Well, our trip to Seattle was so much fun!! Faulkner and I got to do so many things together and I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my last week with him. We went to the local GDB puppy raising club's meeting and got to meet Faulkner's brother Faraja. They were very cute and interested in meeting each other, but it was not the excited litter mate reunion that we were secretly hoping for. It was amazing to get to meet all the people from that club and meet even more people who are working for the same cause as I am. The connections through GDB are incredible and I think that it would really behoove us all to make some real people connections through this organization. I've discovered that I would have had a lot more information on my puppy if I had bothered to cast my net outside of my club. Luckily, I'm doing that now!
Back to Seattle, Faulkner and I spent most of the week just living in the dorm and going out to eat. We got to visit a few friends' houses and went to a lecture at UPS. At the end of our journey we went out to dinner with my friend and my father. It was a nice restaurant and all of the staff (including the manager who talked to us on various occasions) were the best about having Faulkner there. Everyone of them would look at him and smile, but no one tried to distract him from his job and no one used the dog as a focal point during dinner. It was the best restaurant experience I've ever had with a puppy in training.
When Faulkner and I got home from Seattle, we only had three and a half days left together.
The first day that I got Faulkner, I took him to my mom's office so that she could see him and the entire Department of Commerce fell in love with him. Ever since, Mom has been taking Faulkner to work with her and he has continued to melt the hearts of her co-workers. As a farewell to Faulkner, we had a little party! We made cookies and stamped Faulkner autographs. I brought my scrapbook of dogs and we collected money in exchanged for the cookies and autographs as well as love and pictures with Faulkner. All the money that we raised went the United Way fund that my mom's office often donates to.
We raised over $25 in 2 hours.
We had that celebration on Thursday and then on Friday, we had to take Faulkner to the puppy truck. I clipped his toenails one last time and cuddled with him for a good hour before I felt I was ready to go. We waited for the truck to arrive. The group around us included my leader, two other raisers and my mom. Once the truck arrived we rushed to help walk and relieve puppies. I jumped at the opportunity to meet Fullerton after hearing from Megan that he would be on the puppy truck. Not only did I get to love on Fullerton, I also got to meet his brother Forte! They are both amazingly sweet and have the darkest honey coloring I've seen in a long time. Another very interesting characteristic I discovered is that they both have the softest coats in the world. I couldn't stop running my hands across those boys!
In true "Nerd" fashion, Faulkner hopped right up into the truck and strolled into the kennel with no problems. He flopped right down, found a bone and was happily chewing on it when I came up and disrupted the whole process. I opened the kennel to stick my head in and get one last love from my puppy. While every other dog was upset, whining, panting, or just restless, Faulkner stared out at me with his lovely eyes. Then he went back to chewing on his bone.
I don't think that I will ever have another dog like Faulkner. I know that every dog has their own personality. Anyone who works with dogs can tell you that. The reason that I know I will never have another dog like Faulkner isn't because of his personality though. Faulkner and I went through A LOT together this past year. He was the constant for me in a very uncertain, confusing and scary year in my life. The bond that I have with him is different from any other that I've had with another dog.
I'm going to miss him greatly, but I know that special bond between us will help him to create an equally special bond with someone who needs it just as much as I did.