Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Health Update

We survived Christmas without Dylan eating the tree, or the baked and candy treats that we had way too many of.  However, just prior to Christmas, we noticed she was scratching more than usual.  It's been very dry here and even Chris and I have been a bit itchy, but this seemed to be getting out of hand.  Also, some black splotches started to appear on her skin, then the inside of her ears started turning red, so we new that that was more going on then we first suspected.  So Tuesday, we made the trip up to Sylmar to see the GDA veterinarian.

Now allergies are one thing that GDA dogs cannot have.  It doesn't matter how good the dog is at commands or how disciplined they may be, a blind person will not be put in a position to have to worry about their dogs health.  And allergies are that big of an issue that many dogs are careered changed because of allergies.

So as we were in with the vet, he did scrapings of Dylan's skin and scoped both her ears.  Yes, she has a yeast infection which is causing her skin to itch and her ears to turn red.  Her paws are also red and she is continuing to lick them relentlessly.  This infection is also the reason her skin was blotchy.

To ease the scratching, he gave Dylan a steroid shot and some pills to take for the next thirty days.  Drops for her ears and a kiss on the nose for good measure.

One of the last things he mentioned was 'why' she was getting these reactions.  "It could be allergies and he would have to bring it up with management."  Ouch!

But in the mean time, she is playing with her new Christmas squeaky ball toy and tormenting Bailey.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Letter

Upon returning home from the potluck, the mailman had brought a letter we were half expecting to receive a bit later.  The letter read:

"Dear Tom and Chris,"

"Well, the time is here, the day you've been anticipating since you picked up Dylan all those months ago.  It is now time for Dylan to come in for her formal guide dog training."

Dylan is to be turned in after the graduation on January 28.  The fine people at GDA will have a luncheon for all those turning in their dogs for formal training.

I'll have to say about this in the coming weeks.  But for now, we are very excited and melancholy about Dylan leaving us to continue her journey towards helping the blind.

At eight weeks

Sleeping with Cade
To this:

All Grown up

The GDA Christmas Potluck

Saturday was the Christmas potluck at GDA.  Lab puppy raisers were to bring a main dish.  I whipped up a lasagna and presented it to the masses.  It was gone in minutes.  However, one lasagna will only last a minute when you're feeding 75 people.  There were so many dishes of food, going through the line with your dog in tow was lots of fun.

Lots of photo ops were presented for the puppies and their humans.

Presents by an open fire.

It is always nice to see the people who are raising the siblings of your dog.  Because of rules put in place by GDA, for good reasons I might add, the sire's and bitches are not revealed to the puppy raisers.  So it was a lucky happening when talking to an owner of a black lab only to discover this was Dylan's mother.

Meeting Vivienne, Dylan's mom.

And no, there was no recognition between the two.  Even after sniffing butts!  But it was fun to meet the owner and talk to him about his dog.

And of course, when you have a Christmas potluck, you have Santa.  

That attentive look is owed to the cookie the photographer was holding.
We were also asked to bring an ornament for the Christmas tree to be put up in the main office.  We obliged with a bone painted with Dylan's name.

It was a fun day and possibly the last Christmas we will have with Dylan.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Seeing Eye Dogs and a Drowsy Parade

Dylan spent a week up at GDA.  They want us to do this for longer periods of time so the dogs get used to staying up there and aren't shocked when they are left up there for 8 months going through formal training.  She also was one of many dogs in her age group, 16 to 18 months, to have their eyes dilated and checked for any issues they might have.  Its kind of important that guide dogs for the blind have good eye sight. The puppy raisers were asked to put on blindfolds to simulate a blind person sitting in a waiting room with their dogs.


Dylan... "Is this almost over?

Luckily, it wasn't a real bright day so there wasn't much squinting by the dogs as they emerged from the kennel with their pupils dilated.  Dylan passed with flying colors.

The following Saturday, our South Bay Puppy Raisers participated and walked in the Downey Christmas parade.  This was our second parade and the 18th for the South Bay group.  We took Dylan last year when she was only 6 months.  Actually, she was a week shy of six months, but they let us walk in it anyway.  They stress that the puppies need to be at least six months old to participate in any of these big events.  In last years parade, we were number 25 in the parade lineup.  With more than 90 different groups, bands, twirlers, dignitaries and such, going off early was a good thing...even for the dogs.

 Morgan and Dylan at 6 months during last years Downey Christmas parade.
This year, we had a slight snafu regarding our entry and we were placed 81st out of 100 groups.
Arriving at our staging area.

Ready to roll.
To make matters a bit more trying for us was Dylan had been given an anti-itch medication while she was up at GDA.  One pill twice a day,  morning and night.  Its sort of like Benadryl, the drowsy kind.  The morning of the parade I gave Dylan her pill, which I never do as Chris is the nurse. However, I failed to mention this until I saw Chris giving Dylan her pill as I was shouting, NO WAIT...too late!  She got a double dosage of her meds.  Calling vets all around, we finally were told she would be fine, just a bit drowsy.

A bit sleepy with Avery
Needless to say, we had a sleepy puppy up in Downey.  But it kind of worked out, because our neighbor's daughter, Avery, had made a Santa hat for Dylan.  She could have cared less that something was sitting on top of her head.  Plus, she was the hit of the parade with her cute Santa hat and garland trimmed vest.

A bit spaced, but looking good.
The days are counting down for our time with Dylan.  She is scheduled to go into formal training in February.  I have to say that in the beginning it seemed like 18 months was an eternity.  Raising and socializing her to be ready for her next move, we felt like this was  never going to happen.  Just two months left.  We are hoping she brings love, sunshine and trust to her new owner.  Also, secretly hoping that just maybe, Dylan changes her mind about this guide dog thing.