He woke us up at 3:30 Sunday morning, whining in his crate. He'd pooped in there and was super contrite. Needless to say, this started about 12 hours of mad dashes for the relieve area outside - usually about every hour or so.

We went right to the bland diet protocol, cooked up tons of rice, bought out the local grocery store's stock of cottage cheese. We started France on Pepto Bismol, which seemed to put a stopper in the pup. No more diarrhea for the next day and half so we stopped the Pepto. Guess what returned? Big time.

Today, we took a trip to the vet. They'll run a couple of tests to see if they can find a cause. And France and I came home with Flagyl and some ID dog food.

So what did he eat? Leaves? Sticks? Rocks? He's never off leash -- even to relieve. We live in a condo so we don't have a yard. It's a mystery. Whatever it was, it certainly upset his digestive system. Hopefully, the Flagyl and ID will calm it down and France will recover quickly. After all, we have an outing on Saturday at the Jelly Belly factory in Vacaville.

If you've had similar experiences with your pup and/or have a good remedy, let me know. France, especially, will appreciate it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Puppies and ponies

Our puppy club was invited to visit the Sonoma Horse Park in Petaluma. We went last summer, too, so this was our 2nd annual outing. The manager, Ashley Herman Griffin, took a minute to hang out with France.
Apparently, France thought Ashley had been working too hard and needed a puppy pick-me-up.

Here are the puppies and raisers who were able to make the outing. Elizabeth (4th from right) is with her new breeder, Jaika. The black lab next to Jaika is Zia, a new transfer puppy. Welcome to both the new BLFs!

The horse park was busy. This is a young rider in the hunter competition. France enjoyed watching them in action . . . from a distance.
Here Ava and Canasta (puppies L and R) are walking with Nancy and Carol (humans). There were lots of horses and ponies, and lots of puppies and pet dogs.
Elizabeth taught us the right way to feed apples and carrots to the horses. Keep those fingers flat! Just like giving a piece of kibble to an excited pup who is on food protocol. France politely uses his lips to get the kibble.

We walked down the line of stables to meet more horses and see them in their stalls. Who's more interested here? The horse or Joe, Sharon and Bill's career change lab.
Three black labbies hanging out in a bit of shade. They are Zia, Jaika and France (left to right).

Great carrots!
France passed out as soon as he got into the car for the ride home. It was a big day for a little puppy.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Silky was adopted!

Silky found a new home. The folks at GDB worked long and hard to find the best family for her. She went home with them a couple of weeks. ago. We'll send our contact information to the Dog Placement folks to forward on to Silky's new family. Keep your fingers crossed that they get in touch and we can keep up with Silky in her new life.
Here's Silky with Stacy and Stockholm (Silky's in the middle) at Fun Day 2010. Her brother, Stefano, is waiting to be matched with his new partner. Another brother, Stockholm, has been selected as a breeder. Sisters Susie and Sophie are in training. And sister, Stacy, has been selected as a breeder. Their brother, Spencer, was donated to a guide dog school in Samsung, Korea.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

16 weeks and growing tall

France has grown about 6 inches in the past 6 weeks.  We make marks on the wall every two weeks, holding the pencil across the top of his shoulders. He's tall enough to use the elevated dog dish and actually look down into it. Six weeks ago, he couldn't reach the water dish even when he stretched his tongue out as far as it would go.
France eats 1.5 cups three times a day -- although he'd like about 6 cups 8 times a day. Typical labbie. 
He likes to crawls into a lap for serious nylabone chewing time.  And he usually wraps one of his paws around our arms to make sure we don't accidentally stop holding it at the right angle.
France does very well on outings. He's getting used to his puppy jacket and trots right along. He is usually pretty calm when he greets people and other dogs, although he gets excited when he meets one of his dog buddies. It doesn't take much to wear him out - it takes a lot of energy to grow. And France can fall asleep in an instant. Even the ex-pen makes a great pillow for this pup.
I couldn't resist the view from outside the pen. See the lab lips?
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Introducing France to our world

As a writer, I spend a lot of my time in libraries. France is too young to go to Cal, so I've introduced him to the public library in Albany.
His favorite thing was the carpeting. (It is at home, too.)
Jim and I took advantage of an early opening time at Office Depot to do a quick in-and-out with France.
Take a step - grab a sniff - another step - a couple of sniffs and maybe a lick (Yuck) - step - sniff . . . . and so it goes.
We were nearly the only people in the store so Jim and France found me in one of the aisles.
See the tongue? Think he's bored?
We are impressed with what a mellow puppy France is -- quite different from our early experience with Silky. When I play tug with France, he pulls gently and is careful to miss my fingers. Can this be? We'll see how things develop as he gets a little older and quite a bit bigger.
Jim and France at CVS - another quick in-and-out trip. See the rug? See the puppy on the rug? He's consistent.
So why would any puppy expose his tender puppy belly to the cold tile when a nice piece of carpet is at hand?
Little puppy, back in the sunshine. France did very well on both our in-and-out trips to stores. After leaving CVS, Jim and France walked past a Subway shop, a salon, a couple of other stores and a little coffee house with several people coming and going.
We are discovering that France prefers slow introductions to new places and things. And he wants a little down time between outings.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Puppy's work (read "play") is never done

 For his first week with us, we kept France close to home. He explored the house and got to know a couple of our neighbors. He learned the road to the relieve area and met the puppy toys. So far, France's favorite toy is the little red kong.
 He carries it around, bounces it then pounces on it, and takes it into his crate for some serious chew time. 

 We're getting in lots of puppy snuggle time, too. France likes to settle in on laps . . . 
 . . .  and it's OK with us, too. (Look at that yawn!)
 Puppy mellows out after a few minutes of playing. The warm lap helps him relax.
This guy's got relaxation down -- pretty typical for puppies.  Play, sleep, play, sleep, play, eat, drink, relieve, play, sleep.

The next week, we started walking around our building - inside and out. We explored the rest of the first floor and walked around the outside to the front. France met Mr. Elevator and the stairs -- just looking for now. As another week passed, he took his first ride on the elevator, went up stairs and came down the bottom one, rode in the car and started visiting some quiet store fronts. He also grew an inch and a half and gained 4 pounds. Big boy - ready for a big puppy toy. France, meet Mr. laundry bottle.
We've introduced sit, come, wait, OK, that's enough and let's go. He rides beautifully in the car, is quiet in his crate and has just started to spend time on tie-downs. France is a mellow guy and learns things pretty quickly. What a guy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

France meets Missy

France's first official play date was with Missy, another puppy in our group. Missy is 6 weeks older than France and was 17 weeks old in these pictures.
 Very sweet introduction for the two puppies.
 France thought the Dogloo was pretty cool.
 Missy tried to get France to chase her, but he wasn't really interested. He preferred chewing on her cheeks.
 Pretty girl.
Very handsome boy. He's 2 1/2 weeks older now than he was in this picture and I can't believe how much he's changed already. More pictures to come!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First puppy days; the good and the bad

We set up the ex-pen, pulled the puppy-sized crate out of the storeroom, picked up e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from the floor, found the puppy toys, set France in the middle of his new living room, took pictures and sent them to lots of people via email. All good. Then our group leader emailed back to remind us that plastic bottles are not approved as toys for Guide Dog puppies.  Ooops! We'd reviewed much of the puppy manual but not the approved toys list. Needless to say, the plastic bottle quickly disappeared and I'm still scrubbing the egg off my face.

 From now on, the only plastic bottles France will see are those carrying his water when we're out and about!

This is France's first experience on a tie-down. He started to lick the corner (which has already suffered from puppies dragging the tie-down cable across the outside edge) so I sprayed bitter apple on the wall and baseboard.
 France is thinking about it. It's a new smell -- and what do puppies do with new smells? They lick them!

B-L-E-E-E-C-C-H-H-H!!!! GROSS!!!!!

France has some brindle markings on his legs.  Another puppy raiser said it means he carries the "chocolate" gene. He's slated for neutering at 7 months so he won't be responsible in case any more chocolate puppies show up in the future. (Hi, Snickers!)

He's a handsome little guy. And at 10 weeks, he weighs 19.8 pounds and is as tall as Silky was at 12.5 weeks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goodbye, Silky; hello, France

That phone call finally came -- the one saying it was time to return Silky to Guide Dogs. We turned her in last Saturday. Jim managed to get in some last-minute snuggles -- about 2 hours worth.

Silky crawled right up into his lap, gave him some licks and sort of melted into him. It was cold that morning. And rainy. We eventually loaded up in the car for the drive across the bridge to San Rafael.

She turned out to be such a beautiful dog. Great eyes, eh? She rode all the way looking out the windows. People who see us in public when Silky wears her puppy coat always ask, "Isn't is hard to give them up?" The answer is "Yes. It's hard."

Good-bye, Silky.

Hello, France!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Puppy club outing in San Rafael

Our puppy club went to downtown San Rafael for a chilly outing in early February. I know other clubs have outings in really cold weather - but this was a pretty cold day for California.
There must be another puppy just off camera that captured Silky's attention. It's probably one of the two minutes she actually stood still during the entire meeting. Heather had her hands full and did a great job handling her. Quebec is on the COURT pedestal with his raiser, Carol, next to him. He was recalled in early March and is in phase 0 right now. Silky is currently being evaluated for search and rescue. Our club has 4 puppies in training: Don (8), Stephano (0), Desta (0) and Quebec (0).
The puppies head across this plaza to a water fountain -- actually water cascading down a wall. It was one of the distractions we presented to the puppies on this outing.
Marti walking Quebec past the water. No distraction for this guy.

Heather's daughter offered herself as another distraction for the puppies. She was great -- stood there as the puppies paraded past. It was a fun outing -- especially since we took the puppies to a nearby restaurant serving delicious, piping hot soup.