Monday, July 30, 2012

Half Way Through: Postcard from Vinson

Today another postcard from Vinson arrived, marking his being half way through training. The card reads:

Hi Mom & Dad!

I'm taking a break from playing in the kennel to fill you in on my training so far. I'm half way through and I have already learned so much! I know how to stop at curbs, take Lori around things on the sidewalk and keep her safe from moving cars when we cross the streets, driveways and parking lots.

We did our first blindfold this week and I was awesome! Granted, there weren't any real distractions out there that day. If I had seen any kids or dogs or birds, I'm not sure how it would have turned out (here, Vinson drew a smiling doggy face).

After blindfolds we started freelance. So far I have been on a bus and a train. Next week we'll start working in stores and we'll go  to New York City! I've heard there are lots of pigeons there - should be fun!

Anyway, Lori loves my spunk and is working hard to teach me to channel my energy! Wish us both luck (Vinson signed with a paw print)!

Love, your puppy Vinson and Lori

Here are photos of the actual postcard:


Monday, July 23, 2012

Moonlighting as Puppy Raisers for a Week

A visit to Lowes this weekend
Sarah and I have the pleasure of puppy-sitting for a fellow puppy club member this week - so we have a 1-year-old male black-and-tan shepherd staying with us. Watson has been very accepting of the new house guest - especially considering the guest is an unaltered male shepherd!

Feels good to get back in the puppy-raising swing of things. We took our new friend to Home Depot and Lowes this weekend and he did very, very well. He is quiet, respectful and loving, but still full of puppy energy. The best part? I have a dog in the office once again! Gate closed, Nylabones out, water dish full. The funniest part? My canine clown car commute. I swear I am responsible for an awful lot of smiles, laughs and some head scratching from fellow commuters on Route 15!

Watson (left) and his new buddy
Vinson's trainer, Lori, says he continues to do well and improves every day. They've been doing lots of harness work in and around Morristown (you may see him out there if you're local). She says they are working some distraction issues which is no surprise to us, or to any of you who've been reading about Vinson! All signs still point to him completing training. He's now about half way through the four-month program, so if everything went according to schedule, he could potentially be matched with a person who is blind as early as October!

Sarah and I have had lots of questions about whether or not we'll raise another. The answer is YES! We've already spoken with Jill, our area coordinator, and are just waiting to be sure Vinson "graduates" before we get a new little fella. We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence is a Very Special Word at The Seeing Eye

It's in our mission statement. It's the tag line on The Seeing Eye logo. And Independence day happens to be a doubly special day here.

Today happens to be "dog day" for the July 2012 class of students - the day they meet the dog that their instructor has chosen for them; and for the first time, I'll have the incredible privilege to witness the moment when person and dog meet for that very first time and begin forming a bond that will come to define independence for many years.

It'll be one more insight for me into some piece of Vinson's upcoming future too. One day, he'll be the dog being introduced to the student, surely with a wildly wagging tail and big Lab kisses.

We did receive the official letter from The Seeing Eye telling us which instructor Vinson was assigned to - Lori - although in our unique case, we already knew this since I can see the two of them working together out my office window.

Reports are that Vinson is doing great in training, confidently and happily taking on new challenges. All signs point to him making it through to be matched, but he still has three months of training to go.

Give your canines a special hug today and take some time to reflect a bit on the many meanings of independence.