Monday, August 31, 2009

short update

Great day/night with Fame. We saw a cat. We passed it. I thought she had forgotten, she hadn't. My right arm is messed up. Can't drive. Details when I can type better. Hope this doesn't mess up my chances.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Puppy Adoptions, Toys & Vet Services

To answer KatieGirl's question about dogs that do not make it as a service dog, yes they are offered to their raiser for adoption. If the raiser does not wish to adopt, then they are offered to the public. I believe the fee is $1500.00.

I think I mentioned that if the dogs do not make a good guide for a blind person,then they may be trained for an austic child, or drug/bomb sniffing or search and rescue. Then they are offered for adoption.

Last nights class was interesting. We watched a video made by Debbie & Fame and a few others. It showed how to work with your dog through a normal day. Example, Debbie was putting clothes in the wash, Fame was on a "go place/stay". Debbie dropped a sock and said something like "not your's" in a pleasant voice, few more clothes in the wash, drops another sock and repeats. Debbie continued to speak to Fame about what a good dog she was. Fame stayed laying on her rug and watched Debbie load the washer.

And we watched little Aries figure out what he needed to do on his own last night. He's great with commands sit/down but could he figure it out on his own? So his raiser was asked to sit in a chair without commanding Aries and ignore him, pretend she was speaking to someone.

As we (15 or so all crowded in a hallway) held our breath Aries tried really hard to get her attention, (he looked up at her, there was no jumping) when he couldn't, he looked around a bit and then layed down next to the chair. When the trainer said "good" we exploded with applause and Aries received a "puppy party" (about 10 pieces of kibbe) Exercise took maybe 20 seconds if that.

And speaking of toys...Target had a sale so few new toys came home with me today. And I bought a treat bag for me. Clips on your belt/waist band.

And a huge Thank You to Dr. Brooks of Chesapeake Animal Hospital He's agreed to sponsor my puppy for his/her medical needs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Day with Fame

Raising a puppy as a service dog is much different than raising a puppy to be a full time pet. I took classes 15 years ago on how to raise a pet. I now must learn how to raise a service dog.

Little things I didn't think about, like, offering a reward (piece of kibble) and dropping it before getting it into the dogs mouth. I would normally just point to it for Bailey to pick up. You don't allow a service dog to pick up something dropped (food, clothing, anything!) because you don't want them to pick up something a blind person might drop.

On walks, no stopping to smell/mark because they will be leading a blind person and you certainly don't want that to happen while walking the blind person to work. They'd be late everyday! Now that's not to say they won't have the opportunity to greet other dogs or humans. Sure, but not everytime.

Holding the leash. I learned in Puppy Kindergarten with Bailey that the loop is held in the right hand and slack in the left. A service dog leash is all held in the left hand. The dogs will wear a collar & leash with harness and the blind person will hold it all in their left hand.

Calling them to you. Hahahaha! How many of us would do this: Bailey come here. Bailey Come here. tug on leash BAILEY Come here!!!! pull really hard BAILEY I SAID COME HERE! Then I go over and get Bailey fussing at him the entire time. It is a LOT different..something like this....Fame, Let's Go! count to 10. Fame, Let's Go! count to 10. Walk to her, get her attention with a kibble, Fame, Let's Go! and walk. There's lots more you can do to get the puppy's attention, but that's the big change for me. No pulling or tugging on the leash.

That's just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.....and when Debbie offered me the opportunity to have Fame for the day I said Yes! I need the practice. Habits are hard to break.

So at 8:00 Debbie brought over Fame (with her crate, reward kibble pouch, toys, peanut butter filled sterlized bones and several comfy blankets and pillows).

Debbie walked her around the house. Even upstairs, where no one has gone in months or with the amout of yarn and Guild things on the floor could even walk!

Then to the back yard so that Fame could "get busy". She did. Then off for a walk around the block. Debbie led Fame and pointed out to me what to let her, or a puppy, explore as it would give Fame new experiences to add to her list. Storm drains, manhole covers, they smell different in each neighborhood. We met "Amber" the dog. Debbie had Fame sit. Amber seemed a bit skittish so we chatted with Ambers mom and then continued our walk.

Half way around the block, I took the leash. That's where MY training comes in. Keeping her next to me in a heel, when to call her back to me, how to call her back to me, what to let her explore, how to recognise a new experience for her.

Just the 1/8 th of a mile I walked leading her showed me how much of a routine Bailey and I were in. It's been years and years since I walked up my driveway holding onto a leash. I would always (after checking for traffice) drop B's leash and let him race across the street, up the drive way and to the porch.

So yes, I have many routines to relearn.

Debbie left us after our walk. Fame and I played in the back yard. She took a nap in her crate. Got Busy a few times. Spent a good 2 hours playing with her blue square block in the house. At dinner time, Debbie came for Fame. She showed me how to use serving dinner to Fame as a learning experience for her. It was nice having a dog in the house again.

Later this week Fame will come to spend a few days and nights with me. She and I both will have new experiences.

See what I found

Having a 60 pound dog in your house is much different tha having a 18 pound dog in your house.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yesterday and Today

How do I feel about no costumes? 1/2 of me is saying Yippee! and the other 1/2 saying BooHoo..

Yipee because there's less clothing for me to care for on a weekly basis, I'm not able stop at the grocery store or where ever on the way home... I did...once...the stares and strange looks made me a bit uncomfortable. And the layers of the Colonial era costume makes for a very warm me.

BooHoo because it is FUN!

But I do understand why it's not financially feasible to costume 30 volunteers and 5 employees with $300 costumes. And asking us to pay for our own would limit who would want to volunteer. And most of them do need replacing. And replaced with the correct fiber. The shift I am wearing is made from a modern cotton (and it feels like a bed sheet) In 1725 cotton was very very expensive so my shift would be made of wool.

So for now we'll dress in costumes for special events.

And in Puppy Training News

Fame spent the day with me.

"I LURV my blue square"


"I wonder how many dogs live around here?"


Thursday, August 20, 2009

2 things

I've followed Maggie for many years. Way back when I practically lived in San Francisco. Check out her Aug 17th post (you may have to click on older posts at the bottom) for the top 10 dance videos.

A few weeks ago I answered a question on Cliodhna's blog. I love old movies and had just put this on my Netflix list. And I won! Check out the stitch markers

HPICliodhnaTangerine Scream

They're very pretty....and she's the one who began the Stories of the Traveling Stitch Markers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm back....

I have weeks when I have no plans and so just sit around and watch "Housewives of Some City" reruns. That hasn't been the case recently.

MY puppy training classes have begun (2 down, 2 to go). Fame will be visiting my house tomorrow. It has been a very long time since I've dog proofed my house. Bailey was curious, but unless it was something for him to eat, paper given to him to tear up, or a plastic bottle to "kill" he wasn't interested. All of my yarn was left about without incident.

The Va Beach Historic Houses are going through some changes. We're going to talk about the house/family and Tidewater vs. the time in general. So new tours have been written and we are meeting to discuss and learn. And another costumes except for special events.

Why no costumes? Money. There is none and what the city has provided needs to go to education. The School tours have also been rewritten. And more in class room artifact hands on will be offered.

This past Saturday the Library offered a free Origami Class. ArtsyFish, Macadoodle and I made a crane for the Duke 1000 Crane Project.

And the stitch markers went along. I'm not sure what happened between ArtsyFish phone camera, Cox, my saved pictures and Flickr but if you squint....

Origami markers

Oh, I purchased the Swifer Wet Mop thingy to clean my kitchen and bathroom floors. Nice to have everything all in one. Anyone know where to purchase a different flavor of cleaner? I'm not crazy with the Fabreeze smell.

Friday, August 14, 2009

an update.....

Fame is 1 year old. She's lived with her Puppy Raising Family since she was about 8 weeks. She'll know closer to 30 commands. And if you stop to pet her, be prepared for a wet hand...she loves to lick!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introducing Fame

It was my prividelge to walk through the mall this afternoon with Debbie and Fame.

Fame 3Fame

Fame 1Sit

Fame 2Good Girl!

Fame has been training since birth. She will know 36 commands before going back to the center for additional training. There she'll learn to lead through the streets, on public transportation and find the exit of a building.

Notice: Fame never breaks eye contact with Debbie even with me running around taking pictures, birds flying overhead, cars going by.

PS: Am I the only one that is singing "Fame" in her head? I'll bet you are now ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Itty bitty

Itty bitty knitting....
Lia Hoogenhout's.

To answer Becky...I have 3 more Puppy Pre Placement Classes to complete. That will take me to the end of August. Then, as puppies are available and we are deemed compatable, one will be placed with me. Hopefully September.

After a puppy is placed, we'll have 6 months of weekly training classes. I must keep Monday nights free! Boohoo Guild and Monday night at B&N. Then it will be twice a month. Testing is also performed during the year.

If I'm remembering correctly there were 6 new puppie raisers and 5 experienced puppy raisers in class last night. Singles, 2 brothers, families, a teen (and his family) husband & wife.

One of the regional instructors, Debbie, will be bringing her puppy to my house in a few weeks for the day. After we make sure she's comfortable, she'll come back to spend a night or 2 with me. That's one way to make sure I can handle a 60 pound dog!

As for sponsoring I copied this from the website. I'd post the link but it puts my info in the fields :)

Helps buy dog food and other basic provisions $10
Pays for a guide dog's annual vaccinations $25
Helps pay for mobility training in urban areas $35
Helps provide home-cooked meals and housing for a blind student in training $50
Helps pay for a student and new guide dog's trip home $75
Buys a leather harness $100
Helps raise a puppy in our foster family program $250
Helps pay for special home training when needed $500
Aids our Veterinary Hospital with the purchase of sutures, oxygen and surgical drapes $1000
Sustains our Adaptive Technology Program which allows our blind students to learn new employment skills $5,000
Sponsors a Guide Dog Team $45,000

I will be responsible for food, treats, bedding, travel to classes, leashes, collars.

I'll be given a crate, flea protection, heart worm preventative. Collars/leashes are provided if I can't. I will ask my vet to provide free check ups and shot updates. If he is not willing, I will be reimbursed for the costs.

Gosh, I got a bit long winded there! Hope that answers some questions.

Sit, Down, Stand & Witchduck

Puppy Pre Placement Class 1 - What I learned

Dogs don't ask to go out to potty; you tell the dog when it's time

Male dogs do not lift their leg

Massages are given to dogs by their raisers; starts right after birth

Dogs are named at birth and the name stays with them for life

There are sponsors of individual dogs; they get to name the dog....Pepsi

There is about a 4 year waiting list to adopt a dog that did not find a career with or through
Guiding Eyes for the Blind

You need a large box of tissues for the 8 hour drive home

Sit Down Stand

Our instructor thinks the area has odd street names like Witchduck. Wait until she hears the story of Pleasure House Road or Quarantine Road. You can probably figure these out for yourselves.

If you're reading my blog for it's knitting content. Sorry. Knitting on the FLH shawl continues. The second half looks like the first half.

And the Guild will knit hats for our 4th quarter charity project. I've already pulled a few single skeins that I'll use.

My niece used a nice simple pattern with a great idea for a pompom. I think I have that book and I'm pretty sure I'll steal the pompom idea!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

How many knitters...

....does it take to break a world record? 237

How many knitters set a new record? 935

Watch it happen: Sock Summit

Thursday, August 06, 2009

"Puppies with a Purpose"

Just incase you missed The Today show, here is a link to the video...

Today Show/Guiding Eyes

And the video.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

An update:

Just received this from Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Be sure to watch the Today Show tomorrow, Thursday August 6 between 8:30 and 9 am. Correspondent and animal lover Jill Rappaport has prepared a wonderful segment on Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s work and volunteer programs.
Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Knitting Nights and Sales

The Markers enjoy Knit Night at The Knitting Corner


And the August Guild meeting.

STSM Guild mtg

I received Sue's email about the ginormous sale at The Knitting Corner. She wasn't kidding

Even the Sale sign is ginormous!

This is what I left with

Two skeins of pale pink lace wt from Skacel. A skein of Araucania sock wt to go with the skein I purchased a few weeks ago. Probably be a shawl. And the latest Harmony Guide. I felt the other Guides were repeats of Barbara Walker and others, this is giving me new ideas. The only thing missing is charts.