Guide Dog Pup, Benji
Guide Dog Pup Benji is a black Labrador who arrived in Hobart all the way from Queensland, in December 2016.
He arrived with his sister, Billie. He lives with his Puppy Raisers in Hobart. They have raised two Guide Dogs Tasmania pups previously and they also have a pet dog, Pedro. He is getting to know lots of other Labs!
With his Puppy Raising family, he is getting used to many different environments and circumstances to ensure he is a well-adjusted, well-behaved dog with good health and a good temperament.
Benji was purchased and brought to Tasmania through a generous donation from the Harcourts Foundation.
He’s a snorer.
Hi everyone, a ‘pup’date for you all!
Since my last entry, I have left my Puppy Raisers and joined the training dogs up in Launceston. It was sad to leave my Puppy Raisers in Hobart, and of course, they were sad to see me go. But they are experienced Puppy Raisers and have raised many Guide Dog pups before me, so they understand that while saying good bye is hard, it is the end result that motivates them to do this. I think they have done a wonderful job 🙂
I’m enjoying training, and recently completed my 20 walk temperamental assessment. I am a happy, affectionate dog who is always willing to please. I’ve also been told by my Instructor that I’m a pleasure to have in training due to my high level of enthusiasm and continual wagging tail. This Guide Dog stuff seems to really suit me well. Fingers crossed I continue to show this enthusiasm as my training gets more difficult and I take on more responsibility.
I’ve been really busy with training and having fun. For fun, I often go to the beach and run around and splash through the shallows, alone or with my buddy Pedro. Recently I met six other Guide Dog pups at Kingston Beach and we had a great time running and playing together. We also got to practise our recall. When we were nearly worn out, the Puppy Raisers said it was their turn to have fun, so we did a training walk to a nearby café where they chatted and drank while us pups snoozed. It was great to just chill out; I’m really good at that.
In April I attended the early service on ANZAC Day. I sat very still and quiet while the service was underway. Everyone was very impressed with my behaviour and said I looked gorgeous when being photographed next to the memorial and wreaths.
Billie, my beautiful Guide Dog pup sister and I, have regularly been catching up for ‘play dates’. We love each other so much and are always soooo happy to be together to run and play and roll around; just like normal dogs do!
I’ve been to the airport three times in the last few months; it sure is busy there. Not only do I have to watch out for people, but suitcases, bags and even the Biosecurity dogs. They are busy working and I am too, so we concentrate and ignore each other and get on with our jobs.
I have been boarding a few times this year while my Puppy Raisers have a holiday. It’s good for me to get used to different people, as they take me to different places where I see and do new things.
I am now 20 months old and will be leaving my Puppy Raising family soon to do my formal assessment for Guide Dog training, or “Big School” as they call it. My Puppy Raisers say I am a beautiful, happy boy; they have loved raising me and feel privileged to have had me. I know they will miss me and wish me all the best for the future. They say I will be a wonderful companion for someone who really needs me.
That’s all the news for now, Benji.
I’ve been very busy since last time!
I had a lovely time boarding with another family while my Puppy Raisers went interstate for two weeks. Getting used to different people, smells, noises, routines and places is great training for me. And I’ve had a wonderful summer holiday at my family’s beach-side shack, running and swimming (well, almost … I like to be able to touch the bottom) and digging in the sand. I went out in the boat (yes, I wore a lifejacket) and I visited the local butcher who gave Pedro (my Puppy Raisers’ black Labrador) and I a big bone each, yum!!
My Puppy Raisers say I’ve grown into a handsome and very happy young dog. I’m now one of the older and bigger (only Murphy is taller) pups in the Guide Dog program and I do lots of different things as part of my training. I go to work with one of my Puppy Raisers; I regularly go on bus trips, escalators, travelators, stairs and also city walks with my other Puppy Raiser and often we all go shopping. I’m also working hard on not being distracted by other dogs when I’m working as, at times, I find it hard not to play or chat with them. I’m practising ignoring them and my Puppy Raisers say “I’m improving steadily”. We practised distractions at a recent puppy group training session with all the other Guide Dog pups. Kim, the Guide Dog Coordinator, enlisted the help of adults and children and had them running about with balls and toys, trying very hard to distract the pups, but we mostly just ignored them and got on with our training.
One of my Puppy Raisers’ family members, Alison, has gone to work in Adelaide for a year. I had a great time at her UTAS graduation ceremony (400+ people) in December and saw Pepper the Guide Dog and her client who was also graduating. Pepper did a great job and I would love to grow up just like her. I took Alison to the airport, got “frisked” at airport security, saw the Customs sniffer dog and said goodbye, but I miss Alison and she misses me lots too so we do video calls on Facetime. I wag my tail and look into the camera when I hear her voice.
With all the warm weather over summer I avoided walks in the hot part of the day and went for lots of evening beach runs to splash and cool off. I also really enjoyed munching on an ice block or two when it got a bit too hot! Life is pretty good.
Bye ’til next time.
It’s been all go since last time you heard from me! I went boarding for three weeks with another family and had a lovely time, especially lying in front of their fire on the cold nights – so cosy! This was a great training experience as I need to get used to different people, smells, noises and places.
I had my first birthday in September and got a new chew toy…a deer antler! My best friend Pedro and I love to lie and chew on it together. Just as well as my previous favorite toy, Shaun the Sheep, “fell apart” while playing tug-of-war with Pedro. My Puppy Raiser is trying to sew him back together now.
I still do lots of things in lots of places; go to work with my Puppy Raiser, pilates on Fridays (I just lie and snooze, no work out for me!), lots of city walks, and often I go shopping. I even went to Uni on the bus; I’m really good at bus travel now!
My legs are bigger and stronger now (I’m taller than my sister Billie) and I can do all the walks required and go free running. I love to splash at the beach and, even though I am a bit big for it now, I still love splashing in my paddling pool at home.
At times, I find it hard to walk past dogs who want to play or chat with me, so I’m practicing ignoring them. My Puppy Raisers say I’m improving steadily. They give me lots of praise when I do the right thing; it makes me feel so good (my tail wags lots) as I really want to please them.
I’ve been meeting my beautiful sister Billie for play sessions. We really love each other and have a great time running and rolling around together, such excitement! Recently we met at the Royal Botanical Gardens for a walk and photo shoot amongst the beautiful tulips. Many visitors commented on how handsome we looked and how well behaved we were.
Bye ’til next time.
I am now a one-year-old and the size of an adult dog. I am as big as my best mate Pedro and he is nearly seven, but I am a “teenager” with LOTS of energy who loves to run and play.
I try hard and I am a very good boy when we are out. I am always happy to wait while my Puppy Raisers are busy. I just chill out and usually enjoy a snooze if it’s going to be a while before we head off again. My Puppy Raiser says I am the happiest pup he’s ever seen; I wag my tail LOTS and have a cheeky grin.
I recently went to a very big, busy conference with one of my Puppy Raisers; she said the 500 people there were also training, just like me. I got to visit new places and ride on buses amongst all the people. Sometimes it was very noisy but that didn’t bother me. The final session was a very entertaining science show; the presenter warned my Puppy Raiser that he would make some very loud bangs. She told me I would be OK. It was a good experience for me and I sat and watched for a while, then I lay down and slept, although the noise of 500 people clapping woke me up a couple of times.
I have had a sore leg but despite this we still get out and about to do gentle walks or sit and watch different things, so I can keep up with my training to become a Guide Dog. I’ve been using the buses a lot and am very confident travelling on them; I even had a group training session on a bus with nine other Guide Dog Pups recently!
My new favourite toy is a deer antler; I love to lie and chew on it for ages; or play tug of war. I am heading off for a few weeks boarding while my Puppy Raisers take a holiday, so I will experience some new people and places; all part of my training.
Bye ’til next time!
I am now eight months old and my training keeps me and my Puppy Raisers busy, but … there is always time for play!
I continue to practice all my skills; some need extra effort. For example, I’m not keen on loud or constant noises so we’ve been doing lots of walks along gradually busier and noisier roads so I can get used to that environment; I’m getting better and will keep practicing. Now that it gets dark earlier we have been venturing out in the dark more often. At first I found car lights a bit unsettling; now I’m pretty good at ignoring them and concentrating on my walking. I get lots of praise from my Puppy Raisers when I do what they ask. When I hear “good boy Benji!” I wag my tail in reply to let them know how good that makes me feel. They say when I’m really happy, my whole bottom wags from side to side!
For the last two weeks I had a quiet time as I had a sore leg. We still went out a little though, so that I could practice the social and other skills I need to become a Guide Dog. After the rest, my leg feels fine now and I’m back into walking again. I also had three days away boarding again; this helps me get used to different people and places. I heard my boarders say I was a “lovely pup, calm and well behaved for my age”. My Puppy Raisers were very proud of me.
As a Guide Dog puppy, I get to go to lots of different places that a pet dog would never have a chance to! I’ve been to the Jack Jumper desensitisation clinic at the Royal Hobart Hospital (luckily no ants were there!) and even to University with one of my Puppy Raisers. I lay quietly on the floor while she did a presentation and then slept next to her seat while we listened to the other presentations. I also went out to a restaurant, where they brought out a special bed for me to snooze on while my Puppy Raisers ate. Talk about good service!
My Puppy Raisers bought me some new toys to play with recently. Yippee!! My favourite is Shaun the Sheep; he is very soft all over and has three lovely long legs (he did have four but one somehow ‘fell’ off). I carry him all over the house, just like Bluey, my old teddy bear. We do look so cute together.
Time flies when you’re having fun and that’s just what I’m having as a Guide Dog Pup! There’s never a dull moment in my life; I’m either training and learning new skills to become a Guide Dog or having fun with my Puppy Raising family and my best friend Pedro, their pet Labrador. I’m always happy and wag my big long tail lots; my Puppy Raiser reckons I wag it so much it might wear out.
Since my last report I’ve been to many places and experienced many different things, smells, noises, and textures. The Taste of Tasmania was very crowded, noisy and smelly, but I didn’t mind and just stayed calm while walking about in my best blue coat. I went boarding with another family and met and played with more lovely labs and their pals. I had my first goes on an escalator, a lift and a travelator; we practise these often and I’m now confident on them.
My family has been on summer holidays; we went fishing in a boat and to the beach lots. I love splashing in the water, free running and practising my recall skills. I’m very good at coming back. As soon as I hear the whistle blow I stop what I’m doing and run as fast as I can back to them. I sit and receive a small treat and lots of praise; I feel so good and very clever. I also went away in a caravan for 4 days; I took my bed from home and slept next to my Puppy Raisers’ bed.
One of my Puppy Raisers and I walk to her work together. She works at a big school where lots of young people are learning just like me; they all ignore me so I can concentrate on my training.
I’ve grown lots and have gone up 2 sizes in coats. I sleep on a big comfy bed. Apparently I still snore but I’ve never heard it!