I signed up to be a Hero Dogs Puppy Raiser not knowing I would become so attached so quickly. Now, a little over a year later, I send you off to continue your journey to help a disabled veteran. Even though I might not be ready for you to move on, I know you are ready for the next step in your journey. Growing up with a golden retriever, I secretly wanted to raise one. A week after attending orientation, Maria called me about raising you, a 3.5 month old chocolate Lab. I was ecstatic, but I had also heard about the chocolate Labs’ “quirky” personality – and it’s all true. Your goofy, clumsy, sometimes stubborn, excitable, cuddly, and loveable personality is what I will miss. Your smarts and enthusiasm made you eager to please and a quick learner. Your stubbornness taught me the importance of patience and that repetition isn’t always a bad thing. And your unconditional love and happiness towards everyone showed me how just the wag of your tail and lean of your body into someone else’s could brighten anyone’s day.
Raising a dog in school wasn’t the easiest but you made it a year I’ll never forget. I’ve met many different people in classes and out in the community because I had you by my side. I’m going to miss that but I am very proud of how far you’ve come in a year. Looking back to the days where you would lunge on your leash and it would take an hour to walk a mile. Or when you would cry for an hour on early Saturday mornings when I left, waking all the roommates up (good thing they loved you). Or the jumps, leaps, and wiggles whenever someone looked in your direction. With hard work, determination, and training we were able to overcome these obstacles of yours. I’m going to miss our nightly cuddle sessions, the long walks followed by your favorite game of fetch, our daily training sessions (especially when you mastered a skill), watching you sprint through the water with ease and grace to get a ball, and even the questions every time we go out – “What kind of dog is that?” “Can I pet your dog?” or my favorite “No, you must be wrong, he can’t be a purebred chocolate Lab!”
I know you will form an inseparable bond with your partner and make a difference in their life. I look forward to continue seeing you grow and fully mature into a wonderful dog. You will be greatly missed but I know the world has bigger plans for you.