Sunday, April 12, 2009

Our First Guidedog Meeting at St. Pete Market

We went to our first meeting of the Suncoast Puppy Raisers yesterday. It was held at the St. Pete Farmer's Market. It was great.

We got to see Jean again! Here she is on the left with her puppy raiser mom, Donna. Donna and her husband Don (see next photo) are also the North Pinellas area coordinators for Suncoast Puppy Raisers. We are in their group. Jean remembered us! That was nice, because we really liked her and thought she had a pretty good time at our house. 8-)

You might notice that there are lots of light green shirts in this photograph. The green shirt is the official puppy raiser volunteer shirt, with official embroidery and everything. I'm not sure when you get a shirt (perhaps only when you get a puppy?), but boy do we want one!

I took this photo for a couple of reasons:
  1. Don is holding Cool Beans who is Jean's sister and a Vizsla
  2. You can see in the background several other kinds of dogs, a smooth coated collie, a labrador retriever

The guide dogs come in many flavors: labrador, goldadore, smooth coated collie, australian shepherd, vizsla.

During this part of the meeting, everyone was in a circle and we were given news about the dogs. At one year, the school would like for the puppies to start wearing the harness with out the handle for 15 minutes at a time to get used to the weight and feel of it. This is pretty important. If the dog can't get used to the harness, it will wash out as a guidedog for the blind. When we took a tour, our volunteer tourguide and puppy raiser said that her puppy had been washed outbecause she literally couldn't bear the harness, it rubbed her the wrong way. 8-)

So it is crucial that the dogs begin to like the harness and associate wearing it with fun times.

I like this shot because you can see all of the dogs doing a practice obedience session. You have older dogs, puppies, and everything in between and they are all doing a great job! There are moms, teachers, teens, business people, retirees, anyone you can think of has the ability to be a puppy raiser. You can see the variety of dogs and puppy raisers.

It was a great day. We met some very nice people and even shopped a bit for fresh veggies.

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