June 2001

June 2001
Hi Mom! Iím back at school and Iím doing just fine. In fact, schoolís a blast. I was a little worried when Miss Ami and Miss Jennie dropped me off. Their eyes were leaking terribly and they were all blubbery, but that must just be a human thing.

Here they are just before we went inside.

For some reason they were in a real HUGGY mood. Whatever.

Anyway, Mom, I love this place. There are dogs everywhere! When they dropped me off Christie, one of the staff, talked to my humans for a few moments. She gave me a brand new collar. Here she is putting it on me.

Miss Ami got to keep my old collar and my Puppy Number. I got a DOG Number now because Iím all growed up. My tag is GOLD and itís brand new and shiny and especially for me. Iím dog number 8106. Thatís a good number isnít it, Mom? Thatís how many dogs theyíve trained or something. I wasnít really paying attention. I think you should go out and buy a lottery ticket with those numbers on it Ďcause Iím a lucky dog!

Christie took me for a test drive to check me out. I did good on all my things (obedience, confidence, traffic, noise and stuff) and I did GREAT on stairs and statues. Christie gave my report card to Miss Ami. That just got her all blubbery again. I think thatís the only time Iíve ever seen her when she couldnít talk. Funny, huh? Here I am in the parking lot with Christie. (Iím the one on the left.)

After we came back I got measured. Iím 22 inches tall. I look a little spooked. Iíve seen rulers before and I kind of thought I was going to have to quilt or something, so thatís why I look panicked.

The humans filled out some papers and talked some more. Then all of a sudden Christie left and pretended to do some stuff over at the counter and Miss Ami and Miss Jennie started acting REALLY weird. I was busy smelling this really cool chair and all they wanted to do was cuddle. Itís like ďNot now, guys! Iím BUSY!Ē Sometimes, humans just have one-track minds.

Anyway, we did much cuddling, and their eyes leaked, and they squeezed the stuffing out of me practically, and mumbled some stuff I couldnít understand cause I still had my head in the chair and then Christie came back and we went into the kennel.

Wow, is it cool in here! I guess Miss Ami and Miss Jennie were saying good-bye, but did I tell you how big this place is? This is only part of it. I started out here in the first room on the left. Thatís Bay 1. Bays 1 to 4 are on the left, and then 5 through whatever are on the right. And then if I pass each class I go into a whole other hallway with more bays.

There are ten kennels in Bay 1. I was only there overnight, with another dog, but I forgot her name already. (I think I may have caught that from Miss Ami. She canít remember a thing.) They played music at night for us so we wouldnít be lonely.

About the second day I moved to Bay 2. (See how fast Iím learning?) There are 20 kennels in Bay 2, but I could handle it. These first couple of stops are for us to get used to the place. Coming from a family situation, that could be hard for some dogs. We have to learn how to get along with the other dogs, learn to use the dog runs for parking and exercise, get checked out by Dr. Smith and stuff. We have to get used to the new feeding schedule, and we have to learn how to use LICKERS.Thatís our own personal drinking fountain! Can you see the pipe running up on top of my kennel?

All you have to do is stick your tongue under the end of it and water comes out, any time I want! Is this great or what? I got the hang of it in no time, but I canít figure out how it knows when Iím going to lick it.

I moved to Bay 3 a little bit after that. I think thatís where I met Trinka (sheís a black lab) and this Golden Retriever who thinks sheís ME. Keeps telling everyone her name is Daisy. I donít know what THATís all about! Sheís very nice in spite of her CPD (confused personality disorder).

I got x-rayed and I heard somebody say I have ďexcellent hips and normal elbows.Ē They forgot to mention that Iím very intelligent, and I have soft ears and a lovely tail---which I like to wag. A lot. Iíll have to mention that during the next check-up in case they miss it again.

Just about as soon as I got here I got a bath. They have a special room for that and, get this, they let you jump up on a counter and they run water all over you. Not at all like Miss Ami and the orange plastic cup in the tub. This is the Ritz! Here are some dogs getting groomed. Iím not sure what they did to get out of their bath, but I intend to ask them.

These dogs are waiting their turn.

They even have a dog dryer.

This is it. You go in the box and it dries your fur with an all-around blow dryer or something. I havenít seen anybody use it, but Trinka said when she was having her bath she noticed a lab go in, but later when it came out it got changed into a miniature poodle. Ick! (Do you think she was pulling my paw?) Either way, Iím glad I got air-dried!

Now Iím in Bay 4 and this place is huge. It has 40 kennels and we hang out in groups of 10 now, because weíre all adjusted to kennel life. Inside itís enormous and has hanging plants and stuff. Outside on the wall is a board with all our names on it.

See mine? My name sign has DAISY on it and my new Dog Number (8106) and F.Y.LAB which stands for Female Yellow Labrador. Thatís ME! Cool, huh?

Like in the other bays, I have my own private kennel. Itís 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet. We could have parties in here! I can see the dogs in the kennels across from me, and I can hear EVERYBODY! My kennel is at the end of the row by the gate. Iím sure thatís a position of responsibility, but they havenít told me what they want me to do with the gate yet. Iím ready and waiting for instructions.

Chris takes care of us. He wears a leash on his belt so if he needs to take us someplace heís all ready.

He feeds us and opens the door to the dog run for us. He also yells at us when we get rowdy. Heís really nice.

Hereís Chris watching us hang out in the dog run. (That could be my butt on the right. Hard to tell.) The dog run is like a big garage with a cement floor and walls on all four sides, and a drain at one end. We park here and then mysteriously itís cleaned the next time we use it. Havenít figured that part out yet. There isnít a door to the outside, just one for us in the kennel, but there is a big opening up at the top of the far wall (you can see a little of it in the picture) that runs the width of the run. Chris can open that up for fresh air any time he wants to.

While weíre here in Bay 4, we work on our obedience. Reggie is in charge of that and he is SO nice.

Here he is with another dog in the main lobby. They were practicing doors on their way outside when this picture was taken. I think it would have been a much better picture if I were the dog he was walkingÖ.

We have volunteers who take us out every day too.

Next week I should be moving into Bay 5. Thatís on the other side of the big hallway where the trainers will look us over for the first time and pick which dogs they want to train. Team #2 will be picking their dogs from my group. Wish me luck, Mom!

Anyway, Mom, donít worry about me. Iím doing fine so far. The hard part comes next week. I hope I get picked for training. Big tail wags in your direction. I love you,

Iíd like to thank Erin Dunn for taking the pictures of Daisy and Chris. She has graciously made time in her schedule at Leader Dogs for the Blind to photograph Daisy for this web page. Much as I would like to see Daisy and photograph her myself, itís not appropriate for me to be seen by Daisy as this would distract and disrupt her training.

There is a possibility, if Daisy makes it through the rigorous training program ahead and is placed with a visually impaired partner, that her partner may elect to visit a Puppy Raiser class. If so, Jennie and I would get to meet the two of them at that time. (Keep your paws crossed for us!)