Thursday, June 9, 2011

Big Fat 0

For the fourth week in a row, Kyle is in phase 0. That's still the medical evaluation stage of training. Phase 0 normally lasts 1-2 weeks, so that alone was cause for concern.

Additionally, all of Kyle's littermates are getting career changed. So far, three, maybe four, are cc'd. Kermit returns to formal training this week, and Keegan is unaccounted. Those odds aren't tipping the scale in Kyle's favor at all.

With these two factors combined, I panicked and called my leader. She placed a call to my regional leader. I'm assuming my regional leader called the Oregon campus because I had a logical, but sad, explination for Kyle's stay in phase 0 within a couple of hours.

It turns out that Kyle cut his paw open on an outing. Until it heals, he cannot go into training. My poor boy! I wish I could give Kyle a giant cuddle right now. He's got to be going stir crazy without exercise. Kyle is the energizer bunny.

All I can hope is that Kyle is getting obedience work and some other form of entertainment while his paw heals. If any of Dutch and Gracie's puppies are going to make it as a guide dog, I have full confidence that Kyle can do it. He was born to be a working dog. A hurt paw cannot keep my boy down.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Under the Bed

Rio's new favorite room in our home is the bedroom. Rio voluntarily heads up the stairs to hang out alone. It's an odd change to have such an independent puppy after needy Kyle.

Last night I headed upstairs for Rio so that we could go to a friend's house. This is the sight that greeted me.

(Rio asleep with his rear on the dog bed and his front under the human bed.)

I have one seriously weird puppy. Rio's antics constantly make me laugh.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

(With the help of my friend, Rio can do a pretty good chihuahua impersonation!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Becoming a Cuddle Bug

After almost two months with Rio, it's amazing how many things I'm still learning about the boy. Now that Kyle is in formal training, I have way more time to spend with Rio. My favorite realization is that Rio can be a much more cuddly puppy than I previously thought. If you haven't picked up on it before, I love cuddly dogs!

(Rio laying on my lap.)

The day after Kyle left, Rio started sidling up to me and pressing his body against my legs the way Kyle used to do every morning. He'll also peer at me in the morning to get me to wake up. When I sit or lay on the floor, Rio will come and lay next to me. He even puts his head in my lap to request an ear scratch when I'm busy at my desk or table. I love it!

I already thought Rio was the perfect puppy. Now there is icing on the cake!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Phase 0

Kyle is on GDB's phase report!

Kyle     45X7     LAB     M     0

Basically, seeing Kyle's name on the phase report means that he made it to campus safe and sound. Phase 0 is the medical evaluation phase which means that Kyle hasn't started formal training yet. Hopefully by next week he'll start climbing the numbers.

It completely made my day to see that little 0 by Kyle's name. I miss my boy, but I'm thankful he's getting the chance to learn everything we spent the last year preparing for. Go Kyle go!

In family news, two of Kyle's brothers are in formal training. Kearney is in phase 1 and Kendrick is in phase 7. I love watching them progress too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Adios vs. Chao

In Spanish there are several ways to say goodbye. Most people know the term "adios." However, in Ecuador where I learned Spanish, adios is a permanent goodbye. You'd only say that word if you knew for certain that you'd never see someone again. Thus, I cringe anytime I hear the term.

Instead, I prefer the term "chao." This word is a much more informal goodbye. I love the friendliness of this term that is more akin to "see you later." Chao is a goodbye that I can handle.

Saturday afternoon, I took Kyle at the puppy truck. This morning Kyle should be arriving at the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in Boring, Oregon. Although Kyle is no longer in my home, there is no way I'd ever say adios to my boy. I couldn't do that. Our paths in life have diverged, but we both have big adventures ahead of us in the next few months.

With tears in my eyes but a smile on my face, I say chao to Kyle. He's ready for all the excitement formal training has to offer him.

In the mean time, here are a few final shots of my big boy.

(Kyle in the car on the way to the puppy truck. I love his clear brown eyes!)

(This is the final shot of the four of us together for now. I'm hoping we'll get another one at graduation. My fingers are crossed.)

 (Kyle spent a good portion of the day in my lap, but we needed one more cuddle before goodbye.)

 (Kyle with his little brother Rio. This is a great shot to capture the contrast in their personalities. Kyle: "I'm not taking a picture. They bother me." Rio: "Aren't I cute!")

(The drivers asked me to put Kyle on the truck, and I lost it. I love this boy!)

(One final shot of Kyle in his kennel on the puppy truck. Kyle, I hope your journey went smoothly and you are enjoying new adventures in Oregon.)

Good luck Kyle. You are going to do wonderful things in life. ¡Chao!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Way Life should Be

While my students and I are dreading Kyle's recall, all Kyle knows is that today is the best day of his life.

(Two students petting Kyle at once.)

All day long students and coworkers have been stopping by to pet Kyle. He's gone outside for every class period. We've made him the center of attention by taking his picture with each class. After school, students played with him in the classroom. Kyle even got to (accidentally) run free on a practice field for a few minutes.

There couldn't be a better dream day for Kyle. The world finally revolves around him, and he loves it. With only 25.5 hours left until recall, I'm more than happy to spoil my boy for one last day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Family News

Rio is fairly attached to his big brother Kyle. I feel bad that he's going to have to say goodbye to him next Saturday. Never fear though...Rio's getting another family member soon.

I'd like to introduce you to Rio's new dad! I don't say much about the details of my personal life on this blog, but I have to share the happiness of my recent engagement.

 (Rio, my fiance, and me outside Cafe Rio a few weeks ago.)

We will be getting married this summer, and I couldn't be happier. Rio is pretty smitten with his new dad, so I'm pretty sure he's going to love having him around as a co-raiser. Life is good!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kennel Naps

When Kyle was little, he slept in some really weird positions. I think Rio's nap choice today takes the cake though.

(Rio sleeping in a too small kennel with his head smashed in the corner and his leg hanging out.)

Rio has easily outgrown his medium kennel. The big boy is already 42.8 pounds! That's only 19 pounds lighter than Kyle's 61.8 pounds. Crazy!

At home Rio gets to sleep in Kyle's large kennel, and the medium one at home stands empty. Kyle, on the other hand, sleeps free and has since he was six-months-old. Rio voluntarily chooses to nap in this medium kennel at work. He's on a tie-down and doesn't have to be cramped.

I should get Rio a bigger kennel, but the truth is that he will inherit Kyle's kennel and comfy dog beds in nine days. We're not talking about that right now though. Okay?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

17 Things at 17 Months

Kyle turned 17 months on Easter day. Because of the holiday, I'm a few days late getting this post up. In honor of our time together, here are 17 great memories with Kyle.

1. The day I picked Kyle up, I was amazed by his energy level and excited about his love of cuddling. A year later, those are still two of his most noticeable character traits.

2. Some of my favorite pictures of Kyle are from this day spent with my friends and their daughters. I love how much puppies and kids belong together. Kyle's starter raiser was a young girl, so he was overly enthusiastic about any young girl we came across when he was younger.

 3. Once or twice a year our puppy club visits a therapeutic boarding school. The students their love our puppies. This boy in particular didn't leave Kyle all morning. I love how much good cuddling a puppy can do for someone in need. This is one of my favorite meetings with Kyle as a result.

4. Kyle comes up with silly antics that constantly amuse me. I loved a stage he went through where he would sleep in weird positions on whatever was available.

5. Kyle is the best road trip dog  imaginable. He and I logged thousands of miles together, and he was a good sport for every one of them. I hope he goes to a family who loves to travel as much as Kyle and I do.

6. I think it is funny when humans and their dogs start looking alike. My sister snapped this picture on one of my visits to her house. Love it!

7. Kyle never gets bored of tug. Right after this shot was snapped, my nephew was on his belly as Kyle pulled him around. I have several similar pictures of Kyle and my students. Kyle is one strong boy.

8. Kyle is perfect in public. I trust him enough that I willingly handed the leash to my five-year-old nephew and let him walk Kyle around Walmart. You can tell Kyle still kept his loose leash and listened to my nephew. This dog rocks when he's working.

9. When I broke my foot last July, Kyle was a great support. Right after it happened, I went into the house and got Kyle out of the kennel because I needed puppy love to distract me from the pain. Throughout the ordeal, Kyle was a great sport and gave me extra cuddles. He even forgave the lack of frequent walks for a few weeks.

10. I seriously couldn't have written my thesis without Kyle. When I couldn't stand being cooped up indoors during the beautiful summer weather, Kyle's cuddly playfulness always gave me a much needed stress relief. I'm so glad he was part of my graduation!

11. Kyle became such a part of me that my friends started inviting me and Kyle together to things. He's game for any outing. Here we are at a corn maze. The weird smells, lighting, and sounds didn't phase him in the slightest. Not pictured are the several friends who invited us.

12. How can you be grumpy when your puppy is having fun? I woke up to the first snow of the year and would have grumbled if it weren't for Kyle's excitement. I love Kyle's new perspective on life.

13. Sometimes the biggest problems have the easiest solutions. Kyle constantly barked complaints of boredom in my classroom (or so I thought). Then, for Christmas I bought him a dog bed for school. From day one, the barking was solved. It turns out that he was uncomfortable on the hard floor.Sorry Kyle! Life lesson learned.

14. Kyle got incredibly muddy a day or two after I bathed him. I just laughed it off because Kyle's helped me learn to not sweat the small stuff.

15. This winter a "shortcut" on a hike turned our one hour trip into a five hour ordeal. My energizer bunny  was a trooper the whole time. Kyle crashed when we finally made it to the car, but he was ready to play again when we got home 15 minutes later. Nothing can slow this boy down.

16. I love Kyle's enthusiasm for chewing his bones. No hard toy stands a chance for a long life when he's around.

17. Mine isn't the only life Kyle has touched. Hundreds of students at the school where I teach have learned from Kyle. Kyle's already done plenty of service in his 17 months of life. I'm excited to see who else he will get to touch in the next stage of his adventures.

Kyle and I have less than three weeks left to make more memories together. We'll treasure each and every one of those moments.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photo Shoot

Three weeks ago, one of my students who is a fabulous photographer volunteered to do a photo shoot with my pups. When all was said and done, she took 234 photos. A few pictures have already made an appearance on the blog, but there are still hundreds more.

To keep from delaying this post any longer, I'm just going to let a few of the pictures speak for themselves. All I have to say is that I'm raising two photogenic boys.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

For anyone who wonders how Kyle and Rio are getting along, take a look at Kyle's reaction when I try to take his little brother away. Kyle thinks Rio is the best play toy I ever bought home!

(Kyle tugging on Rio's leash in an attempt to keep him nearby.)

Kyle and Rio are normal pups and do a fair amount of teasing each other too. Normally this takes the form of stealing toys, but it can manifest itself in other forms.

 (Rio looks like he's laughing while Kyle sticks out his tongue.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

2012 Calendar Submissions

Pictures for the 2012 GDB calendar were due today. I selected my submissions weeks ago, but I just managed to email them in. There's nothing like cutting it close. For your viewing pleasure, here are my submissions.

I love this picture of Kyle! Posing him in front of a Braille sign seems like setting him up for success. This picture is from June 2010 at a park in Idaho Falls. If any of my pictures are going to make it, I'm pretty sure this one has the best chance.

Rio's head tilt is always a heart melter. This picture is from the end of March. It's taken in my backyard on the day Rio was transferred to me.


The day Snickers came off the puppy truck, I asked his raiser if we could take a posed picture of him in Kyle's jacket. Thus this picture from August 2010.

Last month I took a road trip to Oregon with a fellow puppy raiser for Picassa's graduation. I puppy traded for Breeze since she needed the road trip experience. This picture isn't too far from GDB campus at Multnomah Falls.

I'm excited to see if any of these shots make the new calendar. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Four Months

Rio has only been home for a week and two days, but I am already completely in love with this little pup. Guide Dogs sent me another great puppy to raise.

I could make a super long list of things about Rio. However, I'll stick to four things since he is four-months-old.

1. Rio proved himself a bomb proof dog today. During an earthquake drill, sirens and flashing lights alerted us to the mock disaster. Rio didn't even blink. He also successfully ignored 1850 students all headed to the football field at the same time. I was impressed!

 (Rio in a perfect sit on the football field with huge crowds of students behind him.)

2. Rio loves his food! He gets more food a meal than Kyle's ever gotten, but he's still on the skinny side. Even with larger portions, Rio finishes his meals before Kyle. He also makes adorable piggy snorts whenever he earns a kibble. We practice come just so I can hear them.

3. Rio loves Kyle. When they play, Rio wears out before Kyle does, so he's learned to hide under the kitchen chairs, under my bed, or behind the rocking chair to signal a time out. Rio also heads for these locations whenever he manages to snag a bone from Kyle.

(Rio hiding with a new bacon flavored nylabone under the kitchen chairs.)

4. Rio already has nearly impeccable house manners. I keep an eye on him because he's not accident free yet, and he is teething. That said, Rio is free when he's the only dog around. I love what an easy puppy he is to live with.

This past week has been so much fun with Rio. I'm excited to spend the next year or so with him!