All posts by readingwithrhythm

Life on the Farm

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.

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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 —

Donnie & his Bowl

Happy Trails to you All!!


Hello Donnie!

Meet Donnie
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!






Saying Good-Bye to Stephen

The hardest part about Puppy Raising is not the sleepless nights, or the vomit and poop and pee, or the chewed shoes and gnawed furniture. It’s not the battle scars from sharp baby teeth, or the frustrations of training, or the worries that you are not being the best for your pup. The hardest part is letting go. Letting go of a piece of your heart. So why do we do it?! Because the rewards at the end are unbelievably precious. The Knowing that that pup that stole your heart and love will be pouring it out for someone who NEEDS his love. It’s a gift. A gift to the visually impaired person who receives the pup, and a gift to the raiser of a job well done.

Stephen has moved on to “college.” His next phase of training. He was, I believe, the best pup I have had the pleasure of raising. He has taken my heart and my tears off with him. And I’m pretty confident that he isn’t missing me too much. He’s with his Best Bud, brother Arthur. And he’s spending his days learning new things. He loves learning new things. I’m anxious to see where he goes from here.

I did a road trip to Florida for the big event. Along with fellow raiser, Leslie Cechan. Leslie has had Arthur for the last year. We had a great trip out there. The boys were good travelers. Did well in the car and in the hotels.

Southeastern Guide Dogs does Turn In Time BIG. It’s quite a day for the puppy raisers. 28 pups showed up for their Freshman Orientation. 28 + folks showed up with lots of kleenex.

This is Stephen’s litter – Magic, Arthur, Dottie, Stephen, and Griffy

Stephen was quite ready to go off with the new trainer!

So, Stephen is off to bigger and better things. A whole new world for him. He’ll be fine. I believe that. He’ll be fine.

And I went from the intake kennel to the puppy kennel to pick up my new charge! Nothing soothes a broken heart like a new puppy!!

Meet Donnie!!

And I’ll tell you all about him tomorrow!!


A Holiday Travelogue

2018 ended with a big whopping road trip to California. Stephen is a road trip warrior and handled the trip with aplomb. Even with a packed full car.

Besides the usual stops for busy time and stretching the legs a bit —

we made a couple of touristy stops —

The Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix, Az

A great children’s area, and good distraction/impulse control atmosphere! It was kind of dog friendly- several little dogs checking things out as well.

Then there was a stop in Quartzsite, Az to visit the Hi Jolly Monument. A fantastic cemetery in the desert!

First thing on the agenda when we arrived in California was a performance of The Nutcracker presented by the Long Beach Ballet Company and featuring our own Little Princesses.

Stephen was ready with hair and make-up advice.

He said the accommodations were a bit tight, but that girl in front of him sure had nice smelling hair!

Next came a visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific and some fun Christmas lights.

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Stephen had to call on all his training skills to get through the maze of crowds at the aquarium. The toughest part for him was all the pigeons everywhere outside!!! Man! Hard to ignore!

Then it was Christmas and play time with everyone – Some lucky folks got some really nice blankets.

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And time to say good-by to California. Lunch at Tio’s Tacos in Riverside and hit the road again.

Just in time to catch the Blizzard blowing through Arizona! Stephen thought it was great fun!

We managed to make it home safe and sound.  A couple of days rest then off again to Galveston to celebrate the coming of the New Year! More to come —-

Christmas Cheer

It’s been a busy Holiday Season for Stephen and his fellow Guide Dog Pups of the North Texas Puppy Raiser Group.

We had a walk through the neighborhood to see all the pretty lights.

All the pups did great! No one had any issues with all the noisy, whooshing, moving beings they encountered.

Next came PARTY TIME!!! With treats and packages and Santa and kids and friends and …….

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Then there was shopping and more Santas! With more kids and more dogs and more ……

It’s all enough to wear a boy out!!

And tomorrow we head out on a big road trip to California!! Stephen is a Roadtripper Extraordinaire!!! He loves going places!

Y’all have a Blessed Christmas and we’ll see you in the New Year!!

A Training Bonanza!!!

This weekend Stephen and I participated in the National Brain Tumor Walk at Trinity Park in Ft Worth, Tx. It was a beautiful day, although quite chilly! I expected it to be a good training outing for Stephen, but it turned out to be a real Lollapalooza!!

There was a huge crowd of milling folks, young, old, infirm. Wheelchairs, strollers, loud music, balloons, much laughter and cheering.

There were LOTS of kids –

Wanting to pet

Playing Football!

Running and playing all along the walk

There were DOGS! Oh so many dogs! Big and small. Mostly very well behaved. There was even a gentleman playing fetch with his big Lab. In the river!!!

Stephen was really put to the test with all of this.  In the beginning he had a REALLY tough time with his “Impulse Control.” His impulse being to meet and greet and play! But it didn’t take too long for him to settle into the job at hand.

There were trains –

Stephen handled it all like the real trooper that he is!

The whole affair began and ended with a ride on a narrow, crowded shuttle bus

All in all it was a tremendously successful day! For the National Brain Tumor Society. And for Stephen!