Tuesday, December 8, 2009

February 8th, 2010

Collies may be the best known and loved of all dog breeds in this country. People still read the Collie books written in the 1920s and 1930s by Albert Payson Terhune, and everyone knows, loves, and glorifies Lassie of book, movie, and TV fame. With her elegant beauty and near-human intelligence, Lassie is undoubtedly the standard by which most people judge Collies.

Ironically, Collies started out as lowly working dogs, cherished only by the farmers who relied on their hardworking canine companions to tend their flocks of sheep. The original Collies were closer in size and shape to Border Collies, not the large, heavy coated breed we know today, and were predominantly black. Since they were bred for their herding abilities rather than their looks, they varied greatly in their appearance.

The dogs that worked the rough terrain of Scotland's hill country and endured it's cold, blustery winters had to be hardy and independent, able to work far from their masters. They had to be both quick to respond to commands and able to solve problems on their own, for the lives of the sheep often depended on response and decisions of the dogs. This intelligence, independence, and responsiveness are the characteristics that continue to make them popular generations after most Collies have ceased to work with sheep and shepherds. Queen Victoria saved the Collies from obscurity on the farm. On a visit to Scotland in 1860, she fell in love with their good looks and gentle personalities and began the first Collie fad.

Meet Sparky!
This new breeder boy is enjoying his daily walk with our Medical Intern around our beautiful campus.
These four beautiful Goldador pups arrived into the world on January 26th, 2010. The proud mother in this picture is "Libby" a three year old yellow Labrador. Norm, a handsome Golden Retriever, is the father of this litter of four adorable female Goldadors.

Gigi and Kerry are the proud parents of this large litter
of nine Labrador puppies born on 2/3/10. Congratulations guys!!!

"A moment later the stevedore appeared on deck leading by a leash one of the most handsome dogs ever seen in Maryland. He was jet-black, sturdy in his front quarters, sleek and powerful in his hind, with a face so intelligent that it seemed he might speak at any moment. His movements were quick, his dark eyes following every development nearby, yet his disposition appeared so equable he seemed always about to smile.
"'He's called a Labrador,' Lightfoot said. 'Finest huntin' dog ever developed'"
So wrote James Michener in his novel Chesapeake about the arrival of a new breed of dog to the Maryland marshes to challenge the reign of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever as a consummate hunter. The Labrador Retriever has lived up to his billing - he has been the most popular dog in the US for more than 15 years. More than 137 thousand Labrador Retrievers were registered with the American Kennel Club in 2005, putting the Lab far ahead of second place Golden Retrievers in individual registrations.
The Lab actually developed in Newfoundland, from whence he made his way to England, probably with fishermen who worked the rich fisheries off the coast of the eastern Canadian provinces. There, in order to avoid confusion with the larger, heavy-coated Newfoundland dog, he was called the Labrador. The original Labrador Retriever was a versatile working dog, able to rescue drifting nets, bring back shot waterfowl, and haul the catch to market in jog carts. Once in England, however, his marvelous nose brought him fame as a hunting dog, a job he relishes today.
But the Labrador Retriever is far more. In this one breed are combined a smattering of all the attributes needed in a family dog for an active household. He is kind to children, friendly to most people and other animals, energetic, easy-to-train, anxious to please, fun to teach tricks and games, and an easy-keeper. He'll play fetch for hours or lie quietly on the family room floor, content to serve as a pillow for a toddler. Well-bred Labs have a stable temperament suitable for work as a guide dog for the blind, an assistance dog for a handicapped person, or a sniffer dog for contraband at airports and border checkpoints. And he is a fine dog for those interested in competition events such as obedience, agility, rally, or hunting tests or trials.

This smiling breeder girl is Sunny with her first litter of puppies. This proud mother had nine adorable puppies. A big congratulations to Sunny and Bart D!

Congratulations to Star and Tony on their new and beautiful puppies! This handsome couple had a whopping litter of eleven puppies! Way to go guys!

Meet Gunner, the newest addition to our breeding family! Gunner is a two year old, black Labrador Retriever. As you can see, this character has a lot of personality!

Characterized by its great adaptability and physical prowess, the German Shepherd Dog is respected, admired, and utilized throughout the world. One of the most easily recognized and one of the most popular of all breeds, it is acclaimed for its versatility, renowned for its intelligence, and beloved for its devotion and loyalty to its owner.

“Gordie”-One of our up and coming breeder evaluates!

Surprisingly, the GSD has been in existence as a distinct breed for only about 90 years. The breed traces its ancestors to a widely diverse group of sheepherding and farm dogs in Germany. In the late 19th Century, informal breeding groups of sheepherders banded together through a common interest in their dogs and attempted to produce dogs with the desired working attributes.

The initial group disbanded, but another society formed in 1899 flourished. This group, Der Verein fur Deutsche Schaeferhunde (sv) was founded by Max von Stephanitz, a cavalry officer known as the father of the breed.

The GSD came to the US as early as 1908, but its popularity rose dramatically after World War I, when returning soldiers told of the heroic dogs' work with the Red Cross, at the front, for the police, and on guard duty. In addition, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart, two beloved silent film stars, captured the hearts of the American public.

Today, the German Shepherd is distinguished for his loyalty, courage, and ability to retain training for a number of special services. Members of the breed are widely used by police officers and the military, as guide dogs for the blind, guardians, drug and contraband detection dogs, and Search and Rescue dogs. Most, however, are purchased to serve the important role of devoted family friend and protector.

This is Vedra, a three year old Smooth Coated Collie. Vedra is a very sweet and gentle girl who likes donating her time as a therapy dog. Way to go Vedra for making our “Breeder of the Week”!

Congratulations to our newest breeder Jack! Jack is a 2 year old black Labrador male. Jack was recently chosen as a breeder due to his high drive and trainability. This handsome boy makes a great addition to our breeding program.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Greetings Breeder Hosts and Fellow Southeastern Guidedogs, Inc. Supporters,

Many of you are aware that, in the interest of improving our service to you as hosts of our breeding dogs and to improve the overall performance of the school, the breeding department and medical department have now merged. The responsibilities of the breeding department were so closely intertwined with medical procedures and equipment used by the medical department, that it only made sense to combine our forces. Medical care of mother dogs approaching and immediately following whelping also encouraged the involvement of the medical team not to mention the medical care of the new born puppies.

The good news for you as a breeder host is that you will have the opportunity to talk to more than one person. The Medical/Breeding Department is made up of four qualified individuals who are here to make your life and the life of your canine companion as stress free as possible.

Southeastern Guidedogs, Inc. now has a full time campus veterinarian, Dr. Jerry Edington, who is the director of the Breeding and Medical Department. Dr. Edington is a native of Indiana who graduated from Purdue University in 1984 and then had the good sense to transplant to Florida. Dr. Edington has been in private practice in Southwest Florida for twenty plus years and owned a successful veterinary practice in Englewood for 12 of those years. In the recent past, Dr. Edington has become more involved in animal related not for profit organizations and had the good sense to come on to the campus of Southeastern Guidedogs and become fully involved in the medical care of our dogs. Dr. Edington can be reached at extension 141 at the guide dog school.

Kate Bowman is also someone you will likely talk to or meet as you interact with our school. Kate has been with our school for the past three years working as the Medical Services Manager and has recently encompassed the roll of Breeding Manager. She relocated to Florida from Virginia six years ago where she obtained an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology. With over eleven years of working experience in animal care, Kate makes a great addition to this team.

Another voice that you may hear on the other end of the phone line is that of Kelly Housley. Kelly has been working here at Southeastern for a year as the Medical Services Coordinator. Prior to her position here, she worked in a veterinary clinic in Georgia as a veterinary technician and as a groomer’s assistant. Not only does she have experience with animals, Kelly also enjoyed working with human patients as a certified emergency medical technician. One of our breeder male Black Labrador Retrievers named Jake is lucky enough to call Kelly his “host”.

Last, but definitely not least, is Whitney Kerns. Whitney is currently enrolled in the Veterinary Technology program at Saint Petersburg College. Whitney has worked in a small animal veterinary hospital for 3 years before coming to Southeastern Guide Dogs. She thoroughly enjoys caring for all the puppies and dogs we have on campus. Some of you may be familiar already with Whitney’s last name since her mother also serves as one of our campus dog trainers.

All four of the members of the Medical/Breeding Department at Southeastern Guidedogs, Inc. look forward to meeting and working with you. You can contact Kate at extension 115 and Kelly and Whitney at extension 130. With your help and the help of our canine companions, we will continue to move forward-together.

A big congratulations to Sadie and Rex who recently gave birth to this beautiful litter of lab puppies in September. These little tykes will be leaving our campus with their Puppy Raisers very soon!

Morghan and Norm are the proud parents of this beautiful little litter of four. Also scheduled to depart our campus shortly, we are thrilled to have these little ones on their way to Guide Dog-hood!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exciting Changes to the Breeding Department!

Good morning to all our wonderful Breeders out there! This is Jennifer Boyle writing to you this morning to tell you about some wonderful adjustments we are making to improve our Breeding Department.

Back in August I sent each of you an email identifying some temporary adjustments we were making to the department with regard to Breeding Host communications. I also promised you that I would let you know of any changes in the future - and the future is NOW!

It is with great enthusiasm that I would like to inform you that your new point of contact in our Breeding Department is Kate Bowman. Kate joined Southeastern Guide Dogs in 2007 and has been working with our dogs as our Medical Services Manager. With over 11 years experience in the care of animals, Kate will make an extremely valuable addition to the Breeding Department. Her exemplary communication and organizational skills as well as her outstanding commitment to our school and its mission will no doubt make our Breeding department one of the best in the country!

Should you have any questions about your Breeder's involvement in the Breeding program, please feel free to call Kate at any time. She can be reached at kate.bowman@guidedogs.org or by phone at 941.729.5665 x115.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How should you deal with an obese dog?

How should you deal with an obese dog?
Obesity is not treated simply by the limitation of food! Simple reducing the amount of food you feed can put the dog at risk for nutritional deficiencies. That is why it is important to use a low calorie food which can increase content of essential nutrients (proteins, vitamins, and minerals, etc.) Look for a food that is low in energy (10% fatty matter) and high in protein content (over 32%). These foods will help to:
  1. Preserve the dog's muscle mass (the loss of weight must impact the fat - not the muscle)
  2. Reduce the energy intake used by the body
  3. Produce a satiogenic (pronounced "say-she-o-jen-ic") effect (a reduction in the sensation of hunger)
  4. Retain the appetite for food

Once you have chosen an appropriate food, you should monitor the dog’s weight weekly. Ideally, the dog will reduce its weight by 1-2% loss per week. Be sure to eliminate treats from the dog’s diet – once you notice a reduction in weight, low calorie treats like frozen green beans, apple skins or ice cubes (in moderation of course!) are great, healthy, alternatives. Lastly, be sure your dog gets the exercise it needs!!! Just like their human handlers, dogs need to burn calories to stay healthy!

If you have noticed your breeder is overweight, please send me an e-mail at Heather.Junqueira@guidedogs.org

Dear Mom and Dad,
Here I am almost grown up. In a couple of months I will be off to college. I wonder what that will be like? I think my brothers and sisters will be there too. That will be fun!

I like going to work with my raiser. I stick my head out of my office and try to watch everything that happens down the hallway. Mostly I look for Miss Lois as she walks the office dogs most days. When lunch time comes for my raiser, I get to go outside and play with Legacy a black lab and Hope, who is my sister. Hope is a different color and has all this long hair. We don’t look anything alike. All three of us have a good time and sometimes get really dirty while our raisers eat lunch.

Our puppy group is going to the Igloo ice rink soon. I am excited because as a Florida girl I have never seen ice. I think they are going to be playing a game and skating around in the rink. Being a collie I bet I could round the whole group of them up. Probably catch that thing they hit around too.

We are going to get on an airplane with the Sarasota puppy group in a couple of weeks. Wow! I hear that airplanes are real noisy on the outside. Not sure I want to hear that. Hope I behave myself and am brave in front of dogs I have not met before. I am sure my raiser will help me be strong.

As you can see I stay busy and that makes me happy as I have a lot of energy. Naps are good too and I think I will go take one now.

Jamie enjoys a birthday celebration and shows off her personalized badanna begging you to
"Hug Me... it's my birthday!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Canine Obesity

Canine obesity is defined as having a surplus of 15% more than the normal weight of an adult dog's breed. With an average weight of 70lbs, the Labrador could be considered obese when its weight exceeds 80lbs! Labs, in particular, are predisposed to the disease of obesity because of their vigorous appetites.

You may ask, why is obesity considered a disease? Because it:

  • Causes or aggravates other diseases (diabetes, respiratory failure, etc.)

  • Increases surgical risk (anesthesia is more difficult and more dangerous in an obese dog)

  • Encourages the emergence of nutritional deficiencies

  • Causes significant locomotive problems (osteoarthritis, disc hernia)

  • Reduces the ability to reproduce (reduction of libido and the quality of sperm in the male, difficulties in conception and whelping in the female)

  • Gives rise to significant skin problems.

Next month, we will focus on how dogs become obese so stay tuned!

If you have noticed your breeder is overweight, please send me an e-mail HEATHER.JUNQUEIRA@GUIDEDOGS.ORG

Dear Mom & Dad (Meg & Dewey),

I have had a great time with my Puppy Raiser family over the past year. I was born on May 4, 2008 and went home with my Puppy Raiser family on July 10, 2008. You'll be happy to know I go to church every week, visit school often where my Puppy Raiser brother attends, and take lots of walks with my friends in the Bradenton Puppy Raisers Group. We walk through downtown Bradenton, visit stores, restaurants, the airport, the beach and ride the city buses and the beach trolleys. Our Area Coordinator, Brenda and my mentor, Karen help me out a lot. I have made a lot of friends with the other puppies in our group. I took obedience lessons at SEGD from a real nice trainer named Karen. I received my letter last week to report to K-9 college on August 4, 2009. I'm really confident that all the experiences I have had will help me become the best guide dog possible. I'll write you another letter after I move back SEGD. I think they have Wi-Fi in the kennels.

Lots of Love,

Scout 2M8

Meet Bart D !! Bart was raised by Tracy Willis and Bob Campbell. He is the son of Sloan and Iris. Bart enjoys playing with other dogs and works hard to please the humans around him. We look forward to seeing many puppies from Bart in the future.

Meet Sammy !! Sammy is the daughter of Sloan and Iris. She was raised by Walter McMullin. Sammy is a very sweet hard working dog. She enjoys long walks and playing with her friends.

Kerry is sporting the newest apparel for dogs. A hat specially designed to keep the sun off of one ear.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Policies and Dog Food!

Good morning from Breeder Land!

In the last few days you should have recieved two emails from our school regarding some important changes at the school! The first, to outline some exciting changes designed to provide our newborn puppies and dams with exceptional post-natal care and the second to clarify the dog food plan Southeastern Guide Dogs has adopted as an organization. In the interest of communication, I have outlined the highlights below!

Please note: the Dog Food Recommendations below are different than email that was released to you on Tuesday. We mistakingly listed the puppy versions of our food recommendations rather than our adult dog options... Please take a moment to review!

Kennel Visitation Policy
This policy went into effect on Wednesday, July 15th. Full versions of this policy are available for your review.
  • To reduce nervousness and kennel anxiety, we will not permit breeder host families to visit breeders in the period between drop-off and successful whelp completion.
  • In the interst of providing our newborn puppies and dams with the greatest possible care, we do not permit visitors for the first 72hrs of life.
  • No children under the age of five will be permitted in our nursery area at any time.
  • If you would like to visit a breeder after the 72hr wait-period:

    1. Visitation must be scheduled at least 24hrs in advance by contacting Nancy Lathrop, Kennel Manager. You may reach her during regular business hours at 941.729.5665 x129 or by emailing her at nancy.lathrop@guidedogs.org.
    2. Appointments are available during the following times only: Monday through Friday from 9am to 2pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12pm.
  • Absolutely no visitors will be permitted without an appointment and visitation is limited to 3 times weekly for 30 minutes.
  • Puppies under two weeks of age are not permitted to be handled by visitors.
  • No more than two people may enter our nursery area at a time.

Food Options
You may have already heard that there are some exciting changes to our on-campus feeding protocol! I wanted to take a moment to give you all some clarification on the changes in dog food and how it may affect our breeder hosts.

In 2008 Southeastern Guide Dogs established an organization-wide priority to identify dog foods and feeding protocols that maximize the overall health of our dogs from puppyhood through retirement.

After consulting with our Veterinary Advisory Council and animal nutritionists at Cornell University and University of Florida; conducting exhaustive research regarding dog food quality, cost and availability; evaluating presentations made by several dog food companies; and conducting on-campus feeding trials, we have developed a new SEGD Dog Food Plan. Effective immediately, Southeastern Guide Dogs will feed Royal Canin’s line of dog foods to all of the dogs in our kennels and recommending Royal Canin brands for our Breeders.

Here are highlights of the new SEGD Dog Food Plan as it relates to Breeder Hosts:

  • Hosts are encouraged, but not required, to feed Breeders Royal Canin MAXI Large Breed Adult.
  • Should hosts elect, for any reason, that Royal Canin is not a viable solution, Southeastern Guide Dogs encourages families to consider one of the following options:

    Royal Canin MAXI Large Breed Adult 25
    Innova Large Breed Adult
    Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Adult
    Science Diet Large Breed Adult
    Iams Large Breed Adult
    Natural Balance Lamb Meal and Brown Rice
    Natural Balance Organic
  • Female breeders which have been confirmed as pregnant will be given a supply of Royal Canin Baby Dog by the school. We ask that host families transition expectant mothers to the Baby Dog formula over a two week period.
  • When boarding your Breeder at the school, for any reason, we ask that you provide the school with a supply of food ample enough to last for the duration of the Breeder’s stay at the school if the Breeder’s diet is a food other than Royal Canin. We ask this in the interest of the Breeder’s digestion as a sudden change in diet leads to moderate to severe digestive discomfort. If your dog is already enjoying Royal Canin at home, we will happily feed them Royal Canin from our own supply.

To learn more about Royal Canin you can visit their website at http://www.royalcanin.us/.

At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we so appreciate your ongoing commitment to our mission and dedication to our wonderful breeders. We want you to know that these changes came as the result of careful consideration. We strongly believe that continuous improvement will serve to give our Breeders (and their treasured litters) the best care available and make their stay with us as stress-free as possible!

I am, as always, available if you have any questions – and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Last week we talked about the ambulance dogs of World War I and their incredible commitment to wounded soldiers in the field.

This week we will focus on Fleet Footed Messenger Dogs.

The battles of WWI consisted of trench warfare and extensive stays in fixed locations. Communication between camps came by way if telephone or by soldiers running with messages. But when communication broke down or when the trek was too treacherous for human messengers, fleet footed messengers were sent instead.

These dogs, donated to the United States from our French and British allies, were trained to run in a zigzag pattern to evade gunfire or capture. Armed with a small metal canister containing the message and, in some cases, specially designed saddlebags carrying messenger pigeons, these messengers were four to five times faster than the average soldier on foot. In some cases the messenger’s swift delivery saved entire battalions.

One of the most famous examples was a mixed-breed named “Satan”. Credited with saving was later became known as “The Lost Battalion”, the French were holding a small village near Verdun but quickly became trapped by the Germans. The Germans cut their telephone lines and killed carrier pigeons released by the battalion as they moved in heavy artillery to a nearby hill. Amid heavy gunfire and smoke appeared an unusual figure. Soldiers described this creature as “winged” with “an unusually large head”. The apparition was, in fact, “Satan” – outfitted with a pigeon carrier strapped to his back and a gas mask over his head. A few hundred yards from the safety of French lines, the Germans realized he was a messenger dog and opened fire. “Satan” took a bullet and fell to the ground – regained his footing and resumed his zigzag pattern at a slower trot. He took another bullet to the shoulder and fell just a few yards short of safety.

But “Satan” persevered – mustering up the strength to rise once again to the waiting arms of French soldiers where medics attended to his wounds. These soldiers released the first carrier pigeon which was quickly shot down by the Germans. The second pigeon – the Battalion’s last hope – was released carrying a message of their predicament. Fire rang out as the pigeon climbed the sky above battle lines. Only time would tell if this pigeon was successful in its mission to reach French reinforcements.

Within an hour, France’s long range guns opened fire on the German’s position. The allied forces were able to defeat the Germans and save the village – all thanks to the incredible dedication of one courageous messenger dog.

Tune in next week to learn about Stubby: American Mascot Hero.

Dear Mom and Dad-

I am having a great time with my Puppy Raiser Family. We go on lots of fun outings to places like the mall, the library, and my favorite, the grocery store. I am learning lots of great things too! I am really good at my “sit – stay” and I am working on “finding the door”. Most of all I love meeting new people – especially children!

I hope you both are doing well.

Much Love,

Miss Fay is a very loving dog who likes to relax by the pool and visit all of her friends at Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Please e-mail photo's of your Breeder to Heather.Junqueira@Guidedogs.org for our Breeder Photo of the Week Contest.

Meet Tony. He is the son of Joey and Lucy. Tony was born on November 7, 2007. Tony was raised by Pat Stone. Tony is a very confident dog and has quite a way with the ladies. Tony enjoys long walks and playing with his friends. He is being hosted by his puppy raiser, Pat Stone. We look forward to seeing his puppies in the future.

Meet Libby. She is a yellow Labrador born on November 7, 2007. She is the daughter of Joey and Lucy. Libby was raised by Theresa and Keith Maisel. Libby is an energetic, intelligent dog who is eager to please. While here at Southeastern Guide Dogs for training, Libby stole the heart of her trainer, Marisa Gerlach. When asked about Libby, Marisa commented, " Libby was the "Track Star". She loved to pogo beside you in the field, as you are running.
We are very excited to have this rising star in our breeding coloney.

Meet Sunny! She was born on August 8, 2007. Sunny was donated to Southeastern Guide Dogs by Barbara Ladner, a breeder in Perkinston, MS. Sunny is the daughter of Twinponds Second to None and Sumo's Jazz'd Up at Riverchase. Sunny is a very sweet girl. She likes to take slow walks and receive lots of love and attention from her human companions. She was raised by Kim Gilchrist who will also be her Host Family. Sunny will make a great addition to all of our loving "moms" here at Southeastern Guide Dogs.