December 27, 2009

She’s going to college…

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged at 5:42 pm by smilinshell11

I got the news last night that Topeka will be heading back on the January 7th truck for her formal training! 🙂 GO TOPEKA! 🙂


Donata does the Christmas Tree Farm

Posted in Christmas, Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged , , at 5:36 pm by smilinshell11

So this post is about 2 weeks late but better late than never right? 🙂 This year we decided to take Donata with us to get a Christmas Tree. This year we went to a different farm than last year which was fun, but they didn’t have the wide variety like the one did last year. If you remember, last year we took Simmons with us.  Since neither Mr. Charming or I have a car conducive to hauling Christmas trees around, we borrowed the truck from my work. I think Donata loved being able to look out the side mirror.


Aren’t I beautiful?

Once we got there, we were able to find a tree just for Donata.

After that, we were on a mission to find our perfect tree.  Here she is in front of it.

When we got home, it was time to make some hot chocolate and decorate the tree.

Here she is in front of the decorated tree and fireplace.



I did take a few picture of her with her jacket on but she gets stubborn when her jacket goes on and won’t look at the camera so they really didn’t turn out. 😦 I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday…A little late :)

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged , at 6:26 pm by smilinshell11

I was randomly looking through photos I had uploaded to my facebook account and came across one that I thought I had posted to my blog, but apparently forgot about.  My birthday was about a month ago but better late than never right?  The wife of one of the guys I work with is the head baker at a local Top Foods and she made me this cake for my birthday!


She knows I work with Guide Dogs for the Blind and that we have black labs in our club and that they wear a green vest.  It made me smile. 🙂 

December 7, 2009

A Christmas Story (Guide Dog Style)

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged at 7:47 pm by smilinshell11

This was sent to me from my leader which came from our CFR.  It’s kind of long but cute.  I hope you enjoy!

A Christmas Story: Guide Dog Style

‘Twas the night before Christmas and the kennels were still,
with most dogs now asleep having eaten their fill.
The Labradors sprawled out, quite snug in their beds,
while visions of ANYTHING edible danced in their heads.
And the Goldens and Shepherds curled up on the floor,
some twitched in their sleep and some even did snore.
The dog food was stacked in the feed room with care,
in hopes that a trainer soon would be there.
On the window ledge, one of the kennel cats lay,
surveying the lawn at the end of this day.
Something was different, that little cat knew.
Tonight something would happen, it had to be true.
For that day as the workers had left to go home,
They’d wished Merry Christmas! before starting to roam.
The dogs had noticed it to during this past week’s walks,
the trainers seemed just that much happier and eager to talk.
In the mall where they worked through the maze of people and stores,
there were decoration and music and distractions galore!
Most dogs pranced along without worry or fear,
but some balked at the man on the sleigh and those fake looking deer.
The cat was almost asleep too when he first heard the sound,
a whoosh through the air and a jingle around.
It reminded him of a dog’s collar when the animal shook,
but this sound kept on growing so he’d better go look.
From the ceiling there came a faint sort of thunk,
as the kennel cat climbed to the highest pile of junk.
Once before people had worked on the roof,
and come down through the trap door to a chorus of “Woooof!”
But the dogs still were quiet, all sleeping so sound,
as this man dressed in red made his way right on down.
He patted the cat as he climbed past his spot,
then made his way right to the trainers’ coffee pot.
A shepherd sat up, not fully awake,
then a Golden followed her with a mighty loud shake.
That did it! All the dogs sprang to life with loud noise.
In spite of the din, the old man kept his poise.
He filled the pot full and it started to brew,
then he pulled up a chair and took in the view.
Dogs all around him, so carefully bred,
he knew well their jobs, the blind people they led.
Some had stopped barking and looked at him now,
while others delighted in their own deafening howl.
Laying a finger in front of his lips,
the jolly old man silenced the excitable yips.
“You all may not know me, but I’m Santa Claus,”
the old man smiled and took a short pause.
While he filled up his mug with hot liquid and cream,
“I’ve always wanted to stop here. It’s been one of my dreams.”
The cat had climbed down and was exploring Santa’s sack.
“Yes, little kitty, that’s an empty pack.”
Santa smiled as he drank and looked at those eyes,
deep brown ones and gold ones held wide in surprise.
Some of these dogs, he’d seen just last year,
in their puppy homes, cute and full of holiday cheer.
He’d seen the effects of a pup on the tree,
but now they were here at the school, just waiting to be.
“I didn’t bring you presents or bones just to chew.
I’ll tell you something better, what you are going to do.”
“You all will work hard and the trainers will share,
both praise and correction, gentle and fair.”
“You’ll go lots of places and face big scary things.
You’ll ride buses and subways and hear fire sirens ring.”
“Cars will drive at you but you will stand strong,
not moving into danger, not moving toward wrong.”
“And then just when you think that this trainer’s the best,
the kindest, and funnest person, toss away all the rest,”
“That trainer will begin to ignore you and give you away,
handing your leash over despite your dismay.”
“Now the person who pets you and feeds you will be
a blind person. That’s a person who can’t see.”
” This man or this woman may see just a tad,
but their view’s missing parts or the focus is bad.”
“So you, well trained dogs, will act as their eyes.
You will work as a team and discover the size”
“Of this great world we live in, because you will go
a million new places with this person, you know.”
Santa sipped at his coffee and looked over the brood,
knowing what he had to say next might sound kind of rude.
“Not all of you will make it and become canine guides.
Your time here isn’t wasted though. You won’t be cast aside.”
“Some of you will be drug dogs and some will find bombs.
Some will become pets in a home with a dad and a mom.”
“All these things are important. People wait on long lists,
to receive such good dogs as you, the school folks insist.”
The last drop of coffee had gone into his cup
as Santa turned, smiling at each wide eyed pup.
“The best gift of all is to give something back.
That’s why there’s nothing for you all inside of my pack.”
Draining his mug, Santa went to each pen,
and petted and scratched each dog again and again.
“Now next year and many more years after that,
you all will give gifts wherever you’re at.”
“You might lick a hand that’s had a bad day,
Or notice a car and step out of the way.”
“You might help catch a crook or discover some loot,
Or just bring some joy to a tired old man in a funny red suit.”
“Your master will love you and treat you with care.
In return, your training and trust will always be there.”
After the last dog had been petted and soothed,
Santa put away the coffee pot and made ready to move.
Up the ladder he rose to the door high above,
with a smile and a wave as he slipped on his gloves.
And all the dog ears were pricked as he disappeared out of sight.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!”

(Author Unknown)

December 2, 2009

Not Yet

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged , at 9:16 am by smilinshell11

I got the word last night that Topeka and Donata will NOT be heading back in December.  There had been a possibility that both would head back then but we still have one more month with them!  That would have been 1/2 of our club. 😦  How many dogs does your club have?

November 29, 2009


Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged at 7:49 pm by smilinshell11

Last weekend (the 21-22nd) we had Topeka over night.  I didn’t take very many pictures so I only have one to post.  Here she is curled up with her rug “blanket” and her favorite toy.  I can’t believe she’s already 14 months old.P1040100

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 🙂

November 15, 2009

Guide Dogs for the Blind in the 1950’s

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged at 9:41 pm by smilinshell11

Take a look at this video from the 1950’s about Guide Dogs for the Blind.  What I found interesting is the different breeds of dogs they used.   Hope you enjoy!

Cold & Wet

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged , , , at 7:07 pm by smilinshell11

Last Saturday (as in the 7th of November) was our city’s annual Veterans Day Parade.  This year we decided to march in it instead of watching.  I probably wouldn’t have minded as much but it was COLD, WET, and WINDY (Yes, those need to be in caps).  🙂 Even after a hot shower, I was chilled to the bone for standing outside for about 3 hours which 2 hours of that were just standing waiting for our turn to go.   The dogs did awesome and there were no accidents while marching in the parade.  Here are pictures of some very WET dogs.  First up is Topeka:

In this picture, Donata had a leaf in her mouth but the funny part was she had no idea it was there. She has really filled-out lately.

Next up is Marlin looking all patriotic:


After the parade, we went over to a club member’s house for some food and warm drinks. Here is a picture of Topeka on the left and Donata on the right, taking a nap.


And of course, Marlin:


Next weekend we have Topeka so you will probably be seeing an update about her soon.

November 11, 2009

What a little stinker!

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged at 8:42 pm by smilinshell11

I have to say Marlin made the cutest skunk ever for Halloween!

November 9, 2009

Loyola’s Famous :)

Posted in Guide Dogs for the Blind tagged , at 11:31 am by smilinshell11

Well at least in Tulare,CA! Here is an article about Loyola (now Lola) and her new partner: Tulare Woman Welcomes New Guide Dog

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