Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Breaking news

March 18, 2014
Rochester Hills, Michigan

ANNOUNCER: We interrupt these irregularly scheduled blog posts to bring you a breaking news story. Fifteen new Leader Dogs were issued to their partners today at the Leader Dogs for the Blind facility in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

These pups were whelped in volunteer host homes, raised by other volunteers for about one year, and then advanceed through four to five months of challenging job training.

Today the dreams of all the volunteers and trainers are fulfilled. Today the dogs are introduced to their forever person; they move into the Polk Residence at Leader Dogs for the Blind. For the next 26 days, the dogs and their new handlers will begin the bonding process and learn to work as a team.

A short-brown haired woman is kneeling on one knee next to a standing golden retriever. She is wearing a maroon fleece jacket and blue jeans. The dog has a blue bandana with a white triangle patch with red letters that say Future Leader Dog. On the right side is a black statue of a german shepherd dog. Behind them are glass doors with white letters that say "Kennel" with the hours underneath.
FLD Dutch on his return to Leader Dogs.
One dog in particular is of interest to this audience.
[Drum roll please.]
Congratulations to Leader Dog Dutch!
raised by patti brehler
[Clap and cheer!]

Patti, can you tell us how you are feeling right now?

PATTI: I always hate these kind of questions. How do I feel? How does the sun shine?! My insides are trembling, my face hurts from smiling, my heart is about to burst. See me? I am doing a happy dance!

ANNOUNCER: But, isn't it hard to give up the puppy you raised for a year?

PATTI: It is not easy. When I brought Dutch back to Leader Dogs last November, just about one year after picking up that fuzzy ball of puppy breath, I cried. It never gets easier. If it were easy, everyone would be raising puppies for Leader Dogs. Those of us who can, do. And we do it again and again and again.

Yes, it is sad to say good-bye to that creature that's been at the end of your left arm for so long. And after you say good-bye, the waiting will drive you crazy if you think on it too long. You wonder if it is possible to hold your breath for four or five months. You dread the phone call that sometimes comes from Leader Dogs. "Your puppy has been career-changed."

But. Then you get this email:
Dear puppy raiser, The puppy you raised has been issued to a student in the current class.
This little email makes it all worthwhile. And then, if all goes well, you meet the new team. Priceless.

ANNOUNCER: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

PATTI: When have I never had something more to say? [LOL]

Raising a puppy for Leader Dogs for the Blind is not a solo exercise. I couldn't have raised Dutch without the help of too many people to name. I'll try. I want to thank my family and friends, my community, everyone, especially...

My husband Andy for his unending support (and carpet cleaning).

A man wearing glasses and holding a brown coffee mug, wearing a black and white checked shirt and blue jeans is sitting in a black office chair. A desk is just off to the right. A golden retriever is lying on the floor under his legs, looking at the camera, the dog is on his side. The room is paneled in tongue and groove pine, there is a light brown file cabient in the background on the left and two blue dog beds on the floor on the left.
Andy with his morning coffee. Dutch is resting under his legs.

My sister Anne & Co. (her three daughters) for puppy-sitting and believing in me.

A tuba is on the floor in the foreground. A small golden retriever puppy is sitting behind it. A young girl is sitting on the left side with her left hand on the puppy's head. She has brown hair and is looking at the camera, she is wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt. On a soft tan chair behind the girl and the puppy another girl with long brown hair is laying on her belly on her elbows, she is looking down at the puppy. She is wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Two of my nieces help FLD Dutch learn to appreciate the tuba.

My family for listening to all my Leader Dog-this and Leader Dog-that talk.

A woman with long brown hair is sitting with her feet on a green love seat. She is wearing glasses and has her right hand to her chin. She is looking to her right at her father who is out of view. A man wearing glasses, a purple sweat shirt over a maroon shirt and blue jeans is sitting on the floor leaning agains the couch. He is facing the camera and has his right arm around a golden retriever puppy. The puppy is sitting against the man and looking at the camera. There are two brown shoes on the rug in front of the puppy. There are two dog beds to the right side with two german short-haired pointers lying in them but the are mostly out of view.
Andy's daughter and her husband hang out with FLD Dutch.

The Ogemaw County Voice for publishing my articles about Dutch and Leader Dogs.

A man wearing a green shirt and blue jeans is standing behind a table that has wine glasses on it. A woman is standing on the right side of the table, she is wearing a black jacket with a black and white striped shirt under it and blue jeans. She has long brown hair and is looking down at a golden retriever that is sitting in front of her. She is holding the dog's brown leash. The dog is wearing a baby blue working jacket. They are all inside of a carpet store, so there are carpet displays on either side of them and behind them.
Grange and Kathy, publishers and owners of the Ogemaw County Voice are happy to have FLD Dutch stop by their display table at an Art and Wine Walk in downtown West Branch.

My puppy counselor Tammy for always lending an ear, and for asking me to come to the U.P. with her.

A group of inmates are outside of a brick building with their puppies - they are in the background of the picture. In the foreground is an inmate on the left side shaking hands with a woman on the right side. The inmates are wearing the blue and orange prison uniforms. The woman is wearing a green t-shirt and bluejeans. The inmate on the left has a golden retriever standing at his left side. The dog is wearing a baby blue working jacket and is looking up at their hands, but is calm. There is green grass in the background. The man and woman and dog are standing on a sidewalk. There are flowers lining the sidewalk.
Tammy and a Chippewa inmate raiser practice a meet & greet with FLD Dutch...who performs perfectly!

Deb for teaching me how to wait (and for joining the "Cackle Club.")

A golden retriever is lying flat on his side on a brown carpet, looking at the camera, he is wearing a baby blue jacket. A woman sitting on a chair behind the dog is holding a brown leash lightly in her left hand at her side. She is wearing a blue long sleeve t-shirt and gray pants. Her legs are crossed and her right hand is on her right thigh. she has short brown hair and is looking at the camera. Beihind the woman are two long folding tables with coffee thermoses on one. Another woman is sitting behind the table on the right, she is wearing a blue flowered shirt and blue jeans.She has her arms crossed with her right hand near her face.
FLD Dutch finally settles next to Deb during last year's puppy counselor training at Leader Dogs for the Blind.

My fellow puppy-raisers for understanding.

A ground level shot over the head of a gold retriever that is lying on the floor looking away from the camera. You can only see the back of his head, and part of someone's leg on the right. A yellow lab is lying down in front of the golden, facing the camera. He is wearing a baby blue working jacket. Our of focus in the background are at least eight puppy raisers sitting in folding chairs with their puppies lying down on the floor in front of them.
FLD Dutch surveys the crowd during a training weekend at Leader Dogs for the Blind.

My dog Gypsy for keeping Dutch in line.

An older brindle coated 40 pound dog is lying on a green couch with an orange pillow. The dog's muzzle is gray and she is snarling at a small fuzzy golden retriever puppy who is on the floor about to chew a brown shoe. The puppy is wearing a blue collar and a round tag.
Gypsy snarls at FLD Dutch for going after Andy's shoes. (Or maybe for just getting too close to her!)

My career-changed dog Gus, for allowing Dutch to drag him around.

A close up floor level shot of a black lab on his side on a beige carpet facing the camera with his mouth open. A small golden retriever is on top of him with his mouth on the lab's head.
FLD Dutch wrestles Gus to the floor.

The Bardsleys for raising Dutch's dad, Alphie (and helping to get puppies into the Chippewa Correctional Facility).

Six people pose outside in front of a brick building on grass. From left to right, a man wearing a light blue shirt and blue pants with his hands folded at his waist, a short woman with short brown hair wearing a light green shirt and khaki pants has two german shepherds on either side of her, a woman with white hair and glasses wearing a light blue shirt and blue jeans with a black bag at her waits has a small golden retriever puppy on her left side. The puppy is sitting and is wearing a blue bandana. A short brown haired woman with glasses wearing an orange t-shirt and dark khaki shorts is holding a brown leash in her hands at her waist. A golden retriever is lying on the ground to her left and is looking up at her. A short brown haired woman wearing a white shirt and khaki pants is standing next to a man with a gray beard and glasses, he is wearing a tan shirt and green khaki pants. It is very sunny and everyone is almost squinting with the sun in their eyes.
At the Chippewa Correctional Facility. From left to right, ARUS Rob, Deb with cc'd Tripp and FLD Strider, Tammy with FLD Harper, patti with FLD Dutch, and Paula and Dave Bardsley. The beginning of Leader Dogs' U.P. prison puppy raising program.

The Rose City Cafe and the New Sunrise Cafe and all their regulars for putting up with Dutch's barking phase.

Three women face the camera. The woman in the middle is holding a golden retriever puppy, barely! The women on the left and right are wearing purple shirts, the woman in the middle is wearing a blck sweartshirt, and glasses. The woman on the right is wearing a purple scarf on her head.
Staff at the Rose City Cafe pose with a young FLD Dutch
A woman with short blond hair wearing a grey short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans is standing on the left holding a brown leash. A bald man with a goatee and mustache is kneeling on one knee on the right. He is trying to hold a golden retriever, who is trying to lick the man's face. The man has his eyes closed and the woman is smiling. The man is wearing a gray and blue striped short sleeved shirt and blue jeans. The dog is wearing a blue jacket and a blue bandana.
FLD Dutch with the owners of the New Sunrise Cafe.
A group of older women are sitting at a restaurant table. The woman on the left side is holding the leash of a golden retriever, who is wearing a blue bandana and jacket. The dog looks like he is about to leap on her lap, the women are all smiling. The two women in front are wearing light green sweatshirts.
The regulars at the New Sunrise Cafe say good-bye to FLD Dutch.

Mrs. Matthews' second-graders at Surline Elementary for knowing when to pet him and when to ignore him.

A large gorup of second graders pose outside in the sun with a golden retriever, who is standing in front of them looking at them and not the camera. All the children are holding marigolds that they had potted for their mothers for mother's day. There are five adults (one man and four women) standing in the background.
Mrs. Matthews' second-grade class pose with FLD Dutch at the West Branch Greenhouse just before Mother's Day, 2013.

ANNOUNCER: Excuse me, but we are running out of space and we need to get back to our irregular blog posts.

PATTI:                THANK YOU ALL!
 *With apologies for leaving anyone out.


  1. Way to go Dutch!! We'll throw in a thank you to the New Sunrise Cafe also. They've welcomed these out of towners with their FLD puppies too!

    1. Thanks! We'll meet you for breakfast there next time you visit the park. :)

  2. Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS! My insides are trembling for you. LOL I hope you get to meet his new person. Soooooooooooooo exciting. :D

    1. LOL, Jess, you expressed my sentiments exactly! We hope to meet Dutch's new partner on the 29th. Keep your paws crossed. :)

  3. Congratulations to Dutch and everyone who helped him succeed.

  4. This is wonderful! I love the bit about hoping. That's the thing that really got me to make my final decision to sign with my agent; she had this amazing optimism just leaking out of her pores when she called to offer representation.