What's that say, do you think...'Teddy Bear in Training'?
At about 4" long, the fur hung down over his shoulders, obscuring the words "Guide Dog" on his jacket. Sometimes I don't know if people read that anyway...they certainly don't act like they do...but the cuddly stuffed-animal look probably wasn't helping anyone to take him seriously! Then there's walking him in the rain...Alfie doesn't mind it a bit, but that long fur does certainly get wet and takes a while to dry!
...especially the paws...
We were scheduled for a training walk with our supervisor Michelle on Monday, so I asked her if she'd mind bringing me a set of clippers to borrow. The actual clipping (later that night) was a family affair. We got out a card table and put Alfie on it, with Charissa and Tim helping to situate him so I could reach him (and preventing his accidentally falling off!), while Katharine scooped up the swatches of fur as they came off (otherwise he'd just step in them and make an even bigger mess). So, what do you think, does he look different?
Ta-da...look what was under all that fur!
I have to admit that at first, his new look just cracked me up. I was so used to his fluffy, rotund appearance that the new streamlined effect caught me off guard. I'm no longer worried about him being too fat!
Me...fat?! I'm a lean mean guiding machine!
Our walk with Michelle Monday went pretty well. We visited a grocery store...
Mom loves the produce section...boring!
I know it's important to try and impress the boss, that's all.
The real fun began when Michelle brought out another guide dog in training, Jethro. I call him the Jolly Grey Giant. He's huge, even for a German Shepherd...the pictures don't even really do him justice! Apparently his work is terrific but he needs a little help with dog distraction. Alfie and I were more than happy to help until...surprise...coming toward us he lunged forward and the strain snapped his leash in two!
Ready or not, here he comes!
After that little unscripted moment, we let the dogs greet, Michelle tied the leash back together, and everything was great. You see, Jethro's not mean at all, just a little...shall we say...enthusiastic! That, and he's pretty much just a force of nature. We took the dogs inside Whole Earth Outfitters and they both worked nicely.
Jethro, do you think you could teach Alfie your intimidating look?
On second thought...looking at this face...I'm just not sure Alfie could pull it off!
The great thing is that with the variety of dogs used at GDTx, and the attention given to matching the right client with the right dog, I'm sure that both Alfie and Jethro will end up being just the perfect dog for their respective partners. Wonder who that's going to be?