Friday, November 18, 2011

Kelsa's coming home!

I got the call yesterday that Kelsa was career changed for relieving and I was asked if I would like to adopt her. I've wanted to adopt her since she was about 6 months old, but I didn't say yes immediately. I had to ask my family. Everyone's been saying we want her in abstract, but when it comes down to reality you have to ask again. And I had to ask myself and get a definitive answer on the hard questions.
Can we afford food, vet bills, toys, exc. for another dog? Answer is yes.
Will I ignore Tazzi and not give him the attention he needs when I have another dog? This one was harder to answer mostly because I, like most people, tend to favor the exciting and new. But really this one comes down to me. I adore my Tazzi and would never neglect him no matter how exciting things get.
What if Tazzi needs some alone time? I know several people who would be happy to take Kelsa for an afternoon or she could go to doggie daycare, so there are ways to get him some alone time.
Will Tazzi be okay with three dogs in the house? Yes, he already knows and likes her and she's not overly active so she won't be pestering him all the time.
Can I give her enough exercise? I really like walking and running, and Valkyrie and Tazzi like playing so that should be fine. And I know a bunch of dogs that would love to do play dates with her.
Is Mom okay with taking her and Tazzi when I go away to college? Yes.
What am I going to do if the relieving in the house thing doesn't go away? I would try everything I can think of to discourage her (although I think most of it has already been tried), consult with a professional if that didn't work, and if both those things didn't work I would give her back to Guide Dogs to be placed with someone else. This was one of the hardest questions to answer.
Am I really committed to doing therapy work with her? Yes. I think she and I would have a ton of fun doing that. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a dog in uniform.
How am I going to stay sane with three dogs in the house? I'm not going to say that this one is going to be easy, but with enough playtime and exercise everyone should be happy.

I felt much better once I'd been able to answer all these questions, and I'm confident that Kelsa is going to have a long and happy life in La Menagerie.

So I called my leader last night and gave her a "yes!" Kelsa should be coming home within a week.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Update on Kelsa

Kelsa had an evaluation on Tuesday and her raisers say that she was perfect. Our CFR is cautiously optimistic that she'll make it to being recalled for formal training. Good job Kelsa! Of course that means I don't get to stop worrying about her.

I'm guessing her recall will be around January or February.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Valkyrie goes to the pumpkin patch

Valkyrie has impressed me so much recently.

Firstly she started staying home alone in her crate, for a hour or less unless something unforeseen happens, because mum's clinicals started recently.

This past Monday Valkyrie turned 4 months old. To celebrate we went to a pumpkin patch. If you're in Portland you should visit Plumper Pumpkin Patch, they've been very welcoming to my guide puppies and they have a great, friendly, and playful farm dog named Maddie. Valkyrie was amazing at the pumpkin patch! She sat still-ish for her photo shoot, she wasn't too excited about or frightened of the animals, she went down a slide with me, she was really interested in the sounds of pumpkin bowling, she didn't love the very bumpy hay ride, but she didn't freak out either, and best of all she walked around for an hour without having an accident.

And today she did another walk quite well, and was perfect for puppy handling.

Hello goats

Piggies make strange noises

And horses


A calf

The turkeys ran toward her! how odd.


My pumpkin or should I say pup-kin

the slide

Monday, October 3, 2011

Separate Blogs?

I've been thinking about making a separate blog for my GERD insights. That blog would have me talking about my experiences with GERD, reviewing books that are written to help people with GERD and cookbooks that have recipes that I can eat comfortably, and GERD friendly recipes. I want to make the resource I never found. A place with original ideas as well as the old standards and with a personal touch. GERD sufferers are a community of people that all have different symptoms and needs; I'd like to be the place where all GERDies, particularly those with atypical symptoms, can find enough ideas that they might just come upon something that works for them.
The point of the separate blogs is so that the people who want to read about guide dogs don't have to read about GERD if they don't want to and vice versa.
What do you all think?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Valkyrie is driving me crazy!

Valkyrie has been biting and garbage mouthing (eating things off the ground) so much recently! People keep telling me "She's a puppy. All puppies bite." I know all puppies bite, but she wasn't this bad a week ago! She used to try and eat every other thing she saw, now it's everything that she knows exists whether she's seen it or not. And the biting is getting ridiculous, almost anytime your skin is within reach it is being bitten. I don't think the biting is malicious in any way, it seems more like she's mistaking your hands (and feet, and cloths, and arms, exc.) for toys.
The first thought that came to mind was that she was teething, but her gums aren't swollen and she's still a bit young. My only other idea is that school started on Monday (although she started acting up a few days before that) and she's having a hard time with people coming and going all the time.

On the up side Valkyrie is AMAZING on outings! I'm shocked by how well she's doing. Last night she walked all the way through the pharmacy, across the parking lot, and all but the last 15 feet or so in the grocery store! Then she went and walked through the library. She has a jaunty little walk that she does in stores like she owns the place. It's very cute.
I haven't seen her be frightened of anything yet!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KELSA!! Oh, and maybe some other puppies and a bus outing.

My puppy raising club joined another puppy club, Sightmasters South, for an outing yesterday. Miss Kelsa  is now in Sightmasters South so of course I had to go! Sightmasters South has two more transfers from us, Jethro and Bonnie. All our puppies over 4 months were supposed to go, but Karma was getting spayed, Kashi is in heat, and there would be too much walking for Lowell to go because of his sore leg. I'm not sure why Mia wasn't there, but Ozark and Elvis did come.
It was so great to see my girl! She seems so much bigger than the last time I saw her! I don't know whether that's because she really is bigger or if I've just gotten used to how small Valkyrie is.
It was wonderful to meet her new raisers. They are great people, I liked them a lot!
 I got to take her for the outing. We did more walking than I would have been comfortable doing with her 6 weeks ago and she was great! She's getting better! She was a little stressed if we weren't with her current raisers. She was confused about who she was supposed to be with, so she wanted to be with all of us just to be sure. She finally settled in to me handling her at the end of the outing when it was time for her to go back.
I can't tell you just how wonderful it was to see her and how much I miss her now!
The whole gang
Bonnie sleeping on Millie
Close up of Bonnie sleeping on Millie
Together again!

Club Puppies

I've been trying to fulfill my role as my puppy raising club's unofficial photography better recently. Its a bit hard to take pictures while holding on to a squirmy puppy, but I enjoy the challenge.

Here are some of my recent pictures.
Lowell - 9 months

Ginger - 9 weeks

Puppy wrinkles!!!
 Sapphire - 11 weeks

Karma (Kelsa's sister) - 10 months


Ginger playing with Valkyie

Ginger - 9 weeks

Elvis - 8 months
Also, I thought I put up pictures of Kashi's puppysit in August already, but I was wrong. So, here they are. It was weird to puppysit Kelsa's sister a week after she left. We had a ton of fun together!

GERD Flair up (not guide dogs related, except for pictures)

When I got Valkyrie I was so busy with her that I didn't watch what I ate and I have been paying dearly for it this week. I've been trying to avoid gluten, cow dairy, white rice, white sugar (mostly), and as usual excess fat. This is as hard as it sounds, so I've decided I need a plan for the next time this happens. This will include a special folder with recipes that fit those requirements, freezing foods, and finding products that are useful. Two useful products I've found just recently are Gluteno pretzels, a great snack that is gluten and dairy free, and Newman's Own makes cookies that are also gluten and dairy free.
Yesterday and today I've been feeling better so I think I'm getting back to normal.
And as always I've had great support to get through the hard times.

Free cuddles from a sleeping puppy.

Free cuddles from two doggies, thats even better. :P

3 weeks with Valkyrie

It's now been three weeks with Valkyrie. It's funny; the first week she drove me crazy the whole time, the second week we were okay, and this week I'm really enjoying her. She's now only waking me up once a night, which makes our time together much easier. She's had diarrhea on an off this whole time. She would be getting better then we would go to a meeting and the diarrhea would come back. She finally switched to all kibble (i/d: Gastrointestinal Health, not the usual Purina Pro Plan) on Monday. She has so much more energy now and she was a busy puppy to begin with! 
Because she's such a busy puppy she's gone on a bunch of outings this week. She went watching in the grocery store and the library, then she walked through the produce section and we carried the rest of the way through the grocery store on a second visit. On Friday she went to the vet for 12 week shots (along with the cat and my pet dog. It was a very full exam room.) then to the beach. And on Monday she was carried in and out of our local pet store (Don't worry, she didn't touch anything including the ground).
She is also great at FIR and Go To Bed. She will come on the long line in the front yard and she'll go straight to her bed and lie down right away.

Tazzi and Valkyrie sleeping in the sunshine.