Guide Dog Pup, Harper
Guide Dog Pup Harper is a black female Labrador. She was named after Harper Lee, the author who wrote ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. This classic is a coming of age story about empathy for others.
Harper is being raised by Puppy Raisers just outside of Hobart. She is the sister of Guide Dog Pup, Harvey.
We are grateful to Metro Tasmania for their sponsorship of Harper. Read more about our fantastic partnership with Metro here.
Wahoooo! I graduated!
After successfully completing my Guide Dog training, I’m now being matched to a vision impaired client. This process involves getting to know the client (my new handler), and getting used to the type of lifestyle they live. After all, this will be my new lifestyle, and I need to make sure I’m a good fit!
Thank you for following my journey, and thank you to Metro for sponsoring my journey!
Hello again! I’m progressing well in my formal training and my Instructor tells me that I’m a confident guide.
I love coming to work each day and get very excited when my Instructor picks me up from my Puppy Boarders, because it means i’m going to go out into the world and learn something new!
I’m currently completing my assessment walks, where my Instructor is under blindfold. This is the real test to see how my guide work is going, because it means she is totally reliant on me to make the right decisions. With a little assistance, i’m sure I’ll get there and be able to eventually guide someone who is blind or vision impaired.
Well I told you last time that it would probably be the last time I spoke to you from the Puppy Development Program. And it was! That’s because I’ve now entered my formal training to be a Guide Dog. Yippee! This involved a move to Launceston which was exciting, as there are lots of new places, and faces, for me to become familiar with.
I’ve been told I’m an affectionate dog who is keen to please. I was very excited to join the Launceston office for training, and I’ve enjoyed recent visits to the Invermay Newsagency to show off my training skills to the staff. Well, wouldn’t you want to show off if you were as good as me?
Until next time,
I think this will be the last time I talk to you from the Puppy Development Program as I’m nearly ready to go into training and formal assessment. From there I hope to graduate into intensive training for future Guide Dog duties! Going to training sounds really good to me, as I’m happy learning new things.
My Puppy Raiser is taking me to all kinds of stairs so I can practice to stop on the first step to let her know that there is a stairway. We are also practicing walking in the center of a pathway. Sometimes it’s difficult because some people don’t look ahead and I must be the one to let them know “look out, I’m a working dog, please let me pass”. It’s important to walk confidently in the center of the footpath as that is the safest place to walk if I was guiding a client.
Besides the training I have lots of fun on free runs – that is number one on my list of great things to do! If only there was a fenced free run in Glenorchy. At the moment I have to travel 25km one way to Bellerive with my Puppy Raisers. But boy do I have a fun when we get there! I run madly with all kinds of doggies and very few can run faster than me! There is only one thing that stops me from running and that is my Puppy Raiser’s whistle. I MUST go to her, and for that I get a “good girl” pat or a little treat when I sit nicely.
Now I must say goodbye. Wish me all the best for my future training! I’ll do my best and try my hardest.
First, I must tell you that I am now 20 months old, so I’m feeling very grown up! I like hearing passers-by commenting on my behaviour while I am out learning. Sometimes they mistake me for a boy dog, but I don’t mind too much. I just enjoy the nice comments! My life at the moment is pretty good. I have many dog friends and human friends, and at home I get tons of love. To top it all off, every fortnight my dearest friend the butcher presents me with a gigantic bone. Whoopee!
My Puppy Raiser is teaching me to walk safely up and down the stairs with her. The best place for learning to do this is at MONA, with its 99 steps down to the boat ramp! When I finish, I always end up in MONA’S coffee lounge. My Puppy Raiser has hot chocolate, and I get a bowl of water.
In June, my Puppy Raisers and I were volunteering at the Eisteddfod piano competition. I had to walk a lot between our table and the judges’ table. My Puppy Raiser said that I’m progressing well and she is proud of me. At the final concert we sat in the audience and I had a nice sleep, only every time there was loud applause it woke me up! When another music presentation started I went back to sleep with my head on my Puppy Raiser’s foot.
Until next time, best wishes.
Hello, it’s Harper here!
As I promised you last time, I’m now going to tell you about my trip to Brisbane.
From the moment I arrived at the airport I felt like a special dog. Because I’m a service dog, I went first into the plane, even before the business class people! I made a Virgin flight attendant very happy by showing her that I do like the reserved spot on the floor. Yes, no complaint from me, Virgin Australia was pretty great. The three hour flight to Brisbane was just perfect. I slept the whole time, resting my head on my Puppy Raiser’s foot, and there was nothing to worry about.
In Brisbane airport we went first to the famous inside dog toilet-area they have built especially for traveling service dogs, and there I was happy to do my “busy, busy”. As you can imagine after the three or so hours since I’d last been, I was busting! Thank you Brisbane, for remembering us service dogs!
Our friend picked us up at the airport and we had a fantastic drive to Bribie Island. There waiting for me was a very tiny dog. First she was scared of my big black presence, but after a few licks and prods with my nose she was friendly. I have great memories of Bribie Island; there was so much to do, beach to run on, sea to swim in and many dogs to chase. Every morning we went to a dog free run, where I enjoyed playing with every dog!
In Brisbane my Puppy Raiser wanted to go to the market, even though it was raining and a bit muddy. While walking around I splashed her pants with mud, thanks to my wet paws. Everybody laughed at that!
Our flight back to Hobart was great, too! By then I knew what to do: find the foot to lie on and go to sleep. At Hobart airport, my best mate was waiting for me, so all was well. I do love travel!
Best wishes, from Harper
First of all I must let you know that I had my first birthday. Hurrah! I’m a big girl now. It was an exciting day for the whole family. The birthday gift I got was best of all; a beautiful beef bone. I did lots of gnawing and dragging it around the yard. You can imagine that I had a ball with it but I also learned ‘the bigger the bone, the harder the work’.
The next memorable experience was going for a guided tour through Government house. We were shown through the whole place, but the most interesting were the kitchen and pantry, just heaven for my nose. I tried to ignore all the smells as I had my coat on. After the excursion, the whole party of us went for lunch in the Royal Botanical Gardens. For me there was fresh water and place to go to sleep and dream of that fantastic kitchen of our Governor.
Another new experience for me was being boarded over Summer. I had a good time and hopefully I didn’t disgrace myself. Next month I will be flying to Brisbane and that will be real test of how grown up I am. In one day I will travel in a car, plane, train and then in another car. At the end of the day there will be a little dog to welcome me. I’m interested how much licking and poking the little fellow can take, as I’m great lover of little fluffy things.
Before I go, I must say that every day is an adventure for me.
Best wishes from Harper, the Metro puppy.
I was given a beautiful teddy bear when I was a very small pup, and I love it! Problem is, I love it so much it needs constant repairs. The bear does look a little different now that it has so many surgeries, but I love it just the same. Read the full story in the Summer 2016 edition of Puppy Love.
Have YOU seen the Guide Dogs Bus? It isn’t MY bus, but as I’m the Metro pup, I do get pretty excited about it. Look for the bus that says “Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere” and features the drawings of every student at Campbell Street Primary School.