Finally, these faithful little pups can settle-in…they both have found their destinies. First, Marcia made the trip back to Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB) safely, and it was determined that she should be discharged. Having been discharged, she was returned to the permanent care of her puppy raiser, Colleen. Maybe Marcia hasn’t realized it yet, but she has made her last move, so she will spend the rest of her days with Colleen’s family, Lani (another Lab whom I believe may be related to Marcia) and the family cat! As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Marcia suffered from kennel stress at SSD. But no more kennel stress for Marcia, she has her “forever” home now. I know Marcia is in loving hands with Colleen and her family.
Now for little Maggie. I got a call from Amanda (SSD’s training supervisor) yesterday (Friday). That’s when she updated me on Marcia (and I subsequently got an email from Colleen). After the update on Marcia, she proceeded to tell me that the ATF did not need a dog at this time, so SSD was going to discharge Maggie. She then ask if we wanted to keep Maggie….it took about a nano-second for me to say YES! So now Maggie has her “forever” home as well. She is a very smart and well trained puppy, and I plan to keep her on her toes with lots of “clicking” and treating; she just was not cut out for service dog duties. We plan to give Maggie some “puppy” company down the road by taking on another SSD puppy to train. Right now they have about 20 puppies to place by the end of June (anyone local interested? Let me know, and I’ll get you on the path to puppy raising). There is a possibility of another litter coming in September…we are looking at our options (and schedules). The nice thing about these pups, they do what we do and go where we go because of their public access, so they can fit into most schedules…they are just like having friend go with you everywhere.
So our first 18 months of puppy raising has come to a close…and the discharge news is bittersweet. You want them to succeed…there is a lot of time and effort that goes towards that end; but, you know,too, that 50% of them will not be placed for various reasons including physical. If they do not make it, they will have a home with someone who loves them and will care for them. It is a win-win for the dogs…like I said in an earlier blog entry, it is we humans that have all the emotions with which to deal. We have learned so much through this experience and have met some wonderful people (and dogs) along the way.
Stay tuned for the next chapter…it will start before you know it. In the meantime, I can give you updates on the life of a “discharged” service dog, our Maggie. Thanks for your faithful following. I would love to hear if you have enjoyed taking this journey with us…leave a comment if you have, and of course any suggestions for making this blog better.
(Click on photo to enlarge)