Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Birthday Boy!

Guess who turned 3 years old last month??? DON! It's hard to believe that he's already 3 years old. Katrina and I were invited to Don (Sanford)'s birthday party and we had a great time. We even managed to get all ten (give or take.. I can't remember exactly how many dogs there were) dogs lined up (in party hats!) for a picture. Katrina's a pretty shy dog, so she spent most of the party hanging around me (or snoozing in her crate). 
Below, Don digs into his cake. I wish I had a close up picture- each doggy cupcake had a bone on top. Katrina loved hers :)
 Then it was time for the humans to eat cake, too. Don's owner had made an awesome cake in the shape of a pawprint.. yum!!
 Then, it was onto the party games. There was Don Trivia, Bingo, musical chairs (well, mats) with dogs, and more. They had made a collage of pictures of Don from when he was a puppy in training to recent pictures in his new home.
As always, I was reminded of what a perfect home Don has. How many people throw birthday parties for their dogs?? Don is definitely one happy dog.
On to Katrina, she is her sweet, lovable self as usual. She's still quite the cuddlebug and belly-rub seeker. She is currently under my desk lying on her back so as to be in the prime position for belly rubbing. Katrina is pretty proud of her latest accomplishment: she has learned how to open the door to my dad's office by shoving her nose into the door, then proceeds to lay down (belly up) for some tummy rubbing. She knows my dad will give her a belly rub, even if its with his foot as he talks to someone on the phone. Smart girl :)

Hope everyone is doing well! Happy summer!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


 Apparently, May is National Pets Month. According to a T-shirt I have, it is also National Guide Dog Month. And, for Katrina, May is officially.... "Learn to Love the Gentle Leader! Month". Whatever May might be, Katrina is off to a good start (I know, we still have a couple days till may :D )

Today, we went for a long walk to downtown. I wasn't so sure how Katrina would do, because she's never gone on a walk that long. She was great with the loud noises from the freeway and traffic downtown. We saw some dogs, lots of bicyclists, and runners. She was great! I'm working on her pulling with the flat collar, so all the distractions were a great opportunity for some practice. At the meeting, we practiced being more "random" with our movements on walks- like suddenly changing directions or stopping. We practiced that a bit and it seemed to work!

Once we were in downtown, Katrina was absolutely exhausted. I don't blame her- it was a beautiful, hot day, and the floor of the restaurant we were in was nice and cool. I was pretty sure she was not up for an equally lengthy and hot walk back home, so my brother came and picked us up :) Katrina was pretty happy about that.

Back at home, and after Katrina took a nice hour long nap, we went into the backyard to work with the Gentle Leader. The back yard has always been off limits with Katrina; as a young pup she would eat everything on the ground, and the grass and tanbark was just too tempting. But! She seems to have gotten over the "if it fits in my mouth, its food! yum, dirt!" stage. I put her GL on and took out a tug toy, and she was thrilled to be running around in the previously "forbidden backyard". This was a big step for Katrina- normally the second the GL goes on, she plops down and sulks. We played for a good 10 minutes, racing all up and down the yard. We practiced some off leash come, too. I got her so excited that when I picked up her leash and said "let's go" she didn't even notice the GL on her face... so I just continued walking up our street, and voila! She was finally walking with the GL!

(Above, Katrina smells the flowers in the garden)

I didn't want to push her too far, so our walk of victory was over in about 30 seconds, but I am hopeful!

Well, there is my story of Katrina's success today! She's such a sweet girl, sometimes it's hard to notice her stubborness, but it's there :) Today I think we got one step closer to tolerating the GL! Stay tuned!

(Above, Katrina on a walk. Katrina hopes everyone is enjoying the summer weather!)

~Lauren and Katrina

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Catch-Up Post #1: Outings, Photoshoot, and more!

I love this dog so much! Katrina and I have been very busy lately! She's changed a lot since I picked her up at 14 weeks, but she still has the same loving personality! She is a total cuddlebug and very people oriented. 

To sum up what Katrina and I have been doing:
1) Katrina got over her doggy fears! She used to shy away from dogs in public, but not anymore! She's still pretty scared in group play, but our CFR said that wasn't the biggest concern.
2) I started taking Katrina around my high school more often and to track meets. She loves hanging out with my friends. She especially loves saying hi to little kids.. it's like she knows to lay down so she doesn't intimidate them :) She's a sweetheart.
3) I'm talking to my principal on Monday to discuss bringing Katrina to school! My teachers said is was OK, but fingers and paws crossed that the principal approves.
4) Katrina has been on a couple big outings for her: these include a college fair (which was probably more scary for me than for her haha). She was great with all the crowds! 
5) Katrina had her first evaluation with our CFR. She did really well walking around in the downtown area, and handled the open stairs like a pro! I definitely have some work to do with the Gentle Leader...which leads me to my next point!
6) Katrina's biggest enemy is her gentle leader. She absolutely hates it. So.. May is officially "Learn to Love the Gentle Leader!" month for Katrina. So far, we are off to a good start! We've been playing fun activities with the GL, like "come" and tug outside around the yard. 

Yesterday was the submission deadline for the GDB calendar. So, I decided to take Katrina for a photoshoot at the bay. I got a couple of good shots: (Pictured below: Katrina in front of the Golden Gate, with her puppy vest on)
Pretty girl :) 
 She has the sweetest smile!
 Katrina exploring the rocks!

On another note, earlier this month Katrina went to the puppysitters while I was out of town. Below is the beautiful Delicate Arch in Utah. If you haven't been there, you should go! It's amazing!

Back to my puppy:

Here she is last week. We were getting ready to go to the puppy meeting. We had a meeting today and we had to walk our puppies on a lose leash while balancing a plate of easter eggs in the same hand that we were holding the leash in. It was hard, but so much fun! And hilarious! 
 Above is the Suzanne/Jenkins Special "K" litter. Kristin, Mommy Suzanne, Keith, and Katrina. They are all amazing puppies with amazing raisers! It was great to meet up with them at a GDB graduation. I barely recognize GDB now because of the renovations. Guide Dogs is remodeling their dormitory/graduation building. It is going to be great when they are finished! I can't wait to see it!
Above, Katrina is holding a toy in the GDB play yard. Katrina thinks this could make a nice ad for Nylabone :)

Katrina has an exciting week coming up! I'm taking her to her first Giants baseball game, and then we are off to see Don (now Sanford) and his owners for his 3rd birthday party. He is such a lucky boy! Every time I see him with his owners it reminds me how great the GDB community is! 

Have a good week!
~ Lauren and Katrina

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What a Great First Month!

I know, I know.. it's been quite a while since I posted :) I've been having such a great time with Katrina, I haven't found time to post! She is such a special girl and I know we are going to have an amazing year together, we have already bonded really well :) Katrina is now 4 1/2 months (!!!). I can't believe how fast she is growing up. In honor of her being 4 months, here is a list of the 4 things I love most about her:

1) She is a total cuddlebug. She loves to sit in your lap (especially in the sun) for as long as you'll let her. I swear, she thinks she's a cat :)
2) She's a people-dog. When she see's you, she wags her tail like crazy and gets the wiggles all up and down her body. Her ears quiver with excitement and she tries to kiss your face all over.
3) She has really, really, really soft ears. And a cute little puppy tummy. I love seeing her happy face in the morning when I open up her crate door, and I love how she charges out of there like it's been forever since she last saw me.. plus, what could be better than puppy kisses to wake you up in the morning?
4) She's a smart little girl. Sometimes, too smart for her own good. She's the only dog I've had that's figured out how to open up the x-pen (she lunges her body against the gate, and pushes and pushes until she can escape... then proudly trots around the house).

I know I said 4, but I thought of one other thing she does that I love. She has the certain trot she does when she's proud; she will take her toy and strut around the house with her tail held up high, wagging back and forth. It's hilarious.

Katrina has been making a lot of progress lately! She has been going on more and more outings lately and has stopped refusing to walk (yay! makes outings a lot more enjoyable, for her and me!). In fact, she LOVES walking. Today, we went for a 2 hour outing to a neighborhood restaurant and around town. This week Katrina has been going to lots of new places- the farmers market, Trader Joes, Target, Macy's, and shopping malls. She's learning down and stay, and working on her "come". She is really a mature girl for her age. If things keep going well, I'm thinking that I'll see about her accompanying me to school sometime within the next month or so. I've also decided to join the Guide Dogs speakers bureau- I can talk about Guide Dogs for hours upon hours, so I think that will be a fun opportunity for me and Katrina. A puppy raiser in our club has been involved with the speakers bureau for some time and she told me how she visited a preschool, which sounded like lots of fun.

I have this week off, so I'm hoping to spend a lot of time with Katrina and work on some things with her. Another guide dog puppy from our club will be spending some time with us so that Katrina can get used to other dogs; she's been pretty cautious around dogs before, so I want to help her become more comfortable around other dogs while she's young. There's been a couple times where dogs approached her head-on, and she hid next to me. Lately though, she's been a lot more curious (about everything!). She's walking up to dogs on her own accord and calmly saying hello, which is great to see.

Now, for some photos:

Above, Katrina in my mom's arms. Cuddlebug!
I love the expression on her face.
Katrina holding her puppy teething keys :) I think was probably the only time she picked these up... not sure why, but she really isn't a fan of these. She'd much rather play with an empty milk jug.
Snoozing in my lap :)
Katrina says "Stop and smell the roses". I love this picture :)
I decided to do a photoshoot of Katrina by the bay. Here she is posing with her puppy jacket on. Beautiful girl!
I love that smile.
Happy girl :)

Puppies grow up way too fast!

Hope everyone's doing well!
-Lauren and Katrina

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Suzanne/Jenkins 10.8.11 Right Shoulder Female Yellow Lab

Happiness is a warm [guide dog] puppy.

There is something about being handed a warm, squiggling bundle of fur that makes everything seem right with the world. Thursday was quite the memorable day for me. Knowing that I was driving over to Guide Dogs right after school got out, it was such a long day. My friends probably got sick of me talking about my little Ms. K every minute (I kinda got carried away looking up my pup's parents and grandparents and greatgrandparents.. It just so happens that I know the breeder keeper of my pup's grandfather, Russo,.. my friends don't exactly see the excitement in that news).. but new puppy thoughts definitely took precedence over atomic theory and chemistry equations :)

At Guide Dogs I waited not-so-patiently for my new puppy. In the kennel kitchen I saw the bag with "Katrina" on it. I love this pretty name. When I got my puppy assignment for letter "K" I was worried Guide Dogs might name a dog "Kat" haha- it was a close call!

Waiting with me in the kennel kitchen was my family and Don's owner. As you may remember, Don (my first puppy) was career changed and adopted by his instructor at Guide Dogs. It is the perfect home for him and we've stayed in touch.

So, there was quite a large crowd waiting for little Katrina to arrive.... Time never passes so slowly than when waiting for a guide dog puppy... then the door swung upon and a tech walked in carrying my puppy in her arms. She asked for someone strong to hold her, she so was so big. But fr 13 weeks, she's a petite little girl.
Puppy love is like no other! Katrina put her paws on my chest and gave me a big kiss :) What a sweetheart. She was so happy to be pet and cuddled in my arms- it was adorable. She is a beautiful color- more of a tawny, golden color; her coloring is pretty similar to Don's when he was a pup. She's got a little pink spot on her lips that looks like lipstick, the softest ears, and a tiny speckled nose.
Katrina was a bit shell-shocked out in the "real world". Above, the guide dog puppy "veterans" check out the new guy :) Do you recognize the dog on the left? It's Don! (now Sanford). It was great to see him and have him meet Katrina. Don still does the same happy dance with his ears :)

Back at home, I discovered what a little cuddlebug Katrina is! She wants to be with you every second, with her head on your lap or (her favorite) sitting on your lap and staring right at you... like "hey, lets have a talk!".

So far, she hasn't been very mouthy (knock on wood!). We've been working on pottying on command (today I think we're finally getting there!) and sit (she's so cute- she sits and then when you tell her "good job" she gets so happy she runs to you and plops herself on your lap :D ).

She is such a little cutie! But put her on a tie down or in her crate, and you will hear it! She's quite the vocal little girl.. we're working on it though. As hard as it is to ignore her adorableness, I think we will need some more "ignore the adorable puppy!" sessions.

Above, I think Katrina finally realized that the "tie-down monster" wasn't going to eat her :) She was a tired puppy after her first day at home, and slept soundly through the night.

Saturday morning, Katrina attended her first puppy meeting. She was a very good girl. She has a softer personality, but was fine being in new surroundings. She got to meet Bella, a 10 week old black lab puppy; they were so cute together!

Then, on to her first outing- Panera Bread! Our group of 4 adorable puppies was quite the attraction in the restaurant. Lots of people came up to pet Katrina, and she did great. She was so exhausted that she fell right asleep, next to her "mentor" France, a 1 year old black lab. Good dogs!
Back at home, Katrina was not very happy to be put on her tie down.

But she soon fell fast asleep!

A tired puppy is a good puppy :)

We're having a lot of fun together!

She is a sweetheart and I'm looking forward to a wonderful year together. Let the puppy raising journey begin, round 2!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Puppy Assignment!

Suzanne/Jenkins 10.8.11 "K"

I'm so excited for my new puppy! I can't even tell you how much I've missed puppy breath :) In a couple hours I will have my new pup :) Get ready for a photo filled post!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Sooo I might not have been the best blogger these past couple months, but I'M BACK... and I will have a new puppy to raise in 2 weeks! Long story short, this past year was rather hectic with school, sports, and my other animal/vet volunteer activities. I was hoping to get a new pup right after Don left but things were just too busy. Luckily, thanks to puppysitting, I wasn't always puppy-less :) As the title of the post might suggest, I am so excited to be raising a puppy again :) I can't imagine a better way to kickoff 2012!

More details are on the way! Plus some good news about Don, pics of the puppies I've been sitting, and.. best of all.. my puppy assignment! (maybe a name game/ contest too)

Stay tuned!