Thursday, June 30, 2011

Library program

On Tuesday Joe, Ely, my mom, and I headed to our local library to do a program about guide dogs and Southeastern. This was the 7th year in a row that I have done a program for the kids. The guide dog program in one of the favorite programs during the summer. 
All ready for the program
This year it was a group of rising first-sixth graders. They were some smart kids with some good questions (I only had to tell one little boy to get his mom or dad to answer his question ;-)
Look at those pitiful puppy dog eyes!
There is my happy Joe!
Joe did awesome during the program and slept through most of it. They loved being able to pet him and Ely once I took their coats off after the program. One of the mom’s who sat in on the program was very interested in sponsoring a puppy, since at this point in their life they can’t have a puppy. I was able to give her information and hopefully they will be able to sponsor a puppy! 
I hear kids!
Some dog book and activity sheets for the kids
Joe in front of our sign!
The library also was making a donation to Southeastern since all the other programs were going to cost them this summer and I was free :-) 
Ely and Joe chilling out while I packed everything up
I also got an e-mail about doing a program in the fall at a school. I might have to steal a puppy to take to that program

Saturday, June 25, 2011

13 months!

(So I am a little late as Joe turned 13 months last Friday, but at least I wrote it on his 13 month birthday just didn’t have time to find pictures and post it till now.)

The little Joe man is already 13 months old! Where has the time gone! It seems like just yesterday that Joe was a just a little fat guy. He is now a lean, sweet, smart puppy.
I found another one of Joe’s brother’s last week! His name is Woody and he is one of the 4 yellow boys of the litter! He will be going IFT with Joe in July!
In honor of Joe’s 13 month birthday…

13 things I love about Joe…
1) I love how Joe can have a serious face 1 minute and 2 seconds later have a puppy face.
2) Joe always knows who needs a little extra Joe loving. 

3) The way Joe uses Ely as a pillow during their morning nap. He is going to need to be with some roomies who love to snuggle!

4) I know that Joe will do great in any situation that I put him in, which makes it a tiny bit easier to send him back since I know he is ready to handle anything they throw at him:)

5) How he will wait in his sit-stay with his food bowl right in front of him during meal time for however long I make him, even through Ely eating all of his food, until I give him the take a break command.

6) His happy grunts. If he is really happy to see you, he will pick up a toy, put his ears back and grunt with happiness.
7) How he always is ready to go on another adventure
8) He loves kids and I love how gentle he is with all kids, but especially kids with special needs. He has made a difference in quite a few special kids life; since dogs don’t judge and are an instant friend, they form a quick bond. 

9) I know I say it a lot, but I love Joe’s coloring!
10) How he checks on you to make sure you are okay in the house

11) How he gets along with everyone he meets both 2 legged and 4 legged. He is my little social butterfly!
12) Joe is known by name in a lot of the stores and restaurants near us. His fan club is huge!

13) His great personality which is a small part in why everyone who meets Joe loves him! 

Happy 13th month birthday to my little Joe and his awesome siblings Lexie, Charlie, Snap, CW, Woody and the other 3 boys that I am still hunting for!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It’s official

I have had a pretty good feeling that Joe would be heading back to Southeastern Guide Dogs in July. I got an e-mail Monday confirming that he is on the IFT list for July. I also got all his IFT paperwork the other day, which he didn’t seem too happy about :)
“Not another neuter letter…I can’t look!”
“Okay, I will just give it a little sniff…”
Joe will be heading back to school July 23rd with some awesome fellow puppies. There are mostly boys in his IFT group, so I know Joe will have a blast playing with them! Joe will also be heading back with some of Rocky’s half siblings!
“but I am not going to open it…”
“I can’t look… will someone read it to me”
Joe is ready for the next chapter in his life and I know he will do great in whatever career he picks.
“I’ve been accepted! College here I come!!!”
I am excited that I will be taking Joe down! Southeastern has started a new process on how they are taking puppies back called Guide Dog U. Instead of bring them in Monday-Thursday of a certain week, everyone is bringing them back on a Saturday morning. June was the first time they did it this way and I heard from several raisers how awesome it was and that it made giving up your puppy a little easier. I am excited to meet some fellow puppy raisers in person and, hopefully, our boys will be friends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One last play date

Two Sundays ago, Joe had a play date with one of his brothers and one of his sisters. This was their last play date together. Lexie headed back to Southeastern last Monday and Charlie has already been career changed due to a health problem and is enjoying his life as a spoiled pet. Joe loves playing with his siblings. He had not seen Charlie since January or February and was very excited to see him. 
Waiting for his brother and sister to get here
Chilling out in his pool watching his siblings play
There they go!
They had so much fun playing together! Though Joe did try to get both of them in the baby pools, neither of them were going for it! 

It is fun to see how similar and different siblings can be! Snap (Joe’s other sister) and CW (one of his other brothers) could not make it, but Joe will be getting to play and see the rest of his brothers in just a short time when all the brothers head off to school together. 
"I love you Charlie!"
3 sweet puppies!
Good luck to Lexie and Snap as they start the next chapter in their life!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Career day

Back in February another raiser was asked if he knew of anyone who would be interested in doing programs for some elementary school kids. Since I do a lot of programs, primarily with kids, he asked me if I was interested. I thought the whole day might be a little overwhelming for Joe and me, so we asked another wonderful former raiser (and Joe’s mom’s host mom) to do one of the sessions. So about a month or so ago, Joe and I attended career day at an elementary school right down the road. They were having career day and field day on the same day and the theme of both of them was disability awareness. For field day they played several games where they somewhat got to experience a different disability. For career day they invited 4 different people who worked with people with different disabilities; I believe there was an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, someone who works with the deaf, and then there was us. Wendy and Lexie (Joe’s sister who was borrowed for the day) did the morning session with the 3rd-5th graders. Joe and I did the afternoon session with the K-2nd graders. 

We did 12 short programs with only about a minute in between each group. The kids were great and had some pretty good questions for being so young! Joe decided he would take a nap during the second group and just barely opened his eyes when a group would come or go. I only had a short time with each group so I made sure to tell them what I did, what Joe did and what Joe will hopefully do as a guide dog. I also told them  the most important thing,  when you see a dog out in a store or restaurant who has a coat or harness on is you don’t pet them, you don’t talk to them or do anything that  might distract them. If that is the only thing they remember it would be well worth my time! 

Joe did great with walking through the halls of the school with all the kids in the hall and he seemed to enjoy his time there. The guidance counselor (who had invited us and set everything up) was extremely nice and was very interested in the whole guide dog program. Joe and I talked to over 250 kids along with their teachers. We were by far the favorite speaker at career day! 

Fast forward to this past Monday, Joe and I were at Costco picking up some stuff with my mom. I hear two little girls say “look there is a guide dog” then I hear “mom look it is a guide dog and that is the girl.” I looked at the two girls and tried to remember if I am supposed to know who they are.  Their mom asked if I had been to such and such elementary school (the same school that Joe and I went for career day). I said yes, that would be us. The mom then turned to the two girls and said you can go say hi to the doggy. One of the girls who was probably only in first grade turned to her mom and said “you can’t pet him because he is wearing his blue coat and that means he is working.” I was so proud of that little girl for remembering the most important thing I said the entire program! It is somewhat sad when kids have to correct their parents for trying to pet a service dog. 

Joe and I get to do another program in a few weeks for our local library. I do at least one library program a year and I have been told that it is the fastest program to fill up of all the programs they have.