If you’ve ever wondered if service dogs get a vacation, the answer is yes!
Our door is always open for service dog puppies that we’ve raised.
We love the chance to get to know their new families and to have a little piece of our life back with the dog that we raised. It’s fun to see them as adults. They go off and work a real job with responsibilities and everything. We get to see the result of the 15 months of hard work we put in when we were raising the pup.
Until their new family drives away. Then all bets are off.
Those responsible service dogs are then allowed to have “vacation brain.” They can turn all those responsibilities off for a week or two and just be regular dogs.
We hadn’t seen Levi since I turned him in back in January of 2015.
It was only a year and a half, but it felt like forever. We were unable to attend Levi’s graduation ceremony because of one of my work commitments, so we were overdue for a Levi-fix.
I met Levi’s family halfway between our homes. As I waited for them, the anticipation was killing me! For a brief moment, I wondered “Would he remember me?” I was out of his life 18 months ago, there one day, gone the next. (I always wonder what they think about that sudden disappearance.)
When the arrived, I got out to greet them. As soon as I got out of my car, it was clear Levi remembered. I was beaming, he was jumping (allowed on rare occasions like this), and everyone was laughing. What a spectacle we must have been. Levi hopped into the car and settled in for the 45-minute drive home as if no time had passed since I last saw him.
I knew integrating him back into our house would be a breeze. The initial multi-dog excitement led to Schooner-Levi zoomies in the fenced backyard for 15 full minutes. We got to see the famous “butt tuck” run that Levi was famous for when he lived with us. (The “butt tuck” is when a dog is running hard and tucks his butt under his legs. It’s both hilarious and endearing.)
Levi spent almost two weeks with us on his vacation.
He was a good vacationer — he didn’t check email or call into the office once! I was texting with his family while they were abroad to let them know what adventures he was enjoying each day.
Having a young dog back into the house was fun and also exhausting. Our dogs are all seniors at 14, 13, and 10 years old. Schooner is 3 years old, but at his size, it feels like he’s older than he is. Great Danes are quite the couch potatoes and Schoons isn’t used to running all day long.
Thankfully, our neighbor has a dog that was Levi’s best friend when he lived with us. It was fantastic seeing that reunion, as well! Dogs don’t forget, that’s for sure.
As Levi’s family was exploring foreign lands, Levi was kicking back and relaxing in the kiddie pool. Again, none of our older dogs enjoy the pool much now, so it was entertaining to see Levi jump and dig and romp in the pool. Oh, and to run in the house fully drenched, too. I didn’t miss that part at all!
Levi was respectful of the older dogs, politely inviting them to play. And accepted their refusal with grace (most of the time). He found his old spot on the couch and settled in as if he’d never left. Same thing at bedtime: he found his favorite sleeping spot like he’d been there every night.
All good things must come to an end, and Levi’s vacation with us ended last week.
He was just as happy to see his family as he was to see us two weeks prior. And that made us all laugh and thankful that Levi has two great families to call his own.