Friday, October 21, 2011


Honey has been gone for 48 hours now and is hopefully settling in at Southeastern. Having her in our lives for the past year has lead us to new routines and now that she is IFT some of our routines have been thrown out of whack.
  • Awww, it is weird not having Honey jump up on me when I come home from school (Michael)
  • I miss Honey sooooo much (Billy)
  • It is too quiet without Honey (Michael)
  • Do you want me to feed Honey? (Billy)
  • Is Honey coming with us to the football game? (ME!)
I am sure we are all noticing how different our lives are without Honey. Yesterday, without Honey by my side, I suddenly (and frequently) was sick to my stomach with that 'I lost my wallet' (or purse) feeling. Other people noticed Honey was missing too. I was proud of myself that I was able to explain, without crying, IFT to those who asked "Where's your dog?'. At home, things were not going much better. I left the camera bag on the bedroom floor and when I came back into the bedroom I told the camera bag it was a 'good girl' (yes the bag is black and was sitting in Honey's usual spot). Scotty noticed that socks are now delegated to the floor instead of my night stand. Our UPS delivery man was upset he arrived too late to say good bye to Honey. The mailman too. I did not realize the impact Honey's time in Tennessee had on others. Last night I prayed for continued strength and, as a new day begins, I look forward to answering the 'Where's your dog?" questions confidently and heading out dogless (my made up word of the day!), knowing we gave Honey our best.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Honey Heads IFT

Overnight the weather took a drastic turn and became cold, overcast and rainy - and it fit my depressed mood just fine!
Throughout our raising of Honey, we were careful to remind ourselves (and each other) that Honey was not our puppy. Honey was ours to raise for a short time and then she was (hopefully) going to be matched with her life partner. We kept repeating 'We may WANT Honey but someone NEEDS Honey'. As many times as we have said that, our hearts were not feeling it. Especially yesterday.
The day for Honey to head IFT sadly (for us) arrived. Due to scheduling conflicts with the kids activities, the start of cancer treatments for Scotty's Dad and the distance to campus (almost 12 hours without stops) we would not be able to bring Honey IFT on October 29th. We will not be there to see Honey and her litter mates and all the other 'dogs' reunite and head off to the receiving kennel. We will not be able to meet with other raisers or participate in the new Guide Dog U: Freshman Orientation. We were looking forward to finally seeing and touring the Southeastern Guide Dog campus, putting faces to names of the behind the scenes people with whom we have spoken and also getting the opportunity to know better some of the people we have 'met' through the Southeastern Guide Dogs and Southeastern Guide Dogs Puppy Raisers facebook pages. We were, however, thankful that our AC, Becky Dan, was able to arrange to have Honey and Moose transported back to Southeastern for us.

Michael saying good bye to Honey
Billy saying good bye to Honey
Pat with Moose and Scotty with Honey in the parking lot for the send off
Scotty, Honey and I right before Honey headed into the van for her ride back to Southeastern. Note the fake smiles and robotic poses. It is hard to be stoic when your heart is aching.
Honey looking out from the crate wondering why we are not getting in the van with her
Honey in the crate taking it all in - and, of course, smiling

I could barely see through my tears to take pictures but I am glad I continued to try as I got this last picture of Honey before she left...
I want to believe she is thinking 'Thank you for raising me. Don't be sad for I am headed back to where I belong to do what I was born to do. I will see you again at Puppy Raiser day!'

Yes, Honey, we will see you then!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IFT Forms - Major Sadness

We were filling out Honey's In For Training paper work and were happy to see most of the of the Final Evaluations form questions were easy to answer.
  • Housebroken - YES
  • Chewing in a controlled state - Yes
  • Familiar with find the door - Yes
  • Any feeding problems - No
Then came time to complete the Puppy Raiser Bio Form and the questions required much more thought and reflection to answer.
  • Fun and positive adventures with your pup
  • Positive traits
  • What puppy raising taught us
  • Wishes for whomever is matched with the puppy
Well, we could have written page after page but were provided only 3/4 of a page to respond. How small can I write and still think someone could read it? How could we possibly squeeze all we would want someone to know about Honey in 3/4 of a page?! How could we possibly narrow down all the positive adventures with Honey into that little space?! I think I am going to attach this picture of the always smiling Honey as my response. After all, isn't a picture worth a thousand words?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Second Puppy Photos

It feels wrong to post on what I consider to be 'Honey's Blog' photos of the new pup we are going to raise especially since we know our time with Honey is coming to an end. Our AC, Becky, took these pictures while she was at Southeastern Guide Dogs for the AC meeting. Soon, it will be time to fall in love all over again.

Scotty's Birthday

Ok, the camera was out to capture Scotty's birthday, but guess who had to get in the pictures?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Honeys last visit to the Farm

Seems like everything we do with Honey lately brings some sadness. Knowing she will be going in for training this month made this visit to the farm especially sad.
Honey hanging out near the barn lot
Saying goodbye to farm playmate, Lad
Waiting for Papa to share some of that tasty apple
Running in the open fields
Playing 'bring the bone'
Exhausting herself
Honey posing in the field
Honey posing at the barn lot
Honey resting in the field
Honey taking in one last view of the farm

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Second Puppy

We found out today that we will be raising again. This time we will raise a male yellow lab. We do not know his name yet, (we are calling him 'Second Puppy' for now) but we do know he is from the Ellen/Gunnar litter born 9/4/11. He will be released from the Southeastern Guide Dogs kennel on November 7th. We are working on trying to get him to Nashville as soon after his release date as possible. Hopefully a new puppy in the house will distract us from missing Honey when she heads back to campus.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is going on here?

Honey was very interested in watching t.v. Maybe she has been spending too much time with the boys. Today she 'watched' Cats verses Dogs.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Honey and the Band

Fall brings football, band season and long days at band competitions. Some of these events can last 10 hours or more! Of course, if we are attending a competition, so is Honey. And this suits her just fine. Honey loves to be out and about, being kept busy and checking out new sites, sounds and scents. I think she particularly likes to see if she can nab popcorn off the ground before we notice.
Honey and the band line up for their callback evening performance
The stands are very crowded but Honey manages to find a little comfy spot
There is a lot of loud music
and twirling flags
And, of course, a hug for such a good puppy from the birthday girl, Amy