EAT YOUR HEART OUT!

Puppy Girl Blythe

In December 2008 I posted about Blythe. She was being trained by my Golden pal Pat who is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of CCI. Pat has probably trained over 20 furkids at this point, which is pretty amazing.

I could not ever remember Pat training a little girl as it has always been boys that she has received these many years. I had always had male dogs and my sweet Darcy was our first female. But she was so spunky and filled with attitude, which I adored. And, she was known for loving her toys huge to thrash and then lie on in victory. So I asked her about that.

I thought I’d try a girl for a change. These last couple of guys have been handfuls! Loving handfuls mind you, but I thought a little mellow girl would be a nice change of pace. NOT! This one has spunk! And attitude, hence the blog. Blythe and I are new at blogging, but we will get the hang of it. I’m in New Mexico for a day or two, but when I return, I’ll send you some cute first day pictures. I had gotten all these girl toys … soft animals, even a cashmere camel. She went for the biggest ball in the house and drags around the biggest bone she can find. I love her already!

Well, I just got a post from Pat today, Blythe having left for service dog college, as they call it. She has a new pupper to raise . . . and it’s back to males. Here is Pioneer from his first day with Pat. I’m sure you’d agree that he is simply too precious for words.

Loving Goldens & Arizona Navel Oranges!

pat-bear-graduation-web2.jpgI’ve often posted about my special Golden puppy raiser pal, Pat Lawson. I hope it does not embarrass her too much. She is one amazing lady, that’s for sure.

Pat is a Golden lover after my own heart. She has raised over 20 puppies for various service dog organizations. Pat is shown here with her second CCI puppy “Bear” who graduated as a Skilled Companion in August of 2005.

Pat, currently Public Relations & Golf Tournament Director, is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence, named CCI’s Southwest Region volunteer of the year for 2005.

It seems like my special puppy raising pal, Pat Lawson, has a mini-grove of organically grown navel oranges that are sweet as sugar. The oranges are growing at the base of the San Tan mountains, in soil that promotes incredible sweetness.

In the last 3 years I have probably bought close to 100 boxes of organic oranges from my Golden pal, Pat. And, it is a painful type of purchase because most of the oranges are juiced and then placed in freezer bags to be thawed throughout the entire year. But, what can I do? Gary and I are addicted to these things.

I now make the most glorious orange juice, keeping 100% of the pulp with it, as we love to drink chunky orange juice lol. Alfie loves them as well, and the fact that they are totally organic is just the icing on the cake.

Pat just emailed me this morning with this great announcement:

Hi Everyone. It’s finally TIME TO GET YOUR ORANGE ON! The oranges in our San Tan Grove in Arizona are ready and waiting to come to you. We have a new name and an updated website to make ordering easier for you: arizonanaveloranges.com . The oranges are a bit larger than last year, and already as sweet as they usually are in January. We’ve added a smaller size box if you want to share with your friends without breaking the bank. Thanks for your support . . . and enjoy the best tasting oranges on the planet!

Here is Golden Tavi, who Pat raised some time ago. He was so used to Pat’s oranges that when he was bought a “store” orange he only took a few bites before leaving it sitting on the ground. Pat says that wherever he ends up, she will have to keep him supplied with his favorite food of all time, San Tan Sweet Oranges.

Check out Tavi below demolishing one of Mom’s oranges.

Don’t delay, get on over to arizonanaveloranges.com TODAY!

Sit! Stay! Snuggle!: An Iraq Vet & his Service Golden Retriever Tuesday

Luis Carlos Montalvan at a New York bookstore with Golden Retriever Tuesday, who goes with him everywhere and is trained to respond to signs of anxiety. Photo by Leslie Granda-Hill

I loved discovering Tuesday this Saturday morning. It will surely brighten your day as well.

Like any other golden retriever seeking a treat, Tuesday nudged his owner’s hand with his snout one recent morning and waited expectantly. Luis Carlos Montalvan got up from a chair in his small Brooklyn apartment and walked to the kitchen. Tuesday followed close behind, eyes fixed on a white cabinet. The retriever sat alertly as Mr. Montalvan, an Iraq war veteran with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, reached for a vial of pills, lined a half-dozen on the table and took them one by one.

The dog had gotten what he wanted: When the last pill was swallowed, he got up and followed his master out of the kitchen, tail wagging.

Tuesday is a so-called psychiatric-service dog, a new generation of animals trained to help people whose suffering is not physical, but emotional. They are, effectively, Seeing Eye dogs for the mind.

Tuesday is with Mr. Montalvan at all hours. Taught to recognize changes in a person’s breathing, perspiration or scent that can indicate an imminent panic attack, Tuesday can keep Mr. Montalvan buffered from crowds or deliver a calming nuzzle. Other dogs, typically golden retrievers, Labradors or Labrador retriever blends, are trained to wake masters from debilitating nightmares and to help patients differentiate between hallucinations and reality by barking if a real person is nearby.

“Tuesday is just extraordinarily empathetic,” said Mr. Montalvan, 36 years old, a retired Army captain who received a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in Iraq. “In bad moments, he’ll lay his head on my leg, and it’ll be like he’s saying, ‘You’re OK. You’re not alone.'”

Seeing Eye dogs were first systematically trained in Germany during World War I to aid blinded veterans. Today, psychiatric-service dogs are being trained to help veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan battles. The federal government has given the dogs the same legal protections as other service animals, so Tuesday can ride the subway with Mr. Montalvan and accompany him to restaurants and theaters. But few of the dogs are available to former troops like Mr. Montalvan, one of the estimated 300,000 veterans of the two wars who will ultimately develop PTSD.

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Previously, I have posted articles about Puppies Behind Bars (Iraq Vet Gets Dog, New Chance at Life and Golden Retriever ‘Puppies Behind Bars’). I am just in love with this N.Y.-based non-profit organization. They have provided service dogs to individuals with disabilities since 1997, recently having expanded their program to include war veterans. To date, they have placed psychiatric-service dogs with 11 veterans and hope to provide 14 more this year. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult, especially in these economic times, to raise the $26,000 needed to train each dog.

The group coordinates with Project Heal, from East Coast Assistance Dogs (ECAD). This program honors and empowers Wounded Warriors by providing specially trained Service Dogs to increase independence and make a difference in their lives.

I am just in love with the N.Y.-based non-profit organization Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that has provided service dogs to individuals with disabilities since 1997, recently having expanded their program to include war veterans. It is coordinated with Project Heal, from East Coast Assistance Dogs (ECAD). The program honors and empowers Wounded Warriors by providing specially trained Service Dogs to increase independence and make a difference in their lives.

Project HEAL® Service Dogs are specially trained dogs who pick up dropped objects, open and close doors, open refrigerators, pull wheelchairs, prevent overcrowding in public, interrupt nightmares and flashbacks, remind to take meds, warn of approaching strangers and reduce anxiety and stress, all the while providing unconditional love and comfort. ECAD does not charge our Wounded Warriors for these very special Service Dogs. Each veteran is provided with 13 days of Team Training instruction either in their New York or Florida facility at a cost of $500. Housing is provided at no cost.

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Embarrassed to admit this but . . .

In the last 2 months, I have bought at least 20 boxes of oranges from my Golden pal, Pat. And, it is a painful type of purchase because most of the oranges are juiced and then placed in freezer bags to be thawed throughout the entire year. I cannot remember how many bags I made from last year but they were so welcome and enjoyed, that’s for sure. I love that they are organic and pure goodness. There are not that many safe and good foods left, and oranges like these just cannot be beat.

Right now I have 5 boxes sitting in the hallway waiting to be juiced. Gary tried one yesterday and said it was the sweetest yet, just like sugar. It was what I call a ‘baby’ orange as it was really small. The sizes are always mixed that I get from Pat but the taste never varies. They are just incredibly delicious. Pat just emailed me this morning about the season now coming to an end due to warmer weather making it necessary to get the oranges off of the trees a bit earlier than usual. So I went and ordered another 5 boxes. That means I have to now go and spend many, many hours juicing, which is very hard on my hands due to carpal tunnel syndrome and my connective tissue disease. But, as they say, no pain, no gain.

So, do get over to Life Barks to place your order. I make nothing on this deal folks. I simply want to pass on a truly Golden find. And, check out Pat’s other goodies that she is selling to help support her wonderful service dog work.

Pat just took on a new Golden girl to train for CCI service dog work. And, she has set up a blog at Life Barks to let folks share in the process. Here is a fun entry from the blog today.

Dear President Obama,
Since you seem to be really good at researching other President’s great lines, (by the way, loved your speech), How about this one: 

Golden Service Pup-in-Training Blythe

Walk Softly And Carry a Big Stick! I’m thinking that in the not too distant future you’re gonna need that stick!  Anyway, I wanted to comment about your dilemma about which puppy to get for your girls.  LABRADOODLE?  PORTUGUESE WATER DOG?

First off… what exactly is a “Doodle”?  I get the Labr apart, and even then, my short haired counter part wouldn’t be a good choice because they are far too “busy” for a place as elegant as the White House.  (you did see Marley and Me right?)

Secondly, I’m a big fan of good old American Named Dogs… there is something so wrong about anything that begins with Portuguese.  I mean what’s next, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepherd, Afghan Hound, Australian Shepherd, French Bulldog…you get the idea.

Clearly the best choice for your family is the elegant, faithful, beautiful, loyal, trustworthy, (did I  say beautiful already?), Golden Retriever.  There is no other choice that comes close really.  Even our name suggests elegance.  As for people with allergies, I’m pretty certain that there would be a lot of bathing going on in the White House to get rid of most of the dander that builds up.  A girl’s gotta stay clean.  Think about future family photos… Now picture that funny looking water dog or the odd doodle dog.  Now picture your beautiful family and a Golden with long flowing gorgeous hair.  No contest really.  And cute growing up?  Nothing cuter than a Golden Puppy, if I do say so myself.

Here is a picture of me and my big brother Teddy:

We would be happy to come to the White House so you can see first hand how one of our kind would fit in.  Just send info on when Air Force 1 is available to pick us up.  We will be waiting….

Meet Service Golden-in-training Blythe

Puppy Girl Blythe

Puppy Girl Blythe

Seven months ago I posted about Golden Retriever Tavi, a CCI Service Dog-in-Training being raised by Pat Lawson (she’s trained nearly 20!). Pat is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of CCI. At winter time, all the Goldens at Pat’s enjoy these wonderful organic navel oranges. She has a mini grove in Arizona where the oranges are growing at the base of the San Tan mountains, in soil that promotes incredible sweetness. We love ’em and believe that organics are great for every 2-legged & 4-legged family member.

Pat created a new website, Life Barks, to sell all her wares, all helping to benefit CCI. And, since Tavi has left for CCI College, Pat has now gotten a new puppy to begin the rearing and training process. But, this time Pat requested a little girl. And, she has set up The Bark Blog to let us all share in Blythe’s many adventures in maturing from puppy to service dog.

I could not ever remember Pat training a little girl as it has always been boys that she has received these many years. I had always had male dogs and my sweet Darcy was our first female. But she was so spunky and filled with attitude, which I adored. And, she was known for loving her toys huge to thrash and then lie on in victory. So I asked her about that.

I thought I’d try a girl for a change. These last couple of guys have been handfuls! Loving handfuls mind you, but I thought a little mellow girl would be a nice change of pace. NOT! This one has spunk! And attitude, hence the blog. Blythe and I are new at blogging, but we will get the hang of it. I’m in New Mexico for a day or two, but when I return, I’ll send you some cute first day pictures. I had gotten all these girl toys … soft animals, even a cashmere camel. She went for the biggest ball in the house and drags around the biggest bone she can find.  I love her already!

I will certainly be staying tuned to the musings of Blythe at her new blog. Obviously, this was a “B” litter. CCI always picks a letter and then all the dogs have to have names that begin with that letter. Boy, have I seen some crazy names when some less-used letters are used. Here is Golden Blythe’s first blog entry:

Hi Everyone! Well, as you can see, I’ve arrived in Arizona! Not sure where Arizona is, but this place has a bunch of trees and a great big brother named Teddy. He seems really nice and was excited to see me. I’ve never seen so many toys either. My mom says that sleeping through the night is a good thing… duh… I will have to remind her that Golden dreams help with sleepless nights. I had my first puppy class yesterday and learned that people give you “special treats” if you do something right. I wonder if that will work for our new president? My mom says that president Bush would have needed a bunch of “special treats”. Not sure what she means by that, but will take her word for it. That’s it for now. A big shout out to all my brothers and my sister Bella out there. Hope you have as great a place to live as I do! Talk to all of you soon!

Golden Service Dog-in-Training Tavi leaving for CCI College

Golden Retriever Service Dog-in-Training Tavi

Six months ago I posted about Golden Retriever Tavi, a CCI Service Dog-in-Training being raised by Pat Lawson (she’s trained nearly 20!). Pat is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of CCI. She is always fundraising for CCI and putting on golf tournaments is her specialty. Tavi is shown above at a golf tournament he helped Pat run for CCI. Such a silly boy, fooling around at a tee box marker!

At winter time, all the Goldens at Pat’s enjoy these wonderful organic navel oranges. She has a mini grove in Arizona where the oranges are growing at the base of the San Tan mountains, in soil that promotes incredible sweetness. We love ’em and believe that organics are great for every 2-legged & 4-legged family member.

Well, it’s that time for Tavi to leave for CCI College. This is the funny post that Pat just wrote about our orange-loving pup.

Sadly, Tavi the orange lover will be going off to CCI College before they are ready. We bought him a “store” orange… And he took a few bites and left it sitting on the ground. Seems he is an “orange snob”! :0) He has been lurking around the trees, even sampling a green orange or two that has fallen. Poor guy. Where ever he ends up, I’ll have to keep him supplied with his favorite food of all time, San Tan Sweet Oranges.

Golden Retriever Guide Dog-in-Training Winnie debuts

In October of 2006 we initially brought you the story about Golden Retriever Fisher. On August 18, 2006, training to be a guide dog, he made a guest appearance on the CBS Your Desk webcast. You can see the video webcast by clicking here.

Well, Fisher washed out of the program due to allergies, but his dad now gets to call him his own. And, Fisher is now training a new upstart named Winnie. She is adorable and seems so sweet, as all Golden puppies do, of course. Check out the whole story at Golden Fisher’s Blog!

To see a gorgeous 43-photo slide show of adorable Winnie, just click on the photo above.

To see some fun videos of Winnie’s debut and Fisher getting to play with his new sister-in-training, just check out the links below.

Welcome to Winnie Cam

Winnie attends to her Newsroom Duties

Winnie and Fisher play Chase

How our puppy raisers are able to do it ……

pat-bear-graduation-web2.jpgPat Lawson is a Golden lover after my own heart. Currently a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence, she has raised nearly 20 puppies for various service dog organizations. Pat is shown here with her second CCI puppy “Bear” who graduated as a Skilled Companion in August of 2005. A while back she entered in our Labor of Love Photo Contest with a photo that showcased her first CCI puppy Raymond, who graduated in February 2003.

Golden Service Dog Raymond

Below please find a note sent to me by my CCI puppy’s new partner in life. I took this photo moments after meeting LaVonne and being reacquainted with ‘Raymond’ after his six months of formal CCI training. In the 12+ years of raising service puppies, I have never seen such a perfect match like LaVonne and Raymond. Raymond was a very special puppy to raise and had a romance with everyone who met him. It is true . . . Everybody Does Love Raymond! — Pat

Thank you for raising Raymond and training him so well and especially for giving him up—I love him so much I was willing to accept any dog they gave me but I fell in love with only Raymond the first day. They gave me different dogs in the AM and Raymond in the afternoon. There was such a difference—a magic between Raymond and me. He seemed so happy with me and followed my commands more quickly and easily. He’d turn his head toward me and look at me with those beautiful eyes and my heart melted—and still does. Working together just seemed more natural and easier with Raymond. At the beginning of the first week they gave me five different dogs to work with but by the middle, two (Raymond & Jomar)—and on Friday we could write the reasons we wanted a particular dog knowing it was still the trainer’s decision. I selected Raymond stating I felt a special connection that made our working together more effective. I am so thankful they felt the same way. Now when I look at the impromptu pictures taken during training—I can see a real sparkle and love in my face when working with Raymond.

The second week was terrifying as we were told no dog assignment was for sure, that they could change dog assignments at any time and we also had to pass all written and practical tests on Friday. The fear of losing a dog you already love made that last week very difficult and scary. I guess I should have had more self confidence but with the decision in someone else’s hands, not mine, I feared a broken heart if I did not get to take Raymond home Friday afternoon. I was told I had one of the highest scores ever on the written test, passed the practical and that I would be coming back in six weeks for one whole day to finalize the public certification with the rest of the class. Upon hearing that I was taking Raymond home, I cried with joy and relief. We quickly left the room and I invited Raymond up to my lap and we had the biggest hugging, loving, tearful exchange that was one of the most emotional times of my life. We were finally a team and we were going home together! — LaVonne

Pat just let me know about a very special video, with this special message:

This video features a young boy and his new CCI dog. It is all about why I can say goodbye to my great puppies once they are ready to go back to advanced training.

Meet Golden Guide Dog-in-training Jewel

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This is Frank Davis and Golden Jewel, from Leader Dogs for the Blind. She is the 17th leader dog that Frank has raised. He and wife raise about one dog per year, which is an incredible level of dedication.

Learn more about this special family here.

And, to learn more about guide dogs, guide dog schools in the US, and more check out our comprehensive pages on these special workers at our foundation’s site.

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Pat Lawson’s Golden mission

pat-bear-graduation-web2.jpgPat is a Golden lover after my own heart. She has raised nearly 20 puppies for various service dog organizations. Pat is shown here with her second CCI puppy “Bear” who graduated as a Skilled Companion in August of 2005.

Pat, currently Public Relations & Golf Tournament Director, is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence, named CCI’s Southwest Region volunteer of the year for 2005.

Pat has been very active at the Land of PureGold, having entered many of our fun photo and writing contests

She actually entered one of our first photo contests, Goldens Bymyside, and this photo below, entitled Dog Pile, is one of our favorites. It was entered in our Sweet Golden Smiles Contest

Chandler, Teddy & Miller

Pat also entered in our Labor of Love Photo Contest with a photo that showcased her first CCI puppy Raymond, who graduated in February 2003.

Golden Service Dog Raymond

Below please find a note sent to me by my CCI puppy’s new partner in life. I took this photo moments after meeting LaVonne and being reacquainted with ‘Raymond’ after his six months of formal CCI training. In the 12+ years of raising service puppies, I have never seen such a perfect match like LaVonne and Raymond. Raymond was a very special puppy to raise and had a romance with everyone who met him. It is true . . . Everybody Does Love Raymond!
— Pat

Thank you for raising Raymond and training him so well and especially for giving him up—I love him so much I was willing to accept any dog they gave me but I fell in love with only Raymond the first day. They gave me different dogs in the AM and Raymond in the afternoon. There was such a difference—a magic between Raymond and me. He seemed so happy with me and followed my commands more quickly and easily. He’d turn his head toward me and look at me with those beautiful eyes and my heart melted—and still does. Working together just seemed more natural and easier with Raymond. At the beginning of the first week they gave me five different dogs to work with but by the middle, two (Raymond & Jomar)—and on Friday we could write the reasons we wanted a particular dog knowing it was still the trainer’s decision. I selected Raymond stating I felt a special connection that made our working together more effective. I am so thankful they felt the same way. Now when I look at the impromptu pictures taken during training—I can see a real sparkle and love in my face when working with Raymond.

The second week was terrifying as we were told no dog assignment was for sure, that they could change dog assignments at any time and we also had to pass all written and practical tests on Friday. The fear of losing a dog you already love made that last week very difficult and scary. I guess I should have had more self confidence but with the decision in someone else’s hands, not mine, I feared a broken heart if I did not get to take Raymond home Friday afternoon. I was told I had one of the highest scores ever on the written test, passed the practical and that I would be coming back in six weeks for one whole day to finalize the public certification with the rest of the class. Upon hearing that I was taking Raymond home, I cried with joy and relief. We quickly left the room and I invited Raymond up to my lap and we had the biggest hugging, loving, tearful exchange that was one of the most emotional times of my life. We were finally a team and we were going home together!
— LaVonne

Pat also entered a very special essay in our Healing Power of Gold Writing Contest a few years back. You can check it out here.

My latest GReat photo from Pat came last month. It shows two more wonders that she has trained. I am sure you will love it as much as I do.

teddytavi.jpg
3-year-old Teddy and 4-month-old Tavi

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Kayla and Golden Retriever Mollie


Kayla works with Mollie at her home and below rewards her for her efforts.
Photos by Don Knight / The Herald Bulletin

 

Kayla loves to work with her Golden girl Mollie on areas such as obedience, agility, and showmanship, competing with her in local 4-H Fairs.

And, recently through her 4-H organization, she helped train a Leader Dog for the Blind.

Kayla reminds me of Vicki Miller, a youngster that we followed at our foundation’s site for a few years.

Vicki Miller did great puppy raising work for The Seeing Eye, an organization that is located in Morristown, NJ. At the age of 9, she found out about 4-H’s Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Program, then beginning this work in 1993. Vicki says she will always be a 4-Her at heart, having represented Pennsylvania at the National 4-H Congress and getting to attend a 4-H Japanese Exchange trip.

Golden Retriever ‘Puppies Behind Bars’

The Puppies Behind Bars program is such a win-win proposition. They are in great need of people willing to take a dog out on regular furloughs. A four-hour training course will be offered in August and September for those willing and interested. To volunteer (or make a donation – money is always needed), call 212-680-9562 or go to www.puppiesbehindbars.com.

Come learn more in Beth Quinn’s wonderful article about the program. And, enjoy the very special photos from Mike Rice for the Times Herald-Record.

15-month-old Kaplan relaxes as his inmate trainer, Edwin Montalvo, gives him a massage. The dogs are treated to a head and neck massage three times a day.

15-month-old Cooper responds to a series of commands from his inmate trainer, Jerry Cruz, who directs the dog to pick up an ID card off the floor. The dogs are trained to handle money and credit cards to assist a disabled person with purchases.

Remy, a 7-month-old Labrador retriever, enjoys a smooch from her inmate trainer, Robert Wigfall. Remy is the third dog Wigfall has trained in the program.

The Puppies Behind Bars dogs are trained to remain relaxed and calm in the midst of noise and activity.

15-month-old Fred spends 24 hours a day with his inmate trainer, Jason Partlow.

At 13 weeks old, Stetson is the baby in the Puppies Behind Bars program at Otisville State Correctional Facility. During the next two years, the golden retriever will be trained by inmate Oscar Soto for eventual placement as a service dog for a disabled person.

Golden Retriever Aries – NASA’s Leader Dog in Training

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I have an update to this wonderful story I brought to you some months back. You will just love this video of this special little girl and her NASA mentor. What a nice man he seems to be. Hard to believe he never married. You will understand what I am talking about when you watch the clip. Just click here.

NASA Langley Welcomes Aries: The Puppy with a Purpose
By Bob Allen, NASA Editor, Photos by Sean Smith

Aries the puppy. NASA Langley’s newest worker is literally a top dog. A golden retriever puppy named Aries is now working on Center as a “Leader Dog in Training.” Her mentor is Evan J. Horowitz, an employee in the Flight Research Services Directorate, Flight Systems Safety Office. Aries the puppy is a “Leader Dog in Training” who will be spending
the next 12 to 16 months at LaRC.

Aries the puppy is a “Leader Dog in Training” who will be spending
the next 12 to 16 months at LaRC.

Horowitz has been raising “Leader Dogs for the Blind” for more than a decade. “Having raised other service dogs, Horowitz wanted to continue in this benevolent activity when he began his job here at LaRC,” explained Patricia Cowen, Safety and Facility Assurance Branch.

Horowitz came to Langley to ensure the structural integrity of the Boeing 757 flying laboratory, known as ARIES – Airborne Research Integrated Experiments System. To honor the aircraft, which has since been sent to Dryden and put in flyable storage, the engineer named the puppy Aries.

When Horowitz arrived on Center, he immediately started going through the appropriate channels for approval. After receiving the okay from his supervisor and co-workers, Horowitz began checking to make sure that there were no regulatory problems with bringing the puppy on Center. Aries received approval from the Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM), the Safety and Mission Assurance Office (SMAO), and the Langley Security Office.

Just to be extra careful Horowitz also got a legal opinion from the Office of Chief Counsel. “They informed him that Virginia State Law actually grants the same access rights to service dogs in training as applies to fully trained service dogs,” said Cowen.

Horowitz put in a request for a female golden retriever and waited 18 months for her to arrive. He drove all the way to Rochester, Mich. to pick up Aries, then brought her back to her new home in Hampton Roads. Although Aries is the property of “Leader Dogs for the Blind,” she will stay with Horowitz for about a year until she’s well-socialized.

Evan Horowitz and Aries the puppy. “It is very important that I get her out and about in society, so that she will be accustomed to being in and around people, noises and distractions,” said Horowitz. “By acquiring permission to bring her on Center, Aries will be raised in an environment most like what she will be in as an adult.”

While on Center, Aries will be wearing a blue coat with the words “Future Leader Dog” embroidered on it. Horowitz says that when he got Aries, he also got all the responsibilities that came with her.

“You will notice I carry around a back pack with food, water and sanitary clean-up supplies everywhere I take her,” he said. “Being a responsible pet owner is as much a part of the program as everything else.”

Horowitz also stressed that it is important that Aries is treated as a working dog. “She’s a very cute puppy, but tempting as it may be, please do not try to pet her or distract her while she is wearing her blue coat. Wearing the blue coat is equivalent to her wearing the guide harness,” he added.

After 12 to 15 months, Horowitz will return Aries to Michigan. Once back at “Leader Dogs for the Blind,” Aries will undergo a formal training process to become a guide dog. By then, thanks to Evan J. Horowitz’s dedication and NASA Langley’s acceptance Aries will be well socialized and know basic dog commands.

For more information about “Leader Dogs for the Blind,” please visit: www.leaderdog.org.

Remembering Golden Retriever Abbie

abo-in-mirror.jpg

I recently discovered, “ASK ABBIE,” an advice column for Guide Dog Puppies. What an incredible amount of information I found. I will, of course, be adding links to my site’s pages on the visually impaired. There is just so much GReat material that is shared for puppy raisers and companion animal folks alike.

Golden Abolene was the first Guide puppy raised by Puppy Pipeline Editor, Andrea Loughry. At age fifteen, after helping to raise thirteen puppies and “writing” over 75 columns, Abolene passed away quietly of old age. Golden Retriever Jasper, one of Abolene’s protoges and a retired Guide, proudly continues her advise column, retaining Abbie’s name in her honor.

Click here to see a wonderful, photo enhanced, tribute to Abolene, the voice and inspiration of Ask Abbie.

Assistance dogs receive travel training

Assistance dogs receive travel training
By Jennifer Moxley, News14

CHARLOTTE — As part of a volunteer team called the “Do Crew” some US Airways employees spent Wednesday working with some special passengers. The airline workers trained several different assistance dogs to familiarize the animals with airports and airline travel.

Assistance dogs can be guide, service or hearing dogs, and all need exposure to an airport scenario, so they are ready if their owners have to travel.

“An airport’s very exciting to dogs especially if it’s their first time. They often have a lot of smells that they’ve never encountered before and also people get excited to see dogs in airports because it’s not as common. So the dogs have to learn to deal with a lot of distractions and still learn to pay attention and do their job,” said Jennifer Rogers, Executive Director of PAALS. “We want to make sure the dogs have already gone through that process with a trainer or a handler and this way we make sure they’re really ready to go when the person needs them.”

There’s more to the story that also includes a very cool news video clip

Golden Retriever Mix Durwood enhances class experience

 durwoods.jpg

Durwood enhances class experience
By Christin Runkle, Idaho Press Tribune

CALDWELL — In many ways, Durwood isn’t much different from the seventh-grade students he goes to class with at Thomas Jefferson Charter School. He sometimes has a hard time sitting still, he falls asleep in class and he gets distracted when visitors come into the classroom.

But Durwood isn’t a seventh-grader. The 16-month-old golden retriever/yellow Labrador mix, who’s in training to become a guide dog for a blind person, has attended Thomas Jefferson with Lisa Malhas, 13, several days a week since the winter of 2006.

Durwood left Tuesday for formal training at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Ore., but Lisa’s class threw him a going-away party on Monday. Far from being a distraction, seventh grade teacher Amy Pfaff said having Durwood in class has “kind of brought them together as a little family.”

“Our kids are really protective of him,” Pfaff said. “There’s never a moment when Durwood doesn’t have someone mothering over him.”

Having an animal in the classroom seemed to help students as individuals, as well. “He’s made school more enjoyable,” said Malhas’ classmate Adam Johnson, 13. “He’s kind of made me more responsible so I can do stuff like . . . train a dog and be good with my animals.”

Malhas has had to make sure her classmates know how to properly interact with Durwood — Guide Dogs for the Blind doesn’t allow guide dogs in training to eat from people’s hands, for instance. But controlling his behavior in class hasn’t been a problem for Malhas. Durwood has been trained to lie down when his family takes him places.

“He’s probably the calmest dog,” Malhas said. “He sits under my desk and sleeps.” Training Durwood has taught Malhas patience and respect. “It’s been a really good experience,” she said. “I’m really glad how he turned out through everything.”

There’s more . . .

Rowan University Forward to Freedom (R.U.F.F.)

What a cool program for this university to have. I am so very impressed!

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R.U.F.F. visits Oak Knoll School
Posted by Gloucester County Times

Rowan student teachers Ashley Ryan and LeighAnn Quinn invited R.U.F.F. (Rowan University Forward to Freedom) to visit their fourth grade students at Oak Knoll School as part of a “Character Education” class and because they were learning about Helen Keller during Women’s History month.This is the Rowan division of puppy raisers. After their time spent at Rowan, the dogs then go on to Morristown for formal training to become guide or service dogs.

Pictured here are Ashley Ryan, Metin Ahiskali, Elyse Kozlowskiki, Robin Brelsford and LeighAnn Quinn with Kong, the German Shepherd, Spike, the Golden Retriever and Jeeves, the Black Lab Retriever.

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Toms River Rowan U student raises Seeing Eye puppy on campus
December 20, 2006

Wisdom says it takes a village to raise a child, but Kari Mastromonica, a 2004 graduate of Toms River High School East, is finding it takes roommates, teachers, family and an entire university campus to raise a Seeing Eye puppy.“The campus is the perfect place to raise a guide dog as we are a city unto ourselves,” says Robin Brelsford, co-leader of Rowan University’s Forward to Freedom (RUFF) puppy-raising program. “The dogs get plenty of exposure to the things they will encounter as guide dogs. Our dogs grow up in crowds, around traffic, construction equipment, bicycles, wheelchairs, fire alarms, you name it.”

This year RUFF is raising seven puppies, socializing them before they return to The Seeing Eye, Morristown, for formal training. Mastromonica, a junior psychology major, is raising Walden, a Labrador/golden retriever cross puppy.

“I always saw the puppies around campus my freshman year, and I was intrigued by them,” says Mastromonica. “So, I decided to get involved. I filled out an application, and in my sophomore year I started raising a German shepherd named Al, who is continuing training with The Seeing Eye.”

Mastromonica, like all of the other student puppy-raisers, lives on campus. That means Walden has three roommates in addition to Mastromonica. Lindsay Jackson, from Sea Isle City; Kathy Sullivan, from Cateret; and Danielle Cascella, from Spotswood, share their apartment with Walden. All four roommates have agreed to take care of Walden for the duration of his stay.

“We get these puppies at just seven weeks of age. All housetraining and basic obedience are on us,” says Brelsford, who is raising Jeeves, a Labrador/golden retriever cross, with her husband George Brelsford, Rowan vice president of student affairs and co-leader of RUFF.

According to Mastromonica, the experiences and situations have been interesting and not always easy when it comes to taking Walden everywhere she goes. “Outside of campus, sometimes people don’t want Walden in their stores or other buildings,” says Mastromonica. “But at Rowan, everyone is so supportive. People are always stopping me and asking me questions because they are curious. I am always willing to stop and educate people about the reason why I am raising Walden.”

According to Robin Brelsford, all of the stares, awkward situations and training are worth it.

“Raising a puppy requires a deep understanding that this commitment goes way beyond yourself. It is extremely difficult to love and nurture a puppy for a year to give him/her to someone else,” she says. “As much as I love and want my puppy, I don’t need my puppy. Someone else’s life will be greatly enhanced and protected by the job this puppy will be able to do. That’s why we do what we do.”

Golden Retriever Mr. Bear – in – training

These pups will be someone’s eyes
Foster families help some waggly tailed ruckuses get ready for jobs as guide dogs.
By CHANDRA BROADWATER, photo by Keri Wiginton

Mr. Bear relaxes beneath the table while Barbara Dupree and Steve Whitaker have lunch at Country Kitchen in Brooksville last week. Dupree brings the golden retriever everywhere to get him acclimated to people and public spaces.

BROOKSVILLE – With his head resting on a paw, Mr. Bear sits quietly by the desk of Hernando Human Resources director Barbara Dupre.

It’s 11 a.m., an hour before Dupre will head out with the fluffy 8-month-old golden retriever for lunch. Taking the dog with her everywhere is part of raising a puppy for Southeastern Guide Dogs of Palmetto, something Dupre is doing for the first time.

Just as he will do at the Country Kitchen, Mr. Bear, the future guide dog, continues to quietly sit and doze as Dupre flutters through papers on her desk.

In her government center office, a blue leash connects him to a chair where it is looped through a plastic arm. But that really isn’t necessary – even without it, Mr. Bear wouldn’t move unless he was told to.


There is more . . .

Goldens Danny, Dougie, Tom and Harry

McFly link up with Guide Dogs
By Benedict Moore-Bridger

DANNY, Dougie, Tom and Harry are very cute and cuddly – and all the girls love them. But these four handsome youngsters are not the familiar stars from the hugely successful British band McFly. They are actually from a litter of guide dog puppies that have just met their famous namesakes for the first time.

The golden retriever pups – who are just three months old – made a special trip to London to catch up with the band who are promoting their forthcoming single Transylvania, taken from the album Motion In The Ocean.

Band member Tom said: “I love dogs and so it’s just awesome to have a litter of guide dog pups named after our band. These puppies will one day make a huge difference to the lives of people with sight loss and I’m really proud to be following them on that journey.”

McFly will follow the progress of the pups as they become qualified guide dogs.

There’s more . . .