Sunday, August 31, 2014

Catchup 3

May 14, 2014


"The bus is here," ARUS Rob announced. Gary was a bit early. As an outside puppy raiser Gary also drove a school bus for the Pickford Public Schools. Tammy had arranged for him to take the older Chippewa pups and their furlough handlers to the elementary school for an outing. Not only would the puppies experience a bus ride, they would be exposed to lots of kids on the playground during recess.

Tammy still had items on her agenda, but our session was over. She had covered information about TAG teach, a sort of "clicker" training for people that we learned at Leader Dog during puppy counselor training, but we had no time to try the exercises. Maybe next trip.

This photo is shot from inside the school bus looking down the stairs. A woman with long brown hair wearing blue jeans, a light purple shirt with a gray zippered sweathshirt open over it, is stepping up and holding the railing with her right hand. She is holding a leash in her left hand, attached to a yellow lab who is stepping up the steps with her. The woman is looking down at the dog. She also has a black treat bag around her waist.
Kim negotiates the bus steps with FLD Ecko. Check out the nice loose leash!

A woman with short grey hair and wearing blue jeans a grey t-shirt and a purple zippered sweatshirt open is standing at the top of the steps coming out of a school bus. She is wearing a black treat bag on her waist and smiling at the camera. A large golden retriever puppy is standing at her left side looking out at the camera. He is wearing a blue Future Leader Dog bandana.
Puppy counselor Tammy pauses at the top step with FLD Drummond before disembarking at the school.

A group of four women and two men, and six future leader dogs ( two yellow labs, one black lab, two golden retrievers and one german shepherd) stand in an elementary school yard. The brick sided building is behind the group. Three of the dogs are standing, two are sitting and the black lab is lying down.
FLDs August, Ecko, Sammy, Bravo, Drummond and Chewy hang out in the school yard with the furlough handlers. I have been instructed not to take any photographs of the children. Children played basketball, baseball, soccer, swung on swings and played on the playscape while we walked the puppies amongst them. The puppies were more interested in each other than the kids!

A child's hand pets the head of a black lab. The child is wearing a blue and grey plaid jackent. The arm of another chold is just visible in the background, wearing a navy blue with a white strip jacket.
The children were respectful in asking permission to pet the puppies. FLD Sammy was happy to oblige.

A group of people and Future Leader Dogs pose in front of a yellow school bus from the Pickford Public Schools. From left to right, a man wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt under a grey jacket is with a black lab, a man wearing khaki pants, a green shirt and an open black jacket and a safari hat is with a golden retriever, a woman with short white hair and glasses wearing blue jeans, a grey shirt under an open purple zipper sweatshirt is with a golden retriever, a woman with short grey hair wearing blue jeans and a long sleeve orange top and holding a blue jacket is with a german shepherd, a woman with long brown hair wearing blue jeans a light purple shirt under a grey open zippered sweat shirt is with a yellow lab, a woman with longish grey hair wearing blue jeans and a dark shirt under an open light yellow jacket is with a yellow lab, and a tall man with a white mustache wearing dark pants and a short-sleeved blue polo shirt with a black lab. The first six puppies are wearing the blue Future Leader Dog bandana and the puppy on the far right is wearing the blue working jacket.
Our intrepid furlough handlers and their charges pose after our outing. From left to right are ARUS Rob with FLD Sammy, Frank with FLD Bravo, Tammy with FLD Drummond, Rhonda with FLD Chewy, Kim with FLD Ecko, Judy with FLD August, and Gary with FLD Allegiance.

Thank you for the bus ride Gary!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Catchup 2

May 14, 2014


A miracle! We arrived at the Chippewa Correctional Facility on time. However, it took at least 15 minutes to get processed in. Tammy set off the metal detector, still wearing her treat bag, and Bandit signaled to park. Luckily, I got him out in time for a "big park."

After the presentation of FLD Bandit to Justin and Kris it was time for training. Tammy, as usual, had a long list of information to cover. While she went over contract paperwork with Bandit's team, I led the group through day three of the relaxation protocol, first in standing, then sitting, and finally in down positions.

An african american man on the right side of the photo, dressed in the prison blue and orange uniform, is bending over a large black lab. The man is placing a blue bandana over the head of the puppy. Two other men are sitting on stools at the lunch table behind and to the left of the man, watching him. They have the prison blue pants on with white t-shirts.
Ro practices placing the Future Leader Dog bandana over FLD Sammy's head. Ideally, Leader Dogs for the Blind wants raisers to do this with the puppy in a heel position (left side). This readies the puppies to readily accept the guide harness later in their training.

Two Golden Retrievers are standing next to their prison handler's facing the right. The men are wearing prison blue pants and white t-shirts. The second man is bending over his puppy and giving a hand signal to the pup. A woman is standing in the background to the right, she is wearing blue jeans, a gray t-shirt and a purple zip sweatshirt and is holding her hands at her chest. Another woman is sitting in a chair behind her, she is wearing blue jeans and a yellow jacket.
The inmate raisers practice some In-For-Training (IFT) obedience skills. Puppies must hold a sit, down and stand position for 30-60 seconds in heel position. Tammy had the teams swap puppies for these drills.

A close shot of a man sitting and bending over a golden retriever that is lying on the tile floor between his feet. The man is wearing blue prison pants and a white t-shirt. His right arm is leaning on his right thigh and he is checking the puppy's eyes with his left hand. There are other men and another golden retreiver beyond him. That puppy is having his teeth checked.
Cody inspects FLD Bravo's eyes as the group practices part of the IFT handler's exam. The puppies must be calm during veterinarian visits and routine checks at home.

A close shot of a bald man wearing a white t-shirt bending over a german shepherd puppy that is lying on a tile floor (the pup is wearing a blue bandana).. The man's right forearm is covered with tatooes. He is pulling the puppy's lps open and exposing his teeth. The upper right canine baby tooth is still intact and the adult canine is growing in just in front of it.
An inmate handler checks FLD Chewy's teeth. He is concerned about the baby canine tooth - it is still intact and the adult tooth is emerging in front of it. This is a situation we will watch. If the baby tooth does not come out on its own the veterinarian might have to pull it.

With puppies still handled by other teammates, Tammy has the group practice "meet and greets." Then she gets everyone up to wander about the room for recalls through a crowd. She asks me to call her puppy, FLD Harper.

Harper was sitting with an inmate. "Harper! Come!" Harper didn't move. "Hey, puppy puppy!" I howled in my best we're-going-to-have-a-party-when-you-get-here voice.

Harper was a statue. He squinted his eyes and turned his head up as if thinking, If I can't see her, she isn't there.

I darted by the golden boy, clapping my hands, "Haaaaahper!" I crooned. Harper turned his head away. He was not falling for it. "Come on, boy, it's okay," I pleaded. Harper finally broke his pose and came running. We had a little party and everyone clapped.

Tammy said, "He thought he was being set up!"

A bald man with a goatee wearing green pants and a white t-shirt is half-kneeling with a german shepherd dog sitting at his left side. The man has his hands around the dog's chest. His forearms are covered with tatooes. The dog is wearing the blue Future Leader Dog bandana with his name "Chewy" embroidered on the side.
Doug asked me to take a photograph of him with his puppy, FLD Chewy. "When will you put this on your blog?" he asks. Finally, Doug, here it is!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


May 14, 2014

Due to circumstances beyond my control (otherwise known as "life") this blog has become woefully overdue. How can Labor Day weekend be on the horizon and I have yet to report on our May visits to the U.P.?

I need catchup.

According to the Catchup Advisory Board (a fictional sponsor of Garrison Keillor's radio show, Prairie Home Companion), "catchup" contains "natural mellowing agents" that "help you gain perspective on what's really important."
Keillor's show featured spoof ads from made up companies like the Catchup Advisory Board and Powdermilk Bisquits. According to the Prairie Home Companion website, "There are a number of ways to spell ketchup, including catsup and catchup, and the Catchup Advisory Board thought that catchup is closer to the way we actually say catsup than ketchup is."
I should go make me a pastie or something and cover it with catchup. Instead, how 'bout I catch up by letting my photos tell the story. After all, the story is what's important!


A man wearing a white t-shirt and blue prison pants is facing the camera holding two large bags of dogfood, one on each shoulder. He is stepping forward away from the two open side doors of the large white Leader Dogs for the Blind van. There is a small dog airline crate on the ground next to the front tire of the van ont he right side.
Eric muscles in two bags of Purina Pro Plan dog food from the Leader Dogs for the Blind. On each visit puppy counselor Tammy hauls hundreds of pounds of dog food from Leader Dog to the prisons. On this trip we also brought FLD Bandit to his new raiser team.

Two smiling bald men face the camera, each are wearing a white t-shirt, but the man on the right has an open blue shirt over the t-shirt. Just over the right shoulder of the man on the right is the small brown head of a chocolate lab puppy.
Kris and Justin can hardly contain their excitement as Tammy lifts FLD Bandit over their shoulders.

A closeup shot of the man on the right, wearing a white t-shirt with an open blue shirt over it. He now has his eyes closed and is looking down with a huge smile on his face. The chocolate lab is being held over his left shoulder on the right of the photo. The puppy is wide-eyed and looking toward the camera, but his tongue is licking the ear of the man. The puppy's left front paw is over the man's shoulder. A brown leash can just be seen behind the man, attached to the puppy's blue collar.
FLD Bandit tries to clean out Justin's ear.
The bald man in the white t-shirt is holding the chocolate lab puppy and facing away from the camera, and squatting down to have the puppy meet a large golden retriever that is sitting on the tile floor. A man wearing the prison blue and orange uniform is standing up and bending over to look at the puppy on the right side. Another man in the background between them is squatting down, only his face is visible. A fourth man is sitting in the background to the left, looking at the puppy. He is also wearing a white t-shirt.
Kris brings Bandit around to meet the other teams.

The bald man in the white t-shirt is sitting down facing the camera with the chocolate lab puppy in his lap. He is supporting the puppy with his right forearm and hand and holding a blue Future Leader Dog bandana with his left hand. The bandana has the name "Bandit" embroidered on it. There is a brown leash handing down from the puppy's collar. Behind the man is an ice maching on the right and a pile of milk crates on the left.
A very proud Kris shows off FLD Bandit and his personalized Future Leader Dog bandana.