New Job
Flora
floraguidedog
Hi Flora's mommy Shelly writing here. I'm sorry its been so long since I've wrote in here and this will be the last entry.
Flora left my home on October 28th to return to Southeastern guide dogs. Her health was stablized and she was put in to training. I found out today that Flora will be placed this month as a service dog with a veteran. i'm very happy that she will still have a life of service. I think she will really like her new job. i pray that she will be as much of a blessing to her new person as she was for me
Thank you for reading Flora's blog.
mommy Shelly

I'm going away
Flora
floraguidedog

Mommy has been very sad this past week. She says its because I'm leaving. She says the guide dog school has decided to retire me. She says I will be going back to Florida so they can help me feel better and that after that they will find me a new home. I leave on Monday. It will very different not to live with mommy Shelly.I will miss guiding her in our small town. I will miss being there for her. Mommy will write in this blog with any updates she gets about me.
Flora

Being sick
Flora
floraguidedog

I'm sorry its been so long since I wrote in this journal. This entry will not be a happy one, but I wanted to let all of you readers know what is going on. At the end of July I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that makes my feet hurt. I was taking medicine for it which I did not like and the 13th of September I got really sick. I have something called pancreatitis which is a really huge word which means you can't keep food down and feel really awful. Mom is experimenting to try to find a food I can eat. Since I've been sick I've mostly just been lying around. I did get to go to church last Sunday.  I was very excited to be out of the house. Mom says that when I'm feeling better we'll start volunteering and go back to the ranch. I hope that happens really soon.

Flora


Portland Vacation
Flora
floraguidedog

 Last Friday mommy Shelly and I got picked up by a friend we see often. She took us to a place where we got on a bus. We rode on it for a long time. We got off in a place called Portland and then we got off and went into a building. A woman I'll call H and 2 small children came up to us. I was very excited to see them. I was even more excited to find out we would be staying at their home.   The boys (R is 3 and N is 5) liked to pet me and they liked to watch me play. R said I was like a kid who could play. I got to do a lot of playing at their house. They had a back yard with a fence so I had to stay in the yard, but I could run. We'd go outside and D, who is H's husband, or one of the boys and sometimes H herself would throw a stick for me. I had so much fun running. Sometimes I ran in the house too chasing my bone. It made the boys excited. Sometimes I tried to play with the boys toys. Train tracks don't taste good! The boys sometimes made too much noise and moved around to fast for me. When they did that I'd go hide under the table. Under the table was also a great place to be in case someone sat down to eat. Mom would tie me if the meal was messy.

           That first day we took a walk to the park where I guided mommy Shelly. Then mommy Shelly did something different. She took my harness off! I got to explore! I climbed up on the play structure. I wanted to be on the flying ship too!

The second day we went over to another house where there was another guide dog. I liked him and we played a bit. The people at the house played music which was nice. That afternoon we went with another friend to a human eating place. It is called Red Robin. I can tell it by its smell because Red Robin's everywhere have a similar smell. Later on we went for a walk. I guided mommy over railroad tracks and through a tunnel. Mommy Shelly liked the tunnel because it echoed. We went down to a river and Shelly took my harness off and let me sniff. Then we went back to H’s house.

The next day mommy Shelly left me at H's house. She said she was going somewhere called a children's museum where it would be crowded and I would be tempted to be too social and sniffy. I was upset at first but then D took me for a long walk without my harness! I sniffed and sniffed! I've decided I like walks out of harness, or walks where I wear the harness and then get some time off and put the harness back on again. I wish I could do that at home, but I guess this is why they call it a vacation!

The next day after breakfast mommy Shelly’s friend Sarah came. I was very surprised to see her because she was as far away from home as me. I learned she'd come down to visit friends and was able to take us home so we didn't have to ride the bus.

Since I've been home I haven't done anything. I'd like to go back to Portland because it was busy and different and fun.


Anniversary
Flora
floraguidedog

Hi All,

Today marks one year since Mommy Shelly and I became a team. It does not feel like it’s been a year. It feels like just yesterday that I was being led in to her room. I remember the hard work we did in training getting to know each other. I remember the fun, excitement and challenge of getting to know all the new routes in my new home here in Washington. Things settled in to a routine eventually. The routine changes as the seasons change as far the activities we get to do, but we always go for walks a few times a week. I like going out on walks whether it’s a route I've done before or somewhere new. I like to do a good job. Sometimes I let myself get distracted by things like people and dogs and the wind and, and, and... Mommy gets my focus back on her and I go back to guiding. Usually she is happy with my work.

One thing that does not make her happy is my ears. I'm still getting ear infections! They don't make me happy either. We have tried several different kinds of food. Right now I'm eating fish and sweet potato made by Natural Balance. We really hope this food works.

But my ears are the only bad thing. As I said, I like guiding but I also like just chilling in the house with Mommy Shelly. I like cuddling with her on her big bed even though Rain the cat is there.

I'm very thankful to my puppy raisers and all my trainers at Southeastern Guide Dogs because they did so much work to prepare me for this life I love.

wag wag wag!

Flora


A litte sad
Flora
floraguidedog
I'm feeling a little sad tonight. I have another ear infection. Its the fourth or fifth one - I've lost count of how many I've had since I've been living with mommy. I hate having to get my ears cleaned and have drops put in.
I'm also having pain in my shoulders. This happened once before but now its both shoulders not just one. It makes me guide slow. Mommy is giving me a pill that helps with the pain. But she says I can't stay on it long, so I hope that the pain will go away. .
The vet does not know why I keep getting the ear infections or why my shoulders hurt. Mommy is worried and sad and that makes me worried and sad. I try to help her feel better when she is sad. I bring her my blanky and wag. If she is in bed I jump up there with her. Some times I lay very close. She likes that.
Another thing that is making both me and mommy sad is that we are only volunteering for an hour a week. We both really miss being around kids. And mommy isn't horseback riding and I miss the ranch. We aren't busy enough to satisfy either of us, but mommy says the next couple weeks will be busy. She says I will get to make a new dog friend and that I have to see the vet again. She says I need to stop writing now. It is time for bed.

Trip to Retreat
Flora
floraguidedog
Last Friday Mommy began packing lots of things, including some of my things in to my suitcase. The next day I got in a car with 1 of Mommy's friends and another lady who I found out was very nice. We drove for a long long time. We stopped and went in to a human eating place, then drove some more. We finally arrived at a place called Twin Rocks Camp. It took us about 6 hours.
There were lots of people with all kinds of disabilities at this camp. Many of them were in wheelchairs. I like wheelchairs! I was learning to be a wheelchair guide dog before I became Mommy's dog. Also many of the disabled people were kids. I wish mommy would've let them all pet me.
We spent a lot of time at camp sitting around - sitting at meals, sitting in the worship and teaching times, sitting outside while mommy talked with people. I got tired of sitting or laying. There were so many people making noise and moving around that most of the time it was hard to relax. I also had to work guiding mommy. Most of the time I did a good job. One day, Wednesday I think it was, I was very very tired all day and didn't want to work or do anything. I wanted to be asleep on my bed at home. But I got a good night's sleep that night and felt better the next day.
Some times other people held me while Mommy did things like walk horses around or dance. I always watched closely and waited for her to come back. I'm glad I didn't have to guide her during the dancing. There were too many commands to follow. Mommy kept laughing because her guide was going the wrong way. She never laughs when I try to go the wrong way. What's up with that?!
Mommy fit in time for me to play. She remembered my bone. She would make me stay and put it clear at the other end of the cabin from me, then tell me to get it. I'd run and pounce and grab and then run like crazy!! Speaking of running, one really neat thing that happened 3 times while I was at camp is that people ran with me. There was a big field we ran in. It was a different person each time. They had fun and so did I. One day we ran in to a game of capture the flag. I ran with the kids and it was fun!
Mommy was mostly always happy at retreat. That was really nice because she isn't as happy at home. I'm glad she had a good time, but I'm really glad to be home.  Today I got a chance to rest.  

July
Flora
floraguidedog
It has been a pretty boring month. At the beginning of the month we spent a night at my grandparents house and we watched another parade. At least this one wasn't as long as the first one.
I got another ear infection this month and had to take lots of yucky medicine.
Mommy spent a lot of time this month feeling sad and tired. She says its called depression. She slept a lot. Sometimes I could get her to play with me, but mostly I just snuggled on the bed with her. So we didn't go out and do much. She went to the human doctor and they increased one of the medications she takes and now she is feeling better and we are going out again. The walks seem very long after spending time just chilling in the house, but I'm glad to be out.
Last Friday we went to the fair. I wasn't very good in the goat barn, and I went too fast in the crowds of people, but mostly I was good. Mommy, Anne, and I rode in a wagon pulled by horses. It felt neat. We went fast!
Mommy says this month will be much busier. She says we are going on a trip. Wag! A new place! She says its the Joni and friends family retreat in the state of Oregon. We will be there for almost a week. She is nervous about how I will behave. I will try to be good.
Then someone who is a trainer at my guide dog school is coming up to see us. Mommy says we'll do lots of routes.So August will be a good month.
Wag Wag

Visits and Visiting
Flora
floraguidedog

June has been pretty low key. We go out for walks, but after the first week in June we stopped going to the ranch. Mommy says they don't give lessons in the summer. I miss it. I also miss the kids.

So here are the different things that have happened. On the last weekend of May mommy Shelly's parents came and took me to their house. Mommy Shelly did not come. I spent the whole next day there. It was strange being without mommy Shelly. They brought me back the next night. Mommy said she went to a big music festival (whatever that is) and that she didn't think it would be good to bring me. I had a good time visiting. I got to go for a long walk and sniff everything I wanted for as long as I wanted. I hope I can go visit again!

June 8 was mommy's birthday. She had a friend come that weekend who liked to play with me. She had other friends stop by on the day of her birthday and they played with me too. I like playing with people. But I really like playing with dogs. Today a friend of mommy Shelly's came over and brought her guide dog Lex. We played.  They made us rest for a while, then let us play again. It was really fun. They through the kongs for us. I had a great time.

Tonight mommy Shelly took me to a parade.  I don't understand the point of a parade. Why do people sit around and watch cars and people walk down the street?  Some of the people moved together - they were called drill teams and they were fun to watch. I also saw some working dogs. One of them told me it did search and rescue work.

The only bad thing happening right now is that I think I have another ear infection because my ear hurts. Mommy Shelly says I will see the vet Monday.  That does not make me want to wag but other things in this entry are happy to think about so …..

wag wag

Flora


Survey
Flora
floraguidedog
  • Your name:  Flora
  • Your gender, color, breed:  I am a female black lab.
  • Your person's name: Shelly, or mommy Shelly, as I call her
  • Your year or birth: March 2010
  • Your favorite place to work:  At the ranch where mommy Shelly takes riding lessons. There's so much to see.
  • Your opinion about vets: I do not like them - they scare me.
  • Your favorite toys: my kong, and my bone, and my rope.
  • What do you love about your person?: I love when we play and when we snuggle
    • And what do you hate?: I don't hate anything. Sometimes I'd rather do different things than she wants me to do, but she is good to me and I love her.
    • Are there other members of your family besides your person?: Yes a cat!
  • Did you go to school to learn to guide?: Yes I did
    • If so, which one?: Southeastern Guide dogs in Florida
  • When did you meet your human?: In January of this year.
  • What is your favorite thing about being a guide dog?: Going interesting places and making Shelly happy.
  • What is your least favorite thing about being a guide dog?: Not being able to say hi to humans and dogs
  • What things distract you from your work?: Humans going by, other dogs, new smells; some days everything gets me unfocused.
  • What do you do that makes your human happy besides good guiding?: I run and jump and get all crazy hyper. And I cuddle with her on the couch. Don't tell my trainers she lets me up there!
  • What do you do that makes your human unhappy:  Sometimes I poop in harness.
  • If you could have a job besides guiding what would it be?: One of those dogs that listens to kids read to help them get better at it.
  • Wag wag! Flora


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