Sunday, December 14, 2014

So little time...

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.


A man wearing a green sweatshirt and a blue ball cap and glasses is facing the camera on the left. On the right is a man wearing a white long sleeved tshrit. He is looking at the other man. Between them and behind them is a woman with short white hair and glasses, wearing a blue windbreaker. She is holding a small black lab puppy over the left shoulder of the man on the left. The puppy'es front paws are reaching over the man's shoulder.
Tammy lifts FLD Dylan over Dave's left shoulder as Eric looks on.
The man wearing the blue ball cap is holding the black lab puppy and giving the puppy a big smooch on its right cheek. The woman behind is out of focus and she is smiling.
Some puppy-lovin'.

Another close shot, this one of the man wearing the white t-shirt. He is holding the black lab puppy close to him and is smooching him on his left cheek.
FLD Dylan doesn't look too sure of the attention.

The two men stand together (the man in the ball cap on the left and the man in the white t-shirt on the right( and hold the black lab puppy between them.
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)

A young golden retriever/lab mix puppy is sitting on a carpted floor, with his head turned away from the camera. His leash is hanging loose on the floor. He has the blue Future Leader Dog bandana around his neck, and a second blue Future Leader dog bandana over his head. In the background are the legs of several men sitting in chairs.
FLD Harley models his new bandana that was embroidered by a volunteer named Jean.
Now the same puppy has turned his head toward the camera. The bandana on his head has his ears pinned back.
A head and shoulder shot of an African American man wearing a grey and blue jacket. He is holding a folded blue Future Leader Dog bandana at his chest with his right hand.
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.

A man weraing a long-sleeve white t-shirt is sitting down facing the camera. He is holding a blue bandana up between is outstreatched hands. Embroidered on the bandana is the outline of the Upper Peninsulat with the word "Chippewa" under it. There are two black dogs with a yellow dog between them embroidered on it. Under each dog are the names (from left to rigth) Tara, Granite and Coda. These are the three "finsihing" dogs the man has raised. Behind the man is another man who is holding up a poster facing away from the camera and reading it.
Jeremy holds up the bandana he received with the names of the three finishing dogs he raised. He said he likes getting the "rehomed" dogs because "they have character." He admitted that he enjoyed FLD Granite the best, but is very pleased with the progress he's made with FLD Coda.

1 comment:

  1. Great job guys i like the picture of me thanks pattie I did have a great time with granite tell the other guys in the program hi and good work