Sunday, August 31, 2014

What a Summer! We Whelped a Litter of Pups for SSD!

We have been VERY busy since our last spring post!!  This summer, we whelped a litter of puppies for SSD.  That means we welcomed a pregnant mommy (GEB Talent from Guiding Eyes for the Blind) and then her 7 lab puppies into our home for 8 weeks.  It was the "C" litter and we got to name them!  It was an AMAZING experience and LOTS of work!  Raising puppies to be service dogs literally starts on day 1.

 Our breakfast nook was transformed into a whelping area.  The whelping box is on the left.  A Xpen kept Kindle out of the area until invited.  Emma got to eat meals with a front row seat to Mommy and pups!

 This was Talent and her 7 babies at 1 week old.  Their eyes and ears are closed and they only slept and ate.  They made the sweetest little cooing and squeaking sounds.  The yellow labs were:  Colt, Colorado, Cameo, and Cookie Dough.  The black labs were:  Cosmo, Charcoal, and Clementine.

                                           This was an amazing experience for Emma.

               Those sweet little faces and their little puppy breath made all the work worthwhile!


                                                   Lots of snuggles all summer long!

 We did get to take our annual trip to Cape May.  Kindle's first time on vacation with us.  We were so proud of her!  She did such a great job!  Emma's cousins, Jack and Nate, enjoyed having her along too!

              Kindle loved the beach and more importantly, loved staying close to her girl!

 Emma slept through miniature golf at the point, but Kindle kept a close eye on the game!  She even nudged Keith's ball at one point.  I think they were in cahoots! :)

 If Emma was in the pool, Kindle wasn't far!  This was particularly impressive because of how much Kindle LOVES water. 

                                            Little Colt looked great in Emma's glasses!

                                  We called this a puppy pile.  They often slept in a huge pile.  This was in the          
                                   pen we set up on our screened in porch.

                                              Colt and Colorado were too sleepy to smile!

 Cookie Dough is trying out the obstacle course that Jack and Nate set up for the puppies.  It was necessary to give them lots of new challenges to try and conquer to stimulate their problem-solving skills!  Cookie Dough decided she wasn't sure how to get down, so she stayed there and whimpered for help. :))

 At 6 weeks old, it was time to take the puppies to the vet for their shots and to get weighed.  I needed lots of volunteers to help.  Each one got their own puppy.  Emma liked holding Cookie Dough, one of the smallest pups and I caught this precious moment on camera.

 Afterward, Emma held Cameo.  She is so cute, she looks like a stuffed toy sitting on Emma's lap.

 Our second vacation was to Lake George, NY at the Sagamore Resort.  Keith and I were there 18 years ago on our honeymoon.  It was wonderful to go back and take Emma and Kindle this time.  Emma was just out of the pool looking quite glamorous in her shades.

                                      The pool was new and a lovely addition to the resort.

 Our last morning included breakfast on the porch overlooking the grounds and the lake.  Kindle is behaving as a good service dog should.  As always.

 This was our view from the table.  The weather was beautiful and even chilly for August.

 A six hour car ride home makes for a sleepy Emma.  Kindle spent the majority of the drive (both ways) on Emma's lap.  I just never tire of that scene!!!

 Kindle makes a perfect barrier to keep Emma from rolling off the sofa.  Thanks, Kindle!!!

 Our final weekend with the pups included an outing in Lititz.  Of course, I needed lots of volunteers again!  This time, the pups were on leashes.  Our trip consisted of Freeze and Frizz (apparently, I can clean up 3 piles of doggy poop while holding a small cone! Well, I did have 7 weeks practice!!!), a walk downtown, and playtime at Lititz Springs Park.  Kindle loved the pups and was like a "big sister."  They all enjoyed playtime in the yard.

             Emma's first crepe!  Bon jour!  Happy end of summer!  It's time to go back to school!!  I guess you could say our summer "went to the dogs!!"

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Busy Spring! SSD Graduation, Partner Day to Re-Certify, and More!

We are back to sitting for SSD.  We still have Hamlet for 2 more weekends until he goes to Team Training in June.  We also had SSD Mali for 2 weeks.  She was on STRICT crate rest to heal her knee.   Kindle is sympathizing with poor Mali.

So was Hamlet.  I'm pretty sure if he could talk, he would be saying:  "Boy, tough break, kid!  I feel for ya!"

                                       "Can I have that bone when you're done with it?"

 Kindle and Hamlet chillin' out on a Saturday and checking out the geese and the 7 goslings on the pond.

 This is why we put Kindle's soft toys away when Hammer comes.  I swear he has chisels for teeth.  When we walked into the bedroom and found this, Mali was smiling in the crate letting us know it wasn't her! :)

               Practicing at the Harrisburg Mall with Miss Yolanda for the re-certification test.

 "Play Ball!!"  We enjoyed a game at the Lancaster Barnstormers!    Lucky Emma.  She has two dogs with her! :)

We told Kindle throughout the whole game that she could lay down.  She didn't want to.  She stayed on Emma the entire afternoon and even fell asleep there! 

                                       It was a beautiful day and the Barnstormers won!

Emma and Kindle having a discussion at her Endocronology appointment.  Emma has low bone density and we see him to help regulate her vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium levels.  She will also be getting yearly dexascans to check how her density changes.

                                                           Chillin' out with my girl

 Susquehanna Service Dog Graduation Night!  We got to see Mike and SSD Lucy for the first time since we all went through team training in October.  He is a teacher in a school in New York for children with autism.  SSD Lucy goes with him to work everyday and works with the children.  He said that she has had an amazing impact on the students.  Kindle was sure glad to see her!

The next day was Partner Day.  A day of food and fun and a chance to get re-certified.  It is hard to believe, but it has been 6 months already!  Keith, Yolanda, and I all need to take the test with Kindle and Emma to each be an official handler of Kindle in public.   This was the "leave it" test with many distractions to walk through.  It included a stuffed multi-colored pig who was oinking that all the dogs saw and played with as a puppy.  Kindle left everything!!

This was Yolanda taking the portion of the test that requires Kindle to heel at different speeds and walk part of the time with the leash dropped.

This was the scary part.  It was the part Kindle struggled with the most for our first test in October.  Food, bones, dog treats, etc.. are all placed near and dropped in front of Kindle.  She has to "leave it."
She did great for all 3 of us!  Way to go Kindle!  I don't think I could pass that test!! :)

Every year, Partner Day is themed.  This year it was a Medieval theme.  The King and Queen were the final task.  We had to show them 3 of Kindle's special tasks.  We showed many things including:  cup retrieval, lap, kiss, visit, and back.  The Queen is Nancy Fierer, the director and founder of SSD.  This is her last Partner Day.  She and her husband are moving to Colorado to be with their family.  We will miss them terribly and can't thank them enough for ALL they have done to help many, many people with these amazing dogs! 

                                        After a long morning, a little play time was in order.

Kindle had the tummy bug that went around the kennel and Hamlet had when he was with us.  She missed a week of school and needed lots of TLC from her girl!

 This is still one of my favorite things to see.  Now that Emma has her dog, she is never alone and always has a snuggle buddy!  We love you Kindle, more than we can say!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kindle's first spring and Easter with Emma

Kindle has appointed herself Emma's towel warmer.  Everytime I get Emma out of the tub, this is what we see!  Thanks, Kindle!

Emma had a back X-ray taken to check for scoliosis.  It took 25 minutes and Kindle stayed in a down-stay in that doorway the whole time!  I was so proud of her!

Afterward, we waited to talk to the doctor.  Kindle was very patient.  Good news!  No scoliosis and likely there never will be.  

After our appointment, we had a wonderful lunch at The Miner's Club in Cornwall.  Kindle was well-behaved under the table as usual.

            Emma was tired after the appointment and began clustering many mild seizures.

When the seizures started, even though they were very mild, Kindle came and rested her head on Emma.  It was very sweet.

At home, we don't dictate where Kindle should be.  She is free to roam.  She does usually, but she always comes back to Emma on her own and we are very glad.  They are still working on that bond.

Another trip to Bass Pro Shops.  We are soon going to have to take our certification test again.  We are practicing every chance we get.  Good "under", Kindle!  She always did do that well!

                            I still love to turn around and see this!  It always makes my day!

                                 A lazy last 5 minutes before Mommy wakes us for school!  

The Mennonite Central Committee has a huge relief sale every year at the Harrisburg Farmshow Complex.  We visit Keith's parents who help run it.  Emma was sleeping on Grandma's lap, so Kindle decided a quick "lap" on Keith would be okay.

 Disney on Ice Tickets at the Giant Center every year for Emma's birthday.  Front row!  This was Kindle's first time and she did GREAT!!

There were lots of lights, sounds, even fireworks and special effects.  Kindle never flinched.  Amazing how well-trained service dogs are for just these occasions!

We took Emma to Olive Garden for dinner afterward.  Kindle isn't in the picture because she is under the table like a good girl making a nice foot rest for Emma.  Her choice! :)

 Emma and Keith went to a father/daughter dance.  Of course, Kindle did too!  Emma wore her first eyeshadow and pink lip gloss.  She looked beautiful and all grown up!!

Grams and Gramps (my parents) and Grandma and Grandpa (Keith's) were there for pictures of course!    She has her corsage on for this picture!

                           A little sunbathing on the deck.  Mmmm, maybe spring is coming!

Wow, Kindle must have shrunk!  No, just puppy hugging.  We hugged the latest litter from SSD who turned 8 weeks.  The "B" litter.  One of our favorite ways to help out!  Anyone can be a puppy hugger!!

 Emma's ear must have tasted good.  She kept getting licks!  Either that or they were sharing secrets!!

This little one thought Emma's pant leg was a chew toy.  Emma didn't mind one bit!
                                                Painting Easter eggs at Aunt Missy's!

                              Easter Dinner with my family at the Sutter Inn in Lititz.  Happy Easter!!
                                                                   There's Kindle!  

Hey!  Where did that service dog come from?  That is SSD Hamlet.  We are back to sitting for them!  6 months has passed since getting Kindle and we are able to start sitting again!  We have Hamlet every weekend until he graduates from advanced training.  We sat him last spring for a whole month, so we know him well.  Keith and he bonded!  Keith is thrilled to have him back!!

                                                                 SSD Bunny Hamlet!

                                                              SSD Bunny Kindle!

                                      Visiting the Grandmas was making Emma very sleepy!  

                                                        Hmmm, must be contagious!

Emma loves having doggies around!  We don't often catch this smile on film!  Thanks Kindle and Hamlet!

                             Kindle is doing a nice "visit" on Hamlet's back.  He doesn't mind!

                          Emma's cousin, Nate, wanted to ride with us everywhere.  I wonder why? :)

 Emma found her Easter basket at Grams and Gramps'.  That black fuzzy thing at the bottom of the picture is Kindle checking it out!

A great family shot!  We won't be able to use it on our Christmas picture!  Hamlet will be long gone.

Hamlet has always been so good with Emma.  He loves her!  He is under her highchair hugging her foot.  Kindle didn't mind.

                                                  Ahh, day after Easter.  Back to normal!