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Sunday, February 20, 2011

13 Things at 13 Months

Retinitis Pigmentosa Fact #20

For those who have RP and have become legally blind a Guide Dog might interest them in assisting with their mobility.

Why have I chosen this obvious fact for today? Because it is Rocco's 13 Month Day! What does this mean in the life of a Guide Dog Puppy in Training? Well, this means that he has 2-3 (on average) months left in the raiser home and this should be the point where any big problems are resolved. Like with Freya, everything really took a back seat to her distractions at this age. We still worked on other things like obedience, but really, our main focus was distraction. For Rocco, from the short time I had him over the winter holiday, I would say working on easing up on the leash when I want to walk slow and doing "about face" turns (these are turns away from the handler). Even as a pup he didn't do these turns nearly as smoothly as the one where I turn into him. But overall, he's the bestest puppy out there and he's definitely going to make a great Guide!

13 Things About Rocco that Will Make Him a Great Guide and Companion

1. He loves you. I know that sounds obvious for a Lab. I mean, of course he loves people. They FEED him. But there's something about his reflective eyes that just tell you that he loves you deeper than food.
2. His eyes. As far as I know there is nothing wrong with them (though I do know this knowledge could change). His eyes will definitely help him in his life as a Guide.
3. He wants to please. You could tell when he was little and wasn't getting it exactly right that he really, really wanted to because I would be happy. Even over winter holiday when I was teaching Rosie "close" he sat there wondering why he wasn't getting treats because he was being very well behaved.
4. He knows when you're down and knows exactly how to cheer you up. I had a few times when I was pretty sad (the day I found out that Princeton rejected me comes to mind) when I didn't think anything could cheer me up so I sat on the floor doing homework (I'm much more comfy on the floor) and he came up to me, sat down, leaned over to lick me on the face, then flopped onto his back for a belly rub. It made me smile.
5. He a snuggler. For some people this might not be the best of traits, but for most, they love a dog that will sit at their feet to remind them there's always someone in their corner.
6. He pulled me around a lamp post once. I just think this means he always knows what he's suppose to do.
7. He absolutely loves to work. He loves going out there and strutting his stuff. There are times I think he does it just for the attention of adoring 5 and 6-year-olds, but still, he loves it.
8. He adapts fairly well. There are a few things where he gets a little annoyed about if they aren't the same, but all in all, he's very adaptive to schedules.
9. The boy isn't scared of anything. He takes it all in strides.
10. He's a big goof ball. I think every Guide needs some goofiness in them otherwise they'd be all work and no play and that makes for a very dull afternoon.
11. While he is a big goof, he knows when it's time to be serious and work.
12. He can navigate big crowds like a pro.
13. He's interesting in the world and everything around him, but only enough to care. Not enough to distract him from his duties. He's a wonderful boy because he likes the world around him.

I can't believe that he's already 13 months old. I can't wait to see how he progresses through the rest of his training.

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