Category Archives: uncategorized

Decorate Your Dog Neck

Our friend & fellow puppy raiser Denise makes fantastic dog collars, and has FINALLY put up her website: Kamra’s Kloset.

You will see Truman (and perhaps some other pups you recognize?) featured in the Happy Puppies gallery, sporting some of the merchandise. Seriously, check out her wares! Truman has a terrific new Kamra’s Kloset collar you haven’t seen yet, made out of appropriate fabric for our upcoming pirate-themed GDA Open House (June 9th, if you’re in the area).

On an Unrelated Note

Those of you who are aware of my other silly, mostly-non-puppy-related personal Web journal may have given up hope that I would ever update it again (to be honest, I was almost there myself). Looks like we were both wrong!

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you might enjoy these posts. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, you might enjoy them anyway. Or you might just mock me. This is the chance we take.

Save the GDA Breeding Department!

Those of you who live here in California, can I ask a favor? There’s a state assembly bill coming up for a hearing on April 24th (tomorrow!) that could — if it passes as written — have a destructive impact on Guide Dogs of America, and possibly other organizations like it. If you’re a puppy raiser, it might affect you as well.

We probably all agree on the importance of spaying and neutering pets so as to prevent unwanted litters, strays, abuse and abandonment. The California legislature may have the best of intentions, but Assembly Bill 1634 endangers Guide Dogs of America (the breeding department in particular) because it seeks to impose mandatory spaying and neutering of all pets four months of age who do not have a special “intact permit.”

This explanation comes from the GDA Breeding Manager:

It is extremely important that you email or fax your opposition before 4/24/07. The current bill DOES NOT make any provisions for our breeding stock. Aside from no provisions for our breeding stock there will be a $150.00 intact permit fee for all pups and dogs over four months old. Because Guide Dogs of America is the owner of these dogs we would be responsible for paying for these permits. Just for the breeding stock alone our yearly fees would be around $9,000, this does not include any of our unaltered pups. If an intact fee is not obtained there will be a $500.00 fine for each violation.

Because our breeding stock does not qualify for an intact permit this would put an end to our breeding program. At this time we have enough puppies in the program to hold the school over for about two years. After that, good luck finding quality pups.

Please send your opposition to all of these assembly members. Also, it might help to send a letter to our Governor to veto the bill if it should pass.

Here’s more opposition to this bill, which affects not only service dog organizations, but also members of The American Kennel Club.

I followed up with her when I found a revised version of the proposed bill that seemed to cover service dogs, and she replied:

The key words are “being trained or trained as a Guide Dog.” Our breeding dogs are not being trained or trained to be Guide Dogs therefore would not qualify for an intact permit. The most unfortunate point is the extremely high licensing fees the raisers would need to pay for all pups four months and older that are not sterilized. Four months is way too young to make any decisions in regards to a pup’s future in the Guide Dog program (i.e. breeding or a future Guide Dog). In most counties the licensing fee is around $100.00 a year for intact dogs. GDA has a kennel license but it does not cover dogs that do not live on the premises.

You can see the problem. I know this is last minute, but if you have a moment to craft an e-mail today (especially if you are affiliated with a service dog org) and CC all of the following folks, that would be fantastic:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Assemblyman Mike Eng, Chair
Fax 916-319-2149

Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, Vice Chair
Fax 916-319-2163

Assemblywoman Karen Bass
Fax 916-319-2147

Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter
Fax 916-319-2162

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi
Fax 916-319-2118

Assemblyman Edward P. Hernandez
Fax 916-319-2157

Assemblywoman Shirley Horton
Fax 916-319-2178

Assemblyman Bill Maze
Fax 916-319-2134

Assemblyman Curren D. Price Jr.
Fax 916-319-2151

Assemblyman Alberto Torrico
Fax 916-319-2120

More Dogs With Important Jobs

Can I apologize again for my lack of attention to ye olde dog blog? This is what happens between puppies. I promise, there will be more photos and “guest dog” posts soon….

In the meantime, I ran across an article I thought my fellow puppy raisers might enjoy. In the body of this post on Tanker Brothers — one of my favorite military blogs — there’s an interesting article about K-9 teams working in Iraq. Click on over, scroll down a bit, and be grateful (as I know you already are) for smart, capable dogs with important jobs!

Please Mr. Postman

As most of you know, I’m in the middle of writing my novel. Or, rather, I’m past the middle of the month-long noveling adventure, and my word count is, let’s say, not quite as past the middle as it should be, which is why I’m spending my Saturday night at home writing, instead of my usual activity…spending my Saturday night at home doing laundry. Hmm. I guess that’s a story for my other blog.

Anyway, I was going a little bonkers and had to get out of my apartment, so I went to Chipotle to grab a power-noveling burrito. A woman behind the counter spied my Guide Dogs of America sweatshirt and asked if I was a trainer. After explaining the difference between “trainer” and “puppy raiser,” I told her that while I unfortunately did not have a four-legged charge with me this evening, I used to bring my dog there all the time.

She smiled. “The Golden Lab, right?”

Smiling back, I didn’t bother correcting her (YELLOW Lab — say it loud: “I’m yellow and proud!”). “That’s the one. Lomax. He’s in formal training right now.”

She gave me the sympathy face. It’s funny how even people who don’t know anything else about the program seem to know about this part.

What a great moment that was! On my way back out to the parking lot after much well-wishing on the part of this woman I don’t recall ever having seen before, I thought to myself, wow. Either Lomax made a more memorable impression than I ever realized, or I have been eating too many burritos. And I found myself wondering how he’s doing, and when (if?) I would receive my next “Postcard From the Moof.”

Lo and behold, I checked the mail on my way back into the apartment:

Dear Mom,

Hi! My trainers tell me that I’ve completed my first set of tests wearing my harness! I got to guide my trainer while they were blindfolded the other day. It sure was fun!

I know I still have a lot to learn & soon we will learn to guide on stairs, elevators & even escalators!

We have fun when we’re not working too. The kennel staff gives us bones and toys to play with. We also run & play in the grassy off-leash area!

Take care!

Wiggles & Wags,


You go, little man…keep up the good work!

Happy Howloween

You guys know I’m busy this month, right? Well, no worries. I’ve pre-written a few blog entries that I’ll be posting over the next thirty days just so you won’t forget all about me.

Please enjoy these fine photos of some of the South Bay pups in costume at our October meeting….

Ike as Sirius Black, accompanied by his boy Beck as Harry Potter:

The always enchanting (and perfectly postured!) Princess Wrio:

Reese, as a martini, winner of “most creative” costume:

Ember, as a very intimidating SWAT team police dog:

Breeder Jetta and puppy Victory (both black Labs), winners of “scariest costume” for their realistic portrayal of poodles:

And finally, the incomparably adorable Soren The Pooh:

Happy Halloween!

Congratulations to Liam and Voight’s Mom & Dad

Liam’s people — Matt and Amy — officially became Mr. and Mrs. Toussaint this afternoon. It was a sweet, intimate ceremony that included Guide Dog Voight and his partner Mary as ring bearers. Matt and Amy are loved by many, people and dogs alike. Unfortunately, not everyone in either category was fortunate enough to be able to attend the wedding, but three very special individuals made sure to send a letter to be read during the proceedings….

Dear Mom and Dad,

Greetings from Guide Dog College! Lomax and Nevada and I wish we could all be there to help you celebrate your big day, but as it turns out, we’ve got some midterms to study for, and the professors here take attendance in class like EVERY DAY. Seriously, we’ve tried skipping out a couple of times just to blow off some steam — you know, Lab-shuffle drag-racing down Glenoaks Boulevard, or taking a road trip or something — but no can do. They like to keep the three of us wearing extra-jingly collars and tags, and the big-mouth poodle a few kennels down doesn’t help in the secret-keeping department. Anyway, like I said, we wish we could be there.

But we know Voight’s there as our representative, and that’s awesome. I’m sure he looked handsome and dignified walking down the aisle with Mary…Lomax says all the classy dogs are wearing bow ties this season. Please also tell Voight from the three of us college students that Mary can do whatever she wants, but he should remember to be responsible at the reception, because he’s the designated driver.

So, this wedding thing. We’re totally proud of you guys, and we were trying to come up with some stuff to say to honor you and the occasion. All of us know how much you love each other. Voight and I especially know it because it showed in how you raised us — love is the foundation for all good things, including being a great mom and dad. Nevada told me to tell you that he hopes you have lots of puppies of your own some day. He says you’d get to keep them for 18 years instead of just 18 months. Is that true? Man, I wouldn’t want to be there for THAT turn-in day!

What else…oh yeah. The guys and I were thinking that getting married must be kind of like becoming a working guide team. You two are both important to the success of the team. You may have different roles, but you are equally dependent on each other, working together to get where you need to go. You’ll have to listen and communicate really well and be ready to face some tough challenges. Sometimes you’ll have to figure out how to get around something that’s in your way, that maybe only one of you can see. You’ll have to protect and respect and take care of each other, and always make the decision that will be best for the team, not just the individual.

We weren’t quite sure how this part would work, but we figure you guys will probably have to take turns wearing the harness.

Anyway, we want to say that we love you and we’re proud of you, and we’re glad this day is here. Say hi to everyone for us, and have fun at the reception! (Lomax is TOTALLY bummed he’s gonna miss the dancing, so I hope you’re getting some good pictures.)

With love and smiles and wagging tails,

Liam & Lomax & Nevada