Thursday, April 30, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
It has been a crazy few weeks, so I took today off from work to relax. Honeydew and I went on an adventure downtown - with the primary destination being the ceramics show. She did a great job weaving through the crowds of people. The best part was the look on everyone's faces when we entered the part of the show where all of the glass work was (fused and blown glass art) - clearly they were thinking "here comes a dog in a room full of breakable glass at nose level". But, Honeydew was a champ and didn't break anything. If anything, they honestly should have been more worried about me. We also came upon an international fencing competition -- imagine a huge room full of hundreds of kids in fencing attire, whacking each other with swords (or "epees", isn't that what they are called?). She was very confused by it all, but didn't shy away from the sudden movements and buzzers, and kids wearing big mesh masks on their heads. The pictures are from our trek home. We stopped to enjoy the sun in the grass - she promptly fell asleep. We rode the train home - she fell asleep on that too. Apparently, keeping me from breaking clay pots and glass sculptures took a lot out of her!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Today we attended a graduation ceremony for Guide Dogs. It was a great experience. 6 dogs, with their new blind partners, graduated. This was a class that went through a new trial program they are doing -- usually, there are 12 students and it takes 4 weeks, with 4 students per instructor. They have tried this new system of 6 students, 2 weeks, 2 students per instructor. They weren't sure how it would go - but it turns out that, at least with this group, it was very successful.
Today we went out to the Guide Dogs campus (in Boring, OR) so they could evaluate Honeydew in the "Observation Room". This was basically a room set up like a living room - complete with a couch, table, TV, kitchen counter, etc. However, it was a VERY messy room, with all sorts of "appropriate" and "inappropriate" toys and materials laying all around. For example, garbage cans full of tissues and yummy smelling food. Socks, shoes, stuffed animals, etc. We then all watched Honeydew in this room through a one-way mirror (we could see her, she couldn't see us). It was fascinating to watch what she did when she thought she was alone. At first, she was really excited and ran around the room picking up toys and bones, bringing them to the dog bed and chewing on them.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tonight at puppy class we did an outing to the neighborhood grocery store. It was fun being in a train of puppies out for a walk. We had to climb the back steps of the store - which was very exciting for Honeydew because the garbage compactor was located below...and it smelled WONDERFUL (she thought). We then had to take a whirl through the grocery store. Honeydew is a pro at this...she has out-grown her desire to smell everything on the shelves. There was a wild rumor of "spilled coffee beans on aisle 2", (a good test to see if she would try to eat stuff off the floor) but when we arrived they were gone. Honeydew got off easy.
Below is the text from a recent Letter to the Editor of our local paper (The Oregonian). I don't know if it will be published (I don't read the paper), but I thought you might enjoy reading it here. Bryson, the Guide Dog in the letter, was actually raised in our Puppy Club. Go Team!
As we get closer to the time when our dear little Honeydew heads off to puppy training "college", it is a nice reminder that we are doing this for the right reasons.April 7, 2009
Terrence L. Blosser, Pataskala, OH
Letter to the Editor The Oregonian
To Whom It May Concern:
As a recent Guide Dog for the Blind graduate I want to take a moment and share a reflection of my experience with all of you.
I was accepted for the Guide Dog for the Blind program. I arrived in Portland on March 9th, 2009. From there, I went to the Guide Dog for the Blind campus in Boring. I stayed there until graduation and flew home on April 5th, 2009.
I was matched up with my new guide dog, Bryson, a yellow Labrador Retriever. He and I trained, as a team, throughout parts of downtown Gresham, the suburbs of Gresham, downtown Portland, the suburbs of Fairview, at the Clackamas Town Center Mall as well as a few other sites.
I could not have asked for a better environment for training. All of the people that we encountered were absolutely wonderful. They were very understanding and compassionate people. I truly feel that we could not have asked for a better place to receive training.
While there, it became very obvious to me that the people there also are very proud and supportive of Guide Dog for the Blind (GDB). Many volunteer at the GDB campus, many are puppy raisers and many make financial contributions to Guide Dog for the Blind. I was truly humbled to learn all of the generosity exhibited by the Oregonian people.
At my graduation, a young girl talked about raising money for GDB by donating all of the proceeds from her lemonade stand. A Brownie troop raised funds from their Girl Scout cookie sale. A Girl Scout troop also raised money for the program.
In closing, I say: To all of the people and merchants in Gresham, Portland and the surrounding areas, I want to say “Thank You” for being understanding, compassionate and warm towards us Guide Dog for the Blind students. Words alone cannot express gratitude that I feel. I will always remember my stay there with fondness and appreciation of the people of Oregon.
To all of the volunteers, staff, instructors at Guide Dog for the Blind, I thank you all for a pleasant experience. Everyone was understanding and very professional. Bryson and I have bonded very well. I look forward to a nice journey with Bryson at my side.
If anyone is interested in helping this wonderful organization, please go to their website; www.guidedogs.com
Regards,Terrence L. Blosser
Saturday, April 4, 2009
This week, Honeydew had the difficult job of supervising Glenn while I was out of town (I was at my parent's house in Bend while my mom had knee surgery). They even had to go to puppy class without me! (which I hear involved "role playing", one of Glenn's most favorite activities! Haha, not.) It appears Honeydew did a good job, as all of the critters, including Glenn, were happy and healthy upon my return. I sure did miss them.