The five service pups I've raised...

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!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Great (dog) Pumpkin

I love October.
I don't always have plans to attend a costume party or go to a pumpkin patch. Indeed this year will be a rather quiet "spooky season".

Ah but the fun memories of Octobers past.
I enjoy dressing the dogs up, but only for a photo op or our Halloween card. I'm clearly aware of most dogs' disdain for the ridiculous costumes we humans adorn them with this time of year (or really anytime there is a reason- see recent past blog for Surf dogs). I suspect many of you have even received the popular emails that circulate of various dog costumes. My sister's Golden "Bo" always LOVED being dressed up since he reveled in all the fuss and attention he received, so it really depends on the dog. Some of my favorite October pics from past years...

2009 - My Francie and her sister Fay at Bates Nut Farm. They are now both in advance training in Oceanside at Canine Companions for Independence, for future roles as service dogs hopefully.

2009 - Francie as a kitty and Kerry wearing the witch's hat for our Halloween card that year.

CCI puppy #4, Ever at the pumpkin patch

2006 - Ever as "Batdog". Funny enough but even has the long face when not in costume.
He's now a favorite Therapy Dog at Scripps Hospital with Dad.

My dog-o-lantern from 2006.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kowabunga Dude!

I took my #4 pup (now Dad's boy) Ever and my #1 Kerry to Del Mar to check out the surfing dogs.

Dog Beach has the notoriety to host an annual dog surfing contest to benefit the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Several have been on YouTube numerous times - Ricochet is one such local K9 surf celebrity.

The dogs are in competition against other dogs their size and then there are heats to see which dogs ride a wave for the longest time. The crowds were enthusiastic and cheered whenever a pooch caught a good ride.

We enjoyed our day and Kerry even got some play time to romp along the sand and waves; wanting to retrieve another dog's toy of course.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just Turn Your Back for a Second

So while at a cook-out tonight, we were all enjoying our grilled steaks, shrimp and chicken, an enjoyable early Labor Day gathering to watch the season opener of Ohio State Football.

Half time was dinner time, sitting down to a feast at the dining room table.Kerry was laying under the table as I felt her furry side with my bare feet but then she left at some point and I could no longer feel her there. So I called out to see where she was...
She didn't come. I also told her "cookies!" and she still didn't come; concerned I got up to see where she could have gone as both the front and the back doors were opened at my friends' home. She doesn't go far when food is around so I was not too concerned, just curious.

Well "the nose" had found the grill's drip pan out back and here's the face I found when she turned around all happy with herself and busily lip-smacking away!

Oh my.As Bob said, "Hey now she looks like a German Shepherd!" Ha!

Although here she looks like she is growling she is actually just getting ready to lick AGAIN to get all that wonderful taste off her face before I go after it with some paper towels and Dawn liquid detergent and water - the soap did not taste nearly as good.

Well at least she had the good sense to politely pre-rinse the dishes in their dishwasher, for them before we left!

(photos courtesy of Bob Paxton)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pup #1

A smiling Kerry on one of our last hikes, before Francie turned-in.

Kerry - a little spoiled and getting to sleep in the "big bed" the day after Francie leaves for K-9 college at CCI.

Kerry III really was the one that started it all for me. Started me on the path to my love affair with raising service puppies for Canine Companions for Independence.

She turned 9 this summer.
Kerry is so good every time I bring home a new CCI puppy. She knows what she is in for; ear biting, neck grabbing; lip tugging, toy sharing, bed stealing, nuzzling, the little newbies checking and just to see if there might be a nipple to nurse on-OUCH, although they've been weened for weeks- they still check; Kerry is quick to indicate - "no way!"

But Kerry is now an only child again to me; with Francie II off to Advanced Training at CCI's campus. Kerry relishes this alone time with me - and I must say I too enjoy this special one-on-one time with her.

She spent the day with me today - watching a football scrimmage with Coach Ziggy a fellow CCI puppy raiser who's pup Tatiana II, is Francie's room mate as they are only two weeks apart in age.

Mom loves you Kerry. Thanks for being a great big sister to the pups.
It's fun to have you back to myself and I know YOU feel the same! :^D

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Days From Now

Two days from now she will leave my arms, with a swish of her tail she will trot away.

For sixteen months I've loved her and help shape her, into the dog I hoped she'd become.

Now, it's she her turn to decide where her life's path will lead.

But this I know, Two Days From Now my heart will ache yet my hope resides;
resides in a place that may come in the future-
where a new friend I'll meet with their welcoming smile

as Francie leaves me once more, to go to them - the goal all along.

April 2009 Francie's arrival Aug 2010 - tired after play

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Time Winds Down

It's my week once more to have Francie, our sweetie. It's good to have her back as Lyn had for two weeks in a row due to her scheduling needs. Francie is on the mend from her health issues of recent days. She should still have her eye drops twice a day, the Vet said and her last immunization shots will come this Monday.

These are the challenging days, filled with mixed emotions.
When you know you will soon be parting, it's hard to not be emotional.

I find myself watching her more, taking more photographs, trying to remember every little thing about her. As we quite possibly won't see her for 1/2 a year, as she trains on campus for her future role as a service dog for someone.
In the old days, puppy raisers could visit the pups they had turned in; but then Canine Companions decided it was too hard on the dog, too confusing.

Ugh, waiting that 6 weeks for the first report to come back of how she's doing...was she spayed?...still in tact for consideration as a breeder? she adjusting to kennel life? Who is her roommate? Which trainer does she have? From August until the beginning of October will seem an eternity. She's lucky that she doesn't know time as a concept; of the coming change to her days, her life.
What bliss to just go about her day, eat, play, train, chase her ball - oblivious to the new experiences that she soon will be experiencing -just 8 days from now.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tonight Francie attended another Friday night TGIF Concert in the Park with some friends and me.
She did great and was quite the hit as the photo of the people she is greeting, clearly shows.

I sure will miss her sweet face and that nose, always nudging me to play fetch with her.

Time is winding down.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And the Vet appointments continue

(Francie II at age 9 weeks - April 2009)

After a rough weekend with some very red eyes causing Francie to actually squint; and with her having very little energy to engage or play, we got her into the Vet Monday just like he wanted when he returned my emergency call to him on Saturday night. Yesterday's exam had Linda and I leaving with eye drops for her poor swollen red eyes, which Doc thinks is just a flare up of allergies.

We never did determine what her spike in temperature was from last week's appointment; but are happy that returned to normal.

Well the vet called today and Francie's fecal shows traces of the parasite Giardia.
He had wanted to wait to give her, her needed immunizations until she was done with her eye drops and now, he also wants her done with her Giardia meds.
Yeesh a year and a half of a wonderfully healthy service pup in training and now so close to turn-in, all this!

So he'll see her again on Monday before he leaves for vacation and hopefully give her her final series of vaccines then (12 days before turn in back to Canine Companions.)

Get well sweet baby, we want you healthy for canine college!
Time flies when raising a puppy.
Francie at 8 weeks old tugging on breeder dog Terrence's leash.

Friday, July 23, 2010

They hurt - We Hurt!

I took Francie to the Vet yesterday for her routine exam before CCI's turn in. She was due her basic shots - Rabies booster, DHLPP and Bordetella. The only problem was, she had a high temperature (above 104) when 101-103 is normal range. So the Vet was not comfortable giving her her scheduled vaccines.

So now we wait and take her back next week for her shots and in the mean time watch her closely.
Well her temp is down today- it came down a bit last night and even more this morning (such good news) but her eyes this morning were so very red and she still seemed "not herse
lf" and run down.

We wondered if she possibly got a bug bite as she does not tolerate bites well and past times they have proven really hazardous to her. Here is a photo from last spring in AZ when she got stung or bit.
So we gave her a Benadryl today for her eyes and will have her rest and not chase her ball.
She doesn't look near this bad today as these pictures show from last spring, but her eyes are quite red and she keeps squinting.

Poor baby. When she hurts, I hurt.
Isn't this always true for any of our fur kids?
Get well sweet one.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Black Among Blondes

So I am puppy sitting a friend's CCI PIP (pup-in-program) while he is in the hospital...sadly enough he may not even be well enough in time, to get to take his pup Tatiana across the stage for Matriculation when the ceremony takes place August 14th.
I hope for the best for him; in the meantim
e I offered to puppy sit his sweet, petite Tatiana II. Here's a photo of her. Isn't she darling?
I've never had a black lab to raise for CCI myself, I prefer the blondes for various reasons but Tatiana is a darling.

She is Francie's buddy and in the same classes on Monday nights. They are just weeks apart in age and Tat is, in fact the pup Francie has done several trips with this year (like Yosemite a
nd Easter weekend in Orange County). So they get along quite well.

Yet it's Linda's week so Francie
and Tatiana are not here at my home together. I took Tat to puppy class this week, and while Linda handled Francie, I did Tatiana's commands during class. She is so solid with her commands, but alas -she has some real challenges while at home; she tends to alert bark when she hears sounds.

Practicing the "back" command

Coming to the "side" command

A finished "side" command; she seeks approval

From her body language she obviously knows she's doing something that's not permitted but it's as if she can't help herself. And right after doing so she'll come over to me and fawn for attention as if to apologize. Well they are who they are, so we'll see how she does in Advanced Training.

Her future is up to her.
(as it always is for all of these pups)

P.S. Kerry III, my first CCI pup to raise and now a COC (change of career) dog turns 9 TODAY, JULY 22.
Hard to believe she was the little pup that started me down this road 9 years ago.

Love you Kerry!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Francie's Friends

Francie has had a busy weekend.
Friday night she enjoyed some play time with the neighbor's dogs here on the cul-de-sac (Lila - the standard poodle, Cork and Jax the two Corgi's and Jamay the Maltee-Bijon (and of course sister Kerry standing in the background in the one shot)

Then this morning we went to CCI pup social for her to practice her good manners with other CCI pups. In these two photos below she tries to get the ball from Cinnamon, a service dog. Black CCI pup-in-training Gomez also wanders over to see what is happening...these times are bitter sweet since they are now, fewer in the little time she has left with Linda and I before her turn-in on Aug. 14.

Fortunately she will get a roommate while living at the CCI kennels for the next 6 months.