Category Archives: SONNY

The Dog Isn’t the Challenge

“What kind of dog is that?”

“He’s a Lab.”

“Really? He doesn’t look like a Lab! He looks like a Golden.”

“That’s just because he’s fuzzy. He’s only eight weeks old.”

“Is he part Shar Pei?”

“Nope. He’s wrinkly because he’s only eight weeks old. He’s just got a big Sonny suit. Full Labrador.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

I forget just how many interesting moments you have when you raise puppies. I’ve had Sonny for less than a week now, and I’ve already had people challenge me about Sonny’s breed, distract him by whistling at him when I’m trying to get him to relieve, reach out to pet him when I’m carrying him in public, try to give me money to buy him dog food (because that cost is not covered by the guide dog school), and beg me — from the next checkout line over — to bring him to their house to play with their 18-month-old twins (whaaa…?).

I’ve known some weird dogs, but people are always much weirder. I realize that a lot of encounters are simply due to ignorance and that educating the public — graciously — is one of the responsibilities of a puppy raiser, but sometimes I am simply perplexed.

Guide dog handlers, I salute you. I’m sure you have some crazy stories.

Deja Vu

Truman looks thrilled to have another mini-me in the house, no? Riiiiiiight.

That’s okay. As I recall, the Jethro adventure started out in similar fashion. At first there was wild-eyed shuffling and living room donuts at the excitement of another dog to play with. Then, the realization set in: “Oh. He LIVES here. And he’s small, and loud, and annoying, and wants to chew on me. And the humans pay attention to him.” (By this I mean not that Truman is neglected in any way, but that paying attention to anyone but His Royal Grumpusness — at any time — is a serious violation of the Truman Penal Code.) And finally, the boys became friends.

I know we’ll get there.

So, to catch you up, yesterday was quite a different experience from my GDA puppy pickup days. I didn’t know as far in advance when I was getting a puppy, I didn’t get to choose his name (though I’m really happy with Sonny! Who knows where else that could have gone?), and I didn’t go to the school to get him. GDF is in New York, but they have a number of OOA (out of area) puppy raisers, so this is pretty routine for them. At least I’m within reasonable driving distance, and didn’t have to deal with getting my little guy at an airport! Fortunately, my Area Coordinator, who has been knowledgeable and helpful throughout the process, was able to bring him right to my house.

There’s not much else to tell, really. I got my bag of goodies — bowl, brush, collars, nylon leash, leather leash, chew toy, ear cleaner, fecal sample containers (a necessary “bleahrgh”), heartworm preventive, bag of dog food, and tiny yellow GDF puppy jacket — asked my AC some clarifying questions about some things that were in the manual, and that was that. For some reason that I’m sure is related to recent weather craziness (thanks again, Sandy), things on GDF’s part were a bit discombobulated, and I was missing a few items (training whistle and special training bone)…and my paperwork. Thus, I don’t yet know when Sonny’s birthday is, or when his shots are due, and I haven’t signed a contract. So, apparently, now’s the time to skip town with my cute new puppy!

I kid, I kid.

The rest of the day and night went pretty much on schedule. A little sniff-and-explore, a little chaos a la Truman, some logistical “uh…it’s been two years…how do I do this again?” moments, some brain farts regarding commands that are different, and a night full of unhappily crated puppy sleep interruptions. I will say that it’s a heck of a lot colder here in the middle of the night than it is in Southern California.

Little Sonny is a sweet, cuddly puppy. He’s easy to pick up and hold. He’s picking things up quickly and seems to respond to his name and “sit” already. Relieving on hard surfaces is coming along, but sometimes it takes him a while. He’s not too bitey, not yet hoovering too much (though he has a specific taste for cabinet and drawer knobs/handles) and he doesn’t jump inappropriately, even when he’s excited. But I can tell that he’s got confidence, and a stubborn streak (in a Labrador? SHOCKING).

But here’s the best part of the story. Sonny was supposed to come to me last week, but the delivery person got the flu, so we had to reschedule for this week. I don’t know why — maybe his other littermates had gone out to their raisers or something — but Sonny apparently stayed at the home of one of the trainers for a day or two. My AC told me that the trainer said, “I hope this one’s going to an experienced puppy raiser….”

And I just had to laugh.

That’s all for now. I need to go get some sleep. At least, I hope that’s what’s going to happen. I’ll leave you with one more shot of my yellow fellows, who are definitely settling in and becoming…if not friends just yet, at least Tolerant Big Dog and Only Slightly Annoying Apprentice Dog.

Big News in A Small Package

Everyone, meet Sonny. Sonny, everyone.

Sonny in the sunshine

We are raising Sonny — male yellow Lab #4 — for Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (otherwise known here as GDF).

Sonny likes donuts

After a number of little speedbumps in the process, we are finally here at pick-up day…which, in our case, was more of a drop-off day. But more about that later. I have a puppy to snuggle!

Already tired? Me too.