This post is a part of an 8-day series.
We often go into an experience with certain expectations for the outcome. We create these scenarios in our heads and expect them to unfold the way in which we intended. But, oftentimes, The Universe has a funny way of working itself out, you know? You eventually come to understand that maybe, just maybe, the unexpected is far more meaningful and wonderful than what we had ever expected before.
Today, Wish and I graduated from service dog training camp. That’s right, cue the Graduation Song by Vitamin C because we have officially turned our tassels to the other side- in the metaphorical sense of course. But, just like how any other graduation goes, emotions ran wild. Well, at least for me and my mom.
As we went to get on the bus back to the hotel for the very last time, Wish refused to leave. She plopped herself at the bottom of the stairs as if she knew she wouldn’t be coming back. After some convincing and tugging at her leash, she reluctantly came on and went straight to her momma’s lap. I am eternally grateful to all of Wish’s trainers and foster family for raising this girl into a well-mannered service dog. I’m also happy to be going home, but I think if I could, I would’ve plopped myself at the bottom of the stairs, too.
You see, I began this trip under the impression that I would go to class, do my thing, then head back home with a new companion. Sure, I did that, but there was SO much more than what I was expecting. When the bus turned left out of the Canine Assistants farm, a bittersweet feeling overcame me, and that’s when I realized: I met an exceptionally remarkable group of people down here, (including a few with Spinal Muscular Atrophy!) and I was honestly going to miss them. You don’t really expect that to happen, you know? After all, it’s only seven days, and these people are all complete strangers to you. However, that just wasn’t the case here.
Goodbyes are never easy, and I was reminded of that today. With gratitude in our hearts and melancholy eyes, we said goodbye to the dedicated trainers and staff, to the amazing foster families who selflessly cared for our dogs and socialized them for the past 14-18 months, and to each other. I’ll never forget this week, and most importantly, I’ll forever carry each person here in my heart. I wish you all the best.
See you tomorrow, Rhode Island. Wish can’t wait to meet you.