my quest for 4-legged independence

A Placeholder…

I have had this leash and collar hanging in my room since around the age of 18. It has been a constant presence and reminder for me that I will one day have my “heart dog”, the one that I have waited for so long, wished for, and prayed over. It is almost as though s/he already lives with me, I am reminded of him or her everyday.

Encouraging news: Today PAD emailed saying that all of my paperwork has been received and will be reviewed today! It is much easier now to be patient knowing that I haven’t been forgotten, I was getting nervous that either they didn’t approve of me or that something had happened to my paperwork. But, so far, all is well!

Additionally, I received a call from a second Doberman rescue today and we spoke for over an hour discussing my situation, asking questions, and learning more about the breed and the rescue organization. They are very willing to help find a good candidate for me whether I am able to adopt from them or not, they are also very willing to educate me on what to look for on my own regarding breed specific health issues and behavioral characteristics.

I’m so grateful that I had contacted that first Dobie rescue, it is because of them that this second rescue was able to contact me. My information has been sent out across the state because of how helpful they’ve been. I trust and know that God will handle things in His perfect way, but I also know it doesn’t hurt to take some initiative and put myself and my story out there. I have no control over what happens next or who my “heart dog” will end up being, or even the breed and health of that dog. The dog could develop cancer a year after he’s finally been trained, I have no control over that. This process is really going to test and grow every fiber of my being, I can only hope that my “heart dog” and I will find victory- to God be all the glory if we can.

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Searching…

I’m working on finding a potential dog to owner-train. A nearby Doberman rescue called me back today, and although they do not have any candidates for me, they had recently placed a rescued dog with a disabled woman to train as a SD. This was encouraging to hear, but what was more encouraging is that the owner of the rescue was willing to forward my information to the other rescues she is connected with in order to find a qualifying dog for my needs.

I’m so happy to have spoken with her. I hope that, in God’s timing, a good candidate can be found. If the rescues don’t pan out, PAD has also offered to help with dog selection- pending my acceptance into their program. I’m still waiting to hear back from PAD, I do know that all of my referral letters have made it into the mail. I don’t know much else.

I’m also working on creating my résumé in order to apply for jobs as my current work situation has fallen through. I want to be able to fund this service dog on my own without any outside help- that is my goal. If I eventually do need help I will ask for it. For now I will bide my time.

Restless…

Never mind the fact that the waiting list for PAD is up to three years long and the training period for a dog is 2 more years… I’m obsessively checking my email every single day- no, hour- to see if I’ve been chosen as a candidate yet.

I’m mentally preparing myself now for the prospect of struggling the way I have been for another 3-5 years. What are my strategies for coping? Can I do it? I’m mostly convinced I can’t but I’ll have to push through it.

I’m just so restless. I’ve been dealing with my body for the past 5 years, no all-encompassing diagnosis, and the emotional toll that goes along with it. If I have to wait until my 10 year anniversary for some four legged relief…. Then I can only hope that the reward for that much patience will be so much sweeter tasting.

For now I will continue checking my email inbox and praying.

Wait for Me…

While living in a women’s program I learned of the concept of praying for my future husband and his preparation in becoming a faithful man of God. It’s something many of the ladies partook in, and I sometimes find myself praying for my own future someone.

Today a song by Rebecca St. James, “Wait for Me”, inspired me to sit back and pray not only for my future husband’s well-being, but also that of my future service dog.

Mind you, nothing is set in stone yet regarding PAD or an SD, but I am fervently praying about it. I have already asked God numerous times FOR an SD (service dog), but today was the first time I specifically prayed for his or her’s well-being.

Along with praying that my future husband is growing in gentleness and patience, I prayed that my future SD was either in good health or that his (her) mother was in good health (in the case that s/he wasn’t born yet). And if he (she) is already here on the Earth, that he (she) is preparing well for their future working life with me.

I’m waiting for both of you, my future husband and my future SD. May God smile upon you both! Please wait for me….

The Ball is Rolling…

I’m receiving word from different friends and professionals that my referral forms have been received and will be in the mail soon for PAD to review. These referral forms will help PAD decide if I’m a good candidate or not for their program.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up too soon, but I am allowing myself to feel happy. My main hope is that this dog (who may not even be born yet) will allow me to go off to school out-of-state and be a functional student without relying on family. I feel as though my academic life and future career are completely dependent on this service dog.

Referrals…

Last night I had a bit of an envelope stuffing party as many of my preferred referrals live far away from me. I have an envelope inside of an envelope thing going on so that my friends and professionals can easily pop the paperwork in the mail because the PAD address and postage stamp are already there for them.

To those who are unaware: after someone applies for a service dog through the PAD website, the application gets reviewed and then referral forms are sent out. A minimum of 3 referrals are necessary, two personal and one professional. Until those completed referral forms are received the PAD process cannot move forward.

I have forms in the mail currently on their way to GA and NC to be completed. It’s nice to feel as though things are moving along. Tomorrow I see my doctor for several reasons, but one will also be to give her an envelope like the one below with my referral paperwork:

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Patience…

Although I’ve endlessly researched the ins and outs of SD life, I never felt it was within my reach until now.

This past week I spoke at length with the founder of Phoenix Assistance Dogs and ended up submitting my application.  I am now in the process of collecting referrals from people who know me and can comment on my situation.  Now all I must be is patient.

Patience is hard when you’ve just been told by your cardiologist that you’re not allowed to work.  Especially when you were counting on that summer job to support your desire to properly own and care for a service dog.  Patience is hard when you’re already reaching out in hopes that a furry friend will come for your rescue, or at least stay by you whilst your body struggles to regain some normalcy.  Patience is hard when you’ve been patient for 5 years already.

But with a reward so sweet as a furry face ready to help me to “brace” at a moments’ notice- I think I can manage to be patient for awhile longer.