It was a big IFT (in for training) week, lots of puppies returning for more intensive guide dog school. Duke and Trapper were part of a litter of nine, Princess is one of the puppies in this litter, as well as Pal from our group. Faith was in Tampa, and several others from different parts of the state and country. Duke and Trapper are best buds, having frequent play dates and work-outs together this past year.
As hard as it is to give the dogs up, I realize looking at some of the pictures, they were happy as clams heading back to school. Who wouldn't be? Lots of dogs to play with, plenty of time to run, big fenced areas for chasing each other, they will have a blast.
To ease the "trauma", we took the dogs back to school "in style." Melisa rented a stretch limo, warning them ahead of time that there will be a slight amount of vacuuming to do after the trip. No problem! Our poor Limo driver, Guy, showed up right on time and was grinning and quite possibly shaking his head. I asked him "You did know what the gig was today, right?" He admitted he had been told a little bit, but not the entire story. We assured him his cleaning crew would be able to handle it. "Uh, I'm the cleaning crew", he said.
So Melisa, Ed and Duke, Larry, Gabrielle and Trapper loaded up the car with dogs and champagne and a fun trip back to school. The boys were in coat, and on their best behavior. Not so much with the parents...as we made juvenile faces out the window of the limo, we were all reminded that sometimes the folks outside can see in. Oops...maybe we need to be going back to school.
A quick stop at the entrance for some photo ops with the "stars", and we were greeted by the trainers at the office. "My these dogs are so calm, much calmer than some of the others", said one of the trainers. Melisa and I were sure we misunderstood her, meaning these were NOT the calmest, but no, they were perfect. No barking, no yanking or pulling, sat when told, and quite mannerly. Ready for guide dog college!
So for all of those folks wondering how hard it is to give up your puppy, my heart was breaking. But both dogs walked off with their handlers without a problem, tails wagging and a spring in their step. The dogs love to work, and I am sure will be absolutely content learning a lot more than we can teach them. They are smart dogs and eager to please. Of course now they are referred to as "the limo dogs". Hey, why not? They deserve it! Give those boys some Evian!