I got the phone call yesterday: Truman has been released from the GDA program, because he has hip dysplasia.
It's just on the left side, and fortunately, it's a mild case. So mild, in fact, that not only does he show no outward signs of it, they had to get the opinion of an orthopedist because the x-rays alone weren't strong enough evidence to make the determination. Missed it by that much....
Of course, I'm sad that he won't graduate and go on to a life of guide work. I'm sad that he can't even go to search and rescue -- which I know he would love -- because he's been released for medical reasons. And I have spent the last 36 hours or so in deep thought and fervent prayer and my fair share of tears, and discussion and e-mail exchanges with many people, in an attempt to make the difficult decision of whether to adopt him myself or to let the school adopt him out to someone else.
The logistics are difficult. I live in a third-floor apartment with no yard, and would no longer be allowed take him to the office where I spend two of my weekdays at work. I would be taking on his medical expenses, no longer receiving reimbursement for his veterinary care. I would be paying for his food, and no longer allowed to claim the things I buy for him as a tax deduction. I would be a little less free to do what I want and go where and when I want. I would no longer have the luxury of dropping him off for free room and board and a bath up at the school. A full-time dog is a human tie-down.
But he's my Roo. He's this little face:
Okay, the face eventually grew more mature. But even when Truman was being difficult and adolescent and full of attitude, barking at nothing and demanding attention from the nearest person, daring me to correct him, this was the little face that I saw in my heart. I love that little face, and the heart behind it, and the messed up hip behind that, and the wagging tail behind that. And if he were to come home to live with me, I would KNOW he'd be getting the care and love that he needs, because it would be given by the person who knows him best and the person who loves him most.
So he will come home.
We will have help from my wonderful boyfriend and some other very supportive and loving people, who understand that my taking him back forever will be a challenge. I will definitely be making a list of the folks -- puppy raisers, friends, family, co-workers -- who have offered to watch him for me occasionally, or who have offered playdates with their own dogs or swim time in their backyard pools (really good exercise for dysplasia).
Yes, I will still update the blog with the last two months or so of photos and adventures...but I wanted to share this news with you right away so that you can share in my joy on Friday, when Truman becomes my Forever Dog. I can't wait.