Monday, November 30, 2009

Something Special

There's just something oh so special about Guide Dogs. Yes, I love all service dogs, but guide dogs will always hold a very special place in my heart!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is that one of them Blind dogs!?!

Patty is walking towards the camera on a cement walkway with green grass on either side. He is a mostly black fluffy dog with tan running up his legs and a tan face and throat. His face is rimmed in black as are his eyes and he has a black stripe running between his tan eyebrows down to his nose. In the middle of the black stripe is a smaller, erratic white line
I would like to introduce you to Patty who is a 9 or 10 year old male australian shepherd. He was recently diagnosed as diabetic and is getting insulin shots twice a day. They came to the diagnosis only because he went to the vet for going Completely blind.

Patty belongs to Alex's grandfather, I've known him for two years and I have HATED him the entire time. I know it's not his fault but he's a dominant, pushy, rude dog that is very territorial. The first time I visited Alex's grandparent's house Patty tried (and nearly succeeded in) biting me. He barks and nips at me repeatedly. Unfortunately we're not allowed to work with him at all, he's Grandpa's dog and Grandpa likes him like he is. Alex has tried putting him in his place before and he runs off and pees in "submission" and Alex gets scolded for scaring him.

Anyway, we went to the in-laws' place Saturday night/Sunday and Patty and Angel were there. (Angel is a 10 year old female pure shepherd that is massively overweight with horrible hips and a skin allergy of one sort or another) Turns out, Patty is a MUCH nicer dog when his dad isn't around, magnified by the fact that he can't see so relies on humans now. Alex's grandparents are in Florida for a couple weeks, leaving my mother-in-law to work with these two dogs who are on very strict diets, multiple medications and both of whom have severe behavioural issues.

Patty is so nice now! I'm not holding my breath that he'll be as nice when he's back at home with his dad, but he'll certainly be nicer than he was. He smelled my face numerous times and layed at our feet, he even licked my hand. I in-turn helped him outside to go to the bathroom and just walk around and cuddled with him on the floor.

It's amazing how our attitudes towards someone/something chances once they become "disabled". I've never noticed before how strikingly beautiful Patty is, or how endearing the markings on his face are. Alex has sworn against getting an Aussie after having known Patty, but the past weekend has changed his mind.

While most of us try to not allow this, it's amazing how much dogs change around different people. Grandpa's attitude towards Patty bumped him up to top of the food chain yet when he's around other people and his dad's not around he willingly and happily reverts back to being a well-balanced dog.

So I can now respond to that oh-so-annoying question we all get with PITs "Is that one of them blind dogs!?!" with an affirmitive answer. Yes, Patty is blind, but he's so much happier (albeit clumsier) due to it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

George

This photo is in black and white and George is a 10 foot 2 or 3 inch tall african elephant. We are walking away from the camera on a cement pad with huge elephant size fencing around us. I'm 5 foot 3 inches and am carrying a bucket of food and an bull hook (a stick with two metal points at the end, one straight and one curved)
This is George and I at the end of 2006. He's castrated bull (the oldest in free contact: without a fence between the elephant and handler at all times) and was 25 years old at the time. A bull hook is used much like a leash on a dog, it *can* inflict pain but is used as a guide rather than a threat, comparable to a gentle leader or like device. This is after my family got a personalized, private meeting with the elephants and the elephant enclosure, they were allowed to pet, feed and watch George perform some of his commands.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If Only

If only you could understand the magic that IS Eclipse, then you'd understand what I'm going through. If you knew him, if you had the opportunity to know him, if you took the time and made the effort to know him, you would know what Magic is. Not magic as in pulling rabbits out of hats or sawing people in boxes in half. No, no you've got it wrong. Magic as in the very essence of Eclipse, the magic that makes every human that ever sees him falls instantly in love with him. The magic that makes your heart never able to let go.

Eclipse is a special dog, not because he was in my home, not because of everything we went through together. Eclipse is special because something inside him, the things that make him him truly surpass and outshine most dogs. In fact, he surpasses and outshines any and every dog I've ever met, even most people in the world these days. Eclipse is laying on a blue background (it's the back of a toy helicopter for kids)with one front foot curled under him and the other hanging off the edge. His head is on his front feet and his muzzle is over the edge of the helicopter. He's wearing his dark blue jacket that is close in color to the helicopter.Eclipse is something special. If only you could know him, if only you took the time to know him, you would see the magic, the magic that is Eclipse.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Public

I just wanted to make a public apology to JLAD. In regards to Eclipse the only information I ever got on him was from a *volunteer* puppy raiser. I never got any information from the organization itself. Of course I believed the information I got and acted accordingly, albeit not always rationally. I'm an emotional person and when I was being told constantly that Eclipse will *never* come home and all these decisions have been made it's understandable I react. What's not excusable though is that I accused JLAD and Joy of making decisions on Eclipse that did not correspond with what we were told would happen.

I apologize to all of you but more importantly to Joy for listening to someone else as if it were Joy directly. I will try my hardest to not let others get in the way of my raising experience again, and especially not ruin my happiness and hope in raising and "my" puppies.

I also wanted to apologize for making incorrect statements, although according to what I had been told they were true to my knowledge, they were incorrect.

There's a part of me that wishes I had been able to handle Eola and stuck it out until the next swap which would have been last month. Somedays I feel like I wasn't a "good enough" handler for her or didn't work hard enough with her. If I had just pushed myself a bit more we could have stuck it out. Then I remember how much Emotion has to do with puppy raising and my emotions were shot at that time. I was going back to working full-time, looking at moving out of my parents' house again and missing Eclipse and GDB like no other. I realize that giving Eola back was the best thing for me to do at that time, even though she's been in a number of homes since. Apparantly I'm not the only that has a hard time with her. I feel like if I still had her I wouldn't have let her and myself down but I'd still be involved in Eclipse's life, albeit from a distance. I'd know what is going on with him, from "the horse's mouth" if you will. Then I wouldn't be tempted to put my trust and emotions on hearing it 'third-hand'.

Time to move on I guess, but I hope my apology helps people realize I was never purposefully malicious or rude to JLAD or Joy and I never made incorrect statements out of spite. JLAD was not a good fit for us, for a number of different reasons, mainly the distance for class and the swap, but those reasons are unimportant at this point. I wish JLAD the best and that all the upcoming breedings and subsequent puppies are born safely and grow up well-adjusted. I also hope and pray that if it's determined Eclipse would be a poor fit as a service dog that the best decision is made for him and his siblings.

Thank you, JLAD for letting me raise again and experience my lovely Eclipse. I would not be the same person I am today without having known the boy. You taught me that I love service dogs, just in a different way than guide dogs, and helped me decide on the next organization I hope to raise for in the coming months. Thank you, and I'm sorry.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Help Find Gannon

We've all heard of puppies-in-training getting lost. Generally they're a bit older, but not this time. GDB pup "Gannon" is only 3 months old and is missing in Lodi, CA. Please, help spread the word and help bring Gannon home!

GDB's posting >here<

Gannon has been found