Monday, October 28, 2013

Being Dogless- Again and other things

While the week of favor's leaving was very painful, there was an amazing high point to that week too,   MD asked to be baptized at church camp! :)

Mike about to dip MD under in the Camp Allendale pool to be baptized.

We were very proud of her and it was even more awesome that she called the night before and asked her Daddy to be the one to baptize her. :)

We left from Camp and headed back to the Indy area and headed straight to Camp Belzer and spent the afternoon with AC and his den there at camp.   The kids had fun, doing some archery, shooting, and various other games that day.   We had a few storms roll through for a bit, but they passed quickly and the fun continuted.

AC with arrow drawn and aiming for the target at Camp Belzer Cub Scout Day Camp.

So I didn't have a whole lot of time to think about Favor being gone this week, but I finally got the nerve to write back to GDF and inquire about what needed to be done for the process of starting the process for another dog.   I was told my application was in, that they'd just have to check that all the forms were in and up to date, which they should be with having put in the application for Favor.  

Then came the hard part of sending Favor back.   All the questions from various people who had seen and oohhh'd and ahhhh'd over Favor and her striking appearance.   Right and left, people asked me "Where is your dog???"    And with a straight face, I'd reply that she didn't work out and had become too protective of my family and I and with the amount of children I am around, that it wasn't going to work.   I honestly had hopes that she would go back to GDF and possibly be placed with someone that lived in the city and had almost no interactions with children.   While I knew it was essentially a shot in the dark, I was hoping.

Then came the onslaught of suggestions and well meaning advice from various people.   I learned very quickly that the people that I thought would be the most empathetic and compassionate, were the quickest to tell me what I'd done wrong and what I needed to do next time with a dog.   I honestly was hurt, emotionally raw, and even depressed.   I had suggestions of not letting anyone pet the new dog to not going anywhere with the new dog for several months.   I felt questioned, chastized, and called out as a handler that the decisions I'd made with my dogs were inappropriate and caused the early retirements I've faced now for the the third dog in a row.   The first due to fear of loud noises and in particular thunderstorms, the second being because of a medical condition, and then the third because of aggression.    

Then as we traveled for several family reunions and as the family had to learn to slow down again and Mike had to learn to sight guide me all over again, instead of walking away and leaving me standing there searching with my cane in unfamiliar territory, I was acutely aware of the loss of independence, the looks of pity on people's faces as they saw me tapping my cane from side to side.   I wanted to scream, break my white cane into a million pieces, even throw it across the room.   However I realize that this impersonal and inanimate object is the closest thing I have to maintaining at least a little bit of independence right now, so I'm stuck with it.   Yes I've cried myself to sleep many nights in prayer to God to watch over me and my family, to bring the right match forward in his time, and to be with the kids as we've lost  all the pets in our house in the past 8 months.   All three gerbils had crossed over the rainbow bridge as well.   

I struggled too, as the weeks started going by and not hearing anything from GDF, though this is the normal process since it all boils down to the right dog coming in for formal training and successfully making it through the training program   Unfortunately, this is not a quick process much to my dislike.  I still have not received a class date yet, but there will be a VERY big change this time around.   In the past, I've done what GDF calls a combo training, which means I am there at GDF for 10-14 days and then come home and the trainer comes to my home area and works each day with me for a week here in my home setting.  For the next dog, GDF wants me to come to the school for the full class.   That means 4 weeks all together and away from my family and home.   I'm honestly quite nervous at the prospect, not so much that Mike and our support isn't able to handle things without me, but moreso for MD and some of the issues she has had come up this summer, causing her to be irritable and at times quite difficult to be around.

I was pleasantly blessed though that with some adjustments to her medications, we were able to get her functioning well again with school.   

September however brought us to the sadness of Mike's mom, Elizabeth Weldy- going home to be with the Lord after a 10 year battle with Alzheimer's disease.  While we grieve for her, it's almost  a relief that she's gone on to Heaven and the knowing that we shall get to see her "whole" again, brings us the most comfort through this difficult time.

Upon returning home from her funeral, I received the phone call from GDF trainers, Barb & Jody E that they felt that they have a dog that will work for me.   The however did want to ask if I was hard set on my preference of a female dog, as they thought they had either a male black lab or a male golden retriever that would work for me.   I was more than fine with a male dog, and was excited at the prospect of being done with being dog-less!

Class dates were scheduled for Oct. 28th through Nov. 22nd and ready to get this ball rolling!