Sunday, June 27, 2010

GDB trains service dogs and creates friendships!

Reyna and I, Glenda and Wendy and Stephanie and Pete standing in front of the W Tree.

One of the most rewarding things about being involved with an organization like Guide Dogs for The Blind is the friendships it creates. My newest friendships are inspired by a mutual love for “Wendy”, the last GDB pup I raised.

A photo of Wendy in harness with fall leaves in the background.

As some of you may know, Wendy’s handler, Glenda and I have become very close friends. We like each other so much we actually get together every week! After Wendy graduated, I sent Stephanie, Wendy’s trainer, whom I did not know at the time, a slideshow that was a tribute to the work she did with Wendy. Click here to view the photostory I sent to her. I created this as a thank you for all of her hard work, and I honestly did not expect a response. But to my surprise, I received the following email.


I can’t express enough in words how deeply appreciative I am of your sincere ‘Thanks’ and for taking the time to put together the video. Wendy is so photogenic. I was surprised and happy to see the photos from working her around the obstacle course at graduation. As you can tell, I kind of like Wendy :) Well, I like all my dogs, but she was so cute with that extra ear flap causing her left ear to hang heavier.

I would love to meet Glenda and please, pass my e-mail address on to her.

I hope you have a happy holiday and a good New Year.

Take care,


And just like that, two new friendships were formed. Stephanie, Glenda, “Wendy” and I have gotten together on many occasions. But it is really our love for Wendy that has brought forth our new friendships. Many times I also bring Reyna with me when I go visit with them, and Reyna and Wendy have become best friends. They really love spending time together, and it is hard to pull them apart. Well, Reyna really loves Glenda too, so it makes it really hard to convince Reyna when we need to leave :(

Our latest adventure together was this past weekend. We all went hiking together. Glenda had Wendy of course, I brought Reyna and Stephanie the trainer brought her dog Pete. We hiked along a creek bed with water falls. Glenda and Wendy were way out in front of us, leading the way. It is hard to keep up with those two. Eventually, we made it down to the water and we let the dogs play in the water to cool off. The path way down to the water was not exactly easy, and it really wasn’t good for a blind person and a guide dog. But of course, that didn’t stop Glenda and Wendy. On the way down to the water there was a big drop off which was hard to navigate, and then there where rocks every where that created a very difficult surface to walk on. Good thing Stephanie the trainer was there to help Glenda down to the water. I just kept thinking to myself, if Glenda got hurt her husband would never let me take her anywhere again! But thankfully, both Glenda and Wendy made it safely!

Reyna walking in the water checking out a twig.

When we got down to the water, Reyna was instantly fascinated by a twig that was in the water. She tried picking it up a few times, but she decided it was not her thing. So what was her thing?

Stephanie, Pete and Reyna at the creek.  Reyna is out in the water splashing and digging at the rocks on the bottom of the creek bed.

Well, believe it or not, it was digging for rocks! Reyna was absolutely fascinated with all of the rocks on the bottom of the creek bed. She was just overwhelmed with all of the choices she had. She would dig and dig at them and look all around until she found the perfect rock. Then she would pick it up and hold it in her mouth!

Reyna standing perfectly still in the water looking down through the water to find the perfect rock.

Wendy, Pete and Reyna all playing the the creek together!

While Reyna searched for the perfect rocks, Wendy and Pete enjoyed playing fetch with sticks. They both enjoyed it when we would throw the stick up stream a bit and they would both rush over and see could get it first and bring it back to us.

A close up of Wendy splashing in the water.

Pete playing in the water!

Pete had one other fascination that had nothing to do with the water. Well, he is a cattle dog, and within a few feet from where we were there were free roaming cattle! I thought he did a great job containing himself. Yay Pete!

A Pete distraction!  A cow roaming free just a few feet from the creek where the dogs were playing.

We spent a long time at the waters edge as the dogs played. It was a nice way to take a little break from hiking and cool off a bit.

Wendy and Reyna hanging out in the creek together just cooling off.

Reyna doing a play bow in the water.  What fun!

After the hike we all went back to Glenda's and we hung out for a while. Then we decided to end the wonderful day with Margaritas (thanks, John) and Mexican food! I would like to thank Glenda and Stephanie for their wonderful friendships and GDB for making it all happen!


  1. That's so great. I've often wished that Freya and her partner lived closer because we get along so well. But they're all the way across the country, so all we can do is email. It's so great that you get to see your puppy every week.

  2. How wonderful that you live close enough to get together with them so often! Wendy is beautiful!

  3. It is really a dream come true to be such close friends with Wendy's handler and that I get to see both of them every week. It is also interesting that Wendy was raisied and trained by people with the same name :)

  4. WOW - loved the tribute. That's so awesome you and Wendy's handler have become such fast friends (And Wendy's trainer). I like how you put it that it's more than about the dogs - it's about the friendships.

  5. Thank you for this great post :) We had so much fun that day. "Cheers" to more friend days like this one.