Happy birthday to me! Followers of this blog and of student life at Trinity are well aware of The Dog Jurgens - the TSA bomb-sniffing pup that we fostered for a year. She stayed at the Tuttle house by night and weekend, and at Campus Publications by day. Students and staff walked and trained her. We returned her to her base in early October where she has been training ever since. For my birthday, my lovely wife Donna was able to arrange a surprise reunion with me and Jurgens, thanks to Diana at TSA and some of the trainers.
Donna hijacked me from work and took me to the mall where Jurgens was doing some training. She explained what was going to happen. I was to sit and wait while she worked before I could blow my cover. You can see in the video below that while I sit quietly (heart pounding), Jurgens finds her target (explosives), which one of the trainers had on her for this exercise. The exercise complete, I was allowed to greet J-Dawg. It was the best surprise and present I have ever had. I miss her so much and my wife knows it. She set it all up and it was awesome to see Jurgens for the first time since we turned her in five months ago. You can't just go in and out of the dog's life once it is turned in for advanced training. So it was a lot of work and coordination for Donna and people made a lot of exceptions for her/me. My favorite part of the video is hearing my wife.
So here is the update. Jurgens is doing fantastic! The trainers said she had thrown a rare tantrum that day, in which she just stopped walking and had to be dragged. Sound familiar? Here is the video, again, of her in her most famous stubborn mode. She has trained at a very high level and will be paired with her permanent handler in early March. After that, she will have 12 more weeks of training and then be moved, with her handler, to her airport city to get to work. The trainers say she LOVES to work. No surprise to those of us who learned first hand what "toy drive" was as we trained her to want to "seek." You can tell in the video above that she did a good job. If we were ever worried about the quality of her life as a working dog, those fears are long gone. She is happy, still funny, and dogged in her determination. (Intended.) When it was time to go, Jurgens, ever living intensely in the present, ran off in search of new toys, bombs, and adventures. She has never been sentimental!
Jurgens will graduate in early June. When I learn more details I will distribute information to others. In the meantime, I hope this photo, video, and update are enjoyed by all who participated in raising this great little pup!