Transporting puppies north from Leader Dogs for the Blind to the U.P. prisons requires careful planning and some amount of juggling. At the end of January, puppy counselor Tammy was charged with picking up four puppies in Rochester Hills; three would be delivered to the Chippewa Correctional Facility and one to the Baraga Correctional Facility.
"This is my life," Tammy said, describing her saga. "I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Every day my whole client load showed up and then I had to do the paperwork." She works at a medical center doing diabetic nutrition counseling.
While Tammy had full intentions of leaving work at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday to get an early start, she was delayed until 3:00. She went home and picked up her son so she would have some help, then drove about one hour to Leader Dogs. Here she swapped out her car for a Leader Dog van. From 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. they organized and hauled crates, 50 pound bags of dog and puppy food, and finally, four puppies - a German Shepherd (Chewy), brother and sister black Labs (Copo and Ashley) and a class-ready black Lab (Tara) who needed some extra help with stairs.
After an hour drive back home, they had to get all the puppies inside for the night. "I brought each dog in individually," Tammy said. Her three large and excited dogs met them at the door: retired Leader Dog "dad" Midas (a Golden Retriever), career-changed black Lab Ivan, and Leader Dog "dad" Ruckus (a black Lab). Tammy's Future Leader Dog Harper was on loan at my house for the week, but I'm not sure that his absence was noticed amongst all the mayhem.
"By the time I got them all in it was time to park them all!" Tammy said. And then it was feeding time, followed shortly by more parking.
"I got to bed about 1:00 and got up about 6:00," Tammy said. "All puppies slept all night." That was great, but now she had to park them all again, feed them, park them again, and get everything back into the van, this time without her son's help. "My goal was to leave at 7:30," she said. By 7:45 she had the puppies in the van and headed north.
Tammy stopped three times to park puppies before picking me and FLD Harper up at a park-n-ride along I-75. We stopped twice more along the way. At one rest stop, we took turns trying to get FLD Chewy to park (hey, we have to park too). "He peed!" I exclaimed as Tammy returned to the van from the rest rooms.
Road conditions were not as bad as we have driven other times this snowy winter of 2013/2014, but not 70 miles per hour good.
"After all that, we were only a half hour late," Tammy said.
|Tammy carries in FLDs Chewy and Ashley to present to their new raisers.|
Coming up next...new puppies at Chippewa!