Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I know it is a bit early for a Christmas post but I was not sure if I would get around to it on Christmas Day. Sadly, I will not be with Frito on Christmas. I am flying home to Wisconsin for a week or so and only have enough room under my airplane seat for Dexter & Bailey. I will miss Frito but I could not have asked for better people for her to spend the holidays with - the Pollak's, who finished raising Nordic (my first GEB pup) and eventually adopted Nordic when he decided that guide work was not for him. I am sure Frito is having a great time and I look forward to all the adventures that await us in 2010.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Friends Forever

Julia raised Persia for several weeks before Persia went to her permanent raiser, Charlotte, who lives on the Upper East Side. During the time that Julia had Persia, we got Frito and Persia together at least twice daily at the dog park to play. They became the best of friends (contrary to the sounds they sometimes made at the dog park) and when Persia left Julia in mid-December, I truly think that Frito was depressed about it. Thankfully, Persia still lives in Manhattan and is free for playdates! One such playdate occurred in Battery Park at a dog park that had just been cleaned and made for a super wet and fun experience for Persia and Frito.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Photogenic Frito

I had a professional pet photographer come to my apartment and take pictures of Frito and my two pet dogs, Dexter & Bailey. I struggle with my simple camera and getting good shots of the dogs so I figured I would splurge and hire someone who actually has skills in taking pictures. Below are a selection of my favorite Frito shots.

*All photos taken by Ixiana Hernandez of Petographs,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Time for Class!

Frito is now six months old - I can't believe how fast time flies!!! As the NYC puppy raising region is growing by leaps and bounds, the dogs in each puppy class had to be moved around to accommodate all the new puppies. The classes now consist of the grade school class (with pups Persia, Jessie, Fern, & Breezy), the middle school class (with pups Fabri, Laddie, Filo, & Joba), and the high school class (with pups Frito, Fanta, Taft, Ritz, & Opehlia). Here are a few pictures from Frito's first day of "high school":

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frito & Ophelia's Amazing Adventure

Fellow raiser Ashley and I decided one morning, while Ophelia and Frito were playing in Battery Park, to take the dogs on a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in search of a dog park I had heard was great from another dog owner. While we knew the walk across the bridge would be a great experience for both dogs, we also looked forward to the lengthy naps that would be sure to follow.

For some reason, it did not occur to me that the bridge would be crowded. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining, and the temperature was mild. Apparently, many other people decided that walking across the bridge at the same time as Ashley, Ophelia, Frito, and me would be a good idea.

Here is Frito and I as we begin our trek across the bridge:

Ashley and Ophelia at the beginning of the epic walk:

Walking across the bridge was a mental work-out for raiser and dog alike. It required a lot of focus on both our parts in order to maneuver around the people and dodge any wheeled vehicle (bikes, skateboards, rollerbladers, etc) that whizzed past. To add to the challenge, Frito and Ophelia walked the entire way side-by-side - a major challenge for any dog! The surface of the bridge was a new experience for Frito as well - wood boards with cracks between them that looked down at the cars on the level below. Both Frito and Ophelia paid the cars no attention whatsoever.

Several water breaks were taken as we made our way across the bridge:

After approximately one hour, we made it all the way across the bridge. We located the supposed "great" dog park (which turned out to be mildly scary in the quickly disappearing daylight) and then returned back to Manhattan, again via the Brooklyn Bridge.

And just as predicted, epic treks across huge bridges makes for a very tired puppy:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Frito and I celebrated Thanksgiving at my friends Silva & Felipe's apartment in midtown Manhattan. My two pet dogs unfortunately stayed home and enjoyed new rawhides in their crate. Frito enjoyed riding the subway - I think she thought we were headed to guide dog class!

I think Frito's nose went into overload as she smelled all the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. She probably would have done just about anything in exchange for a turkey leg. Instead, she feasted on a kong filled with her food - not nearly as delicious as the meal my friends and I enjoyed but she did not seem to mind.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Frito in the Fall

Fall arrived in New York City and with it came lots and lots of leaves everywhere. I enjoyed the leaves for their beauty as they changed colors and Frito enjoyed them for the great crinkly noises they made as she ran through them.

Taking a moment to pose for a nice shot:

Basking in the fall sun:

Frito enjoying a stick in the park with her pal, Ophelia:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Major Milestone - A Puppy Vest!

At only five months old, my brilliant Frito earned her puppy vest!

The main purpose of a puppy vest is as a public relations tool for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy program. Dogs are issued vests at different ages and levels of development varying with the dog's confidence and behavior. While wearing the puppy vest, the dog must be on his/her best behavior as they are representing (and advertising for) Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The dogs are also not allowed to "get busy" while wearing the vest, just as a guide dog does not "get busy" while in harness.

The regional manager for the NYC region informed that the following criteria must be met before NYC pups are awarded their vests:
  • the dog must be housetrained, meaning no accidents in the house or when taking them on walks (i.e. the dog does not randomly pee while you are walking and gets busy when told)
  • the dog must demonstrate good loose leash walking
  • the dog must also demonstrate good house manners (all four paws on the floor at all times, no jumping on bed, & no counter surfing)
  • finally, the dog must greet people appropriately (remaining in a sit when approached by people)
Frito excels at all of the above things, with only the occasional lapse where she forgets to mind her manners. She truly is a rockstar. I am crossing my fingers that this excellent behavior is maintained through her adolescence.

One of the great things about the puppy vest is the difference in reaction from people on the street. Prior to obtaining the vest, people would constantly stop Frito and me while we were walking down the street. Especially as a young puppy, kids and adults alike wanted to pet Frito - we could barely walk a block without someone stopping us. Additionally, other dog owners would gravitate towards us with their dogs, making it challenging for Frito to maintain her good manners. With the vest, people react in a completely different manner. When they see the vest, they maintain a respectful distance when passing us on the sidewalk and politely ask if they, or their dog, can greet Frito. With Frito behaving appropriately, I am able to educate the people who stopped me about the Guiding Eyes puppy program and hopefully Frito's excellent manners will encourage others to raise a puppy in the future.

Overall, having the puppy vest has been great for Frito and for me. Way to go, Frito!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Frito and I celebrated Halloween a day early this year at a pumpkin carving party hosted by Silva & Felipe. Several people brought pumpkins, as well as some great pumpkin carving ideas, and the end result was five really great looking pumpkins. I decided not to carve a pumpkin as it would be a challenge hauling a pumpkin around on the subways plus Frito. Frito seemed to enjoy herself - I caught her nose in the air several times trying to get a whiff of the pumpkin goodness.

The get-together was a great experience for Frito as it was her first time being inside a relatively small space with a lot of new people. She did pretty good staying by me, although the pumpkins made her curious enough to "table surf" a few times but by the end of the evening she was passed out on the floor asleep. She did not seem to interested in posing for a picture but Silva managed to get a pretty nice shot (with a pumpkin nicely carved by Felipe).

Happy Halloween to all from Frito and me!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun with Filo

Frito was one of eleven puppies born to her parents (Diva & Yuri). Two of Frito's siblings are also in the NYC puppy raising region, which I believe is the most puppies from one litter in one region. Frito's sister, Fanta, is a black lab that is being raised by a family in Queens who have already raised two dogs (I think). One of them is a working guide dog and the other is in training. Frito's brother, Filo, is also a black lab and is being raised by a lady who lives in midtown. This week Julia is puppy sitting for Filo so of course we had to get them together to play. Although Filo is stockier than Frito (and a different color, of course), there are definitely a lot of similarities in their looks. They seemed to recognize each other and immediately upon seeing each other, they were wrestling and chasing each other around the dog park. I tried to get some pictures of the two of them together but getting two 5-month old puppies to sit still next to each other for more than 1/2 second is quite the challenge. Here are a few of the somewhat blurry pictures I managed to capture.

Meet Filo:

We are brother and sister - do you honestly expect us to sit NEXT to one another??!

Just like children - if you give one a treat, you have to give a treat to the other.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time to Play!

Today Frito had a play date with another guide dog puppy that is being raised in the downtown area near me. She met with Ophelia, an 11-week old yellow lab being raised by Ashley, who coincidentally enough is from Eau Claire, WI, where I attended college. There is a fenced-in area of Battery Park where the dogs were able to run around off-leash and play. I am pretty sure Frito thought it was heaven - she managed to make it through almost the entire play date without picking up grass, sticks, etc from the ground. I was very proud of her! Frito and Ophelia get along great so I am hoping for more play dates in the future!

Frito loved the sun!

Best of friends!

Trying to get them to sit at the same time was a challenge...

I also took Frito to meet the Wall Street bull and she sat and stayed for a nice picture:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Pillow

Today I purchased a new pillow/bed for all the dogs to share. It was funny how when I got home with it, they were all prancing around the bag like they knew that its contents were for them. As soon as I threw it on the ground, all three dogs jumped on it immediately and did their best to attack and kill the pillow. Once the pillow was thoroughly killed, Frito decided it was safe to lay down and take a nap.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fun With Aunt Julia

My raising of Frito would not be possible without the help of a fellow volunteer for GEB - Julia. Not only did she puppy sit for Frito for two weeks while one of my other dogs was sick, but she allows me to drop Frito off at her apartment every weekday morning at 7am (always with a smile!) and pick Frito up at 5pm. Until Frito is able to gain better control of her bladder, Julia is indispensable to me and to Frito. During Frito's two-week stay with Julia, they took a trip to upstate New York where Frito got to experience wide open spaces and lots of grass. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from that trip:

Okay, this is more than a few, but I can't help it - Frito is too darn cute! :)