The hardest part of raising a puppy for service work isn’t house training. It isn’t teaching loose leash walking. It isn’t enduring the needle teeth as they learn bite inhibition.
The hardest part of puppy raising is leaving the dog at the service dog agency and walking out the door without him.
That’s what I’ll be doing this Friday.
My work with Schooner is done.
Schooner is on borrowed time with us. He was supposed to go back to the service dog organization in early in December. But bad weather intervened and we were given a stay of transfer. Whew! We had Schoons for Christmas and New Year, which was icing on our cake.
Time to face the music, as I have to take him back this Friday.
Schooner is something like the 15th dog we’ve had a hand in raising over the past 13 years. You’d think I’d be better at the whole turn-in thing.
I was sitting at my desk today, looking at my calendar for the week and Friday jumped out at me. It took me by surprise. There was a knot in my stomach, and I found it hard to breathe just for a second.
Damn, why do I have to get so attached to these dogs?
I’ll survive, I always do. And Schooner, he’ll have a rough couple of days maybe, but then he’ll get with the new program and will enjoy his new digs, new school, and new friends. He’ll be better much more quickly than I, that is for certain.
There is a silver lining.
On Thursday, I will be picking up Levi, a little black Labrador service pup in training, who will help keep me from obsessing over what Schooner might be up to at all hours of the day…and night.