While I have loved every litter that has rambled through my doorway with a complete “all-in” attitude and I love following all of their journeys, the Amazing L’s have impacted me in a way I never expected when I began the whelping journey. Through these pups I challenged my current way of thinking, I grew, and I changed. When you open yourself up enough to really see and hear what other people are thinking, living and experiencing, it can change your entire perspective without letting your own opinions, experiences and assumptions get in the way-if you allow it. They gave me an opportunity to open my perspective and open my heart in ways I previously didn’t think mattered, and my experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Through the journey with the L litter, I got to see so many amazing things through a different lens that I had never been able to see before. I had the incredible opportunity to see inside of a prison system-to see the programs where inmate handlers puppy raise for a service dog organization. I got to speak at length with them about how the program works on the inside, why they chose to get involved with the program, and how the program changes their lives. They shared with me stories of their past, their present and what they hope will be their future-and how a little puppy with unbridled joy and a wagging tail made them see their future differently. Their stories brought tears to my eyes, but I didn’t want to have it just end there. I went home and really dug deep into my views and thinking for ways to make this experience count for more than just one day. They probably have no idea how much those conversations meant to me and how they really did change who I am today! Any time that you can have something in your life that changes your perception about a person, place, or thing and gives you a different lens with which to see their experience, it’s truly a spectacular gift.
Then I had the privilege of seeing some of the litter mates being put into different programs in the US and Canada. It allowed me the chance to see all of the organizations that work to make sure service dogs are trained and placed with clients to change every aspect of how they live their daily lives. I got to see similarities and differences, and how all of those different approaches still bring success into the service dog world. There is no ONE right way. Through connecting with the organizations and their clients I’ve been able to increase my awareness of how challenging a world can be, and how these canine miracles pave a road of independence and freedom that once seemed impossible to many. These puppies have been placed in a variety of situations with clients who have a whole spectrum of possibilities that the dogs will make a reality. The puppy raisers, fosters, organizations and clients all have amazing and unique stories to tell and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to see it from so many different angles!
It’s hard to imagine that these experiences have all happened in only 4 years! Sometimes I feel like I’ve squeezed a lifetime of learning in these few short years. With joy I get to see these pups went on to have wonderful experiences with many people along the way and now they get to be with a forever person who loves them, if it’s possible, even more than I did when they were with me for their first weeks of life. Such lucky pups to have so much love in these 4 years!
So, today I want to wish the Amazing L’s the most incredible of birthdays ever! May your journey far exceed your expectations and may your gift of service change the lives of everyone lucky enough to be in your world, for MANY years to come!