Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Shirley

Shirley is a year old today! She started the day by having one of her special baked dog treats. We went to the Mall for obedience class, and there are so many different sights and sounds and people that it always makes for a fun class. Emily, our AC 's pup and newest pup to the group, was coming home with us for the afternoon to be puppy sat. She is a golden retreiver and is very cute.But she was a good reminder what it was like with a new pup and just how far that shirley has come.  Happy birthday Patriot (shirleys brother )

Friday, October 28, 2011

last vet visit

I took Shirley to get her booster shot today. Thank you Celebration vetertinary Hosp. For the great care you have given Shirley over the past year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shirley is going to college

        Well everyday Shirley and I have routine things we do and one of them is to check the mail; just something we do every afternoon. Today there was a stack and on top was a card and it was a Birthday card for her. She will a year old in a couple of days; Thank you SEGD!  But I noticed another letter addressed to us about Shirley we knew the time was near and even more of a reminder is half our group goes in this week Ellie ,Sarge, Andrea ,and Rex hope I didn't forget anyone . Well, you probably guessed that it was Shirley's "In for Training" letter. I knew that this letter would be coming in the mail soon, but when I read it, I was still shocked. Shirley will be heading back on December Tenth, and that day will be bitter sweet. It will be a little difficult not having Shirley around the house. I do know whatever career she is chosen for she will perform to the best of her ability.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

No More (pre-) Harness Training

Today Shirley and I went to our training, which mainly focused on preparing for our 10-14 month evaluation. I found out what happened at the last meeting, which was about the guide dogs will not be wearing the harnesses outside the meetings from now on. Talk about a rude awakening only because I had a great story to tell ! Shirley loves the harness, and when we go out on our outings people seem to be more respectful of  Shirley's space , compared to the vest. For example, while we at St.Augustine my parents and I noticed the different attitudes of people. When she wore the harness people would give her space and parents would control their children a little more. It is like Shirley almost became invisible in the crowd, which is a good thing for her. With the vest it is a different story. She becomes a lot more noticeable and little kids try to pet her or say "Look at the puppy!" I just think that Shirley does not need that much attention at this stage of the training. Shirley is a petite dog and the vest makes her look so much younger than she  really is.

When I started working with Shirley I always looked forward to getting her to the stage of wearing the harness and it was refreshing to get the harness we both seemed to stand a little taller . I just think one incidence should not ruin  the time, respect. and dedication  for all. There will always be a bad apple or a misunderstood situation with the vest or harness; This doesn't seem to be the right solution, and one episode should not change the whole program. Hopefully, Southeastern Guide Dogs will soon review their decision on  this policy. I train Shirley through collar and leash and exposes  so harness or vest will not change that.

Note: I would love feedback and information on this.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sorry for being out so long! Keeping up with  homework and getting used to school again has taken me awhile, and spending time with Shirley making sure she gets the exposures she needs. Also, we've been working on some things, and Shirley is doing great. Consequently, leaving little time to document. But now we are back.

Well, Shirley is eleven months old now. Time is flying by and now that half our group is getting ready to go in for training I realize our time together is becoming short. She's been in a harness for about a month now. She loves to wear the harness and when she see it she knows it time to work. A harness cost over $300 to repair, so don't let your guidedogs chew it!

Shirley and I have attended several dog meetings, (e.g. the beach) of course she loved the water. I noticed she has a different personality when she does and does not have the harness on. A big old playful pup without it on, and all business and more ladylike with the harness on. She had to wear the coat due to the rain. 

We spent the weekend in Saint Augustine! Shirley was a pro! The people are very aware of guide dogs and are quick to speak up and say great job or no no don't bother her she's working. I think this is due to the famous deaf and blind school located at St.Augustine. She was all business: she went to Ripley's and to the  fort and shops and train rides and a ghost tour and crowds of people and bus tours of elementary school aged kids and she was perfect  (that is one of the things we are working on). Below are several pictures of Shirley and I! 

Early morning run