Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Off to Puppy School

Wilda, our 16-month-old black Labrador retriever Seeing Eye® puppy, returned to The Seeing Eye Tuesday. Sending a puppy back is a strange feeling and differs with each of them. Some departures bring tears and some bring smiles, as the pups climb into the back of the Seeing Eye van. Our last one, Audrey, was hard to let go, but I was, if not happy, relieved when Wilda left. She is a wonderful puppy, came house-trained at seven weeks (!), and followed commands. And she is full of personality.

Here are some of her traits.

Wilda is smart. To show me she wanted to go for a walk, she pulled a leash off the hook, put it in the middle of the kitchen floor, then pulled out a plastic bag and put it next to the leash.

Wilda is sneaky. She is a pickpocket, both from jackets hanging on the hook near the door, as well as from briefcases or purses left unzipped. Any paper and pen I am using is instantly on the floor if I leave the room, and that includes, unfortunately, twenty dollar bills.

Wilda is a pack animal. Whenever it is time to go out, she rounds up the other dogs and pushes them to the door. She also appointed herself the pee police and took over Misty’s job of alerting us to canine potty needs.

Wilda is a cat lover, at least if the cat is Smudge. She likes to remove his collar as often as she gets a chance. Then she carries it back to her lair, which, conveniently, is the middle of the kitchen floor.

Wilda is possessive. If I stand still for even a second next to one of the counters in the kitchen, she will lay down across my feet. It makes cooking difficult. Luckily, I have long arms. She also sometimes drapes an arm over the other dogs.

Wilda is talkative. This is her worst trait, but she only does it to me. She seems to be mimicking my mouth movements and talks to me, sometimes also barks at me, while I am trying to work. For everyone else, mum is the word.

It has been quiet since she left. Very quiet.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our K-9 Canine

Yesterday I got the most unexpected news. Our eighth Seeing Eye® puppy, Jamie, is now an officer of the law. She is a bomb sniffing dog for one of the agencies that protect our country. We learned this yesterday at the annual Seeing Eye Family Day gathering. Upon our arrival we were told to go into the building for a surprise. They handed us a certificate with Jamie’s name and on the bottom it said she was now a K9 Explosives Detection Officer.

When last we heard about Jamie, who is a thoroughly sweet yellow Labrador retriever, she had been rejected by The Seeing Eye for being too distractible. My description of her was that she would stand outside and just watch the wind. But maybe she wasn’t watching the wind, maybe she was sniffing, practicing, using her nose for a good purpose. Who knows? We couldn’t be more proud.