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Sunday, February 24, 2013

While I was at Leader Dogs...

The chance to meet Leader Dog Scout's new person last Saturday meant that I missed an outing to the Upper Peninsula (UP) organized by my puppy counselor Tammy. Fortunately we were both on the same wavelength--I'm not sure who suggested to who first that Dutch go with her, even if I could not.

So, we had a rendezvous on I-75 as we headed south and Tammy headed north. FLD Dutch jumped into a crate in her car and didn't look back. He accompanied Tammy and her son to the Les Cheneaux Snowsfest in Cedarville, dinner, and a hockey game at Lake Superior State University. Dutch was one of seven Future Leader Dog puppies at the Laker game. He even got to stay in a hotel overnight!

Here's some photos Tammy sent me from FLD Dutch's excursion north. (Thanks Tammy!)

Dutch looks like he's reading the Leader Dogs for the Blind display at Snowsfest.

FLD Dutch poses on a snow pile in Cedarville. He's doing a very nice sit/stay!

Tammy's soft-sided portable crate with Dutch's bed--looks like he just fits.

FLD Dutch looks up like he's thinking, Who are you and why am I here?

FLD Dutch on another sit/stay by the Laker's doors.

Checking out the hockey game. Tammy said he eventually fell asleep and didn't give a hoot about all the noise.

Future Leader Dog puppies and their raisers at the hockey game. Notice how Dutch is watching Tammy's hand. Got a treat for me?

Another sit/stay by some snowmobiles in the hotel parking lot.

Look, it's the Mackinaw Bridge!

Nice job, Dutch!

Is this what a "troll" looks like?

"Trolls" are people who live "under" (south) of the Mackinaw Bridge.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


...back at the "patch," Mr. Peabody is at it again.

A line of white paper towel pieces lead off on a carpeted floor to a door. A man is standing sideways to the camera stepping on the papertowels.
My sweetheart applies sopping pressure as we clean up the dribble-trail to the back door. Thank heavens for Nature's Miracle!

To be fair, FLD Dutch tried to tell me he had to "park." I just missed the cue. When I didn't go with him to the back door, he ran back to the kitchen to get me, but couldn't quite hold it on the way! He spun around and bolted back to the door. I caught a golden blur from the corner of my eye and followed his trail. Got him outside so he could finish the job, but not in time to prevent a mess.

I'm learning.

Dutch goes out every time he wakes up from a nap, no matter how short. Dutch goes out after play-time with Gus. Dutch goes out 10 minutes after drinking. I ask Dutch to "park" before he gets into the van, and after he gets out. And at least every hour when I'm out and about with him.

Sometimes his cues are subtle--a whimper, or merely standing at the x-pen gate which blocks the foyer. Other times he gives a sharp bark. The good thing is, he sleeps through the night without a problem.

The poor little guy just has a small bladder!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How cool is this?

Leader Dog Scout and her partner, Kim, from Wisconsin.

We had the privilege of meeting Kim tonight at the Polk Residence at Leader Dogs for the Blind. Kim is two weeks into a three and a half week stay at the facility, learning to work as a team with his first ever guide dog. Yep, that would be Scout, the puppy I raised!

Andy and I stand behind my niece Natalie, who is sitting next to LD Scout and Kim.

When strangers see me with my Future Leader Dog puppies they frequently ask, "How can you give them up?" I wish they could witness the completed circle. If they could see the difference that our special puppy will make in the life of another human being, they wouldn't even think to ask such a question.

Me and Kim, with LD Scout. This is how.

Friday, February 8, 2013


When nine-week old Future Leader Dog Scout took it on herself to waddle over to the Iraqi veteran I was interviewing and snuggle up between his feet, I knew she was a special puppy. She was "on assignment" with me for the first time.

How did she know that was just what he needed? He smiled, and visibly relaxed as he bent over to pet her.

A sepia-toned photo of a small black Lab/Golden mix puppy. She is sitting down by a person's foot, looking at the camera, a leash is hanging down in front. She is sitting on a wooden deck.
FLD Scout cuddles up at the feet of the veteran.

FLD Scout returned to Leader Dogs for the Blind last September to begin the advanced training necessary for her to become a working guide dog. She made it through four phases, successfully passing intermediate standards along the way.

This week I received a much-anticipated email from Leader Dogs.

Dear Puppy Raiser:

The puppy you raised has been issued to a student in the current class.  This is no guarantee of graduation however, it is another step in the training phase and hopefully if all goes along as planned we will soon be able to let you know of the puppy's graduation.

Future Leader Dog Scout is about to become LEADER DOG Scout!

The February 2013 class of blind or visually impaired persons is now training with their new partners at Leader Dogs. The dogs were issued last Tuesday. If Scout and her person are a good "match", she will go home with her new person at the end of the month. 

If Scout's partner agrees, we will be able to meet him or her (and see Scout again) next weekend.


(We are very proud of you.)

FLD Anie (on the left) hangs with her sister, FLD Scout during puppy counselor training at Leader Dogs for the Blind last summer. Congratulations are in order for Anie, and her puppy-raiser Cheri, too. Anie was issued to her person in the same class as Scout!