Shaddup Already!


blech, blech, blech

It is fall break and I am sick. Figgers, don't it?

My head is stuffed up, my throat is sore and itchy and my ears itch in a way that is particularly irritating. It makes me want to squirt some Benadryl cream in my ear canals. Believe me, I've come close.

Well, my time with my service dog in training is coming to an end. I received this email the other day:

Hi Everyone.

Well time is drawing near for the next group of dogs to be turned in. We need one last evaluation on your dog to be turned in with him/her. We would also like (if possible) for each of you to make a video of your dog performing ALL the commands. We’d like to see how they respond to you and how you motivate the dog. If you don’t own a video camera, see if you can have a friend help you out. We are not looking for perfection on this, just show us what your puppy knows. Go down the complete list of commands and demo each one. Thanks!

Be sure you have had your pups hips x-rayed and all have been spayed or neutered.

Anyone wanting to raise/train again must fill out a repeat PT application for our files and mail it in ASAP to get on the waiting list. We have puppies on the ground now who will be ready to go now, before you turn in your pup. Or you can wait to get one later from one of the next litters due. (we have both labs and goldens due soon)

We want to thank you for all your hard work and all the love you have devoted to this puppy.

Thanks again!!!

Sounds pleasant, doesn't it? Well if you take another look, you'll see that there is no time frame mentioned for the turn-in. This is getting to be all too familiar. Seriously, I've been asking for this information pretty much since my original 6 months ended. So, I took a deep breath and sent the following in an email:

What is the time frame for the turn in? Also, do you know if Cami's previous puppy raiser had her hips x-rayed?

Then I waited. I never did get a response to my questions, but I did receive this (along with the other people set to turn in dogs):

Hi everyone,

I hope you are doing OK. I know getting the turn in letter is always a hard one to read. Even though it is what we are all working towards it doesn’t make it any easier.

I need for each of you so get copies of all the dog’s medicals from the whole time they have been with you so you can send them with your puppy.

I also would like each of you to put together a CD with puppy pictures of your baby during the time he/she was with you. Hopefully pictures of him/her learning and performing their commands and/or shopping with you. These pictures will be used to make a power point presentation to be shown at their graduation. This can be mailed to us at a later date, doesn’t have to come back w the puppy, I just wanted to let you know what we will need later. Suggestion: make 2 copies of this CD so you can present it to their new person later also.

Please do not send any personal things back to the school with the dogs. (example: toys, beds, special leashes or collars etc) Please wait to present them to his or her person once they have been matched. We simply do not have the room to store things. And they may get lost in the shuffle and we don’t want that to happen.

There is a final evaluation on the Yahoogroups site, please download that evaluation and send that in with your puppy.

I want you ALL to know HOW much we appreciate ALL your hard work with these puppies. We THANK YOU very much!

Yeah, but you don't appreciate us enough to tell us WHEN you want the dogs back? Is that it? What happened to my request that I be able to return Cami during my vacation times so I could acclimate my puppy to being an only dog? Oh yeah, you completely ignored that request, as though you never even read it.

I sent this in response:

Can you please tell me the date you expect the dogs turned in by? Because of my own schedule, I would really like to turn her in on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. As I've mentioned before, I got a forever puppy (when I was under the impression that I would turn Cami in over the summer). He has never been an only dog, so it is very important to me that I have several days to get him adjusted to being an only dog before I go back to work.

I am in no way, shape or form trying to get out of turning Cami in. I know this is what I signed up for and I'm really ready to start dealing with the loss of her, so I can get through it to the other side. However, I am asking for this favor so I can do what I feel is best for my forever puppy. I hope you will be willing to cooperate with me on this.

Also, can you send the link to the yahoo site so I can fill out the evaluation?

Thank you,

And now I wait. And wait. And I'm sure I'll wait some more. I awake from my Benadryl induced stupor long enough to check my email every 3-4 hours. Still there is nothing. I am not an impatient person, but I am getting very frustrated.

I think once Cami is placed and I've taken part in her graduation (providing the can supply me the date for that), I will be sending them a letter outlining how wrongly I feel I've been treated.

Now I don't want to demean what they do for disabled people. They do a GREAT job of training service dogs, but they do need to get their shit together and treat all of their puppy raisers with concern and respect. Seriously, I don't regret doing this, but I will most definitely be glad when it is over.

In a bittersweet kind of way because Cami has given me a most precious gift--the ability to let down my walls and love animals completely again--something I lost when my Destiny died.

Cami has healed my heart in a way that only she could have. For that I will always be grateful--mostly to Cami, but also to the service dog group.

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