Week 11

Diary 11 – Sept 4th to 30th September

At the end of the last diary I mentioned that Tuppence is back to his normal naughty self.  How right I was.  Since being home from his holidays (2 weeks), he has “killed” the oscillating sprinkler, several hosepipe connectors, including one for the water timer, several pieces of kreepy krawly pipe just to mention a few. He looks so innocent when being told off that it is hard to be cross but cross I am and must be… any ideas how to stop him? (I think that he does it to get back at me because I leave him in the garden on his own while I got out…. Forget that he is surrounded by his other toys!).

Last week end we assisted at the Getaway show at the dome selling tickets.  Great fun was had by all who helped both human and dogs.  As mentioned before, this is an excellent form of training for the dogs as it gives exposure to crowds, noise and many other things.
Yesterday I had to take my car to the garage for some work to be done, and this gave me an ideal opportunity to take Tuppence to the William Nichol/Main road intersection where the informal traders sell their wares of sculptures etc.  We walked up William Nichol – gee that is a busy road – and what a good boy Tuppence was – he just walked along without a care in the world as if there was not a car in sight or to be heard.  We then ambled through the “traders market”, trying to avoid the glass and bits of wire lying around, but going up to all the large animal and human statues, the wood carvings big and small and generally having a good induction to things that would not normally be around the shops.  He was only spooked once, over a piece of plastic next to a wicker screen, but once introduced to it he was fine.  We then returned on another route to the garage, where again one spook, caused by a plastic bag against some of the road workmen’s netting, was soon corrected and he carried on without a care in the world, flopping down at the garage as if to say “gee that was a long walk, but fun” (all of an hour in time and about 1 km in length!).

Since I last put fingers to the keyboard to tell you about Tuppence we have been to another expo and to an obedience class at guide dogs.  The expo was one run by ACSA for the disabled at the Sandton Convention centre… I was living in dread that Tuppence would disgrace himself by either making a wee or a pooh in an inappropriate place… my worries were unfounded, he behaved like a proper gentleman!  The obedience class was great fun with about 13 other dogs taking part, so there was plenty of practice for dog distraction.
One of the problems that I am having with Tuppence is that he does not have a good “sit” – he prefers to “slouch”.  I have named it his monkey sit. I am working on it, and hope that by the time that he is called in for training he will be better!!!

The other day I had a supervised walk at Lifestyle Nursery.  All went well and after walking the entire centre and then going out on to the main road and back, Tuppence was glad to get into the car and sleep…. As mentioned before he likes his rest…. He has siesta from 2 until 4, than pays for a couple of hours to supper, then sleeps until bed time and goes out for a final busy and then back to bed until about 6 the following morning!  Not sure how he will cope with “big” school!!!
On Wednesday there was a packing day, when lots of volunteers gather at the centre and help with packing brochures, flyers etc into envelopes.  This takes the strain of the normal admin staff, and is actually great fun.  Dogs are invited too, so they have playtime on the field and also learn to sit still whilst work is being done… at least that is the general idea.  Tuppence was actually quite good until he saw his friend Zebedee, then it was play, play play!  They got to a point that we put both in a paddock and left them to play their energy out!
Some very happy news arrived on my computer the other day, Ezra who is in training as a guide dog is graduating this coming Saturday 22nd September.  He is going to a lady (he will be her second dog) living in Durban.  She works for the Blind Society – not guide dogs.  So Saturday afternoon, Maria, Thando and I are off to see the graduation walk and then go back to the centre to have tea and meet the new owner.  Camera and tissues will be at the ready – proud puppy walker!!!!

One of the things that as puppy walkers dread is when the pups are nearing their 11 ½ months/first birthday.  We call it the “two week phone call”… because that is generally all the time that is being given to us before our pups leave us and go to the centre for their formal training.  On Wednesday when I was working, the Manager in charge of the training came and asked me if one of the trainers could take Tuppence and see if he would be suitable for training as a service dog.  So off he went for about ½ hr with the trainer. I am going away at the beginning of October (My sister is visiting from UK), so Tuppence will be in kennels boarding for just over a week.  Then he would come home and celebrate his 1st birthday. However, all these plans changed at the drop of a hat… the trainer came back and told me that she would like to try him out on the programme as he has the potential and when could she have him… she would like to start as soon as possible… so Tuppence is going to big school on 2nd October (not quite two weeks!) to be trained as a potential service dog.  Tissues will be at the ready again, but for a different reason – sad puppy walker!

This last Saturday, my sister and I with Tuppence and Sammy went for a walk in Delta park – his final “free” walk before going in for training on Tuesday 2nd October.  We met up with another puppy walker and all dogs had a ball, not literally, but they ran and did far more kilometres than we did.  They found the water and went swimming, they found the mud and wallowed and then swam some more.  What a joy it was to see them enjoying the spring/warm weather and the walk.  It takes all the sorrow and worries about being a puppy raiser out of the system.
Good luck Tuppence from the Voigt household!

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