Sixteen days until I leave Dante at the Canine Companions kennels.
Seventeen days until I return home with an empty leash.
While I knew before I even picked Dante up that this day would come, it is still hard to believe that my work with Dante is coming to a close.
I'm going to miss this dog. Sure, he has put me through a lot. More so than I have posted here.
I am past the panicking stage about Dante's skill level. I am past the Oh my gosh, if he doesn't make it it is all my fault stage. I am at the point where, even with his quirks, I know he is ready for this. Oh, and I am now entering the stage where I want to cry as each day brings me closer to August 16th.
My family has an extremely busy schedule the next two weeks, so this week the lasts have already started, as it is Dante's last "normal" week here. Saturday was his last puppy class, Monday was his last trip to Starbucks, where they adore him. Last night we took a trip to Lowe's. Walking the isles and practicing commands with Dante brought back so much. This was one of Dante's first outings besides the library and post office. This is where he learned the "Up" command on the many counters and boxed merchandise. This is where, for the first time, he worked perfectly without getting distracted by another dog in the store.
It is easy to be caught up on remembering and cherishing these last few days with Dante. And don't get me wrong - I do want to cherish them. But thinking of a friend who will be anxiously awaiting the call if the dog her family raised makes a match next week, or the dozens of excited students who will be starting Team Training with their new service dogs on Monday keep things in perspective. They keep me grounded that I can do this. And not only that I can, but that I want to.
|Visit, while on a high chair|
|Just being good|