It’s finally here!! Today is graduation day! Wesley and I are both very excited for the day’s festivities. I will get to meet Wesley’s puppy raisers who flew all the way to Oregon from Alabama to see him graduate. Just from speaking with them on the phone last night, I can tell how much heart and soul they poured in him. I feel so grateful to be benefiting from the care and compassion they shared with Wesley in his puppyhood. I already consider them family and can’t wait to reunite them with their special boy. I’m sure Mr Wesley will be thrilled to see them again!
In talking with many people these past two weeks I have a different perspective on graduation. It never really made a lot of sense to me why we as handlers would be considered graduates as this is only the beginning of our journey and we honestly haven’t done a whole lot in training. In truth, today’s purpose is to acknowledge and thank the hard work and generosity expressed by the people who make Guide Dogs for the Blind happen. It is the puppy raisers, staff, volunteers and donors that set this school apart as the elite guide dog organization in the country. As I said in an earlier post, GDB could not run without even one of the contributors to its success. Today is a day to honor all that has been invested in these wonderful dogs. They are the true graduates. The dogs walking across the stage are the ones who have made it through all of the tests involved in becoming a guide dog. They have successfully completed all of the requirements and can now enter into a lifelong career. It just so happens that we as blind people get to receive these new partners. To say I feel blessed would be a major understatement.
Today is not about me or any of my classmates. Its about recognizing others for what they do. Here’s to a smooth and joyful celebration of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Cheers all!!