Thursday, December 22, 2011

In For Training Possible Date

Baity is currently the oldest dog in our puppy group, which means his IFT date should be coming up soon. The age is about 12-14 months when they call the dogs back, but it just depends on the school. I was told that Baity is not on the list for January, and the next date isn't until March 3rd. So, I think that the March 3rd date may be his in for training date since he will be almost 14 months old.

Almost everyone asks me how I can give him up, I always reply that you just remind yourself of what he is going to do for someone one day, and remind yourself of the fact that although you love him, you will have to give him back soon. 98% of people tell me they couldn't do it. The truth is no one wants to or really can, but you do it anyway. Yes it will be sad the day you have to give them up, and truthfully I will probably be very sad for a while after that. But if you had the choice to not have gotten them and therefor not have had to give them up, if sure all puppy raisers would agree that the time with the dogs is something you wouldn't trade, even if its for a short while. The puppy become your sidekick and everyone recognizes you by your dog. Its weird when you don't have them by your side, and attachment they get to you and you to them is one that is very unique. That being said, I know Baity's day to take him back will be a hard one, but its one we all have to do. It teaches you to appreciate everyday, and that some of the best things in life require some sacrifice.

11 Months old- December 9th

Its hard to believe how big Baity has gotten in so little time. The time just flew by. I can't believe that he will be a year old next month. I still remember his cute little puppy face and paws, now he is this huge dog. Speaking of huge, at his last vet visit (12/15) they weighed him at 87 lbs. He was weighed back in November, just one month earlier, and was 78lbs. At this rate he could get close to a 100 lbs! (His dad was 105lbs when he went IFT) Its clear how big he is in the photos below. He takes up almost the entire row of seats in minivan! In my small car, he has to lay on the bench in back and takes up the whole thing. I can't imagine him being any bigger...I don't think he would fit very well in the classes this next semester if he gets an bigger!

Decorating for Christmas

About a week after Thanksgiving we decided to decorate our house for Christmas! I can't believe it was already that time of year again. I've been really excited for Baity's thanksgiving and want to make sure I capture every moment I can, because like Thanksgiving, this will also be his first and last Christmas with us. 

He wasn't very happy being kept away from the decorations

Reading a christmas story

(Camera didn't like the lighting)


For Thanksgiving we had a family come stay with us for about 5 days, and on thanksgiving day we had another family come for the day. This meant there were lots of kids running around the house. Baity did so well! Because of all the excitement before thanksgiving (family from out of town came early) by the time Thanksgiving did come, Baity was exhausted. He slept through most of Thanksgiving and to my great relief didn't get a single scrap of food.

But unfortunately Baity had to go to the vet the next day, I suspected worms again, and I was right he did in fact have them again, but this time a different type. 

Even with Baity getting sick, it was still a great Thanksgiving. It was Baity's first and last Thanksgiving with us, and one I will definitely remember.  


In mid November me and my family went to a local festival that I have been going to since I was 2, and I was excited to get to bring Baity along this time. The festival was great with service dogs, and gave me no hassle for bringing him. He loved it! There were lots of people and many different sights and smells. He even got to see some horses, which he stared at for a good 15 min. There were also camels and people dressed up, so it was a great place for new exposures. We even got our picture with a walking tree!
(P.S Baity almost never looks at the camera)


For halloween I thought it would be fun to dress Baity up when I saw the most perfect costume for him. We had an event at church called the Fall Festival, and I knew it would be a great place to expose Baity to some new things such as kids in costumes and inflatable bounce houses and slides. I ended up dressing up to match Baity too, just for fun. The kids thought it was great and Baity didn't mind dressing up at all!

Baity's Home!

Even though its been a couple months since the puppy swap I thought I'd give a little overview.

We loved having Judy and she was a great dog to take to campus. She went IFT (In For Training) in October and we know she will do great! I definitely miss her little happy self. She was definitely very different from lazy boy Baity.

We got Baity back in the beginning of October which is when the craziness started happening. Because of the time of year and some other factors, Baity came home with fleas. I have never dealt with fleas before and never thought I would because we give Baity all his medications on time. Thankfully there were only about 10. Since then, no more fleas!
The meeting for swapping back puppies was at a huge mall, and we got the awesome opportunity of working with one of the trainers from Southeastern. She showed us some great tips and tricks for working with the dogs. It was an exciting day for us raisers getting to see our dogs again after 2 wks. I was glad to finally have my boy home!

Much Needed Update!

Well finals are completely over and break is here. Which means I can finally give updates and catch up on blog posts. I'm going to post all of the major events that have happened over the last few months with Baity, but this is just a quick update. Baity has been constantly getting sick over the last two much which means I had LOTS of trips to the vet: Fleas, paw infection, got a poisonous mushroom, worms, worms again, possible allergies, and currently an ear infection. He is almost done with his medication for his ear infection, and I am hoping that will be the last of Baity getting sick until he does back (we are thinking it will be the March 3rd INF date).
And although Baity is finally well, as soon as break hit I sadly got sick. Can't wait for the sickness days to be behind us!

-Gabby and Baity

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Puppy Camp-Judy!

Puppy camp has finally arrived! Just this past weekend all of us raisers swapped dogs. The reason? To get the dogs exposed to working with someone new, for them to experience and go places that they haven't been, and to also help us as raisers to work with different dogs personalities. The dogs will be swapped for 2 weeks, then we will switch back. For the next two weeks I get the adorable Judy!

Today was Judy's second day of college. So far she has been doing great and sleeps right through all my classes! The only embarrassing, but cute, thing that she does is makes this moan/sigh/groan type of noise when she is sleeping, and everyone looks at me like I'm the one that made it. So she definitely keeps class interesting. Personality wise I would say that her and Baity are opposites. Baity is completely lazy at home, but has more energy when he goes places. Where Judy is energetic at home, and calm in coat (which is exactly what you want). She definitely is very obedient and does great whenever I take her out. I've had to explain to quite a bit of people why I have a black dog instead of a yellow one. I even had someone jokingly tell me that I should probably wash Baity.
Judy is definitely doing great in college, and seems to be really enjoying it!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Airport Adventure

Today was the day I have been looking forward to for a long time. The airport meeting!

We first met up with the other raisers and went inside the airport to an open area to go over the puppies obedience commands. We even practiced extending the "stay position" to about a minute, and all of the puppies managed to stay! We also worked on what we like to call "puppy push-ups" which is just quickly going from one command (like sit, down, stand) to another. We then walked down the length of the sidewalk so the dogs could get exposed to the loud car noises, and (heavy) cigarette smoke. We even exposed the dogs to the fountain, and also managed to get a few group photos (which can be quite challenging when trying to get all the dogs to sit still and look at the camera).

 From left: Ladelia (with puppy sitter), Judy, Kelly, Baity, and Sarge (visitor from FL)
(This is only 4 out of the 9 in our group...We are getting two more this weekend!)

Because we were taking the dogs on a full airport exposer, we had to take the dogs through security. We were told ahead of time that we would have to put the dogs into a "sit-stay," remove their collars and leash (yikes!), and call them through the metal detector. It was definitely a little bit nerve racking to take off both the collar and leash in a huge airport and hope they come when you call, especially since Baity is not a big fan of the "come command." But to my happiness, Baity stayed completely still in his stay while I walked through the metal detector, and when I called him, came happily and quickly to me! He even got a pat down, which he loved since he thought he was getting lots of attention from the security guard and made sure to give her lots of appreciation kisses.

We were told by woman who led us around and who helped organize the meeting, that this was also an opportunity for the security to practice for when they had an actual service dog. The security was great, and they didn't seem to mind the extra commotion of the 6 puppies plus lots of people. 

We then got to ride in the little transportation car for people with disabilities, which is what a blind person will be riding if they go to the airport. All of the puppies seemed to love the ride. It must have been a pretty funny sight watching cars go by with dogs and different dog parts hanging off the car. One of the puppies who was visiting, Sarge, enjoyed it so much he didn't even care his tail was hanging of the back of the car dragging along behind.

On top off all the stuff the dogs had already gotten to be exposed to, we did the best thing you could do at an airport: board and walk around a plane. To my surprise, Baity was just the right size for laying down at my feet. But not exactly a good size for going into the tiny bathroom. 

To finish the day, we got to visit one of the look-out towers, the smaller one, which required lots of steps to the top. There was even a look out we got to take the dogs onto. It had metal grates that you could see straight through to the ground, which was a great exposer for the puppies. Baity even attempted to lay down and rest.

This meeting was probably one of my favorites so far, and I know that the puppies had a good time and were exposed to so many new things. Exposure is key to raising a successful guide dog. And I would definitely say that this trip was a success!

Until the next adventure...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Its been a few weeks since I've updated, and the big reason why is that I have been getting ready to start college and have had to work out a bunch of things. Some even concerning bringing Baity to school. Because I am supposed to take Baity everywhere with me, he will also be coming to college with me.  I am commuting to school during the week, which means lots of driving for Baity and me, but it also means that I can bring Baity easily to campus.

I am very excited to be able to bring Baity to college with me this year and he will get to go for about 1 1/2 semesters. It has definitely been strange not having Baity this week! I decided ahead of time that it would be a good idea to go the first week of college by myself in order to make sure I know the layout of the school and where my classes are, and even the best places to sit in class so Baity, and I, will have the most room. It has also worked well because it has given me a chance to talk with my professors to let them know that I'm the one bringing the service dog in training, and to see if they were showing any kind of concern or worry, which they didn't. ( If someone does have an issue there is someone they are supposed to go to)

I know that Baity will be very happy once he is able to finally come with me to college. My family told me that when I leave he sits there looking out the door waiting for me to come back whining pitifully (No, they are not supposed to whine... but we are still working on that), and they have to try all sorts of things to distract him. Which makes me feel terrible for leaving him behind!  The dogs really become attached to their raisers...and we become really attached to them too! But it is for the best because if I know the campus really well, it means less walking for Baity :)

Yesterday was especially exciting for me because I got to see a working guide dog! It was a black lab, and because of the size I think it was a female. I was told that there are about 4 service dogs on campus, so I was sure to run into one eventually. Because I have a part in the raising and process of a service dog, it really excites me to see a working service dog, especially a guide dog. It gives you a sense of happiness and reassurance that all the work you're doing and the hard time you are going to have separating from your puppy, is all completely worth it in the end.

I will be sure to post some pictures and an update once Baity starts going to class with me next week.

Until the next adventure...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

7 Months Old!

Today Baity is 7months old! The last month has really flown by-which I find myself saying quite a bit these days. Baity is officially past the half a year point. I know that these next months are going to fly by, and although its sad to see Baity become less and less puppy, he is becoming a great dog, and great future guide dog!

7 Things I love about Baity being 7 months old:

1. He is taller and bigger. This means less bending down, and No carrying (technically I stopped carrying him at about 3 or 4 months old)
2. He no longer lags behind-Its nice to not have to pull extra weight on walks in 98 degree summer heat
3. He now pulls forward- Yay! Because he is training to be a guide dog, its always a good thing when they give a LITLLE pull on the leash, since they will be leading someone in a harness someday.
4. No more accidents (especially in stores)- Big Yay!
5. More energy and endurance- While others would argue that more of these things in a puppy are not a good thing, for the Always Tired Mr. Baity, this is a very good thing. I can now take him to more than one store in a day!
6. He knows and follows the rules (well, most of the time)- Cords: not a problem, furniture and shoes: never touches or climbs on, little bits of paper and trash and basically anything small: still working on... Hey he is all retriever :)
7. He is just a great, happy, fun puppy!

 (This is the face I get anytime I tell him "stay" and then attempt to back away...its a face thats hard to resist...and he knows it!)

Until the next adventure...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Puppy Meeting: Boat ride and first swim!

(WARNING: There are lots of photos on this post)
This past weekend we had our puppy meeting at a nearby lake.  We got the opportunity to take the puppies on a boat ride, and even swimming.
It was definitely a good day to get in the water since this day was particularly hot. Our weather tends to be in the high 90's during the summer, but that day it got into the 100's. Baity especially loved the boat ride and none of the dogs seemed to mind the moving of the boat, or the noise.

Although the sun was scorching hot, the breeze allowed for the dogs to stay cool. But because of the direct sunlight, we had to put some sunscreen on his nose (light colored dogs can burn) but the only color we had is blue! This made for some very cute blue nosed puppy pictures. All the puppies enjoyed sticking their heads through the railing and watching the water, especially Baity who seemed to want to do nothing but watch the water and feel the breeze!
Not all of the puppies in training were able to make it to the meeting, but Baity's half brother Oakley, as well as sisters Judy and Waffles, were all able to be there. 


 Baity                               Oakley
Oakley is growing fast and catching up to Baity! They are just about the same height, but Baity is still heavier than Oakley. The main difference between the two is that Oakley is quite a bit darker than Baity, especially on his ears.

Oakley catching some wind!

 Oakley                               Baity 

After the fun, and very hot, boat ride we took Baity and Oakley swimming. I wasn't sure how Baity would react since he has only been in a baby swimming pool and knee deep in the ocean, but never where he couldn't reach. Once I took the first step into the water (which I might add was VERY warm), he was right behind me. To my happiness and surprise, Baity got right into the water and started swimming around! He even jumped of the dock all by himself. I took him on the dock, he saw his brother jump in after his raiser, and Baity jumped right in after him! Because we had them on leash the whole time, this meant I had to quickly jump in the water after him! After all the swimming Baity decided he was done swimming around and just sat in the mud and watched his brother splash around. And like the usual end to a great day, Baity slept the rest of the day.

Baity        Oakley

Right when both dogs (and raisers) jumped in at once 

Until the next adventure...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Home sweet home...

Last Friday, me and my family flew out to California to go to a wedding and do some sight seeing while we were there. This trip had been planned since last year, before we even got Baity. At first, we thought we would take him because it would be a really great experience for him, and he would have lots of exposures. Our area coordinator (AC) said that taking him would depend on how well he could hold having to go to the bathroom, especially on a plane ride that could get stuck on the runway for a while. Even though I knew Baity would have behaved himself and would have loved CA, we decided that it would be easier if we left him at home.  We were staying in a hotel and the idea that I may have to leave him there alone at some point, didn't sit well with me.
That being said, he got to go stay with a sitter who is currently raising a puppy in training named Hedy. She is a little bit older than Baity, but when I dropped him off they both were rolling around playing like young puppies. The sitter also had two other dogs, both males, which was good for Baity since he doesn't get many male dogs to play with (his buddy Joe just went IFT [in for training] last weekend). I got an e-mail last night after we arrived home, from his sitter and she had sent some pictures of Baity and the other dogs.

Baity and Hedy

 Did I ever mention how much he loves fireplaces...

When he came home early this morning, he was definitely excited to be home, but I know he must miss his buddies! He will definitely be excited next time he sees them.

Until the next adventure...