Jenni Sweet. Loving. Devoted. Big heart. Fun. Drop dead gorgeous. Fun. Selfless. Cute. Animal lover. Genius. Friend.
I started talking via LONG emails to this lady during Guide Dog school and have developed a friendship with her. Much like you can’t describe the relationship between a guide dog owner and their dog, I really don’t feel like you can describe one between you and your puppy raiser. So, yes, I feel it is important that I tell you that the gal Makiko lived with her first year of life was Jenni.
Jenni is a vet student and Makiko was her third puppy for Guide Dogs for The Blind. She will get another one pretty soon. Just to give you an idea of how laid back Makiko has been from the start, a week after Jenni got Makiko she had knee surgery and was on crutches for a long time. Jenni got Makiko at 8 weeks of age so imagine a 9 week old puppy who Jenni has to house train, potty train, teach basic commands, etc. Apparently they did a good job together because Jenni survived and can walk (haha) and Makiko is an amazing guide. 🙂
The flights and everything were too expensive for her to come out for graduation but we arranged to meet up while I was in Colorado. She lives in Colorado too and since I’m there often visiting family I was confident we could make it work. And we did! She drove into town and we hung out at my grandparents house and she got to hang with Makiko. Then we went out to lunch, she treated (that was very special), and you better believe we talked a ton. 🙂 Then we went back home and I showed her the booties etc, we talked and played more. A memorial part of this outing was when we were walking up to the restaurant and Makiko found the curb and door for me. Jenni was like, “She can find the curb?! That’s so cool!” It was very cute.
The puppy raisers job is to teach the dog basic commands and expose them to all different environments. They have a lot of other duties but that’s the general summary. Then, when they are a year old or so, they get sent back to Guide Dogs for The Blind for their formal guidework training so Jenni had not seen Makiko since she left Colorado.
Jenni and I have a good relationship. Some guide dog owners decide they don’t want to have a strong relationship with their puppy raisers for bonding reasons with their new dog. However it has worked out where that is not a problem and I will only see Jenni once a year or so, so I’m not worried. She put so much love, time, devotion, money, and so much more into Makiko that I really want to give her the opportunity to see her work come to fruition. 🙂
I don’t think I’ve posted it yet but I will. There is a video of Makiko playing in a field with something called a Jollyball. Jenni and her family sent us that soon after we arrived home. She had shared a video with me of Makiko playing with it when she had her and I thought it was so cute. Jenni absolutely continues to spoil Makiko and I. We are very lucky: