Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Puppy Class

Tonight was puppy class. We had a nice low key class where we watched a movie about how to properly use head collars. While the movie was really helpful, I was pretty bad and talked to the other raisers around me. Cringe. Sorry club! That said, I just love everyone in my club, and they are so much fun to talk to. Our group is amazing.

(Kyle is sitting calmly looking at the camera while we talked before the movie. I may be biased, but isn't he turning into a handsome dog?)

We had all nine dogs from our club plus one dog being puppy sat from another club all in one living room tonight. You would think 10 puppies and about 20 raisers in that environment would be mayhem, but it wasn't. All of the pups were incredibly well behaved and settled really well. It was actually pretty impressive.

(Lest you doubt where Kyle sat during the movie, he curled up on my lap. Even though he is getting huge, he still prefers my lap to anywhere else.)

After the movie, we headed outside to get a new club photo. Several of the puppies from the last group shot are in formal harness training, and we have two new additions to the club. With each new puppy truck, we have to retake the group photo.

(Here are all nine dogs in our club with their raisers. From left to right: Jacinda (FBL), Julimae (FYL), Kyle (MYL), Spike (MYL), Christina (FBL), Picassa (FYL), Keiko (MBL), Breeze (FYL), and Sugar (FGLD))

When I first decided to puppy raise again, my plan was to get a puppy off the June puppy truck so that it would be house broken before I had to go back to teaching in the fall. However, in April my club leader briefly mentioned an 18-week-old male yellow lab that needed to be transferred from a club in Colorado. Without a pause, I told her that I wanted him. A week later I found out that Kyle was mine.

While I wouldn't trade raising Kyle for anything, I do miss the fun of getting to play with a baby puppy. When Julimae and Keiko arrived last week, I couldn't help thinking that my baby puppy would have been on that truck. Things turned out perfectly for me and Kyle, but I did have to trade Kyle for a few minutes so that I could cuddle little Julimae. She is such a doll baby!

(Here's me holding little Julimae. She is tiny, adorable, and completely cuddle-able. During the movie, I also played with Keiko. He had the best puppy breath! Yes, I'm weird.)

After club meeting, Kyle headed off to a puppysitter's home until Monday. Saturday I have a cousin's wedding in the morning and tickets for a fireworks show in the evening. The wedding was doable with a puppy, but puppies in training cannot attend fireworks shows. Thus, I needed someone to watch Kyle Saturday.

(Kyle, Picassa, and Sugar in the hatchback of a car before Kyle headed off to the puppysitter's home.)

The puppysitter that is watching Kyle loves him. As we talked, she managed to convince me that Kyle needed to stay with her for five days instead of the one I intended. Honestly, I will miss him a ton, but I think he will have a blast with her. After all, Kyle is going to get to play with three other dogs and two kittens. Plus, he will get all kinds of new experiences like riding public transportation and working a night shift. Kyle's puppysitter promised pictures in exchange for his extended stay, so I will write about his adventures when I get him back.

(The last view of Kyle's cute face until Monday. He looks so happy with his goofy grin and his tongue hanging out.)

Have fun and be a good boy Kyle!


  1. This is Amanda's mom (Kyle's grandraiser) writing:Amanda(AKA Mandy)was my first-born child-(isn't she great?) :)She was an only child for 3 years. Just before Amanda's 3rd birthday, her father and I adopted a second daughter, Nicki. Amanda was in her glory to have a "real" 24/7 sibling to share her life with. As a parent, the experience of their sharing and bonding was touching, educational, and inspirational. I remember thinking how wonderful and resilient children are and how quickly they form attachments and acceptance into new family and social groups. As a young mother observing Mandy & Nicki together, I questioned my own ability to love and accept another woman's 2 yr old daughter into my heart and life to the extent that I had merged my heart & life with Amanda's. I regreted the fact that I had not bonded with Nicki from birth & had no personal knowledge of her 1st 2 yrs. However, having met Nicki's birth-mother and having observed her with Nicki, I knew in my heart that Nicki had been a wanted,loved,cherished,& well-raised daughter from her birth throughout her 2nd yr. Only extreme physical, cultural, religious and financial constraints had forced her mother to place her for adoption. I made a commitment to this birth-mother to love Nicki as my own daughter and give her everthing I gave to my natural-born daughter, Mandy. I know that I fulfilled that promise without partiality and to the limits of my capabilities. When Nicki had been in our home for over a year, and I had now Three daughters, I was asked the question by authorities, "If a natural disaster occured and you could only save one of your daughters from death, which daughter would you save? Quickly. Answer now. Who would you save?" I could not answer, but instead struggled with a decision I could not make. I know that raising a guide-dog is not identical to raising a child, and is far less important and enduring on a global, permanent scale. Yet, I also know that both Amanda and I grieved openly for Turk (Amanda's first guide-dog puppy) for 2 weeks after he left our home for San Rafael, CA and that we rejoiced together triumphantly, proudly, & mistily when he graduated (with honors) into an exceptional placement with a more-than-average special-needs partner. I know that Amanda has now been given a similar challenge to the one I faced at Nicki's adoption: to open her heart and life to an older child (dog) and love him as if he had been with her since babyhood. I know that Amanda has met this challenge with honor. She has welcomed Kyle completely into her home and life, has bonded closely with Kyle, has learned of his past from his puppy-raisers, and has given him security,love, confidence,& guidance throughout his temporary stay with her. Amanda has continually sought advice, help,& support from others to ensure that Kyle ultimitely becomes the best "helper-dog" he can be. This week has been difficult for Amanda, because it is her first experience at the letting-go portion of raising Kyle. I know she has struggled with the weights and balances of her own needs & wants and those of Kyle. I know that Kyle will be the better person for the broadening of his horizons that his puppy-sitters have given him. I also know that both Kyle and Amanda will be joyful in their reuniting and reassured in their shared relationship as they once again come together.
    Amanda's little sister, Nicki, is now a mother herself and a grandmom to her son's pet doggy. Her birthday is July 4th and a celebration will occur for her later this week. Kyle & Amanda will travel together for this get-together, and Kyle will get to meet his Aunt Nicki and her son, his "human-cousin" for the 1st time. It will be another great experience to add to Kyle's experiences & recall before he moves on to his ultimate goal of "Wonder-Helper!"

  2. Hi, My name is MeKalea and I raise for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York. I just stumbled upon your blog. I really like it. Keep up the good work and check out my blog at