By Jill Wardrop
Earlier this month, puppy raisers in the Portland Area participated in a really fun and unique outing affectionately dubbed "Jingle Bones." About 50 raisers and their 25 Guide Dog puppies went to visit GDB's Downtown Center in Portland, where we enjoyed mingling with one another while socializing our puppies.
When my puppy sitting guest, Trumpet, and I arrived, we were greeted with enthusiasm from puppies of all ages. Once everyone got checked in, our community field representative (CFR), Deana Allen, arranged everyone into teams. We were on Team Blitzen along with Frazier, a 10-month-old Golden retriever; Spreckles, an 11-month-old yellow lab, and Tuareg, a 5-month-old yellow lab. Each team was given a set of clues for a photo scavenger hunt that Deana and local puppy club leader, Bethany Andrews, had put together. For all 20 items, we had figure out the clue, find its location and take a picture with all the members of the group and the puppies. The goal was to get as many pictures with the items as we could within the time limit.
Deana counted down, and we were off! Teams Cupid, Donner, Comet and finally our team, raced off to find their first stop. Our quest began with stairs at Pioneer Square. Stairs are a common fear for puppies, especially for those puppies who do not have stairs in their home. Trumpet is one of those puppies and I knew that I would have to use lots of praise to get her to walk down the Pioneer Square stairs. Luckily, Trumpet happily walked down the stairs with the rest of Team Blitzen and we got our first picture!
Some puppies also have sensitivity to certain smells. Knowing this, Deana added a coffee shop to our list of places. All of us dashed over to the nearest Java Express. Frazier, Spreckles, Tuareg, Trumpet and all the human members squished in together, and voila! We had taken another successful picture!
Next on our journey was downtown Portland’s mall, Pioneer Place. The mall is a very active place and many puppies can become overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle. There are all sorts of smells and sounds that are unfamiliar. Where else can you find a movie theater, Chinese food, sports supply stores and a big glass walkway? The puppies of Team Blitzen were expert mall rats. All four rode the elevator, stepped over strange surfaces, walked through the clear walkway and strolled through the food court in a manner which made their puppy raisers proud.
The fun didn’t stop there though. We watched the buses and bicycles go by, walked by fountains, saw statues, and navigated through heavy traffic and crowds. All in all, we were able to socialize our puppies to downtown Portland, and make it a very positive experience for all involved. This is very important considering that downtown is where the puppies will likely go to work in their formal guidework training. The scavenger hunt and camaraderie of our teams made this event a huge success for the puppies as well as a lot of fun! We can’t wait until our next big adventure. Hawaii anyone?