My granddaughter, Meyer is curled up, fast asleep tucked in by her baby blankets with her head on her special purple pillow. My sweet new Lab puppy is also curled up on his soft bed, asleep. This is truly a blissful moment. And a moment that can be so easily taken for granted because it’s just a normal, rainy, Monday.
About a week and a half ago, I got the call Guide Dogs had a career changer for me! Tears of joy streamed down my face, as I listened to the director’s message. I jumped. I laughed. I almost couldn’t believe it.
What is a Guide Dog Career Changer? Quite simply, a dog who, for many reasons, would not make a perfect dog to help and guide a blind person. With all the exceptional breeding, puppy raising and training, there are very few puppies now who don’t move on in the program. The ones who are career changed have a wide range of issues from physical to behavioral. They may not fit the Guide Dog program, but they are still wonderful.
Delightful, sleek, strong and sweet, Darby is an 18 month old, black male Labrador Retriever. Born and raised in California, he came up to the Oregon campus a few weeks ago. He was career changed for his difficult ‘home’ habits.
This means he ‘counter surfs’, ‘dumpster dives’, plays keep away and is very vocal. Now, I’ve dealt with all of these issues with other dogs. But right now, I want to get to know him.
I now know he loves to walk in the park, jump for balls and eat strawberries. He does not like rain, getting his feet wet or dried off. Geese, ducks, kids and other dogs all distract him. He’s very energetic and needs to be reminded to take it easy going up or down stairs, across the floor or out the door. And he whines, cries, and yowls when he is in his kennel, which just makes me laugh.
He already knows his new name. When I call him, he comes. When I go around the corner without letting him know, he sees me and follows. Now, instead of pulling, he waits. He walks easily up, down and around. He is learning to ‘settle’ on his blanket or bed.
He does not bark. He is lying here on his bed, listening to new noises: cars and trucks on the street, dogs barking, the furnace and yet, he is quiet. His head goes up with each sound, he looks to me, I tell him it’s ok. He puts his head back down without a sound and does not disturb my sleeping granddaughter’s nap.
It’s 3:30 now. Today’s rain continues and the dull, cloudy light is fading. But to me, it’s been a beautiful day. Why be thankful for a quiet, rainy Monday?
Because life is all about the small moments filled with giggles, yawns and peace. Thankfully.