Oh yes, he was great! A lovely pup to have. A handsome and well adjusted young adult to hand over for the next phase of his training. Yes, Ulric is starting the new year at the Guide Dogs' centre near London, working with a professional trainer. Coincidentally, two of his brothers are there as well. I wonder if they'll recognize each other. I doubt it.
We got him by default really....he wasn't supposed to come to us at all.... we were going to have a break due to moving house (which explains my prolonged absence from internet activity).... but because his initial puppy walker had to pull out when he was only 10 weeks old, Ulric became a 'shared' pup and adapted really well to moving between two homes and two part time mums. Not only that, but during his time with me, he had to endure two house moves and a large scale bathroom renovation. He took it all in his stride. Just as he did trains, buses, lifts, shops, crowds and noisy, push-chair-packed coffee shops.
He had a set of toys and his own bed at each home and he just took a favourite blanket with him each time he moved from one house to the other. This move would be for weeks and months, not just days.
His 'number 2 mum' and I live fairly close to each other so we were able to ensure that we used the same training methods and commands and, over coffee, we'd discussed our approach to introducing new experiences to him. For example, every week he went to Riding for the Disabled where he was an added attraction for the children. And for himself, he gained an insight into which bits of a horse to stay clear of. He never learnt to stay clear of the horse muck though.... the fresher the better! But nothing that a good dip in the river didn't sort out. (Some critics say that a guide dog's life is all work and no play. Don't you believe it!)
As a result of being given such a wide range of experiences Ulric's become a very adaptable dog and nothing seems to phase him. (Fingers crossed!)
It doesn't get any easier to part with the dogs. Ulric was puppy number nine for me. I just hope he has a lovely life with someone who really appreciates him.
And puppy number ten will be turning up on our doorstep around April time. Watch this space!