April 13, 1999
It's April 13, 1999 and Irena is doing great. She justLet's bowl! went to a rabbit show with Vicki. Even when walking around all the rabbits and with rabbit hair flying in the air, she did a wonderful job. All were commenting on how great she was, and they couldn't believe she was only 7 1/2 months old. She sure got lots of hugs and kisses that day! Irena was so tired by the end of the day, that she slept all the way home.
Hi, I'm Breeze!
The next day Vicki's puppy club went bowling. There were about 20 dogs and 45 people there. All the dogs were wonderful.

Vicki picked up her new Golden puppy of her own after the bowling get together. She is just adorable, of course! Named Breeze, she is eight weeks old and weighs ten pounds. But, boy does she have a ton of personality  and energy! Vicki told Irena that Breeze is the most expensive toy she'll ever get! While Irena likes her new playmate, she isn't quite sure she likes Breeze taking her spot as the baby in the house. Every time Vicki sits with Breeze, Irena must come and get right in the middle of all the action. But, she is pretty gentle with her new puppy friend. They like to play chase, Breeze always grabbing at Irena's tail.

Irena continues to do great at puppy training classes, doing everything perfectly. And, Vicki has gotten a postcard in the mail telling her that Blair has passed all of her medical tests. Soon, she will be assigned to a trainer, before finally becoming a lucky someone's Golden Angel Eyes.

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April 28, 1999
I just received a wonderful Irena update from Vicki. "Irena has been a little angel. She loves her Irena and Breezebaby sister Breeze now, hating to hear her whine or cry at all. Those two are practically inseparable now.

Last Saturday, Irena and I walked to the Dairy Queen (there's one about 1 mile from my house). I decided to take the short cut through the creek. I'll never do that again. I figured that since the creek wasn't to high, I'd walk across on the stones and Irena could walk in the water. Never do this unless you want to get wet. Irena went bouncing through the water and splashing so much that I ended up falling in! She had fun thou3 chumsgh. We then watched the ducks and geese.

Irena *helped* me baby sit at church last Sunday and the kids adored her! She played dress up with them. They had her wearing a sweater, a skirt, a tie, a scarf, an apron, a wig, and a bandana for a hat. I wish I had had a camera with me. My older sister Abby, Irena, and I will be teaching the toddlers Sunday School class at my church for the next two months.

Tonight Irena went to our church's annual Boys Brigade Pine Wood Derby. What an angel she was. She didn't even care about the noise or anything. She was a big hit, and had kids surrounding her all night and giving her kisses. She, of course, loved it."


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April 29, 1999
Vicki is so busy these days with all of her pet responsibilities, but always has time to let others know about the joys of what she does. This Saturday her 4-H group is working with the Safe Kids Coalition. With Irena by her side, Vicki will be participating in their Public Speaking Contest. And, what is her topic you ask? Well, that's simple. It's "Puppyraising: Why I do it and What it Means to Me." We all will be wishing her lots of luck, and will be waiting anxiously to hear how she does.


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Macontesty 13, 1999
Vicki did a great job at the Public Speaking Contest, coming in 2nd place. We know how hard she works for 4H, and how special she feels about being able to give blind people back theiwatch your stepr eyes with these specially trained dogs. Here she is with her prize Golden student by her side, getting ready to begin her presentation. Vicki informs us that Irena continues to be such "a good girl."

On Thursday, May 6th, they had their club's train ride activity. There were a total of 52 dogs and 125 people from the club involved. The train ride was about 20 minutes long each way. Irena did a wonderful job with this activity. She handled the noise well, as well as the steps onto and off of the train. Look how gingerly she is managing these tall steps here. Both Irena and Vicki look so happy here at the train station. (And, I love Vicki's outfit. Looks just like those that we wear here at the Land of PureGold!) These kinds of activities will really prepare her for her working role as a Seeing Eye Dog.


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May 24, 1999
Vicki has had lots of good fun lately. First, let me tell you about her May 15th outing to Sesame Place. Sesame is a water theme park that she visited with her puppy club. They had a booth set up at the entrance. The puppies weren't allowed to walk around the park, but it was great socialization for them given all the crowds. It was also great publicity for The Seeing Eye. It was very hot that day so Vicki soaked towels in the wave pool and draped them over the dogs. The pictures of this will be coming soon. I can't wait!

On the weekend of May 22nd, Vicki's Borough celebrated Perkasie Olde Towne Day, a day set aside for lots of family fun. Local businesses there sell items at old-fashioned prices (like a hotdog & soda for only 50 cents). Vicki's 4-H Rabbit Club (this girl is into everything!) set up a booth to advertise the club. They also set up snow fencing so that rabbits could hop around and people could pet them. It was a pretty popular idea to bring folks her way. Vicki brought Irena with her, of course, and she was as popular as the rabbits!

One of the 4-Her's in the club also brought two baby Mini Rexes to sell. Well, Irena simply loved the lynx, which was her same color. When someone would take the baby away from her, she would put on her "sad eyes" routine until the baby was brought back. So what did Vicki wind up doing? She bought this bunny for Irena! Irena now has her own show bunny, named Hopkins, who conveniently lives in Vicki's bedroom now. Of course, she couldn't leave out Breeze. So, Vicki purchased the other baby (a blue Mini Rex) for her, who also now lives in her bedroom. His name is Woofer. Vicki will be sending pictures soon of the whole gang playing together.


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May 30, 1999
Now this is really exciting news for such a devoted puppy raiser like Vicki. Her Blair has been chosen as a breeder! Now Vicki wants to wait to raise another pup until Blair has puppies, so that she can raise her pup. In that way, she will have raised Ivy, Ivy's daughter Blair, and Blair's puppy.

Only the best dogs are utilized in The Seeing Eye's breeding program. So, for Vicki, it's really cool that she's had two of her six raised puppies go into breeding. Blair is a fully trained guide dog right now, and it is her medical fitness, personality, and trainability that they are hoping to pass onto her puppies. When dogs go for their training at The Seeing Eye, the usual time span is 18 to 20 weeks. However, they attempt to train dogs in 6 to 12 weeks to determine how quickly they can learn. It also tells them how well they can handle the stress of a more intense training schedule. Dogs that can make it through this intense training program are more likely to be selected as breeders. Blair must have really done a great job in her training there. It is truly an honor to be selected to help produce our future Guide Dogs!

Blair will be a part of the breeding program for about four years. This will involve her either going to Oklahoma to create purebred Golden litters, or staying at The Seeing Eye to be utilized in breeding Lab/Golden cross litters. Vicki, though, is keeping her fingers crossed that her Blair will be going to Oklahoma. Following that time, Blair will either go on to work as a Guide Dog, or she will be retired and allowed to come back home to live with Vicki for the rest of her Golden years.


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June 2, 1999
Irena, who is already nine months of age, got to take a trip last Monday to the Perkasie Fire House. She even gotfiretime to sit in the trucks, and watched the firemen get in their outfits. Irena didn't like when they put on their oxygen masks, and then talked to her, though! She kept giving them looks like "Mom! These people are crazy!" It was pretty cute to see.

Vicki informed me that Irena and Breeze's bunnies have been renamed. Irena's is now called Barkette, and Breeze's has been named Woof. Breeze is growing like a weed and is very adorable! Of course, she is also always causing trouble!

Vicki walked in a Memorial Day parade yesterday, with both Irena and Breeze by her side. They looked very adorable, and of course, did really well. Breeze is now 15-weeks-old and weighs 30 pounds. Irena simply adores her little baby sister, and they have easily become best buddies. (I hope that occurs when Darcy's new little baby brother joins our family in July!) 

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June 9, 1999
It was a beautiful day in Morristown, New Jersey for a Town Walk. Bright blue skies and not a cloud in sight. There was a gentle breeze and the temperature was 80 degrees (very nice compared to the 98 degree weather we've had the past 2
days). Vicki arrived 40 minutes early for Blair's town walk, as she wanted to make sure she didn't miss it. Gary (Blair's trainer) was right on time. Vicki spotted Blair blocks away  as she was the "beautiful Golden." Blair worked very nicely, and her tail was held high and was wagging. And, she did her traffic checks very well.

kids are funGary said that Blair is going to be used for breeding the Yellow Lab/Golden cross. Bred two weeks ago, she is due in six weeks time. Vicki will be getting one of her pups in September. Gary said he loved Blair's very mellow personality. Vicki also heard about some of Blair's antics during her training stay. According to Barbara, a new volunteer at the facility, Blair likes to play in the water bowl (a purely Golden trait, I must say). In the dog runs, they have these water troughs for the dogs to drink from. But, that smartie Blair uses the trough more like a wading pool to relax in. Vicki says that sounds just like her baby. Blair really did look very happy and healthy, and surprisingly, Vicki didn't cry or feel any sadness when she saw it. "It was more a feeling of joy and completion. Blair realy made me proud."

Vicki has also been very busy with Irena, involving her in so many activities to help further with her socialization. This adorable picture is from the Toddlers Sunday School Class that she teaches with her older sister. I'm sure the kids just love this new class member.

Vicki also took Irena to her sister's graduation on Saturday. She was so well behaved, most of the people there didn't even realize she was there.


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JPose pretty!une 12, 1999

Vicki recently took Irena to a Pet Fair and got this wonderful professional photo taken. This will certainly warm her heart after Irena has left her to go on in her Seeing Eye Dog career.



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June 25, 1999
Vicki received a letter from The Seeing Eye today telling her that Blair had been
moved to their breeding center and was adjusting well. The trainer also sent Vicki this lovely picture of Blair in her working harness. This is what the letter said:Blair

It was great to see you and your family again. I was very glad you were able to come to Morristown and observe Blair at work. She did a fine job. I am sure you were very proud of her.
As I told you Blair has the qualities we are looking for. She is friendly, willing, healthy, and she is easy-going and mellow. She is the type of dog we need. Blair was bred to a male yellow lab named Quigley. I am sure she will provide us with many fine pups over the years. I am very happy that you are going to raise one of them.
I want to personally thank you and your family for the wonderful job you did raising Blair. Also, we at The Seeing Eye are very grateful for your loyalty and dedication to our program.

All of us here second that sentiment, as we are so proud to be highlighting Vicki's wonderful work. She, of course, just continues to make this world a more Golden place!


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July 19, 1999
Vicki's puppy club went on a town walk Thursday, July 8th. And, they got to see Irena's brother, Ivan. The group had 25 dogs with them, which Vicki said was "small." Is she kidding us? Most folks have problems walking the dog without any other company there. The walk was organized so that the group would be walking through quiet areas and also busy streets. That way the puppies can get used to the different areas. Irena was wonderful, of course.

On Saturday, July 10th, Irena and Vicki attended a Canine Behavior Seminar held specifically for puppy raisers. Irena did a good job letting Vicki learn some new tips, as she slept the entire time!

Vicki also recently took Irena for a walk to the grocery store. First, though, she called ahead to ask if Irena would be allowed to come into the store. The welcome mat was put out, and Irena rewarded them with her incredible behavior. It was amazing, but she didn't even try sniffing any of the food. Irena was even good in the pet food isle! And, another good result to this outing was that lots of people stopped to learn about The Seeing Eye and to pet this incredible learning canine.


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