Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Halfway?

Well, it was just about 7 months ago, on the day after Thanksgiving 2009, that this little character entered our lives...and has been keeping us busy ever since!
Alfie at 8 weeks old, a roly poly brown puppy sitting on some gravel and looking much too small for his collar and leash
Remember what a cute puppy I was?

Since then, Alfie's grown into that leash and collar a bit...

Alfie today, almost 9 months old, sitting on a bridge in his work gear looking much more grown up
Look how much bigger I am!

...and, we hope, he's also growing into the role he'll eventually fill as a guide.

Alfie and I are stepping up a curb; he's getting a treat while he waits for me; the sun's going down, turning the edges of his fur golden
Need help crossing the street? 

Now, add 7 more months, and we'll be looking at January 2011...and guess who's scheduled to head in for his assessment?

 Alfie on the bridge again, red handrails behind him; he's laying flat with his chin on the ground and eyes rolling up, giving him a doubtful expression
Ummm...who?

If all goes as planned, Alfie will join a group of 5 others (including buddies Petey, Bob, and Celia) somewhere around the beginning of 2011.  They will be evaluated in many areas, both to make sure they're ready for Advanced Training and to give GDTx the information they will need to make appropriate client/dog matches.  After the assessment, the dogs will either go directly to Advanced Training, return to their raisers for a few months until an opening is available, or possibly even wait until the next assessment in certain situations.  Of course, though I don't even want to think about it, there's also the possibility that puppies could be released from the program if it's determined that their temperament or health is not ultimately suited for guide work.  However, I anticipate good things from all the puppies I know!!!

So we're somewhere around halfway!  The second half, in my mind, is actually the most fun.  Of course there are always challenges and I know enough to expect the unexpected.  But basically, by now you've got a nice, social, well-behaved dog who's house trained and reliable anywhere you might like to take him.  For the time that remains, you get to polish his skills, smooth down rough areas...and enjoy him.  Time flies way too fast!

closeup of Alfie's smiling face
Lovin' life as a guide dog in training!

4 comments:

1000 Goldens said...

Oh my gosh what a beautiful puppy he was, and I love his beaming smile in the last photo!

Lauren and Don said...

Alfie has made a lot of progress! What a good boy. I love that picture of him laying down. He has such an adorable, furry face. Too cute!!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

WOW you have really grown Alfie. Keep up the good work!

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

The time is just going to fly, isn't it? You're doing such a fabulous job with Alfie. I look forward to seeing his continuing progress!