Yesterday Juno and I went to see the San Jose Giants (Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) with my dad and my friend Julie, and her guide dog Honda. It was so much fun, not just because of the baseball, but because we got to tag along with the Mid-Peninsula Puppy Raiser Group for Guide Dogs for the Blind!
It's kind of a funny story, actually. I've been a huge fan of the YouTube show Growing Up Guide Pup, for a while. Then when I was out walking dogs several months ago, I ran into a guy walking three or four dogs of his own. And two of them looked so familiar ... Suddenly I realized that two of the dogs were Ricki and Eli from the show, and the guy walking them was Matt Chapman, one of the show's creators! It was so cool! I of course was all full of hero worship and probably couldn't really talk coherently, but Matt seemed quite pleased that I was such a big fan.
From that, and through Facebook, we were able to set up a fun dinner meetup with Amie and Matt (and of course their new puppy, Pilaf!). Juno was in her temporary retirement at the time, so we went to a restaurant with dog-friendly outdoor seating. It was great fun getting to talk to them, and especially get puppy-raising tips for Kaline.
We kept in touch on Facebook and they knew I definitely wanted to do more meetups, especially since Juno got her sight back. When I picked up a Brian Wilson gnome at the Giants game with Danny, it was a great excuse to get together—Matt really wanted one, and I find gnomes creepy, so I was glad to get it off my hands! And the baby Giants game was a perfect time to do the handoff. Not to mention a great opportunity to do an outing with Julie and Honda.
The group had reserved rows right at the top of the little stadium, one of which was in the shade. The majority of the puppies were up there, out of the heat. We went to the barbecue (one of the best barbecues you will ever taste, I highly recommend it!) so we ended up in one of the sunny rows. Luckily, Julie and I had brought a towel and mat respectively for our dogs to lie on, and kept them well cooled with water and ice cubes. And when we were able, we moved up to the shady row.
The puppies were absolutely amazing. They ranged in age from pretty little (I think the lone black Lab, Adidas, was about five months old) to about a year old, I think. Everyone but Adidas was a yellow Lab, my favorite! Pilaf was there, naturally, so we got to schmooze with Matt and Amie, who were very gleeful to meet Julie and Honda. The other puppies were Andretti, Skittle, Felicia, Mecca and Blake. They were so cute, and they all just chilled out under their raisers legs, some of them working on Nylabones, some just lying there. Gigante, the mascot, came by, and rather than being afraid, little Felicia enthusiastically licked his hands.
I hope my little guy can behave as well as these puppies when he's five months old! Bravo to all puppy raisers—they are fabulous, amazing people who provide a tremendous service. They put so much love and effort into these puppies, knowing that if all goes as planned, they'll have to give them up. I really hope I get to do more things with this group—they're such fun! Wish I had pictures, but with all the dogs staying in the shade behind legs, it wasn't exactly the best photo op. Oh well!