Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye 2011

Every New Year Eve we celebrating by making our own New Year hats and deciding what first place ribbon each should receive for their creation.  We are also the crazy-bang-pots-and-pans-outside-at-midnight people.  But before the celebrations begin, we usually have a quite day at home, planning our secret hat design for the hat contest, deciding on and preparing midnight snacks and enjoying each others company.  Today I decided it would be a good time to photograph Beacon.  Some things I learned (and I should have remembered these from trying to photograph Honey)

1.  Make certain your bedroom is clean before you start taking pictures
Emily, sitting on floor,
playing with Beacon in
her lap.  Jenny is sitting
on the bed.
My bedroom is a mess!
2.  Make certain you have some natural light in the room
Emily playing with Beacon.
It is a very dark picture.
3.  Make sure you have the correct camera settings
Emily playing tug-o-war
with Beacon.  Beacon is
a blur in the picture.
 4.  Make certain you are dressed appropriately in the pictures
Me telling Beacon to come.
Beacon is looking at me.
I am in pajamas!

 5.  Hand camera over to oldest child, Emily, and have her capture Beacon being adorable
Close up of Beacon looking
 into camera.  He looks soulful.
Beacon looking past camera
in a thoughtful pose
6.  Try not to take pictures of light colored dog on light colored carpeting
Beacon sitting on the light
 carpet with a
toy to his right paw.
7.  Place a dark blanket under light dog for better color definition
Beacon sitting on a red blanket
looking to the left of the camera.
 8.  Make certain blanket hides ugly things in the background
Beacon in a down on the red blanket.
You can see the desk chair
legs in the background
9.  Forget about trying to pose a puppy and just let him be him...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas with Beacon

Merry Christmas!  As this was Beacon's first Christmas, we did not know what to expect when it came to the noise and mess of opening presents.  As he is with most new (and old) exposures, Beacon was a trooper!    
Beacon in the middle of
the traditional before
you open your gifts
Christmas morning shot
 Beacon enjoyed the wrapping paper...
Beacon on the floor trying
to eat wrapping paper
Luckily, he was easily redirected to his allowed to chew present 
Beacon on the floor playing
with an unstuffed toy.
 As the present opening ramped up to full swing, Beacon continued to chew his new toy
Beacon in the middle of the picture
playing with his toy
Soon thereafter, Beacon decided to see if there were anymore presents with his name on them 
Beacon wading through a mound of torn
wrapping paper
 Sadly, there were none.
Beacon sitting in the middle
of wrapping paper and gifts
looking sad with a cocked head
We all enjoyed having Beacon's little puppy nose in each of our presents, in most of our photos but most of all, we enjoy the blessing of being able to raise this little guy!  
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Snoring in Church

We attend a fairly large church and the congregation has accepted Beacon with open hearts.  Who wouldn't?  He is such an easy and well behaved puppy.  Well if there were ever a time I thought we may be asked to leave church, it was tonight.  Beacon pranced into church like he owned the place, greeted his regular fans, settled into his comfy spot and began to snore.  At first the snoring was not too loud and the music, singing and rejoicing was a little louder than Beacon's snore, so all was good.  Then, Pastor Rick introduced a special guest singer, American Idol finalist, Melinda Doolittle. She sang a very soulful song and the congregation was mesmerized by her singing - all but one little puppy.  Beacon continued to snore.  I looked around to see if anyone else could hear the snoring, but no one looked annoyed or bothered so I assume it was just me tuned into the puppy snore.  We enjoyed the service, the kindness of others who smiled as we tried to get Beacon out to busy after the longer than usual service and the few times a year our family is able to worship together.  We really enjoyed that Beacon is becoming so comfortable with outside our home exposures that he is now able to sleep through them - we just need to work on that snoring!

American Idol finalist
Melinda Dolittle

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Honey Update #3 - The dreaded CC

We received news that Honey has been career changed (CC'd).  The official reason was 'stranger directed aggression' which I found quite odd since Honey never met a 'stranger'.   I found out that Honey was being too overprotective of her trainer and, as such, has been released from Guide Dog training.  While the reason for the career change was very surprising, the fact that she was career changed, was not.  Southeastern Guide Dogs competed an evaluation to see if Honey would be suited for another career, and if so, which career would she be best suited for.  It appears that Honey would like a career in Public Assistance.  Honey will be evaluated by several police departments to see if she could possibly fit their needs as a potential bomb sniffer, arson dog, search and rescue dog, etc. 
Honey is such an active dog, that I believe Public Assistance work is what she is best suited for and the career that would make her happiest. 
A big thank you to my fellow puppy raisers for your support!    

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December Sponsor Letter

Good Morning Sue!

We have been crazy busy here and so the blog has not been updated this month.  I have written the blog entries but have not posted them yet as I have not had the time to transfer the photos from the camera to the computer.  I have uploaded some of the better pictures of Beacon for you to share with your members.

Beacon has almost tripled in size since we picked him up!  He has mastered going down the stairs and (thankfully) sleeping through the night.  He has yet to lose any teeth but we are on the lookout each day.  The first few months with a new puppy are always a little unusual since Beacon is unable to come with us to many places.  Until he is fully inoculated, he cannot come with us to the farm, to outdoor events or places where other dogs may have been.  Beacon is due for his final shots next week, and then will be medically cleared to travel with us... everywhere!

This month, Beacon met Billy's church youth group, attended Brick Builders- Lego Club, went to a puppy meeting at the mall and another meeting at an outdoor mall, met Dave Ramsey (a radio financial talk show host) and was photographed for an article for our local newspaper (

With a full house expected for Christmas, Beacon will be exposed to many different people and to many new sights and sounds.  We are enjoying his overall laid back nature - laid back until it comes to mealtime.  He is still eating without chewing first! Beacon is very willing to learn new commands and is doing very well in training. Daily, he is walking with us to the school bus stop and his stamina has improved so much that now he can now walk the entire way to the bus stop and back.  He walks so elegantly, it is as if he is almost prancing!  While Beacon believes he is a lap dog he is (unfortunately) quickly outgrowing our laps. He loves a variety of toys and being my shadow in the kitchen.

Again, we thank you for your sponsorship of this great not-so-little puppy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Pup with the Christmas spirit

Beacon getting into the Christmas spirit.

Beacon wearing a red bandana
with HO HO HO on it.
Beacon is looking off to the
left of the camera with
the cutest expression

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Puppy Meeting

Today was puppy meeting day!  We met at an outdoor shopping mall.  Since this was Beacon's second meeting not much was expected of him.  
We covered:
"Sit": Check
Beacon, in jacket, sitting
on the grass
while I hold his leash.
Distractions - trying to keep Beacon in a sit while being distracted: Check (as in having someone take your picture every time you move) 
Beacon, in jacket, sitting on the grass
looking into the camera.
Standing an arms length away from other dogs:  Ummm, not so much
Beacon jumping out of a stand position
to greet Frenchie.
"Down": Check
Beacon on the left in a down
Frenchie and Clifford are to his left.

"Come": Check
Beacon responding appropriately
as I tell him to 'come'.  Beacon
is getting up from a down position.
 "Stay": Check
Beacon staying in a 'sit; position
while I give him the stay command.
Doggie distractions: Somewhat check
Beacon practicing doggie
distractions by walking
a figure 8 around other
Being a good boy:  Check
Beacon, in jacket, sitting on
the grass, and not eating it!
Accept some love:  Check - this was not an official Southeastern Guide Dogs command but Beacon is such a good boy it is hard not to love on him all the time - especially when he was doing so well at the puppy meeting
Me giving Beacon a kiss on the head.
Beacon is looking upward at me.

Exposure to statues:  Check
Beacon sitting, in jacket,
in front of a statue of
children playing.
 Find the door, Sitting at a door:  No and check
Beacon sitting at a door.
 Other Dog exposures: Check
Beacon looking at himself
in a mirror in a shoe store.
Straight: Not really - Beacon is too young to know the command 'straight' but it was good practice to follow and be followed by other dogs.
Puppy raisers walking across a
cross walk practicing the
'straight' command.
Frenchie, a black female
 goldadore, is in the lead,
followed by Beacon
 and Clifford, a black male

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beacon Meets Dave Ramsey

Once place I found for great exposures is Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University headquarters.  It is just around the corner from us, Martha always welcomes us with a smile (Martha runs Martha's Place - a small no-cost cafe in the lobby where she bakes the most awesome treats!), the pups get great exposure to shiny tile floors, the carpeted bookstore, people milling around the lobby and, as an added bonus, I get to see Dave Ramsey live instead of listening to him on the radio.  And, I must admit, I met Jon Acuff (author of Quitter and Stuff Christians Like) there and lost a bet to him when I said there was no such thing as 'Ponies-in-training' for the blind - as in Guide Ponies (there is! - check it out here Guide Horses)

Dave Ramsey is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show,  discussing personal finance topics in which he helps listeners get out, and stay out, of debt.  He is also the author of multiple NY Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers as well as many other accolades (No, I do not work for the man, I just respect his calling.)  To find out more about Dave Ramsey, click here:  Dave Ramsey

Anyway, I headed off to introduce Beacon to Dave and provide Beacon a safe exposure.  If I were in any way talented with a camera I would have better pictures to share than these...

Dave Ramsey kneeling with
Beacon, in jacket, looking
up at Dave.
Dave Ramsey kneeling with
Beacon between his legs.
Beacon is looking
off in the distance.
Dave Ramsey kneeling petting
Beacon, in jacket.

Beacon in harness

Today we received this picture of Beacon 'in' harness...
Beacon at 6 weeks sitting in a
Southeastern Guide Dog harness
In just 6 weeks since this picture was taken Beacon has changed so much!  He is not quite as white, he has (at least) doubled in weight and has faced many new exposures.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Honey Update #2

The great news about Honey keeps rolling in!  We received notice from our AC that Honey passed her medical evaluations with excellent hips and good elbows.  She is still being considered as a breeder evaluate.  We received a letter telling us how much fun Honey is having while IFT and this picture was enclosed...
Honey looking into the camera, smiling, while sitting on the beach in Florida.  The caption on the photo states 'Greetings from Florida'
Don't you think her Puppy Raiser should be on the beach with her in sunny Florida?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Opryland Hotel Exposure

We took Beacon to the Opryland Hotel.  We took Honey there for a puppy raiser meeting before and remembered how beautifully it was decorated for Christmas.  We wanted to make sure we captured some Beacon shots before he grew much bigger.  
It all started well...

Beacon sitting against the
fridge, waiting as we
pack up his bag.
Beacon is looking off to
the right and you can
see his reflection in
the fridge.
 After a short car ride, we were ready to invade visit the Opryland Hotel.  
Beacon sitting outside the hotel
as I put his jacket on him.

Beacon was a little fearful to enter the not-so-well-lit atrium of the hotel.  We tried to get his picture in front of the poinsettias, but this was the best we could do!

Beacon yawing while sitting
in front of a row of poinsettias.
An important exposure for the puppies is characters in costumes.  Shrek?  Who cares?
Beacon in the background, sleeping,
as characters from Shrek perform.
Beacon also was exposed to bright lights...
Scotty holding Beacon, while
we stand in front of a huge
lighted Christmas tree.
A two-story open walkway...
Beacon walking along
an open rail walkway.
Beacon is on the second floor and
the railing is open to the
first floor below.
 A water fountain (dogs can sometimes be frightened of fountains)
Beacon against the
wrought iron fence
separating him from
the waterfall.

Me praising Beacon for not being fearful
of the water fountain.
 Some more posing in front of poinsettias...
Beacon sitting on a walkway, looking left, in
front of a row of poinsettias.
He is wearing his puppy in training
 And more waterfalls...
Beacon sitting on a second floor
open balcony in front
of a huge indoor waterfall.
 and then we headed home
Beacon on the front
passenger floorboard,
fast asleep.