Dear Future Handler:
FLD Mike is now at Leader Dogs for the Blind; his time with us is finished. It was a joy raising him. Now he goes on to learn all the important commands and "intelligent disobedience" he must know in order to safely guide you. It won't be long before you are together.
I thought you might want to know a few cute, humorous, and endearing things about Mike.
He is a thinker.
Be patient, he will figure things out. Whenever I told FLD Mike to GET IN to our van, he would pause, consider, check out the passenger side floorboard, sniff around, gather himself, and finally jump in. When I told FLD Mike to SIT, he would hesitate as if he were spelling it out to himself. "S.....I.....T.....oh, SIT, that's what she wants me to do!" Then he would sit.
He is full of energy in the morning.
Until after breakfast, then it was nap time. In the winter he would curl up on top of the heater vent for a snooze.
He is a snuggler at the end of the day.
Every night FLD Mike would stand and stare at me as I relaxed on the couch until I slid down to the floor. Then he would try to fold his big lab body on my lap for a snuggle.
He loves his mat.
FLD Mike had fun finding his mat when I moved it to different places. When I sent him to his mat, he would tilt his head, turn to where the mat was last, run over to where we usually kept his mat, turn away to look somewhere else, and somewhere else again until he found it. Then he would leap to it, spin around, and drop to a DOWN facing me. "Here it is!" We kept his mat next to a wall between our kitchen and living room and frequently found FLD Mike cuddled up on it without being told.
He likes to watch videos of himself.
If you show videos of him on your television, hang on to him until you know he will control himself! The first time I edited a video on my computer of him playing with my dog, Gypsy, FLD Mike got so excited he jumped right onto my desk! I worked with him so he would stay settled, but I never played one of his videos on the big screen.
He also likes to watch television.
If your television makes a funny sound when you turn it off, he might jump up from a deep sleep and wander to his crate, ready for bed. FLD Mike was interested in any show with dogs or other animals, but his favorite programs were "Funniest Home Videos" and "NCIS." He liked Clint Eastwood and the "Lord of the Rings" movies. His favorite commercial was the Travelers Insurance ad with all the wild animals having fun together at an oasis. If the music started playing when he was in another room or upstairs, he would race into the living room to watch it! Here is the ad so you know what I'm talking about:
I know that Mike will be a loyal and confident guide for you. I hope it doesn't take long for the two of you to develop into a strong working team and that you enjoy many years together.
Please give him a pat on the head every now and then for me!