The Family Reunion
The best part was arriving at the hotel and getting to pick up STEWART. It seemed he recognized me right away. Kyria handed me his food, so I knew I was going to get to spend the night with him. We arrived early – before our room was available. While waiting, I ran into April and CLAIRE, and they graciously allowed us to hang out in their room until ours was available.
I spent time bonding and loving on STEWART all night, as did my family. He sure does have a lot of hair to brush through. I had a hard time falling asleep because I was thinking about – and being anxious about – Saturday. But, STEWART was able to calm me down enough to get to sleep.
On Saturday morning, STEWART and I practiced some commands. We did great considering I have only worked with him for three and a half days. The excitement of Saturday put me way outside my comfort zone. In my day-to-day living, I would have been guaranteed a major panic attack. Saturday was like most of my triggers put together. I saw April again, and seeing that familiar face – of someone who also has a service dog – helped calm me down. I just sat on the floor with STEWART until the world stopped turning, my mind stopped racing, and until I could breathe again.
Seeing all the people and their dogs was awesome. I got to see and/or meet several people that I have read about in their blogs. It was very crowded in the room, but it just goes to show what a great organization paws4people is. It was great to put names with faces during the graduation. Hearing other people’s stories was very encouraging. They gave me faith and hope that STEWART and I would soon have that special bond. With STEWART’s help, I was able to make it through the graduation ok – even the speaking parts.
It was very exciting to take STEWART to dinner on Saturday night. I did not think I would be able to since we have not done our public access training yet. He was an excellent gentleman.
The whole experience – from start to finish – was a grand success. I will now start training with STEWART every two weeks in hopes of expediting my process of receiving STEWART full time.
Thanks to everyone who played a part in helping get me through the weekend.