September 11, 2014
Logistics for our trips to the UP prisons can be tricky. Tammy leaves from her house to travel about an hour to Leader Dogs for the Blind. Here she picks up the van and loads whatever she needs to deliver to the two correctional facilities. Usually that includes several 50-pound bags of Purina Pro Plan dog or puppy food.
This trip we are also delivering two puppies - a male black lab (Dylan) to Chippewa and a male chocolate lab (Hershel) to Baraga. Unfortunately, they aren't ready to leave Leader Dog until after 9 a.m. This means a late start, made a little later when Tammy tries to get sleepy Hershel to "park" before being tucked into his travel crate. No luck, so in he goes.
About an hour and 15 minutes from our meeting place on northbound I-75, I get a call. "Bring clean up material," Tammy says. "I was driving down the road in the van and smelled it and thought I should have given him more time." She stops to check and finds out "it wasn't even him!" Dylan was the poopy culprit.
We clean things up and head north. I brought sandwich makings so we only have to make pit stops for the puppies. Still, we don't get across the Mighty Mac until 3:30. We arrive at Chippewa after 4. Lots to do in little time.
|Tammy lifts FLD Dylan over Dave's left shoulder as Eric looks on.|
|FLD Dylan doesn't look too sure of the attention.|
|Team FLD Dylan.|
As Tammy goes over the puppy contract with Dave, I am supposed to greet the teams and check the weight on each puppy. We use the Purina Body Condition chart as a guide and like to see a rating of 4 or 5. I ask each team to rate their puppy. It is interesting that the men rate each puppy at least one number lower than I do.
Because guide dogs will walk a lot during their career, it is imperative to keep their bodies lean. A lower-than-the-normal-pet-dog-weight will assure less wear and tear on the joints - and a longer working life. The men need to learn what a good Future Leader Dog physique looks like.
I like to tell people to use their own hand as a guide to compare how the puppy's ribs feel. If the puppy's ribs feel like your open palm at the base of your fingers, then the puppy is probably too heavy. If the puppy's ribs feel like your knuckles when you make a fist, then the puppy is likey too thin. The puppy is just right if its ribs feel like your knuckles when your hand is held open.
BANDANA-RAMA (just because it sounds fun)
|FLD Harley models his new bandana that was embroidered by a volunteer named Jean.|
|Ro likes FLD GeeGee's new bandana. He named his puppy after his daughter. "She thinks every puppy I get will come home with me," he said.|