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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Now is the time...

Almost one year ago, I picked up this little guy from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Future Leader Dog (FLD) Henry seemed ready to take on the world.

A ground level shot of a small yellow lab/golden mix puppy standing facing the camera in front of a black statue of a German Shepherd dog. The puppy's leash is looped around the leg of the statue. The puppy is wearing the blue Leader Dogs Future Leader Dog bandana and is looking up a little bit with a proud expression.
FLD Henry, on the day he came home with me.

It was my job to help him get his start. To teach him the proper places to park and basic cues like "sit" and "down." To help him learn to settle and be comfortable and confident in new places, on a variety of surfaces, around diverse people. To encourage self-control and good manners.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I said, "OH Henry!" Like any puppy, Henry presented challenges. Like every puppy, I learned from him, too.

For those of you who helped us along the way, you'll remember Henry's "vocal" stage, and his insanity with blowing leaves. I am proud to say he worked himself through these things, learning quiet, how to settle, and that watching without pouncing is a much better option.

Henry was my easiest puppy to house train; he preferred to go to bed early and sleep late. Like Dutch before him, he learned "leg" - and learned it so well it was often a default behavior when he was not sure what else to do.

I will miss how he kept my feet warm in the morning while I sat and drank coffee with my hubby. I will miss his zany nose when he'd catch a scent during a hike in our woods. I will miss his digging in his doggy-toy box in the evening, Nylabones and Kongs flying across the living room just as the latest episode of whatever Netflix show we're watching comes to a crucial part of the story.

I have my paws crossed that one day Henry will serve to keep someone safe, but I know that his problem-solving skills and deep thinking will carry him far no matter what path he ends up exploring.

Thank you bugger, for a bright spot in a sometimes-challenging year...

A full-grown yellow lab/golden mix puppy is laying down facing the camera with his front paws on a cement sidewalk. In the background on the left is the black statue of the german shepherd dog. The yellow pup is looking to the right with his mouth open and tongue out a little, he is wearing the blue Future Leader Dog bandana.
FLD Henry, back at Leader Dogs for the Blind, ready for the next step in his journey. 

Dogspeed Henry!