Thursday, December 20, 2007

I can't believe it - Elbert is on the move

Elbert is moving quickly through the phases. He is in #8 now. This is what he is learning:

Phase #8
Continued advanced guidework and obedience training. Intensive indoor mall training with crowds, slick floors and learning to board, ride and exit escalators. Advanced sidewalkless training with obstacles.

Keep up the good work - we are so proud.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A day at the beach

This was Hooper's first day at the beach in San Clemente. He loved the sand but we stayed away from the water. Didn't want him to be all wet today. Of course, the day was BEAUTIFUL. The sun was out and the breeze was cool. We also took a 2 hour hike - what a perfect day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Elbert is in Phase #7 - I am so excited

Phase #7
Guidework moves to extremely challenging downtown urban areas (San Francisco and Portland). Training on buses, light rail/subway systems and platform edges. Introduction to low overhead clearances; advanced off-leash obedience. Formal traffic training begins.
Elbert as a baby - Isn't he cute.

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Tis The Season

What these humans make us do!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Elbert is in Phase #6 now

Elbert is still moving along through his formal training. He has made it to Phase 6 - I AM SO PROUD. I hope his brothers and sisters are doing well too.
Here is a summary description of what he is learning now.
Phase #5
Preliminary guidework testing is performed with the instructor under blindfold. Complete medical history review. Guidework training environments become more challenging: pedestrian traffic, stairs, different flooring surfaces, etc.
Phase #6
Guidework routes in difficult and challenging level work environments. Heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic areas, wide crossings, hectic atmospheres, etc. Introduction to sidewalkless areas and rounded curbs. Continued work in malls, stores and buildings with increasing exposure to varying sights, sounds and smells. Advanced guidework skills such as moving turns. Learning "intelligent disobedience", in which dogs learn to refuse to obey a command if it is unsafe to execute. Advanced obedience training.

Diamonds in the Ruff meeting

We took advantage of the fact that the rain did not fall as predicted.
Turned out to be a beautiful morning.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gladys spent the weekend

Hooper and Gladys had so much fun together. They played so much that I needed to separate them from time to time. Gladys is almost one year old.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Elbert's in Phase #4 and Hooper

Hooper is sooooo much fun. I was packing up Sara's computer to send to her in New York and used pillows as padding. Well, Hooper decided to make use of the ones that were left over. Too cute.

We have also been walking to and from the gym in the mornings. Today I did the spinning class while he waited patiently for me. I attached him to a weight so he didn't wander around. I remember having to use heavier weights for Donald - he would drag them across the floor.

Elbert has moved to Phase #4. This is what he is learning:
Guidework training progresses on more difficult sidewalks in busier sections of downtown areas. All curb types and more complex street crossings are introduced. The dogs begin to show clearance awareness, and begin to guide their instructors through the campus obstacle course. Preliminary obedience testing and evaluation of the dogs' reactions to head collars are also performed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Go Elbert - Phase #3

Phase #3 summary:
Harness training in quiet residential areas; frequent rides in the training vans. Teaching new guide work commands and responses, as well as continuing to work on commands learned in Phase 2. Curb checks and street crossings are introduced. Progressive obstacle course training on campus. Obedience training continues. Mall exposure walks and introduction to dog social sessions. Those dogs who are on the breeder-watch list but are not selected for the breeding program are spayed or neutered.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Elbert is in Phase #2

Here is a general summary of what he is learning now:
Preliminary harness and obedience training. Introduction to distractions (toys, food, other dogs, cats, etc.). On-campus training of leading into harness (pulling forward in harness) and responses to guidework-specific commands." Introduction to campus obstacle course on leash and treadmill training.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

You know all mothers like to hear from their kids

I heard from Whistler today. I sent him a Petco card for his birthday and Stacey took him to the store to choose a toy. He chose a rope tug toy.

Whistler's birthday 9/18/03, parents Baker/Westie, graduation 9/3/05, lives and works with Stacey in Bloomington, IL. I was known as "Whistler's Mother".

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hooper and the unsanctioned toy

We got this toy at Downtown Disney - I know it is not a sanctioned toy and Hooper only had it one time. But he heard the squeaky sound and was soooooooo cute about it. It's hard to get toys we can't have - it's like having chocolate chip cookies out when you are on a diet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Downtown Disney - 9/30/07

One of my favorite Guide Dogs for the Blind events. Here are some club pictures. (click on the picture for a larger view)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Finally heard from Elbert

Elbert is in phase 1 - he has been through the medical checkup from nose to tail and introduced to kennel life. Elbert is not on the breeding watch list.

Go Elbert.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hooper is the one with the collar

Introducing ----- HOOPER!!

This is Hooper, male, yellow lab, born 7.3.07. His parents are Denzel and Vonnie. Hooper's brother Haggarty is also in our group. If you have a sibling or know of one, please let me know.

We are proud of you Elbert

Good luck to Elbert in the next phase of his life. Off to GDB to begin his formal training. I know he is going to do a good job!! I will keep you all posted on his progress.

Elbert is in his kennel for the trip back to "college" and Hooper is finding out he has a tough act to follow.

People ask me how the puppies get back to Guide Dogs and what is this truck like. Well, let me tell you, it is first class travel.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Saying Good-bye

Jonati and Niobi came to visit. Well, Jonati is BLIND and fell into the pool (not to worry, she loves to swim). That started the water fun. Elbert is not crazy about swimming - he will go in if carried in. Both Jonati and Niobi are now therapy dogs (Delta dogs).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Elbert and Elsa

We had a Guide Dog puppy event at the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday night. This was Elbert's first event last year and his last event before going back to GDB. We saw his sister Elsa there - she is so cute. She will be going back to GDB this weekend too. Good luck to the whole family!!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The countdown begins

Elbert has gone back to Guide Dogs for the Blind September 14, 2007.

Cooling off in the pool

Today is Labor Day - it is sooooooooooo hot. A good day for a swim in the pool.
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Friday, August 24, 2007


Elbert goes back to Guide Dogs for the Blind on September 22. I was surprised to get the call so soon. The whole family is going to have a hard time seeing him go.

P.S. The date was changed to September 14.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Traveling is fun

Elbert and I traveled to Pennsylvania for my mother's 85th Birthday. There was lots of family there and they all loved Elbert. He was a perfect traveler. The take off and landing was no big deal. On the way home, we got caught up in the unending story of delays. It took 19 hours to get back to LAX and Elbert was an absolute trooper. He didn't whine or complain at all. We did get to fly business class from Atlanta to LAX which was very cool. Elbert made it the whole way without having to "do his business" - however, we headed right outside the baggage claim when we landed.

Thank you to United Airlines and Delta Airlines - they are so good to Guide Dog puppies!! I am thinking that along with a smoking room, maybe there can be a patch of grass somewhere inside the airport for these occasions. Going back through screening is way too much trouble.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Drive-in night

This was a night at the Drive-In Theater. We were celebrating Michael's 25th birthday. We saw Evan Almighty this time. Elbert is inside the car on the soft cushion.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Guide Dog puppies on Olvera Street

One of the recent Guide Dog puppy outings was a train ride to Olvera Street. We took the Gold Line from Pasadena to Union Station where we met up with other puppy raisers.

Happens that we met Elbert's siblings there. Guide Dogs for the Blind keeps track of litter mates by naming all of the puppies in a litter with the same first letter. That's why we have Elbert, England, Eli, and Emmylou. Elsa and Edison did not attend. Elsa was in heat and Edison is in the Carson City club.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Elbert and Gladys

Gladys is spending the weekend with us. She is sooooooooooooo cute!!

Click on one of the pictures below to see an adorable video.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Michael lets me break the rules - 1/14/07

Michael is home now and Elbert is soooooooooo happy. Michael lets him break some of the rules - then they both get in trouble.

Don't they look scary?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tournament of Roses Parade Floats - 1/1/07

Elbert and I went with Fantine's family, Teresa and Diego, to see the floats after the Tournament of Roses parade.

The day was beautiful - sunny and comfortable.

This was a great experience for Elbert and Fantine to deal with crowds.

The people were packed in so tight - both puppies did a great job not bothering the people. We answered a lot of questions from the public.