About 9:40am Thursday morning, Moray and I were just getting out of the car to head to Chemistry class when I received a text from my sister. It was the simple words that our Puppy Program Manager called and our mom was on the phone with her right then. There is one thing every puppy raiser dreads when they have a puppy in Advanced Training, and that is a phone call.
All I knew as Moray and I walked into the building was that it was indeed the dreaded call, and that it had been decided that Dante will be released from Professional Training. I was still waiting with a promise that my mom would call me as soon as she was off the phone. I thought I was holding it together fairly well. My best friend was waiting for the previous class to let out, and as soon as she saw me knew something was not right. She hugged me and the tears that started then came and went for the rest of the day.
Dante is Dante and there is no one that can change that. Our PPM told us that although Dante's behavior and commands are impeccable on-leash, as soon as he thinks he can get away with something, he gets a mind of his own. Dante is off the charts smart, very independent-minded, and needs a strong hand to manage him and give him the discipline he needs. She told us that when she told his trainers Dante was our first puppy, they could not believe we were able to teach my hard-headed boy all that we had. Not that I want that to come across as bragging or anything like that, but she assured us it was just his personality, and there was not much we could have done differently to curb this behavior.
She told us that Dante's release was a hard decision for them as well. They had been doing a lot of sound work evaluating him for the Hearing Dog program, and he was doing fantastic and excelling in it. The decision boiled down to the fact that Dante is just not trustworthy enough for placement.
Even though I have seen this coming for some time, it is hard news to accept. For almost two years, we have worked and striven toward the dream that Dante would become a Service Dog. There have been many ups and a few downs along this journey of puppy raising, and it is extremely hard to let go of that dream. Being honest, it is hard to realize that Dante's future is no longer in "limbo" with the hope he could still make a placement. It is final, and even though he will have a great life, and still will share his love and laughter in different ways, the passing of this dream for him is hard to come to terms with.
While we are still figuring out a travel plan and agenda for Dante, we know he will be coming back to spend life as a spoiled rotten "Change of Career" pet; me as his forever family, and he as the very first dog I will ever call my own.