This past weekend was full of food, family, driving + fun memories. We spent Thursday in Natomas with Avery and Trever catching up and seeing what Freebirds was all about. I’ll save you the time, stick with Costa Vida. Friday evening they came over to our place, which ended up being one of my favorite parts of the weekend. Time spent out by the pool soaking up the sun, grabbing dinner at our new favorite sandwich spot, and grabbing a Redbox and watching it back at our place. We’re big on air popped popcorn over here, so we made two batches and let Avery and Trever salt their’s bowl how they like it. Then, Paityn sitting in between us, had one hand in each hand, eating as fast as she could! She can definitely keep up haha.
Saturday, we met up again, then drove down to Guide Dogs For the Blind in San Rafael, it was time to pick up Roamer!
Avery and Trever had raised Roamer as pup for year to be ready for Guide Dog training. Before they began, I hadn’t realized this was something you could do! They were part of the Puppy Raiser program, which you can learn more about Here. For a year they taught Roamer basic obedience and skills he needed to know, went everywhere they went with his green vest on, and then had to leave with the good chance that he wouldn’t come back. Below is a white board full of messages from families that raised puppies of their own: “Take good care of Mochi.” “I will miss you Maureen!” “Have a good life” and the kicker, “Thanks for everything. I won’t forget you.” Yeah, tears accidentally happened, and I’ve never even had a dog.
In Trever and Avery’s story though, he got to go back. After going through 3 months, and the first 3 out of 8 phases of training at the Oregon campus, they saw that his paws were just too sensitive for what would be required for him as a guid dog. So they got a phone call that he was career changed, and could come home if they wanted him. Which of course, was a yes. Once reunited and paperwork filled out, we got to do a tour of the campus with a few other families. The spirit there was so sweet. We got to see the process from beginning to end: from the pregnant lab, to the 5 week old puppies, to being matched to individuals or couples who would raise one for a year, to the recall process when they return and the training really amps up.
The process continued, and we learned about the importance of matching each guide dog as best as possible to the blind individual. Personalities, mobility and energy and just a few things taken into consideration. We were able to view a bit of the building where the blind individual stays the first two weeks after being matched, where they are able to bond and learn how to work best with their new buddy.
Once done in San Rafael, we drove together down to Kragen and Rachel’s for the rest of the weekend! It was full of sun, popsicles, and fun time together. Never before, have I seen so many spontaneous hug before, than between Reagan, Riley + Paityn. Though I regretted later that we didn’t focus on the purpose of memorial day at all, with a focus on family I feel like we came close.