It’s been almost a month since I began fostering Slider. So far, it has been a great experience. Since I took him in, I’ve been getting asked a particular question… A lot!
“How can you love and care for a puppy only to give him up in a few months?”
My reply? “How Could I not?”
Here are my reasons WHY I am able to do this:
I want to – once again – experience the bond that people and animals share. I recently saw a graphic online that said the following: “Anyone who says diamonds are a girl’s best friend never owned a dog.” That couldn’t be more true! There is a special feeling that comes along with caring for a dog and although, technically, Slider is not my dog – he still makes my heart smile. I had a golden retriever when I was five; his name was Oreo (the name doesn’t make sense – I know). I didn’t have him long when I left the gate to my backyard open. He ran away, and I never saw him again. It was a traumatizing part of my childhood. As an adult, I raised a German shepherd by the name of Deacon. He is in his golden years now but is still thriving; however, he lives with my ex-husband. I could just buy a puppy to have all to myself. I don’t want to do that though. In a few months, I will proudly bring Slider back to K9s For Warriors for his official training. It will not be easy, but my heart is in this because I believe in the cause. Until then, I will provide the best home for him I can and enjoy the way he makes me feel as I do that.
I want to value the contributions of others. I work on the administrative side of K9s For Warriors, as the Education Manager. What I do is very important… I spread awareness through my creative talents. I love that! But, this amazing organization is a success because of the hard work of every department and employee. I have only been in the puppy-raising program for a few weeks, and I’ve already gained an extra appreciation for my counterparts. I am in awe of the dog and warrior trainers. The patience and knowledge that they exercise on a daily basis is inspiring. I think respecting the strengths and talents of others makes us better people – personally and professionally.
I want to do more to save the lives of our veterans. My grandfather was in the Navy – he was a master chief. My father was in the Marine Corps. I am proud of them and the other veterans out there. I accept that my time with Slider is temporary.
But I look at it like this:
The love that I give him now and the things that I teach him now are going to help him be the best service dog he can be, later.
What I do now is going to save a life. I can sacrifice the joy Slider gives me because the veteran he will serve sacrificed so much for me and other Americans.
I am very excited to experience all the emotions and hard work that goes along with this process! It will be worth it…I just know.
When I first brought Slider home, I was told by the Director of K9 Operations, “Do Not Bring This Dog Back Bedazzled!” (haha) I understand why he would say that. I am serious about raising this dog though! He is gonna be an awesome service dog!