Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Day in the LIfe of Midnight {By Midnight}

October 30, 2008 - A Day in the Life of Midnight

10:00 AM - I awoke to the sounds of my crate door being opened, AWESOME! Its morning time!! I love morning; I feel so fresh and relaxed waking up to a brand new day! Even it when it’s dark outside! Somehow I don’t think my mom feels the same way.
10:05- Back in after potty break.
10:30- Breakfast ...another good reason for waking up, time for a delicious meal that never gets old! Mom makes us sit/stay before she puts down any food. As you can see I am a “pro” at this, but Bubbles still needs some work. It’s hard for Old dogs to learn new tricks you see.
Bubbles Note: Listen here punk...WHO IS YOU CALLIN OLD??
Breakfast Time

While we eat, mom disappears in the water room, and then comes out smelling very nice. ::doggie grin::
11:00AM- clean up time, mom makes her bed and then cleans up my blankets and her stuff, while I make sure to either to be underfoot at all times, or place all my toys in strategic positions around the floor. Then we go outside for a game of “controlled Retrieve”. We guide dog puppies can’t be prone to chasing moving objects, as that would put our blind person in danger, which would be really bad!!
Controlled Retriever is very hard for me, cause I have to sit/stay, then watch mom through the Kong, and NOT run after it until she tells me “ok”. Most of the time I can’t help it and run after it anyways. Then she has to hold me still, she says sometimes its like holding a slingshot. That’s cause I’m way way fast! :-D Since I don’t have too much energy, I tire out pretty fast, and we go back inside.
11:30- time for my mid-morning nap! Mom goes to the computer while I sleep....
12:22 - What? Time to go to work? Man I thought we had the day off. ☹ Oh well...I have to stay with mom, while she runs around and grabs things, so that she doesn’t forget to bring me. Bubbles stays at home cause she doesn’t play with other dogs. sigh Then we both hurry out to the car, she dumps her stuff in the front seat, while I hop into position, in the co-pilot chair. That is the special place for us GDPs (Guide Dog Puppies), since we have to ride on the floor of the car.
Midnight in the car

12:30 - Mom stops at CVS cause she loves a drink called Arizona Tea, so she parks, hops out, puts on my coat and leash, grabs her money and keys, and we head into the store.
I was very good, leading her right to the drink cases..(We go here like all the time), and then walking with her to the check out. I know to stand very quietly, while mom checks out cause its hard to manage a rowdy dog and pay for stuff at the same time. Back to the car!!
12: 50 - Wow we are 10 minutes early to work! Go Mom!! We get out, and mom puts me in the outside yard, so I can busy before I go inside. (Cause going inside is a BIG NO-NO!) While I’m out there all of my friends come outside to greet me. They are very special.
You Work I'll Play in the Fall

1:00 - 2:00 - Play, Nap, Go Outside
Taking a potty break

Midnight,  Pearl and Lucy

2:30 - Mom got this weird idea that I needed a bath, so she came and took me Out of the yard, and to the tub room.... I knew what she was about to do and started backpedaling, but she caught me and plopped me in the wasn’t as bad as I thought...
And thennn mom decideds to Furminate me, I don't know why, but I can't stand still during brushins I have to move in a circle so that i can see whats on my back, it makes mom "flusterated" I think.

Midnight in the bath

Midnight getting brushed

Erin Note: that was nooo easy feat either, that dog is HEAVY!
3:30 - Mom and her co-workers start cleaning up the place, and taking away our toys so they can “clean them”. Whatever. They just want to be mean I think. They also start taking the sleeper dogs out so that they can go into their spaces and eat dinner. I’ve slept here before too...but I missed my mommy a lot, and didn’t even play.
Food Time
{Other Dogs Food}
Kong PrepTime
{Kong Time!}
Dishes time
{Look at all the dirty dishes}
4:30 - MY DINNER TIME!! WHooooo hooooo!!!!! Once again we have to do the sit/stay thing, but I do it right away, cause I know I can get my food quicker like that.
After that I don’t even have to go back in the yard with the other dogs, cause I’m a Staff Dogs, and we can do cool things like hang out with the people. ::big grin:: Mostly I just follow mom around as she does her “chores”.
Midnight waiting for her dinner

{Alright mom enough pictures...time to EAT!}
Midnight in the Laundry Room

{Laundry time!}
6:00 - my moms bosses and their dogs leave for the day, leaving me the run off the place, I can lay on their beds and play with their toys!! But most of the time they put the toys up so I can’t play with it...I don’t know why either!? Ah well, the bed is good enough for me. I think mom should get me a real bed like this one, instead of a bunch of old blankets.
Midnight on the bed

7:00 - YaY! Time to go home!!! I walk out to the car all bouncy!
7:10 - Ah, but first a stop at the store....Huh? No coat mom?..Oooh we’re at the pet store.... oh look that person looks friendly, just a second mom I’ll be right back....OH YUMMY!! More Food!!
Midnight in the Petsotre

Look that lady Is crouching down, just for me, I know it!! I must reward her for that.
Erin’s Note: It’s a good thing these people like dogs...that’s all I’ve got to say
8:00 - YaY NOW we’re home!! Time for a long nap with some potty breaks, and some following mom around the house, saying hi to my “aunts and uncles and grandparents”
Midnight sleeping
12:00 - Mom goes to bed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our Weekend {by Erin}

What a week this has been! It’s been long, tiring, exciting, nerve wracking and fun all at the same time. From my previous post you know that Rei has been re-matched, and everything seems to be going smoothly there. ::very big grin::

Since you pretty much know what happened at the begging of the week, we’ll dive right on into the weekend.
Midnight turned 13-months-old, I didn’t even realize it until yesterday or so!! Time just seems so short at this point. I still haven’t gotten any more news about her travel plans, but that is fine with me.
Midnight posing with pumpkin- 13 months old

At 2:45PM, Midnight and I loaded into the car, for what possibly might be our last puppy meeting together; we were meeting at the Bus Station downtown, where we would be exposing the puppies to all the sites and sounds, of the bus terminal. The weather was quite yucky, but we pressed on because, who knows what situation there handlers might find themselves in.
Midnight and Sam
{Midnight and Sam waiting for everyone to arrive}
Sue- FGR
{Sue trying to hold herself in check...she was being good}
{Sam really wants to play with Midnight}
Once everyone arrived, we walked the puppies on and off several buses, while we waited for Bus 11. After shivering the cold someone finally suggested going into the Station and waiting instead of standing outside. That was sort of a ‘duh’ moment.
Group Puppies at the Bus Stop
{Puppies in the Bus Station}
Bus 11 finally came and we all boarded; we rode it to the center of town and then got off and walked back to our cars.
Downtown Asheville with the puppies
Midnight and me in the glass
{Midnight and Me in the reflection of a store...would have been better if the glass was darker}
Fun times I tell you. Midnight and I were more then ready to come home when it was through.

My job held its third annual Howl-O-Ween party. This was a fun event; more then I was thinking it was going to be. There were a lot of great costumes, good food and fun prizes. My co-worker, who also doubles as photographer, did some portraits of the dogs and their owners if they wished. Hence the picture above. Except I took that one, but I used her props. LOL.
Happy Howl-O-Ween

Went to church in the morning, came home got Midnight before going out to the mall for lunch with friends. Its been a while since I took Midnight to that mall, and she was a brat; well combined with the fact that she had been crated for the last four hours, what was I took expect I wonder...? Almost everyone we passed she was sticking her nose into their hands, pulling me, not stopping at stairs, trying go hither thither and yawn.... and then we passed Victoria Secret, and their pink dog. The display dog was about Midnight size, and plaid. She spotted it as we were passing and stopped dead in her tracks; I was waiting for her to start barking at it, but she did, just backed up as far as her leash would let her.
Stuffed tigers twice her size? problemo.
Midnight and the Tiger
Stuffed dogs? NAaaaaaah We’ll passs.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More News

My second puppy Rei, has been matched with her new partner!! I'll get more new tomorrow, but for right now I'm just happy to know that she's in class! Wooooohooooooooo!
Autumn doing dominance
{Rei and my youngest sister, just a few hours after getting home}

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

News {by Erin}

We have news!
Not really what we wanted to hear, but it is news nonetheless.
Midnight is going IFT sometime around the first week of November.
While this is a sad thing for me, Midnight is such a good dog,
I can't deny her the chance to change someones life.
I can't make her stay home all day when she could be keeping someone out of danger, giving them joy or a reason to live.
I just can't do that.
I also don' t know how I'm going to last six months without a puppy.
Also I have some news about Rei last puppy in can ready about that here -> {CLICK HERE}
In the meantime, we're going to enjoy the last couple of weeks we have togethor...which also means a lot of running around for me, as I try to make sure she sees everyone who has been in her life before she leaves. That should be a challenge.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

About Turn Ins {by Erin}

Since Midnight dropped the bomb shell in her post, I will go ahead and fill you guys in on the nitty, gritty, details. Basically Midnight's time with me is drawing to a close, even though she hasn't been with me a full year. Midnight is being looked at to become a breeder, but since she has developed allergies, they (the higher powers at GDF), are trying to decide if that's what they want to use her for.If they decide to use her, she will be leaving me within the next couple of weeks.If they don't she will go next month.And if they take her out of the program completely; theM she'll just stay forever and ever. :-))
I'm going through the normal range of emotions right now...more so because Midnight and I have a really strong bond, and this turn in couldn't come at a worse point in my life. I'd LOVE to keep her as a pet if given the chance, but I am trying not to get my hopes up that they will take her out of the program. I know that sounds selfish but for right now...I'm sorry that's just how I feel... on the other hand I do feel bad KEEPING her knowing how she could impact someones life. ANYWAYS....Have no fear, I will be raising another guide dog puppy regardless if she goes or stays; but since we are moving to another state, it won't be until March or April. And for someone who hasn't been without a dog for the last two years...these next six months are going to be TOUGH. But as a dear (non-dog person) family member has stated so callously...I'll survive.
MIdnight in Coat 2 months oldMidnight looking at me
For those of you who aren't familiar with what Formal Training is an explanation from the Foundation itself:

Your puppy may be called in anytime between 12 and 16 months of age. You will receive a call from the Puppy Department telling you the date that your puppy needs to report. The age at which your puppy is brought in is determined by the Puppy Department.
When you bring your dog in, bring with you a copy of your puppy’s veterinary record, its puppy coat, crate, and heartworm medication. Once your puppy is here, he will be kept in a certain area of the kennel for the first week or so to be observed. Your pup will have free time daily, as well as the companionship of a roommate and the attention of our loving staff. Foundation kennel volunteers also will spend quality, one-on-one time with your dog.
During the first few weeks, your puppy is examined by our staff veterinarian for routine treatments and a heartworm test. Its health history is reviewed and monitored closely by our staff of professionals.

Your puppy will be assigned to a team of trainers. The team will consist of an apprentice (who has started the three-year apprenticeship program); a trainer (who has completed half of the training program); or an Instructor (who has completed the program and is qualified.) Apprentices and trainers are always supervised by an Instructor, and they work closely together.
Each training staff member has a string of dogs, usually 8-10. The trainers work in a team so that they can learn the personalities of their dogs. This enables the training staff to have a good selection of dogs to match with the needs and personality of each student.

Phase I is the foundation on which the other three phases build. All of the material from Phase I is reinforced and new material is added as the dog progresses through training. All of the training phases may vary in length depending on the dog and the trainer.
In Phases I and II, the training is started in quiet areas and slowly progresses to busier areas as the dogs become more competent at their work and comfortable with their given constraints. The first two phases can be described as the conditioning period.
By the time a dog enters Phases III and IV, they are guiding with some consistency and are able to apply their previous conditioning in varying situations. During these final phases, the dogs are brought into more complicated training areas, such as the city. Instructors are still conditioning the dogs, but are expecting a higher level of performance. By the end of Phase IV, most dogs should be ready for class and working as guides.
This is a basic outline of the tasks that need to be accomplished within each phase:
Phase I: Long leash walk, reacting well to traffic, people, etc.; noise test for sound shyness; short leash walk along a straight line; obstacle work and curb stops; basic obedience; introduction to dormitory work, including stairs; possible introduction to elevators and escalator
Phase II: Introduction to the harness; obedience and dormitory work continued; straight line concept reinforced; introduction to elevators and escalator
Phase III: City/subway training; traffic training; escalator; off-curbs
Phase IV: Final traffic; blindfold evaluation

When your puppy has been matched with a visually impaired student, and the team successfully completes the training program, it is time to celebrate! Your love, dedication and care has enabled this puppy to grow into a confident adult who has demonstrated that he is able to make decisions, has self control and has a low level of distractibility so that a visually impaired person can travel safely and independently.
Many people have worked to successfully match this team: the Guide Dog Foundation staff, including the Breeding, Puppy and Training departments; the Puppy Walker; the dog’s sponsor; and the consumer. All of those people who have nurtured and supported this puppy have given a gift that is priceless.

If your dog is chosen for home training (when the student is trained in their home area and not at our Smithtown campus), you may not have the opportunity to formally meet the blind handler. You still could be in contact with the dog’s new handler, should you wish to.

Midnight in the Car
{On our Way}
Sam and his raiser
{SAM and his raiser...also my A/C}
Penny Standing
{Penny - Rei's half sister- and her raiser}
Puppy Group Gathers
{Our group gather togethor}
Another Shot of Midnight practicing down
{Midnight practicing her Down/Stays}
My pretty girl Midnight laying down looking at me
{My Pretty Baby...also the star the class..hee hee}
Midnight wanders why her mom takes so many pictures
{Mom can i have that ball?}
Neil laying down
{Neil lying down}
Sue laying down smiling for the camera
{Sue would be the class clown...that is not a negative comment ;-) I may be watching her over Thanksgiving...if its ok with Pops :-)}
Sue laying down
{Sue is a pretty Golden}
Group Puppies practicing
{"Puppies STAY"}
Puppy Group practicing stay among distractions
Midnight and Neil Kiss
{"Hey you too! Cut it OUt!}
Midnight and Neil
{Oh dear I embarrassed her}

Erin and Co

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello {by Midnight}

Hello Doggie Pals!
Nothing much happening around here this week. Mom and I have been to work EVERYDAY this week, not that I mind of course!! But other then that nothing exciting to talk about.
Mom did a scrapbook layout this week about the last two years, can you believe it has been two years since she started puppy walking?! Of course two years seems like forever to me.
Mom has been kind of weepy lately, something about me leaving...? I have no clue what she's crying about; that said I'm going to go take a nap, all that playing with my friend Cain (Boxer puppy) has worn me out.

Ta Ta!



Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 7-9, 2008 {by Erin}

Thought I forgot to post didn't you!! No such luck people ::grins::
Tuesday night, Midnight and I were able to give a guide dog presentation to a local 4-H Club. I was very excited about it, because my favorite subject is of course dogs.. and I am one of the few teenagers who actually enjoy public speaking.
But it would help to be prepared as well. The thing is, the 4-H agent in charge, had spoken to me in late August about speaking for her club, and planned it for their October meeting, as Midnight was in heat at the time. September went by, we kept busy and the presentation was closer to the back of my mind then it should have been....So on Monday, I am the Dollar :-) when my phone rings. The number on the screen is not familiar but I answered it anyways.
As it turns out, guess what!!! Tomorrow's was the big day!!!
I went into hyper drive I don't panic easily, but I started going over the list of things I needed to do.
Print out my speech, gather table decor, get some baby pictures of Midnight printed....etc
We get home and I immediately start attacking those things. By Tuesday afternoon, i have re-written PARTS of my speech, ordered pictures, bought posters and tape, and driven to my area coordinators house to pick up some puppy walking brochures.
Then the trouble started.
Once I got home, I realized that the pictures had not uploaded to CVS's site at all so I began reloading them. I start printing out my pages and things for my posters..and my printer runs out of ink!!!
On top of that I only have half of my speech on paper; I transfer the file to a flash drive, and run upstairs to our Dinosaur ..aka 10+year old computer,but Oh yeah, it doesn't have Word on there...back down stairs, save it as a Rich Txt file.UGH this computer not even recognizing my drive!Back downstairs, Google Docs! (Have I mentioned how I love Google?)Save it there...ok this might work...except something....the ERROR?!?Back downstairs....... Ok...send it as an email.Upstairs...oh yeah..heh, I unplugged the printer for my flash drive. DUH ERIN.
Finally the speech is printed..But my mother had the car,...with my other supplies in it.
My phone rings once mom is at CVS...and the never received my picture order.. a quick glance at my screen showed me that I had never finished the order to began with.
So it was time for Plan B. What is plan B? I only had about an hour to come up with something!!
20 minutes till depature, and it hit me! My laptop! DUH!!!!!
Since the group I was to be speaking to was only 15-20 people large, I could slide show pictures of my puppies while I talked about them!!! Whooooo. (Have I mentioned I love my laptop....even though it is a PC?)
My family came along for moral support; this was the first time my dad had been able to hear my presentation as well.
The presentation went very well; Midnight did all her commands on que, and the Q and A session lasted about an hour or so!! Everyone seemed very interested in the Puppy Walking program, there may even be a couple people considering raising a pup!
Me Speaking
Midnight during the presentation

Afterward the club president came up and gave me two envelopes...inside...? A $15 gift certificate to Starbucks and a $25 certificate to a pet store in town!! I was very surprised and of course grateful! Even after the meeting was over people still stood around and asked questions, and looked at my scrapbooks, and played with Midnight for at least 30 minutes. It was a lot of fun.

Oh just to make the day a little better? A little while later I found out my debit card was/is missing.
Midnight 1 years old
Erin and Co.