May 15, 2012
Good morning Sue!
This month has been a great month of growth for Beacon. He appears to have overcome his fear of stairs (YAY!) and is maturing rapidly. With the 2 oldest dogs in the group in for training last month, Beacon is now the oldest dog in our Nashville group - beating out George by 4 days!
We tried to switch Beacons food to Southeastern Guide Dogs newest recommended food and poor sweet Beacon was not well for 2 weeks, therefore we do not have much to report. Beacon did come with us to the pet store to pick up his new food and was curious about the caged bunny and birds.
Beacon hung out at home for much of the month, doing what my kids do when sick, watching tv. His favorite show? Too Cute on Animal Planet.
Beacon was not too sick to pose for pictures though!
He is such a handsome dog!
And just because he was not heading out with us as much as he is use to, that did not mean training stopped. He practiced avoidance and 'leave it' by maintaining a 'down stay' while a bug was crawling around him. He did very well not to break his stay and try to eat the bug. Actually he did much better than I did with a bug in the house!
Our first puppy training meeting of the month was with a trainer from Southeastern, Jenn Gerity. She worked with our group teaching us the new way to perform the 'heel' command. Beacon was a star pupil. Unfortunately the meeting was held in the evening and there are not many good shots of the puppies. I have one picture taken right before the meeting began but it was taken from my phone, and I am not sure if you will be able to see it or not.
We have expressed some concern with Beacon and his 'shark' teeth. He has several baby teeth that have not fallen out yet and his adult teeth are already in. Jen checked Beacons mouth, saw the double teeth and said they will need to be removed. The concern is that the baby teeth can break in the mouth and cause an abscess and the overcrowding can make it difficult to keep his teeth clean. Beacon loves to have his teeth brushed - or more accurately, loves the taste of puppy toothpaste - so the brushing is never an issue. We are waiting for confirmation from Southeastern on when to have the procedure done.
Speaking of tooth removal, Beacon went to the oral surgeon when Jenny had her wisdom teeth pulled - and he waited patiently for Jenny to emerge. As if he knew something was wrong, he did not try to jump or 'kiss' Jenny when she was done. He just sat at her side, licking her hand. Have I mentioned he is the sweetest puppy??
Sadly, Beacon stood/sat through a military funeral procession. A former student at my sons high school was killed in Afghanistan. I think the entire community came out with flags to support this heros family. We lined up on the road near the high school with flags and waited for the funeral procession. I am not sure if you can see Beacon in the third picture, but if you look closely you can make out his blue coat on the grass about half way down the line of flags. Again, he is such a sweet and sensitive pup, that he sat very patiently (almost reverently) and waited... a long time. First came the police, with lights and sirens to clear the street traffic, then the Victory Riders and the Patriot Guard Riders (motorcycle groups that support military funerals and keep protesters like the folks from Westboro Baptist church away), followed by the official police escort. The procession stretched for miles. Beacon was such a good boy that he was rewarded with his first puppy ice cream treat.
Our next puppy raiser meeting was held in a women's correctional facility and cameras were not allowed.
Now that Beacon is back on his regular food, he is back to being his old goofy self again. We do have some concerns that Beacon may be too sweet to make it as a guide, but having read your last email regarding yet another one of your pups making it to guide, we continue training Beacon with the expectation he will continue your successful guide dog streak. Whatever career Beacon chooses, he will certainly enrich the life of his future partner as he has enriched our lives!
I hope all is well with you and your members. Hopefully we will have some more photos for next month!