Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Baron and the Federal Law Clerk

                                                              BARON THE GUIDE DOG

Remember my GDA brother Baron?  His owner received some good news today that I wanted to share with you all.  Chris, Baron's owner, writes the following:

                 Feeling blessed, honored, and a whirlwind of other emotions to announce that following graduation, I will serve the Western District of Kentucky as a federal law clerk.  I've had a federal clerkship as my goal for a long time, and to be able to do this in my home state is amazing.  My wife, a champion at life in all regards, has been my strength, comfort, and support ever since I decided to change careers.  None of this could have ever happened without Emily, and I'm so excited to begin this next chapter with her!

I am very proud of Chris and my GDA brother, as they have accomplished so much in such little time. Together, they lead an independent and fulfilling life, much to do with Chris' loving wife  and family, but also due to the generous gift of sight, Baron, from Guide Dogs of America. 

Our family congratulates Chris, and we are very excited for this new chapter in his life!

My brother "Wyatt", the guide dog~~

Hey everyone!  This is my brother Wyatt!  He is a guide dog from Guide Dogs of America. My momma's friend Peggy, is who he guides for here in Southern California. They are a great team. 

Momma says it's fascinating to watch him work, like today in downtown Pasadena, avoiding cars, crossing streets, fitting in tight spaces like at the Pie and Burger joint, navigating elevators one floor at a time until he could figure out the right floor, and so many other situations that we as sighted people take for granted. 

Guide Dogs of America provides guide dogs free of charge to the visually impaired and blind, without the help of any state or federal funding. 

Let's give a great big hooray for GDA and Wyatt for giving Peggy the ability to live an independent and safe life. 

By the way, we both cross our paws like this!!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Winter's Summer in America 2011 (Another Throwback and forgotten post)

Three days after brother Baron went in for Formal Training to become a Guide Dog for Guide Dogs of America (something I was not destined to do), I ventured out of Southern California and on to some new territory.

This country is in an extreme heat wave, so my Mom convinced my Dad to take the Northern route: Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska (Dad doesn't like that state, because he and Papa once got stopped by the PoPo and had to pay a fine because the PoPo didn't believe that their rig was a motorhome. Cost them 800 dollars cash), Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and of course finally my second home, the beautiful State of Arkansas at War Eagle Cove.

Tagging along on this trip (actually we are tagging along on this part of our trip) were Scott and Lauren who are going to college in Illinois. This was our first destination. Our second destination was The Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, where Dad was working, and our third destination is right here at War Eagle Cove.

It took two weeks for us to get to Northwest Arkansas, and we had a grand time Our first stop was Cedar City, Utah.

Our second stop was Colorado. We stayed on the river, where there was a zip line, rock climbing, and river rafting.

Our third stop was Nebraska. Oh yeah, we don't want to stay here again. We tried to get through the whole state, but we ended up in Sterling, Nebraska, and the camp was not up to par. But, Lauren did make banana nut bread! Yummy.

Our fourth stop was Des Moines, Iowa. Now this was a great stop. For one, after last night's stop, we were very grateful for this KOA. But second, and more important, is that we were able to meet DJ, Barb, and Guide Dog Tyson! They graciously came to our camp to meet us. We have been FB friends for awhile and had never met. This was my Mom's first time to meet a Guide Dog Team working outside of GDA. Tyson is a black Labrador Retriever from Guide Dogs of America, who Mom raises puppies for. To finally see what these puppies become, a Guide Dog, and to see the love and committment of this team together is just amazing. We walked around camp to the brand new shaded dog park, which was huge, to let Tyson play free with me. Something interesting happened though, he didn't want to play with me. He is so in tune with DJ, his owner, that his loyalty is to her. My Mom watched in awe as DJ removed the harness form Tyson, and just left his leash attached. DJ and Tyson then started running! Tyson grabbed the leash in his mouth and followed DJ around in this big park, running. It was amazing to see them together. What a great team! Tyson is a very happy dog.

Our fifth stop was Lake Forest, Illinois. This is where we had to say good-bye to our niece and nephew, but not before touring the beautiful campus they will be attending.

Our sixth stop was Indiana. This is where Dad goes off to work with NASCAR. He is the onsite editor for NASCAR, where his work airs on SPEED Channel. We stayed at another KOA, which was ran by a very nice family. All of their childre chipped in to run this huge RV Park. Their 10 year old had been handed the reigns, so to speak, of the tractor led hayride! He did a great job. The kids picked up trash put out by campers at their site every morning. The kids cleaned the pool. The kids held the raffle, and made cotton candy, and set up the movie theater at night, and made root beer floats. AND THEY NEVER COMPLAINED! They always had smiles on their faces. They actally looked like they enjoyed a little hard work. Our camp was set up right against acres and acres of corn fields. Mom would go out to the fields behind us and buy fresh corn of the stalk that morning, and fresh eggs, green beans, and tomatoes. This KOA also had an awesome Bark Park. There was this dog named Tootsie. She was a Saint Bernard. How many licks does it take to get to the center of my ball? ONE! Tootsie squashed my balls! But, I still a bunch of fun pallin' around with the campers' pets.

Our seventh stop was back to Illinois. This is where Mom became the road renegade. Dad had to leave back to California to work on Swimming, so it was just Mom and I in the Airstream. Everyone worries about us traveling by ourselves, but not to worry, Mom knows her stuff and besides I will ALWAYS protect her, because I love her. We did not take one interstate highway from Indiana to Arkansas. We took back country roads and really saw America! Our stop for the night was Lake Shelbyville, operated by the Corps of Engineers. Normally, our camping fees run between 30-40 dollars per night, but here it was only $18. They allow dogs in the lake, but not in swimming areas, so I found the spot, and in I went. Swim, swim, swim. Little did I know, it was where the Amish fish, but they didn't care. The Amish husband was interested in my Mom's independence and struck up a conversation with her. She told him all about Guide Dogs! The women stayed behind, but the young boys were intersted in the convo too!

Our eighth stop was Missouri. Continuing on country roads, we found a Mo. State Park, called Babler. It is situated just west of St. Louis, near Daniel Boone's town of St. Charles. This park was donated by a doctor, 2500 acres of land situated amongst mansions of the midwest. We're talkin' six car garages and three story high houses fenced with horses on rolling hills. Our campsite had almost an acre of land for me to run on. Yahoo!

Our ninth stop was ARKANSAS! Heading South on country roads, we entered the State of Arkansas at Branson, MO. Arkansas is a beautiful state. There is so much to see here, and the people are genuinely nice. Even the kids, little boys, and teenage girls. As the Airstream meandered through Northwest Arkansas, we saw quilt shops! Mom loves quilts and likes to quilt. Surprisingly, she didn't stop. I bet we take a little side trip here soon to go check them out.

And here I am, bakin' in this heat wave. You know, it's actually too hot to go in the lake right now. I'm just cruisin' the house with 17 other animals and three humans in the air conditioner. I keep wanting to stay outside, but Mom says NO! TOO HOT! I ran from her, but she didn't chase me. Then she tricked me. Want a treat? That got me to the door of the house, but she grabbed my collar and took me to the Airstream and now I'm quarantined for the rest of the day. She did give me a Natural Balance treat though. Apparently, there is an extreme heat advisory out, and I don't know what that means. All I want to do is play. But she knows what's best for me, so I am on the BED! Nap time for the rest of the day, until the sun sets.

Oh Boy! A forgotten post! Throwback!

Oh Boy!  Do I have a lot of catching up to do. I said I was back, and I didn't come back for a year. Oops. Momma's hands have been very busy this past year, and blogging had to take a vacation for awhile.

Right after my last post, Baron was called in early to Guide Dogs of America for Formal Training. He stayed in Formal Training for 6 months, afterwhich he was matched with a young man named Chris, from Kentucky.  Baron and Chris graduated on January 29th, 2012. Chris used to live here in California, but decided to go back to Kentucky, so that he could be closer to his sweetie.  They are getting married on Baron's birthday, April 21st, 2013.  What are the odds of that happening?

The day we turned in Baron for Formal Training, our family left on a month long vacation in the Airstream to take our niece and nephew to college in Illinois, and then went on to Arkansas to visit my Momma's dad.  He lives on the lake, and the last time I was there, I sllipped away and went swimming in Beaver Lake.  Momma caught me, and called me in, and now she keeps a closer eye on me.  It was good to get away, and keep me occupied, because without Baron at the house I would have drove my parents crazy.  So, going on vacation was awesome. I saw so many new places, and got to pal around with my grandpa's 5 dogs; 3 Schnouzers, and 2 Yorkies.

The day that we got back home from traveling, we went back to Guide Dogs of America to pick up another Puppy In Training.  This is the third puppy that my parents have raised for Guide Dogs of America.  I was the first!  My new buddy's name is Stryker, and he was born on July 2nd, 2012.  He was 7 weeks old when he came to live with us.  He is a black lab, and as big as Baron.  Stryker is 14 months old now! We get along great.

We've taken a few trips together this past year.  One of my favorites was going to the Grand Canyon in the Airstream, during the Winter! We had the whole place to ourselves.  We spent Christmas in Arkansas, and a bunch of time in Mammoth Mountain.  We love Airstreaming.  Dad and I have our own bed, and Mom and Stryker have their own.

Monday, August 17, 2015

4 Years Later!

Hello everyone!

I can't believe it's been four years since I have blogged.  Life got very busy for my family, and I have so much to update you on.

I am 6 years old now! I guess I will start filling you in where we left off in July, 2011.


At that time, I had to say goodbye to my buddy, Guide Dog Puppy in Training, Baron.  Baron entered formal training and after a few months, graduated as a full fledged Guide Dog in April, 2012.  He was paired up with a wonderful young man named Chris, and they live in Kentucky.  Chris is married and is attending his third year of law school! Baron is 5 years old now.


Momma decided she wanted to keep puppy raising for Guide Dogs of America, so she was handed 7 week old Stryker in September 2011, a black lab.  Stryker trained as a Puppy in Training until 14 months old, afterwhich he was deemed a breeder!.  Stryker has sired three litters up til now, and has had a handful of his offspring graduate as Guide Dogs!  Stryker is a gentle giant, very easy going, and tolerates anything! Momma is what's called a Breeder Keeper, which means that she takes care of Stryker at our house and is on call with him. Stryker is 4 years old now.


After Stryker was deemed a breeder, Momma still had the puppy raising itch, so she signed up again to raise another puppy for Guide Dogs of America.  This time she was handed the ever-loving beautiful labrador-golden retriever cross named OTTO!  OTTO became our family's 4th dog to raise for Guide Dogs of America.  OTTO was named after a retired Marine.  OTTO had a sponsor, and wouldn't you know it, she is from Kentucky!  Well, that was all Momma needed to hear, and she put all of us furkids in the Airstream trailer and took off to Kentucky!.  She picked up Baron the Guide and off we all went on vacation.  Baron's Dad and Mom went on a cruise out of the country, so Baron got to hang around with us! OTTO made it though all of his puppy training and formal training, and is a Guide Dog in Colorado now for a very nice lady who likes sci-fi conventions!

OTTO's Sponsor


Momma still had the bug to puppy raise after OTTO.  Now at this point, I'm thinking that I'm getting too old for this puppy raising, big brother stuff, but you know what, Stryker has become the active canine in the house to foster GDA brothers, so it's not all that bad.  I just hang out and do my own thing while those guys ruff it up!

After OTTO, Momma did sign up again!  She decided to raise Nav, but things didn't go as well for Nav, and just two days before he was to come home with us, he broke his wrist!  This disqualified him from the Guide Dog program (Career Change). We decided to make him a member of the family and adopted him.  We saw him through his broken wrist for a few months, and then, yes, there is an "and then"!  Then, a friend of ours, who had just lost his dog, fell in love with Nav.  Momma made the heartfelt decision to let David adopt Nav.  David decided Nav should be named Scully, after Vin Scully! Momma was sort of sad to see Nav leave, but at the same time, she was happy to see David have a buddy again!  Besides, while this whole broken wrist thing happened, Momma took in his sibling, Georgie, who was also Career Changed due to medical.  There were 5 dogs in the house for a bit!  Can you say controlled chaos!


So, now we have Georgie at the house.  Georgie is 1.5 years old now.  He and Stryker play all day long, while I just hang out!  With all that said, there are three canines in the house.  Me, Styrker, and Georgie.  It's a happy medium!


Momma isn't going to puppy raise anymore for Guide Dogs of America.  My parentals have made the decision to move to the countryside out of state, where we can run and run and run!  We are really looking forward to moving to the country house!  I LOVE THE COUNTRY HOUSE!  I can get in trouble for sneaking out to the lake for a swim.

Until next time, tail wags and doggie licks!  Winter.