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Last Updated 1/03/00

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Judah's Story

Judah, as you can see from his photos, is just about the cutest German Shepherd dog around! The two middle photos are of Judah on his 8 week birthday, which is the day we brought him home from the puppy kennel at Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. The top photo is of Judah at about 4 months, and the bottom photo is Judah at about 13 months.

Picture - Judah's ears finally came up.

My wife and I are
volunteer puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., and raised Judah to be a guide dog. Judah is the second dog that we have raised; Darth was our first.

Picture - Judah's first day home from the GDB puppy kennel.

Judah was born at the San Rafael, CA campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. on 6/25/97. His mother's name is Locust and his father's name is Keating. In Judah's litter, which is the first for both Locust and Keating, there are 7 puppies: Jenks, Judah, Jeanette, Joyful, Joel, Jaffa, and Junction.

Picture - Jackie & Judah. Judah is 8 weeks old!

Judah went to work with us each day, and just about everywhere else we went too! He was a wonderful little shepherd puppy, playful but not out of control, and we enjoyed having him around. He is very smart and learns quickly. A guide dog puppy must learn a great deal in the short time that they are with their raiser, but Judah was eager to learn and so picked things up in no time. Jackie and I look forward to the day that we will present Judah to his blind partner. Sure, it will be hard to see him go, but like any parent whose child leaves the nest, we will be very proud of him.

Picture - Judah the guide dog puppy going to the GDB 1998 Oregon Fun Day.

Judah graduated on June 26, 1999 and is now working in San Francisco with his partner, David.

The latest on Judah...

Judah and David are getting along just fine. David, who lives fairly close to us, keeps us informed on how our baby is doing, and we even get to visit with them every now and then. We feel privileged that when David needs someone to watch Judah, he calls us. We have been fortunate enough to have watched Judah a couple of times now, and he is quite a boy!

Daivd called us on January 1, 2000, just after midnight, to tell us that he and Judah went out to celebrate the new year in an extermely crowded part of San Francisco, and that Judah handled it wonderfully. We were absolutely thrilled that Judah is doing so well, and that David thought to call us and let us know. What a team!

Our little baby Judah is all grown up and working.

Jackie, Poco and I flew up to Oregon on Friday, June 25th, for graduation on Saturday the 26th, and we had a wonderful time. We arrived at the GDB campus about 11:30 AM on Saturday so we could board Poco in the kennel during graduation. At 12:00, all of the puppy raisers that were presenting their dogs were seated in the dorm to wait for their dog and the student that would receive him. After about 3 of 4 other teams went by, finally Judah and his new partner David came down the hall. I'm not sure that Judah recognized us at first (it has been 9 months after all), but eventually he realized who we were. We had a great visit, just like old times, only now someone else held his leash.

Jackie and I were very impressed with David. He and I have quite a bit in common. The three of us visited for about an hour, during which time Jackie and I presented David with a photo album of Judah's life with us. At around 1:15 PM it was time to get ready for graduation at 1:30 PM. The students went to take their places on stage in the auditorium, while we puppy raisers, with the dogs, were lined up and taken to a room where we were briefed on what to do.

Judah was presented first, which was nice because we were then able to just relax and enjoy the rest of the graduation ceremony. I presented Judah to David, and after he finished speaking, it was Jackie's turn. She did a wonderful job.

After the graduation ceremony and the reception that followed, David took us out to the dog play yard and let Jackie, Poco, and I play with Judah. The two dogs had a blast, as did Jackie, David, and I. It was wonderful to see Judah and Poco playing so well together, and of course I got tons of pictures.

What an incredible experience it was. It's what raising a puppy is all about.

Well, it FINALLY happened today - Judah went into class! Time for us to start making airplane reservations to go to Oregon on June 26 for graduation. We are very happy that Judah is able to get out of the kennel and start doing the job that he has been trained for, and are looking forward to presenting him to his new partner. Stay tuned for more info.

Judah's still in training and doing well.

Judah is still in training and doing pretty well. He has a few problems (what Shepherd doesn't!), but is learning his lessons and behaving himself.

I finally have a chance to update Judah's page since he went into training. It's been a while, and a lot has happened. We have been getting weekly updates on Judah, and he seems to be doing pretty well so far. He has been neutered so won't be a breeder. We still miss Judah, but since we got
Poco we haven't had a lot of time to dwell on it. Judah's sister Jaffa was pulled for breeding in September, and we were fortunate enough to provide foster care for her until she was placed with a breeder keeper. She was a very nice girl and we really enjoyed our visit.

Well, today was the day that we had to say farewell to Judah. His
recall date was postponed a month so that he could recover from a bout of pano. He left from the San Rafael, CA campus of GDB for the Boring OR campus of GDB this morning on the puppy truck for training, and should arrive in Oregon tomorrow about 4:00PM. It has been a very emotional day for all of us, Darth included. As Jackie, Judah, and I took a last walk around the GDB campus this morning, I thought about all that we had gone through in the last 13 months, and was very satisfied with the progress that Judah has made. We believe that Judah has a very good chance at being a Guide Dog. Good luck Judah!

The past few months have been fairly busy for all of us. Jackie, Darth, Judah, and I traveled 1300 miles (round trip, by car) to the Oregon campus in July for the Oregon campus fun day. Judah got to stay in his first hotel rooms, and did pretty well. Our only problem came when people started getting up in the morning and making noise in the rooms adjoining ours. The dogs heard the noise and, of course, had to make some of their own! Oregon fun day was very enjoyable. Jackie had to work during most of it and kept Darth with her, which left Judah and I to go exploring. We enjoyed all the booths and seminars, but the highlight of the day came when we got to meet Judah's brother,
Joel, who was going in for training that day. The 2 dogs look identical! It was quite a trip, but we were glad to be home.

In August, we attended the San Rafael campus fun day which was also a lot of fun. Since we had been to the Oregon fun day weeks before, we decided to just walk around and meet people (and dogs) rather than concentrate on the seminars (although we did attend some very interesting ones). We got to meet 2 more of Judah's siblings at this fun day,
Jenks and Junction. It is amazing that Judah is practically identical to Joel, and yet so different from Jenks and Junction

Judah will be going into training on August 24 at the Boring, OR campus. We have noticed lately that he is becoming much more confident and mature; he will definitely be ready by August 24. We are very impressed at how calm he is when we take him into very busy places, nothing seems to bother him. He has recently discovered the joys of playing tug and really gets into the game. He has also recently discovered the joys of playing in the water. We set up the wading pool in the backyard a couple of weeks ago, and he just loved to jump in and splash around.

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