Category Archives for "puppy"

On Purpose

on purpose

I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose.

David Livingstone

It’s a bitter-sweet day in our house today.  In less than an hour, we will be visited by someone who will take away a “family member” from our house.

We say goodbye to Rio this morning.

Rio is a 15 month old golden retriever/yellow labrador puppy dog, and he is moving onto the next stage of his adventure. If all goes well, he will be matched with a blind person after his official training at The Seeing Eye.

This is his purpose.

As I swept up his hair which seems to be all over the house right now, I couldn’t help but think about purpose.  Rio’s purpose is more than shedding hair all of our house.  It’s more than chasing our forever dog (Iso) around the house.  And his purpose is more than staying here as our family pet.

Rio was created with a purpose in mind – to give sight and freedom to those who are visually impaired.

Many of us go through life simply trying to survive.  We check the next thing off our to-do-list.  We head to the next appointment.  We wake up.  We chase after things that typically don’t matter that much.  We try to find happiness chasing various selfish pursuits.  We eventually find our way back to bed where we sleep for a few hours before we do it all over again.  We give little thought to the fact that we were made on purpose and for a purpose.

Your purpose may not be obvious to you which means you have some work to do.  As I say goodbye to Rio today, I challenge you to pursue your purpose.  Don’t rest until you’ve discovered it.  Then do everything you can to live your life on purpose.

What is your purpose? What makes your heart sing? What were you made to do?


Meet Cody – Starting All Over Again

Yesterday afternoon, we gained a new member of our family.  Meet Cody.  He is a 7 week old lab/retriever cross-breed, and he is being raised to be a Seeing Eye guide dog.

Isaac will be raising and training Cody for about a year until he goes back to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ for more formal training.  And we’ve already begun the process of praying that he passes and praying for his eventual companion person.

Obviously, we don’t know how it will turn out (as I shared in yesterday’s post – RePurposed).  Based on our last two experiences in the puppy raising program, we understand that it could be a challenge.  But we’ve come to realize that it’s worth it.  It’s worth starting all over again on the road to raising Cody and helping a blind person in need of his canine eyes.  It’s worth the interrupted schedules, the hours of training, and the sadness of separation at the end of the puppy raising period.  It’s worth it, because it has the ability to change someone’s life.

When have you faced a challenge that was worth repeating?  When have you faced a challenge that had the power to change someone’s life?

The Stretched Blog Visits I Love Skippack

Today, I’m honored to guest post over at I Love Skippack for my friend, Michael Shaw (A.K.A. The Skippack Blogger).  In today’s post, I share about our family’s experience with the 4H Seeing Eye Puppy Club.  Here’s a teaser for my article.  Please head over to I Love Skippack for the rest of the story.

A Puppy With A Purpose, In Skippack

Dogs terrified my son and daughter. Big dogs, little dogs, fat dogs, skinny dogs — it didn’t matter. When a dog crossed their path, my two children would scream and crawl up my legs into my protective arms or seek similar protection from my wife.

When our children were very young, their fear was understandable. As they grew out of toddlerhood, it became more troublesome. Friends and family had to quarantine their dogs when we came to visit. My wife and I felt it was time to help our children face their fear.

We thought about getting a puppy, but didn’t feel ready to make the necessary commitment. We did research, visited pet stores and dog breeders, and became more convinced that we were not ready for puppy ownership.

Acting on a recommendation from a friend, we found a solution that didn’t demand we become full-fledged pet owners…[Click here for more!]

If you’re visiting here from I Love Skippack, I hope you’ll stay around for a while and consider becoming part of The Stretched Community.  I write daily about life’s STRETCH marks.  My blog posts are often about family, faith, and a few other things that stretch me on a regular basis.  Here’s a sampling of some of my posts:

Quality – Starts With Me

Quality Week on The Stretched Blog continues with this 3rd post.  Go check out the past two days of discussion if you need to catch up.  You can catch up my clicking here or here.

As a dad and as a leader, I care about passing down and exemplifying quality to me kids and to me team.  I want them to respond with quality.

Unfortunately, I don’t always get it right at work or at home and neither do my kids or the members of my team.

I think it’s important to understand the benefits of doing things with quality and to recognize the downside of allowing our performance to be less than stellar.

You may know that our family currently has two dogs.  Iso is our forever doe.  He’s a lovable eight year old black lab who loves to lay around and sleep.  Irwin is our 17 week old seeing eye puppy.  He keeps us on our toes with his puppy teeth and puppy energy.  Hannah, our daughter, is responsible for taking care of Irwin which leaves our son, Isaac, to handle Iso.  (Are you confused with all the “I” names?)  Part of caring for Iso involves taking him outside and cleaning up the dog poop.  It’s not a glamorous job, but you can understand that it’s essential.

When Isaac takes Iso out, he’s supposed to clean up after the dog right away.  Obviously, there are major benefits to performing this task with quality.  The yard is clear of “landmines” and Isaac doesn’t have to mess with it later.

But what happens when his “job” performance lacks quality?  We end up with dog poop in the yard.  Someone steps in it and gets it in their shoes.  Then they track it in the house which leads to lots of extra cleanup and wasted time.  It also means that we have to be on Isaac more to make sure he’s doing his jobs correctly.  This isn’t fun for Isaac or for mom and dad.  Inevitably, Isaac has to spend more time cleaning up the yard, because he didn’t do it right the first time.

Suddenly, the lesson in quality starts to make more sense.  When it comes to quality, we want to do it right because we do it right – not because we do it twice.

As I ponder quality today, it may seem like I’m picking on my son.  This isn’t my intent.  These thoughts are a reminder to me that I must act with quality first – especially if I expect my team and my kids to make quality a priority.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

How have you been positively or negatively impacted by your attention or lack of attention to quality?  If you are a leader, how do you demonstrate the importance of quality to your team?

January 7, 2012 Week In Review…

It’s time for The Stretched Blog Week in Review – the first for 2012!   The traffic to the Stretched Blog is at an all-time high this week.  In fact, blog traffic on Wednesday was the highest ever on the blog (and Thursday’s traffic was right behind).  Thank you!

Here’s the rundown on the posts for the week:

Monday:  December 2011 Top Posts

Tuesday:  Meet Irwin

Wednesday:  One Word For 2012: Transformed

Thursday:  The Stretched Blog Visits The Analogous Truth

Friday (this actually posted Saturday do to a visit to me by the stomach flu):  Ice Breaker – My First Car

Your continued contribution to the blog through comments is greatly appreciated.  Your comments are what makes this Stretched Community!  Please remember to take the time to Subscribe to the blog, so you can have Stretched delivered daily to your e-mail inbox.  Also, don’t forget to stop by the Jon Stolpe Stretched Facebook fan page.  Become a fan to keep up with some additional Stretched stuff.  I have started to share more blog highlights from other blogs that I read regularly.  I think you’ll find some great stuff here.  Thanks!

Here are a few of my favorites from around the blog world this week:

It should be a fun week upcoming.  Brandon Gilliland will be guest posting on Wednesday.  We’ll have another fun Ice Breaker on Friday.  And there’s sure to be more Stretching the rest of the week.  Please stop back so you can see what’s going on here!

How about you?  How was your week?  If you’re a blogger what happened over your way this week?  Did you read any great blog posts this week?  Share with the rest of us!

Meet Irwin

Our family has grown in the last couple of weeks.  No, Leanne and I did not have another child.  But we did add another dog to the mix right before Christmas.  Irwin is a golden retriever and Labrador mix, and I believe he turns 9 weeks old today.  He’s not your normal 9 week old family dog.  Irwin has a purpose, and we only get to have him for a short period of time.  You see, Irwin is a Seeing Eye puppy.  He was bred to help a blind person.  As puppy raisers, we will have Irwin until he is 12-18 months old.  Our job is to get him house broken, teach him a couple of basic things (sit, come, etc.), and to get him exposed to public places as much as possible.  From there, Irwin will return to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ where he will go through 8 months of intense training.  This is when he’ll learn the skills required to guide a blind person.  At the end of his training, he will go through a final exam and health check to make sure he’s ready to go to work.  Assuming he passes, he will be matched up with a blind person.  They will work together for a month up at the school before they are sent home to live and work together.

The whole new dog thing has definitely added a chaos to our home, but it has also been fun.  Hannah is the official puppy raiser, and she has been doing an unbelievable job.  She takes him out to “park” whenever it’s time for him to go.  She lets Irwin sleep by her bed at night.  And she wakes up early to make sure he gets outside before any accidents.  If Hannah does this twice before she graduates high school, she’ll be eligible for a scholarship from The Seeing Eye.  So it’s likely that this won’t be the last new puppy we’ll see in our house.

Many people have asked, “how can you raise the puppy for a year and let it go?”  That’s a great question.  I’m sure it will be tough to say goodbye to Irwin when the time comes, but it will be easier to release him knowing that he has a purpose.  As parents, we have a similar experience with our kids.  Sure we get them for more than a year, and those 18 or so years can be filled with all kinds of ups and downs, but I think it’s important to realize that we have influence and responsibility over our children for a relatively short period time.  In essence, they are on loan from God.  There comes a time when we must release them for their greater, God-given purpose.  And so, Irwin reminds me of this.  I want to make the most of the time with my kids while they’re under my roof, and I want to release when the time comes them knowing full well that God has a purpose for them.

Have you ever had to release someone or something in order to pursue a higher calling or purpose?  What made this transition easy or hard?