Category Archives: GDApupPatrick

Patrick is a black Labrador, and a big one at that, and one of several siblings who were donated to GDA in March 2014.
Patrick’s Puppy Raiser mom couldn’t continue raising him, so he came to live with us, and graduated as a Guide Dog in 2016.

Our Patrick Has Qualified!

Getting the email from SA Guide-Dogs, that your puppy’s training is complete, and that he will be going “on class” to meet and then train with his new owner is a happy-sad time for a puppy raiser…



And yesterday was the day all puppy raisers look forward to.
We got to see our Patrick show off his months of formal Guide Dog training with his new partner, by walking down a public street in Parkview, in his Guide Dog harness – navigating stop streets, a traffic circle, pedestrians, open shop doors, other Guide Dogs doing the same walk, and restaurant tables on a sidewalk. All whilst we were dead quiet and staying out of sight as much as possible on the opposite side of the street.
It was so wonderful. 😛

Unfortunately, our car broke down on the way to GDA for the cake and tea meet-n-greet with Patrick and his new owner, so I was on my own while my poor Glugster stayed with our immobile car waiting for a tow. 😦
Patrick is his new owner-partner’s third Guide Dog, and our super snuggly Patrick is very happy with his new owner, eagerly looking to him for praise when he completes an instruction.
He’s a really nice guy, and Patrick was very happy to see me, and when my husband got a working car he came to pick me up at GDA and got to meet him too.

We were given a framed portrait of Patrick- wearing his harness and posing with his new partner- to hang on our wall at home, alongside the portraits of Volt and Lennox (unfortunately we don’t have these kinds of portraits of Kenzo, Rhody, or Wendel).

It was such an incredible experience and I didn’t cry all afternoon – but the more I look at the pictures and the more I think of what our boy has achieved the bigger the lump in my throat gets!



I have these “charms” on my handbag- a hook with keepsakes on it – a little pink diving fin from my son, and the name tags from our kitties who have gone over the rainbow bridge. I also have the name tags from our Guide Dog puppies who have graduated, and when I got the call that Patrick was going “on class” I added his tag.

Currently we are raising Guide-Dog-puppy Nimble, and in a few months she will be returned to GDA as a one-year-old pup, and then we’ll start all over again!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram
Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

It’s Been A Year With Patrick

If you remember, Patrick joined our family when he was already 37 weeks old, so we didn’t have any puppy pictures – and his first mommy very kindly sent us a few, and by pure fluke – we also gave Patrick a red collar!

He’s been part of our family for a year now!

Was he cute or what!!

And here are some recent pictures of our boy, who has now been in training for 6 months. He is still a wonderfully affectionate and lovable dog, and he’s happiest if his bed is right next to mine so he can rest his head on my knee or on my mattress.
He still loves riding in the car, and recently discovered a new use for the armrest in our car!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Snuggly Nimble

Nimble loves company!

When Patrick comes home on weekends, then Nimble has a dog to snuggle with! Our own dogs are allowed on the beds and couches, so unless Riddick is napping on the floor, she doesn’t have a puppy to cuddle. As far as Penny has come since we adopted her, she doesn’t like to snuggle at all.

sharing her crate with Patrick

Patrick (red collar) and Nimble on the cool bathroom floor


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Weekends With Patrick

Much like a varsity student, our Guide-Dog-in-training Patrick gets to come home on weekends.


His training is going really well with GDMI Moses, and I am confident he will be ready to graduate when the time comes. Here’s the latest from his trainer: “Patrick and I have been working very hard. We have been exposing him to different environments and he is handling the pressure so well. He is a calm and relaxed boy who loves working. Patrick is dog distracted and food obsessed that’s the only problem we trying to work on. He is responding well to clicker training and we see lots of improvement in his work. I have swapped him around with different dogs we have in training he gets along nicely with all of them.
Kind regards,

We are so pleased and proud. And he’s as snuggly and lovable as ever.

Little Nimble loves it when Patrick comes over, ‘coz she gets to snuggle up with him on the floor when all the other dogs are up on the furniture!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page for regular puppy updates: A Pup’s Life

Ever Wondered What Its Like Raising A Guide Dog Puppy?

It’s a lot like having a toddler in your house.

I would say its like having a baby in the house, but babies aren’t really mobile… 😛


Once you find out you’re on the list for a puppy, you can hardly wait for the email giving you the date you can go and fetch her (or him 😀 ).
You start racking your brain for possible names and buying toys, a new collar, name tags, bowls, and bedding for when your baby arrives home. Once you fetch your puppy, you get to pick her up and cuddle her, and carry her to the car, and you make the most of it ‘coz it won’t easily happen again – these puppies are not to be carried and coddled.


For the first week, she sleeps a lot, often collapsing into a nap in the middle of a game! Then there’s the mad dash when your puppy wakes at 1am… and 2am and 4am and 5am… Get her outside for a piddle and back into her bed- in the dark- without too much of a disruption to your sleep or the rest of the household, praying that it won’t be long before she sleeps through.


Then she’ll start getting more active.
You will spend a lot of time asking your puppy what she – or he – has in her mouth, and then telling her to spit it out (leave it), or to bring it to you.
And if she does manage to get out of your sight, you spend a lot of time checking to see why your puppy has suddenly gone quiet… and then cleaning up whatever her newest mess is.


You’ll check to make sure your puppy bag is properly packed – lunch, clean up products, treats, water, and toys – and then you kick yourself when you get to your destination and you’ve left something behind. Or you’ve left the whole bag behind!
And since your puppy goes where you go, you try to plan your trips around your puppy’s nap times and meals, hoping you timed it right and she won’t need to pee (busy) until you get home again!
The morning run to get your husband off to work on time is extra challenging as you try to get your puppy fed and out for a pee while packing a lunchbox, and then getting your puppy into the car without freaking her out and putting her off car travel.
And you follow up every invitation with a request for your puppy to accompany you.


You spend a lot of time worrying about whether your puppy is eating enough, and how her tummy is doing.
If she doesn’t want to eat its a concern. If it looks like she’s too tubby that’s a problem too. Her food is carefully measured and weighed and you keep trying to balance training treats with what she’s eaten!


You also spend a lot of time wanting to throttle people who touch and talk to your puppy without asking you if they may do so, and asking people to please not pick your puppy up.

And you aren’t just handed a puppy and told: “See you in a year!”
Your puppy’s progress is monitored throughout her time with you. There’s puppy classes, home visits, outings to nursery schools and malls, PR visits to expos and shows, progress reports for the development supervisors and sponsors…
Make no mistake – its a full time project, and not to be taken on lightly.
When these puppies are awake, they are learning, and if they’re not with you, they’re not learning the right way. Their learning is essential as these pups will one day be Guide Dogs to the visually impaired or Service Dogs for the physically disabled. That means they have to be pretty much bomb-proof as well as obedient.


When your puppy turns one, you send them off to “varsity” by giving them back to SA Guide-dogs for their formal training, and a few months later you will meet their new owner when they graduate and start working in the career you spent so many hours preparing them for.

Then if you’re brave, and lucky, you get to do it all again!

Patrick is SO Sweet!

Our sweet Patrick got to spend the week at home on a bit of a holiday.

It was lucky for our little Nimble, our new Guide Dog puppy, as she got to snuggle with him during her first week at home. 😀

Patrick also rather fancies Nimble’s crate!

The reason Patrick got to have a bit of a holiday has to do with his training.
As I suspected, our sweet puppy is going to take a little longer to train than the pooches he initially started with. Whilst his kennel mates have a couple of months left in their programme with GDMI Percy, Patrick is not as far along as they are, so he has been moved into the next intake group and will now continue his training with GDMI Moses.

It is really cool that the dogs-in-training get to come home on weekends. We get to see the puppies we raised and they get a little R-‘n-R at home.


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick Was Home For A Whole Week!

With a public holiday last Tuesday, Patrick was going to have a four-day weekend, and then our car broke down and we couldn’t get him back in time so he ended up spending the whole week at home with us.

one night he was very restless at bedtime, so I covered him with a blanket and he went straight to sleep

I was cutting chicken viennas for our supper – not theirs

“What do you mean, stop chewing the comforter!?

waiting with his head on my knee as suppertime creeps closer

this is how I get woken up most mornings, when Patrick is home

How cute is this face!

Here he is waiting patiently for Twister to vacate his bed.

Riddick and Patrick playing tug-o-war with a bottle. Riddick is allowed on the bed, Patrick isn’t.

using the forever ball as a pillow

He’s been on a couple of outings with SA Guide-dogs as well. We attended the Outdoor Adventure Expo and we went to a church market in Pretoria. He was very well behaved, as always.



You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick Is Visiting

Patrick has been staying with us while his trainer Percy does “after care” with his recent graduates.



We also attended a few fundraising events while Patrick was with us, and these are always good opportunities for the puppies to socialise with people of all races and ages and with other dogs.
And Patrick has such a sweet face and nature that he always gets lots of attention.



You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Another Weekend With Patrick

Patrick was with us for the weekend!

Because we were away last weekend we didn’t have him come and stay, and it was really nice to see him again.

He’s as snuggly and wiggle-bummed as ever, and he, Riddick and Penny play each other into exhaustion!


We got an email update from Patrick’s trainer too: Patrick is improving with the training after last time we met, so far we have done bonding and assessment all went well. Patrick is playful which is because of his immaturity. He has barked a few times at black ladies but we are working on it with exposure. He’s really cute always showing me some affection. Until next time.



You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

A Weekend With Patrick

We got to fetch guide-dog-in-training Patrick for this long weekend just past.
When I went to fetch Patrick, trainer Hayley went to fetch him from his kennel for me.
When she came back to the kennel office with him she wasn’t entirely sure if she had fetched Patrick or his brother Pedro as they are hard to tell apart – but when he saw me he did a galloping, bouncing run across the office straight to me!
It was so adorable!
Then I showed her a couple of ways to tell Pedro and Patrick apart if she needs to – Patrick’s eyes droop more than Pedro’s do, giving him the ultimate “puppy eyes” expression, and Patrick is pigeon-toed!

a sleepy Patrick

Patrick’s Guide Dog training is progressing well. There is a little suspicion and some dog distraction, but those aren’t news to us and they are working on it. His trainers are positive they can deal with these little issues.

Its always wonderful to have our puppies visit, but this weekend we weren’t home much…

And even though poor Patrick came home with kennel cough (all the dogs including Patrick are being dosed with Moducare and Viral Choice), he didn’t let it get him down.
Here he is, pretending not to be at all interested in my slipper…

And then I caught him red-pawed!

He’s so funny – he picks it up and shakes it and trots around trying to get the other dogs to play too, and then he flops down onto his back, holding the slipper in his front feet as he chews on it!

And here’s Patrick, Riddick and Penny, fast asleep on Saturday night.


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life