Tuesday, March 24, 2009


On the plane to Phoenix - Tundra's first flight with volunteer Puppies in Flight employee from US Airways.

Frog Boy

Last Wednesday, we had the joy of having Tundra in our home for three nights. She is a member of the H-litter, who all went to their puppy raising homes on the same day we brought Tundra home. Tundra's mama is Brooklyn, who is a DWW dog and her father is Fire, from a guide/assistance dog school in Pennsylvania. DWW agreed to give them a puppy in exchange for Fire's role in the creation of the six beautiful puppies that he sired.
Tundra had a chaperon from US Airways Puppies in Flight service fly to Edmonton to pick her up and take her back to Pennsylvania so that she didn't have to fly in a crate in the belly of the plane. They had a gruelling flight itinerary that was initially supposed to have them to their destination on Sunday, providing they made all of the flights (I think he was on stand-by as an employee). Anyway, when he met Elisa and I in the airport, he only had twenty minutes before his flight left. I found out on Monday that they didn't make their flight out because customs had closed before they got there! They ended up spending the night at the Nisku Inn and flew out on Sunday morning (pre or post snow fall, I'm not sure). From what I understood, they were staying at his home in Phoenix until today when they could make the final legs of their journey.
It was a real joy having Tundra and even after only three days with her, my stomach got knotted up and my eyes were teary when I said good-bye. It was the cutest thing when I turned back to watch them walk away, puppy under arm, with legs, tail and bum hanging freely as they headed toward the elevator to the departures level.
When Elisa forwarded me the picture of Tundra on the airplane seat, it made both Greg and I miss the little girl. Good luck Tundra!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Breton's Journey as a Future Guide/Assistance Dog Ends

On Monday we learned that the results from Breton's PennHip exam on Feb. 11 weren't good. I admire Dogs with Wings for their commitment to raising the very best of dogs who some day enter service and are healthy, even tempered, happy and well trained for their job. The standards they set are high as it is very important that the person who receives one of their dogs doesn't have to worry about things like possible health issues in the future. It wouldn't be fair to the client or the dog. Breton's test results show that she is at greater risk than they can accept for future hip degeneration or arthritis and therefore has been removed from the program.

We have lovingly welcomed Breton into our family as a permanent member. We will put her on a special diet, make sure she stays trim and gets lots of exercise in order to prevent possible problems from ever beginning with her hips.

I am looking around at other programs within the city where she can still be of service as she loves to work and has such valuable skills to offer.

As for me, I hadn't expected this to end so quickly, and now with two dogs in our small house, we have some serious decisions to make about raising another puppy in the future. For now, I have other projects on the go with Dogs with Wings, and so will still get a regular dose of puppies and dog training.

Puppy Blossoms
By Shannon Northcott
You were given a seedling for one year to foster and help grow. Most seed packets come with instructions, but instead they told you they would help cultivate the young life in your care and one year later, when it blossomed you would give it back. They were looking for an extraordinary flower and only that type could do. You knew the standards were high, but felt the odds were favourable.
Roses, Baby’s Breath and Forget-Me-Not's mean love, but wouldn’t do.
Marigolds are comforts of the heart, and Junipers symbolize protection.
Ivy represents friendship; Lilies and Orchids, beauty; and the Daisy innocence.
Although these flowers would bring joy and love to the lives they touched, they couldn't do the job.
You doted over the life in your care, nurtured and helped it to grow.
Just before it blossomed, they tested the flower that was going to open. They said you did your job well and that it wasn’t your fault.
Your flower belongs to the bouquet of love, comfort, friendship, beauty and innocence.
There is an entire bouquet of extraordinary flowers, and as much as you wanted your flower to belong there too, it just can’t.

Breton's Second Weekend in Banff

Bentley enjoying the view

The view!

Chasing snowballs on Lake Louise

Playing on Lake Louise

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Breton is 13-Months Old Today!

Rigger (front), Clipper (middle), Breton

Clipper and Breton, sisters, chillin' out while I work with
the adult dogs. Can you tell who is who?

Clipper (front), Breton

Breton has had a busy month!
I have been helping at the office twice a week by working with and looking after the adult dogs and when I'm there, so is Miss Breton. She has done well fitting into the routine, and looks forward to her time there by heading to our door early in the morning on the days that we don't go to the office. Breton has been sleeping a bit more often and soundly this month and I am sure it has to do with her latest growth spurt. All of the girls in her litter are so similar that it is difficult to tell them apart. Up until now they have all been very close in size but when I see Breton with her sister, Clipper, Clipper seems so dainty to me beside Breton. Rigger, officially graduated into the adult program this month; the first from Breton's litter to move on.
I am feeling the motions of change within our Nova Scotia litter beginning to accelerate again. The last time it felt like there was a lot of change happening to them, it was when they were babies.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Famous Breton Stance

There has been conversation around the office as to how people are going to tell the Nova Scotia dogs apart from each other when they all move into the adult program, especially the girls. Does anyone else's dog stand with their feet pointed out like a duck?

"I'm not a duck."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Spy with my Little Eye . . .

Thirteen dogs at NAIT's Animal Health Department early on a sunny Sunday morning. Seven Nova Scotia's and six F-Litter's awake and spry while the animal health technologist put drops into their eyes. Four at a time and one by herself, they were led into the examination room and onto the table, while puppy raiser's and Elisa stood by their side. The lights were turned off and the room was all dark, except for the white light used to peer into their eyes. When the doctor was finished and all had complied, each pup and their raiser's walked out of the office and towards the blue sky, marking this another step forward, eye exams all over and bye-bye!