Cameron at the beach (ignore the date on the photo)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Florida Trip

If you have read my last post, then you know that I, along with my puppy raiser mom, her daughter, mother-in-law, and a pregnant female named Dancer all traveled to Florida for the weekend. Mom was going down to take Dancer back to the guide dog school so that she could get ready to whelp her puppies, to meet Hugh's new 'forever person', and to meet my sponsors.

It was a long journey, and I mean loooonnnnnng. We left around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning. It took us a total of 14 hours driving time to reach our destination, whereas, it usually takes only 12. It was a long time to be in one place for a while. We had to stop plenty of times to get gas, busy, eat, and get our riding wiggles out. Anytime we stopped, we were all ready to stretch our legs. We finally got down to the hotel we were staying at at around 8:30 or 9:00 that night. We unloaded our cargo, breathing and non, and settled down for a good night's rest

The next morning mom got up and let us doggies get our busies done while her mother-in-law changed the baby. Dancer and I had our breakfast before mom had to get her ready to go back to the school. I had to stay in my crate at the hotel while everyone went to the guide dog school. Anytime someone attends Puppy Raiser Day, they are not allowed to bring any other dogs or pets with them as this may distract the working dogs. We don't want that to happen. The students and dogs are still bonding with one another and we don't want to do anything to break that bond.

While at Puppy Raiser Day, every family was introduced to the trainers and Puppy Department staff, some things are explained to everyone like: keeping things positive while talking to the new handlers of the dogs, not drawing attention to themselves while the teams are working their routes, asking before petting the dogs, and not exchanging contact information. The puppy Raiser families must keep things positive so that does not interfere with the bond of the dog and handler, they must also ask before petting the dogs because it is guide dog ettiquete, and they are not allowed to exchange contact information for the same reason. Mom was read Hugh's new handler's (Jesse) bio as was everyone else and then everyone got to go outside and watch each team work their graduation route. Hugh and Jesse went first and they did a fantastic job together. After all the teams were finished, all of the families came inside to meet the students and get to know one another, talk about the dogs, and eat lunch. Jesse is a wonderful man from what momma says. He takes care of his mother that has the same condition that he has, he can cook, and he has children and grandchildren of his own. Mom really liked getting to meet Jesse. Jesse really loves Hugh. He loves everything about Hugh. Jesse says that he thinks Hugh knows what he feels and that comes from the special bond that they already share. Of course Hugh recognized mom, baby, and her mother-in-law right away and gave them all plenty of lovin'. The trainers and staff all loved getting to see how Hugh reacted with the baby. She still knows who he is. After all, they grew up together. Mom and baby got to take a picture with Hugh and Jesse. After Puppy Raiser Day was over, everyone that wanted to, got to tour the campus. They got to play with the puppies in the puppy kennel and then they got to go to the main kennel where Hugh's siblings are still living just waiting to be matched with the right person.

Mom came to get me as soon as she was finished at the school since we were due to meet my sponsors at 2:00 that afternoon. We all met at a fancy Dutch Heritage restaurant in Sarasota, FL. Everyone was very excited to finally get to meet one another. The Camerons' are all very nice and they were all thrilled to get to see me again. They had gotten to see me while I was very young at the guide dog school. They enjoyed seeing how well-behaved I was in my pupppy coat. I layed down under the table while all the humans ate their lunch, laughed, and told a lot of different stories. We had a great time together. Sometimes they even come up here to North Carolina to visit. It would be so cool if they got to come up here and visit sometime.

After we were done at the restaurant, mom, baby, mother-in-law, and I all took a trip to the beach for a little bit, then went back to the hotel for the night. We got a good nights' rest and made the journey back home which didn't take as long as the trip down to Florida. Trips home are never as long as the journey away. We made it home safe and sound and had a wonderful weekend thanks to some very special people!


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