Our babies are growing up…” are words you often hear from moms…usually referring to their human children. But don’t be surprised if you hear a guide dog puppy foster parent mumble them. This is because we know that growing up means the time is getting closer to saying good bye to our fur babies…as they go onto their formal training as a highly specialized working dog. But also knowing the good bye won’t be easy.
These last few months were full of fun and adventure for Keller as we continued to prepare her for her formal guide dog training. The big milestone we passed was Keller’s birthday. Do you remember when I posted this photo of 8 week old Keller with her brother Ulysses after the puppies first came to live with us?
Well I wanted to re-create the shot of the two pups at one year. Surprisingly, it was just as crazy to try to get them to pose even after 10 months of teaching them commands! But you can see how gorgeous these dogs are. They have grown into beautiful full grown labs who still steal our hearts with their antics and loving gestures.
Because it was a special day, we decided to let these litter mates play for the day together. The weather was nice for a change and we knew these two could play for hours.
Taking in a guide dog puppy is a family affair. Everyone has to take their turns taking Keller for walks, or even taking her out on some excursions. Here is my daughter Holly taking Keller on a little trip to some shops in Aurora while I prepare for Easter dinner.
As a puppy raiser we had to attend puppy classes throughout the year. These classes came to an end recently, again a sign we are getting closer to saying good bye. We finished off with a little party. Nine of the guide dog puppies were there which was so much fun! We had a beautiful lunch and sadly had to say our good byes to all the other puppy raisers. Here is a short video of puppy playtime. (I apologize I turned my phone half way through videotaping). Their jackets are removed when the puppies are not in training, so they can relax and have some fun. It was also an exercise in testing your pup’s recall when playtime was over.