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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving with Beacon

Beacon is just one of the many things I am thankful for this year.  Emily, home from South Carolina, and Jenny, home from college, finally met the new puppy I have been bragging about - and they both fell in love.  The odd thing is that Emily, who has been allergic to dogs since birth,  would break out in hives when she pet Honey, but, so far, has not had the same experience with Beacon.  That alone made Thanksgiving wonderful.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of preparing for a big Thanksgiving dinner, what did Beacon do?  He slept...
Beacon asleep in front of the
kitchen sink.
Beacon, still sleeping, in front of the sink
and garbage can.  Thanksgiving dinner
is being prepared.  Jenny is washing dishes
spread legged over Beacon.
Beacon, still sleeping in front of the
garbage can, does not stir as we
try to stuff more trash into
 the garbage can.
A close up view of Beacon sleeping
and how we had to work around
him to cook dinner.
After dinner, it was time for our family picture.
Beacon waiting for family picture time.
We are kind of stacked
like a pyramid.
Scotty and I are in the back,
the 4 girls sitting on the
couch in front of us.  The
2 boys are sitting on the floor.
Beacon is between the 2 boys,
 being held by Michael.

 Maybe next year we will remember to dress more nicely for our picture!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beacon, Bureaucracy and the DMV

Michael had to get his permit renewed and that meant a trip to the Division of Motor Vehicles.  Being the brilliant people we are, we arrived early so as not to have to wait in line for too long.  That was the plan, at least.  We arrived 15 minutes prior to opening to find out that we were the 15th brilliant person in line!  At least we were outside and if Beacon had an accident it would be ok. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in line wanted to pet Beacon!  I guess it was a nice break from just standing in line waiting for the doors to open.  It turned out to be a great opportunity for Michael to practice speaking with the public (Michael has some special needs), educating people about Southeastern Guide Dogs and the rules of greeting a guide dog.  Our wait went by quickly and when the doors opened, we were greeted by every, and again I mean every, worker in the DMV.  Although a little timid, Beacon was such a good sport by sitting and letting everyone pet him.  Luckily for us, Michael just had to go to the computer kiosk to renew his permit, and within 20 minutes we were saying good bye to the DMV.  I am glad I brought my camera but was so busy with all the greetings that I was not able to snap even one picture so this 'created' picture will have to suffice..

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Puppy Meeting - The Mall

Today was Beacon’s first puppy meeting.  We met at the mall where a journalist and a photographer from the local newspaper were scheduled to meet us to write a piece about Southeastern Guide Dogs. The headline sounded interesting enough "Mall's Holiday Frenzy Tests Pups' Potential As Guide Dogs" but the 'article' was a disappointment.  I would love to provide a link but the article is not available online.  But all was not lost, this was a puppy meeting after all, and Beacon experienced some really great exposures!

Beacon met Clifford and Frenchie (two of the Famous Miss Faye goldador pups being raised in our Nashville group)
Beacon, in an oversized
puppy-in-training jacket,
goes nose to nose with Clifford.
Clifford is 10 months old.
Clifford (front), Beacon (center)
and Frenchie (rear) train in
the mall.
We worked on walking on different surfaces
Beacon, in jacket, walks
across the tile floor.
Beacon, from behind, walks
on carpet in the mall.
Scents in the food court
Beacon lunging for an errant
piece of food
in the food court.
I am giving him a
collar correction.
Walking along the glass wall overlooking the first floor
Beacon walking along a
glass wall on the
second floor of the mall.
Beacon is peering down
through the glass at
the first floor.
Beacon walking along the glass
wall but he is no longer
looking down.  I am
giving the thumbs up
since Beacon is not
being distracted.
Store exposures
Beacon is sitting in front of a
rack of girls bracelets.  He is sniffing
the items on the rack.
I am giving Beacon a collar correction
for trying to eat the items
on the shelf.
Watching the escalator

Beacon sitting at the top of the escalator
watching people as they
 mysteriously appear.
Beacon looking to his right as people
walk off the escalator.
Beacon asleep in front of the escalator.
Being such a little guy, Beacon tuckered out on the long walk to the elevator and was scooped up and carried to the elevator.
Scotty, looking into the camera, is holding
Once on the elevator, though, he quickly perked up to see all that was going on around him. 
Beacon is in the glass elevator with
Frenchie in harness behind him
and Clifford in front of him.
All three of the dogs are
looking out the glass to the
floor below.
A picture taken from above Beacon's head.
Beacon, in jacket, is looking out
the glass elevator window as it moves.
Beacon also took some time out to show off his cuteness...
Beacon and Scotty looking into the camera.
Scotty is kneeling down and Beacon
is in a sit.
A close up shot of Beacon looking into the camera.
Of course, training also meant Beacon needed to continue learning how to walk on the leash, stay on our left side, and how to greet people.  

Beacon did not seemed phased by the professional photographer following him around, Amy (our photographer of the day) constantly snapping pictures of him,  scents of any type, the escalator, the elevator, the glass wall, or anything else we encountered on that busy pre-Christmas Saturday in the mall.
Beacon in the foreground, sleeps near
Clifford, in the background.
Saying we were excited by Beacon's confidence and abilities would be an understatement.   Way to go Beacon!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beacon & Brick Builders

One Thursday a month, Billy attends Brick Builder Club after school.  In this club the kids build thematic structures using LEGOS.  This Thursday was Beacon's first time attending Brick Builders. I was a little worried about bringing such a young puppy to classroom full of kids (mostly boys), the high noise level and the occasional dropped LEGO pieces.   I introduced Beacon to the group, explained what it means that he is a puppy-in-training and the rules surrounding greetings.  Beacon received lots of hugs and pats from the group before they started.  And the amazing thing was, the kids focused on building - and not on Beacon.  The kids understood and followed the rules better than the adults. Beacon was instrumental in trying to eat finding all the dropped LEGO pieces.  He was such a good boy!  The kids and I look forward to next months meeting!

A blurry picture of the Green Team
Brick Builders club.
Beacon, center right, is sniffing
a LEGO brick being held by
one of the participants.

November Sponsor Update

Beacon is adjusting very well to our home and his new routines in Franklin Tennessee.  Aside from his overall cuteness, he is an easy and laidback puppy, anxious to learn and eager to please.  Since he is still so young our training focus right now is teaching Beacon to respond to his name (responds correctly 90% of the time), no (responds correctly 85% of the time), to come when called using the ‘come’ command (mastered), to sit (responds correctly 95% of the time), down (responds correctly 40% of the time) and stay (responds correctly 10% of the time).  He has mastered walking up steps, but for now we still carry him down the steps (this is common for young puppies).  At 18.4 pounds, I hope he gains the necessary confidence to travel down steps soon! 
A really cute thing we noticed Beacon does is to wag his tail like a plane propeller – around and around – rather than usual puppy wag of back and forth.  He is one special puppy and we are glad to be partnering with you to help Beacon become a guide dog for his future lifetime partner!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Honey Update

Thank you Southeastern Guide Dogs for providing this picture of our sweet and smiling Honey!

Beacon Goes Shopping for Senior Bingo and Meets ReVive 5

Billy's youth group was responsible for bringing prizes for the Senior Center Bingo night.  That meant shopping for little Bingo prizes with Beacon.  Thanks to my photographer, Billy, for capturing these photos as we tried to shop with Beacon. 

Beacon and I (from behind)
as we navigate the aisles
looking for prizes.
I am pushing a shopping cart
with Beacon on leash
to my left.

I found some stocking stuffers for the kids but were still on the hunt for the perfect Senior Bingo prizes...
Beacon looking at the camera
as we walk past Billy.
I am pushing a shopping
I remembered how challenging it was to shop with a young pup...
Beacon and I walking down the
main aisle.  I am pushing a
shopping cart and Beacon
is trying to walk on
leash to my left.
Beacon is walking a
little sideways in the picture.
I finally decided that if I were ever going to get out of the store, I would need to place the tired pup in the cart... 
Beacon sitting in the shopping cart
looking into the camera.
With the pooped out pup in the cart, we accomplished our mission and headed to meet Billy's youth group, ReVive 5 (fifth grade youth group)...

Beacon, center in the picture,
meets 3 girls from
ReVive 5 youth group.
One girl is petting Beacon.