#GDApupRiggs is a Guide Dog!
On Friday we went to watch as our Riggs showed off his training with his new person, by walking through a busy neighbourhood, walking past open shop doors, navigating people, dogs, street vendors, and traffic. We stood on the opposite side of the street and tried to stay out of sight, just in case we distracted our puppy in his work, but Riggs didn’t even look in our direction!
On Saturday we attended his graduation ceremony and met his new person, and we got to tell him about raising Riggs and gave him the photos we’d chosen for him.
Watching Riggs and his person walk together on Friday caused a complicated mix of feelings in us as Puppy Raisers… now he REALLY is no longer ours. He was never “ours” in that he belonged to SA Guide-Dogs, but we are so very proud of the puppy we raised and trained, doing exactly what we were preparing him to do. And now being matched with his person, their bond as they work together will be far deeper than anything we could imagine.
Before the graduation ceremony, we got to spend some time with Riggs and his person, getting to know him, talking about raising Riggs, and finding out where he and Riggs will be living and working. He also gifted us with this beautiful framed portrait of himself and Riggs. Riggs is his first Guide Dog, and he is very excited about his future, and he’s a varsity student, so Riggs is going to be working very hard indeed. Riggs has always been a beautiful dog, and with his fur shining with a metallic gold in the sunshine, he and his person are going to get a lot of attention on campus! 😛
The graduation ceremony was very special, with us Puppy Raisers waiting outside with our puppies, and as we were announced we entered the hall and handed over the dog’s lead to our puppy’s person before taking a seat next to them. This was followed by a short slide show of pictures of each puppy, and a short message from their Puppy Raiser family:
When we fetched Riggs from Puppy Block, he was the last of his siblings to be brought out, and we couldn’t believe how big his feet were! He was put into my arms and was quite happy to snuggle and have a good look around, and he slept in my arms all the way home in the car.
He has a little ridge of hair across the bridge of his nose that makes it looks like he’s been wearing glasses, and occasionally people mistake this for a scar.
Riggs loves to be cuddled and groomed, and even clipping his nails is a breeze.
He loves riding in the car and hates to be left behind, and he loves to play tug-o-war and keep-away with a toy, trying to tempt you to grab it.
When he wants your attention, he will stand right up close to you and wag his tail, gazing at you, and if you don’t look at him he will nose-bump you!
He learns really fast, and he loves to work and learn!
We are really proud of him.
Then there were certificates and acknowledgement of sponsors and donations before we got to have tea and cake.
Riggs was very happy to see us, as we knew he would be, but the whole time we were talking to his person he stayed by his feet. When he was collected to go to the ceremony hall, leaving Riggs with us for a little while, Riggs watched him go with his ears popped forward as if to say, “Dude, where are you going without me?!” And when they left to finally go home after two weeks of training together, Riggs didn’t once look back or look for us.
Seeing them so intently focused on the person they have been matched with, and seeing the relationship they already have melts my heart.
People always ask Puppy Raisers how we are able to part with our puppies, and this is why.