Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I feel so irresponsible since Rockwell went to school. I don't have to look after anyone but myself (if you don't count Peter that is and really, he is able to look after himself, unlike a puppy). It reminds me of when I was going to school full time as a student. I rented a room and all I had to do was feed myself and do laundry. I didn't even have to vacuum my room, as someone else would do that once a week, not that there was any dog hair to vacuum. Which is another odd experience around here - to be able to walk down the hall with the hardwood floors and not see any dog hair, gently swirling against the baseboards, rolling into little tumbleweeds. With a few brief hiatuses, I have had 16 years of dog hair that reappears right after you vacuum it, no matter how frequently you vacuum. I still see dog hair and that will continue until I have done a few more vacuumings where I get more ambitious in my reach. But it is odd.

And boy, is it quiet. I really don't miss the barking that I stubbornly called "his invitation to play" but I do miss the little jingle of his tags as he pads around the house, the noises as he climbs the stairs so he can sit in companionable silence with me while I am sewing, even his wake-up scratching every morning. I hope he is enjoying his new experiences at kennels.
companionable silence
Instead of "holding hands" we're "holding paws".
mmm, chest scratch!
Those are some blissed-out ears!
on his way
Here's the second-last photo. He's too busy sniffing all the great other dog smells in the car to cooperate with Peter.
last look
One last look, and he was gone.


At 7:28 a.m., September 22, 2006, Anonymous Jarapets said...

Hi Julia:

I just want to say that your last posts (I've readed all right now) are really good. You posted from the heart.

I think that the people that grow and prepare a dog for help people do a very important job. And I'm sure that I couldn't do it because is hard to see a limit time in the horizon.

All the best Julia :)

At 1:00 p.m., September 23, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Thanks Jarapets, I have been encouraged by all the nice comments I have received since Rockwell went off to school. You should post more photos of Jara to make me not feel so loney! :)

At 6:53 p.m., September 24, 2006, Blogger Katherine said...

How are you feeling? I really admire you for taking in Rockwell and giving so much of yourself for him. I'm sure he'll be a wonderful guide dog for someone. I really enjoyed seeing his pictures and reading about his life with you and Peter.

At 1:55 p.m., September 25, 2006, Blogger L^2 said...

Hi Julia,
I’m finally commenting! :-) I didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about you and Rockwell. I have been reading - usually while I’m at work - so I just haven’t taken the time to leave you a message for quite a while. Well, here goes…
First of all, I want to congratulate you for all of your hard work. I think you did a great job during your time with Rockwell.
Secondly, I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences (good and bad) as a Puppy Walker with the rest of us. As several others have already noted, I agree that you have given a fairly accurate portrayal of what it is like to raise a boisterous Lab – it’s not always easy – and potential raisers should be aware of that fact. (I can honestly tell you that having a dog guide is not always easy either, but most handlers don't readily admit to that, since the good almost always greatly overshadows the bad.) I’m sure the experience will be worth it in the end for you, Peter and Rockwell, even despite the (completely understandable) need to end your time with him just a little bit sooner than you had first expected. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures with Rockwell over the last year, and I hope you continue to share updates on his training progress if/when you receive any news.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I would like to thank you very much for the service you have provided to help someone like me. As many schools tell their puppy foster families, “Whatever happens, you have given the gift”.
Okay, I’m going to stop rambling now, but Stella and Leader Dog Willow would like to wish Rockwell lots of good luck in doggy-College too!!!
Take care,
Laura and the girls

At 10:05 a.m., September 26, 2006, Blogger ML said...

Julia - I'm finally getting caught up on your puppy blog. What an amazing thing you've done! Because of you and your care, Rockwell will be a fantastic service dog. I bet you miss him! I tried to email you, but the email address came back "unknown". BLA!

At 2:50 p.m., September 27, 2006, Blogger Erin & Rei said...

hi julia wow. he's finally imbarked on his great journey ;-)
will you get another puppy?

At 2:51 p.m., September 27, 2006, Blogger Erin & Rei said...


At 4:47 p.m., October 01, 2006, Blogger Joan said...

Hi Julia,

Wow, I had no idea Rockwell was leavning this soon (I've been off the computer quite a bit recovering from a broken hand). But from your blogs, it sounds like the right thing to do. And you've done a fabulous job with him, giving him a GREAT start (and think of the life you will have influenced for good once Rockwell is trained and placed with someone who needs a service dog).

You must miss him. :o(

In the meantime, if you need a puppy fix, we've added a new little girl to our pack over here at Lab Tails (as yet unnamed). Now that my hand is healed I can get back to posting regularly again.

Any ideas for names?

I hope you're well! Oh, and I revamped One Writer's Window. It's URL has changed and is now http://onewriterswindow.blogspot.com.

Hang in there!

Blessings to you,

At 9:14 a.m., October 02, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Thanks Katherine, I am fine, really. If anything I feel a little guilty about sending Rockwell back a week early but he needed someone who could start teaching him important things. I am looking forward to my first real report from Guide Dogs - maybe in a month.

Thanks Laura. You are in the unique position of having a guide dog AND a Lab puppy to raise! I think a lot depends on personality too. With Uma, I didn't have the some kind of problems as I had with Rockwell. I had different problems! But I don't remember feeling like I was going crazy with her. :)

ML, thanks for the words of support. It was an interesting journey. Sorry about the email. We'll try again later.

Erynn, I knew what you meant by "imbarked". :) If you look at my first comment, I wrote "loney" instead of "lonely". I blame the keyboard. I don't think I will get another one for several reasons - no car, no yard, and I'm allergic. But who knows what might happen in a few years!

Thanks Joan, I will come over more often to get a puppy fix, now that your hand is better. That must have been painful - all those little bones. Actually, I have to get myself into a new routine too, sans dog. I feel like I will accomplish more if I have a good routine to follow.


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