Friday, April 10, 2015

Daughters and Dogs put Dad at a Disadvantage!

Sarah gets to hold her new Guide Dog 
puppy, Orchard

Ok, I'm willing to admit, I'm just a a Dad who likes his things just so, and generally, even though their cute, a dog isn't usually isn't high on my list.  However when you throw daughters into that mix, I am at a real disadvantage in the negotiations!  When our oldest daughter Jessica was young, she wanted a dog and of course promised to maintain it and help pay for it, and well you know the story.  I'm actually allergic to dogs and cats, so the thought of having them in the house, just wasn't high on my list.  We negotiated an outside option and our Daisy came into our lives.  Daisy was there for nine years until cancer took her from us, but she did have a great impact in my girls lives.  I wrote a blog about Daisy's passing and it was an emotional time for our family.  The pitches for a new dog came and I pushed back.  Our girls were getting older and Cathy and I ended up walking her more and more in those later years.

A few years ago, Sarah took a class on raising guide dogs for the blind.  She loved the course and not really known to me at the time, one of the potential outcomes, is you qualify to be able to raise a guide dog puppy of your own.  Of course as a guide dog puppy, there was no being outside. They are puppies and do what puppies do and it requires a great deal more discipline on top of it.  After a series of long and mediated negotiations between Sarah and Dad, her mom convinced me it would be in our daughter's best interest.  I will admit that Sarah has worked hard, does much of the work, but I still help nearly every day in feeding him breakfast and giving him his early morning potty break.  Dennis has been kind enough to lick my bare feet, even when I don't want it.  He frequently brushes up next to me, licks my feet, my arms, my hands, and then moves.  A few minutes later, he repeats.  Dennis has made a great deal of progress and is a few months from returning back to do some more advanced training before hopefully being assigned to someone who is blind.
Sarah with Dennis and her new guide dog puppy "Orchard"
A few months ago, we felt we had done our time, when Sarah proposed that she do it again.  This was a very challenging discussion and with the help of her teacher at Innovations Early College High, who agreed to raise the puppy until August, in which case we would take over the mostly trained puppy and those early potty training experiences, that included some long nights.  Sarah has a busy summer ahead and this ultimately seemed like a fair compromise.  Both she and her teacher were elated, I once again decided I needed to bring in a higher priced negotiator in the future.
That brings us today.  When Sarah got to greet her new puppy Orchard.  When you see the happiness it brings to her, somehow you look past the fact your skin is itching, repair of the dents caused by Dennis in the family room wall could be postponed and somehow we got use to hair all over the place despite frequent vacuuming.  All I can say is that daughters with dogs put Dad at a disadvantage!