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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Freya's Graduation Part 2

Alright, as promised. Here are some pictures and my story of Freya's graduation
The day before Graduation was a little stressful for me. Well, not stressful, but I was definitely jittery. I couldn't calm down. At least we had a hotel room so I didn't have to worry about getting up early and all that. I'm glad I decided to do that! Traffic was horrible. My puppy group was later than they thought they would be and my dad and step-mom almost didn't make it in time. Anyway, the hotel was a good idea. Lilly and I spent our time on computers and watching TV and generally relaxing. I'm glad I got a chance to sort of relax because I was a nervous wreck. :) I was able to gather my thoughts completely and play with Rocco. I think Rocco liked the hotel room as well.
Here he is playing on a tie down next to my bed. He's such a good boy.
He didn't like the idea that Lilly and I were across the room and he had to stay on his tie down.
Here he is looking cute. He's saying "Momma, please let me on the bed!"
Anyway, we had a lot of fun. We even got a chance to go out to eat. We found this wonderful hole in the wall Chinese restaurant. It was fantastic and Rocco did amazing. After eating and playing it was time for bed. We all slept well and Rocco didn't whine at all. Then we took our showers and enjoyed our continental breakfast. Well, Lilly and I enjoyed it. Rocco had kibble in the morning. He's on all ProPlan now and his tummy is doing great! We packed up a checked out and headed to GDB. When we got there we went to the gift shop. It's only open during Fun Day and Graduation now, so I wanted to get a toy for Rocco. He chose a rubber ring. After that we headed to, you guessed it, the kennels to check out the cutie pie puppies. There is a great litter of "P" Golden Retrievers! I wanted one so bad! But I knew I had my trouble child. :) Speaking of which, after we saw the puppies we checked Rocco into the kennels. Mary was going to check him out when they got there and I didn't want to worry about him while I was spending time with Freya. It was finally time.
One last picture before I went to check in.

I grabbed the presents. The stripped one was her partners. It was a picture book of Freya. The polka dot bag was Freya's. In it was a dental dino, rope toy, extra large kong, and the ring I got her for her first birthday.

It was time. I sat in the Day Room bouncing my legs. I couldn't keep still. I was finally able to check in and got my name tag. While I was waiting to be reunited with my girl I met a few other people who were there for their first graduation. I will especially remember Memphis' raiser. Memphis was her first puppy just like Freya was mine. We talked about how proud we are of our girls and how sad we were that we couldn't have them back. We talked about how the dogs that make it are always the ones we want back. :) Right before we were all paired back up with our pups one of the graduates played a beautiful piece by Bach on her guitar. She's a classically trained guitarist. Then it was time for us to get our pups. "Dexter's raiers." "Poppy's." They even brought in Memphis and Celine. All dogs were brought in and everyone was happy until I was left. The class supervisor asked if there was anyone who didn't have their dog yet. I raised my hand and told him mine was Freya. Then I went back to looking at the floor as he went to get her. Then I heard a giant shake and the tinkling of dog tags. I looked up and Freya was dragging her partner towards me. Who says she's a Guide Dog? :) I got down on the floor after introducing myself to her partner and let her jump all over me and lick all my make up off. I'm so glad she recognized me. After we had said hello in the Day Room her partner led me back to their room and we got to talk for a long time. He told me how wonderful Freya was and what a good job I had done with her. I could tell her really adored her.

He took her off leash which they are not really suppose to do, but he said that she's so wonderful that the 3rd day he had her she was off leash in the room and was no longer on tie-down while they were asleep. He praised me for the great work that I did on her house manners. He said that she would stand in front of the door while he was in the bathroom and just stare at the door. I also got to get down on the floor in the room and play with her.

Freya on her back for a belly rub. I missed her tummy.

Freya standing and watching the bathroom door before we were led out.

Freya and her partner. He was telling her to sit and boy did she listen. She was so obedient and calm that it was hard to believe she was the same dog.

Freya and I on the floor. She was circling me like she used to do when she wanted me to play.

She's playing with her ring. She recognized it right away when she saw it. Her partner loved it. Though we didn't show her the rope toy. He said that there were a few times that he thought he should go to the nurse to see if his shoulder was still in place. But he was laughing and smiling when he said this. :)
It was like old times again. Me on the floor holding on to her ring.

After we talked and played we went to get our picture taken. We went back to the room and he let me walk her to and from the picture. It was nice to see her with her harness on and working. We talked some more about her training. He loves the fact that she's "military sharp." He said that she would make 90 degree turns to get him around cars on no sidewalk areas. He said that other dogs would take their people 5 ft into the street, but not Freya. He also loves that she's clean and doesn't roll around when they're relieving and she gets bored. Yes, I hear that some dogs in this class did that. He also likes that she doesn't drink a lot of water. It's true. She takes two or three laps and is done. I got so much praise that I thought I was the puppy in training for a second. I really like him and her together. Now get this...Both of our fathers' name is Don. Freya was my first puppy and is his first Guide Dog. He became legally blind in September 2008, Freya was born October 2008. Freya was returned February 20, 2010 and he was excepted into the program around February 21, 2010. I think they really were made for each other.

Of course all good things must end eventually. My time with Freya as my dog once again was over and we were escorted to the Day Room and he was escorted to the stage. She kept looking for him while he was gone and we were alone. But I think she realized what was going on and rested her head on my lap. I looked down at her and started to rub her ears. She looked back up at me with her lovely eyes. Then it was our turn. Her name was called and I walked her out on stage. And it's ok that she was looking for him while she was with me because Mary told me that she was looking for me when she was sitting with him. I think both of us didn't want to leave the other, but we knew we had to.

There we are walking on stage. Freya in harness...I was all smiles.

I passed her off to her partner and he gave his little speech about how glad he was that he was able to be a part of GDB's family. Then I gave a supposedly great speech about how happy I was that Freya was graduating. Thank you to everyone who told me it was funny and great. I thought that if I made people laugh I wouldn't cry. It worked. I didn't cry while I was on stage and when we went back to the cafeteria for the reception. Freya was so happy to see all of her friends again. When she and Winston saw each other they went crazy. I told her partner that they were best friends and were very happy to see each other again. He took of her harness so she could be a dog and play with all the people and dogs who had come to see her. She was happy to see my dad and Marion. She was really happy to see Candie. Before we walked on stage Candie came in to say Hey to Freya. Freya got all wiggly like she used to when I would drop her off with Candie in the mornings. We had to remind her that she wasn't going with her after the ceremony. She did a lot of things that she used to do that I love. She still jumps straight up in the air. We went out to the fenced court yard that each room has and as soon as she was off leash she jumped straight up. Her partner asked if she had always bounced like a rabbit and I had to answer yes.

After the reception it was outside for pictures.

Me and my two babies. I have a lot of pictures of me and Freya with her looking that way.Her and her new partner. He really loves her! And she really loves him!
There they are outside. Don't they make a great pair?

He's putting on her harness. She immediately stopped playing with the other dogs when she saw the harness. He loves how she's always ready to work.

My little Momma's Boy and my Darling Baby Girl.

Freya was so calm. I was so proud of her!
Here they are both looking up at me.
Neither one is looking at me, but I thought it was a cute picture.

Miss Freya a Guide Dog? Who would have thunk it?!
I loved seeing her again. As my facebook status states I miss her terribly and my heart is aching for her. I didn't cry until I said my final good-bye. I had already given her one last pat and her partner one last hug, but we saw them again as they were leaving. He said good bye and thank you one last time. I looked down at her and said "See ya Shortbread." And that's about the point when I lost it. I turned away, but everyone had already seen me. I'm still holding hope that I'll see her again, but I know the chances are slim. He does want to keep in touch and says that he'll send me pictures of all of their travels. Since he works for the army he has to travel all over. They're going to Texas in two weeks and then a month after that they're going to Pennsylvania. He told me that she was going to help him do his job better. I get asked a lot how I could ever give my dog up and this is how I do it. I just made this man's life easier and gave him a best friend. His wife loves her too and was quick to assure me that she was going to be well taken care of and she was going to be so spoiled. I told her I knew she was going to the right place and I was happy that she had found her person. And I am. I want her back, but she's doing what she loves to do and he needs her more than I do. So my new answer when someone asks me how I could ever give up my puppy is that I have a love of dogs and humans that stretches beyond myself. I love the fact that I'm helping someone find their Independence again and find it for the first time. It's a wonderful feeling when you have someone tell you that their life is now easier because of you.
Good Luck Guide Dog Freya! I love you so much and I know that you're going to make me proud! And Please, don't run you're partner into anything else. :)
Congrats also to:
Celine (FBL)and her Raisers. She is now a working guide in Richlands, Virginia.
Memphis (FBL)and her Raiser. She is now a working guide in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Lawson (MBL)and his Raisers. He is now a working guide in Rochester, New Hampshire.
Dexter (MBGLDX) and his Raisers. He is now a working guide in Lemoore, California. (Dexter is Freya's half brother, he's another Dylan pup)
Poppy (FYL) and her Raisers. She is now a working guide in Arvada, Colorado. (Poppy is Winston's half sister. She's a Jenkins pup. Check out her blog Poppy's Poop Scoop to get her raiser's view on Graduation)
Loyal (MBL) and his Raisers. He is now a working guide in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Annabelle (FYL) and her Raisers. She is now a working guide in Amsterdam, New York. She and her partner received in home training and wasn't present at Graduation.
Capri (FBL) and her raisers. She is now a working guide in Springfield, Virginia. (She is Freya's half sister. She's another Dylan pup)
Bekah (FBL) and her raisers. She is now a working guide in El Cajon, California. (Her and her partner finished their training and returned home before Graduation)
Seiko (FYL) and her raisers. She is now a working guide in Ashland, New Hampshire. She and her partner received in home training and they were not present at graduation. (She is Amici's half sister. She is another Cabby pup)
Collin (MYL) and his raisers. He is now a working Guide in Lahaina, Hawaii. He and his partner received in home training and they were not present at graduation. (He is Winston's half brother. He is another Jenkins pup.)
Curt (MYL) and his raisers. He is now a part of GDB's breeding stock. (He is Townsend and Tomales' half brother. He is another Bingham pup)
Tamryn (FBL) and her raisers. She is now a part of GDB's breeding stock.


  1. She looks amazing in harness! Congrats, what a fabulous experience.

  2. They look like a great team! Congratulations to you and the amazing guide dog you raised. I love all the pictures, especially the one of Freya on her back. She's such a pretty girl.

    My guide dog in training is named Don ;)

  3. LOL! The more Don's out there the better I suppose. :)

  4. Oh gosh, how sweet!
    That last picture is very awesome, she's a pretty dog!

    I really hope Toby makes it - so I can go to a graduation!

    Enjoyed the pictures,

    Rudy's Raiser

  5. Thanks! I've always thought she was one of the most gorgeous dogs out there. She's got a nice block head and she's pretty stocky. :)


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