Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts of graduation

With all dogs out of the house (Dagan is on a puppy swap), it is left to me to update blogs. I know there is no way I will actually say what I want to say on stage at graduation. Heck, let's be real - I will be lucky if I remember to hand off the donation for Poppy's harness! I have walked off stage with it still in my hand more than once. So, I thought I would sit and think about all the things that I would want to say about my time with Poppy.

They say that March comes in like a lion - that was certainly true for us in March of 2009 when Poppy came home with us. At 6 months old, she hadn't had a very good start to her puppy raising career. She had issues. She was almost career changed. She was transferred for good reason. She was nothing but a product of her environment. But, habits are quickly set in puppies. I took her on as a challenge to see what I could do with her. And because she was my only option for a transfer at the time we turned in our previous puppy. She quickly grew on me.

Her smarts blew my mind. She is constantly thinking. You can sit back and watch her mind churn and try to figure what she should do, what she is expected to do and what she can get away with either doing or not doing. In 17 puppies, I had never had so much fun watching a dog think. Teaching her "Go To Bed" was a blast. She loved learning to positive methods. She picked it all up so fast! You can look at her and see the moment her brain clicks and "gets it." She is so proud of herself! She knows she is a smarty pants. Love it!

Her cuteness is overwhelming. She is a girl who knows what she wants and will work to get it. She needs cuddle time every day. She will come place her head on your leg or in your lap and just lean in to you, pressing herself against you. There were times that I could feel her want to be a part of me - to press herself into my being. Little did she know that she already lived and thrived in my heart.

Poppy challenged me as a puppy raiser. She challenged me as a leader. There were times that I didn't know how much "molding" I could do with the "lump of clay" I was given. Each time I would question her ability and desire to be a guide, she would step up and prove me wrong.

Each time I raise a puppy and turn them in, I have some inkling that I would love for that dog to come home if they were career changed. But, I also scrambled to have a plan for them in case they were released. Really, our life is easy without a pet dog. The two cats are plenty to deal with pet-wise. But Poppy was different. If she decided not to be a guide, I would have offered her to another service dog program, but in my heart of hearts, I would want her to come home. The bond we created was special.

I love all my puppies, but I simply adore Poppy. I love her personality. I love her perk. I love her spunk. I simply adore that dog. Love that dog! Can't wait for graduation!


Raiser Erin said...

It's always the ones that you have to work with hard everyday that grow on you the most.

Can't wait to see you and Poppy this weekend.

Raiser Erin and Rocco

Lauren and Don said...

That is such a nice post about Poppy- she sounds like such an amazing dog! Happy graduation day- and congratulations to you and the great guide dog you raised.