"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it along to someone else." Mitch Albom

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saying Goodbye...it's not an easy thing to do!

    The day came.  Time for good-bye.  I've thought and thought about this post, but can't seem to even find any words for it.  The day was going to start really early, and I knew it would fly by, so I really focused the day before on my last moments with Churry, knowing they would be my last.  Churry will not be coming back to us if she's released, so I knew that no matter her life choice, these moments had to count.  Some of the things we did included a last walk with Bailey.  I don't very often walk them together, but wanted to that day.  They walk so nicely together, just like a team of horses in front of me.  Churry's leash is a bit longer so she is always on a loose leash while Bailey's is always taut, but they always stay in perfect alignment with each other.  When it's just Churry and I she is by my side, but when Bailey is with us, she walks out in front of me with Bailey.  I got a beautiful picture of it on my phone, but don't have a way to get it on here right now.

     Then, we spent some time making molds of her paw prints.  These were something Kinsey had really wanted to do as a keepsake.

    We will add her name and date to them to finish them up.

     I also spent a lot of time giving her a last bath and really good brushing.  Our day ended with a photo shoot at the park.  I think the pictures turned out great.  I really love them.  They capture a lot.  Enjoy!

There are probably a 100 more, but this is a few!  Stay tuned to my blog to hear updates as I can give them. I don't know at this exact moment my future of puppy raising.  I do know I want to do it again and soon, but there is nothing definite yet.  Thanks for following my journey with me!  Since I'm at a loss for words right now I'll end this with a quote I found from a book...

It well may be, 
That we will never meet again, 
In this lifetime. 
So let me say before we part, 
So much of me, 
Is made of what I learned from you. 
You'll be with me, 
Like a handprint on my heart. 
And now whatever way our stories end, 
I know you have re-written mine, 
By being my friend... 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Churry has taught me

     I knew being a puppy raiser would be a life-changing experience.  Never in a million years would I have guessed the impact this has had on me and my family.  In August of 2011 I was handed a big notebook full of information about canine care and obedience commands I was to teach my puppy.  But, what wasn't in it was the list of what I would learn...

Devotion...this dog is the most devoted dog ever.  I will miss opening doors knowing she's waiting for me on the other side.  And sitting at the dinner table without her on my feet or by my side.

Education...there is so much more in life to learn than what I teach at school.  I had the very fortunate opportunity to be able to teach my students and public about assistance dogs.

Freedom...Countless times have I thanked God for the opportunity to have my physical abilities.  When you're raising an assistance dog, it does cross you mind that perhaps what you are doing at that moment is not possible for someone else.  But, perhaps that puppy at the end of your leash will make it possible for someone.

Empathy and Awareness...I certainly have not ever had the opportunity to try and count money or make snacks without the help of my vision before puppy raising.  Or have I ever tried to maneuver my uncoordinated self in a wheelchair!  And I totally cheated and used my feet!

Patience...it's not easy teaching a puppy to ignore their food!  And it's not easy for a puppy to wait patiently for a toddler!

Perseverance...it doesn't always happen nicely the first time.  Keep trying and don't give up!

Give back...it's good for your spirit!

But most importantly....love with all your heart! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The start of our goodbyes...

My sister has always been one of Churry's very favorite people.  Churry has a sense about people who really "love her".  And she tends to go a little crazy around them!  Today was likely the last time she will ever see Nicole...

My very favorite!

Nicole gives great hugs!

Practicing our Mountain goat walking skills!

     While we were visiting my hometown this weekend, we went to the Monument rocks, otherwise known as "the pyramids".  Churry was very interested in all of the smells.  She pulled on me pretty good while we were walking around so I should have probably had her Halti on her.  However, she was very brave about climbing!  In the pictures where we were heading back down to the bottom she went "slow" for a little bit, then pulled ahead.  So we practiced it again and she did much better the 2nd time.  It was a very different surface and type of work for her to try.  She did pretty good, other than the pulling.  I don't know if she'd make it as a mountain goat, but possibly a good assistance dog for someone who would like to climb!