Today we got "The Letter."
You know the one.
"Well, the time is here. The day you've been anticipating since you picked up your puppy all those months ago. It is time for Lomax to come in for training."
Though I immediately knew what it was, I didn't get upset at the sight of it, like I'd figured I would. After all, since the last turn-in in May, I've known this was coming -- he's 21 months old, and I think he's finally ready.
It won't make turn-in any less traumatic, but at least GDA does something nice for their puppy raisers:
"We know this is a hard time for you and we would like to try to make it a little easier by inviting you to a luncheon August 5, 2006 at 12:00 noon. You will get a chance to meet and talk to the trainers that will be working with Lomax."
(Oh, good. August 5 at noon, in Sylmar. I'll be crying AND sweating.)
"This is just a fun day for you and the other puppy raisers for moral support and to say good-bye to your puppy until Graduation Day. After we are done eating, talking and playing we will walk the dogs down to the kennel where you will be able to put them in their runs."
Well, I don't know about "fun" -- especially the part where I'll be walking away from the kennel with an empty leash and Tammy Faye-worthy mascara streaks -- but I do appreciate the fact that we are appreciated. The school has no obligation to throw us a goodbye party or let us meet the trainers or anything like that...I'm just grateful I don't have to answer the front door, put my dog in the back of a van and wave as he's driven away by someone I've never seen before.
It's comforting, actually, to know that I'll be in the company of some of my best friends from the puppy group. They've turned in dogs before, and this is my first time doing so...but I'm told that it's never any easier.
So I will show up on that day with my roommate, my friends, my friends' dogs, my Lomax, and a toy for him to share with his college roommates.
Or I will show up on that day with my Lomax and my passport, in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. I hear Iceland is lovely this time of year.