Guest post by puppy raiser Carrie Stoner, originally published in our newsletter, Open Doors
I started volunteering years ago because I wanted to take SSD Laurel home occasionally. Then SSD Bebe needed a sitter, and that was it. I got sucked in. After helping to interview many potential puppy raisers and not being able to explain the puppy raising experience to them, I decided to take the plunge and raise one. Just one. Shortly after making the decision, a little black bundle of fur named SSD Buster entered my life.
I took Buster home and introduced him to my family of pets, and they looked at me as if I was crazy. However, it did not take long for that little bundle to become part of the family. After a couple of January nights of 3 a.m. potty breaks, I thought I was crazy. However, it did not take long for that little bundle to become part of the family. Buster has brought much joy (and amusement) to my life. I will never forget the day Buster and I met my sister for lunch. She looked at the dog and asked where Buster was. I looked at her oddly and said "This is Buster."
"No, it's not. Buster is brown," she said.
I laughed and said again, "This is Buster." It took much convincing before she finally believed that the dog was Buster, and he was indeed black.
A "mother's" love is unconditional, but I realize that Buster is not perfect--he drools when it comes to food (what can he say, he loves to eat!), he runs for cover when I start cooking (don't ask!), and he insists on leaving his toys lying around. Despite his few flaws, he has the most amazing qualities that make me so proud. It warms my heart when people say nice things about him--and he is the most wonderful treat taker!
Buster has been placed in the York County Probation Department as the country's first facility dog to work specifically with the Veterans Treatment Court. While I'm going to miss Buster very much, I could not have asked for a better placement for my little dude. Buster will touch numerous people's lives with unconditional love the same way he touched mine every day.
On a regular basis, someone says they don't know how I can do it--raise a dog only to give it up. Fortunately, Buster will not be totally out of my life, but after witnessing first-hand how one dog can so dramatically change a person's life, shedding a few tears (or in my case, many tears) is worth it.
Remember earlier when I said "just one?" Well, that's like eating just one potato chip. I couldn't help myself. I get so much satisfaction knowing that a little work and patience on my part will be life-changing to someone else. And I have made many wonderful friends along the way. So, another journey begins with SSD Vicki. And, oh yeah, she is brown.
Susquehanna Service Dogs raises, trains, and places service dogs to assist individuals with disabilities. We train service, hearing, balance and companion dogs to support men, women, and children to be more independent.