The Perfect Valentine's Day
Hmmm where to start....there is just so much to say and words cannot do the night justice.
It was such a whirlwind of emotions, and passed by seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Grad is a special enough occasion as it is, but last night I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some of my best friends who had travelled near and far to come for support. Special thanks to Sam, who spent the time making our card and coming to grad instead of studying for her two Friday afternoon midterms! and AmyG, whose card made me bawl. Even MORE special was the fact that Amy B's Clifford and Fielder were graduating together, our poodle boys are grown up! I wish we'd had the chance to get a picture of them together, but here is one from way back when:
(Um okay, let's all pretend we can actually see Fielder, and not a black blob)
The grad itself was amazing. I had a tiny spazzout moment (okay fine I was a nervous wreck the entire drive up) due to the fact that my dad was late getting home from work, we were then stuck in rush hour traffic from Mississauga to Hamilton, and THEN getting a text from Kelsey saying if I didn't show up for grad, Fielder would be automatically disqualified. I could see the humour in it, after I recovered from my heart attack.
When we got there, it was hugs all around- a lot of people from our POOP group showed up, some of whom I hadn't seen since the SUMMER! Fortunately, Sam, Amy, Amy and I had room to sit together at the back, where AmyB and I proceeded to cry for the next hour.One funny moment, though, was when Amy and I had both gotten our foster family envelopes containing a picture of our puppy and their handler, and a letter of thanks from the school. Amy opened hers up to read "Dear David..." We laughed so hard we cried, but since speeches were still going on up at the front we had to suppress our giggles which turned into a lot of snorting (Yeah you, AmyG) and falling over. Plus from now on, you must only address her as David.
After all the speeches and presentations were over, it was finally time to reunite with our pups and meet their new handlers. For me, this was the most difficult part-it was so emotional to finally see "the big picture", and having everything come full circle.
The good news is, Fielder's new handler is everything I could have dreamed of for my little man. She's so sweet and promised to e-mail me updates and send me pictures in the mail. She told me that Fielder was a hard worker and a people-pleaser and that she would work hard to become a good team with him. That was when the tears started flooding again. She thanked me profusely and told me that she would never forget me and what I had given her. By this time I could NOT stop crying at all, especially since she was crying too. One of the sweetest things I have ever heard though, was when she told me that even though she lived close by, she would wait until the morning to go home because she didn't want Fielder to be scared in a strange house in the dark.
I gave her the photo album I had put together, and she was so emotional that she couldn't look past the first picture because of the tears. She was so thankful for Fielder that it was impossible to not feel happy that Fielder was her's. Our reunion had been tremendously happy, as soon as he saw me he jumped up nearly to my shoulders in height and would not stop bouncing and licking me. But as I spent more time with them, it was clear to me that Fielder had already started the all-important bonding with his handler- he would keep going back to her, his little tail wagging furiously.
The hardest moment though, was obviously saying goodbye. How do you say goodbye to something you've been so attached to for over a year? I do believe that it was the perfect goodbye though. With his handler, her family, my family and Fielder's trainers looking on, I knelt down to his little level, and he gave me a big ol sloppy kiss. With a last I love you and Be a good boy, he put his paws on my shoulders and I hugged him for a long moment. After that, I hugged his handler and wished her the best of luck with him. She thanked me again, and it was the kind of thank you that had all kinds of emotion behind it. It was so hard to leave, but it was infinitely better than leaving after recall because this time I knew he was starting a new life, the life he was destined for.
To my dearest Fielder,
The day you came into my life a year and a half ago was one of the best days of my life. Little did I know that this little furball would change me forever- you have taught me so much, for which I am eternally grateful. You taught me patience, how to enjoy the little things in life, and that it's not a bad idea at times to slow down and just be. Most of all, you (and Petey) taught me the power of love, and no matter how cliche it is, it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
Except I haven't really lost you because you'll always be in my heart. I am so proud of you that you have made it this far, and that you'll continue to spread your poodly love to your new family. What a big job you have for a such a little dude, but I am confident that you have what it takes to rise above and beyond.
You'll always be my little Poofman and I'll always look back on our time together fondly, knowing that you've changed my life for the better and taking comfort in the fact that you left because someone else needed you even more than I did. I know that this is the right path for you, and that you will be happy in your new home with your new family. Congratulations, little man. We did it.