Where you come for your share of Puppy fun!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Puppy Class

You guys might be looking at the title of this post and think, "Erin, you've been a puppy raiser for 3 years now. How is this your FIRST puppy class?" To answer your question, today was my first puppy class in Scotland.

Now, I've mentioned on here that I finally found a place to live and that my landlady was so nice and was letting me raise a puppy while leasing with her. I figured that since it was now a "for sure" thing that I should see about going to a puppy class or two. Luckily for me I met someone in a shopping centre, then again at the fundraising meeting who is really nice and very willing to give me rides to puppy classes and other events.

So, today I went with James and...I believe her name is Alice (?) to their local puppy class. Their puppy classes are held once a month (so a little different than the once a week I am use to). James turned in his last dog, Denzel, about two months ago and picked up his new little guy, Vale (pronounced like "Val-ay"), about two weeks ago. Vale is a special puppy because James sponsored him which means he got to name Vale. Vale is a cute little guy. I got to have some puppy lovin' today as he kissed my nose and played with me (I'll let you know later on the other puppy lovin' I got). Alice's(?) puppy is Bailey. She's an adorable yellow lab with such a spirit.

I got to handle Bailey all through the class. She's really a wonderful puppy and is just so eager to please. She reminds me a little of Freya...only not quite as dog distracted. It was a little different than I was used to, but Bailey was such a good girl.

Now, after the first class was over there was coffee and biscuits served. I took this advantage to go over to the baby, 8 week old German Shepherd puppy who came in near the end of the first class (he's in the second class). I can't remember the pup's name, but OH. MY. GOODNESS. He was just adorable. It confirmed my feelings of wanting to request a German Shepherd for the fall. That is until I saw the Golden Retriever/Black Flat Coated Retriever mix. Oh Gosh! He was adorable. So, now I know what two breeds to request. They were both so cute and I can't do either in the states so those are the two I'm aiming for. :-)

There was also an adorable 7 week old golden puppy named Woody. Goodness, he was a doll.

Anyway, I had so much fun and I really felt like I was in my element. I was told I behaved myself (I didn't piddle on the floor, I wasn't too dog distracted, I did was I was told...) so I was welcome back. I also received a little praise about how well I handled Bailey and that she was considered a handful. To be honest, I didn't think she was all that much of a handful.

I'm so excited about going back after my summer holiday is over and I've definitely decided to try this raising thing here. How could I miss an opportunity to raise a Shepherd. And I realised this is what I've been missing and why I haven't felt completely at home. I need a puppy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

First Anniversary

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but things have been a bit crazy around here lately with exams and my parents visiting. So, whenever I sit down to write this I always realised that I was meeting my parents in a few minutes or that I should be studying for an exam. But, I finally have the time.

So, Sunday was Mr.L and Freya's Graduation Anniversary. It's hard to believe that my first puppy has been an official Guide for a whole year now. Especially considering that no one was sure if Freya would actually graduate. I mean, we all knew she loved to work and loved to please, but sometimes her love for bids, squirrels, and other dogs was a bit more potent. But she did it and I couldn't be more happy.

She continues to amaze me in her goofy moments. She's a very fun-lovin' girl, but when it's harness time she's all work. But I hear these stories about her having a goofy moment and it just amazes me. I'm so glad she's out there working and doing what she loves to do (that's one thing that always made me laugh. Some people come up to you and tell you you're abusing the animal. I always tell them that if they see a working dog you can tell that they're enjoying doing their job and that sitting at home alone all day would make them horribly depressed).

So, a little late, but happy anniversary to my first pup and her person. Hope they have many more.

Freya in front of the Korean War Memorial
Freya on the bus
Also on the bus, but in a considerably more comfy spot

A nice shot of her new Korean sign

Freya watches Mr.L "put". Look at that girl who use to have a thing for balls.

I almost (almost) sent them a paper gift for their first anniversary. ;-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 0

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 0

How great are these boys!? They're just in Medical evals right now, but I'm sure that they'll both be fine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Pictures of Recall Day...

Rocky, Regis, and Rocco
They stopped Fresno on their way up so Rocco could say "Hey" to his Fresno brothers.
Lance, Colorado, Lunar, and Rocco

Can't tomorrow get here already? :D

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bait Bag Contest/House

Alright, first on the list of "back log". Do you guys remember, way back when, when Mimi and CC Cabana told us about homemade bait bags and within that post was a possibility of winning a homemade bait bag? I know, it was a while ago, but try very hard to remember. You do remember? Well good, cause guess who won the homemade bait bag? That's right! Yours truly here did.

I'm pretty excited about this for various reasons. The first of which is because when I went home over Winter holiday and had Rocco for that month I, of course, had to use my old bait bag. Now, I seem to have bad luck with the bait bags given to me by my club. My first one the clip that allows you to attach it to your body snapped off and the adjustable belt went missing. So, for a while I had to use a very old bait bag that had no external pockets or anything. It was just a bag for kibble. The second one I got (and the one I used for Rocco throughout his time with me), one of the butterfly joints broke almost immediately when I tried to open it. It's not like I wrenched it open or anything. The clips but just have been brittle or something. It didn't really cause a problem so long as I didn't flip the bag completely upside down. If I did, there would be kibble everywhere so I ended having to be real careful where I set it down in the car otherwise I would spent the first 10 minutes of an outing trying to collect all of the kibble that fell from the bag.

The second reason I'm pretty excited about this actually has to do with the second on my list of "back log" posts. I finally found a place to live next year. *FINALLY* I'll be moving in with my friend Lisa. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a four bedroom house in Aberdeen so we did have to split into two groups of two. So, besides the fact that Lisa and I have a really nice flat for next year in a really nice neighbourhood for relatively cheap there's more icing to the cake. The landlady is very, very nice so I told her that I was hoping to raise for Guide Dogs here. Guess what she said! If you guessed that she said that I was crazy for wanting to do that and that she wouldn't allow it in her flat you'd be DEAD WRONG. :D She basically said the opposite. She said that she's very excited that I wanted to do this and that she'd give me full permission to have a puppy (so long as it was a Guide Dog Puppy in Training) while I was leasing from her. Pretty cool huh!? So, this means that I'll be able to use the bait bag for more than just the three months I'm home with my new transfer puppy. I won't have to pack it away for 3 years while I'm here in Scotland. I can bring it with me and use it with the puppy I get here.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure if I will be raising a puppy right away. I know that I'm going to wait until at least mid-October to get the puppy so that Lisa and I have time to settle down in the flat. I want the puppy to be at least 4 months of age by my exams in January so that I don't have to be taking him/her out every 15 minutes to go potty. If I get the puppy in October that solves the exam problem and it also means that I'll have my schedule for next year and I'll have gone through a month or so of classes so I'll know when I can come home to feed the puppy and relieve it because the puppy probably won't be ready to sit through hours of lectures. Of course, puppies do have a wonderful way of surprising us, but still...a 6 week old puppy (yes, puppy walkers get the puppies at 6 weeks here. Whereas back home GDB doesn't usually start sending out puppies until they're 8 weeks of age) in a lecture could be a bad thing. If by October I don't think I'm ready for a puppy I'll wait until the first of December to get one so that I have a month to spend with the puppy while I'm not in classes. The puppy would just have to deal with being in the crate for 2 hours while I took an exam in January. But, it really is up in the air. I want to get a job as well so that I can pay for frivolous things like DVDs and clothes and that means I'd have to look for a job that would allow me to bring a puppy into work. So, lots of stuff to consider, but I'll probably try it. Or, I'll get a job from September to December then get a puppy. Yeah...still up in the air but I'm sure I'll work something out that'll allow me to use this cool homemade bait bag for years to come.


Thanks Mimi and Cabana! I can't wait to see the Bait Bag!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The End of the Beginning

Well, he's up there alright. Lynn drove him up yesterday with his brother Rocky. It's a bittersweet feeling and I won't say that I wasn't sad yesterday, but I spent my few hours sad and crying and now I'm all ready for him to just get through that training. I'm not sad about him being gone anymore (though I am still a little apprehensive since I don't know what's going to happen). But I know that he'll do fantastic once he passes his medicals and that he'll make all of us proud. Gone is the sadness, in comes the impatience.

I don't have pictures of the day yet, but I'm sure I'll get some soon. For now though...I'm going to catch up telling you guys a few things that I've left until after Rocco's recall.

Oh man! Now it's going to seem like Thursday never comes (for those of you who don't know, Thursday is the day that the phase report of every puppy up at formal training comes out).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Last Day

Today is Rocco's last day as a puppy in training. And I for one am glad that the rapture held off for the time being. Not only would the rapture mean no formal training for Rocco, it would also mean no new puppy for me. Yep. Pretty happy the world is still going.

So, I don't have any pictures for today nor do I have much left to say on the subject of Rocco and his recall. What I can say for today is this. I hope he's having a wonderful last day as a puppy in training and that he hasn't chosen today to exhibit a new and strange behaviour.

I can tell you all now that tomorrow is going to be really hard for me. Thankfully, I'll be out most of the day. But in those few moments when I'm home and have my thoughts to myself...well, I'm going to cry.

Friday, May 20, 2011

16 Things at 16 Months

*written by Rocco*

Hey Guys! Did you miss me? Well, I sure missed the blog, but I've been having so much fun and I've been learning a lot. I know Momma has told you, but I'm going to announce it anyway. I'm going to Dog College! Yippie! I'm excited about going, but all my Moms seem sad. They're getting all emotional and sappy about it. I keep telling them that I'll see them again and that they shouldn't' cry, but you know what Moms are like.

Anyway, today I am 16 months old! And for this months post I am going to tell you 16 things that excite me the most about going off to College.

1. All the Other Dogs. My moms are telling me that up at school there are a lot of other dogs and you know how much I like to play. This is going to be so much fun!

2. My brother Rocky. Rocky and I are heading up to college at the same time! (Erin: Something we all joked would never happen because Rocco was less mature that Rocky. He matured up within the past month apparently). I'm hoping that he and I get to be roommates.

3. A Roommate. If it's not Rocky, I hope that I have a fun roommate.

4. New Stuff to Learn. My moms are also telling me that I'm going to have so much stuff to learn. They keep saying that it's gonna be a lot of hard work, but it sounds like so much fun. Momma says that I get to be clicker trained and that I'll get to work in a Harness just like my Big Sister Freya.

5. Graduation. I'm really excited about graduating. I know I can do it and I can't wait! I had so much fun at Freya's graduation and I really want to do it too. It'll be so much fun to have all 3 Moms there telling me what a good boy I am (which I am).

6. Kendrick, Pauli, and Amici! Amici is one of my best friends. I know he went back a little sooner than I did, but I'm sure we'll still get to see each other. I hope I get to see Kendrick too, but I hear he's almost finished with college so I don't know if I'll get to see him. I just hope the four of us get a chance to play together at least once.

7. The TOYS! I love toys and I've hear that they use toys in the play yard that we aren't aloud to have at home.

8. The Play yard. Can you imagine it? It's going to be like a dog park. I've never been to a dog park and I so excited to see what it's like to get to choose who to play with from that many dogs at once.

9. The Harness training. I'm so ready to stop with the whole "jacket" thing. I mean, I love my jacket don't get me wrong, but I get to work in a harness.

10. The food. I hear the GDB has excellent food service and serves food that received "5 paws".

11. My blind person. I'm really excited to find out who I will eventually get paired with. I'm hoping my person does something cool like...like...flies airplane! Ok, maybe not fly airplanes, but I'm sure I'll have the coolest person ever.

12. The blindfolded tests. Momma told me that when I got good enough I would have to pass a test where my trainer would be wearing a blindfold. I'm really nervous about that, but it sounds exciting too.

13. The trainers. Everyone tells me that the trainers are really, really nice.

14. Fun Day. I was there last Fun Day and I got to go into the kennels and see all the older dogs who were at college there. I knew then that I wanted to make it to that point. :D I hope some little pup walks through and sees me and says that's what I wanna do. I'm also hoping to show off a little so I can be a dog at "Follow a Trainer". That would be so much fun.

15. The Drive up to Campus. Mommy Lynn is driving me and Rocky and his mom up to campus to see us settled into our new dorm. I love long car rides. Momma always said that I was one of the best car companions ever.

And finally...

16. Going Home. I can't wait to go home with all the new stuff I learned up at school. No matter where that home might be.

Now, Momma made me put in some pictures. I chose a whole bunch of me playing because all the others that she wanted to put up where a little embarrassing.

I got to go to card game days with Momma all the time.
Since I don't have opposable thumbs though, I couldn't play cards.

That backyard was a lot of fun.

I love the Jolly Ball.
See? Apparently even when I'm just chewing a bone it's a photo opportunity.

Momma and I were playing "Tug" and she decided to break for a photo.
This is when I got back to Momma's for Christmas. I ran round and round the couch with Rosie following me until she gave up.

Auntie Arwen. She really was a great mentor for me.
This was at a puppy meeting in January when I got to see Rockford again.

Finally, there's this picture. You guys want to know what I'm staring at? See that spot on my paw? It's actually a fly. Momma said I must have been the only dog in the world who was fly distracted. Well, I'm not sly distracted anymore.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts Before the Big Day

I've been thinking a lot about Rocco's recall day today. I mean, I think about it a lot anyway but today it seems to be something where my mind keeps turning to. Which is inconvenient when you are trying to revise for exams, but I digress. I'm not sure why I'm thinking about it so much today. I would have thought that tomorrow makes a much better day to think non stop about the Boy. Perhaps it's the anticipation of tomorrow that's making me think so much today. Here's what I've been thinking about.

First off, why am I so sad that he's being recalled. Surely some of you (those of you who aren't puppy raisers I bet) are thinking, "Erin, you've been away from Rocco since January. He was transferred in September. You've already had to leave him 3 times! Why are you so sad?" Well, I haven't come up with an answer for that one yet. I have no idea why I'm taking Rocco's Recall hard. He made an impression on me to say the least I guess. However, if I had to guess (you know, if there was someone pointing a gun to my head telling me to tell them why I was sad) I would have to say it's because I don't think I gave him a proper good-bye in April. At least, not one that could be considered a good-bye for a recall. It's hard for me because I've realised that if he doesn't graduate in August...April will be the last time I saw or see Rocco...and I gave him a terrible good-bye. (You listening Rocco? Graduate in August pretty please.)

I'm also thinking about what Rocco meant to me. For me, Rocco was a break. Oh, he was hyper and bouncy and playful and silly. But for those of you who knew Freya as a PIT know that Rocco can only be considered as a break compared to Freya. He had his issues (I still remember getting no sleep the first few months) but they were easily solved and he was so eager to please and happy-go-lucky. So, I guess, for me Rocco was a dog that I could see both as a pet because he dearly loved to snuggle and some the happiest faces he's pulled was when we decided to stay in for the day OR as a Guide Dog because he loved working. Freya could only be a working dog. She wouldn't have been happy as a plain, old pet. Rocco, I was never sure which he would prefer. Perhaps that made me want to keep him more (I know, I know...he's a male yellow lab. I'm not to have fallen in love with him.)

Contemplation...Processing...Saddness. People who don't puppy raise don't understand why recall day hurts the way it does. They assume it's hard to leave your puppy, but they don't really understand. Even my dad, who is not emotional or sensitive, was sad when Freya left. He didn't have to say anything, but I knew (18 years living with a person and you start to be able to read them). I tell people all the time "It breaks my heart, but how could I not give them up?"

My heart is breaking...

Pictures taken at Christmas this year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Play Pictures

Rocco was a really good boy the last 3 weeks of school as he came with me as assistant to the Student Director for our school play, Seussical the Musical. He kept me company when I didn't have anything to do. He was the best buddy to have there.

He was still pretty young and yet he sat through the rehearsals like a champ! 9 Days...

So Soon? (Not so Wordless Wednesday)

When did THIS puppy

become a big boy?

I mean really? When did I miss that? Why didn't I see that he was no longer a little guy (as if he ever really was a "little guy")?
Rocco's recall is set for May 21 or 22. I still don't know how to feel on this. More tomorrow. Processing now.

Play Pictures

Rocco was a really good boy the last 3 weeks of school as he came with me as assistant to the Student Director for our school play, Seussical the Musical. He kept me company when I didn't have anything to do. He was the best buddy to have there.

He was still pretty young and yet he sat through the rehearsals like a champ! 9 Days...

Week Stretch

We're a little past the "it's a week exactly" mark, but we're still in the week long stretch. I can't believe his recall is this weekend. It seems like such a short time ago that he was a chubby puppy being placed in my arms in the GDB kennel kitchen.

Rocco really enjoyed baseball when he was with me. He loved the attention he got from the fans and I think he really enjoyed getting to sleep outside instead of inside while people around him cheered on our team. I hope when he graduates he goes to someone who also love baseball.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Play Pictures

Rocco was a really good boy the last 3 weeks of school as he came with me as assistant to the Student Director for our school play, Seussical the Musical. He kept me company when I didn't have anything to do. He was the best buddy to have there.

He was still pretty young and yet he sat through the rehearsals like a champ! 9 Days...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So Soon? (Not so Wordless Wednesday)

When did THIS puppy

become a big boy?
I mean really? When did I miss that? Why didn't I see that he was no longer a little guy (as if he ever really was a "little guy")?

Rocco's recall is set for May 21 or 22. I still don't know how to feel on this. More tomorrow. Processing now.