Four years ago we got our first pet, a rabbit, on President’s Day (named Theordore Roosevelt, natch). So four years ago today we were a one-pet home and very happy about that. Fast forward to today, and we’re a six-pet home, and we’re also happy about that.
Though after this weekend, we’ll be back down to five pets, and we’re OK with that too.
On Saturday we leave to take Mercy back to Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York. It’s time for her to move on in her training. We’ll drop her off at the kennel on Sunday and on Tuesday we’ll watch her intake testing, where they’ll decide if she’s a good fit for guide dog training (fingers crossed!). Then after that test, we’ll say goodbye.
Mercy has been a funny pup in our house – her nickname is Moose and you can read into that what you will. ; ) She is very different than the previous three Guiding Eyes dogs we’ve had. She came to us as a home change, her “unique personality” just wasn’t a good fit for the family she started with, so Winnie was recruited to finish her puppy training.
Mercy came to us at nine months old with a whole host of issues to address - to say she was a challenge is an understatement. And in puppy development, nine months is a tricky time – the dogs have learned basic obedience and they’re just beginning to figure out exactly how smart they are. They’re the equivalent of young teenagers - starting to think more independently and act on those impulses and combined with developing hormones? Whew. You get the picture.
Mercy is a dog that reduced Winnie to tears more than once. Not since her first dog Henna (who she raised at age 13) have we had so much turmoil in puppy raising – and we all felt it. She. Is. Intense. (Mercy that is.)
Which isn’t to say that she’s not an amazing dog – she is – she’s just a different level of intensity than we were accustomed to.
I also wasn’t accustomed to seeing Winnie struggle so much. That was a decidedly difficult part for me. I’m not a very skilled dog trainer myself (which should surprise no one!) and so I’m little help in figuring the ins and outs of getting an iron-willed dog to do what you need her to. I’m better at driving to outings and handling logistics and keeping the whole ship afloat. That’s my contribution to this puppy raising thing.
But these dogs, they’re not with us that long, even if you have one from start to finish (about 18 months) and Mercy was with us for a lot less. But the lessons she left us with belie the amount of time she shared our home, the biggest one being that it’s hard on everyone when someone (in this case, a dog) doesn’t quite meet your expectations, which isn't entirely a bad thing. As a parent, I'm no fan of smooth sailing, the pain points are also the best growth points. And to make it through to the end is something even more special. Even in the not-so-good, it's all good.
Mercy has been all good for us.
I’m sharing this post that Winnie made (with her permission) because she says it so much better than I ever could and I love reading her words about it:
Much love, ladies, you're both crazy, amazing, perfect and imperfect. But mostly amazing.