The week leading up to our last day together was emotional, but I knew she was ready and I was ready, too. I ached when the time came to pass the leash. Handing her over was painful, yet it was heartening; it was a tough and proud moment, powerful but very quiet.
Then it was done and and Ruby was off. And you know something? Letting her go felt very, very right.
I want to thank everyone, our friends, family, and so many who've reached across the miles and through the screen for your overwhelming support over these past few days. Your phone calls, hugs, texts, cards, comments, blogs, tweets, and emails flew straight to the place in my heart that needed filling and I am so very grateful. You made a difficult week so much easier.
Ruby's journey will remain online and even though it may be awhile, if I receive updates about her, you will too! So, be sure to keep us in your blog readers and check in with us on Twitter.
As my responsibility for raising Ruby ends, my commitment to raising awareness for service dogs grows stronger. Through the many years that I've been involved with service dog organizations, I've met hundreds of people who have asked about the lives of service puppies before they move on to partnership. If you've just found this blog and are curious about service puppies, think you might be interested in raising a service puppy in training, or have any questions about our experience, please feel free to send me an email.
It's been a few days now since turn-in, and everything is falling into place. Even though I miss her, I'm feeling very positive and I've had a kind note from her Advanced Trainer letting me know that Ruby is adjusting well. She's going to thrive in her new environment and I have confidence that her organization will ensure that wherever fate brings Roo, she'll be well cared for and loved.
So, let's tack some happy pix up here to finish this post!
To celebrate our final weekend with Ruby, Mr. Raiser and I took the dogs on a road trip to Aspen, CO. Aspen is very pet-friendly, and at this off-season time of year, very price-friendly, too. The weather was glorious, Kiva and Ruby were in rare form, and we have memories to last a lifetime.
Just like last year, Roo snoopervises the Christmas Tree decorations.
Shaun's right. Dogs can look up.
One last giant thank you, to my husband, Jeff. Mr. Raiser, you are the most calm, cool, composed, imperturbably patient person who ever held dog or camera. Or both. Often at the same time. You took a zillion great photos and they rock and so do you.