Today was Shirley’s last day with us. She was going back, because her in for training (IFT) scheduled day was finally here. We knew this day was coming and we have been preparing thoroughly, such as cameras charged up, forms filled out, full tank of gas, and puppy coat in the car. We planned everything except for Shirley going into heat. She had just been in heat over the past late summer and even the veteran members of our group last week said that she is not due yet for another heat cycle(but she was popular) . At 4 a.m., Saturday morning we are all rushing around and my dad noticed that Shirley started her heat cycle. You cannot plan for that! So we get down there, saw Leslie at the gate and after we told her the situation she said “Right to the puppy kennel with her and check her in.” Well, so much for plans and itineraries. So we drove over and they shuffled a few dogs and it was a very quick exchange. Shirley checked in at 57.3 lbs(we thought that). We signed a few forms and quickly she was in a kennel. We noticed two puppies off to the right and their names were Newman and Ed (the cutest to puppies you have ever seen). As we stood there, they said that they are going home today. We headed outside and after we stop sniffling and dried our eyes we start to walk back over to the ceremony. We realize it happened so quickly and we were so emotional we didn’t take any pictures of Shirley. :( WE headed down to meet up with the other raisers when we realized we are getting either Ed or Newman; Being Seinfeld fans forever a collective wish for a Newman was muttered.
As we arrive to the ceremony area we seen all the signs with the puppy pictures and we saw the Gallagher’s and Patriot (Shirley’s brother from our group). We got a picture together and they started to point out Shirleys’ and Patriots’ littermates . The ceremony was very nice; I started to feel better right away. I could not believe how great the ceremony was. I have gone to many ceremonies before for a variety of things, but this by far has the most meaning. The first part of the ceremony is the handing out the presidential awards. When my name was called and I received my award this felt like this event was more and more proof that what I am doing for the community is necessary and inspired me to continue. After the awards were handed out, we had many speakers from the CEO to trainers and an employee who uses a guide dog. All of these speeches really touched me and allowed me to accept the fact that although Shirley and I are no longer together we will be connected by our memories. I know that whatever Shirley becomes she will excel to the best of her ability and I can say I was a part of that.
After the ceremony was over, my family and I and three other raisers went over to the welcome center to fill out the necessary paperwork and to our surprise Newman was the name of our pup.Check out the pictures of Newman below as a new adventure begins !!!!!!