Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I met my awesome little (or not so little) boy. I remember so clearly the excitement of waking up on Dog Day, wondering who my partner was going to be. I kept hearing music with words that mirrored my emotions, or maybe I was just relating everything to how I was feeling. In any case, I have a few songs that came on that morning, in a folder called Dog Day, and they will forever remind me of May 6th, 2014, when Keats came into my life. We were both uncertain, not knowing what to make of each other, but here we are a year later, and our bond is strong, because of the love and trust we have for one another. He has been so easy to love. the trust, on the other hand, took a little more time, as is to be expected.
My boy turned three on Monday. He got one of those little Frosty Paws doggie ice creams, which he thoroughly enjoyed–I thought he’d never quit licking the bowl. He also got a squeaky Ewok. I’m attaching two pictures of him with his new toy at the office. That morning when I gave it to him, he went nuts, running around the house and squeaking it like there was no tomorrow. He loves squeaky toys! Our friend Norma also got him a rubber bone that crackles; it has some kind of material inside like that of a water bottle. He is not a bit spoiled as you can see! 🙂
This past weekend we had a few friends over. Two of them just graduated with new guide dogs. We had 6 people and 4 dogs in this small house, but it went fine. We even got to hang out with some friends on Saturday who have a fenced back yard, so the dogs had a blast! It was great to see them having such a good time, romping around with each other. Thank God for good friends who are willing to open their home to us, feed us, let the dogs go nuts in the back yard, give us a ride home, and just be great company. I think it’s safe to say that a wonderful time was had by all pups and humans. So, Keats has had an extended celebration of his birthday and guide dog anniversary, starting last Friday. Right now he is curled up in his bed next to mine, sleeping soundly, with one toy on his bed and one next to the bed. Poor doggie–he is so deprived and never has any fun! 😉
Keats is an amazing little boy. He is so darn cute, sweet, smart, loveable, such a focused worker, so eager to please, and so in tune with me. A good friend commented how she could see that he draws his energy from me. That made me feel good, and I agree with her. I just love the way he checks in with me all the time, and how he is so attached to me. He is always aware of me, no matter how much excitement is going on around him. Saturday when he was running with the other dogs, I started to go in the house for a minute, and guess who followed me in? I fully expected him to stay outside with his new friends, yet he wanted to follow me inside. That really touched my heart.
It is so refreshing to have a dog who barely gets distracted. Even the lizards, which he absolutely loves to chase, don’t really get him off track anymore. He’ll give them a look and continue on his way. When he is working, other dogs don’t even phase him. I didn’t think that was possible in a dog! He is friendly with other people, but I have no doubt who his person is. I love how he can go greet someone, then get back to work without missing a beat. His in and out of harness personalities are almost like night and day. When he is guiding, he is all business. He is awesome at targeting. He regularly finds trash cans, empty seats, doors, stairs, and my husband. He gets so proud of himself when he does a good job. His recall is flawless, and I have been able to trust him in all kinds of situations.
As we all know, it takes a village. Keats received a wonderful foundation and lots of love from his amazing puppy raisers, the Knapiks. His trainer, Megan Crowley, gave him the skills to become a stellar guide dog, and much love as well. Both Gerald Brenninkmeyer and Dave Hagemann gave us the fantastic training we needed to start off on the right foot, and put up with my seemingly incessant questions. I am so grateful to them all, for the role they have played in our partnership. Lastly, I am thankful to Guiding Eyes for giving me this amazing guide dog, the training and support. I am truly blessed.
I love this boy so much! He does me proud every day, and I am so thankful to be partnered with him. I feel that with consistency, patience, love, and trust, we have already become such an awesome team, and it can only get better and better.