Saturday, June 5, 2010

Graduation Pictures - Finally!

OK, I took a break from all things blog related for a week. Now we are back in gear and updating both Poppy's and Dagan's blogs this weekend!

Graduation was fabulous! LaVerne, Poppy's new partner, had to leave during graduation, so we met Friday for dinner. John and I were able see Poppy before we took off for dinner (Poppy was not allowed to leave campus without an instructor until after graduation). She was SO excited to see us! Though I had my camera with us, I was so focused on LaVerne and Poppy, I didn't take any pictures Friday night.

I'm not sure what it was, but this was the most relaxed, least chaotic graduation I have experienced! There were only 8 dogs graduating, so there were far fewer people than previous graduations I have participated in. Or maybe it was because we had met previously and I didn't feel like I had to squish 9 months worth of Poppy tales into an hour. Or maybe it was just our general pleasure with Poppy's placement. Whatever the reason, it was great day!

Poppy still loves to give kisses!
John sitting on the floor with Poppy in his lap, licking his face
And she is as cute as ever!
She looks fabulous in harness! And so grown up!
She enjoyed lots of posing (ok, maybe not enjoyed - but loved being touched and tolerated the posing)

After some time in the dorms, we went out for our formal pictures.
And, then for a walk over to the pond to enjoy the beautiful day and some pictures!
Then, Poppy said she had enough! I love this face, all squinty-eyes and tongue-y.

We are wishing LaVerne and Poppy all the best in the next adventures! Hoping that Pop is settling in well in Colorado and learning all there is to know about life in Arvada!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Graduation - a brief comment

Graduation was fabulous! Getting a sneak peak before graduation was even more fabulous!

By now, Poppy is in her new home, meeting her new animal friends and getting settled in for the night. So happy that she is in a spot where she can settle and be happy.

Will post pics and more later!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts of graduation

With all dogs out of the house (Dagan is on a puppy swap), it is left to me to update blogs. I know there is no way I will actually say what I want to say on stage at graduation. Heck, let's be real - I will be lucky if I remember to hand off the donation for Poppy's harness! I have walked off stage with it still in my hand more than once. So, I thought I would sit and think about all the things that I would want to say about my time with Poppy.

They say that March comes in like a lion - that was certainly true for us in March of 2009 when Poppy came home with us. At 6 months old, she hadn't had a very good start to her puppy raising career. She had issues. She was almost career changed. She was transferred for good reason. She was nothing but a product of her environment. But, habits are quickly set in puppies. I took her on as a challenge to see what I could do with her. And because she was my only option for a transfer at the time we turned in our previous puppy. She quickly grew on me.

Her smarts blew my mind. She is constantly thinking. You can sit back and watch her mind churn and try to figure what she should do, what she is expected to do and what she can get away with either doing or not doing. In 17 puppies, I had never had so much fun watching a dog think. Teaching her "Go To Bed" was a blast. She loved learning to positive methods. She picked it all up so fast! You can look at her and see the moment her brain clicks and "gets it." She is so proud of herself! She knows she is a smarty pants. Love it!

Her cuteness is overwhelming. She is a girl who knows what she wants and will work to get it. She needs cuddle time every day. She will come place her head on your leg or in your lap and just lean in to you, pressing herself against you. There were times that I could feel her want to be a part of me - to press herself into my being. Little did she know that she already lived and thrived in my heart.

Poppy challenged me as a puppy raiser. She challenged me as a leader. There were times that I didn't know how much "molding" I could do with the "lump of clay" I was given. Each time I would question her ability and desire to be a guide, she would step up and prove me wrong.

Each time I raise a puppy and turn them in, I have some inkling that I would love for that dog to come home if they were career changed. But, I also scrambled to have a plan for them in case they were released. Really, our life is easy without a pet dog. The two cats are plenty to deal with pet-wise. But Poppy was different. If she decided not to be a guide, I would have offered her to another service dog program, but in my heart of hearts, I would want her to come home. The bond we created was special.

I love all my puppies, but I simply adore Poppy. I love her personality. I love her perk. I love her spunk. I simply adore that dog. Love that dog! Can't wait for graduation!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The World is Small

Oh goodness! The world is small when you live near GDB. Went to dinner near campus with a friend who works at GDB. When her eyes about bugged out of her head over the table next to us, it was pretty clear what the reason was. That's right. At the table there were two women seated - one blind, one a former puppy raiser and GDB employee. We were good - didn't say any more than hi to the person we knew. Do you have any idea how hard it is to be back to back with the person who has your former PIT and NOT be able to say anything?!?! To hear her name in conversation?? Yup, about blew a gasket. Head just about exploded. Thankfully, there was beer. Ha! 9 more days until graduation!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heading to...

Colorado!! Poppy is heading to Colorado! Arvada, CO to be exact.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hold on - another twist in the ride!

Well, Mom got yet another phone call today... Poppy is IN CLASS!! She is in the 2-week class, so graduation is planned for May 29th! Yippy! Back to work on the scrapbook! Can't wait to meet Poppy (FINALLY!) Though kinda bummed that our trip to Alcatraz has been delayed. At least I've only been thinking about going a couple weeks - Mom has been thinking about Alcatraz for at least 20 years but has never gone. Probably because things like graduation push it to the back of her mind!

Wags and Wiggles,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Holding strong!

Just an update - Poppy is still hanging out in phase 8. Hoping to have more exciting news soon! Off to update on the important stuff now!

Wags and Wiggles,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Getting closer

Welp, Ms. Poppy is in phase 8 this week! Yippy Poppy!! Hopefully, we will be meeting soon! Can't wait to meet the dog who left all the yellow hair around the house. I must say, I do look good wearing your left over hair! ;)

Wags and Wiggles,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bouncing Flowers

So, my Mom keeps seeing all the bright orange poppies around and whining about how they remind her of Poppy. Ugh! But, since this is Poppy's blog, I gotta be nice about it.

Mom is shocked though. She knew Poppy would bounce through the phases. She knew she would skip one here and there. But FOUR?!?! She did not expect that! After 2 weeks in phase 3, Poppy jumped to phase 7! Way to go Poppy!

Wags and Wiggles,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Phase Report Day!

Poppy sitting on the beach with Morro Rock in the background

Like I said last week, expect some jumping! Poppy likes to pop around all over the place! Phase 3 this week! Go Poppy go! I'd love to meet you, but I don't want to share Mom's lap with you! Keep on studying and I hope to see you at your graduation!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Officially a "College Girl"

Poppy update! Poppy is now in phase one! That means she's is officially doing something! Up until now, she was busy being looked at by the breeding department, having tests done and having fun. Now, she is matched with a string of dogs and is starting to learn guide work. Training should last 12 weeks or so and we will see all sorts of different rates that her phases change. Hopefully, we will be seeing her at graduation soon!! Go Poppy! Go!

Wags and Wiggles,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not gonna be a mama!

It's been a while since we have heard any news on the Pop-a-liscous one! But, we did hear this week that she is no longer being considered for breeding. Mom is kinda bummed, but has high hopes for her as a guide. Pop will be spayed sometime soon (or already has been?!?!) and will join the next string of training dogs - probably in about 3 weeks. Then we will see some progress for that girl! Play time is over girly! Time to get to work!

Wags and Wiggles,

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finally Starting!

OK, I am supposed to tell you that Poppy is officially in training. I'm not too sure how that is any different than the last couple weeks, but Mom says today was 'turn in' day. So, Poppy has moved from "holding pattern" to training. Go Poppy, go! Look for more updates soon!

Wags and Wiggles,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

OK - a teaser!

Just a few more pictures of Poppy as she was saying good bye to her buddies. Mom didn't get many good ones of her face, cause she was SO busy taking everything in around her one last time.

She said good bye to our work friends, Lorraine and Randy:
Poppy with Lorraine and Randy
Then got a last snuggle from Elena:
Poppy with her head burried in Elena's lap
Sharon came in to say good bye too, but she doesn't do pictures! Silly Sharon!

One last cute face shot:
Poppy's smiling face from her dog bed

OK, now it will probably be a couple weeks before we have any more news to post! Poppy had her cardio exam on Thursday and is now hanging out in the kennels until the rest of her of classmates at the end of the month.

Wags and Wiggles,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Poppy's off at College!

Hi! I'm Dagan! Poppy asked me to keep up her blog for her. I'm the little brother/nephew she mentioned. Sadly, she left the day I came, so I didn't get to meet her. Bummer! So, I got all my instructions from Mr. Yogi Kitty. He's not fond of me - that's for sure! I think he just misses Poppy. At least I hope so. I want him to be my friend.

Anyway! Poppy is checked in to college and was happy when Mom left her. She had her heart exam today, but Mom won't hear how that went. Now, she's hanging out and getting used to college life before classes begin on February 1st.

I probably won't have many updates for you between now and then, but you can check me out! Dagan's Dogma Come say hi and see how cute I am!

Wags and Wiggles,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So Long! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehen! Goodbye...

Well, it seems that the end of the line has come early for me. I had big plans for the next 3 weeks. I was going to go to the city with Mom and Dad. I was going to say lots of good byes to all my favorite people. I was going to go visit my Dad's family and say goodbye to them (I already said goodbye to Mom's family last weekend). And, most importantly, I was going to have a little brother!

But, guess what. I came in season today. So, I'm bummed that my time at home has been cut short! I have to go off to school early and hang in the kennels before starting college.

I have a lot to think about now. I have a ton of decisions to make about my life. First, I have to get through my cardio exam on Thursday. Then, I will start working with my trainers. Hopefully, they like me! I really hope they like me! I am not sure that I want to be a guide dog. It takes SO much responsibility to be a good guide! But, I guess that's why I am heading to college - to figure out what I want to do with my life. Mom and Dad say they will be proud of me no matter what I decide to do. I know they love me and will cheer me on through whatever I decide to do. I can't wait to figure out what's next!

So, this is a goodbye that has come too soon! I will have Dagan keep you all up to date with how I am doing in college. I'll make sure that he and Mom start a blog for him too - so look for him in the blog-o-sphere soon.

Hope to see you at graduation!!

Love and Licks (lots and lots of them!)

Sleep Over Fun!

Dad brought me a present tonight! I went to work with Mom and when Dad came home, he had my buddy Max with him. Max's dad works with my dad. Max's dad to work all night tonight, so Max came for a sleep over! How fun is that?!?!

Max likes to smile real big and tongue-y. Poppy and Max, who has a tongue lolling smilePoppy lying down next to Max
He likes to sit in laps - which makes me totally jealous!! That's MY Mom's lap! Why should he get to cuddle there instead of me?!? So not fair!
Max using Poppy's head as a pillowOn top of sitting with my Mom, he thinks that I make a good pillow! How rude!

But, he is pretty cute overall. Mom says he's so pug-ly he's cute.
Close up of Max's wrinkled, snorty face

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sheep Sheep Sheep

Oh how I would love to be friends with these guys - err, gals! Girl power! Sometimes these girls live where Mom and I work. And sometimes, the very same sheep live across the street from our house! I'm not sure how they get from place to place! I never see them move. We come to work and they are at home. Then, we go for our lunch time walk and there they are! If it takes Mom and I 15 minutes to drive from our house to work, I wonder how long it takes the sheep to walk over. Maybe I'll be able to follow them some day.

So, anyway! I distract myself sometimes. The Ladies (as Mom and I call them) usually see me coming and take off running. Even if they are eating! They bolt! Are they crazy?!?! Hello! Food is ALWAYS better than being scared of something! This is what The Ladies usually look like:

And they are off! Run run run run!
Hurry up Ladies! The big scary me might get ya!
That's where they end up - WAY out in the field! Too far away for me to make friends. I'm not sure why they don't like me. Think I smell?? I'm just a little puppy.

Because of their typical behavior, I was shocked when I stopped to umm... "Do my business" on the outside of their fence. Instead of running, The Ladies all hung out and watched me. It was so strange!
I think it was the shorty out front. I don't recognize her. They came so close, I almost tried a play bow to see what they would do.
So, maybe Shorty will convince them that I am OK. Maybe someday, I will get to go romp in the field with them. Maybe someday I will call The Ladies my friends. Maybe someday, I will swagger right up to them and enjoy some oats and corn from their feed silos with them.

OK. I know I'm dreaming! But a girl's gotta have dreams, right??

Love and Licks,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poppy and the Chipmunks

Mom and Dad decided that we were going to go see a movie the other day. We were running a little on the late side, so we ran into the theater. We saw a movie called Blindside. I'm not sure what I was supposed to do at a movie. They rushed in and there was all sorts of great smells! I could feel my mouth start to water! Dad bought some popcorn and we went and sat down. The ground was REALLY cold! That's not comfy! I tried to take a nap, but I was SO cold that I started to shiver! I tried to convince Mom to let me sit her in lap - cuddling always makes it warmer. But, she wouldn't let me. Sigh. So, I sat there with my head in Mom's lap until it was time to go!

The way out of the movie was the best part ever! I saw my friend from work! Judy was there! I got to say hi to her and meet her husband and their friend. I got some belly rubs and head pats. After we said good-bye to them, I got to meet these guys:

Poppy sitting with giant Alvin and the Chipmunks statues
I'm starting a new group - watch out Alvin! This is Poppy and the Chipmunks! That's right, boys, I'm in charge now! Simon, Theodore - we need to keep Alvin in line so WE can have more fun! What do ya say??

What? We have to go home? Oh. OK. Guess you boys are on your own!

Love and Licks,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I'm getting a baby brother and nephew all in one!

OK, I know that I am going off to college in a few weeks and Mom and Dad will be getting a new puppy to raise. What I didn't know is that he's coming early!! I'm getting a baby brother! I'm so excited that I will get to corrupt...err, I mean play with him!

Ya know what is really cool??? His dog-mom is my half-sister! My dog-mom's name is Carlotta. She has a daughter named Anista. And Anista has a son named... Dagan! And Dagan is coming to my house! So, he'll be my brother and my nephew at the time time.

Like me, he's another transfer puppy. But, he's way younger than I was when I came here. He's just a little baby right now! He doesn't even have his big boy shots yet!

It's kinda confusing, cause he's only sorta coming before I leave. First, Mom is taking me to GDB for my shots. I'm spending the night there to have my cardio exam on Thursday. Mom is hopeful that Dagan will coming home with Mom. If not, she will pick both of us up after my visit with the cardiologist. We will be together through the weekend (so check back for pictures!), then he's going to Hamlin's house. After that, he's going to 2 other raiser's houses so that Mom and Dad can spend as much time with me as possible. Wow! If they are doing all that, I must be pretty special!

So that's it! I can't wait to meet my baby brother/nephew!

Love and Licks,

Friday, January 8, 2010

A few of my favorite things!

I love being comfy! I think creature comforts are great! I love lush green grass to romp in! I love a cushy bed to sleep on. This is the best life ever! Or at least it is when Mr Kitty doesn't do naughty things to my comfy bed! These are a few of my favorite things!
Poppy on the green grass, in a play bow with a bone between her mouth and the grass
Playing in the grass is fun - especially if there is a bone or kong out there to play with!
Poppy looking drowsy in her dog bed in the back of the car
But, this is the life! LOVE the comfy beds!
Poppy in her bed in the car looking directly into the camera
If only people would leave me along so I could get some sleep and make good use out of this comfy bed! Yeesh! Good night!

Love and Licks,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weddings Are Fun!

OK, once again I am posting about a past event where I am feeling like I should be insulted! Yes, I went to the wedding. Yes, I enjoyed the wedding! Yes, I wished people well! I even helped babysit Brian! But, where are the pictures of ME?!?! Not a single picture of me! I feel a pout coming on!

A while back, we all headed down to Fresno for a wedding. It was my Auntie Sue's sister getting married. It's all kinda confusing. I'm not totally sure how these people relationships all work. Mom calls Kelley her Sister-in-law-in-law, but I never never heard anyone call her that before. It's all a little strange, if you ask me! So, Kelley married the goofy bald guy, Bernie. He's a fun guy! Super silly and a lot of fun!
Kelley and Bernie at the wedding

There is the lucky couple! So happy! Mom and I spent most of the time at the wedding with a sleeping Brian. He was sooo sleepy, but has trouble falling asleep when there is a lot to see. I feel his pain! I'm the same way! If I close my eyes, I might miss something exciting! That wouldn't be fun! So, Mom sat with Brian and convinced him to sleep in her lap. Since Mom was tied down to one spot, they stuck me with her too. Mom thought it was great - she didn't have to stand in a single line! Food, champagne, people - they all came to her! No crowds to go through, no waiting! All she had to do was ask for something! That's the way to go!
John and his champagne glass
That's the champagne-getter! Dad was good at bringing that back to the table! Fingers crossed that I get to go to another wedding soon! But next time, I want to do some dancing!!

Love and Licks,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Poppy looking into the sunset through a farm gate

Dad loves taking pictures! He also loves sunsets. The two go together well. Some times, we go out and take a bunch of pictures just down from our house around sunset. I love going with him! You never know what you will see. Mom stayed home this time to work on dinner, while Dad and I went out exploring. We were sort of heading for the beach, but got distracted by the entrance to a farm. So, we stopped there to take some pictures.

Here they are!
Poppy waiting for sunset to come Poppy looking towards the camera and scenting the air

Love and Licks,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


No! Not scavenging for food! That would get me in SO much trouble!! My puppy friends and I went on a photo scavenger hunt with our puppy raisers. It was in our mall and there was a list of clue that we had to figure out and take pictures of. Dogs were in every picture. It was a lot of fun! I couldn't be with Mom or Dad because they wrote the hunt clues! Little did the team know that I would be their secret weapon! Mom and Dad may have written the clues, but I was with them every step of the way!

We had to find some Mexican food at Rubios
Poppy, Tara and Tulani outside Rubio's with their raisers
Find a bench that would fit us all
Tara, Tulani and Poppy with raisers sitting on a bench
Take an elevator ride
The pups and raisers entering the elevator
Visit the mall map
The pups and raisers at the Mall Map
Find a way to get on TV
A small video screen with the dogs walking by
Get some Smoothie Action in
The dogs and raisers at the Smoothie Kiosk
Jack and I had to ride the kiddie roller coaster
Jack and Poppy getting out of the kiddie roller coaster ride
And Nick and I had to write a letter to Santa
Nick in a chair next to Santa's mailbox. Poppy trying to lie down with her tail a blur of movement

It was a lot of fun! Despite me looking like a dork in the picture with Nick. I was trying to lay down! I was sleeeeepy after all that running around! Oh well!

I hope we get to do it again soon!

Love and Licks,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Marks'

Another one from the depths of my memory! (And they say that dogs don't have long term memories! Ha!). For Thanksgiving this year, Mom, Dad and I went to Dad's parent's house for the family gathering. It was a lot of fun! There was a lot of people there - Dad's parents, his sister, niece and 2 bothers. Phew! Lots of feet to walk around! But, there was someone better than all the people there... Accord!! Yippy!! I love getting to spend time with Accord! He is SO much fun to run with! We got to run in the yard and have a great time, but once in the house we had to be good! All those 2-foots means that there are a lot of people to trip up with us walking around.

I hung out on one side of the couch and Accord was on the other.

I only had one problem with the day. The people spent the whole time in the kitchen. They cooked some, ate some, cooked some, ate some, cooked some then all sat down to have a big dinner. But not a single thing for me! Sure, I got tossed an ice cube here and there, but that was all! Just look at the counter!

Eventually, I was given some dog food. yippy. I'm actually kind of insulted about this whole situation. I was perfectly behaved! I sat when told to do so! I came when I was asked! I was quiet and chewed on my own toys. I didn't beg for any of that food even once! Accord, on the other hand did beg - and he got food! He got TURKEY! How the heck does that happen?!?! No fair! I'm thinking of staging a revolt next Thanksgiving! Or maybe I will just boycott the whole holiday! No fair! No fair! No fair! I'm a hungry Labrador!

Sigh. These people will never change! Guess I better learn to live with it!

Love and Licks,

Sunday, January 3, 2010


OK, so I am going way back with this one! We had some random holiday back in October called Halloween. By its name, I thought I would spend the whole day howling. But, instead of howling, these crazy people dressed me up! How insane is that?!? I already wear a fur coat all the time, plus a puppy coat when I am out in public. How many things does one dog need to wear?!?!

So, Mom and I went shopping one day and we went to this crazy store. It was full of people wearing crazy things. There were ghosts and zombies and even a president or two! Crazy! So, I thought I made it out safe and sound, cause Mom didn't put any of that stuff on me in the store. But, alas, I was not safe. I ended up like this:
Poppy sitting with her flower costume on her back Flower costume - a backpack style flower on her back. Big yellow petals with pink polka dots

Mom called me her "Delicate Little Flower." I think she was being sarcastic though, cause everyone laughed at the word delicate. What?!? Do people not think of me when they hear that word?? I'm not sure if I should be insulted or not. And, not only did they make me dress like a dork, they couldn't even take a good picture of me looking like a dork! I'm blurry! Geez!

This is how Mom and Dad ended up. They were Bacon and Eggs. Which, would be good, if they let me eat it. But, as usual, I wasn't allowed to touch them. Ugh!

John and Cassie, dressed as Bacon and Eggs

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Drums and Pumpkins

Poppy sitting with a pumpkin

Uncle Andy and Auntie Susan came over with my cousins a couple months ago. My two-foot cousin Brian is 4 and my 4-foot cousin Granger is old! He was one of Mom's other guide dog puppies. But, he's a diva and doesn't want to work.

So, Dad and Uncle Andy hung out and played drums. They are both drummers and Uncle Andy was helping Dad with some conga lessons. Brian really likes the drumming and he joined in too.
Brian playing the congas with his Uncle JohnBrian clapping for a job well done
After Brian was done playing with the guys, Mom, Auntie Susan and I decided that we should go look for pumpkins. I LOVE the pumpkin patch! It was SO much fun!

Poppy and Brian with a pumpkin

Brian and I discussed some pumpkins, but couldn't decide on any to take home. But, it was icky sticky hot outside anyway. We didn't stay long because it was too sticky and because Mom and Auntie Susan didn't have enough hands to walk Brian and I AND pick up pumpkins. So, we just looked at the pumpkins and animals, then headed back home.
Brian sitting on a big pumpkin
Brian got so tired that he decided to make a chair out of this pumpkin. I would have laughed if he got pumpkin seeds in his pants!

Love and Licks,