Samantha is a beautiful crossbred (Labrador/Golden Retreiver) guide dog puppy raised by Alan and Barbara Townsend, in the Phoenix Guide Dog Raisers, Inc. program, for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., San Rafael, CA.
On Sunday June 27, 2004, (Saturday, June 26, 2004?) Samantha came to stay in our home in Gilbert, AZ for two months while her puppy raisers, Alan and Barbara vacationed in Belgium.
At first Sammy seemed anxious about the change of handlers and the new environment. We loved her and calmed her and everything was ok with her. We walked her on leash, throughout our home, allowing her to sniff out all spaces including the garage and closets. We walked her all over the green belt, up and down every street in Tone Ranch Estates and up and down Higley Rd and Guadalupe Rd. On the main streets, at first, she was a little concerned about louder, faster vehicles that disturbed the air as they blew by. She was a little concerned with loud motorcycles. We remained very calm - no handler reaction to her nervous reaction except to say, very calmly, "It's ok, Sammy" and kept on walking. We kept going at the same pace.
Sammy did not want anyone to leave her in a room alone. I'm an experienced Halti and Gentle Leader user but my trying to use it on her was ineffectual. I set the Halti aside and just used her flat collar to handle her. After several corrections, Sammy was putty in the hands of her handlers. She wanted to please. Later my four grandchildren handled her just fine on the flat collar.
Beginning Monday, June 28, 2004, I took Sammy to work with me. She chewed her nyla bone and slept in the porta kennel underneath my desk. I corrected her for whinning when I left the room. Thereafter, Sammy was fine. Sammy traveled, just fine, on tie-down, behind the driver's seat of our truck. She chilled out and sometimes chewed on a "Y" shaped nyla bone stuck in a kongie. We continued with this pattern for the first two weeks in July.
Relieve 5:30 - 6am
Two cups of Eukanuba Adult Maintenance kibbles softened with water about 6 am Served her food in an upside down bowl to slow down her voracious eating (gulping).
One cup of water immediately after eating
Opportunity to relieve again
Long leash playtime with toys up and down a long hallway
Traveled to work in my truck.
Insured Sammy had an appropriate toy to chew in her open porta-kennel while I worked
Opportunity to relieve
Traveled home from work around 4 pm
Two cups of Eukanuba Adult Maintenance with water about 5 pm in upside down bowl
One cup of water immediately following her food about 5 pm
Playtime with toys and some with Flagstaff (another guide dog puppy). They were always on separate long lines so that their snouts could not quite touch.
Relieve before bed.
Sammy slept in her porta-kennel beside my bed.
I took Sammy and Flagstaff to July 8th Phoenix Guide Dog Raisers, Inc. meeting at Southeast Regional Library. She was perfect. I took both Sammy and Flagstaff - one leash in each hand.
Did not attend the July 15th meeting of Phoenix Guide Dog Raisers, Inc. - too busy with last minute packing for vacation and Fun Day.
On July 16, 2004, Sammy went on vacation with us to California for 12 days. She was a perfect traveler with me and four grandchildren. No eating, no behavorial and no relieving problems.
See photos of her California vacation trip and Guide Dogs for the Blind Fun Day with us.
Initially, Samantha was uncertain about the waves on the beach, then decided she liked them well enough to play in them. I did not let her out into the bay water in Santa Monica because I had no means to clean her up.
Sammy stayed in the cool spacious kennel provided by Universal Studios. She did not have a problem with that.
She went into numerous restaurants with us. The first time, she thought she was the janitor - needed to clean the floor and the gum under the tables. We, very quickly, ended that behavior. She soon learned to stay put under the table and out of the way and just chill.
After the first few
corrections, there was no problem while dining at
MacDonalds - Blyth, CA; Sizzler - Beaumont, CA; Restaurant on Santa Monica Pier; Johnny Rockets - 3rd St. Promenade; Andersen's Pea Soup; Bubba Gumps - Monteray Bay; Dinner in Salsalido, CA; Breakfast at the Inn Marin; Lunch - Café - downtown San Rafael; breakfast in Sonora; Lunch at Yosemite; Lunch in Parker and other dining establishments.
Again, she traveled so very well and fell in love with my grand children and they with her.
She slept in her kennel most nights. Twice, the last two nights of trip, Sammy slept on the floor on tiedown. She did great!
She "threw up" once in her kennel at the Inn Marin. Not sure why and never did it again.
We were unable to attend the July 29th meeting of Phoenix Guide Dog Raisers, Inc., at the bowling alley.
On July 30th, took Sammy to visit Arizona State University, Dept. of Education, Pre-School then went with the children on a field trip to the Arizona Science Museum - downtown Phoenix. Sammy did just fine.
When I returned home from vacation, I did not return to work until Monday, Aug. 2nd, 2004. Our week at home was very low key and we did not go out except to relieve and early morning walks - too hot!
Returned to work Aug 2nd with Samantha. No problem for her getting back into my work routine.
I took Sammy to the Aug. 5th meeting of Phoenix Guide Dog Raisers, Inc., at Chandler Mall.
At the Aug. 12th meeting, she had several different handlers. Handlers, unfamiliar with her, seemed to make her a little nervous. Could not tell how her stool was before bed (to dark to see) but this morning she had a very soft stool followed by a more watery stool. A lot was going on last night at the meeting. Had group pictures and then different exercises with different handlers. Once she gets used to experienced handlers, she obviously, greatly prefers them over ones that have never handled her. If the regular handler is around, Sammy will whin or be anxious to rejoin the handler she is familiar with.
Alan and Barbara has done a great job with Sammy!
Had a fun time puppy sitting her and will miss her.
Robert and Sandy Thomas
Robert M. Thomas
Arizona State University