Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Firefighters Welcome GDB Pups

By Puppy Raiser Marsha Miller

Puppy raisers and their pups posing in front of a fire truck

Recently in Oregon, the Eugene and Corvallis puppy raiser clubs met at the Eugene Fire Department’s Sheldon Station #6 to introduce the puppies to fire trucks and firefighters. Captain Chris Paskett and his firefighters took the group on a tour of the station during the dinner hour and all puppies showed their very best house manners.

The group then had the opportunity to check out to the garage bay and the large fire engine. The Captain started up the truck, drove out with lights flashing while the pups stood nearby, completely unfazed by the commotion.
GDB puppies check out a firefighter

One of the firefighters put on his turnouts, oxygen/mask, and a locator alarm that emits a high pitched tone if the firefighter is down. All of the puppies were extremely curious but not frightened by the look or the sounds. He then lay on the ground in his gear and let all of the puppies check him out - and they did - sniffing head to toe!

The firefighters were so kind and willing to give the puppies an experience that would benefit them. It was a great experience for all of us.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Will Guide Dog Jag Win the Hero Dog Awards?

black Lab puppy hides in tulips
Hello My name is Jag. I'm almost 2 years old, and was born on the 5th of July. I was raised in South Central California, near King City. Then I moved to Oregon for school and training. When I graduated, I went to work as a Guide Dog with a blind veteran. He's my buddy and takes great care of me. We go everywhere together, but I especially love it when we play tug of war together. But my favorite thing is taking care of my soldier and keeping him from hurting himself or getting run over.

Kerwin Davis and black Lab Jag
Kerwin Davis with black Lab Jag

Kerwin said, "I just love my new Guide Dog Jag he is such a perfect and well behaved soul we have so much fun together and now we go everywhere. He brings me so much pleasure and confidence he is truly amazing! Thanks Guide Dogs For The Blind!"

Will Guide Dog Jag win the Hero Dog Awards? Only if you vote!
Let's hear it for Jag, in Inola, Oklahoma!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Will Guide Dog Galleon Win the Hero Dog Awards?

Golden Galleon and black Lab Brinkley by the side of Larry Marcum

My retired Guide Dog Galleon, from Guide Dogs for the Blind is my hero dog because he literally changed my life in countless ways. He guided me for over nine years as my eyesight diminished.

He guided me to stand at the Lincoln Memorial, which had always been a lifelong dream of mine. He guided me to go places, meet people and do things that I would never have attempted without him by my side. He made it possible for me to fly over 20,000 miles on trips.

He guided me through three funerals of close family members, and through my wedding. He has taught me love, compassion, patience, understanding.

He has taught me that a Guide Dog does more than guide, a Guide Dog helps a person to live their dreams! --Lion Larry Marcum and the guys (pictured: retired Galleon and my new Guide Brinkley) of Forest Ranch, California

Will retired Guide Dog Galleon win the Hero Dog Awards? Only if you vote! Vote every day and be sure to share!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jargon, Jargon!

By Steve Grunow
Dog Placement Coordinator

A Guide Dog instructor training a dog in our kennelLike many organizations, Guide Dogs for the Blind has a culture and jargon of its own, especially when talking about the dogs. Out in the kennel complex the eyebrows of the uninitiated might be raised when overhearing bits of conversations like the ones that follow. The “Guide Dog Speak” words and phrases (in bold font) are defined at the end of the sample conversations.

Veterinarian: “This Lab, Buddy, has (1) hips to die for, but his (2) ears are really ugly. I’m hoping for a (3) good bite when I open his mouth. Today is his birthday; hopefully we’ll have time to (4) shoot him later.

Instructor: “Gee, I don’t know about that new dog. When he gets (5) jacked up he can be pretty (6) rampy. He acts like he thinks he’s here (7) on a date. On top of that he is a (8) CF5, and he can be kind of (9) sharky in (10) CR.

Kennel Staff person: “I can’t come to that meeting right now. I’m right in the middle of a (11) whelp”.

Instructor: “Watson had an (12) experienced raiser who should have known how to feed him right, but Watson had to be kept on on (13) sawdust and peanut shells for a while after he was (14) recalled.”

Instructor: “Zeus is (15) a lotta dog. He’s (16) loaded on the clicker but he still (17) plays keepaway. He’s (18) high end and a little (19) mouthy. He has a problem with the (20) layover. He seems (21) to have his own agenda. And he isn’t very (22) responsible. He’s (23) from the outside. Those other (24) N dogs on his (25) string are like that, too. Some independence seems to be (26) in that pedigree. He does some (27) keying on (28) workouts. Maybe we’ll put him on the (29) food protocol for attentiveness. “

Instructor, in response: “That’s too bad; I (30) dropped him this morning before eye exams and he was an angel about it. I think that he’s scheduled to be (31) cut next week and maybe he’ll have a better (32) work ethic a while after that. “

Instructor: “Flora is a pretty (33) honest but I don’t know how (34) sound she is.”

Kennel Staff person: “Trapper is (35) in the dryer on low. He’ll be done in about half an hour.”

Instructor: “Daisy’s stools today were just (36) beautiful today! We still have to get rid of her (37) happy tail before we can do much with her, though. And Daisy is still a (38) garbage mouth - and her (39) roommate drives me crazy when he keeps (40) finger painting in their run.

Instructor, in response: “I know what you mean. And Daisy has also been (41) tanking a lot lately, too.”

Breeding tech: “Harvey is still (42) intact. We’ll need a couple of (43) straws because we’re going to (44) collect him a couple of times this week if we can. Harvey (45) loves his job but he doesn’t seem to do well when he’s been (46) frozen.”

Instructor: “Mikey is such a (47) smooshy marshmallow! Any unusual thing happens and he immediately becomes (48) wet mouth.

Instructor: “Darn! Spike is finally (49) bombproof and now we have (50) to pass him back!

Instructor: “Tulip keeps going to (51) hot spots and she’s so active that last week we had to (52) musher’s wax her.

One puppy raiser to another: “I (53) started that puppy. But somebody else will have to (54) finish him off. He still does lot of (55) counter surfing. He can also be a little (56) doggy. He’ll be my first (57) transfer puppy.

Instructor: “When Fred first began training, he had a really bad (58) recall. So we did a lot of (59) FIR’s with him and now he’s almost a (60) Velcro dog.

Instructor to apprentice: “Some challenging dogs do a lot better in a (61) GL.”

1. Has hip X rays showing that the head of the femur fits firmly into the socket in the pelvis, indicating that there is almost no chance that the dog would have hip dysplasia

2. Dirty, infected, needing treatment (common in many floppy-eared dogs)

3. Teeth straight and regular with the top incisors just overlapping the bottom incisors (as opposed to an overbite, an underbite, or a wry - crooked - bite in which the teeth are not positioned properly)

4. Give the dog injections/ vaccinations

5. Excited/ aroused

6. Rowdy/ impulsive

7. To be bred

8. The most challenging “type” of dog to handle and control on  a “control factor” scale (of 1 to 5) which assesses a dog’s activity level, physical toughness, distractibility level, and assertiveness, in order to later help select an appropriate handler to match with that dog

9. Plays roughly, “dominantly,"  often nipping at the neck area of other dogs

10. Community run (periods of time when groups of dogs run together for exercise and for their interactions with other dogs to be evaluated)

11. A mother dog’s act of giving birth (“whelp” can also refer to a puppy, or “to whelp” means for a dog to give birth)

12. A puppy raising volunteer who has raised at least one previous puppy for Guide Dogs

13. Diet/weight loss dog food

14. In this context, returned from its puppy raiser home to one of the Guide Dogs campuses to begin formal guide training, usually after having spent about a year in the  puppy raising home

15. Big, strong, active, assertive

16. Has received treats paired with hearing clicks from a hand-held training clicker enough times that the dog has learned that the click indicates that a treat is forthcoming/ the dog has learned that a click from the instructor indicates that the dog is performing the appropriate behavior

17. In the context here meaning that the dog doesn’t come when he’s called; instead, runs and tries to get people to chase (undesirable behavior in a working Guide Dog)

18. Very active, assertive, often inattentive, challenging to restrain or control

19. Puts mouth (not biting down) on people or on other dogs, sometimes in play, sometimes in excitement or greeting, sometimes in protest of what that the person is doing or directing the dog to do (not desirable in a Guide Dog)

20. Having the dog lie down and gently rolling the dog over onto its side, for example to check the dog’s abdomen

21. To be independent, inattentive, friendly but not very eager to please

22. Capable of continuing to following commands/working without needing moment-to-moment observation/supervision by its handler; seeming to enjoy doing its job

23. Purchased or donated - not from Guide Dogs’ own breeding stock dogs

24. Each litter of puppies is assigned a letter of the alphabet and all the pups in that litter are given names that start with that letter (so dogs which have names starting with the same letter and which are at Guide Dogs at the same time, are often litter siblings)

25. Group of dogs assigned to an instructor/team

26. Pedigree = family tree; so meaning a trait(s) that are evident in other dogs of the same lineage, so those characteristics are often  assumed to be highly influenced by the dog’s genetics

27. Staring tensely at something or someone in the environment with which the dog is apparently uncomfortable (undesirable in a Guide Dog)

28. Training sessions

29. A structured plan for rewarding a dog with food treats when the dog is paying attention to the handler

30. Put eye drops into the dog’s eyes

31. Spayed or neutered

32. Be more attentive, less distractible, more focused on work

33. An eager-to-please dog that tries hard to do as directed (if the dog makes mistakes it is usually due to the dog’s not understanding what is expected, or being afraid or unable to follow directions - as opposed to being overtly ”disobedient”)

34.  Confident, outgoing, unlikely to panic in new situations

35. In a crate in the bathing room with a blow dryer aimed at the dog in the crate to dry the dog after a bath

36. Normal, solid, well formed, usually said of a dog which had previously been having  diarrhea

37. When a dog’s tail gets sore from the dog wagging its hard against the bars or the walls of a kennel run

38. Serious scavenger, loves to “vacuum” the floor or the ground for food or other items which are interesting to chew (not desirable in a working Guide Dog)

39. When two dogs are paired in a kennel together

40. Stepping in feces then tracking it around the dog’s kennel run

41. Drinking a lot of water (can be related to boredom, stress, or a potential medical problem)

42. Unspayed or unneutered, an animal capable of breeding

43. Containers in which semen can be stored to do artificial inseminations

44. To get semen from a male dog, often to be frozen to be used for later artificial inseminations

45. Breeds easily and readily and without much human assistance (surprisingly to some people, some dogs do not seem much interested in breeding)

46. When previously frozen sperm from this dog is thawed and used for artificial insemination, the conception rate is often low

47. A temperamentally “soft” dog, sweet, easy to handle, affectionate, loves being touched

48. Drools, often as a result of stress (not desirable in a working Guide Dog)

49. Outgoing, confident, able to handle any situation that might come up (very desirable in a Guide Dog)

50. A new Guide Dog is fully trained, but there currently isn’t a suitable student in class that seems like a good match for that dog, so the dog needs to remain in the kennel until the next class begins

51.  Skin sores that can begin with a small irritation and then get steadily worse if the dog chews or scratched at the sites

52. Put a product designed for sled dogs on the bottoms of the dog’s feet to keep the feet from being irritated by running on concrete

53. The raiser who began to raise that puppy immediately after it came from Guide Dogs, usually at about 8 weeks old

54. To keep, train, and socialize a puppy until it is old enough to be returned to Guide Dogs to begin formal guidework training (usually at about 15 months of age)

55. Putting front feet on counters to see what is available, and maybe to steal off the counter if the opportunity  presents itself - common in dogs (not desirable in a Guide Dog)

56. Extremely interested in other dogs, sometimes in a way that involves attempts to bully,  dominate or threaten the other dogs

57. A puppy which goes from one volunteer puppy raiser’s home to another raiser’s home until it is old enough to begin its formal training at Guide Dogs; sometimes transfers are pre-planned; sometimes dependent on circumstances

58. In this context, the act of a dog coming to its handler when the dog is called

59. Food induced recalls (rewarding the dog with a bit of food when the dog comes when called)

60. A dog that voluntarily often sticks close to its handler - often a needy, less secure, more demanding type of dog

61. A Gentle Leader (like a halter on a horse, used often to make dogs easier to manage and walk)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Will Guide Dog Dooley Win the Hero Dog Awards?

I received Dooley from Guide Dogs for the Blind a year and a half ago. We instantly clicked -- his beautiful eyes and his wonderful demeanor left me in awe.

Dooley and I share every day and every night together doing wonderful things. See, he isn't only my dog -- he's my eyes! He guides me through my everyday life. I now have independence and I'm always wanting to go now without any fear.

He is so funny! He has a wonderful personality and loves to try on all my latest scarves. He has never let me down and is my best friend. I couldn't imagine being without him.

I truly appreciate the fact that you are nominating hero dogs. My dooley is my hero and I couldn't thank him or Guide Dogs for the Blind enough for matching me with Dooley.

Thank you ever so much for reading my story. -- Rachel Schneider of Huntington Beach, California

Will Guide Dog Dooley win the Hero Dog Awards? Only if you vote! Vote every day and be sure to share!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Will GDB Dog Dean Win the Hero Dog Awards?

black Lab by water

Dean is a 2-year-old hero to many children. He is also a Pet Ambassador for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

I received Dean when he was 10 weeks old, to raise him for Guide Dogs for the Blind. He was career changed at 15 months old, and became part of our forever family.

In December 2011, he was asked to become a mascot and voice for the Douglas C.A.R.E.S Penguin Plunge "Save a Child" event, which is a non-profit that raises awareness and helps children of abuse. He was the only dog in the event with many people, and raised the most money as a individual. He was awarded with special recognition for volunteering "Above and Beyond".

We feel each puppy from Guide Dogs for the Blind, working as a guide for someone visually impaired or career changed as a family pet, has a calling to do something special in helping and serving others. Dean has found a way and will continue to do just that.

Help him in helping Guide Dogs for the Blind, to bring and train more amazing dogs into this world that will help, serve and bring more than smiles to so many. Thank you for considering making Dean your Hero Dog,too! -- Sandi Justis of Roseburg, Oregon

Will GDB Dog Dean win the Hero Dog Awards? Only if you vote! Vote every day and be sure to share!