Sunday, March 27, 2011

On this day in history

Thomas Jefferson was elected to the continental congress in 1775
President Lincoln met with Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the Civil war in 1865
Fingerprint evidence was used to solve a British murder case in 1905
March Madness was born in 1939
An 8.4 earthquake rocks Alaska in 1964
And one of the most monumental events happened in 2009…. 

Rocky was born!!!

Sweet little Rocky asleep on his bed at 9 weeks
Rocky loved the snow!
Hard to believe it was just two short years ago that the Rock Star started making his mark on the world! It was only a few days later that I got the news that I was to raise one of the sweetest yellow labs ever! 

My party boys. Ely and Rocky loved wearing their party hats celebrating Ely’s birthday
It seems like it has been years since I have seen Rocky. Really it has only been 351 days since I said my goodbyes and told Rocky to go make me proud. He did and found the perfect job for himself (with the help of his trainers and all the wonderful staff at SEGD) - being a spoiled rotten pet. 
Rocky always knew he was a king!
I still secretly wish that Rocky was here, however my belief that Rocky was meant for someone else is still just as strong as when I said sent him off to college and when I made the difficult decision to have Rocky placed in Southeastern’s public adoption program instead of coming home. Rocky was always mine to love, but never mine to keep and I knew that from the very beginning. I know that he was always meant for his person and I know that Rocky is making a difference and using his talents to make a mark on the world. 
Brotherly love! Rocky and Spike during their last play date as puppies in training
Rocky has had quite an adventure this past year from my time with him, to heading back to SEGD, to making it in class as a guide dog, to being reassigned as a pet and finally to meeting his new family. It was probably the most eventful year of his life (and one of the more nerve-racking year’s in this raisers life; yes I am an overprotective and a worrying puppy raiser!) 

Happy birthday to my sweet little Rocky! You were a joy to raise and have a part of my life! Hope you have another great year filled with lots of fun adventures with your family (though not as many life changing adventures as last year!)

A happy birthday to Rocky’s siblings as well - Spike, Duchess, Cassidy and Toby!
Love that smile! 
Today also marks exactly one more month before the 90 days are up of no contact with Rocky’s family!  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Busy week

Sorry for the lack of updates this week! We have been busy and spring has arrived and with it came lots and lots of pollen! 

Here is a  rundown of what happened this past week  

Sunday- Joe was most happy to discover who was coming to church with him Sunday morning…. it was his sister Lexie! Lexie needed to hang around more kids and what better place to do that than kids church! Joe and Lexie ran around the backyard for about 10 minutes before we headed to church where they went for Joe’s routine Sunday morning walk before entering the building. Lexie was a little unsure about kids' church to begin with, but warmed up to it after a few minutes. All of my little girls loved having a girl puppy in church! I had quite a few people want to know how many puppies I was going to bring to church; Lexie was number 3 in the last month. After kids' church, Lexie and I went to big church where she curled up on my feet and went to sleep. We snuck out a few minutes early to go see some toddlers and babies. Lexie was not sure what to think of a 10 month old little boy or lots of toddlers running around, but somewhat warmed up to the idea that they are not too scary. Joe and Lexie got to play some more before Lexie went home that afternoon.
Joe and his sister Lexie the two black and tan pups in their litter.
Joe looks a lot bigger than Lexie in this picture! 
Joe and Lexie playing with a toy. It looks like Joe has an another tail and foot, but really it is just Lexie hiding behind him:-)
Monday- Allergies hit me hard, so we hung around the house and went for a walk. Joe seems to know when I am not feeling so great and is so sweet laying down beside me. 

Tuesday- Was a very busy day! Joe and I went for a walk early, then Ely and I headed to the vet to get his knee rechecked. Dr. Brian was very pleased at how Ely’s leg has healed. Ely was given 4 more weeks being on a leash and no running which is much better than 6 weeks (which is what he had last surgery). I guess Ely has been hanging around me too much because he seems to be allergic to the same things that I am. Ely had been scratching his face, which caused him to get an infection in his eye. He was put on two different meds and we talked about another step to help with his allergies. There are several options including allergy testing and shots and a very expensive allergy medicine. Dr. Brian suggested switching his food to a more hypoallergenic food first to see if that would help any. Ely has been eating Blue for the past 2 years and has not had any problems on it, so we are hoping a change in food will help his allergies. After we got home from the vet, Joe and I headed out to do some quick errands before I went off to work. There are some puppies who somewhat slow you down on a quick errand, but Joe is not one of those puppies! He keeps up with me and we are in and out in just a few minutes. Tuesday just happened to be my mom’s birthday so we went out to dinner, Home Depot and to get some ice cream. Joe did awesome the entire evening!
Wednesday- Joe and I went on a walk and did some stuff around the house before I went to work. Wednesday night Joe and I headed to church for communion. During the service there was a little boy sitting in front of us who kept trying to pet Joe; Joe did a great job with not reinforcing it by totally ignoring it! Joe did awesome when we went to do communion in a very crowed aisle. Afterwards he got to meet some toddlers and small children and he did great with them - even the more energetic ones! 
Joe is loving the warm weather!  
Thursday- Joe had some tummy problems, so we kept it a low key day. We did go for a walk, hung out in the yard and cleaned the house some (Joe thinks that he needs to stand right where I am trying to steam mop to supervise). After quite a bit of research, I decided on a food for Ely so we went and got him his first bag of food and treats of Natural Balance limited ingredient sweet potato and bison. Ely wanted to sleep in the kitchen Thursday night to keep an eye on it. He LOVES it! 

Friday- Friday was a day filled with friends both two and four legged! Another raiser sent me an e-mail to see if Joe would like a play date in the afternoon and to see if we wanted to go for a hike this morning; unfortunately it was supposed to be cold and raining(which was very true!) so we rescheduled for another day. Joe had a blast playing with Judy and Tillie. Judy used to be one of the babies in our group, but she has quickly grown up (just like they all do). After the girls left, we went and made a return to PetSmart, where he saw some of his friends. We then headed to Marshalls, where he got to see some of his favorite people. The Marshalls near us has some of the nicest people working there! All the managers love Joe, however, Joe has his favorite! He loves when Randy the manager is working. Joe also loves all the doggy stuff they have, however it is extremely dangerous for me to go in the doggy area.  They have some of the cutest doggy signs and pictures. I have run out of wall space in my doggy themed bathroom. Once we got home, one of Joe’s favorite friends, Cole, came over to play. Joe, the genius that he is, figured out how to get Cole to play his kind of game, chase. He waits for Cole to drop the toy then he grabs it and teases Cole till Cole starts chasing him. We then went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and he went under the table and laid down and went to sleep. 
The perfect sign for Joe! “Beware of affectionate dog”
Joe past out asleep under the table at dinner
Saturday- Today was a very lazy Saturday. It was cold and raining and I didn’t feel so great so we didn’t do much. Joe and I did go on a walk in the pouring down cold rain late this afternoon. He enjoys the rain and puddles a lot more than me! Since he was already wet and needed a bath we went straight to the tub for a bath. Ely also got a bath today since there has been so much pollen and he was on the itchy side

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday night out on the town

Joe was ready to get out on the town tonight! However, we first had to wait for the rest of my family to get ready, so Joe and I went to run off some energy in the backyard. Joe may not be the fastest puppy, but he loves to run! Once everyone was ready we headed off to Home Depot, a.k.a., the man store. All of my puppies are true boys and have all loved going to Home Depot. Joe was such a patient boy while we looked at paint, carpet, countertops, flowers and lights.
The next stop out was to one of his favorite restaurants, B.T. Burgers. They always love for the puppies to come in there. Most of Joe’s friends were not working tonight, but he still had fun ignoring the stray fry here and there.  Joe just chilled out waiting for my mom to finish talking to one of her friends she has not seen in a long time. He even ignored a really tempting corn chip just inches from his nose.
Since Joe just turned 10 months old yesterday, it marked the day that we started teaching the find commands. After just a day and half of using the find the door command, Joe already knows it! He even tried to open one of the doors by hitting it with his nose once he found it! The smart guy figured out how to turn the TV on his morning by hitting the button with his chin. I guess I better watch him in the car or else he might try his paws out at driving!
Today has been one of the hottest days of the year, setting a record of 84 degrees. Which means it was quite warm out today compared to what the weather has been. Since Joe will most likely be going back to Southeastern Guide Dogs (for those who don’t know, it is located in Palmetto, FL) this summer, I thought we should go ahead and take advantage of this hot weather to start conditioning Joe to working out in the heat. We went for a walk around 12 today and Joe panted a little bit more than normal, but besides that was fine. I personally am not a huge fan of walking in that kind of heat or walking in the rain for that matter, but if it means that Joe is 100% comfortable working in all sorts of weather then that is all that matters and we will continue taking our rain and heat walks!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Double Digits

Joe tuned 10 months old today! He continues to grow up way too fast right before my eyes! Joe is maturing into an awesome guide dog candidate. 

In honor of Joe’s 10 month birthday here are some of my favorite pictures of him. 
He was so small!
Joe was such a good sport for this photo shoot!

Part of Joe’s family! (L to R) Lexie (Joe’s sister), Tina (Joe’s mom) and Joe!  
Joe is growing up way to quickly and truly is a great puppy! 
Happy 10 month birthday to Joe and all of his siblings and also a happy St. Patrick's day! 
Joe wearing his green bandana for St. Patrick’s Day! He even wore it on his walk and out to dinner!  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Obedience class and new addition to our group

This past Thursday I was asked to lead our monthly obedience class. I was pretty excited as I always love  to pass on all the tip and tricks that I have learned through the years from some awesome people - fellow puppy raisers and trainers. 

Joe and I, along with Dianne, ( Rocky’s brother, Spike’s raiser) who worked Joe for me at the meeting, got there early to meet the newest member of our group. Introducing Baity - he is an adorable 8 week old yellow lab boy. He is such a snuggly little guy and looks like a little polar bear cub. 
We worked on food, dog and some other interesting distractions, as well, as obedience. All the puppies did great! Joe did awesome working with someone else while I was standing beside him (He had come home from puppy camp more clingy than before he left, but I think part of that was he was just happy to be home). 

At the end of the meeting we went over some handouts, because I LOVE handouts! 

I, for one, love leading meetings and am excited to lead another one in a few months!

Monday, March 14, 2011

New toy!

Joe finally was able to play with one of his Christmas presents today! He fell asleep when we were doing presents Christmas day, so he has been getting his gifts spread out so that he can play with and enjoy them, instead of getting overwhelmed with all these new toys.
The toy that he got today is currently his favorite (even though we have quite a few of the same toy already). Joe has been playing with his new red kong all day. He did very well about leaving his new toy alone until he was given the command to take a break. Joe played with his kong for over an hour by himself.  Mr. Talented figured out how to throw the kong across the floor to make it bounce and then would chase after it. It was quite entertaining! 
We were heading out for a walk tonight, when Joe’s friend, Cole, opened his front door and came running across the street to play.  The boys played for a few minutes before we went for our walk and had a training session. 
Both of the boys have been in a chewing mode tonight, so it looks like something died in our living room from all the bones!
Ely asleep with his new toy in his mouth. He loves his frog!