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

Monday, August 8, 2011

Puppy Raiser Day

I had the best time at Puppy Raiser Day this weekend. This is where I got to see my once-so-small Cameron work his graduation route with his forever person. They were perfect together!!!

Saturday was a great day to have it since it was sunny and bright, the weather was nice except for the heat (which is expected during the Summer), and all of the Puppy Raisers made it to the graduation. We all met in the Administrative building first to be signed in and go over a few rules before the routes got started. A few people on the Puppy Raiser Services Team went over "guide dog etiquette" with everyone and read us the students' Bio forms which tells us a little bit about the student before we actually get to meet them. (In case you did not know, there are rules for greeting a guide dog team such as: greeting the person first- not the dog, never pet or talk to the dog-pretend it's not even there, and do not ask about the person's impairment-if they want you to know, they will tell you). All of us Puppy Raisers gathered outside, at a distance away, to watch each team work a route together as a class. We have to remain very quite during this time so we do not distract the dogs from their work. That's the last thing we want to do is to draw attention to ourselves.

Cameron and his partner worked their route first. They came out of the building with Cameron pulling ahead in his harness like he is supposed to and his nose in the air. I could tell he could smell me and so could some of the other raisers. I kind of laughed to myself watching the expression on his face. You could almost read his mind and this is what it appeared he was thinking: "I know she is here but I don't see her. I can smell her, though." It almost made me hold my breath for fear that he was going to track me down. After the initial smelling of the air, he went about his business and worked his route like a pro!

After all the teams completed their walks, we got to go back inside for the best part of all- meeting the person that has our dog!!!! That is the BEST part about Puppy Raiser Day. I got to meet his forever partner, which is a woman (I knew it would be since Cameron likes his women), and talk with her for a while getting to know a little about her and she got to learn a little about me and, of course, Cameron. I gave Cameron and his partner a gift bag. Cameron got a Nylabone to chew on and a jacket since I didn't know where he would be living and his owner got a picture album of Cameron growing up. She, in return, gave a gift that is very special, it's a picture frame with two pictures in it- one is Cameron's baby picture in the harness and then other is of the two of them on the beach where Cameron is giving her lots of lovin'.

She loves him dearly already and this feeling is clearly mutual. It turns out, Cameron is her 2nd Vizsla guide dog and she is very familiar with the breed since she has several Vizsla friends. How perfect! I couldn't have picked a better person for him if I had tried myself. She is very active so Cameron will have a lot of working time. He will be living up north and will be pampered. My boy is going to love her even more when he finds out what's in store for him when he gets home!!! He is one lucky dog and I am one happy raiser. This is what makes you want to keep raising, and I will continue to do so as long as I am able. The students, staff, and raisers all sat down to eat lunch together before our goodbyes had to come. It was a great meal, Southeastern has some good chefs. Goodbyes, unfortunately, had to follow too soon after our meal. We gave each other a huge hug and I gave Cameron one too. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with such a wonderful team!

These two are truely a Bicycle Built for Two. (This is the title of her bio and is very fitting.)

After Puppy Raiser Day was over, we (my daughter, mother-in-law, and I) left to go down to Lehigh Acres to see Jesse and Hugh. They were happy too see us. we spent the night there with them. I shaved Hugh's fur a little to help with all the shedding and he looks really cute! We left their house the next morning and went down to Sanibel Island to spend a day/night. It was nice to explore a new place this time. We stayed in a hotel on the island for the night and got up early the next morning to make the long 13-hr drive back home.

That is a recap of our weekend. I hope you enjoyed. There will be more updates to follow on Cameron so just stick around.

Cameron's Raiser Mom