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.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Career change for Silky

OK - so Silky's evaluation told us what we already knew but what we'd hoped no one else would notice. Namely that she's just too rambunctious to be a guide dog. Guide dogs are trusted with their partner's life and need to be steady, reliable performers. Silky just can't help herself when she feels the urge to leap 4 feet into the air and perform a triple axle. Very pretty, but not good guide dog behavior. 
 Puppy footprints in the sand showing the take-off and landing for Silky's triple axle at the beach.
What's next? She'll be with us for about more 2 weeks while her paperwork gets processed. After that, she'll go back to the San Rafael campus until they find her new home. It's been quite a ride, little girl.