July 15, 2000: The Adventure Begins

Our adventure began with a 45 minute drive to Rochester. We arrived about 9 am and checked in.
There are a lot of friendly people here.

While we waited to fill out the appropriate forms, we met another mother-daughter team (Ellen and Jackie) who were returning their puppy, "Starbuck." She's a beautiful German shepherd. That will be Jennie and I in a year from now

"Starbuck" went for a short walk with one of the staff from Leader Dog as her "people" watched from the window. Afterwards, they were given as much time as they liked to say good-bye to her and then would go home with a new puppy to train, a litter mate of the puppy we would be getting.

Jennie and I watched through our own tears as they hugged her and kissed her good-bye. It was sad because it was so obvious they loved that dog so much (and she loved them right back) but it was also such a wonderful moment too. This puppy was going on to a very special life of service, which, when you think of it is pretty incredible, and these fine people had given her the love and guidance to reach this moment and fulfill a most noble goal.

A few minutes later we were interviewed by Sophia, another member of the Leader Dog staff. She told us that our puppy was born on May 24, 2000 so she's just 7 and 1/2 weeks old. We were given a small packet of food, the special bandanna pups are given to wear when they are in training (and a cape to wear when she gets bigger), plus a special tag she must wear on her collar, and a record of her current vaccinations. The bandanna and cape will identify her to the public and hopefully help us take her into stores and restaurants and all sorts of fun places.

Sophia excused herself while we signed some papers and then reappeared with the cutest pup we ever saw!

Her name is Daisy and we are in love! She's a yellow lab with blue-green eyes, floppy ears, big feet, and the sweetest disposition you can imagine. And look at that BELLY!
We got to know each other for a little bit before we got in the car, and then headed for home.

About halfway home we ran into road construction, finally got to an exit and thought it would be prudent to let Daisy "park" since we had another half hour ahead of us on the road and she showed no interest in leaving anything behind before we left Leader Dog. We headed for the "golden arches." (I had to "park" too.) For close to 20 minutes we did everything but shake that pup up and down to get something to come out. She only attempted to put things in, like dead grass, trash, wood chips, and dandelions. Daisy LOVES dandelions. She popped no less than 15 of them into her mouth and I dug each and every one out! Her eye-mouth coordination was astounding.

We soon tired of that game and got back in the car for the ride home. Daisy did quite well, so on the way home we visited JoAnne, our puppy counselor here in Flint. She's here to help us with any questions, plan outings for the puppies and their people, and make sure that we're not forgetting anything in Daisy's training. JoAnne is the best. For the year we've been on the waiting list she's made us feel so welcome, and has given us so many terrific hints. She's been almost as excited about our puppy as we have!

After our first successful "park" at JoAnn's we headed home for some serious play time. We tuckered her right out!

But not for long...
Hold on, I spoke too soon! Somebody just couldn't keep her eyes open!

What a wonderful day this has been. What an adventure awaits us!

If you enjoyed reading about Daisy, please consider a tax deductible donation to Leader Dogs For The Blind in Daisy's name. They do such good work and would so appreciate your kindness.

Send your check or money order (made out to Leader Dogs For The Blind) to:

C/O Mallery Press, LLC
4206 Sheraton Drive
Flint, MI 48532-3557