Sunday, June 29, 2008

White Hawk Pondering

To my new friend,

Drake, it was so nice to meet you yesterday! You looked like a Yellow Lab, but I think your Dad said you are part German Shepherd. Yavoole! Yes, you are lots of fun.

Your Dad, my Dad and Mom and I went up to White Hawk Pond. I got to ride in the back of the Yukon in your kennel. (I remember doing a lot of this in my younger days.)

We crawled real slow up the hill so as not to create too much dust.

I had fun running loose around White Hawk Pond. I can't believe that your Dad had this built to hold 30 million gallons of water! It's so nice that he would make you such a BIG POOL to play in. I "pondered" jumping in the very cool water, but decided not to. (See picture)

My Dad was talking about the bears that had been around the area. I have not seen a bear, but I remember those bed time stories!

As I looked out the back window of the Yukon, I could such beautiful trees all over the place. It made me just want to lift my leg! Such a beautiful part of Colorado. I'm glad I got a chance t visit the Gypsum area.

Here's a link to my photo album from this trip:

It was great watching you guys "calling" those BIG cows. I think I heard your Dad call them, Scottish Highlanders.

Thanks again, Drake! You are the best.

Big licks, Zane

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bones:Which do you Chewse?

Good evening,

I need to get something off my belly, I mean my chest. Dad bought me these great Nyla bones for ME to chew on. Right? I'm not prize hunk that does all the work around here. Right? I like to come home, grad some grub and then stretch out on the deck and chew my bone. Right?

Well, my little OLDER step-sister, Cuzzie the Bandito (see her picture), keeps stealing my bone while I smell the roses. Yes, I can chew, chew and chew some more, then take a little break to smell the fresh air on the back deck and then turn around and that little bandit has the bone in her mouth and toting it away to her corner.

What's a Lab to do? I'm too much of a gentleman to bully her for it. I just STARE at her, hoping that my big bustling muscles and stately build will intimidate her.

Guess what? She just growls at me, in essence, telling me to stick it in my ear!

Oh well, I guess I "chewse" my step-sister as my pal and we just have to share.

So what, I have my own bone at the office, and I don't have to share that one with Dad!

Thanks for listening! Roars of Rove, Zane

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sprinklers Tinkling Timing

Good morning,

I have a beef. May I share? I don't know how many of you have been caught in a sprinkler shower, but it has been happening WAY too much for us lately.

One evening a week or two ago,Dad had to work late. We were heading home about 6:30 PM. (Normally we head home between 5:00 and 5:30 PM.)

So off we go, north on Dayton , and we hit our first sprinkler.

I did a 90 degree turn trying to stop Dad from going forward. We both got wet while Dad tried to figure out what was going on. He refused to turn around and said "forward."

I hurried forward and we tried to dance between the sprinklers. We got soaked because we ran through about 10 of them.

Why don't they run these sprinklers at night? Does not make sense to sprinkle while the sun shines, does it?

On a Friday morning, we left about 8:00 AM and took a turn south on Dayton on the opposite side of the street. As soon as we turned south off of Caley, I jerked Dad again to the right to stop him.

Can you believe it?! The sprinklers were on and spraying us.

Dad, bless his heart, felt like he could RUN through these, too. They were soaking the area and guess who else - both of us!

We went about 20 steps and then Dad said "Right, right, let's get the heck out of here!"

We made it back to the corner and kept geting sprayed as we waited for the light to change. Why do they sprinkle in the morning when it's time for school kids and us to walk?!

OK, we have learned that we need to adjust our routes on certain days. I'll get off my dog house now - I just wanted to share.

Grumbling and mumbling, Zane

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Fellow guide dogs and Dads,

It's June 15th, Father's Day. As I lay on my lambs skin rug and reflect about the past two and a half years, I have such wonderful memories of my real Dad and Mom. (Here's a picture of my human dads, Richard & Gary.)

My mother's name is Kauai and my real dad is named Baker. I'm not sure, but I think I was born at GDB on the San Rafael campus on February 23, 2006.

Baker is a great dad and I want to thank him for having that twinkle in his eye when he saw Kauai. I wonder if they met in Hawaii? Baker must have gotten a real "lei" greeting from Kauai, because here I am and what a stud I am.

I have four brothers who look a lot like me: Zippy, Zeus, Zahara and Zachary. I wonder if somebody was sleepy when they named us? You know, catching some "Z-z-z-z-z's!"

Zippy and I graduated from GDB in December, 2007. Zippy is a Yellow Lab and graduated with Rasheed. I heard Princess Coral tell me that Zippy is no longer a guide dog, but had a career change.

What's that mean? Now he's a sled dog?! I hope he is dong fine wherever he is.

I heard Zeus was in line to get placed as a guide dog earlier this year, but I have never heard what happened to him either. Baker, dad, you did a great job getting us started in life. Thank you!

Baker, dad, I have a question. Two of my brothers are yellow Labs and two are black, like me. Now, how does that happen? Are you sure you weren't messing around somewhere?

I’m an officially licensed guide dog for the blind. My partner, Richard, has my official license that he keeps in his wallet at all times just in case somebody asks.

Being a guide dog makes me pretty special. I get special privileges that most other dogs don’t have, like going on airplanes in the cabin (not a crate in the hold!) and into fancy restaurants. I may only be two and a half years old, but I’ve got a real story to tell you!

I have not seen my parents since I was about eight weeks old when I was sent to southern California to live with my puppy raiser family. I really miss Gary, Vicky, Katie and Kimmie. They took such good care of me. They spent a lot of time training and raising me to be such a well-mannered guide dog. I don't get flustered by dogs barking or people coming to the door or dogs walking past the deck. I'm a true prince!

At about sixteen months, most guide dog puppies are considered old enough to begin advanced training back at GDB. That's what happened to me! I returned to San Rafael and began my 4 month training course to become a super dog with my new Dad, Richard. Thanks, Dad, for taking such good care of me.

Super big licks and belly rubs to all my dads: Bake, Gary & Richard,

Love, Zane

POEM: The Zane Train

The Zane Train

Tied down, buckle in place,
Time to rest . . . reflect in quiet space.
Lambs wool caressing sleek black locks,
Inhaling, exhaling . . . sighs that rock.

Recounting my life, path traveled thus far,
From Mama Kauai to sister Cuzzie we spar,
From Marin, sunny skies year 'round,
To western shores, savory smells abound.

yes of brown, essential must,
Provide vision, safety, partnership to this man I trust.
I guide, protect, select paths most clear,
Gives him freedom and confidence, far and near.

Tied down, buckle in place.
Hear my stories . . . I’ll explain,
All aboard, Dad, as we unleash
the Zane Train!

Dedicated to my partner in life, Richard. I'm ready to depart the depot whenever you call.

Love, Zane

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Howdy, all ya'll pooches,

It is really HOT in Denver today. Can you believe - over 90 degrees?!

And I have this heavy black coat from the cold winter, and I have been shedding it quite profusely. That means that when Dad brushes me, he gets my hair all over him, the deck, the flowers, the tables, the chairs . . . everywhere!

Today, Dad took me to Suds and Spuds and left me there while he went across the street with Mom to hit a few golf balls. He is getting ready for the Foundation Fighting Blindness "Swing for Sight" golf tournament. He is the manager of this event and plans to play in the tournament.

Wait a minute - where do I go while he is playing golf? Oh, I get it. Maybe I'll spot balls for him, go chase them when he hits one and be a pointer to show him where it is. You think?

Back at the Suds and Spuds, Emily really washed me good and just about ALL my loose coat came out, especially with the "ferminator."

I really feel frisky now! Watch out Princess Coral and Melody. I am one sharp looking STUD. My hair seems about half as long as it was and Dad had them round off my nails, so I really feel cool.

Mom plans to take pictures of us at the golf tournament on Monday. Stand by your website!

I'm getting ready to lay down under the desk, while Dad watches the US Open in San Diego, and dream of Princess Coral.

I want to wish everyone a Happy Father's Day tomorrow. I really love my Dad and Grand Dad Gary and my real father too. I will share more about that in my next blog.

All the best with big licks and belly rubs!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cross Walk Collision!

Good evening friends,

I have been well trained to lead Dad safely across streets and intersections. But you know, he has to follow my lead. Sometimes, he just wants to go his own way and does not pay serious attention to my cues.

So, you ask, what happened? Well, we were crossing a street on the way to work. I could tell that Dad was in a hurry and that this crossing was not going to work. I stopped and turned left to stop his progress as quick as I could. He had the nerve to yank on my chain and say, "Hop up!" But I did not move.

Once again, he gave my leash a yank. Well, this time his hand hit the car that was in the middle of the cross walk.

"Whoa!" he said. "Good Boy, Zane!"

Dad knew that the light would be changing soon, so he told me to go right and then left around the car, which we did, and we got over to the curb safely.

So there, you see! I did exactly what I was supposed to do and saved his skin again. I just love doing that. That's why he pays me the BIG BUCKS! Lots of kibble and dog treats!

Moral to this story: Stop, Look and Listen to your Guide Dog!

Anybody else out there have to deal with this type of traffic congestion?

Big licks and belly rubs,


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Breakfast on the Veranda!

Good morning fellow canines,

It was so great to hear from Zoey and Princess Coral. Wow, I'm starting to attract some really HOT chicks! I'm still just a dimple-faced teenager, though. I have all these hormones and I don't know what to do with them? Oh well, Dad said that we need to talk. I can't wait . . . Here's Zoey's picture. Isn't she beautiful?

I really needed a "sick day" yesterday, but I had to "saddle up" anyway and go to work. But I really have an upset stomach and consequently, Dad said I had to "fast." I don't know where they came up with that idea? All I felt was "slow" all day. No food for a whole day? This is in-canine treatment!

Finally this morning I had a whole new treat. I had "breakfast on the veranda." Mom cooked up some real chicken, not the processed stuff. I had a cup and a half of chicken and rice. Yummy! I was so hungry my eyes were turning yellow because I was going bananas.

I overheard Dad talking to the doctor at my guide dog school and Elizabeth told him to put me on a bland diet to settle down my stomach. I hope this works! It has been a very unpleasant experience so far. We live near a lake and there are a lot of geese that walk all over the place and I think I might have gotten hold of something that I shouldn't have.

I got breakfast on the deck on such a beautiful cool morning, eating while the birds were singing to wish me a better day. I sure need it. Cuzzie was out there with me to keep me company. She can be a putz sometimes, but she was really sweet to me today. Thanks, Cooz!

Thanks again for all the love that Zoey and Princess Coral sent my way. Zoey wants to meet me at a Dog Park in a neighborhood near our house. All right! HOT stuff!

Princess Coral sounds so nice, but Dad tells me she is in San Diego. So I asked Dad if he had ever been to San Diego? He said, "No." Well, now we have a reason to go, right? Watch out Princess, your Prince is on the way to the rescue!

By the way, back to those sick days, I need to check my contract. I need to find out how many sick days I earn a year. I really needed to take one yesterday. I've got my rights, don't I? What do you guys think out there?

Wishing everyone a great day!

Big licks and belly rubs, Zane

Monday, June 9, 2008

Curbing My Enthusiasm

Good evening to all,

I have been trying to tell Dad, when you gotta go, you gotta go! Every now and then on the way to work or even when walking home, I really have to “do my business!” Do you know what I mean? In fact, last week, while walking home, I kept trying to signal Dad that I had to go, but he was not getting the message. Maybe, he's more than just blind!

Finally, I just stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and did my business! Ah-h-h, now I feel better! Boy, you should have seen Dad's face! What a surprised look. He kept saying, "What the heck are you doing?" Of course, for me, I was relieved, so to speak, so now we could make our way home in style.I knew he was a little upset, because he just kept mumbling under his breath, "What was that all about?"

Well, it should have been obvious. I kept pulling to the left to let him know that I had to go potty. Of course, I had never done this before with Dad, so I guess I’m not surprised that he was unaware of what I meant. Dad said, "OK, we will just have to come up with a new plan!" I wonder what he is planning to do?

I overheard Dad talking with Coach Emily on the phone. I believe that was the girl from graduate school who came to visit us a few weeks ago! I heard Dad say, "called what? curbing?” Yes, I wanted to get to the closest curb or patch of grass and do my business. But Dad always wanted to "curb my enthusiasm" to do this!

I could tell that Dad was getting very frustrated with me. Well, what do you expect? I can't just get up and run to the bathroom like he does! I have to get saddled up and taken to a good patch of grass, if I'm lucky!

What’s a dog to do? He wants me to watch out for traffic problems, cross streets, find curbs, cracks, potholes and all this stuff when my mind is preoccupied with having to go potty? I've got rights, haven't I?

Dad came up with a new plan for our morning routine. The original plan we followed was being fed at 6:00 a.m. and then he would take Cuzzie and I for a walk about 7:00 a.m. Now, Dad decided to return to the potty pattern that he was taught at college in San Rafael. After he feeds me at 6:00 a.m., we go for a walk. Oh yes, I really like that. I have been holding it all night!

Then on the way to work, we now go to a new potty spot near the lake and I get to watch the geese while I find a good spot to go. Now, I do not have to stop on the way to work and “curb” Dad!

Moral to this story: Don’t leave home “with it!”

Big licks & belly rubs, Zane

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kong Time - Jumping for Joy

Heh cool dudes,

Dad and I walk back and forth to work every morning1 I guess this is a little more than half a mile each way. Not a real long distance so I am really happy that Dad keeps me in good shape by having “Kong time” usually twice a day.

Back in San Rafael at college, Dad took me on “play time” with Coach Jessica and a few other coaches. We had a blast! Dad had a rubber ring and a small Kong (about 4” tall) that he would throw and I would fetch. Also, in the play pen, was a larger version about 12” tall called King Kong! I really enjoyed chasing either one of them because they bounce in all directions, hopping here and there and everywhere!

I have overheard Dad say, that this Kong toy looks like a little Michelin Man, which I have no idea what that means. It looks like stacked rings of rubber that are bigger at the bottom and narrower at the top and it is hollow inside. I heard some people fill it with peanut butter and doggie biscuits. Dad has not done that for me! Maybe I will ask Santa Claus to bring that for Christmas!

So Dad bought me a red Kong which is about 8” tall and I just love it. It bounces all over the place and I love jumping up in the air to snatch it and then return it to Dad. I love that Dad always cheers for me when I snatch it out of the air and claps his hands in approval. I feel like SUPER DOG, a Black Lab STUD!

I get lots of exercise and Dad keeps playing with me until I am panting very hard and, in fact, I start dropping the Kong when returning it to him. I’m just getting pooped after chasing that darn thing for 30 or 40 times! What fun we have together!

Moral of this story: A Kong in the mouth, is worth two cheers from Dad!

Traffic Check - Total Trust

Howdy everyone,

I told you that I have lots of stories to tell. This one happened last week on June 5. You got to know that I call Richard my Dad now. He takes really good care of me.

Finally, Dad has chosen a different route to work! I was starting to get a little bored with always taking the same route to work. Now, this new route he has chosen takes us on the east side of D Street through trees and bushes and curves and winds its way to PV Street. There are hills and valleys and now on Thursdays, there are people mowing and edging the lawn.

I can tell that Dad really trusts me. He is not paying attention to anything other than directing me to the proper path. I pretty much know the way to work, so Dad can just walk and relax and enjoy the ride!

On this Thursday, we were making our way along this winding path and getting close to PV Street, when all of a sudden, there is this big white truck sitting in the sidewalk path. I turned quickly to the right in front of Dad to stop his progress. Dad seemed surprised and requested that I continue forward. Dad said, “Hop up, let’s go!” He then gave the leash a yank forward. I did not move.

Finally, Dad took off his sunglasses and saw the truck. Now, he laughed and said, “Good boy!” He then directed me to the left of the truck to go around it. We proceeded around the truck and unfortunately, since we were off the path, I ran Dad right into a low hanging tree branch. Dad did not get mad because we were dodging a hug obstacle, what my coach called a “traffic check.” We finally got to Peakview and made it to work just fine.

I recall the training back in San Rafael when we did an entire morning of training on cars pulling out in front of us, turning corners in front of us, backing up in front of us. Yes, all this training was done to prepare me for a day like today!

Moral to this story: “Be on your paws! Look here, look there, look everywhere!”

Zane Train leaves the station!

Good afternoon boys & girls,

My name is Zane. I am a graduate of Guide Dogs for the Blind and I graduated "sum-a-good-doggie." I have been keeping notes on my experiences during my months with my puppy raiser and now with my new partner, Richard. I graduated on December 15, 2007 at the San Rafael campus and my partner and I have moved to the Front Range of Colorado.

I am a Black Labrador Retriever and I am quite HOT! Yes, I am sleek, slim, trim and very well fit for guiding my partner all over the Denver area. But when I say that I am HOT, well, I am dumping lots of hair all over the place trying to cool off. My double coat came in real handy during the cold, winter months here in Denver, but now it's time to shed my coat!

I love playing Kong and chewing on my Nyla-Bone. I have so many stories to tell you about. But for now, I wanted to help get the Zane Train out of the station!

If you are a guide dog, Labrador Retiriever, puppy raiser, guide dog user, I would love to hear from you!

Big licks and belly rubs! Zane