Vinnie has arrived!

How cute am I?

Meet our new little bundle of love. Vinnie, our latest guide dog puppy, arrived on our doorstep and threw our lives, once again, into happy disarray. Now eight weeks old, he’s into absolutely everything.

Vinnie was the last born of a litter of eight: six sisters, two brothers. His mum, Anna, is a black Labrador and his dad is a golden retriever called Spike, who was on loan from the US. We like to think he has dual nationality 🙂 The poor little guy had a difficult birth and had to be helped to breathe for the first ten minutes of his life. It hasn’t held him back! This little battler is tenacious and seemingly fearless. He gets a little nervous of new things for about a minute, then wades in to investigate and explore.

For the first few nights he wasn’t particularly keen on using his crate and howled his protest into the wee small hours. He might be small but he has one very healthy set of lungs! Thankfully, he settled eventually and all the Jones family managed to get a decent night’s sleep.

Vinnie loves his cuddles, he also loves his teddy (which is currently bigger than he is) and enjoys a game of tug. Housetraining is a bit hit and miss at the moment and more often than not he doesn’t quite make it out to the yard.

He seems to recognise his name but we’ve decided he has selective hearing and will only respond when we call him for something good, like his dinner. Whoever is preparing his kibble gets Vinnie’s undivided attention and he will not budge from that person’s feet until he gets his dinner. He makes little whiney noises, as if to make sure we still know he’s there waiting. Our supervisor advised us to put his feeding bowl in his crate, so he can start to associate the crate with really good things and this seems to be doing the trick.

We took him for his first walk in our arms to the local park and he was desperate to get down and play with the other dogs. He seems to love children and is undaunted by loud noises, as evidenced by yesterday’s thunderstorm when he didn’t even flinch when the thunder clapped and the lightning flashed.

He’s one cool customer and already we love him with a passion.

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17 responses to “Vinnie has arrived!

  1. He’s beautiful. I love the pictures he is quite photogenic. Do you hear news of Zorro? You and AJ are very special people to be able to give these puppies your heart like you do and then let them go.

    Keep up in the loop for pictures of Vinnie. He looks so happy it’s catching.

    • Yes, he’s always happy to pose for a photo, Lavada! Zorro didn’t make it into training as a guide dog, but they thought he might be suitable for training as a buddy dog for disabled children. It was very hard letting him go, I suppose like seeing your first child leave home. But I console myself by remembering there’s always another bundle of joy waiting to be loved.

  2. Oh my gosh, I fell in love with your puppy instantly. I must be getting close to getting another puppy!!!!

  3. He is absolutely adorable! And I LOVE that he cuddles with his teddy bear. You and AJ really are amazing, working with these puppies. It takes a LOT of patience to train a pup and you are set to do it over and over and over.
    Glad you’re getting some sleep now, though. And congratulations on your new little bundle of joy…and energy.

    • Thanks, Laurie. He really loves his teddy, although poor old teddy does suffer some boisterous play when a certain pup doesn’t get his own way over something 🙂

      Ah yes, sleep. There were times a few nights ago when we wondered if we’d ever get a straight night’s sleep again! This baby has some tenacious lung power!

  4. Vinnie is darling!

  5. Valerie J. Patterson

    There is such character in his little face! I’m almost (I said *almost*) tempted to go puppy shopping 😛 But I know they grow up!

    I loved reading this blog! The joy and excitement and pride rang true with every word. You and AJ are amazing to take on such an important task that can lead to giving someone more freedom!

    I have to ask why Zorro didn’t make it as a guide dog? I mean, how do they determine such a thing? That asked, let me say this: being a buddy dog for a disabled child is just as noble a position. I’ve seen these kids with their buddies and such joy! There is such a bond of trust and friendship between child and dog that you just know this is indeed a special dog!

    I’m so glad he’s got dual nationality, too. That’s cool!

    May your time with Vinnie be everything it should be and so much more! 😛

    • Thanks, Valerie! Vinnie is certainly a little character 🙂
      Zorro had a few issues, such as relieving himself when out on walks which is not appropriate for a guide dog and was also quite volatile and his behaviour could be unpredictable. The assessor felt his character was not suited for guide dog training, but his retriever instinct was very strong and he loves children, is very calm and gentle around them, so life as a buddy dog would probably suit him better. We’re hoping he’ll do well as at heart he is a lovely boy, just a bit mixed up! We miss him!

      Thank you for your good wishes.

  6. Thanks for the update on Zorro. Sounds like he’s going to have GREAT life.

  7. Tricia, he is absolutely adorable. Am so looking forward to meeting him. Love the photo of him with his teddy. 🙂

  8. What a sweetie. Such cute pictures. I hope he makes it as a guide dog. He looks like an angel- of course, I can say that since I didn’t have to listen to Mr. Lungs cry. LOL! Enjoy your time with him!

  9. Thanks, Jillian. Mr Lungs – LOL!

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