The Patrick Chronicles – Part 1

Posted August 29, 2020 by growingupguidepup

For more details on our products and services, please feel free to visit us at: service dog etiquette, service dog puppy raiser, guide dog, puppy in training, assistance dog.

On November 4th 2016 we turned guide dog puppy Patrick in for formal training and breeder evaluations. A few months later we were informed that he was not going to be either a guide or a breeder for the organization, that he was placed in another line or work. We were not told what type of work or any other information about where he was sent, or what was in his future. For me as a puppy raiser it was the absolute worst news I could have been given.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with what a puppy raiser does, here is an overview. A puppy raiser takes in a baby puppy for a service dog organization and teaches it the basics. Potty training, basic obedience skills, house manners, and socializes it to the outside world. Then, when an organization feels that they are ready for more advanced training, they are returned for formal training with professional trainers.
First thing to know is that a puppy raiser is a volunteer, probably one of the biggest commitments of any volunteer position. Most volunteer positions a person does when it fits into their schedule. They can choose how much time they want to commit to the position. For a puppy raiser the time commitment is 24/7 for usually 12-16 months. We got Patrick when he was 10 weeks old and returned him when he was 18 month old. So he was with us for 16 months, with the exception of him being away for 3 weeks for an evaluation. That is a time commitment of 61 weeks, that is 427 days, or 10,248 hours that either Matt or I were in charge of his care. That is a huge time commitment.
Second a puppy raiser often pays for many things required for the puppy during the time it is with the raiser. Each organization is different on what coverage of expenses they may cover for their puppies. In the case of Patrick we covered all expenses. While he was in our care we paid for his food, vaccinations, other medical care, toys, collars, flea and heartworm preventative medications, travel to and from the organization for initial pick up, evaluation, and his final return.
Third, raising a puppy is a big emotional commitment. These puppies are with their raisers almost all the time, they are rarely left home alone. It is very hard not to get attached with the amount of time a raiser spends with the puppies. I for one probably get too attached, to all the puppies I have raised. I watch them grow up before my eyes. Cheer for them when they learn something new or do something right. For me I learn something new from each puppy that I have the privilege to work with. Patrick was my 15th puppy to raise and one of the hardest to give up.
This is a lot of time and money to donate to an organization. As with most volunteer positions it isn’t money that a person is looking to gain in return for the time and energy put into their position. For me as a volunteer my return is knowing that what I did made a difference. With other puppies when they graduated and I had a chance to see them guide their visually impaired partner. I had a chance to sit back and watch, and tell myself…wow, Matt and I helped make this happen. Look at our dog go! There is a huge feeling of pride. Then there are the dogs we raised that didn’t make the cut and go on to work. Those dogs we had a hand in placing. We had a chance to see the lives of the families that adopted them change and the joy that their new dog brought them. That is all I really want in return of all that I give. To see my puppy happy and healthy with whoever they end up with.
When we didn’t get our usual return with Patrick I took to writing a blog about how it affected me. Now social media can be both and amazing place to get your story out, but can also be a place where you can get criticized. I got both. So many people reached out both publicly and via private message to give me support. I was really surprised by it. Probably the biggest surprise was the number of people telling us about how they too were puppy raisers and had a similar story. It was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. But I was also criticized a bit. One person in particular told me that I was only seeking attention, that I knew what I was getting into and I was being ridiculous. I was told that the person that received Patrick wanted to remain anonymous and that I wasn’t being respectful. Yes I knew that I would be raising a puppy that I had to give up, but I was never told that there was a chance that I would not know the outcome of that puppy.
I wasn’t sure if anything would come of my blog with finding Patrick, but as chance would have it, my blog did reach someone who could help connect the dots for me. Shortly after my blog went out I got a private message from someone who had no affiliation to any of the organizations involved with Patrick’s placement. She gave me a lead to a facility that trains police dogs and they had on their website a profile of dog that matched our Patrick. On that profile it also said where he was placed. I was in shock that someone had been able to find him and was willing to share it with me.
So we have had an idea of where Patrick was for a year and a half now, but we were just recently able to confirm it. He was trained for police work. I’m sure that there are many people asking “why did you take so long?!” Well the truth is…I had no idea if they department who had Patrick wanted us to know that he was there. Afterall we were told that the recipient wanted to remain anonymous. But was that the facility that he went to to train for his new career, or the department that eventually received him? We had no idea if we contacted them if we were invading the privacy of the department or his partner. We didn’t want to be seen as crazy stalkers.
We recently decided to take that chance and see if the information we got was the real deal. We took a chance at attending a K9 trial and hoped that Patrick would be one of the competitors. The department we thought he was with was listed to be there. The gamble paid off. There were many dogs there, but not every dog from the department we went to see. We did see a dog that looked and acted like Patrick. Both Matt and I were pretty certain it was him, but he had a different name.
For more details on our products and services, please feel free to visit us at: service dog etiquette, service dog puppy raiser, guide dog, puppy in training, assistance dog.
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Issued By growingupguidepup
Country United States
Categories Business
Last Updated August 29, 2020