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! :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

GEB Tour and Graduation

Yesterday I had the great opportunity of touring the whelping kennel at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, located in Patterson, NY. This is where all the new puppies are born and spend the first eight weeks of their lives. When the female brood dogs are ready to give birth (gestation in dogs is 63 days), they are brought to the whelping kennel by their foster family where they will give birth and remain with their puppies until the puppies are approximately five or six weeks of age.
Once the puppies leave their mothers, they begin the early socialization process where they are exposed to different stimuli including sounds and underfootings. There are specially trained individuals who help the puppies at this young age.

After the tour of the whelping kennel in Patterson, we headed over to the training school in Yorktown Heights, NY, for the graduation ceremony. There were several students and dogs graduating; many of the students had returned to GEB for their second guide dog. The families who raised each graduate dog were present at the graduation and the pride they had for their dog was heartwarming. It was so great to see the end product of all the hard work raisers put into the dogs and the mobility these dogs are giving to the students.

After a long day of riding in the car and relaxing in her crate, Frito was ready to head back home.

Frito has arrived!

Frito finally arrived at my apartment this past Tuesday. I had just spent a weekend home in Wisconsin with my family without any dogs so it was a bit overwhelming to go from zero to three dogs. But Frito is such a sweetheart and she gets along so well with Dexter and Bailey. Of course, Frito has her moments where she gets so excited that she forgets how floppy her limbs are and how sharp her puppy teeth are. But, luckily Dexter and Bailey are very forgiving.

I am slowly accumulating pictures of Frito, but it is amazingly challenging taking pictures of a moving 12 week old puppy. She is also very fascinated with the camera so when she is actually sitting still, she gets up the second she sees the camera. Hopefully her fascination with the camera subsides!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The time has finally arrived! After almost two years of waiting, I am finally getting a guide dog that I will raise from beginning to end.

For those who are unfamiliar with the program, I volunteer for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a non-profit organization based in Yorktown Heights, NY, and Patterson, NY, that provides guide dogs to blind men and women. As a puppy raiser, I will raise a puppy for approximately 14 months, providing the puppy with the love, socialization, and basic obedience it will need to succeed in guide dog training. I began this journey in 2007, but due to a not so dog friendly apartment and a variety of other unforeseen issues, I had to put everything on hold until now.

Meet Frito - a yellow labrador retriever born on June 4, 2009, to her beautiful parents, Diva (a black lab) and Yuri (a yellow lab).

She has been in limbo the past several weeks, traveling between a number of different puppy sitters, but on September 8, 2009, I will assume full responsibility of raising her. I am beyond excited to start this journey with her and watch as we both learn and grow from each other.