Monday, August 15, 2016

Girl Scout Puppies Eat Real Food

Guest post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

The puppies are growing so quickly! Their small, pointy teeth have started coming in, so we started feeding them gruel. Gruel is dog food soaked in hot water and then mashed up.The puppies get so excited that they walk all through the food bowl.

Also, they play with each other, wrestling and jumping around. Some, like SSD Scout, even play-growl.

We have to put mini vests on the puppies  so they can start learning what they feel like. Another thing we do is hand brightly colored objects from the side of the pen. Their eyes and ears are now fully open, so we have to get them used to bright colors and loud sounds.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Girl Scout Puppies Explore the Outdoors

Guest blog post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

In most recent days, the puppies have been moved outside to get used to their new surroundings on the patio. In our preparations, we swept the patio to get rid of all the leaves and weeds. Then we had to bleach and scrub the patio with brushes.

After the patio cleansing, we set up the pen with a tent overhead for shade and brought out half the puppies. Although they cried and whined, the puppies adjusted to their new surroundings smoothly.

The next day, we bathed and dried each little puppy, only to have them all fall asleep. They're all adjusting to the new surfaces quickly and feeding well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Girl Scout Puppies On the Move!

Guest blog post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

SSD Juliette wears her little harness while she practices going up stairs.
The last two mornings with the puppies went very smoothly, and they are doing great. They started to wear their harnesses, and they look adorable in them. the puppies are even learning to climb up and down small stairs, and some of them, like Juliette and Tagalong, did it with almost no help at all!

We had to wash the puppies, weigh them, and clean the whelping box, too. SSD Aunt Megan is also doing extremely well and is a very good mom. 

Keep watching the puppy cam for the rest of the many weeks we are whelping them to see how they are doing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Girl Scout Puppies: Early Neurological Stimulation

Guest post by Girl Scout Troop 11967. Troop 11967 is caring for SSD Aunt Megan and her nine puppies, who will be trained as service dogs.

Yesterday was my first time meeting and working with the SSD puppies and their mom, SSD Aunt Megan. When I first got there, I met Megan and bonded with her before I met the puppies, so Megan would trust me.

Shortly after, I got to meet the nine puppies and rub and scratch their stomachs and ears. Next is when the real work started. We first started by doing ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation)* by holding the puppies toward us, holding them with their back toward the ground, holding them upside down, and placing them on a cold, wet washcloth. Then we picked them up and tickled their toes with a Q-tip. this process is to stimulate the puppies using different sensations.

Then we put all the puppies into a separate bin and we cleaned the whelping by by removing the dirty towels, wiping down the sides and bottom of the box, and putting in fresh towels and toys. After putting the puppies back into the box, I went upstairs to feed mama Megan.

Once we returned downstairs, we cleaned the puppy toys using water and bleach. Finally to finish, we mopped the floor.

Although all of these tasks are repeated several times a day, I was only there for a small amount of time, and I only got to do each step once. Even though it was hard work, I enjoyed working with the puppies very much.

*Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) helps to create dogs who are better equipped to handle stress, which is extremely important for service dogs, who will be going everywhere with their partner.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Six Dogs Headed to the CIA

On Monday, six of our dogs left our program to go work with the CIA. We could not be prouder of Coach, Elsa, Harmony, Oasis, Olive, and Zeus! These dogs were hand-picked by the CIA because of their unique abilities, including their energy, focus, and love of work, and they will go on to do great things with their new handlers.

Too often, however, dogs in our program that don’t go on to become service dogs are seen as failures. We say that they are not! These dogs are just as successful as the dogs that become service dogs.

Service dog work is just one type of work available for our dogs. True, because we are a service dog organization, our goal is to raise and train dogs to become working service dogs. However, each dog has a unique personality and set of skills that make them best suited to certain types of work. Sometimes that work might be acting as a counter balance for someone. Sometimes it might be alerting to sounds. Sometimes it might be recognizing a person’s anxiety and taking action to calm the person down.

And sometimes that work might be recognizing different smells. When they’re done with their training with the CIA, Zeus, Coach, Elsa, Harmony, Olive, and Oasis will be able to sniff out 19,000 explosive scents! Their ability to recognize and alert to these scents will save people’s lives. Pretty incredible!

We like to think that each puppy is on a journey, and we never know exactly where their path will take them. They start their journey with their whelping family for the first eight weeks of their lives. Their next and longest step is with their puppy raiser, who welcomes the puppy into their home at eight weeks old. Our raisers are amazing! They spend the next 16-18 months training that puppy, teaching them good house manners and 26 different cues. And everyone wants each dog to become a service dog.

The reality, though, is that not every dog is going to become a service dog. Only 50-60% of our dogs become service dogs. But that doesn’t mean the other 40-50% failed or that their raisers didn’t go a good job. It just means that service dog work wasn’t right for that dog and their journey is taking them down a different path.

Some dogs, like Coach, Elsa, Harmony, Oasis, Olive, and Zeus, have personalities and skills that will make them awesome CIA dogs. Some dogs, like Heritage, excel with the police. Some dogs join the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and others join the UN. We hear wonderful things about our dogs that have taken a different path to become working dogs!

Sometimes a dog’s skills and personality make them best suited to life as a pet with a loving family. Does that mean the dog failed? Nope. It just means that they are doing what they were meant to do, and their puppy raisers gave them the best start possible.

We are proud of our dogs no matter what path they take, and we know that they will make a difference in people’s lives. We’re thankful to our puppy raisers who devote their time and hearts to our dogs!

Congratulations to Coach, Elsa, Harmony, Oasis, Olive, Zeus, their puppy raisers, and their new handlers in the CIA!

Monday, July 25, 2016

How the Girl Scout Puppies Got Their Names

Guest blog post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

Before you read the guest post, we have some sad news to share. One of Aunt Megan’s puppies, Junior, passed away. Our experienced whelping team was monitoring him closely, but unfortunately, he was unable to thrive. He’s buried in a special place at the home of one of our whelping volunteers. 

Auntie Megan gave birth to ten adorable puppies! She had seven boys and three girls. Unfortunately one of the boys, Junior, sadly died on July 18. So now there are only nine puppies. 

The male puppies are Scout, Tagalong (Tag), Troop, Archer, Samoa, and Gordon. The female names are Juliette, Savannah, and Summit. We named the puppies important names corresponding to some of our favorite Girl Scout names for dogs. 

We chose Scout as a name for the word "Girl Scout." Tagalong, or Tag for short, and Samoa were chosen from some popular Girl Scout Cookies, the Tagalong and Samoa. Troop was chosen from what we call our Girl Scout group. 

Archer was chosen because one of our favorite sports and badges is archery. The last of the males is Gordon. Gordon is the middle name of Juliette Gordon Low, who was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. SSD Juliette was also named after her. 

Savannah was named after the Girl Scout Cookie, the Savannah Smiles. Savannah, Georgia was also the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low. Lastly, Summit was named after the pin you receive after you complete all three journeys. We are looking forward to getting to know the puppies and helping Auntie Megan take care of them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Girl Scout Troop 11967 Prepares for the Puppies

Guest post by Girl Scout Troop 11967. The Girl Scouts are whelping SSD Aunt Megan's puppies, known as the Girl Scout Litter.

SSD Aunt Megan and her ten Girl Scout puppies

Aunt Megan's puppies were born yesterday!

We cleaned the whelping box and its surrounding area. It was quick and easy with four of us working. We took off our shoes, signed the log book, and started working!

First, we took out the towels that were in the whelping box and washed them. Then we wiped down the box completely with Clorox wipes. We also wiped the legs of all the chairs nearby, and then we put clean, fresh towels in the whelping box.

Once that was done, we mopped and vacuumed the area, including the carpets so Pizzelle's fur wasn't everywhere. [The Troop leader is raising SSD Pizzelle over the summer until she moves to Dickinson Dog House at Dickinson College to finish her training.] Next, we thoroughly mopped the area where the puppies and Aunt Megan would be. It's important that other odors aren't around the area.

We had some free time after we finished cleaning, so we read the Whelper's Manual from Susquehanna Service Dogs. [We provide all our whelping volunteers with a manual full of everything they need to know about caring for the mother and puppies. We also have a team on standby to answer any questions or concerns the volunteers might have.]

Soon after, we went outside and tried training Pizzelle, but she was too distracted.

In addition, the Girl Scout Litter was born yesterday! We can't wait to start training and raising a group of pups that will help people and the community in a big way!

SSD Aunt Megan gave birth to 10 puppies on July 12, 2016. She has seven males and three females, all yellow. We'll announce the names soon!