Donnie has never cared much for getting his feet wet. From day 1, rain and wet ground have had him staring up at me with scorn. When the weather started getting warm, I put out a blue plastic pool for him. He’s been happy to drink out of it. I can pick him up and place him in it. He will stand – with that same look of scorn – for about 10 seconds – then he’s outta there.
My Family’s Annual Beach Trip Gathering took place the 1st weekend in May. I was anxious to see how Donnie would take to the whole event. I knew he would enjoy the kids and all the attention. I thought he might think the sand was fun. I could not bring up a vision of him in the water.
He fooled me though! He DID enjoy those kids!
And he DID enjoy the walks on the beach.
He DID enjoy chasing the birds. I can’t say that he ENJOYED the water, but he was willing to cater to my whims. He followed me in – for a little ways. But was very happy to head back to the dry sand.
But I think by Saturday afternoon he might have been actually enjoying it. Maybe just a bit. Having the kids there helped.
He mostly just enjoyed lounging and soaking up the sun.
Overall it was a GOOD weekend. For me, for Donnie, for everyone.
When encountering other creatures – be it dogs or cats or squirrels or whatever – a guide dog must remain neutral. He can’t let himself (or herself) get excited – either in a positive way or a negative way. As a puppy raiser it’s part of my job to give Donnie opportunities to meet and greet lots of different beings so that they will become “old hat” to him. No big deal about the big dog coming my way! No big deal if I see my best buddy across the room! No big deal if that cat wants me to chase it. Donnie needs to be above all of that.
He also needs to know how to interact with other dogs. Nicely. So we plan pay dates with friends.
Pointer friend Heidi
Little friend Lobo.
Big friend Benjamin
Benjamin was not real impressed with Donnie and Donnie was a bit afraid of Benjamin. Donnie likes to talk Smack with bigger dogs – whether strangers or good friends. Other dogs find this rude.
Hiking buddy Juniper. This is a great way to get to know another dog. Just out walking.
Canine Companions for Independence puppy in training Marina. Marina is a little bit older and a little bit bigger, but they got on great together.
Best Bud, Carver. Carver is 2 weeks older than Donnie, but they have spent a lot of time together and they are quite tight.
And then there are the “home” buddies –
Walker has finally gotten pretty comfortable with the little guy. But Donnie does get in his face talking that Smack. Walker and I both find it quite irritating.
And Wally the cat has learned that the best way to deal with the little gangster is to be oblivious to his attentions. Donnie pulled this bed around the room for a bit before he finally decided to just give it up.
So, Donnie has a lot to learn about polite social interactions, but he’s learning.
I think Donnie is going to start a new boy band –
Donnie and the Bluebonnets
This has been a great spring for the wildflowers. The 7 Acre Wood is covered with Bluebonnets and Donnie and I spent a lot of time this past week romping and playing in them.
Here’s a view of our time in the fields –
You can click on each picture to see it bigger. If you’d like.
Guide dogs spend a lot of time waiting. Being still and being patient. It is sometimes a tough skill to learn. Guide dog pups have to learn NOT to be a puppy!
Waiting at the bank to get forms filled out.
Waiting at the post office
Waiting for the humans to finish eating and talking
Waiting for the humans to just quit chatting and move along
Waiting at the doctors office for an eye exam. (This was a routine exam requested by the school. His eyes are perfect!)
Waiting for the car to be ready
Waiting for shoppers
Just Waiting for something! Anything!
Donnie, for the most part, has been handling the Waiting Game remarkably well. Sometimes not so well. But he’s learning.
Donnie has landed in a country full of wide open running space and inhabited by some strange beings that leave trails of candy wherever they go. He’s having a fun time figuring it all out.
Stephen’s favorite toy was his food bowl. He loved it! If it was left on the floor, he would toss it and scoot it and have a grand time with it.
I’m not so sure what Donnie thinks of his —
Happy Trails to you All!!
It was a fun, fun year with this boy! Lots of adventure. Lots of learning. Lots of JOY. I miss him like crazy. I hope that he does great things. I Believe that he will!
Stephen is his name. Joy is his game!
from the 2KK18 litter
born 07 Dec 2018
Black Lab Male
Sire – Murphy Dam-Josie
The rest of his litter – Donnie’s brother, Neely, 2nd from left, returned to Texas with us. The other 4 went off to Jacksonville, Fla.
Donnie is sponsored by Tim and Missy Griffy – fellow puppy raisers of the North Texas Puppy Raiser group. He is named in honor of Donnie Cechan, another fellow raiser who died in 2017. His wife Leslie now has puppy Donnie’s brother, Neely – also sponsored by the Griffys.
Leslie with puppy Donnie along with Neely on the left and Carver on the right. Sitting on Donnie’s Bench. Carver is not from the same litter and is a couple of weeks older than the other 2, but is here in Texas with us. The 3 pups will be learning new things together.
Donnie and Neely returned to Texas together and were great travelers – just like their predecessors, Stephen and Arthur.
I think they will be best buds!
And now they both are adjusting to their new lives away from Mom and Siblings. House rules, yard rules, people rules, leashes, grass, furniture, strange animals. It’s all new and exciting.
So far, so good here at the 7 Acre Wood!
I will keep you apprised of their progress!