Friday, April 15, 2011

puppy training night

This blog is bittersweet, because although we had a wonderful night of "service puppy training" (our monthly get together), tonite we honored a very special dog. Logan - who was partnered with Suzan. If you recall, dear reader, Logan has been in a number of my blogs, she was a stellar service dog, and great around the puppies. Suzan has been a huge mentor to me with regards to "training" service puppies, and I always appreciate and look forward to her advise.

You might have already noticed that the wording here is in "past tense"... because on March 28.. Suzan had to say goodbye to Logan. We have actually known for sometime - Logan had been battling cancer. Suzan decided to try some treatments for her, and had said that she would know, based on Logan, when and what the next step would be. Logan did "quite" well with her battle, but time takes it toll.

I have said "goodbye" to many a "pet dog".. some were harder than others. But I can't even begin to think of what it is to say goodbye to a dog - partner - who has been so much a part of your life. Not just your companion, your love, but a real being that you depend on for so many things. It's a different type of loss to be sure. Mike, who was partnered with Chester, told me that when he lost his dog, he said he would never have another, and it took him months to "recover".... happily, he did decide to get another dog... but I am sure that it will be a little while for Chester and Mike to fully come together.

All in all, Suzan has done "well" with all of this. And because she and Logan have touched so many lives in all sorts of ways, she has been well embraced by many, many friends. On April 23rd, there will even be a memorial service for Logan.. which we will be attending.

We (the Maine Chapter) wanted to do something special for Suzan, so I had the idea of getting some pink balloons. We could use them as "distractors" for the puppies, and then - when the "class" was over, we would release them in honor of Logan.

I asked Sadie and Abbie to come along as well... some of the puppies don't have the opportunity to be around babies or strollers that often, so along with the balloons, we had Abbie as well. She was so surprised and happy to have all those balloons in the truck with her, and had a grand time, even before we got to the puppies...

Ginger, on the other hand, was a bit uncertain at first. However, as we drove along, she settled in and decided that other than she had little room to move around, the balloons weren't so bad to deal with.

As the group arrived, we placed the balloons here and there around the room. The puppies didn't even notice them, but Abbie sure did. And having her playing around with them, was certainly a great "distraction".....

Our "leader" Linda, has a new golden puppy (which is her's not a NEADS dog) and she brought Chloe to meet everyone. Nothing cuter than a puppy and everyone fell in love.....

Suzan took Ginger and did some work with her. Being able to have "our" puppies around things like scooters, wheelchairs and the like certainly gives them a big jump on their future training. Abbie was quite interested in Suzan, especially when she found the keys on the scooter!!!!Every time Suzan stopped, Abbie ran over to check out those keys.

Such a great group of folks. Our "service dog community night" is growing and we are adding more and more folks each month.

(notice Abbie!!!!)

We finished up just about sunset, and so we stepped outside. Made a little toast to Logan and released our pink was very emotional....

Abbie couldn't believe we let all those balloons go!!!!! She watched them for the longest time.. and was very happy to know that we did keep one just for her.

And after all that training.......