It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. Purposely, I’ve been delaying it. Writing makes it real. Right now, I am fighting to hold back tears. But at the same time, I am so proud.
Three weeks ago, Slider returned to the Kennel. He is currently in his 30-day period of observation, but is receiving basic training until he is officially cleared to enter the K9s program. Andrew is now his trainer. He is in good hands. I believe Slider will do well with his training and make a hell of a service dog!
Before I said goodbye to Slider, we had a festive BABL (badass black lab) party. My son, Mason, happened to be off from school that day, so he was able to participate in the celebration. There were decorations, dog cake, dog beer (non-alcoholic… so hush, trolls), and most importantly – my K9s family! Mason was also recognized for his work as a junior puppy raiser, dog trainer, and volunteer ambassador. He and I did this together; I believe it will be one of those treasured childhood memories that he carries closely with him well into adulthood. More importantly, it will serve him as a real life learning example in putting others before himself.
My favorite moment of the day was one that was very emotional and metaphorical. We walked outside with Slider; Mason and I removed Slider’s puppy training vest; we handed Slider to his trainer, Andrew; Then, Andrew put Slider in a real service dog vest. At that point, Mason and I said goodbye to Slider, told him we love him, and watched Andrew walk Slider into the kennel.
Since then, I have had my moments were I miss Slider and wonder what he is up to. I question if he has forgotten me. But then, I tell myself, “this isn’t about me; it’s about a veteran in need.” This is my sacrifice, and I am glad my son could be a part of it.
This is my lesson to my only son through the quote of a true American patriot:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”