Portland Training: Day 5

Graduation Day!

IMG_2482Today we had our final exam and we passed!  After a long discussion with Kati to test my new-found knowledge, we headed down to the water front to do the skills test.  I didn’t feel nervous at all.  I felt sure that we would pass with flying colors.  I was right.  The two of us put on quite a show of teamwork and Kati was impressed.

As I write, I am in my hotel having a little quiet time before our graduation dinner.  Kati has taken Hope to go meet her puppy raisers at a coffee shop so that I won’t have to witness their sadness about her leaving.  After they have said their goodbyes, we will all meet up for dinner to celebrate the end of this phase and the beginning of Hope’s new life.

I have to admit, it feels strange to be without Hope at this point.  On one hand, I miss her.  I have grown accustomed to her being by my side and I have grown comfortable with considering her needs throughout the day.  On the other hand, it’s a bit of a relief to be by myself and know that Kati is taking good care of her.  I didn’t realize the weight I was carrying in her presence.  Over the last five days, I have been concerned with her well-being both physically and mentally.  I find myself running through the commands in my head and trying to anticipate which ones I will need to use in each upcoming scenario.  I consider when she will get to eat or go to the bathroom.  I worry about making mistakes that will permanently damage her ability to be the best dog possible for Gray and our family.  I think I have officially turned into her mother!

Now that Kati and Hope are gone, I am feeling the relief that I felt the first time I handed Zoe to a babysitter and walked out of the house alone for a few hours.  I didn’t know how much I needed the break until I got one.  I think this is a good sign.  I think this means that we are a part of each other’s lives in a permanent way now.

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