Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Honeydew

Well, tonight at puppy class everyone had to come in costume.  At first I thought it was a silly thing to do - but they explained that it was good for the dogs.  They have to tolerate what you do to them, they have to understand that sometimes other dogs don't look like dogs (e.g. encountering people that have their dogs wearing clothes in public) and that sometimes people don't look like people.   

Photo 1) Honeydew was a Fairie (or, maybe a bug?) - she was adorable!  Grandma (background) got to come to puppy class this week as she was in town critter sitting while Glenn and I went to Bishop (CA) for his 20-year reunion.

Photo 2) Grandy the pirate.  Arg!

Photo 3) Raisers had to be in costume too, so I had matching wings.

Photo 4) Honeydew greeting Dorena, the smallest puppy in our class.

Photo 5) It didn't take long for Honeydew to be quite bored with the whole costume thing!

Photo 6) Another "bug", Clea.  She was as thrilled as Honeydew about the whole experience.

Photo 7) All of the pups in a costume contest.  Fortune, dressed as a hotdog in a bun, was the winner.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Puppy Club Pictures

Time again for a Honeydew update, it has been a while.  She has had a lot of fun experiences recently.  We took our first bus ride to work - which was quite the fun trip, especially since there was another service dog on the bus - Honeydew wanted to play with her really badly!  She also had her first night away from home when she went to stay with a "puppy-sitter" so Glenn and I could attend a day-long event.  "Puppy-sitters" are folks that are approved and have the 'handling training' from Guide Dogs for the Blind (along with the various home inspections, liability paperwork, etc.).  She had a blast with that experience - she even got to go bowling with the puppy-sitter!  Geesh!  I have no idea what Honeydew's score was, but she has been dropping hints about wanting a personalized bowling ball for Christmas this year.

We are trading puppies with another puppy raiser this weekend - we are going to be watching "Cole", a female black lab that is the same age as Honeydew.  Cole is very shy and timid - scared of a lot of things - pretty much the opposite of Honeydew.  It will be interesting to see how Cole manages dealing with new people, new situations (like coming to work with me).  Cole has never lived around other dogs or cats, so our house ought to really open her eyes.

The past couple of weeks Honeydew has really mellowed out a bit, which is nice.  She still has her crazy puppy moments, but she is becoming more mature right before our eyes.  She is now able to roam around the house with just a drag-line (trailing leash we can grab to correct her) -- something we haven't been able to allow her to do up until now because she constantly wanted to chase the cats or pounce on the dogs.  

One last funny story to relay before the pictures....we were coming out of Barnes & Noble this week and before I knew it we were surrounded by little kids wanting to pet the puppy.  Their mother was trying to explain that Honeydew was a special working puppy, etc.  They were asking questions about why she was special and why she had that jacket on, etc.  I explained that she was a special puppy because when she grew up she was going to help a blind person get around.  One little boy (maybe 5 years old or so, I am horrible with ages) looked at me with a straight face and said "Can she talk?". I bit my lip to keep from laughing out loud and said "No" -- to which he made a very indignant face and said "Well, why not?" Clearly, she wasn't that special of a dog if she couldn't even talk for crying out loud!  It was one of the funniest things I have ever heard!  I giggled all the way home - his face was so priceless when he learned she couldn't talk.

Photo 1) This is one of the new babies, her name is Dorena.   She is sooooo cute.  She is only 9 weeks old and she already knows "sit", "stay" and "come".  I just love that puppies have such fat little bellies that they can't sit up straight!

Photo 2)  I thought this was a cute picture...the "down stay" is so boring!  Most of the dogs end up in one of these "are we done yet mom" poses.

Photo 3) A view of the puppy club - 15 dogs in total, ranging from 9 weeks to about 1.5 years. We spend about 30 minutes doing "boot camp" drills in circles and lines (walk, stop, sit, down, stand, walk fast, walk slow, stay -- over and over and over).  The girl bouncing the yellow ball wandered around trying to get the dogs to be distracted by toys, etc.  Honeydew was ok with that until she came out with a squeaky toy (one of those dang stuffed hedgehogs that all dogs love).  The Dew was beside herself to get that toy.  The two ladies in the middle are a couple of the trainers.  Honeydew and I are toward the back of the photo, you can see that she is almost as big as the other adult dogs now.