There was a middle. Well, we must say that it's not easy to start a blog smack-dab in the middle of everything. Let us digress, make a few introductions, and then we will continue.
We are amy and matt, volunteer puppy raisers for Guide Dogs of America. We became involved nearly five years ago when we were looking for dog of our own (since we were already owned by two cats). We visited the Orange County Pet Expo, a truly mind boggling place for all things animal. We patted and petted, were slurped by every permutation of dog possible, and then we stumbled upon the row where all the service organizations were housed. We ended up talking to a very nice couple ( now friends of ours) representing GDA who told us all about the organization, and invited us to the annual Open House. That turned out to be the kicker: amy would be graduating with her Master's degree that day - we couldn't go. We didn't get a dog that day, but we did hang on to the GDA application.
We talked about it, pondered, gnashed our teeth, and finally sent in our application about eight months later. We interviewed... and began the wait for our first puppy. In the interim, we watched other puppies for their raisers "puppy sitting": adorable Cayla, sweet Courage, the thieving Tanner, mama's boy Westin, beautiful Landon, michievious Gus, the perfect (and now very silly) Jetta... there were ten in all. Before THE CALL came.
Louise, the puppy dept. head at GDA, called. "Male or female?"
Did she have to ask? We would have taken three legged at that point. Ironically, I was already on the phone with Matthew. I clicked over.
"Okay, dear, male or female?" He chose male. A black male, letter V would be coming home July 28, 2003.
Yes, there began our first dog Voight. I'm sure we will tell you more about Voight as time goes on, but we learned and laughed and cried with him. He was tall and lanky, a big beautiful boy. We called him Voighters, the Voight Monstrosity. We turned him in November 6, 2004. He graduated with his wonderful partner in July 31, 2005.
The part we skipped in all of this was Liam. Liam was our second puppy raised, coming home six days after we turned Voight in. We thought it was best to get another puppy while Voight was in for training. When we turned Voight in, all we could think was "We're doing this again? To have our hearts ripped out again?"
Yep. Liam was...amazing. A smart, gorgeous boy. Our "small black bear". He loved to play, loved to work, loved his "grandpa" and the boat. Oh yeah, did Liam ever love the water... and the snow. Liam had no fear and lived with such joy in his heart. We will be posting more and more about Liam, particularly since he is also brother to Lomax, whose raiser Jenny has become one of our best friends.
So here we are. The middle. We got the call again: Liam is graduating with his partner Heidi in a week. We are honored and grateful, and so excited to report to all of this that not only is Liam graduating, but will be joined by his brother and best friend, Lomax, who has also been matched.
There are also two more in this story, our Paige and soon to be Tai. You will see much more of them, but this post is starting to take on record breaking proportions.
This is not about the end. There are beginnings to come. Welcome to the middle.