Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meet Boston

We received Boston on March 27, 2009, the third service-dog-in training we will have for Helping Paws in Hopkins MN. She is a beautiful golden retriever and came from a litter of ten, all of which are either in training or the breeding program.

Helping Paws places service dogs with persons who have physical disabilities. A foster home training model is used whereby volunteers take puppies into their homes around the age of eight weeks, and train the dogs for two-and-a-half years by attending class on a weekly basis. It's truly a rewarding experience to see these little puppies become highly skilled dogs, dogs that change lives. I am the primary trainer in our household but couldn't accomplish what I do without the help from my husband, Richard.

A common question a foster home will get is, "How can you have the dog for so long and then give them up?" I actually wondered the same thing while training our first dog, Echo. It all came together for me when she was placed with her owner, Chuck. In addition to the companionship Echo offers she also does a lot of work for him. Things that some of us might take for granted: picking up items from the floor, opening doors, tugging off socks or a jacket sleeve. It is evident that Echo brings a lot of joy to Chuck's life, and that far outweighs any sadness I may have felt with her leaving. In fact, I went into the training for the sole purpose of helping someone else live a more fulfilling life, and was surprised at how much I got in return.

The second dog we trained was Laker, who was placed with my sister. That was a thrill in itself. The bonus is that he has stayed a member of our family, and we get to see him quite often.

But enough about me.

Boston spent her first day with us in a dazed and confused state. You could see it on her face..."Where am I and what happened to my siblings??" We learned she is the first born and her Type A personality quickly came out on Day 2. She seems to be fitting the classic first born theory.

Boston lives here with our pet-dog, Sage. Sage is extremely excited to have another dog in the house. He has to do laps around the yard to get his ya-ya's out.

She's a very busy, active little pup, whose world was big from the very beginning. Where other puppies we have had would take several weeks to climb stairs, Boston started right away. She's very aware of everything around her and takes advantage of running throughout the yard. (She now goes out on a leash :) Boston is a terror in the mornings and I have three pair of torn pants to show for it! I showed her though - I wear my knee-high rubber boots when she's in a mood.

We've already started training class and are working on "watch" (eye contact), retrieving play items, recalls, a lot of socializing, and just all around getting to know each other.

All for now. Check back often to read about Boston's "marathon".

1 comment:

  1. Hello Boston! I am looking forward to meeting you on Sunday. Korina