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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Puppy-less puppy-fixes

I am Future Leader Dog puppy-less.

A woman with short brown hair wearing a red fleece jacket and blue jeans kneels on one knee next to a full-grown golden retriever who is standing and wearing a blue, white and red bandana that says, "Future Leader Dog."  The two are next to a black statue of a german shepherd dog. Behind them are glass doors with white letters that tell the hours of the kennel.
FLD Dutch and I pose at the entrance to the Leader Dogs for the Blind kennel on return day.

Side photo of a full-grown golden retriever. He is facing to the right and is wearing a red, white, and blue collar.
Dutch in the intake room.
Evenings around here are calmer now that FLD Dutch is on his way. He went back to Leader Dogs for the Blind on November 11 to begin his formal training. 

A close-up shot of a round metal tag that says "Leader Dogs" with the number 14157 beneath it. The tag is attached to a chain collar and it is resting on the golden fur of a golden retriever dog.
Dutch's new tag sporting his "dog" number.
When there is a puppy underfoot, I forget how easy it is to care for my older dogs. CC'd Gus is a professional couch potato. Except when he gets the rips.

Last night, when I went out to stoke the fire before bed, was the first time since Dutch left that Gus zoomed around the yard. Even old Gypsy got into the game a bit, barking and snarling as he kicked up leaves on tight turns around her.

On his return, Dutch bounced away just like all my other puppies. Now the wait begins.

Front shot of a golden retriever dog lying on a tile floor.
Leader Dog in-training Dutch relaxes while I finish up some paperwork. 

Luckily, I have other opportunities to get my puppy-fix.


My friends, Phyllis and Dick, home Leader Dog mom Amber. On November 2, Amber delivered her fourth litter - nine black puppies. I got to serve as "mid-wife" to the Lab/Golden mix pups.

Three boys and six girls. They are two weeks old now, eyes opening and they are pushing up on all fours.

A small black puppy is being held in a person's hand. The eyes are just opening and the tongue is just sticking out.
One Amber-puppy, just opening his eyes at two-weeks of age.


Last August,  Leader Dogs for the Blind coordinated a puppy-raising program at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula (UP). My puppy counselor, Tammy, will also be puppy counselor for the prison raisers. And I get to help!

The Chippewa puppy-raisers in August 2013 with their four puppies and FLD Dutch and FLD Harper.

We take monthly trips to the UP to help the prison-raisers and to take the puppies out on "furlough." There are now six puppies at Chippewa, so this can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are past and present puppy-raisers in the UP who have offered to help. While the prison puppies are exposed to many different distractions at Chippewa, there are a few things which they need to experience that they can't get in prison. For instance, traffic and a variety of people, like kids and women.

This week, Tammy and I are traveling to the prison with Deb, the Puppy Development supervisor at Leader Dogs. After our work at Chippewa, we head to the west side of the UP to the town of Baraga. A prison there wants to start a puppy-raising program too. I will be taking a Chippewa puppy with me to check them out.

Keep posted as I continue with updates on the Michigan prison-puppy raising program....and updates on Dutch's progress at Leader Dogs!

(An inside source told me that Dutch has passed his physicals!)


  1. Dutch turned into a handsome fellow! Maybe Gus can compete with Ace (my DQ'd lab) for top couch potato ranking...

    1. Ha! Maybe we should start a new title!

  2. He's gone?! I missed this. Good luck to him.

    1. Yep, Dutch is on his way....bittersweet as always!