It's our final month together. The "lasts" have begun. Tonight was my final puppy raiser group meeting with Mr. Lomax.
The evening began, as always, with obedience; this time it was a nice training walk through the neighborhood to practice our "heel" position and some common suburban distractions (strange lawn decorations, little boys on bikes, wandering cats, barking beasties, etc.).
Once we had returned and gathered inside the meeting room, our group leaders called up everyone present who will be turning in their dogs on August 5: pictured are Laura and Katie (with Nevada), Amy and Matt (with Liam), and me (with Lomax). We all said a few words about what raising this puppy has meant to us...Nancy didn't spring this on us until that very moment, so I was unprepared.
What I should have said is that Lomax is my little man, I'm going to miss him terribly, I'm very proud of him, and that despite my more than 2-and-a-half years as a "future" puppy raiser waiting for a dog, I could not have timed things more perfectly. Lomax and I were meant to be together, even if we got a late start.
I did at least manage to work in the fact that I'm gonna need to do some puppysitting very soon after turn-in! And I've already had offers....
Then, according to tradition, each dog received a congratulatory rawhide bone, and each puppy raising family received a bottle of wine. In case you can't read it in the photo, here's what the custom printed label says:
"Turn-In Tonic: Just a little something to help you get through the inevitable! Good Luck and Best Wishes from The South Bay Puppy Raisers!"
And the quote at the top, from a GDA employee and her guide dog, says:
"Whatever happens, you have given the gift!"
Crap. I'm crying already.