Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Team Training

Team Training began for Helping Paws this week. Team Training is when the dogs begin training with their new owners before moving in with them and beginning their life together. Hurray for the dogs on this journey. Tiga's son Charlie (Judy Michurski foster mom to him, Tiga and Emma) is one of the graduates. He will be with Tyler a high school student in Iowa. Hemi is going to be matched with a student who is going to be in College next year. (Cathy helped us fence the yard and was his foster mom). Both Judy and Cathy will have only a few days after their dogs leave before taking on new puppies to train.

Hats off to the wonderful foster parents who train service dogs. They take puppies for 2.5- 3 years to train and socialize them. They go to weekly classes and have homework weekly. They open their homes and hearts to these puppies. I am told this time when they go to team training is both exciting and difficult. The goal is of course to raise a dog that will move on to be a wonderful service dog - and yet saying goodbye is a happy/sad moments. My thoughts are with the foster parents who in the next three weeks will see their dogs venture off to new partners.

Then there are the volunteers preparing for puppies. How exciting is that. I just can't believe how awesome the volunteers are in this organization. This a busy time for staff, volunteers, foster families.......I wish them all happiness. May God Bless them for their hard work and committment.

I recall with Emma how exciting team training was. In some ways I was a nervous wreck. I wondered if she would like working with me, could I learn all the things that she knew? Was I taking her away from the loving Michurski family? Would she like us and learn to be part of our family? Each day their seemed to be so much to learn and practice with the dogs. I would get tired due to the MS. I wanted to absorb all the things the staff were trying to teach me. There was reading to do....it was so draining yet exciting. I knew those weeks would be so important to my life with Emma.

I think we all worried if we would bon with our dogs. Now three and a half years later Emma is my best buddy. Where would I be without her presence every day. Every moment of every day is better because of her presence in my life. I treasure her.
She gets me outdoors, she helps me feel more confident in public, she watches over me, she is so in tune to my needs. In short I can't imagine life without her.

So today join me in saying a prayer of thanks to the foster families or send positive thoughts their way. They give a wonderful gift to fortunate individuals like myself who get service dogs.

Mary and Emma wish you a good day. It is suppose to warm up here. Today was windy and cool compared to past days.

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