Meet Patrick!

Patrick is a black Labrador and one of several siblings who were accepted as a donation to GDA in March 2014.

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Sadly Patrick’s puppy raiser mommy couldn’t continue raising him, so after he was castrated and his stitches came out he came to live with us to complete his puppy year.
He is now 37 weeks old and heavier than our biggest puppy, Volt, was at the same age, so he’s a big boy!

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What is it with our black Lab pups and sleeping under the bed…?


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We have a little work to do to catch up on his training, and he’s in his teenager phase, but he is already picking up on our house “rules” – like waiting before being allowed to go through a door.
We have already visited the vet to start his weekly weigh-ins (I fetched him on Monday morning) and discovered he’s not too sure about getting into the back seat of the car, preferring the car’s front foot well.
He likes to make a grab for the leash when we’re walking, and we’re spending a lot of time on-lead at home so he can learn what is expected without me having to make a grab for him – like not chasing the cats! :D
He is house trained and happily slept through on his first night, though he doesn’t seem to realise the dog beds on our bedroom floor are for him to use too.
He and Riddick are playing together really well, although he is trying to dominate Riddick a bit. Penny is playing a little but won’t let him push her around so he’s getting lots of submission practice too.

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What To Do…

Crapsticks…

Yesterday afternoon we left home at 2:30PM to deliver a cake and cupcakes to – and then attend – a wedding in Roodepoort. We left too early and got back too late to feed the animals their supper, but they got breakfast as usual…

And then Louise had a seizure this morning. A big one. One where she’s sore and exhausted from seizing and starts this panting scream towards the end that sounds like something a jackal would do…

Giving her meds to her too early yesterday would most likely have had the same effect, but the fact that she can’t skip even one dose without having a fit really worries me.

And she took a while to recover from this one too. After a big seizure like this one she’s like a zombie for a while, walking in circles and bumping into things, not responding to her name… And while she’s seizing and until she’s herself again, the other dogs are freaked out too. They bark at her and lunge at her as if they think she’s playing.
I chase them out of the room or outside so I can stroke her and talk softly to her and make sure the space around her stays clear, I don’t think she can hear me but I like to think it helps soothe her stress a little… And when she’s up and walking around again the other dogs sniff her and approach her as if she’s a stranger.

I don’t know what we can do. She’s on the highest dose of medication we can give her.

Our Lennox Has Graduated As A Guide Dog!

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This Sunday past, we got to attend the graduation ceremony for newly qualified Guide Dogs Tank, Legend, Jemma and

~DRUMROLL PLEASE~

LENNOX!!!

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The puppy raisers don’t normally get to attend their puppy’s graduation ceremony, but our Lennox’s new owner couldn’t make it to the demo-slash-meet-n-greet which was done the day before, so we got to go to the graduation ceremony instead.
It was held under a big tree at the Gladys Evans Training Centre and after a couple of short talks – Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Joel spoke about the training of Guide Dogs and Dackley spoke about the work done by the College of Orientation and Mobility – there were thank you certificates handed out to some sponsors who were in attendance.

Lennox was SO good during the ceremony, even after he spotted us in among the guests! And he looked SO grown up!

Then there was a symbolic handing over of the harness and a beautiful embroidered blanket for each dog from Porsche.

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a specially embroidered blanket for each dog from Porsche

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handing over the harness

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Lennox did not want to leave his new blanket alone! It was like he knew it was for him!

Then we got to meet Lennox’s new owner and he gave us a beautiful framed photograph of the two of them with Lennox wearing his harness.

Lennox was so excited to see us! He jumped up and planted both his feet on my shoulders and licked my neck and face before I pushed him off again!
His new owner is a developer so he and my Glugster had a nice chat. Lennox is his second Guide Dog and his wife also has a Guide Dog so Lennox has a great partner and an excellent example! And he loves his new owner! It was so sweet to see them together!

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Little Baby “E”

This little shnookums, 7 weeks old this Monday past, is one of the SA Guide-dogs Association’s “E” litter pups.
She doesn’t have a name yet ‘coz she and one of her brothers will be going to Cape Town tomorrow afternoon, to be raised by puppy raisers there who are eagerly awaiting their arrival.

The reason she came to us for a few days was that they didn’t yet have a ride for them to CT, and the pups can only be flown from 10 weeks old.

Rather than leave the little furballs in kennels for a possible three weeks and have them miss out on a whole lot of socialisation and puppy training, myself and another puppy raiser volunteer were asked if we would mind having them stay for a while.

So much preciousness should be illegal!

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I Can’t Believe I Didn’t Blog About Little Annie!

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Annie is  Guide Dog puppy-in-training.
Born at SA Guide-dogs in June, she was too young at 11 weeks to have a kennel stay, so while her puppy raiser parents were on holiday in Namibia she came to stay with us.

Her mommy dropped her off with her own bed and all her own toys so it wouldn’t be too strange, and the almost three weeks just flew by!

She’s one super smart little bundle of precious let me tell you! It was good fun to have a little puppy in the house again for a few weeks, and she had a busy time too! She went with us to the GDA stands at the Getaway and Hobby-X shows, and she spent the day at a golf fundraiser with me and she was immensely popular wherever she went! She had puppy class to attend as well and the one puppy class included a visit to a nursery school.

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We also had several shopping trips to PnP, Makro, Kadies (for baking supplies), and we visited coffee shops, pet shops, and the vet for a weekly weigh-in. She also had an interesting experience when she watched a couple of men come and remove a swarm of bees from our garden.

She learned to ignore the cats (she doesn’t live with any) and she had to learn a little humility in a house with lots of older and bigger dogs.

Her mommy missed her lots and Annie was very glad to see her “big brother” when he came to take her home again.

She is a darling and we have no doubt she’s going to make an excellent Guide Dog one day.

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Update On Our Riddick’s Eyes…

We had an appointment at the Joburg Animal Eye Hospital this morning, incredibly generously paid for by someone who heard about our precious boy and wanted to help!

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~~Our little droopy-eyed Riddick the day we fetched him from GDA’s Puppy Block~~

As is typical of our Riddick, he’s noisy and fidgety in a place he doesn’t know – but he’s FIFTY times better than he was as a young pup, no longer causing everyone to come running thinking there’s a dog in pain.

~~Our little droopy-eyed Riddick on his first day at home, already filling a Riddick-shaped hole in my heart I didn't know I had~~

~~Our little droopy-eyed Riddick on his first day at home, already filling a Riddick-shaped hole in my heart I didn’t know I had~~

Turns out he does indeed have cataracts, but there is no sign of inflammation or detachment, thank goodness.
There is absolutely no response from Riddick’s retinas to the red or blue light spectrum, which is no change from when he was born, and is the reason his pupils don’t work.
Because his retinas don’t work his pupils don’t work and his eyes will continue to deteriorate – as we expected them to – and the specialist says a cataract surgery would be an extremely short term solution and he would rather not subject Riddick to the stress.

~~Riddick with his new grown-up Doggles~~

~~Riddick with his new grown-up Doggles~~

We do now have to keep an eye on him for any sign of cataract detachment which will cause inflammation and irritation, and should it happen he will treat it with Cortisone eye drops. He does say though that very few dogs experience the cataract detachment so I am praying for that.
He also said he was impressed with how comfortable Riddick was in a strange situation, even though he was nervous and noisy, and determined to show me where the door was, he wasn’t cowering and was eager to greet the doctor and sniff and explore the exam room.
He was a little nervous on the doctor’s exam table and I used his roadie and his leash to hold him while he was examined, and my teaching him to hold still by saying “let me look” when I hold his face helped a lot when the doc had to shine the various lights into his eyes.

~~The rapid progression of the cataracts in Riddick's eyes~~

~~The rapid progression of the cataracts in Riddick’s eyes~~

So as it stands, there will be no surgery or additional treatment for the cataracts unless they cause irritation, and our boy’s vision will continue to worsen. We knew when we adopted our tiny little pickle that he would eventually go blind, I was just hoping it would be a slower process.

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~~Riddick is happiest and quietest in the front seat of the car, so I put his Roadie on and buckle him in~~

A Weekend with Wendal

Service-Dog-to-be Wendal’s training is going really well, and at the moment he is doing all the Service Dog demos for visitors to the Gladys Evans Training Centre. And he remains immensely popular among visitors and staff alike, though apparently he has a thing for chewing through his leashes!
When I fetched Wendal on Friday afternoon, I asked if his weight was still good and they said he was indeed a little tubby again and had to go back on a diet. Apparently some dogs have a tendency to gain weight and Wendal is one of them – even with daily exercise.

On Friday evening he and little puppy-in-training Annie had a cuddly snooze on the kitchen floor towel while I finished a cake I was working on. He’s very good with the puppies.

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All four of the dogs – GDA’s Wendal and Annie and our Riddick and Lennox – had a wonderful weekend together!

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On Friday afternoon, Wendal and Annie both had an interesting experience and both handled it really well. A swarm of bees moved into the disused fountain-slash-water-feature outside our bedroom windows, and we had people come and remove them for us. The two men were walking around the garden in the big white beekeeper suits and using a vacuum to suck up the bees into a box, and it was very strange for the puppies. Annie didn’t bat an eyelid and after Wendal had barked a couple of times he listened to me telling him to “leave it” and settled down.

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On Sunday morning we spent a few hours at the  SA Guide-dogs stand at Hobby-X with Wendal and Annie. It was unbelievably busy and I didn’t have a chance to take any photos, but Wendal was a superstar. He handled the crowds and the cuddles like a pro!

On Monday morning, I was packing a lunchbox for my husband and brushing my teeth and such, and put the dogs out after they’d had their breakfast. It couldn’t have been more than 20 minutes but when I called them inside so we could leave Wendal, Annie and Penny (most likely the instigator) were covered in mud!
By the time I dropped him off at GDA he was a little cleaner, but he definitely needed a bath!

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Penny’s First Playdate!

Our sweet Penny has been with us for eight months, and we’ve made a LOT of progress together in that time. The clicker training that we are now learning together has made a big difference too! We’ve gotten to know her better and learn her little signals and quirks, and she has learnt (is learning) what the rules are and what her place is in our “pack”.
A part of that process has been socialising her so that she can go out with us and visit friends and we can have friends visit with their pooches.

On Sunday we went to visit a friend who has two dogs – Caileigh is a black Lab cross (I think she’s 6 years old) and Chuck is an 11 month old yellow Lab. Both are rescue dogs with the sweetest natures – and we took Riddick, Penny and Service-Dog-in-training Wendal along with us.

I wish I’d taken more pictures – these are from my friend Jeannie!

~~I pinched this picture off my friend's FB feed - its me, with all 5 dogs!~~

~~Me, with all 5 dogs!~~

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~~Wendal and Riddick~~

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~~left to right – Penny, Wendal, Riddick, Caileigh and Chuck~~

They had a BALL!
Penny, Wendal, Caileigh and Chuck all had their hackles up when they first met, but thats fine for when dogs meet for the first time without displaying outright submissiveness – provided there’s no aggression. And being well socialised, Caileigh and Chuck often have doggy visitors so it wasn’t long before they were playing together and touring the garden and checking out the house and each other’s toys.
Riddick of course just bounces around loving everyone, but thats because he has been taught to be submissive since puppyhood.

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~~Caileigh~~

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~~Riddick~~

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~~Wendal~~

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~~Riddick, Penny and Wendal lying near us while we ate~~

We had a glorious afternoon. We braai’d and chatted and played with the pooches, and by the time we went home they were completely worn out!

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~~Penny & Riddick asleep on our bed~~

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~~Wendal asleep on “his” bed~~

Its a big relief for me to know we can take Penny out with us and let her off lead to play – though we’ll still be keeping our eye on her for a long while – and I love that we have friends who are fine with us arriving with two or three very lively Labradors!

Jake and Scully Have Grown!

Remember I introduced you to my sister C’s puppies, Jake and Scully – the fox terrier-Jack Russell cross pups who are spending some time with me during the week so I can assist with their obedience training?

They’ve grown so much!

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A Weekend with Wendal

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We had another weekend with Service-Dog-in-training Wendal.
House training has come a long way and we didn’t have one accident this weekend.
He’s still a little mouthy, trying to hold your hand when you cuddle him or jumping up to grab your hand when you play with him.

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he’s very well behaved in the car

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making himself comfy on one of the dog beds :D

His possessiveness has vastly improved and we can now actually play with toys with no growling from Wendal. He is still a little possessive of food though – even growling if Penny sniffs the bag of food we brought home for him!

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watching me work in the kitchen

:D

Wendal got lots of attention at Hobby-X and he was so well behaved

Wendal got lots of attention at WODAC and he was so well behaved

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Wendal was worn out after working at the SA Guide-dogs stand at WODAC last week

His manners have come a long way too – all the dogs have to SIT WAIT before I let them into or out of the house or through a closed door inside the house. Wendal now waits for myself or my husband to walk out the door and then follows us outside.

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He also does a beautiful SIT WAIT for his food, he’s letting go when I say LEAVE IT and he is responding brilliantly to SPEAK as well.

SAGApupDonate

You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter.
I also have a Facebook page called Its a Pup’s Life .
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