Puppy Days

A few weeks ago we were invited to the National Guide Dog Breeding Centre at Leamington Spa here in the UK. It was an appreciation day for puppy walkers to look around the centre, meet fellow volunteers and staff, and see the training the puppies undertake when they leave us after a year.

It was an amazing day. First we had the tour and saw lots of new born puppies. There was much oo-ing and ahh-ing, even from seasoned volunteeers, some of whom have been puppy walking for thirty eight years! We were told how the puppies are gently weaned away from mum, who for the first few days remains in the next pen so her puppies can still see her. Of course, all the pups seem to do at that age is sleep so we were creeping around and whispering for much of the time.Photo0352
But suddenly food arrived on the scene and they went from nought to sixty in two seconds. Their tiny paws hardly hit the ground as they pounced on the dishes. You can see the photo is a little blurred as I tried to take this action shot!Puppies 1

After lunch we were able to see some of the dogs in training, which was fascinating. Some of the things these animals learn to do is incredible: assessing the height of an overhanging branch on a pavement to make sure their owner can pass safely underneath; alerting their owners to approaching cars; working out how to navigate unexpected obstacles and difficulties…stupendous stuff.

UshiWe are currently boarding a seven month old flat coat retriever. Ushi is adorable, just wants to be close to us and absolutely loves her cuddles. This morning we took her in the car to a really great pet shop which is several miles away. She is not the best traveller and would rather be just about anywhere than in the car, but she has to get used to it so off we went. All was well on the journey out, but on the way home AJ had to stop very suddenly and her plastic bed slid and she was tipped out. The bed sort of settled on top of her and all we could see was a pair of very surprised dark brown eyes looking out at us.Ushi 1 We tried to settle her back, but she was not happy. Determined to see it through we tried to reassure her, but then ignored her (which neither of us find particularly easy to do, softies that we are). But top marks for ingenuity for our little lodger. Halfway through the journey home, she managed to get through the bottom of the grill and plomped on my lap before I even knew what was happening. There she sat for the rest of the trip, very happy and pleased with herself. Ah well, when the going gets tough, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, hasn’t she? Happy Days!

18 responses to “Puppy Days

  1. I love these posts Tricia. In the last photo Ushi looks like she’s smiling. Way back I wrote a blog about our visit to a service dog academy. It was their graduation and the dogs were being officially given to their new owners. A lot of them by the people who had them as puppies. A moving experience and one I used up a lot of tissue at. I remain amazed at you and AJ, this can’t be an easy mission when it comes time to say goodbye.

    • I remember your post, Lavada, and thought how great it would be to be able to hand over the puppies to their new owners. Alas, they don’t do that in the UK, but we do get invited to the graduation.

      Ushi is a great puppy. Obedient and a lot of fun, but she does have a stubborn side which I sort of like.

  2. Ahhh, such cute puppies. I don’t know how you manage the strength to give these guys back to training and their new owners. I respect the heck out of you and AJ for being able to do that.
    And I’ve loved our blogs this month. All about happenings and family. It’s been loads of fun.

    • Thanks, Laurie. I find it much easier to board the puppies for a couple of weeks at a time. That way I don’t get TOO attached. We also get to see them again, which is lovely. For instance, Ushi is coming back in the New Year so I don’t have long to wait when we take her back to her puppy walker in a couple of weeks.

      I agree about the blogs during October. It’s great peeking into everyone’s lives 🙂


  3. Valerie J. Patterson

    Ushi is 7 months old? She’s huge! That is NO lap dog! LOL!!

    Kudos to you for letting her remain on your lap the rest of the trip. I suspect she needed reassurance, and you gave it to her.

    It sounds like you had a very nice day, and I especially enjoyed the photos. 😛

    • Yes, she is a big girl, Valerie, and while you’re right and she isn’t a lap dog, she certainly doesn’t let that stop her from trying, LOL!

      We took her in the car again today and sure enough she popped through the grille again. AJ is currently rigging up a contraption to stop her escape route. But I have to admit to not minding one bit that she wants to cuddle up with me 😉

  4. Puppy Days! I don’t always make it around here to comment, but your title, Tricia, made this a MUST SEE! I LOVE Puppies, and all the pics you posted tugged at my heart!

    You are a much stronger person than I am. I could NEVER adopt a puppy for a year, only to give him/her away at year’s end. Thank you for the warm feelings! 🙂

    Puppies are smart. My heart went out to that poor puppy whose sled slipped. I could just see those little eyes staring out at you and I am not surprised in the least that she made her way out of her predicament and ended up on your safe lap! 🙂

  5. You’re right, Janette. These puppies are smart. It never ceases to amaze me how fast they work out solutions to problems! We’re boarding the puppies at the moment, so I find it less difficult to give them back. We’ve had two of our own so far and that was hard to say goodbye. With the boarding puppies I know that I’ll likely be seeing them again, so it’s a lot easier.

    Glad you liked the photos, and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. love the cute puppies! and your Ushi is very clever to sneak up there and sit with you. What an adorable sweetheart. I admire the heck out of you for being able to board them and not get so attached that you can’t let go. You’re doing a great service.

  7. I’ll take two of those puppies, how fun I am jealous.

  8. Ten out of ten to Ushi for ingenuity! Great post. Who can’t resist an ahh at puppies. I would want to take them all home. Keep up the good work; I do admire what you do. 🙂

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