Friday, January 25, 2013

Change of Plans: A Homecoming Surprise

While Vinson had become quite proficient at guide work, his distraction level remained an issue. As a final test of his ball-distraction issues, Vinson accompanied a trainer to a basketball game. Regular readers of this blog know that basketballs were a particular obsession of Vinson's; and apparently that hasn't changed. Vinson's extreme excitement at the game made it clear that he would officially be changing careers.

It should be noted that, despite scientific breeding, focused puppy raising and world-class training, not every dog can succeed as a guide. It is a difficult job that requires complete attention to ensure the safety of the team.

Hearing the news, my initial feeling was a bit of sadness, knowing that Vinson would not be moving on to the match, but that was followed quickly by the excitement of realizing that Vinson would be rejoining our family!

Last night, Sarah and I were reunited with Vinson and took him home, along with Watson and the second puppy we are currently raising for The Seeing Eye. As you'll see from the video, Vinson remembered us for sure. At home, Vinson settled in very quickly - almost as if he'd never left.

The notice and adoption happened so quickly that we're still reminding ourselves that Vinson is now a forever dog in our family. A coworker put it quite poignantly: Vinson's job was to spread the word about The Seeing Eye and share the story of volunteering as a puppy raiser. In that job, he was a champion. Now he's moving on to a new job - being a beloved family member.

So many have helped Sarah and I along the way, from puppy-sitting to calm counseling. We thank them one and all. And to all of the readers who shared this experience with us - some 80,000 - thank you.

This project is now coming to a close. We set out to share a genuine look at our experience and I think we've succeeded at that. I hope you found yourself laughing, smiling or even crying along with us at times. From Sarah, myself and the whole crew of animals in our home, we wish you all the best!

- Ryan

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Waiting for a Match

Vinson sitting proudly in harness!
I spoke with Chris, Vinson's current instructor, and he reports that he's had some very good walks through town with Vinson. Chris feels he is ready to be matched with the right student.

By chance, Chris is the instructor I featured in one of our latest videos that happens to be all about the matching process! If you're interested in learning more about what goes into the match, watch the video on The Seeing Eye's YouTube channel!

In the meantime, reports are that Vinson is "the clown of the play yard", which is no surprise to any of us! He's happy, healthy and ready to work (or play!).

And it begins again...

On a personal note, Sarah and I are happy to report that we are raising a second puppy who came to us the day after Christmas! Vinson taught us many things, and with Watson now top dog in our home, we've got a great role model for the new little guy. This time around, we're raising a male German shepherd; and he's learning and growing fast. My coworkers are also thrilled to have another puppy in the office. We will not be blogging about our newest puppy - that was really a project that was all Vinson (and boy did he turn out to be a great puppy to follow!).

I will post Vinson updates as they are shared with me. We're hoping for the day when we can post that he's been matched and is off on his next adventure. Stay tuned!