Maggie goes to Guide Dog School and Marcia comes to Service Dog School

Saturday was an emotional roller coaster day on many levels.  We had our last hours with Maggie in the morning playing retrieve with her favorite ball, taking her to see some of her favorite places to “stroll”, saying good-bye to the many people who have gotten to know and love her over the past 15 months.  When we arrived at the kennel where the “doggie-swap” was to take place, Maggie was right at home (this was her training grounds for the past several weeks).  Our grandson, Bram, took her out to the fields to enjoy some playtime with her, and keep her occupied while we waited for her ride to Guide Dog Foundation.   During that time, we met Marcia’s raiser, Colleen.  As we were processing losing Maggie, Colleen was fighting with those same emotions concerning giving up Marcia.  We got the scoop on Marcia (as she waited patiently in Colleen’s SUV), then, Maggie’s ride arrived.

Now it was time for the Maggie to hop in her van, and Marcia to meet us.  I have to say, Maggie had no second thoughts about getting in the Guide Dog Foundation van.  It was almost as if she knew she was off to a new adventure, new people, and a new life.  That actually made me feel a whole lot better.  As a bonus, Maggie got to travel with “George”, an 8 week old Chocolate Lab that was also going to Guide Dog Foundation (as a stud fee).  I am sure the two of them were happy to see they were not alone!  Then we met Marcia!  Marcia is one month older than Maggie, and of course, the resemblance to Maggie was striking….that proves to be a challenge when addressing her…”come Maggie, I mean Marcia”, “sit Maggie, Marcia”…you get the drift.  Occasionally we even come out with a “Martha”…but Marcia takes her human handlers in stride, and just waits to hear her name.  🙂

Marcia has adapted very well.  Her first day or two was exploring her new environment,  but now, 3 day later, it is old hat to her.  She is very comfortable in her new digs.  She  likes her new soft beds when sleeping and resting, and loves to stick close to us during the day.  She is VERY affectionate, and gets a lot of love in return from us and the 6 grandkids!

Yesterday we went hiking at the Pinchot National Park…she was in her glory hiking with me (something she enjoyed doing with Colleen).  Pinchot has a very big lake, and I was warned by Colleen that Marcia loves the water.  I thought I would take a leisurely stroll by the lake with her…in about a nanosecond…she was in the lake and almost had me in there with her (she is a lot stronger than Maggie).  I kept her on the leash, but let her splash around a little (fortunately it was in the mid-70’s yesterday), then called her out.  She came out immediately upon being called.  I can see she is going to enjoy the water this summer.

Stay tuned as we begin this new venture with Marcia…you’ll get to know and love her as we already do!

Below enjoy the picture of Maggie on her last ride with us, and new pictures of Marcia at home and at Pinchot (click on thumbnail to enlarge).

Maggie's last ride with us!

Maggie’s last ride with us!

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