Follow Honeydew's progress toward becoming a working "Guide Dog for the Blind" - training to help give the gifts of companionship and independence to her blind partner.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
To introduce Honeydew to our new co-workers (as my office was merged with another larger city office), we posted her bio on the employee blog (with this AMAZING photo of her, taken by a colleague - Betsy Ames). This is what Honeydew had to say about herself....
I’m "Honeydew" and I am a Guide Dog for the Blind puppy in training www.guidedogs.com. I often come to work with my mom, Michele Crim. She currently works out of the Ecotrust building, but she is often at the 1900 Building too. I like to go to staff meetings and events with my mom because it helps me in my training – but I understand that sometimes folks might prefer I stay behind, so just let Michele or your manager know if you have any concerns whatsoever.
I am a yellow lab – almost 10 months old! I was born at the training campus in San Rafael, California – where all Guide Dog puppies are bred and born. I get to go a lot of places, including riding on transit, and visiting stores, banks, restaurants, and coffee shops – my mom loves those places! This helps me learn to be calm, focused and well mannered, which will be important when I am an older working dog.
Every week I go to training class with about 20 other Guide Dog puppies. There I have to pass tests and demonstrate that I am learning all of the things I am supposed to know when I grow up. I am a pretty good student, but sometimes I get really excited when other dogs come around. At home I live the life of a normal pet, including sharing my den with two other dogs and three cats (which I sometimes chase, but don’t tell my mom!).
I am not allowed to eat treats, play with balls, learn to fetch or jump on people (I am working on that one!) because all of those things can cause behavior problems for me when I am a working dog. But I get to go lots of fun places (like work!), so it is a fair trade. I love to play tug with people (my mom will gladly teach you how to play that with me), and to get my belly rubbed. My favorite pastimes include attacking plastic bottles (like empty orange juice jugs), chewing on my bones and running circles in my yard at home.
You are welcome to pet me when we bump into each other, but if I get too excited it helps if you step away so I learn that I get more attention when I am calm. My mom also encourages folks to wait until after the meeting, etc., so that getting attention is a reward for good behavior. Sometimes my mom has to correct me when I am not behaving properly – but, every moment is a teachable moment, right!
I will go back to Guide Dogs for the Blind when they call for me – which could be anytime between 6-months to a year from now. I will then go through about 6 more months of intensive training to learn to do Guide Dog work in a harness. My mom, and all of my friends and family, will be sad when I go back. But I am destined for great things….to help give the gifts of companionship and independence to my blind partner!
I am very excited to be a part of the new Bureau of Planning and Sustainability! Growing up in a work environment full of love and support will help me become a well-mannered and confident Guide Dog. I look forward to making friends with you all!