Where you come for your share of Puppy fun!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Phase Report

Regina     4Y16      LAB     F     5

Hermes    46Y1      LAB     M    8

Halette     45Y4      LAB     F     2

Hestia       LAB      Breeder Evals

Belle puppy EPIC is in phase 5 this week! YAY!

I also found out that HESTIA has passed her initial breeder evaluations! Now she just has to go on to the next phase. Here's the thing though, this could be anywhere from a week to a month. So Hestia basically goes into a black hole again. But hopefully we'll hear something soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Puppies Everywhere

I'm seeing puppies everywhere! Cute little things with cold noses, wet tongues, and puppy breath. Not only did my group receive this little guy on Friday but it seems all of the blogs I'm reading are talking about when they're getting their new puppies or have little ones already!
A picture of Eli, the newest member to PWAP. He's a black lab with a huge tongue! He's also Hilly's cousin and this picture reminds me a lot of her.
I'm slowly cracking and I don't know how long it will be before I break.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Donation Morning

 Yesterday morning, along with all my other stuff I've been doing this week, I was signed up to take donations in the city center. I met up with my friend, who I was assigned to work with, and his two dogs. Bailey is 14 months and Vale is 6 months. Bailey is off for her formal training this Friday which is, as always, bittersweet. I was going to go to the puppy class this Tuesday but I apparently have an English lecture on Tuesdays from 10-11am. Of course! If I had a puppy I wouldn't mind missing an English lecture once a month for puppy class especially since they record the lectures and since all of my friends are taking this English course as well. But, it's the first lecture so I decided that I shouldn't miss it...but I still have until tomorrow morning to change my mind. Haha!
Bailey (L) and Vale (L). Bailey is such a silly girl. She's a lab/golden cross and sometimes her golden personality shines through. She's such a cute, good girl. Vale is a yellow lab and still pretty adorable.  
Now I have a problem guys. I'm not the biggest fan of this "break" thing from puppy raising, but I figure that it's best for me to figure out my schedule and puppy sit before I commit to taking a puppy to University full time. Only one problem; I met this cutie.
This is Ace. A 5 1/2 month old German Shepherd.

 Why is this a problem? He was such an adorable, sweet guy and I absolutely fell in love with him. I want to request a German Shepherd when I start again, but can I wait until April to get one of these things? I'm beginning to think that I won't be able to do it.

Since I can't speak to the leader this Tuesday at the puppy class I'm going to try and get together with him and talk to him about how to get my house visit done.

Friday, September 23, 2011

PWAP's Newest Memeber!

PWAP received it's newest member today! He's been with his new raiser family for about 3 hours now. He's a little black lab named ELI! I can't believe that we actually got an ELI. It'll be really cool to see how he grows up! He's also Hilly's cousin which is pretty darn cool. So, welcome ELI!!!!! I can't wait to meet him...though it might not be until he's near a year old.

Phase Report

Regina     4Y16     LAB     F     4

Hermes     46Y1     LAB     M    7

Halette      45Y4     LAB     F     1

Belle puppy EPIC is in phase 4 this week! He's the last Belle puppy left in training and will be the last Belle puppy ever to be there. It's sad really to think about, but this litter was pretty successful and there will be Belle grandpuppies in training at some point (thank goodness for Estee). I'm still not sure about Hestia, but I'm going to try and find out. I know Hestia's raiser recently got a new puppy (facebook, what would I do without you?), but I haven't heard of anything regarding Hestia.

Speaking of "E" puppies. Mr. E arrives to join PWAP today! My favourites so far are Ezra, Eames, Elwood, Escort, and Edinburgh. But I wouldn't mind if it were Eli either. *smile*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Puppy for PWAP

Hey guys! My group back home is getting a new puppy on Friday. Again, I'm really sad that I won't be there to greet the little guy or really get to know him.

I felt that a lot this summer. I was just getting to know puppies that everyone already knew well. It was a weird feeling as I used to be one of those ones where all the puppies would get excited when they saw me. A few puppies remembered me (Lance, Luther, and Snyder), but it was still weird for me to realise that I didn't really know any of the puppies. By the end of summer they all started getting excited when I came over to see them (except for maybe Schroeder, but it's hard to tell with that boy). It really only took one meeting for the "T" Sisters (that would be Teesha and Tippin) to realise that I like black lab females. They'd both get all wiggley when they saw me. *Smile!* I could have happily stolen one of them. Haha!

But on to the new puppy! The newest puppy member of our group will be a Black Lab Male from the Hurley/Arizona litter that was born on July16, 2011. The litter letter is "E". He'll be arriving this Friday! So, if anyone has any name guesses that would be great! Though, this is not a contest as it isn't my puppy. If (and quite likely WHEN) I decide to get a puppy we'll do a proper "Name Game" contest. This is just for fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

GDB Training Center in Forfar

*This is a fairly long and picture filled post.*

This past Saturday (17 September 2011) I went to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Training Center in Forfar. Forfar is about an hour and a half south of where I am in Aberdeen. This means that I am actually closer to my local training center than when I'm back home in the US. Of course...that doesn't mean much since I don't have a car, but at least I know that it's pretty close and a prettier drive than back home. Anyway, on to the story of what happened that day.

Every Saturday is an open day so the center is open to the public for tours and questions and what not. We use to have these exact tours until we had our bad parvo outbreak in the puppy kennels last year. I guess it's easier for these training centers to do tours because most don't have puppies in their puppy kennels full time. Either way, my friend took me to the open day to ask questions and see what the training here is like (I also got to play around with their harnesses but stupid Erin forgot to take a picture of them).

So, we arrived really early as traffic was surprisingly smooth and light that morning. I'm not complaining though because we got to drive around the town and I got to see where the dogs are trained at the beginning. It's a lot like back home where the main training center is in a small town that's close to a big city. Then it was finally time to get back to the center. Since it was an open day we had to wait around for a little while because they are never sure how many people will be coming in for tours.
The front of the Training Center. This isn't the whole building though. They have a HUGE facility.
A picture of me next to the Guide Dogs:Scotland sign. I'm so cool...

This is Cali. While we were waiting for the tour to start one of the staff brought her in so we could say hello. She was such a cute Golden Retriever and she and I became fast friends. She's going on to be an equivalent of a K9 Buddy.

Before the tour started I got to ask some of the staff about their harnesses. They let me play around with two of them. What I found out was that they use brown harnesses for the dogs who are still in training and once they become real Guides they get the white harness. It was pretty cool, but I still like our harnesses better. *Grin!*

Then the tour started (hooray!). We got to walk around the center. First off was the kennel set up. I didn't take any pictures because we were behind glass and I wasn't sure how that would make my pictures turn out (I did get to take some of the puppy kennels and they are the same set up), but their kennels are inside unlike ours which are outside. I think this makes a lot of sense seeing as we have pretty bad winters here. The ground underneath is heated so the dogs are always comfortable and there is always some kennel staff around (except at night) so if something happens there is a moderator. On nice days some dogs can go out into the kennels outside. Up to 3 dogs can share a kennel and there are about 10 kennels per block and there are 4 blocks (I believe). So...that's a lot of dogs!

Then we got to see the outdoor area. The outdoor play area was amazing. the dogs have so much space to run and play and just be a dog when they aren't out working. But these aren't just play areas, they also use it as a training technique. As all puppy raisers know our puppies like to play and they seem to remember the places they have the most fun. So, they don't want their dogs at the center to think, "I'm on a leash and we're going out to the play yard so i'm going to get all excited." They teach them that if they're in harness they have to walk through this set up calmly and work well. You never know if the dog will have to lead their blind handler through a park on the way to work in the future right?
Some of the outdoor play area. They have large tunnels to run through and play equipment to play on and lots of different toys.
More of the play area. This bit you can see it's set up a little like a park.
This is the outside obstacle course. You can barley see them, but there are two women who are training with their new Guides. Another interesting tidbit is that they don't really have classes here for people and their new Guides. They occasionally have a few student who prefer training at the center, but mostly they take the dog to the person to train. This means that there are no dorms and that the students are rooming in a hotel when they come to the center for class.
Then we got to see the inside of the center. The inside includes classrooms, a medical center (which we didn't get to go into), offices, and an indoor training area. The indoor training area is really handy when it comes to winter and the dogs can't be worked outside everyday. This room can be used for obstacle courses, obedience training, and exercise when it's far too cold and snowy for work.

These are kennel spaces for dogs who are in advances training. They will either be taking a break up here or working in Dundee.
One of the classrooms. I believe this is where you can get Orientation and Mobility training and learn how to become a Guide Dog Trainer and all sorts of things.

Part of the indoor training area. You can see that there is a small obstacle course set up, but can you see the fake pigeon they use for bird distraction training?
Me standing in the indoor training area.
 Lastly, we got to see the puppy kennels. They unfortunately didn't have any puppies in the kennels on Saturday. All of their breeding takes place at one center (much like it does with GDB back home) and the puppies are transported all over the UK to their Puppy Walkers. Every training center has a small set of puppy kennels. This is because they don't want the puppies to have to travel for too long. So, if someone were going to get a puppy in Aberdeen or anywhere more north, the puppy would travel up from the breeding center and then stay the night here in Forfar. Then it would make the rest of the journey to its Puppy Walker the next day.
The puppy kennels! This is where my little puppy will be staying a night or two if I decide to raise while here.
Finally, the last thing to show you is the resident cats I met.
This is Tinker. She's a black a white cat, but not a tuxedo cat. She's got black spots a little like a cow does. I absolutely adored her. Honestly, could have taken her home and been quite happy with her.
This is Bell. She's a stripped cat. Also very sweet. Yes, Tinker and Bell.
So, that was the training center tour. I'm pretty excited about continuing on with Guide Dogs here no matter what I do. Next Tuesday (so, not tomorrow) there is a puppy class that I'm hoping I'll be able to attend. It also happens to be the first week of classes, but hopefully nothing with interfere with each other. I want to talk to the leader and see what I should do next. That, and I really want to get my puppy fix. *Smile!* 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Phase Report

Regina     4Y16     LAB     F     3

Hermes     46Y1     LAB     M     6

Halette     45Y4      LAB     F     0

Look at those siblings go! I can't wait to see them all graduate! :D I believe that Hestia is now in breeder evals, but I can't be sure.

Belle puppy EPIC is in phase 3 this week. Belle Puppies EATON and ESTEE will be graduating this Saturday! Eaton as a Guide and Estee as a breeder. Hooray! Hopefully there will still be Estee puppies about when I get back.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Short UK Update

As most of you know from my last post, I'm back in Scotland. This first week back has been...interesting to say the least. I won't go into details, but Aberdeen gave me an odd sort of welcome home. Mostly, I've been setting up my new room in my new flat (I'm so grown up) which has included having to buy a lamp and some new curtains and will probably eventually mean moving around my furniture to make it easier to work at my computer at my desk. But, I've also been getting prepared for this Saturday.

This Saturday is when I'm going down to the Guide Dogs for the Blind training center in Forfar. I'll get to take a tour and see the differences between training in America and training here. It should be really interesting and I'm really, really looking forward to it. I'm really hoping they'll let me see some of the dogs in training and show me the harness and, of course, the puppy kennels. See, I still haven't decided if I'll be getting a puppy here or not, but I am willing to bet you all the coins in my pocket right now that I soon as I see a litter of eight week old Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds then I'll decide right then and there about getting a puppy. I do have a big request here; no labs. Haha! It's not that I don't like labs, but GDB doesn't use German Shepherds or Flat Coated Retrievers back home so those are the breeds I'd like to do. Of course, I'm not just going to sign up when I see the puppies (or will I?). I do have a lot of questions to ask about raising a puppy here and what my suppose system would be. I have questions like, "What happens if I get a really soft puppy who can't go to University with me right away?" and "Would I be able to transfer the puppy to a new raiser?" and "Is it possible for me to get a transfer?" While I really, really want a baby puppy as it's been over a year since I've had one and almost three years since I've had one at eight weeks old, I am aware that a transfer puppy would be so much easier for me in my situation right now. And if I can get a transfer I can wait until the beginning of summer break to get one, if I need to get a baby puppy then I would need to get one during spring break to ensure that it was at least six months old before I take it to classes with me. But, I do know that GDB here does things a little differently and, unlike back home, they aren't having a sudden crop of soft puppies being born (but those things come in waves so I bet when I'm back home and want nothing but a soft tempered puppy they'll only be able to find me Freyas and Roccos and Hillys).

For interested raisers who are just now discovering my blog, you can see how much thought goes into getting a new puppy. This is a full time job even though you're not getting paid to do it. I absolutely love doing it, but the pros and cons of my situation do need to get weighed. Another thing that some other people may not have to worry about is my flatmate. I need to ask whether or not they'd need her on the volunteer sheets as well even if she doesn't do much with the puppy except play with it. If she does, that might take a little convincing. But, don't let the hard decisions turn you off of raising. It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun too.

Now, on to this short long update, but I'm almost done I promise. This week *hopefully* I'll get to see two of the puppies that I got to know last year; Bailey and Vale. I met Bailey for the first time when she was about six months old. But I really got to know her later on at ten months old and Vale is just about six months now I think. I met him when my friend first got him, so I'm excited to see how big he's gotten.

And lastly, I Skyped with Hilly the other day. She's doing well, but my dad says that it's obvious that she misses me. It's quite comforting to know that she knows who her person is. Hopefully that will stay for the whole three years so she's ready to come back and live with me when I get home. She was being really naughty and jumping on the furniture and jumping up on my dad, but you can tell that he really likes her. I really can't wait to see her again. Though, I might have to plan my summer break around something else this summer, but I plan on seeing my girl soon.

That's all for now. Pictures will come of the training center and of Bailey and Vale.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Phase Report

Sorry this is a day late guys, but I was flying all of yesterday (yes, I'm back in Scotland and miss my Sweet Hilly Bean terribly, but I've been told that she's doing fine). So, Phase Report for you guys.

Regina     4Y16     LAB     F     2

Hermes     46Y1     LAB     M     5

Halette     45Y4     LAB     F     0

Hooray! Halette is on the phase reports now! I'm very excited to see her and Hermes and the other two "H" girls (once they're in training) go on to be great Guides or Breeders!

Belle Puppy EPIC in is phase 2 this week! Go Epic!

Monday, September 5, 2011

What's in a Name (Hilly Addition)

Hilly was just laying next to me on the couch while I was finishing up some packing, but she decided that it would be more fun to go off and play in the backyard and eat things she's not suppose to. But as she was sitting here with me so cuddly and asleep, I was thinking about the past three months.

Before I knew I was getting Hilly I knew I was getting a puppy from the Dylan/Aqua litter born on March 23, 2010. My leader made the mistake of telling me the about age and that she thought it was another Dylan puppy. I was really excited because I was following Halette and her raiser since they picked Halette up, but I was also really nervous. I didn't want to get either Halette or Havasu because I thought it would be too awkward with the whole blogging thing. So, I went to the littermate list and looked up the "H" litter. I looked at all the names. I pretty much liked all the names, but there was one that stood out to me.


I thought, "Gosh! I don't want to get HILLY! That's an awful name." Sure enough, the next day when it was made official, Mary emailed me and said, "You're getting HILLY." Haha! I couldn't believe that I had gotten the worst name in the litter!

Over the two months before I went to the puppy truck to pick her up, I got use to the name Hilly. I didn't like it, but I got use to it. I did grow to like it more and more. Now, I'm sort of fond her name. It's cute and it fits her small stature. But, now that she's Career Changed I've been battling with whether or not to change her name. I knew that if I did I would have to change it to something similar to make the transition easier and I really liked the names "TILLY" and "MILLIE". But then I started thinking about her name and what it really means. Here's what I found;

Name: Hilly
Origin: a variant of the name Halleli (which is Hebrew)
Meaning: Greatly Praised
Popularity: None at all. It hasn't been in the top 100 baby names in...well, ever.

I love unique names that mean something beautiful. I say Hilly's name is a perfect fit for me. Plus, she's got all these great nicknames!

Nicknames: Silly Hilly, Hills, Hilly Billy, Sweet Hilly Bean, Little Hill Pill


Alright, I know I haven't been posting all that much but as I've said before, it isn't easy to come up with posts for a puppy raising blog when you do not currently have a puppy in training. But rest assured that Hilly and I are both still alive and well.

Hilly, in fact, has blossomed as a Career Changed puppy. I am a little mad at her because as of right now (the weekend of her initial recall) she's totally ready to go in for training. I'm a little mad at myself too because I wish I could turn back time to our last eval with Jim and say, "Give me one more week with her and I promise you she'll be ready for training!" Ah, well. Can't turn back time so I suppose I shouldn't spend time dwelling on it. I'm just glad that as soon as I'm home for good she and I can start therapy work. If you haven't checked out Hilly's Blog you really should. She's showing you guys of the new tricks she's learned since being released form the program. I've also applied for her to be a GDB Pet Ambassador so that I could possibly take her when I do my talks about what it's like to be a puppy raiser. Unfortunately the scarf hasn't come in yet so I doubt it'll arrive before I leave.

Speaking of which, today is my last full day with Hilly. I leave for LA tomorrow afternoon and then my plane leave Wednesday evening. I plan to make this last day count because I'm still not sure if I'm coming home for winter break or not (plane tickets are expensive ya know). 

That brings me to Puppy Raising while in Scotland. I'm still on the fence about it. I have a list of questions that need to be answered before I even consider turning in an application. Then I know that I don't want to have a puppy until at least spring break. But, I am going down to the training center in Forfar on September 17. I'll be able to ask all my questions there and take a tour and have a lot of fun seeing how things are done in the UK. I'm sure I'll see a litter of German Shepherd puppies and that'll be the end for me. I'll be hooked and sign up right then and there. Haha!

Well, that's all for now! Hope everyone is enjoying their end of summer. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Phase Report

Regina     4Y16     LAB     F     1

Hermes     46Y1     LAB     M     4

Halette     LAB     F     Spayed/will enter training Sept.5

Belle puppy EATON is still in phase 8 and waiting for his person to come along. He might very well be in class now, but still be on the phase report. Other Belle puppy EPIC has moved into phase 1 this week! I got to meet ESTEE this weekend! She's such a cutie! I really hope that she's still breeding when I get back.

I hear that Hestia will be going back in for Breeder Evals this weekend. At least, I believe that it's this weekend. So...go "H" litter!