Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Poem for Peggy

woman hugging black Lab puppy
by Mari Casanova

Like all puppy raisers, when that little pup goes off to school, you eagerly check the progress reports you receive by email each week and smile as you see their name and the phase they are in. Even more so, when it is your first pup! In our case, the first puppy we raised, Neeley, who was so awesome and loved by all, was career changed due to dog distraction in the eighth phase, (out of 10 in those days). We were disappointed, but happy that she joined our extended family.

We then joyfully began to raise Peggy. Perhaps because Neeley had not become a guide, I was very determined to do everything I possibly could to help her be successful. I saw her as valuable in so many ways and took my part in her training very seriously.
At the same time, we loved and enjoyed her while she was with us.

Inevitably, when she was old enough, she went off to her formal training and we began to watch her progress via the weekly emailed reports. We were ecstatic when we heard that she was “in class”, meaning that she was at the point where she was working with a blind person who could become her partner.

The experienced raisers in our raising group, BAARK (acronym for Brea Area Adult Raiser Klub) had told me how wonderful graduation was, and I looked forward to being able to proudly hand over the leash to her partner at graduation. I admit to getting choked up hearing the stories, reading the blog and even speaking to others about this wonderful program where I am so rewarded by having a small part. From her first puppy kisses we fell in love with her and now were just amazed at how much she had learned and what she could mean in the life of someone who is blind. How would I be able to speak from my heart, and actually get the words out?

My only hope was to “keep it light” as I said in my opening remarks at graduation. And in that regard, I decided to write a poem, “in the spirit of Dr. Seuss” in celebration of Peggy, her partner Michael, all the puppy raisers, breeders, trainers, well…. I guess all of GDB! I hope you enjoy it!

A “P” Litter Poem for Peggy

There once was a puppy named Peggy,
Who came from a P litter Pack.
Proud parents, Georgette and Flamenco-
8 pups -- both yellow and Black.

Some here at school
You might already know
Were Pueblo and Paris,
Persia, and Poe.
(Each of them precious to their last little toe.)

The “P” Litter Peeples
Raised them for you,
With patience, persistance,
And a promise, or two.

Oh, the places you’ll visit!
The people you’ll know!
You’ll make good working teams,
Wherever you go!

When the Puppy Truck comes,
You’ll go off to school.
They have playtime and walks,
And bubbles -- it’s cool!

Did I mention Pilates
And ice cubes and toys,
And cuddles, massages,
And pals to enjoy?

There’s walks and group play,
and a roommate. It’s true!
And more, there’s love,
Just waiting for you!

And the trainers!
Magicians! With tricks up their sleeves!
Propelling their prospects
With kibble and ease!

Eight levels of training
And skills to perfect-
No pressure!
The process produces the best!

And then comes the day when
Your partner you’ll greet.
With a sniff and wag
You will happily meet.

Together you’ll learn
To trust and to lead
With teamwork
You both will only succeed.

May you always be blessed
And continue to grow
And spread lots of smiles,
Wherever you go!

And now, cheers for you both,
And the other teams, too!
We’re proud as you graduate
From G D B School!

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