Maggie and Marcia find their destinies!


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)

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9 Responses to Maggie and Marcia find their destinies!

  1. rich bolton (Bolts) says:

    Hi Phil, it’s Elayne, Rich’s wife..I have tears of joy for you and your wife that you will be able to keep Maggie! as much as I realize you were raising her for service, it was also with a heavy heart that I followed your blog when she was being returned to SSD! I give you so much credit for being able to part with her, when I know you and your family fell madly in love during the past year….so it is bittersweet..but Maggie will be so happy to have you as her forever “daddy”. Thank you for everything you do for SSD!!! there needs to be many more unselfish people like you and your family. Congratulations on your newest family member!! Elayne

    • pmbender says:

      Hi Elayne,, Now you made me shed tears. Maggie seem ssooooo happy. Sue said it is as if she knows. Yesterday we had her at a farm that she loves and she ran, and ran, and ran! Chased balls, and ran some more. She is really a sweet dog and we do love her! Thank you for your comments and support.

  2. rich bolton (Bolts) says:

    So happy for Maggie and her parents. What a blessing for all. …I really hope we can get together again Phil. We have some very common bonds. We will be moving back to the Delmarva shore when God tells us it’s time. We would love to see you, Sue, and the the pups. I don’t know where you live but not many from YCDS strayed too far from home.. Thanks for the updates and I am sure they is joy in your home this holiday. Bolts

    • pmbender says:

      Hi Bolts, Thanks for your great support throughout this journey. We definitely do have to get together…we could do some real reminiscing as well! Maggie is happy, and we are lovin’ her!

  3. Marianne Griswold says:

    Lucky Maggie, to find her home where she is already loved! We were living in Argentina when her story started and I looked for your blogs as a touch of home. Worried when you stopped posting for awhile that something had happened to Maggie that was too sad to share, so was so happy when you started again. Your story with the two dogs has been fascinating and educational. Never gave a thought as to how the service dogs we see get to be “service dogs”. Congrats to you and your family for taking on a job that is bound to have an emotional investment as well one of time. If you take on another puppy, please continue to keep us all part of your journey. Marianne

  4. Marianne Griswold says:

    Lucky Maggie, to find her home where she is already loved! Living in Argentina when her story started and I looked for your blogs as a touch of home. Worried when you stopped posting for awhile that something had happened to Maggie that was too sad to share, so was happy when you started again. Your story with the two dogs has been fascinating and educational. Never gave a thought as to how service dogs get to be “service dogs”. Congrats to you and your family for taking on a job with such an investment of emotions as well as time. If you take on another puppy, please continue to keep us all part of your journey. Marianne

    • pmbender says:

      Ahhhh…mystery solved! I get a report on where the views of my blog originate, and I saw Argentina and wondered who that would be….now I know! Thanks for your faithful following and supporting our fundraising “walk”. Glad to hear our journey has helped you understand the world of service dog training. It is a great way to give back, and as veteran, I am glad to see our organization giving veterans priority for dogs. Stay tuned!

  5. Sharon Stalker says:

    HI Phil – Sharon here 🙂 I am so happy for you and Sue and so very jealous at the same time!!!! SSD Lucy has been placed and I’m thrilled for her and heartbroken at the same time. You would know what I mean. We get to have her for a month – taking a break in training due to team training – and then she will be back at the kennel, getting ready for her new job. She will be working at a school in York. I’m hoping to chat with her handler, I’m going to make sure that she is loved on every day!
    Have so much fun with Maggie and she will help you train the next dog; just like Rockit does for us 🙂

    • pmbender says:

      Hi Sharon, This was a very special litter…really sweet dogs, but then I guess all of the dogs are sweet, no matter what litter! We are happy to have Maggie as a pet, and she seems very happy to be in that role. She has soooo much energy, and loves to run and play retrieve (seemingly would do that for hours). Glad to hear Lucy is going to be a facility dog in York (Amanda said it was New York). Will you get to (or want to) visit her? Thanks for following the blog, I really enjoy doing it! Off to a parade today in Mechanicsburg (with Maggie)!

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