Monday, August 30, 2010

Reba - a new life Part II

This is the second in a series of posts about Reba's new life as a service dog. Part I is here if you haven't read it.

Graduation was Saturday, August 14. I got a schedule in the mail - there was a brunch where puppy raisers got to meet the graduates, and a 20 minute period where puppy raisers were able to visit with their puppies. There were pictures sessions too, and finally graduation, where the puppy raiser walks across the stage with the puppy and hands her to the graduate. It sounded like a beautiful ceremony, and I'm very sad I wasn't able to attend.

Fortunately, Reba's weekend mom was there in my stead, and she was kind enough to send me any number of pictures throughout the day of the ceremony and activities.

Before the ceremony, the puppy-raisers got to spend a few minutes with their puppies. Reba greets ER with a talented paw shake and a veeery careful "stealth slurp," caught here on film.

During the graduation ceremony, ER and Reba walk across the stage so that ER can hand Reba over to her new owner, Lyena. They all look so wonderfully happy - I could not be more proud!

There was a professional photographer at the graduation ceremony as well. This picture of ER hugging Lyena as she hands Reba over just makes me tear up. It's so beautiful!

In hindsight, it's hard to believe that Reba went from...

... this, at 7.5 weeks... this, at ~8 months...

... to this, at ~2 years. Note the blue jacket that denotes a "real" service dog, and not just a puppy-in-training.

My little girl is all grown up. Sniffle.

It turns out that at every graduation, one graduate is chosen to speak during the ceremony. Lyena was chosen for this graduation, and the picture above was taken while Lyena spoke. I'll be receiving a video in the mail in a few weeks, I hope, so I should get to see the speech in its entirety. I can't wait!

About a week after graduation, Lyena sent me a lovely email introducing herself, and I've gotten permission to share that in the next installment.

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