Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meet Charlotte!

As I mentioned in previous posts, while we were down in FL taking Baity back we were also getting another puppy! We didn't know anything about her except that she was a Golden Retriever from a donated liter. When we were at the school on Friday doing the tour we got to see a picture of the litter. On Saturday after turning Baity back in we got to go over to the puppy kennels to see the liter, but not allowed to touch them since they were in quarantine (just to be safe and not spread anything). We also were told that her name was Charlotte!

Finally, on Sunday we met our area coordinator at the school (she was picking up puppies to bring back for our group) and were able to be the first ones to see Charlotte. She was so tiny and just 8 wks old (same age Baity was when we got him). We also found out that another puppy raiser in our group who is currently raising Baity's half brother Oakley, was getting Charlotte's sister Magda. Our area coordinator also brought home a 3 month old black lab named Chris, and a 6 month old chocolate lab named Harris. Because of the long drive home we decided that it would be best for the sisters to ride home together.

 Chris, Charlotte, and Magda

They also spent the first night together at our area coordinators house. Monday morning we picked her up and we stayed around a bit to let the puppies play with each other.

 Magda          Charlotte

On our way home we made a couple stops and even took her to Target for the first time! We may have to get her whining a bit more under control until we take her back. Many people were confused as to why my shopping cart was whining. She spent the rest of the day just sleeping away...

My sister holding her (don't worry, the car wasn't moving :) )                  

First time in Target

Charlotte's adventures are just getting started...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Walkathon and IFT

Saturday was a very long day. It started with getting us and Baity ready for Walkathon which is a walk in FL put on by the school to raise funds When we went downstairs for breakfast I couldn't help but laugh at everyones expressions seeing a bunch on dogs laying down calmly in the hotel while the raisers chatted and enjoyed their breakfast before walkathon. There were definitely lots of question as to why there were so many dogs in the hotel. One person guessed a dog convention on some sorts.

We then headed over to the walkathon location down in St. Petersburg which was a beautiful location. It was great seeing so many puppies in training there! Everywhere you looked there were puppies with their little blue coats on and working guide dogs as well. This event was not just for Southeastern Guide dogs. It was for families and other dogs as well. It was great seeing so many people come out to support Southeastern Guide Dogs. This walk had even more meaning to it for many of us raisers because this was the last walk we would have with our dogs.

After the walkathon we headed over to the school in order to get pictures done. The best part was that we were able to meet up with the wife of the fallen police officer Baity was named after. There were three dogs in Baity's litter that were named in honor of three local police officers who were killed. I've had the great opportunity of keeping in touch with the wife of the police officer and have loved sharing pictures and updates on Baity with her. She truly is a remarkably woman. I am honored to have gotten to raise a puppy named after such a great man. 

Before I knew it, is was time for us to attend the ceremony. Not very long after we sat down, they began calling each dog one by one. The raiser(s) would bring the dog up, take off their leash and collar, give a last hug, and watch the trainer take the dog away. It is a very emotional process to go through and it is the hardest thing a puppy raiser has to do. But its the sacrifice your willing to make
Video of me handing over the leash.

There sad reality that your dog is no longer by your side soon sets in, but the minute you are reminded of  their purpose and your purpose in their lives, it is all worth it. Hearing from a graduate who is blind and was recently matched with a dog was very inspirational and reassuring; hearing how much he has changed her life gives you happiness and hope that one day your dog with change someone else's life as much as he has changed hers.

Baity, be a good boy, listen to your trainers, make sure to get SOME rest from all your partying with your new room mates, and have fun. But most importantly, we love you bunches and wish you luck on your new adventure... 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day before IFT

Its been almost a month since I last updated about Baity. The reason is that he has been recovering from getting surgery and hasn't been doing too much. But as I had mentioned in earlier posts, March 3 was Baity's In For Training date, which was this weekend.

The drive to the school is about 10 hrs, meaning it would be a very long trip. So we broke the trip up and left Thursday night, drove to Jacksonville and spent the night, then drove the rest of the way in the morning.

The school was having a puppy raiser open house on the main campus. It was great because not only was there some great information, but Baity's siblings were there as well! This included Austin (See previous posts), Ally, and JoJo. Us raisers had a good time sharing things about our dogs and also figuring out if our dogs were related! (Their Mom is Misty, Dad is Bently)

From Left: Ally, JoJo, Austin, and Baity (4 out of the 8)

We then headed over to the kennels to have a tour. While we were going to the different kennels we were able to put our dogs in the vans (they are used by the trainers to take the dogs to different locations). It was good for the puppies to get an idea of what they are going to be ridding in!

We then got to head over the puppy kennels and play with some of the puppies. I knew that the new puppy we were getting would be there, but because they were a donated litter (the school didn't not breed them) and had only been brought back a day or so earlier, they were under quarantine so we could not see them. One of the workers did offer to take a picture!

Golden Retrievers (One of these is ours! [6 in the litter])

 Playing with the puppies

New born puppies! (Note: The barrier is to keep the puppies in, not keep the mom out. She can easily get in)

We then headed to the beach to do a photo shoot with Baity. He was super excited to be at the beach and desperately wanted to go into the water. But because we are in a hotel and didn't want to worry about bathing him, we couldn't let him swim and get all dirty. We did sit and watch the water.

Back at our hotel I put Baity on his tie down right by my bed. He had no problem sleeping by me and anytime I would move throughout the night, he would pick up his Buddy (stuffed dog he's had since we got him), put his face right at mine, and wag his tail. It was sweet little thing he did that showed how much he cared.