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!