Guide Dog Pup, Violet
Guide Dog Pup Violet arrived in Tasmania in January 2018, all the way from New Zealand. Along with her brother, Vinnie, they are the first “Kiwi” pups we’ve had in our Puppy Development Program in more than 12 years! A sweet little thing, Violet is living with Puppy Raisers in Launceston and shares the house with an elderly gentleman (well, Golden Retriever) called Frankie J, and Max the Cat who apparently rules the house.
Wow, I am a big girl now! Vinnie, my brother, and I turned one at the end of October and boy have I come a long way. I arrived a yippy, yappy, bunny-hopping puppy and have become a beautiful girl that minds her manners (most of the time).
Harry, another Guide Dog puppy, came for a holiday to my place. I love having visitors! Compared to me at 12 weeks old he was tiny, but with the heart of a lion. We played lots and each night we fell asleep in front of the TV wrapped up in our blankets. I taught him how to walk properly on a lead, go to his mat when visitors arrived and that the supermarket won’t give out free food no matter how cute you are.
I am a very social pup with a full calendar. Since I last wrote I have been to the theatre to see “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Julius Caesar” and “Fiona O’Loughlin”. Harry and I met up with Indi at the Star Theatre to see “Mama Mia, Here we go again” (I saw it twice). We were on our best behaviour lined up in our orange coats, so lots of people took our photographs. I also went with my Puppy Raiser and her friends to see “A Star is Born”, “The Book Club” and “Christopher Robin”. As you can see, loud music and noises don’t concern me as they are normal in my world, although clapping still confuses me. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do when people clap, so I look to my Puppy Raisers for guidance.
I have seen many changes in Launceston while I am out and about with my Puppy Raiser. The biggest has been the work done in the Brisbane St Mall and Civic Square. My Puppy Raiser’s office overlooks the mall, so I got to watch the workers and their big noisy machines turn it into a shiny new mall. The most interesting things were the Tasmanian Tiger statues. They looked so scary, so I was a little tentative approaching them, but I had to remember I’m “Batdog”. With my Puppy Raiser’s encouragement, I sniffed them and discovered there was nothing to be afraid of, although they were cold on my nose.
While I have calmed down a lot, I sometimes get overexcited when I see Vinnie and Sara. I’m working hard on this and am generally successful, but occasionally I forget and have to be reminded that being overexcited is not ideal for a Guide Dog. My Puppy Raisers say I’ll get there, and to take one day at a time.
I must go now, so until next time this is Batdog out.
My social calendar has been very busy over the last few months. I met Sara, Vinnie and Harper at ‘Woofs, Wags and Walkies’ at Woolmer’s Estate and helped at the Guide Dog stall. It was a beautiful day and my job was to look pretty and get pats – tough job I know, but it had to be done.
I went to the Albert Hall to see The Show Club. My Puppy Raisers said it was a Cabaret; there were lots of pretty girls singing and dancing and people clapping. Clapping is a bit confusing to me, I’m not sure what I am supposed to do.
My Puppy Raisers took me, Vinnie and Sara to Hobart for desexing when we were six months old. We were all a little naughty on the way to Hobart, but we were excited to see each other without our coats on. Afterwards we were very sleepy, so my Puppy Raisers wrapped us up in blankets to keep us warm, and we snuggled up together in the back, sleeping all the way home. The next day I was ready for play, but my Puppy Raiser said I was allowed gentle walks only.
One of the highlights of the past few months was a visit from Crosby. He is a working Guide Dog and stayed at my place for a mini holiday. He taught me a lot about how to walk properly and how to concentrate when I am working; things I will need when I too am working. When we were home I had a fantastic playmate that was ready and willing to run around the backyard until we were called in. We both slept soundly each night.
I am now big enough to go to the swimming pool with my Puppy Raiser while he walks around stretching his legs and exercising. The first few times I barked a little ‘cause he was going under the water and I couldn’t see what he was doing. I wasn’t sure if he needed me to save him or if he was playing with me!
I think I am finally starting to grow up. A lot of what I have been learning and practicing is making a whole lot more sense now. Don’t get me wrong, I am still “Bat Dog” (especially when no one is watching and occasionally when they are) but I am growing into a beautiful Guide Dog to be. Although I do occasionally forget my manners and want to play with Sara and Vinnie when we meet.
I am now 6 months old and still think I am “Bat Dog” – savour of the universe (I think it is the coat).
Frankie J (the old Golden Retriever I share a home with) and I have huge foam beds to nap on while we watch TV – they are soft and warm. Mine has a mind of its own as I always seem to roll off onto the floor. Frankie J just lies on his bed wondering what I am doing and despairs for the future of the younger generation that can’t even stay on a big bed for more than 10 minutes without sliding off.
It has taken me a while, but I have finally realised that Max the cat really doesn’t want to play with me (I think it is a cat thing). I think I will stick to playing with dogs.
I am learning that when I have my new orange jacket on I cannot stop to say hello to people – my Puppy Raisers keep reminding me that I am working and must concentrate on what I am doing and where I am going. I like to go out with my Puppy Raisers as I enjoy the new sights and noises. Since I last wrote, I have been to the Bee Gees concert at the Casino (not my type of music; I’m a little bit more rock ‘n’ roll), restaurants, Festivale and even a visit to fellow Guide Dog pup Sara’s kids’ school.
Frankie J and I went to the closing of the Devonport outdoor pool and got to swim in the people pool – it was a little cold for a young girl from New Zealand. There were 30 dogs swimming and playing and I tried to say hello to each and every one.
On a more serious note, my Puppy Raisers took me to my first ANZAC dawn service – wow, it was very, very early in the morning, and there were so many legs there. I was very well behaved, although I was quite tired and yawned a lot.
I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but get very excited when I see my friends. My Puppy Raisers say I’m part rabbit, as I hop and yip. Apparently this is not ideal behaviour for a Guide Dog, so I must learn to use my inside voice, keeping all four paws on the floor and being nice and calm. I am trying very hard to do the right thing and am mostly doing great, I just forget now and then (my apologies to the Woolworths staff).
See you in three months, same bat dog time and same bat dog channel.
I arrived from New Zealand with my brother “Vinnie” early in January. I spent my first two days in Hobart getting my photos taken and getting used to the “funny” way Tasmanians talk. I learnt that “Sit” actually means “Sut” but “No” still means “No”. Vinnie and I spent the two days with Kim – a fellow Kiwi – to help ease the way.
I arrived at my new home and before I had time to look around was met by Piia from ABC Radio. She wanted to talk to my Puppy Raisers about what it was like to bring up a perfectly behaved Guide Dog puppy like me.
I share my home with an elderly Golden Retriever named Frankie J who doesn’t want to talk to me yet as I am still a bouncy puppy who loves to hang off his ears. The house is run by Max the cat who is even older than Frankie J and is decidedly bad tempered. If I get too close and try to play with him he spits and hits me on the head (at least he does not use his claws).
Oh the things I have seen since I arrived at my Puppy Raisers’. For the first week and a half I had to be carried around (you might have seen me in town and wondered why) until I had my final vaccination. I was then let loose on the world. My Puppy Raisers tell me that they always take their new puppies to all of the big shops as soon as they can because us young pups soak up information and experiences like a big sponge. We visited Bunnings and I was so excited that I did a wee on the floor. Never mind, my Puppy Raisers used their puppy packs (paper towel, glove, wipes etc.) and cleaned it up.
The highlight for January was attending the red-carpet launch of the new Guide Dog coat. The red-carpet was a little lost on us pups as we can’t see red, but it was good for the humans. We walked up and down and had our pictures taken for TV and the Examiner newspaper.
I’m a hot little pup and spend a lot of my day either in the paddling pool or draped around the water bowl – occasionally this becomes the paddling pool.
Both my Puppy Raisers have returned to work so I have gone to “the office” with them. Nothing much seems to happen there, so I sleep nice and comfy wrapped around the water bowl.
I had a lovely play date with Sara and Vinnie at Sara’s house – it’s very big with a huge yard. We wanted to keep playing but our Puppy Raisers said we needed a rest. I think that’s a fib as they sent us to our beds and they ate food. We had another big play before getting in the cars for home. I was very tired and didn’t make it down the driveway before I was asleep – it’s a very, very long driveway.
I’ve been learning and experiencing so much. Buses make a lot of noise as do motorcycles. I was a little startled the first time, not scared though, and now they are quite interesting and I like to watch them. I like going out to lunch as the floors are nice and cool. I fell asleep on the floor in the council chambers when my puppy raiser took me to get registered – I was tired and didn’t want to get up when she had finished. People were giggling, I don’t know why as I was just sleeping.
Supermarkets are fun and I can run down the aisle playing “Batdog”. They are filled with the most amazing smells particularly the roast chickens. I sat in front of the display for 5 minutes looking as cute as can be but didn’t get any. I then tried the meat section – nope nothing there either.
Stay tuned for more adventures from “Batdog”.