Over the years...

Molly 1B6
Golden Retriever
Certified Therapy Dog
since 2007
Raised in Florida with her first puppy raisers, but finished by my family.
Molly as a very fluffy puppy! Molly is standing beside a huge metal water bowl.

Molly all grown up with her blue puppy in training coat on. TECO our power plant is behind her.

Clarke 8M6
Golden Retriever x Yellow Labrador Retriever
Working Guide Dog
since 2009
Raised in North Carolina as a puppy, but finished by my family here in Florida.
Clarke as a cute little puppy with her blue working coat on...
Clarke all grown up sitting on our friends dock with the water behind her.. she was such a sweet girl!

Eve 2X8
Black Labrador Retriever
Working Guide Dog
since 2010
Raised by my family.
Eve as a puppy sitting in overgrown weeds.
Eve all grown up on our friends dock with the water behind her... Eve is laying down and smiling at the camera.
Ellie 12PD10
Golden Retriever
Veterans Assistant Canine
since 2011
Raised by my family
Ellie sitting on our porch smiling at the camera with a hot pink bow in her fuzzy hair. This girl knew how to pose!
Ellie sitting in our front yard. As Ellie got older, she became a little more serious. Ellie is looking very determined and focused in this picture.

Dave 3FF10
Black Labrador Retriever
Raised by my family
Dave as a puppy laying under our couch with his head and front paws sticking out.

Dave looking very distinguished after a romp in the yard.  He is quite a handsome dog.

To be a guide dog or breeder, a dog must be perfect from head to toe. Ears, Eyes, Teeth, Neck, Shoulders, Elbows, Feet, Heart, Lungs, Internal Organs, Hips and Knees. For working as a guide dog, they also have to be sound in training, and not afraid of anything.

Dog Anatomy Diagram
Yesterday, we found out our sweet Dave-man, is a little less then perfect.

While I was at work, my mom got a call from our Area Coordinator, Sue. Sue informed us Dave will be neutered. And he has been dropped from the Guide Dog program due to slight hip dysplasia.

Dropped meaning not suitable for guide work, but can excel in other programs. Such as Veteran Assistants, Canine Companions, Therapy Dog or Ambassador Dog. 
There are a lot of mixed emotions. A little sad, kind of happy, maybe a touch of confusion. Sure you would think after all the hard work we did making sure Dave was ready, we might be really upset. But in all honesty, I am SO glad they have the technology to x-ray the dogs hips and elbows and check for dysplasia. I'm also glad they have all the other opportunities for Dave-man.

I was kind of hoping that Dave would make a breeder so we could be his host family. But somewhere out there is just the right job for Dave. And I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Dave's next step is to pass the Canine Good Citizen test and will go from there.

Since I have yet to raise a puppy who becomes a breeder, I guess my puppy raising days are not over!


  1. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. I hope Dave finds his true calling.

    Good luck on the Canine Good Citizen exam. Retrievers are just so awesome.

    Huggies and Cheese,


  2. I forgot you raised an Ellie too!
    Sorry to hear Dave was dropped for slight hip displaysia. He'll find the perfect other career - whether that's working or just a career as someone's perfect pet!

  3. It's a tough call to get, but it is so good that he can go on to get his canine good companion certificate and still be in public service. You've put so much work into him and he is such a good boy. Even if he doesn't go into service work, know that he will make a sweet, obedient pet who will light up some family's life. We are 0 for 2 for far in the guide dog department. We have fingers crossed for Jam. He's super smart. You just never know.


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