Written by Amie Chapman
Every puppy raiser goes into the adventure knowing that one day their puppy will get called back into the school for formal training, but it is still hard to let go. I feel a variety of emotions when that letter arrives in the mail. First is sadness—there is now an official date for when I have to return my puppy. Then, excitement—wow, we did it! My puppy has what it takes to move on to the next stage, we did a good job. Next, worry—is my puppy going to adjust to the life change well? Will he understand that I will miss him just as much as he will miss me? Well, Patrick’s letter has arrived and I am preparing both of us for the big change.
“I always say that my puppies end up exactly where they belong and were meant to be. I hope that trend continues for Patrick. “
How do you prepare to let go? Well, everyone probably does things a little differently.
For Patrick, I have made a little “bucket list” for him. This is a list of fun things to do with him before he leaves. I also want to make sure I spend as much time with him as possible, which means trying to take some time off work. Luckily for me, I work at a place where people understand why this is important to me, and don’t think I’m crazy to take personal time to spend with a dog. It is also important for me to make sure Patrick gets to see and play with his favorite dog friends and for his favorite human friends get to say a goodbye to him.
As my friends and co-workers watch me prepare for Patrick’s departure, I am repeatedly told, “I don’t know how you do this.” And honestly, I sometimes wonder why I keep doing this to myself. I knowingly take in a puppy, who becomes a constant companion going almost everywhere with me, and yes, I fall in love with every one of them (some more than others). But then I remind myself of the previous puppies I raised. They are all happy dogs now. Some are well-loved pets and others are happy working guides that have made major life changes for the partners they have been matched with.
Right now it is hard for me to imagine my life without Patrick, but I felt this way with previous puppies, like Gabby.
Now I can’t imagine Gabby not being the amazing guide she is for Katie. I always say that my puppies end up exactly where they belong and were meant to be. I hope that trend continues for Patrick. I have done the best that I could to prepare him for the life he is about to embark on and I am happy about the dog he has become. He isn’t perfect but he still has time to mature before he becomes a full working guide and he will have great trainers that will help him learn.