April 25, 2011

097 - Sleepover

Black lab puppy Romero is lying in the middle of my bedroom on the cream coloured carpet. He looks worn out, with his head resting between his two outstretched front paws. He also has a bright lime green, chewed up old stuffed toy under his right paw. Romero's new friend Tanner is lying on a thick gray blanket near Romero's back feet. Tanner is a big collie - he looks just like Lassie! He too looks pretty tired, with his paws tucked under him and his long nose resting on his blanket. Behind the dogs, the bedroom is rather messy, with various piles of boxes and stacks of books.
Romero thinks that dogsitting can be tiring, but he's happy to have a new friend to play with.

April 23, 2011

095 - Dog In The Dome

Black lab puppy Romero is sitting near the bottom of the field level bleachers at the Rogers Centre before the game. He is wearing his green future dog guide jacket and red leash, and is sitting in the middle of an aisle a couple rows us. There are blue seats on either side of him, and behind him a short blue gate that opens onto the field. The green turf field is empty, save for a bat boy sitting beside a bucket of baseballs. The vast stands are almost completely empty too - it is still quite a while before the game is scheduled to start. The dome roof above is closed (it is still April in Canada after all) and the bright stadium lights are reflecting down onto the field.
Our Seat: Section 526, Row 6, Seat 107

Our Record: 2-2

Memorable Moments:
- Being back at the stadium less than 12 hours after leaving last night
- Watching pitchers (including Ricky Romero) warming up before the game
- Hearing one of the pitchers thank their coach for the help
- Sam Fuld = still awesome, though I wish he'd stop scoring against my team
- The (excellent) return of Brandon Morrow
- Two more Bautista home runs!! (and a walk and a single)
- Seeing the cheerleading usher for the first time this season
- Yet again, coming close in the 9th
- No better way to spend a Saturday than at the game with my puppy

April 22, 2011

094 - He Can Sleep Anywhere, Ballpark Edition

Black lab puppy Romero is lying on his side, asleep on the concrete floor of the 500 level stands at the Rogers Centre. He is wearing his green Future Dog Guide jacket, his Blue Jays collar, and a red leash that drapes over his shoulder. His face is completely relaxed, his top ear is flopped over the top of his head, and his front legs are stretched in front of him. Behind Romero's head, you can see the legs of the person in the seat next to him, as well as a fair bit of popcorn kernels and other garbage littering the ground.
Our Seat: Section 522, Row 16, Seat 1

Our Record: 2-1

Memorable Moments:
- My mom and sister joining us for the game
- Sam Fuld = awesome, even though he's not a Jay
- An improved outing for JoJo Reyes (I'm rooting for him)
- Jose Bautista taking two walks when he's a single short of the cycle
- The wave going around Rogers Centre / SkyDome (I know it's silly, but it reminds me of baseball games as a kid)
- Extra innings
- Romero sleeping through all of this
- Chants of "Johnny Mac" as we walked back to the train station

April 21, 2011

093 - Donation Dog

Romero helped spread the word about Dog Guides at a subway station this afternoon, and got to wear a special "donation dog" vest over his Future Dog Guide jacket.
Black lab puppy Romero is sitting in the middle of a Toronto subway station, looking like a perfect dog guide ambassador! He is decked out in his Blue Jays collar, red leash, and green future dog guide jacket. Over top of his jacket, he is wearing a smaller purple vest. On each side of the vest it says DONATION DOG and there is a plastic pocket to hold donations. There is a blue five dollar bill in the pocket of Romero's jacket. In front of Romero is a red plastic Dog Guides donation bucket. Behind Romero are various pillars (we are on the lower level of the station), a small convenience store, and escalators leading down to the tracks. There is one person wearing a black jacket and light blue backpack heading towards the escalators.
Best comment of the day (from a lady who stopped to take several pictures of Romero) ... "He's going to be the next Prince William!"

I'm not 100% sure of what she meant by that, but I enjoyed the thought of Romero as royalty being chased by paparazzi.

April 16, 2011

088 - Family Reunion

5 month old black lab siblings Jazzy and Romero are sitting side by side in the hall at the Dog Guides training facility. Both are wearing their green future dog guide jackets. You can tell they are being bribed with a treat because both are looking upwards, Jazzy has her mouth slightly open in anticipation and Romero's pink tongue is licking his lips. The two dogs have similar features - dark brown eyes, floppy velvet ears, and long slender faces. Romero is just a little taller than Jazzy but she is thicker-set. There are a couple people standing in the hallway around the dogs, and behind them is a black floor mat in front of the open sliding door to the relief area.
Romero (right) met up with his sister, Jazzy, today at the Dog Guides spring open house

April 14, 2011

086 - A Few Fundraisers

We continue to slowly work towards our goal of raising $20000 to sponsor Romero's training as a dog guide. Check out the ticker in the right sidebar to keep track of our progress.

Here's an update on some of our new and ongoing fundraisers for Romero's scholarship ...
5 month old black lab puppy Romero is sitting in the corner of my bedroom where the blue wall meets the white door. He's in a typical puppy sit position - with his left hip sticking out the side, and his head just slightly tilted. He is wearing his blue and gray Blue Jays collar and looking towards the camera with a serious expression on his face. Resting against his front legs is a long, thin plaqued poster. The image on the poster is eight six-week-old labrador puppies sitting on a stone step in front of the green grass in our backyard. From left to right is a light chocolate lab in a red bandana, a black lab in a yellow bandana (hanging in front of his chest like a bib), a chocolate lab in a dark green bandana, a smiling black lab in a blue bandana, a black lab in a purple bandana, a chocolate lab in a pink bandana, a black lab wearing a maroon bandana and chewing on her brother's neck, and finally a chocolate lab in a lime green bandana who looks like she's about ready to lie down and go to sleep.
1) In the above picture, Romero is helping to display our newest fundraiser - cute puppy posters! These poster prints of the Dog Guides' 2009 "B" litter are $10 each (please note, poster plaquing not included in this price). Contact us at dogguideromero@gmail.com to purchase posters, or CLICK HERE for more details.

2) We also have some other great items featuring the above picture available at our Cafepress Store.

3) Romero's quilt is now complete! Raffle tickets are on sale from now until June - $2 each or 3 for $5. CLICK HERE for more details and to see the finished quilt, and email us at dogguideromero@gmail.com to purchase tickets!

Of course donations and spare change are always gladly accepted ... every little bit counts.
Thanks for all of your support, and stay-tuned for some upcoming fundraising events!

April 7, 2011

079 - Reactions To Romero

Romero and I are taking a break from our normal "photo-a-day" format to join in the 3rd Assistance Dog  Blog Carnival with the theme of REACTIONS:
Spending the majority of my time with a dog guide puppy in training by my side, I encounter many different reactions from the people we meet throughout the day. Take today, for example ...
Romero and I were up early, catching the train into Toronto where we were helping out with a fundraiser at one of the subway stations. It's always fun to see the smiles on the commuters' faces as they pass by the puppies. Several people commented that puppy greetings were the best way to start the morning!
After the morning rush, Romero and I ran some errands and ended up at the mall. We stopped to take a rest on a bench, and were soon joined by an older couple who stopped to admire Romero. A brief encounter can turn into a thirty minute conversation when there's a puppy involved. We covered the typical topics ("How old is your puppy?" "What kind of dog guide will he be?" "How do you teach him to be so calm?" and of course "Won't you be sad to give him up?") and even ventured into a bit of baseball chatter (after explaining that Romero was named after a baseball player).
Next was a bathroom break for me. Romero does well in public washrooms, tucking in to the tiny stalls. I do wonder what people think when they see a little black tail sticking under the door though!
For lunch, we met up with a friend and her dog guide puppy - Romero's "girlfriend" Jewel. With two puppies, we attract even more attention (and you can imagine the reaction when get together with a group of ten or more puppies!).
The main event of the day was an outing to the Blue Jays game. I have taken Romero and my previous foster puppies to the Rogers Centre many times before, and never had any access problems. Today, they didn't bat an eye at the two dogs, but security was concerned about the roll of paper towels in my backpack. Once I explained that they were for puppy cleanups "just in case" and I wasn't planning to throw them on the field, we were allowed into the stadium.
We settled into our seats - way up top but with a great view for both us and the dogs - and the two pups promptly fell asleep. They remained that way for most of the game, showing no reaction to the clapping and cheering of the people around us.
Probably my favourite reaction to Romero ever came after the game. We had stopped to get a picture of Romero under Ricky Romero's banner outside the stadium, and a fellow Blue Jays fan must have overheard us saying Romero's name. He asked me if I'd named my dog after a Blue Jay, and when I said that I had, he stopped to shake my hand. This led to another conversation about both baseball and dog guides, and before we parted ways he gave me another sincere handshake, this time in appreciation of the work I do as a volunteer puppy raiser. It was an unnecessary gesture (fostering these puppies is more enjoyable and rewarding than I can explain) but appreciated nonetheless - so thanks, Mr. Blue Jays Fan, and I hope Romero and I will run into you at another game sometime!
Black lab puppy Romero is in a down on the concrete floor beneath a blue stadium seat at the Rogers Centre. He is wearing his green future dog guide jacket. His head is perked up and he is looking slightly off to the right, with his paws hanging over the ledge in front of him. Next to Romero (slightly behind him in this photo) is another dog guide puppy, black lab Jewel. Jewel is about 10 months old, but about the same size as Romero, with a thin, triangular face and big floppy ears. She is looking towards the camera with her chin resting on the ground. There is no one sitting in the seats above the dogs (we are in front of them taking this picture) but there are several jackets and bags saving our seats.
And now for our report on our 2nd baseball game of the season ...

Our Seat: Section 523, Row 10, Seat 1
Our Record: 1-1
Memorable Moments:
- Romero's first "date" with Jewel
- Seeing Ricky Romero pitch live and awesomely
- Aaron Hill (Sam's favourite position player) getting the first hit of the game, then stealing second and breaking his belt in the process
- Coming close in the bottom of the ninth

April 6, 2011

078 - More Pennies For Puppies

5 month old black lab puppy Romero is sitting on an olive green mat at the front door, ready to go out on an errand. He is sitting sideways so that you can see the FUTURE DOG GUIDE written along the side of his green jacket (which is getting a bit small for him). A green leash is attached to his blue collar. He is looking into the camera with a goofy smile on his face - he is holding his left ear out from his head (classic Romero look) and has his pink tongue sticking out just a little. In front of Romero is a small metal jar with a dog silhouette on it (used to be a dog cookie jar, now a coin jar) that has ROMERO'S SCHOLARSHIP written on it.
Romero and I are off to the bank today to deposit another batch of spare change that we have collected for Romero's scholarship.

April 2, 2011

074 - Romero's First Baseball Game

Just like yesterday's picture, this is a picture of the back of black lab puppy Romero's head as he watches the baseball game. Only this time - we're AT the stadium. We are sitting in the 18th row of the upper deck, so Romero is looking way down at the field. The railings and seats are all blue, and the stands look to be about half full. The row right in front of Romero is pretty empty, so he has a nice clear view. The field is pretty blurry, but you can see that the Blue Jays are on the field in their black jerseys and white pants.
Our Seat: Section 532, Row 18, Seat 11

Our Record: 1-0!

Memorable Moments:
- Our first game of the year!
- Jose Molina's homerun on his first at bat of the season
- Yunel Escobar's triple
- Jayson Nix's first game and hit (a homerun) as a Blue Jay
- Kyle Drabek's first major league win

April 1, 2011

073 - Opening Night

This picture is taken from behind black lab puppy Romero's head as he is sitting on his dog bed in the middle of the living room watching the televsion. The tv is mounted in a white shelving unit in between a maroon chair and a gas fireplace. On the screen, the Toronto Blue Jays are playing their first game of the season, and Ricky Romero is pitching to one of the Minnesota Twins. Romero is looking at the screen and wearing his gray and blue Blue Jays collar.
Congratulations to the Toronto Blue Jays on a great game to start off the 2011 season!!

Romero's namesake, Ricky Romero, picked up his first win and struck out seven batters ... great news for our Pitcher Pledges fundraiser. Would you consider making a pledge or giving a donation to support Romero's training as a dog guide?