• Palmer's first Guide Dog for the Blind Trainee, Taj!


  • Update: Taj is in Phase 0

    Posted by KAREN GAY on 11/10/2017 3:37:00 PM

    I've been asked by a number of staff to provide updates on Taj's training at Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), but if you're not interested just delete the emails.

    Editor's Note: Future updates will be through this blog instead of via email. Sign up to receive updates if you want to follow Taj's journey!

    Taj arrived on the GDB campus in Boring, Oregon (yes, there's such a town named Boring, it's by Gresham) this past Monday.  

    Once on campus, GDB staff settles each dog into the kennel with the rest of the dogs arriving for training and breeder evaluation.  Within a few days, most dogs will have a roommate.  

    • Medical examinations - During the first week on campus, all dogs will have their initial health screenings which include:
      • orthopedic x-rays and exams
      • a formal in-for-training physical by a GDB veterinarian
      • An eye exam by a veterinary ophthalmology specialist
      • an accurate weight
      • any needed vaccinations
      • If a dog does not clear any of the above exams, it may result in a career change or being removed from consideration as a breeder.
    • GDB Training Phases - The GDB training program is designed to maximize a dog's potential for success.  Each dog is taken through the phases with the end goal of having all of the dogs in a string ready for class at the same time.  There are eight phases of training through which the dogs progress during their training cycle.
      • Phase 0 - Health screenings (x-rays/eyes); agility; kennel enrichment; campus walks; community run intros (community run is recess for dogs)


    I'll update Taj's Phase Report info each week on Thursday and include what is accomplished in each phase like Phase 0 is done above. 

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  • the cycle of puppy raising

    Posted by KAREN GAY on 11/6/2017 10:18:00 AM

    Taj got to meet the new pup and impart wisdom about growing up at Palmer.   He then jumped up in the truck like he knew he was off on a great adventure to Guide Dogs for the Blind.  (www.guidedogs.com)

    Meet Skip, an 8 week old Labrador Retriever, who's Palmer's newest guide dog puppy in training.

     Taj meets skip

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  • Taj and the future

    Posted by KAREN GAY on 11/2/2017 2:19:00 PM

    Tomorrow Taj will head to the Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) campus in Oregon to enter the next phase of his life.  Labs have a 67% chance of making it to be a working guide dog.  Some career change for health reasons, some for temperament, some for lack of ability or interest in working.  Remember that only the best of the best can be entrusted to keep a visually-impaired person safe.  I think that Taj has had a wonderful foundation at Palmer and that he has a very good chance of becoming a working guide dog.  I thought some of you might enjoy a 4:31 video about Taj's prospective future.  This is why we raise despite the heartache that comes with letting go.


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  • A change or two ....... Fw: It's time for the GDB Puppy Truck

    Posted by KAREN GAY on 10/25/2017 6:27:00 PM

    Last year we were told we were getting a "BLM, letter A" puppy which means black lab male, name beginning with an A.  As luck would have it, the pup was changed and we received our beloved Taj.

    Last night we received the email notification that we would be getting a "BLM, letter A" puppy.  Around 4:45 we were notified that we would now be receiving a "YLM, letter A" from the same litter.  Then at 5:45 we were notified again that it's a YLM, but now the name begins with S.  I don't know how or why they're shifting puppy assignments, perhaps due to puppy illness in which case they will hold them until they're healthy or perhaps someone decided not to raise at this time so they'll look to make sure the oldest pups are sent out first or who knows.

    So name suggestions should now begin with S and I'll let you know if anything else changes.  😊

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  • It's time for the GDB Puppy Truck

    Posted by KAREN GAY on 10/25/2017 12:31:00 PM

    So many have been a integral part of Taj's life here at Palmer that I thought it was important to let you know that he's being recalled to Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) for his formal training as a Guide Dog.  While it will be so very hard to let him go we are sending Taj off with lots  of Terror pride and love knowing that this was always the plan.

    The GDB puppy truck will pick up Taj on November 3 in Loveland.  Once they arrive at the GDB's Oregon campus Taj will undergo a thorough medical assessment and if he passes that he will be assigned to a training string with wonderful trainers.  It typically takes about two months or so before he would be assigned to a visually-impaired client.  He could "career change" at any point for anything such as behavior or health.  There's a 67% chance of him graduating as a working guide dog.  There are no guarantees when we start a new pup, we just have to put our best into each one knowing that there is a strong chance that pup will grow up to give the gift of sight.

    The same GDB puppy truck will also bring our next Guide Dog Puppy in Training so  we  can continue this awesome community service at Palmer.  It's a boy!  He's a black labrador retriever and his name begins with the letter "A."  We won't know his name until they announce it at the puppy truck when we receive him.  All of his siblings have A names and they were the only A lab litter born in his birth month.  My students will be guessing names next week and you're welcome to do the same.

    You're welcome to come by to see Taj before he heads to "college." 


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