Saturday, April 14, 2012


Izzo being her gorgeous, sweet self.

Izzo (left) and Miles after a play sesion.

There is no real way to summarize everything that has happened in Izzo's life since the last time I posted 2 1/2 years ago. Wow - I wonder if that is a blogging record for inactivity?

I don't know if anyone is even still following this blog anymore... but if you are, I felt compelled to put something here to bring closure to this post about Izzo's life.... and my life with her.

Life - a dog certainly makes life richer. For someone with a disability, you could even say that a service dog makes life possible. Truly.

One of the biggest things I loved about training Izzo is that it gave me a reason to go places and be out in public when normally I'd be staying home. Izzo's need to "get socialized" was a great excuse to attend events. We went to polo matches, dairy farms, basketball games, baseball games and attended community events. We rode on buses, rode the light rail, and took too many trails to recall. We visited fire stations, bus stations, parks, airports, playgrounds and malls. Stores, stores and more stores. Class every week for 2 1/2 years... and finally to work with me when she could manage to relax long enough to stay under my desk.

I have a greater appreciation for what a service means to someone in a wheelchair in public. With the dog you go from being invisible, to highly visible and approachable. They change the people you meet... in a good way. I also have greater appreciation for the comfort they bring to the people they serve. If I was having a bad day at work, Izzo's head would be right there waiting to be petted. And oh - the softness of those golden retriever ears are such a calming thing when you are stressed. Mutually satisfying for the dog and the person!

Izzo at work with me at Cargill

After starting a new job 8 months ago - I made the extremely difficult decision to have someone else take Izzo to finish her training. I was stressed with a new job and traveling a lot. It was hard to let her go then, but it was the right thing to do. I'm so thankful for Helping Paws guidance on this and putting her with the right person to finish her training. They have been wonderful and Izzo and I have had several weeks of time together over those months.

Training a dog is like nothing I've ever done before. The love that goes into the dogs shines through them and somehow this furry, 4-legged creature transforms the life of the person they are placed with. Truly changes their life! Kind of miraculous when you think about it.

Last weekend Izzo and I were doing a demo for Helping Paws at the Landscape Arboretum and were fortunate to be interviewed by KARE 11. You can watch it by clicking on the link here.

Kind of fitting to close her life with me with another television appearance. We did one 3 years ago when she was just a puppy. You can catch the link for that one in an earlier post.

So next for Izzo is 3 weeks of training with her new person that she is matched with. She is going to a very active woman who is a paraplegic and rides horses! Izzo will be busy as her new person leads a very active life. Official graduation is at the end of April.

It's been an amazing 3 years. I tell people that in those 3 years, Izzo has probably taught me more than I have taught her. I guess we learned from each other.

I'm so excited for her and her person. So proud of her to go out and now make someone's life better with all of her many, many skills and that unconditional love she is so good at sharing.

Truly miraculous.

Izzo was with me when we went to the emergency room with Jake after he broke his leg.

Izzo and I in our own personal "Izzone" cheering on the Spartans.