Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Company

by Heidi Sanders, GDB Breeder Custodian and Foster Care Provider

4 dogs: a Golden, a yellow Lab, a Golden and a yellow Lab Ryka, Suzanne, Nessa (The Sanders Girls) and guest Pluto

This year our Christmas was slated to be quiet with two family members away. Ah, but the quiet idea didn’t last for long. Our holiday plans soon took on a brightness and glow when we received a call from Rebecca Hornick, foster care coordinator at GDB. An active guide, Pluto, needed a place to stay over the Christmas weekend; Rebecca asked if we’d be interested. Pluto had been our foster care guest twice before while our active breeder Suzanne was at GDB caring for her special “K” litter—Kyle, Keith, Kearney, Kellogg, Kristin, and Katrina born October 8, 2011. This time was a little different as Suzanne is now home, so it would mean a four-dog Christmas guest list, and, of course, we said yes. This year there was room for one more. Rebecca makes each foster care assignment sound so appealing--who can say no. Pluto’s human partner would be away for a few days, so it was a good match.

Pluto arrived and there was excitement in the air. Suzanne loved her new guest. It must be that likes attract. The Lab pair is similar in color, one bigger, one petite. Over the weekend we walked two by two, the two Labs, then the two Goldens. Suzanne's and Pluto’s gait was in sync and Suzanne was a flirt; this took some dog managing from our “foster care” tool bag of tie downs, crates, and treats, but all and all it was a wonderful holiday weekend, and never dull! What’s amazing to me is how the training of each dog from GDB allows a group of four dogs to meet, greet, and get along and spend a weekend together, and there’s nothing quite like having a Guide Dog in our midst. They are so special.
yellow Lab and Golden sharing a bone
That night all became peaceful, with our Christmas tree lights on, the house warm and cozy, and the dogs tired after a busy day. I had to smile as I set up their doggie beds and each one took their place. “It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Santa would be coming soon, and I’m sure the dogs would sleep through his trip down the chimney. Good night Ryka, Good night Suzanne, Good night Nessa, and Good night Pluto. All is well.

dogs relaxing with their person


  1. Absolutely wonderful Heidi!! It has been such a pleasure to share our space at work with your charges. Will always remember Sorbet and Fallbrook.

    GDB, what a very special group

    Your Friend LaVerne

  2. Thanks for posting the great stories and photos! I really enjoyed them! L.T.

  3. What a sweet story! We had a similar scene at our house on Christmas Eve! We have Keith and Kristin in our puppy club and what nice little dogs they are...can't wait to see them grow up! Thank you for everything you do for Guide Dogs For the Blind.
    Carrie Mesches
    Leader, Stanislaus County PAWS