You know how you feel when you get home from work and you take off your shoes and whatever else has been confining you all day? You flop on the couch or jump on your bike, and you shed all the cares and restrictions of the day.
Thats how I imagine Pippen felt yesterday, when we visited the family who will adopt her when she retires. The house sits on 4 acres of land, some woods, some pasture, and about an acre of yard, out in the country. Its a dream come true for any dog, but for a guide dog, it was pure unleashed joy. When we arrived, I had her on leash, but in seconds, I could tell that she was itching to go exploring. I had suspected that she would be a little overwhelmed with this new family, another dog, and a cat, in this unfamiliar place, but I couldnt have been more wrong. As soon as the leash was unsnapped, she was off like a shot, nose to the ground, inspecting every inch of the yard and beyond. Pippen and the other dog, Molly, greeted each other with the traditional doggy handshake, that is, noses to tails, and quickly agreed that it was Nice to meet ya, but I have way too many things to smell, so well talk later. .
Jessica, the Mom in the family, whom I had met through a friend at church, just happens to be a veterinarian. What a blessing. Not only will I be assured that Pippen will be loved and have a great place to play, but I will also know that she will be well cared for. Its obvious that Jessica and her husband rocky are dog lovers, and that there is a feeling of happiness in their home.
We stood in the front yard for a a little while, watching Pippen as she gleefully sprinted from one fascinating smell to another. After a few minutes, she came romping back to me, and I thought maybe she was tired. But oh no. she just bumped me with her side, as if to touch base, and off she went again. When we moved up to the front porch, this old dog, who can hardly get up into a van, jumped up onto the porch, completely ignoring the 4 steps leading up to it. Was she having so much fun that she forgot she was too old for that, or was she showing off for Jessica? She was panting, so rocky brought out a pan of water, but Pippen turned up her nose. It was well water, and this city dog wasnt used to the mineral smell. She was really thirsty, so she sniffed it, and sniffed it again, and decided to take a tentative lap. Then back out into the yard, she went, leaping off the side of the porch. Shed roll on the ground, and then Molly would roll in the same spot. They did that with peeing too. Every now and then, someone would say, Wheres Pippen? then Rocky would step out into the yard and spot her around the side of the house, or out in the pasture, checking out her new digs.
When we were nearing the end of our visit, Pippen let us know that she hadnt seen everything yet. She stood by the front door of the house and whined. She was saying, but I want to see the inside of the house too. So, we all, like well-trained humans, trooped into the house, so Pippen could have a look around. Like a little kid, she scampered upstairs to see where everybody slept, checked out the dining room to see if there were any crumbs left from lunch, and finally came back to me, ready to get in the car and take a nap.
When the time comes for her to become part of Jessica and Rockys family, sometime next spring, I know shell miss me at first, as I will her. But there are so many wonderful experiences to distract her that shell soon be thinking, This is the life! At last!