Monday, October 10, 2011

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HRH Berkeley Has Found a Home

When we picked up Berkeley from Southeastern, the Kennel Master told us, “Make sure you don’t coddle her.  This is a soft litter.” Meaning the litter was a bit timid and fearful.  So right from the beginning, Her Royal Highness Berkeley had some things to overcome and with everyone’s help she made amazing progress. 

When we found out she was afraid of balloons, Emma, a junior, was sweet and stayed and worked with her with the birthday balloon she had brought to school.  When we found out she was afraid of people with headphones, Andrew, a sophomore, stayed and worked with her until she was comfortable with him and those headphones.

But there is a reason that only 40% (the last statistic I have heard) of the guide dogs in training make it as guide dogs.  It is a very, very tough and demanding job that requires the dog really want that to be his/her profession.  When it came down to it, Berkeley could not overcome her fear of strangers.  There is a test they do where she and her trainer are in a room and a stranger comes in.  Berkeley was fine.  Then the stranger went out and put on headphones or sunglasses or a hat.  Each time, Berkeley became fearful and scared of the stranger, which disqualified her.

However, BECAUSE OF ALL THE LOVE AND HARD WORK MY SCHOOL PUT INTO HER TRAINING, BECAUSE OF THE SUPPORT WE FELT FROM OUR BLOG READERS AND FROM OUR FELLOW PUPPY RAISERS AND ACs WHO MAKE EVERY MEETING VALUABLE it did not disqualify her from being adopted to another family, which is what happened.  I’ve waited until I had all the details to pass on and frankly, I'm teary writing this.  I can’t tell you how much everyone’s support means to me and to Fred.  We couldn’t do this alone.  It does take a village. A crazy, dog-filled village.  

Below is the story of her adoptive family.

Thank you,

Fred and Cheryl

This email came from Chrissy at Southeastern Guide Dogs. She is in charge of Placement:

Dana and Marion have always been a 3 dog household. They have also been involved with Southeastern Guide Dogs for many years – supporting us and adopting from us. Knowing one of their dogs was getting older, they put themselves back on our adoption waiting list about a year ago. When their 12 year old career change dog passed away last month, they were heartbroken. They let us know that she passed and sent a donation in her memory.
I had planned on giving Dana a call this week to give my condolences and see if/when they would be ready to adopt again, but he beat me to the punch by stopping in. He told me that he was in the area and wanted to touch base with me. When he expressed that he and Marion were feeling a void in their household, I asked if he thought they were ready to adopt again. He said yes so I asked what kind of dog they would prefer. He told me that they would love any dog, but if they had to be picky, they would prefer a female black Lab. I knew that I had just the girl for them and asked if he’d like to meet her.

It was love at first sight! Berkeley gave Dana a few licks on the cheek and within 10 minutes, they were spooning on the lobby floor – Berkeley belly up. It was a done deal!

HRH Berkeley is one the far left and looks like she is giving some orders about who is going to get that treat!
Dana and Marion couldn’t stop thanking me and feel incredibly lucky to have another great Southeastern dog in their life. However, I think Berkeley got the best end of the deal as she will be living a life of luxury with them. She will spend most of the year at their home on the river in the Jacksonville and spend her summers at their home in Maine.

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