The five service pups I've raised...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 4th is also Canine Companions for Independence's Birthday

Yarrow in her Drill Team parade uniform
Yarrow was in her second July 4th parade last week. Her first was last year, at age 6 month.
When Independence Day rolls around it always seems like the summer is going by much too quickly.
And this year is no different.
Toward the end of the parade, I took Yarrow over to the VIPs sitting in the grandstand. She greeted some of the top military officers in their striking dress uniforms and then I spotted an elderly gentleman in a wheel chair also in his military attire.  Yarrow sat and offered her paw when told to shake. The man grinned so big and that smile will stay with me for a long time.  His aide was also beaming and so happy I came over to them.
Yarrow spreading cheer

I always love the joy these puppies spread just by their presence and being with people...Canine Companions received a trophy again this year and here is sweet Yarrow admiring her mug in the reflection :)
Yarrow admiring the trophy

Thursday, June 28, 2012

She's Ba-a-a-a-ck!

Yikes, so my short break turned into a quite long break and I am back blogging after (gulp) a l-o-o-o-o-n-g 16 months absence! Yarrow is now 17 months old and in a little less than 2 months I (and my co-raiser Linda) return her to Canine Companions for her advanced training for the class of Feb. 2013 if she goes the distance!

She's peaked out at only 47 pounds so she's a petite gal just like her small framed (golden retriever) mother. And oh what an affectionate gem of a girl this little one is!

It's been an exciting adventure. I was denied access by TWO employers here in San Diego--> Cymer and Nokia. I went ahead and took both contracts since I needed the income naturally and fortunately Linda was able to take over Yarrow almost full time where I would get her only the weekends (well, Fri eve through Monday mornings). But, both contracts ended early, an indication that the recession for the USA is still far from over. I am now unemployed once more and while nervous about the future I am making the most of my time with Yarrow before she leaves for her advance training in Oceanside at the CCI kennels.

My first CCI pup - my change of career gal = Kerry III turns 11 years young in July and I can see dramatic changes in her pace and her physical stature. She's in great health and although she sleeps a lot, she still loves to play with the Francie and Yarrow and is happy. Recently I switched Kerry to a new home-made diet where I bake her food using a mix I order from Canada and add white fish and organic green beans. Its only been a few weeks so its too early to see a change in her candida (yeast) challenges (red dripping eyes, dirty ears, etc). Someone on Facebook had a golden turn 14 and swore by this food, so I figured it was worth a try. I also ordered their recommended wild Alaskan salmon oil in a pump so all the dogs now get this on their meals.

Francie's adventure I need to save for a future blog post - but the Readers Digest version is she is back home with me, as her forever home; and I'm thrilled to have her after giving her multiple opportunities to try different careers for her talents.

Here's Ever (my #4) now Dad's dog, Yarrow, Francie and Kerry
Francie, Kerry, Yarrow, and Ever posing for the coming CCI Golf Classic
Me with Yarrow at a recent wine tasting Puppy Outing; Ronie (my #3) in front; now Linda's pet and a hospital therapy dog
Kerry's new home-made food.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yarrow Settles in and Explores

Yarrow is settling in and this past week was my first full week to have her, since Linda and I are co-raising and sharing this wonderful experience, as we did with Francie.

We fell into a nice little routine although I have not yet found my organization mode fully, as with a puppy (like a baby) ya need your wits about you, it takes longer to get ready AND you need more STUFF to lug with you. :D) I felt like I was always two paces behind where I wanted to be. But it's all good and we'll fall in synch soon enough. It just takes a bit, as I DID have a 6 month break since Francie's turn in last August.

Yarrow is my first pup to get to share the experience on Facebook and actually follow and share with Yarrow's litter mates and THEIR puppy raisers. What a great CCI family there is - like one large alumni group across the country.

Yarrow enjoys exploring her world, here she checks out my garden. Always on the move I was lucky to get her in the frame!

She enjoys walking with Kerry in the mornings on the green belts. She found a pine cone and Kerry's nose can be seen as Ker loves to peel pine cones and is ready to steal this one from little Yarrow.

Kerry does play with Yarrow and their favorite game is "keep away".

Across from my home, Yarrow checks out the smells on the green belt.

I believe the company of another dog makes for a self-confident well-adjusted puppy.
Kerry has been a wonderful big sis to five other puppies I've brought home from CCI. I didn't know it then but I believe it now, that THIS was indeed Kerry's role in life as a release dog, to be a mentor to the puppies that I take on and my companion for support when it's time to give them back. Well done good and faithful one, Kerry!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The bonding has begun. . .

It was interesting having Linda take Yarrow for the first week. While I found Yarrow adorable I didn't really feel connected with her until this week where it's my turn with her full-time. And now? Oh now - I just adore her and am marveling at all her nuances.

Yarrow is extremely bright and cocks her head more than any of my prior pups - a sign most say, of intelligence.
She is bored being held and wants DOWN (now!) to explore.
Hates her crate as again ditto above- she wants out to explore!

She is quite affectionate and knows she can look up at me and rest her paw on my shin to be picked up on our morning grass walks as we trail behind Kerry who is off doing her sniffing.
She has loads of energy - plays hard and then sleeps hard. Ah the life of a puppy.

Yarrow is at my office with me this week and is doing well - but is most happy being out of the crate and laying at my feet playing with her toys. I on the other hand, get nervous afraid I may wheel over her toes with my chair. So back in the crate she goes even if she does protest a bit.

But the barking is a lot less than the one day from last week when I watched her for Linda. Yarrow is still quite tiny and there was only one other puppy smaller than Yarrow in her puppy kindergarten class tonight. Yet Yarrow still did the 2 story stairs, straight to the top, at work with me today!
And these are some TALL stairs for a 9 week old.
(In fact, here's a shot of Francie at work when she was at the top of those very stairs @ 5 months old.)

Today we learned that Yarrow's Daddy is Camden - not the Black Lab Hickman also mated to Keara. So Lil Red Yarrow is 1/2 golden and 1/2 yellow lab - the same mix as my Kerry girl.
AND I just love that combo. (Kerry's Momma was more gold in color where as Keara, Yarrow's Mom is quite red - thus Yarrow's coloring.
So pretty.

Welcome Yarrow! My heart is filled with gladness from your presence!

Friday, February 25, 2011

One week ago today....

Welcome Yarrow!
Yarrow with big brother Young who will be raised in Orange County so, easy access for puppy play dates for Yarrow & Young. :D)

On the rainy drive home from CCI

I picked up Yarrow II, my 6th puppy to raise for Canine Companions. She is so tiny -I am always surprised and marvel and just how little they start out. AND this one, I've had the blessing of following on Facebook from the breeder/caretaker's wonderful videos and pics from the day Yarrow was born.

One of 11 (yes, 11!) puppies = Golden Retrieve Momma named Keara who is the gentlest of souls and Pappa either Hickman - a black lab or Camden -a blond lab.

WELCOME little Yarrow. Co-raiser Linda had you for week 1 and tomorrow begins my first FULL week with you. My arms are open as is my heart!

Yarrow explores one of her kitchens...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Francie's Progress

So to my delight, I received the most wonderful return email from the officer that is training with Francie for her sniff training/narcotics role. I had invited them to this Friday's CCI Graduation (as Fay, Francie's sister has been matched and there will be a total of 12 teams graduating with their new partners!)
Here is the email I received back from Officer Tom: my heart is bursting with pride for the wonderful progress Francie is making.

Unfortunately Francie and I can not make the CCI graduation Feb 11. Francie and I are in narcotic detection school, week 3 of 5.

Francie is doing great, she knows all the narcotic odors and alerts to the scent by scratching at it. The scratching was no easy task, because Francie is such a polite dog.

My biggest challenge with Francie is showing her she can be "bad" to find the drugs.

We will come down there to visit and also to come to another graduation. I am allowed to take field trips, especially to the people who raised an awesome partner for me.

And I while I pick up my 6th puppy on Feb. 18, this chapter is far from over as I follow sweet Francie Pant's path.
Good girl Francie, good dog.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Future for Francie

Well the days somehow got away from me but 3 weeks ago (Nov. 19), I received "the call" from CCI that Francie was being released from the CCI service dog program, but with the good news she was reviewed, considered and accepted into what CCI calls an "affiliated agency". In her case it is the Ontario, CA police dept as a Search & Rescue dog!

Linda and I are thrilled. It took me a bit since in the old days, a dog as high-energy and ball driven as Francie got returned to her puppy raiser so a part of me really thought she was coming home to me if she did not make the service dog route. Yet the more I thought about this new job for her, it really is her perfect career. She gets to go to work every day and "sniff and find" to earn her coveted tennis ball (I imagine that is what they will use for her motivation).

Here is the email I sent out to my "Francie Fans":

I am so proud and thankful this Thanksgiving Time to share the news that miss Francie has been selected to work in Search and Rescue; released from CCI and place with an officer that will do drug detection at Ontario International Airport in Ontario, Calif. That ball drive and desire to be active will be put to good use after all, she just had too much energy to be matched with a person in CCI's field (assisting someone with a disability).

If for some reason she does not successfully complete her training for Drug Detection K9 officer, she will be released to me/Linda as a pet (not likely-as these dogs succeed 99% of the time.)
She will live in the home with the handler and never be placed in any dangerous situations with weapons, bombs etc. The police dogs would go in first on those type of assignments.

I have mixed feelings as I love her so and miss her greatly, yet as we always say, they land where they are most needed.
Thanks always for your support, love and encouragement.
Look for news on my 6th CCI puppy in February!