A journey through Arturo’s life…

Arturo was my baby. He was my 1st guide dog pup, and the only one I rasied all the way through. I wanted to do a post on him, since I was missing him a lot today…..

Arturo came in on a lovely July day. I got a call 3 days he flew up from my leader, and she said she had a puppy for me if I wanted it. I did. And Arturo and his brother Armand flew up in Alaska Air Cargo that day. He was the bigger, cuter, and floppier eared of the two. When I saw the two puppies, I told my mom, “I want the one with the big ears”. Not even kidding. And guess who the big eared goof was? Arturo tattoo number 47G9

As a puppy, Arturo was very frisky and was very very smart. We were able to wait a while to put him on a training collar (I think he was 5 months). From the beginning, I knew his biggest problem would be dogs. He was always very dog distracted.

At 7 months, he was put on a Halti for dog distraction. He didn’t like it, but he didn’t react as badly to it as a lot of other dogs did. To this point, he had been kept unneutered because he was on international breeder watch.

At 9 months, our advisor decided to neuter him because he was too dog distracted. I was very glad. It did help him a little with his dog distraction, but it wasn’t until he was 12 months that he snapped out of it totally.

Everyone said that he was really good on his commands. I guess I just really enforced that from the beginning. He had perfect obedience, and was nearly perfect on distraction work. You hear all the stories about people not realizing there was a dog under the chair/table/pew/desk? That was Arturo. I was able to bring him to school with me all the time.

He literally went EVERYWHERE. But around 12 months, I realized I might have been oversocializing him. He needed to take a step back and not go as many places because he was going crazy and not doing well in the places he was going. When I started leaving him home, I got a taste of what life without a dog would be like. No one noticed me anymore, and everyone asked me where he was.

The wonderful boy was put on food reward “for the fun of it” (according to my advisor) and progressed in leaps and bounds. From 15 to 17 months, he was the most delightful companion I’ve ever had. He did everything right, and was a beautiful example of what a guide puppy should be like. He was one of those dogs who you could take to the grocery store with you, tell to sit at one end of the isle, run to the other end and grab something, and come back, and he’d still be there in his perfect sit (we taught the implied stay).

We taught him all kinds of non-GDB commands. He knew “on your bed” “get your toy” “in the bath” “up up up” “go find it” “stop” and many more. We taught him game when he got bored. We’d show him a toy, put him in a sit outside my bedroom door, and hide the toy. Then we’d say, “where’s your toy??” and he’d go look for it. Eventually we went from putting it in a corner of the room to hiding it far under my bed so he had to crawl. He loved it so much. He was also a pro at hide and seek. I babysat 9 kids every Friday night at my house, and he was always allowed loose in the house while they were here. When we ran out of things to do, they’d always ask to play hide and seek with “Ichiro” (it….kinda sounds like Arturo….).

The big baby also got to go to State Fair and compete there. He was amazing and won grand champion in control class. (you can’t see his grand champion ribbon in the picture, but you can see a few of the other ones…)

He had done very poorly at his final eval because I was so stressed… But he was EXCELLENT at fair, and because of his performance there, my advisor decided to recall him in November ’06.

I know there are more stories, but I can’t think of them…..maybe I’ll post some in the future.

Arturo was recalled November 4th, 2006. On November 12th, 2006 our phone rang. I answered and it was one of our guy leaders. He never called. I knew right then. He asked to talk to my mom (since she was the “adult” raiser, even though I did all the raising). I only heard her side of the conversation, but I had already started crying.

When she got off the phone, she affirmed it. Arturo had been career changed for breed specific cataracts. We decided to have guide dogs place him because we weren’t able to take him back, and the family we were going to place him with had gotten another dog. He’s now living with a wonderful family in OR. I got to see him on February 9th, 2008 at a graduation. I was really excited. He remembered me, and jumped up on me and showered me with kisses.

I never said goodbye to him when we drove him to the kennels. I only said, “I love you, and I’ll see ya later.” So I finally got to say my goodbyes to the big goof. I really miss him, as does everyone around here.

Here are some pictures of my baby face.

(yes this picture was part of the Community Connections newsletter quite a few times)

EDIT: And here are some from our “reunion”

This was the first time I had seen him in over a year…and his response 😀


4 Responses

  1. It was great to read about your time with Arturo – thanks for sharing. And what a handsome face that boy has!

  2. Arturo was sooo cute!!! He looks quite a bit like Eagle. I would bet that they are somewhat related! It even sounds like they act similarly. Eagle hates the bath, and has always been good with his commands. His only significant down fall is, you guessed it, dog distractions. Sounds like he was a great first dog!!!
    ~Taelor and Eagle~

  3. Great post! Where did you get the black hoodie you are wearing in the last two pictures? I love the design!

  4. Thanks Brittany! It was actually the fundraiser for one of our youth raisers’ senior project. She designed and sold them as sweatshirts and t-shirts (I have both) 😀

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