Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family Reunion

Contributed by Megan Miller

Please enjoy another great post by frequent No Bones About It contributor, Megan Miller.

My Guide Dog, Pasta, was born November 29, 2004 to Wilka and Caddy, both of whom produced great dogs. After a battery of tests, she was given the high honor of being chosen to be a breeder for GDB. She had her first litter on September 14, 2006, but that litter consisted of only one puppy, a female black lab named Quiche. Quiche was later career changed. However, Pasta’s contributions to GDB were not over.

Pasta and her second litter of pups
On May 14, 2007, Pasta gave birth to her second litter. She had difficulty during her delivery, but four puppies were born. Sadly, two had congenital problems. However, the two surviving puppies, a female black lab named Portia and a male black lab named Purcell, soon went off to their puppy raising homes. Since Pasta had such small litters and had trouble in her second delivery, the breeding department felt it was best to retire her from the breeding program. However, luckily for me, the training department was able to take her back into training to become a guide. This is very rare since dogs can only be put back into training within the first year of being named a breeder. Pasta just made it!

On January 10, 2008, I received the best late Christmas present I could ever get when I was presented with Pasta. I was very excited to hear she was a mama dog and looked forward to somehow hearing about her puppies who were in training, even though I didn’t know how I would be able to. A few months after our graduation, I began attending local puppy club meetings, and once the leader found out Pasta had pups in training, she began sending me the phase reports. I loved reading them and seeing how her puppies flew through the phases and was sure to update Pasta of their progress. Once I learned from Pasta’s puppy raisers that her puppies had been placed in class, I wished I would have been able to attend their graduations, but I was unable to do so. But I always hoped I would meet one or both of them some day.

On December 12, 2009, that wish became a reality at a holiday party put on by the Orange County puppy raising clubs. As I sat and listened to graduates introduce themselves and their dogs, I gasped as I heard a woman introduce her dog, Purcell. It was Pasta's baby! I knew then and there that I had to meet him and try to get photos. I asked one of the raisers at our table if she could help facilitate an introduction, and quickly learned that Purcell’s handler would love to meet us. So, off we went to see Pasta’s son!

Pasta, Purcell and Megan
I honestly think they remembered each other. Pasta loves dogs and was being kind of silly that day with all the excitement and had several times tried to do little lunges to say hi to dogs she thought should be her friend. But with Purcell, she didn’t really lunge or go crazy. She just started licking him all over the face and wagging her tail excitedly. Purcell did the same. The only really goofy thing Pasta did was lick Purcell's handler across the face, as if to say, thanks for taking such good care of my boy! Pasta and Purcell just walked around in a circle, sniffing and licking each other, while continually wagging their tails. It was great to see!

The photographer at the party took some photos of of all of us; thanks to him, we have some great mementos of this reunion.

When it was time for Purcell and his handler to leave, Pasta wanted to go with them. She tried to follow them out the door. It was very touching. So, Pasta and I had a very great surprise that day. It was wonderful to see what a great dog Pasta brought into the world, and it was a very special experience to have both mother and son together as working guides in one place at the same time. It was a very rare treat indeed!


  1. An awesome story! I laugh and cry both thinking of Pasta finding her son. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. That was a wonderful Christmas present! To think that of all the places Purcell could have been placed and could have been on that Sat, and he went to the same luncheon as his Mom! We were so happy to share your joy that day, as we were sitting at the same table, as you, Megan! Mari and Anthony

  3. How cool, two mama's that became guides and then showed up at the same time here! What great stories they will have for their friends when they retire.

  4. What a fun story!
    My daughter, Moriah, and I had the privilege of raising Pasta's second puppy, Portia! She was a great dog and is now a successful guide living with her partner in Flagstaff, AZ.

    Moriah and I are currently raising our second guide dog puppy, Tabby. A few months ago we had the treat of meeting one of her litter mates at a Guide Dog event at Downtown Disney. I never expected to feel such a bond with other people who are "related" through the puppies we are raising.

    Thanks to all who give of their time and resources to make all of this a reality.
    Blessings, Kristine Magee