Since Joey was my first guide dog puppy and he is still in training, I haven’t had the chance to experience everything a raiser can face. Until now, I thought the hardest part of puppy raising was IFT day, when you take your not-so-little-anymore pup back to the school for the next phase of his life. This last week, especially the last couple days, have been pure torture.
With IFT day, you know when it is coming. Not knowing what is coming, and waiting for news can be much, much worse.
Joey is in the final stage of his training and could be matched with a student anytime. I have heard that Southeastern Guide Dogs normally does not have a class in December because of the holiday season. But there IS a class this month. I look at this month’s students as receiving one of the greatest Christmas presents ever and I was hoping Joey was going to be one of those presents. This month’s students were matched up with their dogs last week, but nobody outside of the school knows which dogs those are. I know that occasionally, but not very often, a match just doesn’t work out and a dog may be returned to the training kennel and a replacement brought in. Southeastern Guide Dogs will not let the puppy raisers know which dogs are matched for about a week, until they know for sure that every student and dog are the perfect match. So any day now, hopefully any hour now, I will get a phone call or email telling me if my Joey is indeed part of this class. Sometimes it is six days after they are matched, sometimes it is longer. Of course, now that it is possible that Joey has been matched, it is longer. Every hour of not knowing is agony.
Well, I had to walk away from writing this post for an appointment. I came back home and found the email I had been waiting for. Joey has not been matched yet. The agony of not knowing is over. Joey not being matched isn’t even a disappointment. Even if he is ready to be matched up with a student, that guy just hasn’t walked through the door yet. Yes, I said “that guy”. I am 100% sure that Joey will go to a man. He is just too big and too strong for most ladies. Like Southeastern Guide Dogs, I want Joey to be with somebody that is a perfect match, not just the next one in line.
Joey doesn’t understand the concept of Christmas anyway. He will love anybody, anytime. Unconditionally. I love that about dogs.