Friday, March 28, 2008

Puppy Swap

"My, how Mason has changed. Wait, that's not Mason. That's a different dog. Have you swapped Mason?" We've had many questions over the last few weeks about our latest puppy. As part of the puppy raising program we swap puppies for about 4 weeks. This gives the puppies a new environment and new exposures. We have enjoyed having Oliver, a golden retriever, with us. He is a joy to work with. He is very mellow and generally obedient; a very sweet personality.
Oliver is being raised by Phil and Sharon Schermerhour in Austin. He goes to work with Sharon at a verterinarian's office. They have many pets at home to keep him company. It's very different at our home with no pets.
Maybe that's why Oliver whined the first few days, especially when put into his crate. We found this sign at a store in the mall. Oliver must have gotten the message because there was no more whining from him.
It was obvious that Phil and Sharon had spent a lot of time working with Oliver. He knew the commands appropriate for his age. Sometimes he needed some reminders to put his front paws on a step going up and wait for a command to continue. But with a little reminder he did just as he was supposed to do. It was nice having Oliver . We'll miss his calm, mellow presence. It will also be nice to have Mason back, at least for another few months. We just received word that he may go back to Guide Dogs of Texas on July 7th to get more intensive training. But we won't think about that just yet.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Casino Night 2008

Guide Dogs of Texas had a very successful, well attended Casino Night last month. Lots of people, especially the GDTx staff, worked very hard to make it successful. Even Mason pitched in by visiting businesses and soliciting their support.
Due to the generousity of many community partners there were many items for the raffles, door prizes and silent auction tables.GDTx staffer Henri Schmidt sold some of her beautiful glass designs.
I was pretty busy at times so Mason was ably cared for by a young lady named Jamie, and here assistant, Cody. Maybe she'll be a guide dog trainer some day. Cody's mom, also Jamie, already is a trainer and his grandfather has a guide dog trained by GDTx.
There were several puppy raisers with their pups and clients with their dogs. All the pups and dogs got along fine. There were only a few barks from an excited puppy.

Pictured below are Casino Night sponsors and puppy raisers, Michelle and Mike Dolan, from Scrapbook 911. Our sponsors certainly made a big difference in making the night financially successful.
Sarah Jane is a potential client who had to give up here first guide dog due to allergies. She has had time with Mason twice now and has had no reaction to him. Sandy Merrill and the training staff are happy with that result, a main reason for getting a labradoodle.
There are several criteria for making a match, so it is still too early to know if Mason will guide Sarah Jane. If not, maybe Trixie, the second labradoodle, will work for her. Mason and Trixie enjoyed seeing each other. "Wow, someone who looks like me!"
Several of us made a weekend out it and stayed at the Marriott the Saturday night of Casino Night. We brought a crate for Mason but it wasn't his giant one. Maybe he didn't sleep as well in the smaller crate. What do you think?
He did wake up more when he saw Tobie. They had a nice romp on the tennis court before it was time to go home, and start preparing for next year's Casino Night!