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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Reflective Mood

This past week has been a little hard on Raiser Erin. Not Erin, but Raiser Erin. She's the girl inside of me who comes out every so often. You know, the Puppy Raiser inside of me. Yeah...she's not been having the best of weeks. Raiser Erin is the one who gets sad when thinking about Rocco and how I couldn't finish up his PIT phase and the one who frets about whether or not I'll be able to raise while I'm here in Scotland for University.

The answer to this last question is, I still don't know. I still don't technically have a place to live next year and at this point, with a month left until we need to move in, I'm going to have to take what I get which means the big possibility of NOT being allowed a Puppy. This is part of the reason Raiser Erin has been having such a hard week. Every time I think about just settling for a place that won't allow a Guide Dog Puppy that puppy raiser inside of me gets a little sad. I know it won't kill me to take a break, but I've missed doing it and I think raising for a different school would be so interesting. I mean, here the raisers start the puppies learning the "find" command. Like "Find the Crosswalk" or "Find the Bus Stop". I think it would be so cool to be able to do that. And they still use Shepherds here. When I go back to the States for my Masters work I'm going to be in California which means I'll be able to stay with GDB. But we don't use Shepherds and I really, really want to do a Shepherd. They also use flat coated retriever which look like Black Golden Retrievers. I wouldn't mind raising one of them either. But, I've gotta have the house to do it. One of the people I'm moving in with next year is interested in doing it as well which is great. But...yeah...house.

Now this other reason might seem a little petty at first, but bear with me. One of my biggest flaws is that I get jealous real easy. And I'm very, very competitive. Some of you know, some of you may not know, that I went to meetings for almost 6 months before I got Freya. When I was going through this, going to meetings and having the "pick up" date changed over and over , I didn't know that that wasn't normal. Then, when three other raisers got their puppies within a month of joining the group I did feel a little...well I felt bad. The jealousy crept up and I had to remind myself that for some reason, it was meant for me to take about six times longer to get my first puppy and that it was ultimately a good thing. And it was. I stand firmly by the belief that if Freya had gone to a different first time raiser then she wouldn't have passed. But still, I felt like those 6 months I spent going to meetings every week I was being made to prove myself and when the other raisers didn't have to prove themselves I spent time worrying as to what was wrong with me. Obviously nothing is wrong with me, it just happened the way it did and I've come to terms with it. But, well, this past week a raiser and friend of mine got assigned a new puppy. Her second "golden cross" (though technically this one is just a golden with a pinch of lab) and her third puppy in only a year and a half with the group. Now, you all know that Goldens are my favourite breed and if the three years I've been in the group I've asked for a golden or a golden cross. I've never had one obviously and it just sets off my jealousy to know that this is the family's second Golden in just a year. I mean, I'm very very happy for them, but again...I'm feeling like I have to prove myself for a Golden. I know that isn't true. Part of the reason they've been able to raise so many puppies in such a short amount of time is because they're all into it whereas my family...well they're not exactly supportive of my raising puppies. My father was the reason I didn't get another puppy the day Freya was dropped off. He's not into raising and I understand and respect that. It's his choice and unfortunately his house. I don't think he'll ever, ever admit it to anyone but I think he gets to attached to the dogs. I'm pretty sure he missed Freya a lot when she left. But, don't tell him I think so.

Basically, I'm wondering when I'll get to raise a puppy on my own terms. Obviously you can't pick and choose which puppy you get, but I would like to be like the other raisers who turn in their puppy app and get assigned a puppy a month later. I'd like to be able to put on my app "Golden or Golden Cross" and get assigned one instead of being told "Sorry, but not this time."...again. It probably won't happen until I own my own place. And I want to be very clear on this, I love Freya and Rocco and both of them needed me. I didn't think I would grow attached to Rocco, but he's such a part of me that if he's CC'd I'm going to try very hard to get him to Scotland with me before giving him to my Mom and Step-dad for the 3 years I'm here. But, still, I would like to be like those other raisers just for one puppy.

Besides all these feeling going on with Raiser Erin (realises I've gotta take a 3 year break and trying very hard not to be jealous of a good friend because that friend doesn't deserve it) she's had a hard week because it's looking more and more like there won't be a transfer for me over the summer. I was hoping beyond hope that there would be a puppy who needed their last months taken care of by an experienced raiser, but it doesn't look like that will happen. So, I have to resign myself to puppy sitting for the summer. Some people are able to be sitters...but I'm not. I'm gonna do it, but it's been hard on Raiser Erin to give up on that hope of a puppy of my own for the summer.

I'm in a fairly reflective mood right now. The first step to ending the problem is admitting it. Yes, I'm jealous but I'll get over it quickly now that I've admitted to myself that I am. My friend doesn't deserve that, she deserves me saying how happy I am that she gets to have another puppy and that I hope he's the best puppy in the world. Which I do. And I've gotta start preparing myself for the inevitable 4 year break (1 year down...3 to go). It's not going to kill me. In fact, it'll make coming home and having that next puppy placed in my arms all the more enjoyable.


  1. Dear Raiser Erin,
    I feel your pain in many ways! I've been a raiser a LONG time (it seriously pains me to say this, but longer than you have been alive!) I was around for the first crosses and totallyy wanted one. I hated labs when I started this (yes, hated. I didn't want to even puppy sit one! All the labs in the club at the time were super naughty!) I have grown to love the labs and actually prefer them over the goldens. Crosses have beenn around since 1995ish. I am still waiting for my cross! I've raised 19 stinkin puppies and no cross. When they were begging for raisers this winter because of the outbreak that led to homing problems, I STIILL couldn't get a cross!! How sad is that??

    I struggle with jealousy over some of this stuff too, but it is not about being competitive for me, it is about insecurity. That's just not pretty!

    I know you felt bad about feeling like you had to prove yourself in your situation. What you did is normal in my group right now. We are having growing pains and bursting at the seams of my sanity! And you better believe I want people to prove themmselves to me! I want to see a huge level of commitment and a willingness to take in what I am saying and learn. Sometimes, that requires the next puppy to skip the "next" person in line. I lose people sometimes over that, but with 15 puppies in the group, I am only "chasing" two over getting to meetings and getting things done with their puppies. I would have no sanity if I were chasing all 15!

    I have now written on your blog more than my own this month! Keeping my fingers crossed for your housing!!

  2. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way, Erin, especially while you are far from home and just wishing for some puppy cuddles to make you feel more at home there. I hope things work out for you somehow, next year or even the following year.

    But I do want to point out that it's easy to think the grass is greener on other peoples' lawns. You seem like a very open person, and that's a great trait, but because not everyone shares as much, you may think that everything is going their way when really, they are having their own struggles, too.

    I mention it slightly here and there on my blog, but I would be more than ready to raise another puppy right now. But like you, my family is not into it. It's my older daughter's last year of high school, so I want to respect her preferences. But even when she goes off to college, I'm pretty sure my husband will have other reasons why he'd rather not raise. So I've been trying to channel my interests into other areas, like the animal shelter, where it doesn't affect my family as much.

    Anyway, I share all that to say, don't be jealous of your friend! Everyone, including her, has their struggles and their joys. What I myself wouldn't give to spend 4 years in Scotland like you! Your glass is half full. I hope this helps you to see it that way.

  3. @Cassie: We wouldn't want you to go insane. :D Maybe when we do finally get our crosses we'll get them together. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

    @Mimi: You're totally right. Instead of thinking that I'm the only one who has problems, I should remember that we all have issues at times. :) This definitely helps me see my glass as half full.

    This really helps. Knowing that there are other raisers out there that feels the same way.


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