Sunday, June 17, 2012

DAY TWELEVE (Saturday): A bittersweet good-bye.

Today we left Xenia, Ohio and made the 540 minute trip back home to New Jersey.  It's always bittersweet to leave 4 Paws.  After a total of five weeks of training and three dogs since December 2009, this time around was especially bittersweet and emotional for me.  As much as I love the staff at 4 Paws, I do hope, though, that the next time I'm in the area it will be for social reasons only.  :)  We wound up leaving the training center last.  The only people left were the trainers.  We decided to give Twinkie a bath before we left and thought we should wait til most everybody was gone. We didn't want a wet dog running around the room and shaking the water off it's fur.  In retrospect, maybe this was our way of taking our time to say good-bye to the trainers for what will be the last time.  I hugged each and everyone of them like I was saying good-bye to an old friend and managed to hold back the tears until we got into the truck.  And, boy, there sure were a lot of tears for a lot of reasons, I'm sure.  

4 Paws sees the ups and downs of your life.  They see your child when they're a shining star.  They see your child when they have horns coming out of their head.  They see you laugh.  They see you cry.  They see you happy.  They see you frustrated.  They see it ALL because they have to.  There are very few people you allow to look through this window of your life, and it's usually the people you're closest to because you know they won't judge you or your children.  In kind, 4 Paws is one of the few places you'll ever visit where you'll feel this same level of comfort and understanding because no one there would ever judge you either.  Spending two weeks with the staff at 4 Paws is very much like being with the people you're closest to because by time you leave, they very much feel like family.  

4 Paws REASON #1 (Aubrey)

4 Paws has given Zachary so much more than you could ever imagine.  Although he's had to contend with a type of loss that most people would never truly understand when he lost Aubrey and will experience again when he loses Elfie, the gift of love he's been given from each of them is like no other.  Dogs love you unconditionally; it doesn't matter what you do or say.  Dogs bring you feelings of comfort and happiness that a human simply cannot because if you love a dog they'll always love you back no matter what.  Dogs just love you.  Plain and simple.  No ifs, ands or buts.   Aubrey and Elfie have done just that, and I am absolutely, positively sure that Twinkie will do the very same thing.  We've already seen it, and it's been beautiful to witness once again

4 Paws REASON #2 (Elfie)

The saying goes that "Everything happens for a reason."  I don't know about that to be perfectly honest with you.  I don't believe there should ever be a reason for people to face adversity, feel pain or experience a loss.  The word "everything" isn't synonymous to "positive experiences only".  Maybe I'm just not spiritual enough and don't have enough faith to actually believe it.  Having said that, the very reason Zachary has felt the unconditional love and companionship of these furry, four-legged miracles is because of the amazing people at 4 Paws.  I guess everything is relative. Plain and simple. 
4 Paws REASON #3  (Twinkie)
Thank you 4 Paws for Ability.  You all will always hold a very special place in our hearts.  No ifs, ands or buts about it!!  

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