Monday, May 25, 2009

Rowdy Reunion Party - Part II

Good morning fellow partners and pups,

The BIG party is coming close to an end according to Dad. I know I'm pooped from having to work with all these guide dogs. We were really racing through downtown Denver yesterday trying to see who would take the lead down the 16th Street mall.

The morning started with breakfast at Gunther Tooties and Dad seemed to really enjoy his eggs, French toast and bacon. I kept hoping he was going to drop something on the floor, but he did not. Everyone else ate well and then we drove down the various Denver neighborhoods to show off the city.

We got down to the 16th Street mall where pedestrians, partners and their pups walk all around the street going all directions with only buses passing every now and then. There were lots of humans everywhere with the Denver Art Festival in full swing.

We stopped at Starbucks for some special drinks and all of us even got a cup of water as it was preety hot working in downtown with the temperature in the 70's.

We finally headed back to the van, but on the way, a LOUD clap of thunder and lightning scared all of us and Claudia said that everyone jumped about 3 feet since it hit only about a block away from us. Then it started to rain and I felt like I was back in Dallas where ir rained cats and dogs last weekend during the VisionWalk.

We dodged the drops and got back to the van and hopped in and headed back to the hotel. After dropping off the other partners, Dad got a haircut and Mom took me for a walk. That was fun leading her and showing her what I can do.

Everyone took a nap and then got together for dinner pizza and beer and then we watched a movie, Seven Pounds, which Dad said was a little strange, but somewhat entertaining.

Now, everyone is getting ready to head back to the airport for their return to their respective cities. What a great weekend we have had. Oh man, Dad left me home since the van was a little crowded, but I saw them all last night and said good night!

Everyone loaded up and headed to the airport and we dropped everyone at Southwest airlines where Larry would be first to leave at 10:30. We took one last picture at the airport and said our good-byes and hugs.

Dad said that he asked everyone to write or email their thoughts and experiences that we would post on my blog. That will be fun to see what Meli, Ox and Al thought!

I'm pooped! I[m getting back into my kennel cage and resting now. Good day everyone! Thanks for the rowdy party!

Love to all, Miss Parka

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rowdy Partners Reunion - Part 1

Good morning pups,

Phewwww, I am pooped. Dad has had me working like a crazy dog! And there has been so many new dogs in my life! What a whirlwind weekend this has been. Oh yes, some of you may not know that this Memorial Day weekend is what Dad calls the Rowdy Partners and Pups weekend.

For those of you who have not heard, Dad's classmates from around the country have descended onto Denver and have been having such a great time renewing relationships and just having fun.

Thursday, Kae & Larry first came in on the bus from the airport and we met them at the Hampton Inn. Kae hadMiss Melody (Meli as Kae calls her a lot) and Larry had Oxford leading him into the hotel. They are such good looking Golden Lab Retrievers, Melody is sleek like me and Oxford is such a BIG hunk, 95 pounds of fire-breathing love.

Dad and I had prepared some baskets of goodies for them and stocked their refrigerators in their room with a few beverages as well. Megan arrived with Allard a couple hours later and we all got together for some Mexcian food at El Parral that evening. It was so great to meet GDB guide dogs. It was almost like I was back at Guide Dog School in Boring, except all these good-looking dudes came from San Rafael.

On Friday, we all got up early and prepared for our hike at Williams Park adjacent to Dinosuar Hogsback. Steve of Blind Outdoor Adventures led the 4 of us along a "two-butt" path up and down through rolling hills and brisk running streams of water. We had to move to the side many times to allow runners or bikers to pass as this was a very active trail. The wild flowers were everywhere in bloom, the birds were chirping their songs of the Spring and the prior night's rain provided a fragrant smell for all to smell. I did not show Dad some of the rocks or logs that we crossed, but I kept working myself around them and Dad walked over them!

Meli and Oxford were really good at marking the rocks and steering their handlers aruond the rocks in the path. It was truly an interesting path. After about a 1.5 mile walk in, we stopped to rest and have some wine, cheese, trail mix and water before retracing our steps back to starting point. It took us about 3 hours to complete the trek which was a totally fun experience.

We had lunch on the deck outside the Platte River Pub. We had great burgers and beer, well I should say I was hoovering for dropped napkins and pieces of food! Most of us were so pooped we just layed down and rested while our partners ate their tummies full.

Everyone tooks naps to recover and rest before a great BarBQ dinner at Brother's BBQ in the evening. We needed to rest and recuperate before the big meeting on Saturday.

At 8:30 on Saturday, people began arriving for the Rowdy Partners and Pups meeting at the Hampton Inn. Additional GDB partners joined us for this great meeting. I met Elway, Yelllow Lab, and Vicki; O'Connor and his handler, Chris and Roanne and her handler, Veronica. And to add to all the fun there were three different puppy raiser clubs from the area!

The puppy raisers that joined us were Have Paws Will Travel, Liberty on Leashes and Dogs with Vision. They brought several puppies to share their stories and demonstrate their "got to bed" and "layover" routines. We had some retired guides as well and some career-changed dogs to be part of our party. There were 17 people in all in attendance and 14 dogs. Wow! what a party!

Lots of pictures were taken and lots of stories were shared. Several people expressed interest in a GDB alumni chapter in Colorado which Dad will coordinate and get them moving.

We all had lunch at El Parral next door and got a chance to fellowship some more. This was just like college, having all my buddies around to rest while our handlers enjoyed their food and fellowship. We did do an obstacle course around the parking lot and took a big group picture which I can't wait to share with all of you!

After some more naps, everybody came over to our house for food, fun and fellowship and frolicking and rolling on the floor giving each other lots of kisses! After a brief 30 minute rain, we took off around Arapahoe Lakes and enjoyed the fragrant smells and goose poop along the route. We sat on a bench near the lake and waterfall, while Kae took our picture. So many great shots to share. Dad and all his rowdy partners shared stories about lots of funny things we have done. There was lots of laughter!

So today we have breakfast together at Gunther Tootie's and then head to downtown Denver to stroll along the beautiful 16th Street pedestrian mall, check out the Denver Arts Festival and who knows what else.

That's all for now. I'm heading back to my kennel cage to get some rest before we head out!

Lots of love to Class 680 and all those pups that are rocking their partner's world! Parka