Had to share some good news that I received today... I was sharing a wonderful day with a friend today. We were eating donuts, drinking coffee (we were SUPPOSED to walk 7.5 miles before all of this, but it was COLD and RAINING - darn), making baklava, drinking diet cokes (needed after donuts and lattes :) and just having some plain old fun "girl time". As we were in the middle of one of our bazillion layers of Philyo dough (yes, there were actually that many layers... I counted them all) the phone rang. I didn't recognize the number and almost didn't pick it up - then I recognized the area code - it was from Michigan, so I grabbed it. It was the Leader Dog school.
They called to inform me that I am scheduled for a class, and it is February 4th. I will train from the 4th through the 17th. I thought - well, it's about the same time that I went when I went to get Pearl, so I should expect cold.... BUT... then she said these words
IN WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA!
Seriously? I didn't understand. The school is in Rochester, Michigan. Well, last year they started a program for students coming from "warm weather" states. They bring the school to a warm weather state and train us there. How cool is that? It's also an accelerated program. I'll get there on a Saturday and receive my dog that same day! That's so exciting. Typically you work with the staff for awhile before getting the dog, and there's always a bit of anxiety / excitement waiting the three days until you get your dog.
They bring the program to a hotel in West Palm Beach and the training takes place around the West Palm Beach area. We may have opportunities to go out and do some training on the beach and things like that. They also do some promotional work while we are there that we will be able to attend. So, that will be nice - to have an opportunity to get out to some functions with the dogs and help support Leader Dogs for the Blind. It is such a wonderful organization! I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in this new program too! This way, I only have to be away from my family for 13 days! Much easier than the month I was up in Michigan last time. I'd do what I needed to do, but it's hard to be gone that long with small children.
So - the date is set and we'll just see how it all unfolds with the dog. My heart ACHES that I don't have my Pearl, and in the back of my mind I wonder what dog will live up to the standard that Pearl has set in my head. BUT, I do have to realize that Pearl had her faults too - and every dog will be different. Remember Pearl, who would not go to the bathroom if there was dew on the grass because she hated water - for goodness sake, she was a RETRIEVER! She was stubborn as a MULE - but she was MY dog and she worked with me beautifully!
I NEED this! I'm so thrilled at the thought of having some of my independence back! Some of my security! I have to take this new dog for what it is, and learn to love it for what IT can do for me. My guess is that this one will like the water! It will have issues as well - kinda like people, we are all different - and it will NEVER replace what Pearl was to me, but I have confidence that the school will give me a dog that will definitely benefit me and be a positive addition to my life!
Looking forward to my time in West Palm Beach, Florida. Thank you to Leader Dog for this opportunity! Never expected that news when I picked up the phone today....