I’ve met many a friend through guidedogs for the blind One of them is this wonderful ladywho has just graduated from the san rafael campus with a beautiful, and might I add rather heavy, yellow lab named arden.
When she graduated, she wrote the speech I am about to reprint, with her permission.
It touched many that heard it live, and many of us that read it when she shared it on the list I’m on, and I hope it touches you, as well.
Dear puppy raiser
How do you begin to thank the first pair of hands, the first committed
heart, the first loving arms that ultimately began your dog’s journey
to you? how do you even begin to thank the people who made the
ultimate sacrifice that can be asked of anyone on this earth: to enter
into a relationship where the end has already been built in? knowing
that the culmination of all your love, all your efforts, all your
energy will ultimately lead to your loved one being taken from you? we
spend so much of our lives in fear: fear of the unknown, of losing the
people we love, of not being successful. We are taught to trust
cautiously, for we don’t know who or what lurks around what corner,
what motives they have, what intent they might have. And in some ways,
this keeps us safe. But does it not also lead to our overlooking some
of the most generous and compassionate hearts this world has to offer?
I don’t really know how you did it: loving him through his accidents
in the house; not really batting an eyelash when your favourite pair
of shoes or a family airloom ended up in a chewed mess on the floor.
How you took him to work, to school, all while he was in those
delicate stages of puppyhood: tentatively sniffing his way around this
insane, crazy world, and trying to figure out why he couldn’t do all
the same things all these two-legged creatures could do. And you
taught him: not only to sit, potty outside, and not to bark down the
neighborhood–you taught him trust, and kindness, and love and
unconditional acceptance. And I want you to know that wherever Arden
goes in this world, I will forever see you in him. When he lovingly
leans his big yellow head into my lap, or rolls around with me on the
floor and covering me with yellow fur, there you are. When he
obediently watches my every move, and looks up adoringly, there you
are. My dog will never be without the people who first taught him love
and safety, because he had to get those things from somewhere,
someone. And so with every step I take, and every beat of his endless
heart, there you’ll be. You are inextricably linked to us now, and
every time Arden swerves me around an obstacle; every time he disobeys
my forward command in order to save my life, you will have been part
of the reason why. Every successful being has had someone rooting for
his or her success, and you have been the root of Arden’s success.
Thank you for being the first hands and heart that loved my angel dog.
I am honoured to be connected to you in this way, and know that as
long as there continue to be people like you around, there is more
good than bad in this world. so, from the bottom of my and Arden’s
hearts, and with many hugs and wags, we thank you. You will move
forward with us always.
From me to those that read this that are raisers, no matter the school, thank you, you do so much to further our indipendence with these wonderful, caring and loving dogs.
Have a great night all.