It’s been just over a week since I heard that Dublin was graduating from Guide Dog College. The first thing I did was rush home and put together a new episode of Puppy In Training TV announcing his graduation. I told everyone on Facebook and Twitter. I wrote a second blog post officially inviting everyone to his graduation.
If you’re still following me on Facebook…thank you! I’ve been re-posting all of Dublin’s Puppy In Training TV videos as well as providing updates including this handsome picture of Dublin wearing his harness:
Awww…I’m so proud!!!
One other thing I’ve been doing is trying to find out from all the veteran puppy raisers (those who have had graduates) what should I try to do to prepare myself for Dublin’s big day. Here are some of the things I found out:
How To Prepare Yourself For Your Pups Guide Dog Graduation
Here it is a list of things that will hopefully help me at graduation and maybe also help some of you guys with future graduates waiting in the wings:
- Prepare a photo book for your puppy’s new partner. She can show off the puppy pics to her friends and family. I selected about a hundred of my favorite Dublin photos and put them in a nice photo album. I’m also packing Dublin’s 2 original puppy blankets along with a brand new homemade blanket.
- Pack your puppies favorite toy. I think all of Dublin’s toys were his favorite. However, he’s the first dog I’ve raised who absolutely loved his sterilized hollow bone so I’m going to pack one of those for his new partner.
- Make sure you take time to enjoy the experience. Everyone has told me that the day will just fly by before I know it. I’m going to do my best to take time to enjoy the moment.
- Bring Kleenex. I’m not much of a crier, but I will have my dark sunglasses on and put some kleenex in my pocket just in case.
- Keep the speech on the shorter side. It’s really about Dublin and his partner not me. I plan to congratulate the new team and thank my GDA, friends, family, and all of the puppy raisers from our OCGDA group.
- Be ready for your heart to burst out of your chest when you see your puppy in harness for the first time. I’m really getting excited for graduation. I can’t wait to see Dublin as a working guide dog.
- Take lots of pictures and from different angles. I have my mother and girlfriend there. Mom is in charge of the main photography and Ali is in charge of video for my next episode of Puppy In Training TV!
- Have your name, address, email address, and phone number ready to give to your pup’s new partner. I will definitely have that information ready and will also put it in with her photo book and blankets.
- Ask for their information as well so you may correspond. I need to make it a point to ask her for this information.
- Ask to pet when you go in the room before ceremony. Yes! Yes! Yes! I mustn’t be shy…
- This is a time for a little more “letting go”. Be sensitive to the blind graduate’s feelings and try to emphasize the positive aspects. I must always remember this is a graduation for the new guide dog team and not me.
- Plan ahead for lunch with the new guide dog team. I didn’t do this and don’t plan on doing this. I’m pretty sure her family is going to be there and if so I’d like here to enjoy the day with her family. If the family is not there then I’ll be sure and ask her if she’d like to join us for lunch.
- Remember to breath. Good advice…I don’t want to pass out!
That’s it! Those are the 13 tips I received on how to prepare for my puppy’s guide dog graduation. One thing almost everyone mentioned was to make sure to take it all in and enjoy the experience. I know the day will go by fast and I can’ t wait to see my little buddy Dublin.
Do you have any other tips for Guide Dog graduation? Is there anything special you did before, during, or after you puppy in training graduated? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.