Tag Archives: German Shepherd

Odie loves Topaz B&W!

odie topaz2 by victry1
odie topaz2, a photo by victry1 on Flickr.

Fooling around with my G12 today so I’m not caught with my pants down when I want to grab a shot. This picture came out really nice, but, being addicted to PSE and Topaz Plug ins, I couldn’t resist running the photo through Topaz B&W effects. I love the results (& I’m sure Odie does too). ūüôā



My son got married last week, so I’ve been MIA around here. ¬†I don’t live close, but it’s still surprising how much time it takes to prepare. ¬†However, it was well worth it. ¬†The wedding was definitely an experience ¬†due to the fact it was held at the Shedd Aquarium. ¬†We were greeted by beluga whales, watched otters play while we waited for the ceremony and had dolphins swimming behind the wedding party as they said their vows. ¬†The best part is he married a beautiful woman, both inside and out.

When I returned home though, I had disappointing news.

My SE pup, Odette had her town walk last week also.  I was so happy and proud.  The instructor said she hoped to be able to place her in the next class.

Posing during her town walk

But, not even 24 hours after coming home from my son’s wedding in Chicago, I got a phone call saying Odie had been dropped from the SE program due to protective behavior. I was stunned. ¬†Seems she may have felt her or her trainer to be threatened while on the street and she went off barking at a person who had surprised them. That is unacceptable behavior for a SE dog unless there is a real danger.

Only 60% of the puppies bred by the Seeing Eye make it through training.  Of that number, only 80% are placed with a blind person.  I guess I can be happy she made it through training.  I know the instructor was also very disappointed she would have to be dropped.

I have made the ¬†decision to adopt her. ¬†I had been looking forward to doing another puppy, not having another “forever” dog. ¬†After my shepherd died of bone cancer, I had made the decision that raising SE pups would probably be better. ¬†They are young and healthy when you send them off and they are enriching someone’s life. ¬†But, it seems my plans are not to be. ¬†I already have 2 other large dogs in a small home so there’s no “need” for another one. ¬†But, love won out over reason. ¬†I am looking forward to picking her up tomorrow. ¬†And, then we will let the games begin!

Good Times, Bad Times, Fun Times, Sad Times


This was taken on her first day at my house. Age 7 weeks.

I just received the good news that this little ball of fur has completed her training at The Seeing Eye and is ready for her “town walk”. It’s always great to see the dogs in action, guiding their handler through crowded streets, holding them back from traffic and in general, just doing their job. ¬†What a change from a playful little pup!


What kid doesn't love the snow?

When the puppies go back to the Seeing Eye for training, yes, it’s hard to let go. You worry if they will make it, how they will adjust, will they miss those special little things you did for them. (I had a habit of giving a good night biscuit). It’s very much like when your child goes off to school or camp or the military. I always wondered if she was eating, how was she sleeping, would she be a good learner. ¬†It’s not easy-you think about them frequently. ¬†But, when you hear a blind person talk about the difference a guide dog makes, the independence that is achieved, you want to do it all over again.

She and my grandson were fast friends

One thing I never considered though, was the effect of the pups leaving on my grandson. ¬†He was a year old when Ginger came to me and they were inseparable whenever he was at my house. ¬†The only other thing he cared to play with when he visited was my iPhone. ¬†When Ginger left to go back for training, my grandson was a little over 2. ¬†He was so devastated he didn’t mention her name for a year. ¬†When my last pup came-and she came only a month after Ginger returned to the Seeing Eye-he would never call her by name. ¬†Only “puppy”. ¬†Ginger returned to me a little over a year after she left. ¬†She had completed training but was never ‘matched’ to the right person. ¬†I hope I never forget the look on my grandson’s face when he came to visit and Ginger was there in her same old spot, ¬†Pure joy. ¬†Suddenly, everything was right with his world. ¬†Ginger was Ginger and he started calling puppy by her name.

The “A” Team:

Fast Friends

I am still caught off guard when my grandson says things like “Ginger is sad” and when I ask why, he tells me “because she misses (the puppy)”. ¬†My heart breaks. ¬†It’s hard enough for us adults, I can’t imagine what he must feel or think. ¬†But, I hope one day he will understand. ¬†Fortunately, kids are resilient, and, while he may not understand for a while, I know eventually he will. ¬†And, he will share in the pride and joy when a dog we raise fulfills her purpose in helping another person ¬†have a better life. ¬†And he will know he had a part in it.

Ginger on her town walk

P.S. ¬†I am not using puppy’s name due to the fact she is at the Seeing Eye in training and hopefully she will be matched. ¬†However, I wouldn’t want a student who might happen across this blog to form any preconceptions in case they are matched with her.

A few pics of her growing up:

@ 16 weeks with her sibs. She's in the middle.

Enjoying the summer afternoon

At the Jerzy shore

Today I Turned Three

I decided I should do the blog today since it’s my birthday (I’m 3!) and Mom doesn’t keep up with it like she should. ¬†At least in my opinion anyway.

Since it was my big day, I started out giving Mom some hints…….

It took a little nudging, but she finally brought out the hose! ¬†My favorite! ¬†I don’t even need this silly pool. ūüôā

Then we went to the dog park and I made a new friend.

A new friend



Then we went home to play in the yard. ¬†I think Mom was getting tired by then, but I’m ONLY 3. ¬†I still have lots of energy. She brought out the soccer ball and I gave that a whirl.


She insisted I pose for my team photo.

I much prefer something I can get my teeth into.

This is more my style

Then it was inside for dinner and a birthday biscuit. ūüôā ¬†Life is good.

A Rocky Start

Seems like this blog is off to a somewhat rocky start, despite all my good intentions. I was away for a few days but came back in time to share in a joyful event. My friend’s dog had her “Town Walk” today. A “Town Walk” is when a Seeing Eye pup has completed her training and their puppy raiser and family get to see them in action and see what they’ve learned. It’s a big step on the dog’s road to becoming a full fledged guide dog. It’s rewarding to see the pup that you’ve stayed up with at night, cleaned up after accidents, housebroken, trained, taken on various outings besides all the usual stuff of puppyhood confidently leading, guiding and protecting their trainer. It can be hard to envision this little pup who peed on your floor, chewed your furniture and hid your shoes as one that can be a dependable companion and guide. ¬†So, for a puppy raiser to see their dog in action is truly a happy occasion.

The pups are returned to the Seeing Eye at about 15-18 months of age
Only slightly more than 50% of all pups bred by the Seeing Eye make it to the formal training. . Of those that are accepted into the 4 month training program, only 80% of those make it through the full training period. So, when a dog does make it all the way through and is matched with a blind person. they are the cream of the crop.

The proud graduate. ūüôā

One of the pups I raised made it through training and they fully expected to use her. However, dogs and people are matched according to a number of criteria, and, unfortunately, she was not matched with anybody. She stayed at the Seeing Eye for over a year. When she wasn’t matched in that period of time, they called to see if I wanted her back. And, of course I did! ūüôā This is my girl, Ginger:

Ginger on her town walk


One of my favorite shots of the pup I just sent back.  They definitely are members of the family.


A photo taken shortly before my last pup (one I raised after Ginger) returned to the Seeing Eye.