Category Archives: LOMAX

Lucky Number Seven

Guide Dog Lomax, the “Number One Son” of my own personal Labrador story, turns seven years old today. SEVEN. That’s unthinkable to me. I’m assuming this is a taste of how parenthood feels (you know…parenting those *two*-legged beings, an experience I’ve yet to have). Does time really not accelerate? Because it sure does feel like it.

As far as I know, Lomax is still out there working with his partner, keeping her confident, independent and safe. And so is his equally SuperDog-like brother, Guide Dog Liam. Those are some handsome boys, and smart, too.

Happy birthday, fellas. We love you, miss you, think of you often, and are very proud of you.

Potluck, Part Deux

The holiday food parade continues! Our South Bay puppy raiser group also holds an annual potluck in December (also a good one). We have lots of other festive traditions too, including a puppy gift exchange; donation opportunities for a local animal shelter; and a tear-inducing video full of photos of the previous year’s puppies-in-training, breeders, and working guides (that one’s rough, let me tell you — it’s been almost four years, but the sight of Lomax in harness at his graduation gets me EVERY FREAKING TIME).

Our group is huge, and our area leaders work really hard to put on a nice event — even going so far as to set up decorative photo backgrounds for puppy-posing pleasure. Jethro was happy to jump into the little red wagon, but wanted out just as quickly, so we had to be pretty speedy with the camera:

Spiders Are Evil

But I knew that already.

Poor Jethro. The night before he turned just 9 weeks old, I noticed the right side of his little muzzle was swelling a bit. At first, I thought maybe he and Truman had just played a bit too rough and he caught a big-dog tooth to the snout.

But Jethro didn’t want to play or snuggle or do anything else, instead opting to stagger over to his kennel to put himself to bed at 7 o’clock, which was unusual. The swelling on his nose got a little worse, and he started to look like he’d been in a puppy bar fight (if you know of a puppy bar somewhere, by the way, I beg you to take me there), so I called the GDA after hours emergency number. These things never happen during normal business hours, after all. That would be too convenient.

Between me and the person who answered, we figured it was probably a spider bite. They’re apparently happening in crazy numbers this year; the school has even had to have extra spraying around the grounds, and a lot of dogs in the program have come in to the vet department having suffered similar incidents. I am NOT a fan of spiders. This happened to Lomax once, and it scared the daylights out of me because by the time I could get him up to the school for treatment, his eyes had swollen shut and his head looked like a pit bull’s. The question was, can you give a not-quite-9-week-old puppy Benadryl, the way you can with older dogs? The vet tech gave permission, so off I went to the drug store for some Children’s Benadryl. Fortunately, wee Jethro slurped it right up and went to sleep.

The next morning, Wolf and I drove him to GDA for an exam. Poor pup had a yeast infection in both ears as well! His little immune system was working overtime. He got a shot of Benadryl, a gentle ear cleaning and some ear meds…but unfortunately, no 9-week vaccine (which would have just been too much all at once, considering he weighed in at just under 14 pounds). He was a champ at the vet department, though, charming the techs and being generous with sloppy puppy kisses despite the ordeal. And it didn’t hurt that he got cookies afterward.

I think he’ll be okay.

A Pretty Sweet Anniversary

Five years ago today, I took over raising Lomax from his first puppy raiser. I picked him up after a GDA obedience class, on Saturday, September 24, 2005. My first dog. He’s now a guide.

And today, Wolf and I are picking up Jethro. Right now, as you’re reading this, we’re probably sitting in a little room at GDA with other puppy raisers, half listening to the pre-puppy-pick-up lecture and giddy with anticipation.

I can’t wait for Wolf to hold the little guy for the first time. I can’t wait to introduce Jethro to Truman. I’ll post a few photos as soon as I’m able.

It’s a sweet day.

Happy Birthday

Today, unbelievably, Guide Dog Lomax is six years old. Happy birthday, Moofdog!

On Very Important Dates

I’m one week away from my six-month wedding anniversary. Among the many things I am foolish enough to have believed I would be able to do by now:

1.) Get the thank you notes out. Emily Post says I have a year to do this, and now I understand why. Still…I’d like to get them written and mailed before I have to start thinking about sending out Christmas cards.

2.) Be entirely unpacked. Grandma used to say that after a move, you should unpack the kitchen and bedroom/bathroom stuff immediately. Whatever’s left packed in boxes six months later should be left in the sealed boxes and given away, because clearly, you didn’t miss it. Alas, I do not subscribe to this philosophy. I do indeed miss my Jedi action figures and my craft supplies and my Post-It flags and the box of 3×5 cards on which I have written many of my favorite recipes. But life gets in the way of efficiency sometimes. For the record, I am also hoping to have the bulk of this done before…mmmmmmChristmas…?

(Please let me dream, people.)

3.) Get back to regular blogging. Holy cow, I have been busier than the proverbial one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest (another gem from Grandma). Truman has been here through all of it, and I’ve missed many an opportunity to regale you with his nutty adventures. I know I’ve promised updates and not delivered — including wedding photos (another thing I can’t seem to get done by the six-month marker, unbelievably)!

This is just a note to say that YellowDog and I are still alive and kicking, and continuing to settle into this new life with the Wonderful Man Who Loves Us Both More Than We Could Ever Have Hoped. If there are any of you still hanging in there, clinging to the idea that I might someday return…many thanks! We’ll be back, I promise. And next spring or summer, the puppy raising madness will begin all over again.

And on a happy note, today is Lomax’s fifth birthday. And in honor of The Moof, who is living the guide dog life somewhere in Tennessee, I smile and give thanks for the many blessings God provides in the lives of everyone involved with Guide Dogs of America and other service dog organizations all over the world.

Guess Who’s Four?

Today is Lomax’s birthday…unbelievably, The Moof is FOUR YEARS OLD!!! Somewhere in Tennessee, there is a smiling blond dog in a black harness, guiding a smiling blond woman.

Happy fourth, little man. 🙂

Calendar Boys!!

I got the news last night: Truman and Tai will be featured during the month of October in the 2008 GDA South Bay Puppy Raisers calendar!

We don’t yet have a fully printed sample calendar for me to show around, but they’re very nice quality — and the photos are, of course, stunning. 🙂 We’re hoping to sell the calendars at the same low price ($12) as last year. If any of you are interested in purchasing a calendar, please e-mail me so I can get a pre-order list started, and I’ll give you details as soon as I get them. Those of you who get the GDA “Partners” newsletter (downloadable in PDF version on the website) will hopefully see a blurb about it in the next quarterly issue; you may even be able to order it through them (wherever you buy it, all proceeds go to GDA).

I called this post “Calendar Boys” — plural — for a reason. Imagine my elation in discovering this year’s “cover dog” is none other than the exceedingly handsome Guide Dog Lomax!


I can hardly believe it, but Lomax turns three years old today! I bought him a little birthday present and had it sent (through the school) to him and his partner, along with my request that she shower him with hugs and kisses on my behalf. Happy birthday to The Moof and Liam as well!

Guide Dog Lomax

What a weekend, you guys. I am wiped.

Then Blogger decided to poop out on me today by making me switch to the new version, but not letting me access either version. I am somehow logged into the old version as I post this — after writing a strongly worded “you guys SUCK, this is WHY I was afraid to switch” e-mail — so let’s hope it works, eh?

Anyway. Graduation.

I didn’t sleep the night before — not one minute of sleep. I tried, but the excitement was too overwhelming. I had been up late anyway, finishing a scrapbook of Lomax pictures and stories for Lomax’s partner and her family, and wondering what the day would hold for all of us. Sleep just would not come. And if you know me at all, you know sleep is one of my superpowers, so that’s saying something.

Sunday morning, my roomie Amy and I met Matt & Amy for breakfast at the Denny’s near GDA. I was surprisingly hungry. We shared scrapbooks and anticipation, and they gave me a lovely Lomax slideshow-set-to-music on DVD (that I could not bear to watch until today and which, by the way, had me bawling like Tammy Faye this afternoon, THANKS guys).

We got to GDA and sat in the room for, what, eternity plus a month or so? Finally, the trainers escorted Roomie-Amy and me to Lomax’s partner’s room.

I like her.

I hesitate to say too much about her here, because I didn’t get her permission to post about her in such a public forum, but I will tell you a few things.

Lomax is her first guide dog. She loves him, and she loves that he is a happy, wiggly, funny, enthusiastic dog. Her energetic boys are going to love him, too. She told me he has already had an impact on her life, and she told me a few other things that made me think he will have an impact on so much more than just her independence and ability to get around town. She loves to groom him, she says he’s great in traffic and makes her feel safe on stairs, and that he’s incredibly smart. She said she had a reputation in this class for always being the “I’ll go first! Pick me, pick me!” type…which is perfect for a certain yellow dog I know.

She indicated that she’d like to stay in touch, which was a huge gift to me. In the ensuing emotional and logistical chaos of the day, I did not get her contact information, but she has mine, and I am praying that after she and Lomax have settled into their routine in a few months, she’ll give me a call. Praying…funny. Seems like all my other prayers about this were answered: she’s young, leading a busy life, has kids, she even wants to go back to college! AND…I prayed last week that she would really hit it off with Liam’s new partner.

AND SHE DID. When I asked her how she liked the class, she said that she and Liam’s partner connected right away, before they even got their dogs, and that they would be keeping in touch. My heart nearly stopped.

Lomax, meanwhile, was on a tie-down when I entered the room, but the second he saw me, he went nutso. She unhooked him and let him wiggle his way over to me, and it was heavenly. He snorted and “fffFFFF!”ed and wiggled and tap danced and “MOOF”ed and kissed me and generally made a Lomax of himself all over the room. He was exactly the same! He looked gorgeous, healthy and strong and happy as ever. She said he weighs an even sixty pounds, and I could see that it is all muscle. His tail was the only thing on him that looked bigger to me, and I thought I was crazy for thinking so until Joanna said the same thing later. Amy and I had what seemed like not nearly enough time to visit with her and love on The Lomax, before they called the grads to harness their dogs and line up to head out to the ceremony.

She harnessed him, and it was amazing to behold. He was a whole different dog.

Not that he was missing any of his wonderful personality! He still looked around at the kinds of things that distracted him before, but he was a professional now. Such a good boy. They looked wonderful together.

I walked out behind Guide Dog Lomax and his new handler, past many of my friends and fellow puppy raisers, and took my seat next to them at the front.

Lomax sat quietly for the most part, doing his best to, shall we say, clear his immediate area of the leaves and apparently delicious tree-parts that were raining down on us from above due to the wind. He looked around at me several times, and the first couple of times I looked away so as not to tempt him to move or do something naughty, but when I saw that he could exercise some serious restraint, I gave in and looked him in the eye. Of course, we were the last ones to get to speak, so we had to sit through the whole thing before they got to us. I’m so proud of them.

After the ceremony, I gave her about 20 minutes to get back to her room and relax a bit, then I brought Joanna in to meet her. We spent more time kind of chatting with her and playing with Lomax, who had discovered the toy octopus I’d brought for him and was joyously honking and squeaking the life out of it, turning in circles and having a wonderful time. A few people came and went, and it seemed like a lot of activity, and in the overwhelming emotional rollercoaster of it all, I feel like I didn’t really get to talk to her as much as I would have liked to…but I have a feeling it’s okay. I’m sure I don’t remember everything that was said, and she probably feels the same. I am hoping there will be time and opportunity to get to know each other more.

Saying goodbye was really hard, but as I walked away from them I could see her and Lomax outside talking to Liam and his new handler, and it made me feel better.

It was hard to wash my hands when I got home, because I could still smell him on them. I miss him, and will continue to miss him, but I know he’s in good hands with her. And she is in good paws with him. And above all, I am proud of them and excited for their future, and I am grateful to God for so many beautifully answered prayers. We are all in His good hands.