Bolo just turned 7 months and we are approaching the halfway mark. Much of my day is spent with this sweet dog. In fact, as I type now, she is sound asleep at my feet. I often wonder if she feels the same comfort as I do with her puppy head resting on my shoes.
Wherever we go, BOLO continues to attract attention. I thought that might fade after she grew out of her irresistible puppy stage, but she has blossomed into one of the most beautiful Labrador Retrievers most people have ever seen. Her vest prompts questions as to what type of working dog she will become. It is evident that she is still in training. I enjoy the opportunity to explain our relationship with Leader Dogs for the Blind, how we first embarked on The BOLO Project- to train BOLO as a future Leader Dog, and our hopes for raising awareness and funds for this incredible organization.
The question I get asked more than any other is, “How will you be able to give her up?” The truth of the matter is that it will be very hard. I constantly remind myself of the conversation I had with the director of philanthropic giving that included a quote he had heard, “it’s not what you will be giving up…it’s what you will be giving”. This message was pivotal for me in making the final decision to become a puppy raiser for the organization.
It was not hard to fall in love right away with BOLO. Her incredibly sweet demeanor and willingness to work and learn these past several months make her so special. I am extremely proud to play a small role in the life-changing impact BOLO will have for someone. I also realize that it will be hard to initially let her go. Puppy raisers devote their energies and heartfelt efforts to help these pups achieve the ultimate goal of creating new independence for the visually impaired. While it is sad to say the initial goodbye, they say it is one of the most rewarding experiences as well. I anticipate that I will experience similar emotions.
It does not matter how much I love BOLO. There are times when letting go benefits others in a greater capacity than one could ever imagine. When I do finally return BOLO to embark on the next stage of her journey, I will leave her with the hope she succeeds in what she is destined to do. As she becomes focused on the serious job that lies ahead, I also hope she never forgets me, the bond we shared, and her time at Dog is Good. However, because not all of the puppies make it all the way through the program, there is a chance she could have a career change. If this is determined, BOLO will be welcomed immediately back into our lives.