I was nervous about seeing Talos last weekend. I haven't seen him since the dreaded turn-in. Would I cry? Would it be too hard to leave him again? Would I upset him by appearing and then leaving again? Would he remember me?
I didn't cry (much). It was hard to leave him again, but not nearly as hard as the drop-off. I don't think I upset him. He definitely remembered me.
Talos wiggled, he talked, he danced. I was just as ecstatic. I always wonder what the dogs think: one day we're there, the next day we're gone. He clearly remembered me; where did he think I'd gone? Did he care? Did he wonder why I left again? Does he wonder if I'll be back again?
When I left Talos at Service Dogs of Virginia, he was scared, unsure of himself, and looked miserable. The dog I saw on Saturday was a different dog. Yes, he was very happy to see me, and he was very confident, very comfortable, and dare I say…more grown up. I left Talos as a teenager, and now he's a grown up. Ready to go out into the world. <sniff, sniff> My little boy has grown up.
He works beautifully for the Training Director, he has terrific housemates who eagerly play with him. They chase, they romp, they carry the stick together. It's really quite sweet.
And did I mention what a grown-up he's become! He looks so much bigger (but can he really be, it's only been a few months). And the maturity – he's a real working dog now! Don't worry, I managed to get him back into his silly, no-work mode for a few moments while I was there. The silly, ridiculous dog is still inside him, he just knows when to turn it on and off now.
I got some video while I was there. I hope to get it up in the next few days.
I left this visit with a little bit of closure. He's happy. Therefore, I'm happy. Would I take him if he was dismissed? In a heartbeat. But I'm super proud of the silly dog. I'm happy to have played a tiny part in his development. And he put my head in his mouth just like old times. What could be better? (For the record, the agency frowns upon that kind of behavior in a service dog. Odd, huh?)