When I made my idea list at the first of the year of things I thought would be fun to do to celebrate my 50th year, one of them was having a party. We have the tradition of having a farewell party for each of our puppies in training before the return to Guide Dogs for the Blind for the next stage of their training. Today it was Yakira’s turn to be the guest of honor. It isn’t anything fancy just a chance for our friends, neighbors and family to say good-by to the puppy. It is kind of a thank you for the little things they do in helping us raise successful guide dogs. For many people it is the first time they have seen the dog “out of jacket” and how they behave at home. At Apex’s party many people comment on how much like a regular dog he was at home.
We have a few treats and it is just a time to relax and enjoy each others company. I think the party helps me to mentally and emotionally prepare for the puppy to leave us. For Yakira’s party we had everyone vote for their favorite photo to be used for Yakira’s official portrait on our puppy portrait wall. We also had a card for everyone to sign. I’ll keep the card up somewhere until Yakira finds her next place in life, either as a breeder, a guide dog or in another career. Bill made cookies and caramel (these were a huge hit) and we had Scooby snacks and popcorn.
We also had a couple of Yakira’s good friends come to the party. Clifford (my sister’s career change dog) was here the party and Osaka (a fellow puppy in training) came to say good-by too. The four pups had lots of fun together. I have a celebration bandana that Yakira wore as the guest of honor (and so that visitors would have an easier time keeping track of who was who). With three black labs in the house it was quiet the party. The only treats for the dogs were bowls of ice cubes, given out at regular intervals.
It was a fun evening and both Yakira and Zodiac are exhausted. For that matter so are us humans. We have an early start tomorrow to get Yakira to the truck in the morning so I’ll wrap this up now.