Puppies come home from GDA with an adorable little puppy kit — a nice GDA tote bag containing a bowl, a brush, a couple of collars, a nylon leash, a 5-pound bag of dog food, all the puppy paperwork, and my favorite thing: a soft toy for the puppy to snuggle with, which is meant to ease the transition from a snuggly puppy-pile full of littermates to a sometimes lonely first night in a strange place. Jethro LOVES his pink-and-blue hugging teddy bears, and always sleeps in the crate with is head resting on them. If this toy (which stays in his crate so he and Truman don’t tug it into a million formerly-adorable pieces of disembodied fluff) survives Jethro’s puppyhood, and if Jethro makes it to guide work, I’ll probably end up giving it to his new partner, along with the baby blanket I rubbed against all his littermates on puppy pickup day.
And speaking of littermates, we received the coolest thing in the mail from GDA today! GDA is very protective of information about their breeding lines and which puppies come from which dogs in the program, so even puppy raisers aren’t allowed to know that stuff. (They have good reasons; it prevents a lot of unnecessary freak-out on the part of people who might hear something about a dog who was dropped for a medical reason and fear that their related puppy-in-training or guide dog will also have the problem, blah blah blah etc.) But we got a DVD in the mail marked “From Grandma!” It’s full of still photos and video footage of Jethro’s litter in the puppy nursery, set to music like “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof. It must have taken forever to put together, and it’s the sweetest thing….
We don’t know who you are, Grandma, but if you’re out there reading this, thank you! We love it. Your “grandson” Jethro is doing well, and we hope you’ll give his mama-dog a kiss from us.
I was having yellow dog hair withdrawals, so when Dave and Lydia put the call out for someone to watch Raya for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.
Beautiful Raya is a special dog, because she’s a GDA breeder. She’s 3-and-a-half years old, and quite the spunky girl! When my roommate came home from work on Friday night, she was met with the most enthusiastic yellow Lab she’d seen in our apartment since last August. Raya wiggled and ran back and forth and vocalized profusely, in an impressive display of friendliness toward this person she didn’t really know.
And Amy exclaimed it in the perfect phrase: “She has the Spirit of The Moof!”
Indeed, she does. Playful and fun, silly and sweet, the sunny Miss Raya was an absolute joy.
Also, I’ll have you know, just because Raya is a breeder (and therefore no longer required to adhere to the strict guidelines imposed upon guide dog puppies-in-training), that doesn’t mean she has lost her touch. Raya’s obedience is still stellar; she has the most perfect “formal come” I’ve seen, as a matter of fact. Amy and I spent a good amount of time on opposite sides of the living room, calling her to come back and forth and laughing with delight as Raya practically reared up to charge full-speed to the giver of the command and fling her backside around to park in a perfect little sit.
Raya, may all your puppies be as smart and full of life as you are!
Lomax’s sister, little miss Kandy, is now a breeder for GDA — so the wiggliness of his line will live on! She’s beautiful and smart and lovable, just like the rest of her brothers and sisters, and she will no doubt produce many successful guides for GDA. I’m very proud of her.
I had the opportunity to spend a little time with her recently, which was a joy. She is as full of life and love and happiness as Lomax is, that’s for sure. Look at that smile!
Kandy is one smart cookie, just like her brother Liam.
I was sitting on the couch, tossing toys down the hallway for Kandy to retrieve (yes, I somehow manage to exercise the dog without exercising myself…), when I casually stumbled upon a little game/canine I.Q. test. I took two toys — “the octopus” she’d brought from home and “the man” I’d purchased to keep at my place — to my bedroom down the hallway and left them next to each other in the middle of the floor. I scattered a few more toys near them. Then I returned to the living room and gave instructions.
“Kandy, go get the octopus!” Thundering Labrador footfalls down the hallway. A few seconds later, Kandy came trotting back up the hallway with the octopus in her mouth. But that could have been coincidence, right? And it’s her favorite toy anyway. Let’s see if she does it again.
“Kandy, go get the man! Where’s the man?”
She took the octopus back to my room. There was a far-off squeaking I recognized instantly.
My roommate looked at me. Are you KIDDING?
We couldn’t resist doing it repeatedly. Octopus! Man! Man! Octopus! Man man man! This is better than TV!
I don’t know how Kandy felt about it, but it kept us amused for a good twenty minutes. I threw in a “Kandy, go get half a gallon of Rocky Road at the market up the street,” but no dice. I think it’s just because she didn’t have a pocket for the change.
Anybody else feel that earthquake? I’m four floors up in a small office building in West L.A., and we had more than our fair share of rock & roll for a temblor that was centered in San Bernardino County.
So as I was sitting here at my sturdy wooden desk, wondering how long the shaking would continue and deciding whether or not to get underneath, I realized I had a dog with me — Kandy, the 8-month-old Labrador I’m puppysitting this week. Would she whine? Bark? Chew through my leg to get out from under the desk and bolt down the hallway?
Then came the gentle snoring. I don’t think she’s concerned.