Where you come for your share of Puppy fun!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I told you guys she had a black spot at the back of her tongue.

Hilly yawning so big that you can see the large black spot right at the back of her tongue.

We're off camping today. See you in a few days!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hilly's First Baseball Match

Ok, I actually don't know if this was Hilly's first baseball game but it was definitely was her first with me. I think she had a really fun time. Believe me she wasn't as bored as she looks in this picture. She really was very, very good and very entertained.See, she watched the game.

Now, every Friday there is a Firework display after the game. If I take my puppies to a Friday game I always make sure to drive myself so that we can leave before fireworks. But for some reason I can't ever remember that during the Star Spangled Banner there are three little fireworks that go off during "...and the rockets red glare!" They just shoot into the air with one bang and no glitter (I suppose that's why I never remember them). Luckily for me I've had such wonderful pups that handle them with maturity and grace. Hilly was laying down sleeping before, during, and after the the Star Spangled Banner (or, maybe it's the fact that I've had such confident puppies that I don't remember them).

She slept through almost the whole thing. She worked like a pro when we were walking around near all the food. Her work was so good in fact that no less than four people thought I was blind. This really was our first big outing together as a Puppy Raising Team and she impressed me so much. I loved her already and have been pleased with her work, but Friday night she blew me away. During her eval with Jim I told him that I think she would be a good guide and that night she completely proved it to me.

Now...to get over her dog thing....

Hilly was very interested in this fly that kept bugging around us...she ate him.

I had to continue to tell her that she was far too young to have a sip of my dad's beer.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Inspiration

Apparently I am an inspiration. We were awarded this "Inspiration" award by Elijah and Dembre over at Miraculous Journey. Thanks guys! It's great to be recognized, especially by other service dog organizations. Right, so I'm suppose to award this to 10 other blogs. Hilly's going to help me try and make it to 10.

Our Inspirations

1. Becky and Cricket at Cruisin' with Cricket: In the blogging world these two are seriously my #1 inspiration. I don't know how she does it, but whenever I'm on a downer Becky seems to post a little quote or something from a conference that makes me realise how good I actually have it. The quotes and what not kind of put me back on track and help me keep a positive outlook on life. Thanks you two!

2. Dagan at Dagan's Dogma for teaching us how to do it career change style.

3. My good friend tchristine1029 (not her real name) at Dream.Explore.Discover for smacking us all in the face when we think we've got it figured out. Sometimes, I need that.

4. Amanda and Rio (and Kyle) at Snips and Snails: A Puppy Dog Tale for the great stories about her boys in the class. Hilly likes those.

5. Officer X at Parking is Such Street Sorrow. Really guys, check out this blog. Officer X reminds us all that when we get a parking ticket, it's our fault.

6. Rudy at Rudy's Life...as a Guide Dog in Training. Hilly likes that he's so calm around other animals. She says it inspires her to try and be calm too. She's really rooting for Rudy up at formal Training.

7. Ian and Renton at Tales from the Dark Side. Ian is a blind news reporter from Scotland. I started following his blog while there this year. He makes me laugh and his Guide Renton is a gorgeous Shepherd. Before he became a reporter he was an artist. Definitely an inspiration.

8. Rebecca, Ely, and Joe at The Journey of a Southeastern Guide Dog Puppy because Joe is such a good boy. Good Luck at Formal Training next month!

9. Kim at Great Things about Being Blind for her upbeat attitude.

10. Madison at New Miracles because she and I went off to school at the same time and I think have a lot of the same feelings.

Woohoo! We made it all the way to 10! I think I could give this award to everyone out there (because I follow mostly puppy raisers of all organizations and we're all inspiring in my opinion).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

15 Things at 15 Months

Today Hilly is 15 Months old! I can't believe that I just got her and she's already 15 months. Both Freya and Rocco were recalled shortly after they turned 16 months. Luckily for me, Hilly still has some work to get done before she's recalled for my ultimate goal is to at least get her on a recall list. If she decides in training that she would rather try and play with every dog she sees then that's fine, but by gum she's going into training! :D Determination.

Right, so since all you bloggers out there really don't know Hilly all that well I though this month I would do "15 Things You Should Know about Hilly" (aka: what I love about her).

15 Things You Should Know about Hilly

1. She's adorable. Seriously. She has the sweetest face and the cutest looks. She has a different look for different moods.

2. She is uber stubborn. Really and truly. When she came to me she...well let's just say she didn't have great relieving protocol. I ended up have to walk her around in a circle and then she'd out the breaks on. After a week I got her to circle more or less as long as I wanted to her to. Still, it was a struggle at times.

3. She does what I have termed Hilly's Happy Hop (alliteration sells). What she does is bounce straight up into the air and then bound three times in front of you and then look back with this expression that clearly says, "I'm very excited! Aren't you!?" I love it.

4. She loves her sterilized marrow bone better than anything. Unfortunately Rosie likes to steal it and take it outside.

5. She's a smartypants. She figured out the doggie door in two weeks being here and about 5 days of that was recovery from surgery.

6. She's very mellow. Oh, she'll play alright but when it comes right down to it she's a pretty mellow girl. She likes to sleep as much as she likes to play.

7. She's not the cuddliest of puppies. She doesn't want to sit on my lap and cuddle with me like Rocco did. And she doesn't want to curl up on me when I lay on the floor like Freya did. But, she does do her own form of cuddling. She'll lay her head on my feet and curl up under the desk when I'm working on the computer and she'll come over and lay next to me.

8. She has this funny way of playing. I don't think she quite knew how to play when she came to me. She's still learning, but she's getting better. At first though, she didn't know what Rosie wanted to do and she apparently got annoyed at her. She lifted one paw and smacked Rosie in the body. It was quite funny. And I still see some of her "I have no idea what I'm doing" when she sort of falls on Rosie.

9. She's so good when she's out in public. She'll just lay down and sleep when she's at a restaurant or at a movie.

10. She wiggles when she walks when she's happy.

11. She loves her people. When she wakes up she wiggles and wiggles and wiggles.

12. She's my first dog who isn't a licker. She doesn't lick often, but when she does she's very polite about it.

13. She likes smells. This is unfortunately something we're working on as her love for smells does not befit a Guide. But she's cute when she sniffs stuff.

14. Sometimes, she'll just stick her nose near your nose. She doesn't lick, but just holds the her muzzle there. It's like she's saying "I like you".

15. She's got a large black spot on the back her tongue. You can only see if when she yawns.

Fifth Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 3

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 4

WOOT! Look at those boys go! We always knew Rocky was the more focused, less goofy boy. So proud of both boys (though if Rocco wanted to speed up a little I wouldn't mind one bit). Belle puppy EATON is in phase 1 this week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hilly's Eval

Yesterday Hilly had her eval with the All Knowing Jim. I'm proud to announce that Jim's exact word was "excellent." That's right! Hilly got an "E" for excellent. He said she was such a nice girl and worked really well in her gentle leader and just on a flat collar. I'm so proud of her! However, he did say that if there wasn't a significant improvement in her dog distractions then...well...you know the rest. The good news on that is that I've already seen such a great improvement in her distraction. I really think she can get over this.

In other news: we were kicked out of a subway last night after seeing a movie. Normally I calmly explain that she's a Guide Dog in Training, but you know that feeling you get when you just know that someone doesn't know about the ADA? Yeah, I got that last night when the employee said, "No dogs ever" even after I explained that she was a service dog in training and then asked if he wouldn't let her in if she were a real service animal. I ask that usually to make the point the service dogs wouldn't know how to behave in public without the exposure they get in the puppy raising home. It generally gets them to see that even though the puppy is in training, they should have the right to be in the store as well and if they misbehave I leave. This time though the response was, "No dogs ever." So...I might have gotten a little too passionate when explaining the ADA regulations about how, legally, service animals are allowed anywhere a person is allowed. I'll freely admit I got hyped up a little. It happens to the best of us I suppose. Still, the only reason I got so hyped up was because he kept looking at me with this blank expression and saying, "I dunno about that." I just wanted to shout at him, "I do! I keep up with the ADA regulations!" But I didn't. After realising that I wasn't making any progress I wouldn't I calmly said, "Check with your manager about it before you guys get stuck with a fine." and left. The thing that bothers me is that his manager didn't prepare his employees for service animals.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

17 Things at 17 Months

So someone told Mary that I lost *cough* * cough* I mean...that my manual is taking a vacation. But that's alright, because she sent me the Recall Phases section. Hooray! That means that I can tell you 17 Things that Rocco has learned up at "Puppy College". He's come so far is such a short amount of time. Every week I'm even more proud of my Goofy Baby Boy. Now without further ado...

Rocco's 17 Things at 17 Months (What He's Learned at College)

1. Clicker and Food Reward Training (phase 1): Rocco has been introduced to clicker training. Clicker training uses operant conditioning. The clicker when reinforced with food is a wonderful training tool. (Note: unless otherwise instructed no puppy raiser for GDB should introduce their puppy to a clicker. This is to insure that the puppy has a "clean slate" when going in for training.)

2. Obedient Responses (phase 1): Rocco has also been taught about collar responses. This means that he should respond to even slight tension on the collar.

3. Focus around Distractions (phase 1): This is part of the Obedient Responses. What this means that the dog should respond to pressure on the collar when around distractions.

4. Formal Obedience (phases 1&2): As a puppy Rocco learned "sit," "down," "come," and "stay." Now he has been taught to "sit" and "down" and "stay" in precise positions next to his handler. He's also expanding on the puppy raisers' "come" protocol to learn his new verbal command of "heel." Distractions are used during obedience training along with higher value food rewards if needed. In phase 2 the verbal command "over here" is introduced. This taught Rocco how to move behind his handler from the left to right side so that the team may safely pass through a door that opens on the left.

5. Food Refusal Protocol (phase 1): Rocco has learned how to take food politely from his handler as a reward and when to reject food given from anyone but his handler. He has also been taught to ignore food on the ground or on easy to reach tables.

6. Van Rides and Crate Training (phase 1): Rocco has learned to jump in and out of the GDB vans used to take the dogs into the city for training. Before actually jumping into an actual van a "mock" crate is set up to correctly teach them how to get in and out.

7. Body Handling (phase 1): Rocco has been taught how to accept all forms of body handling in proper ways. He's not suppose to run or jump into people as this could cause problems with his visually impaired partner later on.

8. Intro to the Harness (phase 1): Rocco was introduced to a harness back in phase one. Initially, he stood around and walked without pulling in the harness. And he would wear it in relaxed settings so that he would come to accept it calmly.

9: Treadmill Training (phase 1): Rocco's been on a treadmill! The treadmill is used to teach the dog how to pull in harness and how to maintain lead. Verbal commands are introduced while the dog is on the treadmill while the dog learns to pull with a straight body position. Also, a comfortable gait is accurately identified for each dog. Dog will have at least two treadmill sessions before starting "Pattern Training". (Note: Raisers (at least with GDB protocol) should never take their puppy on a treadmill or on an escalator.)

*The next few are all lumped under what GDB calls "Pattern Training". This is a way to introduce guidework to the dog in a calm and very positive manner. At this point (phase 1) the instructor corrects the young dog so that they complete the exercise with no mistakes. The dog will learn to make his or her own decisions in later training. In phase 2 the dog is given more freedom to make decisions and mistakes. Though, at this point, the handler still correct for major mistakes to decrease the possibility of the dog getting into a habit. Also at this point, advanced environments such as heavily crowded and loud areas are avoided. *

10: Stopping at Streets (phases 1): Rocco has learned to stop at streets regardless of whether it's a wheelchair ramp or a curb.

11: Clearing for the Handler (phase 1): Rocco has learned to clear for his handler on the left, right, and above the dog's head.

12. Crossing Streets (phase 1): Rocco has learned to cross streets in a straight line that will efficiently and quickly get him and his handler to the "up curb" on the other side.

13. Maintaining Pace (phase 1): Rocco is learning to maintain a consistent, comfortable pace with the verbal cue "forward".

14. Verbal Command "Hopp-Up" (phase 1): Rocco learned how to correctly respond in different situation to the verbal command "hopp-up" whether it's resuming or increasing pace, moving closer to a stopping point, or refocusing.

15. 90 Degree Turns (phase 1): Rocco learned how to lead his handler in a 90 degree turn to the left or right and pick up a new line of travel.

16. Curb training (phases 1&2): At first Rocco learned to target curbs via clicker training. Then in phase 2 he was taught the verbal cue "curb" as a command to move up on the curb as efficiently as possible.

17. Agility Training and Obstacle Course (phases 1&2): Rocco was introduced to an agility course to increase confidence and develop coordination for stair and escalator work. This agility training continues in phase 2. He also is being taught to back up efficiently. In phase one he was introduced to an on campus obstacle course. His handler taught him to move past the obstacle safely. In phase 2 there were more obstacle and the pace was increased.

Bonus! Planned Distraction Route and Responsible Lead Session (phase 2): Rocco was set up in a planned distraction route so that his handler could see what decisions he would make around certain distractions. He also took part in his Responsible Lead Session. This is where his guidework training would be reinforced. As in the planned distraction route this included set-ups to see what choices the dog would make.

17 Month Day

Yesterday was Rocco's 17 Month Day. Now what I was going to do was post 17 Things that He's Learned at College (so far), but for that I needed my puppy raising manual which seems to have gone on a vacation while I've been absent. (Don't tell Mary. Oh wait, she reads this blog...Sorry Mary. It is in a box around he somewhere. It's just jumped from one box to another.)

Anyway, to make a long story short I looked for it for a long while then it was time for Hilly's first outing after her surgery. She needed to get out of the house because without her fast paced walks in the morning and no social outings she's been tempted to play with Rosie and when they play, they play hard. So, I figured it was safer for her and her stitches to get her energy out walking slow paced from our car to a movie theatre then laying down for 2 hours then driving home instead of being tempted to wrestle with Rosie. (To be honest I did take her more for me than her because I've been running ragged trying to get them not to play together.) That's what we did for about three hours yesterday. Then my plan was to look for the manual when I got home, but forces beyond my control prevented me from doing that. I got a mild case of stomach flu or food poisoning and instead of looking for the manual Hilly and I stayed in my room from 6 yesterday evening to about 6 this morning. So...no manual as of yet, but I'll keep looking for it and hopefully will find it this afternoon and post those 17 Things.

If not, a very happy (belated) 17 Month Day to my Baby Boy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Sire's Day!

Happy Father's Day to...




Dylan has given me two wonderful, beautiful, (high strung), little girls to raise and Atrus gave me my Baby Boy. What more could a person ask for. So, Happy Father's Day to these two great members of the GDB Breeding Colony. (And to the whole male population of the Breeding Colony). Keep the wonderful pups comin' guys.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Picture Drawn

So, you all know that I go to University in Scotland. All my friends know that I raise Guide Dog Puppies (I do tend to talk about it a lot). Well one of my friends drew this recently and sent it to me. :-) I quite like it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

She was Fixed

Poor Hilly didn't even know she was broken.

She came home yesterday so very groggy. She basically slept on her little mat from to time we got home around 6 till we went to bed around 10...and then slept some more. She wouldn't even get up when she heard her food dish clang, so I decided she probably wasn't very hungry. Even in the vet's waiting room she was so tired. She was standing right next to a dog she didn't know and wasn't doing anything. Usually she pulls and jumps and whines but yesterday she just looked over at the dog and then down at the floor. Poor girl. She's doing a lot better today. The vet told me she could return to normal activity today as long as she looked like she wasn't in pain or uncomfortable. My plan was to take her on a 10 minute walk this morning, but she was so happy walking around that we ended up going the full 2 miles.

Tomorrow is White Cane Day and I wasn't going to take her, but I might if she's as perky tomorrow as she is today and Mary gives me the "OK". She's not jumping and doing the Hilly Happy Hop right now, but I'm sure after a week she'll be her old self again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fourth Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 2

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 2

That's my boys! Don't know what held them up for a week in phase 1, but they've moved up a phase and I'm sure they're having fun! :D No word on their sisters yet. Hopefully they'll be in on next recall.

Also, the first of Belle's last litter, the "E" litter is on the phase report! GO EATON! And one is in for Breeder Evals. GO ESTEE!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Package?

My step-mom came back from a few days at Camp Royal (it's a local leadership camp for youth) and one of the first things she says to me is that I got a package. I didn't notice one outside nor did I check the mail today so I pretty surprised. I was even more so because I wasn't expecting anything. I saw that the package was from Guide Dogs and I have to admit, I got a little nervous. I had no idea why GDB would be sending me a package so my brain started to come up with scenarios. A few of them were, "What if this has to do with Rocco!? What if he's been Career Changed and Mary just hasn't gotten around to calling me yet?!" and "Is it Freya!? Has she been retired before her time?" A few more ideas ran through my head before I started thinking rationally and realised that they were things for Hilly. It was toothbrush and paste and heart guard and flea stuff. So...I feel a little silly but at least it wasn't anything bad.

Speaking of Hilly...guess who's getting spayed tomorrow. Should have happened a while ago, but it fell to me to get it done. I'm ok with it I guess. I mean, it will help her distractions a lot but it's almost like when Freya was pulled off of breeder watch. I'm a little sad that it's so definite that there won't be any little Hillys running about the puppy kennels.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Train Trip

Every year my group goes on a train trip to Hanford to get the puppies used to public transport. It's a fun outing for both people and puppies. I went with Freya but Rocco was too young to go last year so I haven't been for a few years. When I heard that the trip was delayed until after Hilly came off the truck I was really excited...and it wasn't just because we always go to Superior Dairy for ice cream.

Hilly did really while when on the train. Both to and from she slept trough the train trip. She did amazing in Superior Dairy and, get this, she was calm around the puppies. I mean...eerily calm. It's a little weird because that morning she lunged toward a dog walk in the opposite direction as us. I'm thinking it's because these puppies had on jackets like hers. It really was the weirdest thing. Both times she's been with the group she's been excited for about 5 minutes then calmed down...so I don't think people believe me when I say she's really dog distracted but I swear she is. HAHA! She's just so sneaky about it.

Anyway, pictures for you.

If you look over to us you'll realise that Hilly and I are looking at each other. I hate to compare her to Freya, but I've got so many pictures of Freya and me like this.

Everyone in front of the Hanford Courthouse

I got this picture of Hilly and I think she's so pretty.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hello Hilly

Hilly was my first puppy that I got off the puppy truck. Let me just say this; the waiting sucks. Seriously, I never really understood that excitement that built up on the morning of the puppy truck because I've never had to wait around for the truck to get here. I picked both Rocco and Freya up from Guide Dogs and I think I prefer that. I definitely didn't like having to wait all morning while doing nothing. At least when you go up to pick up your puppy you're driving while waiting.

Anyway, I saw the puppy truck drive up and my heart started beating faster.Then they started taking off the older pups to "do their business" and I caught a glimpse of a black lab but I shielded my eyes just in case it was Hilly.

First of the older pups off was Amici who was CC'd last week and is being placed by his raisers here in town. He was very, very excited to see his raiser again and pretty excited to see everyone else as well. I have to admit I was pretty excited to see Amici again as well.

Then off was, you guessed it, Hilly. I saw a itty bitty black lab being walked over and I thought, "Can't be my 14 month old girl, far too small."
Of course she was mine and instantly I loved her. She was so happy to see all of these new friends waiting for her outside of the truck. It was so adorable. She calmed down eventually and then I left with my friend to go out for some lunch. Hilly was perfect, but she does not like the heat here.

Overall she's a lovely girl, but she does have a few issues. The reason she was transferred was because of a dog distraction issue. Let me tell you, she is dog distracted. So, that's what I'm to work on with her. She's on food protocol now and I can already tell this is something that she can overcome.

There are a few more places that I want to work on so I thought I'd give you a list.

1. Dog Distraction

2. Relieving (she doesn't circle)

3, Name Recognition (there's a whole back story to this I'd rather not get into because it does annoy me slightly)

4. Counter Surfing

Really though, she's a lovely girl with a great personality. Here are some pictures of our first two days together.

Friday, June 10, 2011


More pictures will come to follow about today and all the excitement, but for now I'd like you all to welcome my new little one (and I mean LITTLE)!


Hilly is a 14 month old black lab female. She was born on March 23, 2010 to Dylan & Aqua. The reason she's such a special puppy for me is that she's Freya's half sister. She reminds me so much of Freya already, but she's definitely her own girl. I'm really surprised how little she is. I'll let you know more about her and why she was transferred to me tomorrow, but for right now we're just chillin' watching Dr. Who. She's sleeping on my foot and I'm in love. What I will tell you know is that she is littermate to fellow puppy blogger HALETTE.

Today's the Day

*bounces 'round the room*

Hooray! Today's the day!

7 hours left and counting...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Third Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 1

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 1

Obviously someone forgot to update the reports. ;-) Still, GO BOYS!

24 Hours

In 24 hours my transfer will be with me! I'm very excited about this and can't wait to meet the puppy. There's still time to guess the breed, gender, and age if you haven't already. Again, I don't promise any special prizes, but I might be able to come up with something

24 hours and counting...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Got home yesterday and look what was in a package that came for me while I was gone.

There was also a lovely little bag in the package, but I didn't take a picture of it. Thanks Mimi and Cabana! I love them!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Second Phase Report

Rocco 4Y13 LAB M 1

Rocky 4Y14 LAB M 1

Hooray! This means they're both officially out of medicals! What good boys!