Today, Wednesday, April 3rd, we got the word that Maggie is being re-assigned! She has done quite well in her training, in fact, too well! Her advanced trainers said she is very smart. The training supervisor said she is the smartest dog she has ever trained…what a compliment to Maggie. Because she is so bright and energetic, SSD feels that a better placement for her would be as a Guide Dog for the Blind. She will be going to the Guide Dog Foundation on Long Island…a long way from here…on a trial basis to see how she does with their organization. They will keep us posted on her progress and have invited us to attend Maggie’s graduation service where we will meet her new owner and, of course, get a few kisses from her (and get to cry all over again).
Many of you have stated over the months that you could not do this just because “this day” would eventually come. We always answered, “We knew going into this, that this day would be coming” and we felt the greater purpose would override any attachment issues we would have. Well “this day” has arrived…and I am here to tell you the “greater purpose” has not overridden our attachment to dear Maggie. We know in our hearts that Maggie is happiest when she is working and serving others, but boy have we had our bouts of crying…alone and with others! We love this little girl and will miss her greatly, but God has other purposes for her, and that gives us the deeper peace. I think every puppy raiser has these emotions when the time comes for good-byes, and some have the good fortune of having their dog placed locally enabling them to keep in touch (with the permission of the client) while others don’t have that good fortune. I think for us, the suddenness of the news of Maggie’s soon departure made this a little more difficult emotionally. We were thinking we had at least 6 more months to process the arrival of this time, and then to get a phone call that we had just days to process this, adds a bit more pain to it…we have her for the weekend, then she leaves for NY on Monday, April 8th. Maybe it is because she is our first trainee that our separation is so painful, but I don’t think so. When you pour your heart into this, and the dog “shadows” your every move, and she goes everywhere with you, and you spend 24/7 with them for over a year…there is bound to be a lot of bonding going on. Nevertheless, we know why we do this, and the end goal is still to see her placed with someone who is not whole without such a helper. Our emotions will take care of themselves, and Maggie will transfer her affections to others, and we have the satisfaction of knowing we were part of a bigger picture and plan to help others in need.
So, good-bye dear Maggie…we are grateful for the privilege of raising you and experiencing your unconditional love for everyone (especially children)…and expecting nothing in return. You will be greatly missed, but we know you will serve others well.
Today, we were offered a 12 month old lab who “failed” the Guide Dog training (she couldn’t tolerate the harness they have to wear) who will now become a SSD Service Dog. Her name is Marsha, and we will pick her up when we deliver Maggie, so we are still in the game. Marsha will probably enter SSD’s advanced training within 4 – 5 months.
Finally, you have two reasons to stay tuned to Maggie’s (and Marsha’s) blog: 1) Updates on Maggie’s progress at Guide Dog Foundation, and 2) News & pictures of Marsha. Thank you for your faithful following of my blog…I hope you are enjoying sharing our experience in Service Dog Training. Please feel free make comments and to pass the blog link onto friends, relatives & neighbors who would be interested in our service dog training experiences. (Copy and paste into an email: https://myservicedogtraining.wordpress.com/)