The story with Owen is this: he was limping for about a week before they took him in to the vet. Some x-rays and specialists later, the best they can determine is that it is highly possible that he tore his cruciate ligament. They think it is only a partial tear because he is still putting weight on the leg, but he is on crate rest and anti-inflammatories for the next few weeks to try and determine exactly what is wrong. If it is a partial-tear, he runs the risk of tearing the ligament completely, or blowing out his other knee compensating for the injury. There is surgery to fix a torn ligament, but there is about a 6-month recovery period. After which it would still be uncertain about whether he would be able to do service work.
I'm sad about Owen; I've been preparing for him and been getting updates for months now. His picture was the one on my computer, my blog... everywhere. But... I never met him. I only knew what they had told me about him, and for this I'm thankful. I was already in love with Owen because of what he was being trained to do, but not because I had a bond with him. The trainers, they are the ones who have the bond with him. I know that Heeling Allies will do everything they can to get Owen sound again, and they will find him the best possible home whether that is as a service dog or as a pet. They will do whatever they need to for him, and so I don't have to worry about Owen.
I am... "Sad" doesn't feel like the right word. But "disappointed" implies that there is blame to place on somebody; and there isn't. I'm having to change the way I have been thinking towards this semester. Instead of getting a service dog within the first month of the semester, it is likely I won't have my new partner until the last few weeks of the semester. And it isn't like I haven't already survived four-years of undergraduate school with no accommodations; it's that for a year I've been preparing for this. School is tough for somebody with Tourette's, and I am thankful that my professors will be accommodating for my disability. They are okay with me standing and pacing in the back of the classroom and leaving if necessary. In fact, they will remind me to take breaks during classes because I will often refuse to (because something veryimportant may happen if I step out of the room for a minute).
Obviously, I wish I was going to be getting a service dog in September. But if we are wishing for things, I wish I didn't need a service dog. For most people, there are other options for coping with Tourette's, and so obviously, I wish that 7 years ago something would have worked. Now, I've been screwed by so many "treatments" that it wouldn't matter to me if the doctors wanted to try something else. I don't.
I know once classes start on Tuesday (at 8:00! ugh.) I will be busy throwing myself into my schoolwork and my new job (hopefully, I've applied to be a grad-assistant but won't find out about if I get it and how many hours until the semester starts) and I won't really have time to think about not getting my service dog soon. I know when September 20th rolls around, it will be hard. But, I know that school (when I'm in classes I want to be in) flies by. I'm planning to go to my sister's Fall Family Weekend in Arizona in mid-October, and my dad is hoping to visit me the week before so I would have a "service-human" on the flight down to Arizona. Then, it will be Thanksgiving before I know it (which is my favorite holiday) and I will hopefully be partnered with my service dog. If not, it will happen quickly after the Thanksgiving holiday.
(I feel bad saying this, because I still feel like I've stolen this dog from another person.) Thankfully, there was another big Labrador in the program that they are "appropriating" for me. The person they had in mind for him had to postpone their team-training by a lot of months, so he has been hanging out in training for a little while now. This decision happened right before they would have begun his task-training, so he is a "blank-slate". He has his basic obedience training and his public access training, so all that is left are his tasks. Once they start working with him, they will have an idea of how long it will take him to learn his tasks and be solid in them, so after that we will be able to have an idea of when team-training will take place.
This new dog is actually related to Owen, they are cousins from the same breeder (who Heeling Allies is now working with; it's why they have so many giant Labradors!). I have been told he has a very similar disposition to Owen, they said he is very sweet and polite. And he looks very very cute!
So, without further ado, meet....
I am not a superstitious person, but after this experience I vow to never attempt to own anything other than black dogs. My family has never owned anything but black dogs. And if we attempt to, fate intervenes and we end up with a black dog. I give up. :)