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Discussion Starter #1
I found out yesterday that Pepper has a 99.9% chance of going in for official Guide Dig training on November 3rd. So be ready for lots of photos and stories in adoration of my beautiful girl, that I will miss like there is no tomorrow!!! [img
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Congratulations, Pepper! And Kari, there is a special place in heaven for you. Pepper is beautiful inside and out, just like you. We are here whether you want to show off her accomplishments or need a shoulder to lean on.
Way to go, Pepper, Kari and Jac! We are sooo proud!!!!!
 

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Oh my goodness-talk about bitter sweet! Kari, you must have done such a wonderful job to prepare Pepper for this awesome challenge! Kudos to you!! And Kudos to Pepper for being an obviously stellar student!! I do feel your heartache but knowing what she will contribute must be at least somewhat consoling! I have not doubt about Jacque's love and support!
 

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Kari talk about a catch 22...you love Pepper and worked so hard for this moment and now this moment is soon to arrive. I feel foryou but also must say GREAT job and congrats to you and Pepper. i am sure jac has been a world of support and a good friend as well.

Kari we are all rooting for you and here for you to lean on when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I am really bad at typing and didn't spell check through the tears...that's Guide Dog training (that "i" is right next to the "o") . We raise puppies for Guide Dogs of America and Pepper is our puppy in training. :oops:
 

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Gosh, Kari, I type like that too!
Thank you all for including me in these messages of pride and respect...I am very proud of Pepper, of all of our puppies actually, but Pepper is a special girl...and all of the credit goes to Kari. Her loving heart and guiding hand has make Miss Pepper what she is today...and she is one of the best dogs I have ever seen!
It is one of the hardest things I can imagine, giving Pepper up after all of this love and devotion and I ache for Kari...
Still, I was with Kari at a graduation service for the Guide Dogs of America last week and she and I both cried as the new owners stood to thank their puppy raisers and to express their gratitude for giving them the companion who will bring them so much help and love in their lives. It is truely a gift of monumental proportions.
I am proud of you, Kari, and I am grateful (beyond expression) for the friendship that has developed between us.
This picture of Pepper is a beauty...look at her eyelashes! Look at her expression. That girl is wonderful!
 

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kari , i really do not know how you do this for Guide Dogs of America.

I can foster dogs but that is really different from what you do. I wonder how your son will be too when the time comes. Then again sometimes kids can have a insight at times that amaze us and totally understand. my son has been talking with me about why we are Fostering Kirby and it seems to have brought us closer as he sees a side of me that he can now understand fully as he's 15yrs old.
I raised my my kids with the "good samaritan' being a family quality and volunteer work is to make someone else smile and feel better in life.

however i must say, WOW i am truly in awe with what you do and think it's a gift. For this i must say 'thank you' as you are helping others out in need even though it will tug on your heart.

remember, you will never lose the memories in your heart and the pictures in your mind. Pepper will always be with you and within you.

(((((((( kari)))))) hugs to you honey and may god continue to bless you
 

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Kari....I'm such an old softie, I'm crying already! You are doing such a grand gesture. Talk about jewels in your heavenly crown. May you have a wonderful 12 weeks with the stunning Pepper! I hope she will be placed with someone you can keep in contact with, or at least pictures/updates to you! Remember, we're here for you!!
 

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It's kind of like raising kids. You train them to be independent then wish they weren't when they move out.

You've trained Pepper to be a blessing to others. It doesn't mean you won't miss her, but you'll be so proud of her!

Hang in there and we'll be praying for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You know, it's kind of funny. We started this whole raising Guide Dogs things as we had gone through 2 years of infertility and were giving up and going to just do something nice for someone else. I had just had knee surgury and watched A LOT of Animal Planet and had seen a thing on Guide Dogs. We got Cleat in December of 2002 and found out in February 2003 we were going to have a baby!! Our son, Beck was born in September. He is such a great puppy raiser; he makes the dogs walk on the left in a heel position, he works their obedience; helps feed and is willing the pick up the poop! :D He knew that Cleat was helping his partner Karin because she couldn't see. Cleat is now retired and home with us, which we all love!!! He knows that Ikey Doodle is helping Jennifer open doors etc as she is in a wheel chair. He did tell me the other day that when Jennifer is done with Ike , he wants Ike to come back home!!! :wink: He "gets" the helping people thing which I love and is really free in telling folks "not to pet Pepper because she is working. Only he can pet her because she is his dog!!" He let Pep out of her crate one morning for me and is saying "how is my pretty princess? Did you sleep good sweetie?!" How sweet is that!! Any way, 4 dogs later, we still are ripping our hearts out, this time is the worst!!! I may have to make a trip to Willits to pick up a new dog in December (thats a HUGE hint, Jac!! :wink: ). Thank you all for your support. It means so much to me to have all of your support and shared Doodle love!!! Pepper has brought me so many wonderful things, one of those being a great friendship with Jacque and Dave!!!
 

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You are always welcome and when you visit, if we have a puppy (and we should!) you will have your pick! (Except that you can't take my big dogs...even though Nitos is the spitting image of Pepper, without the clean face! LOL)
I love that Beck is so cute with Pepper and the rest of the dogs. You are teaching him well!
 

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Hell, bittersweet isn't the word!!...tears here too, I can't imagine....

WAY TO GO PEPPER!! (...and big hugs to Kari!!)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you never got to read this letter from the husband of one of our puppy raisers, it may give you some insight into what life is like right now for us and in the upcoming weeks.

This is not a love letter; this is a letter of commendation. You are genuinely deserving of this recognition and the fact that it comes from someone that loves you should not diminish the honor.

The last few weeks have been tough. Tessa, your charge for the last 19 months, was surrendered to GDA to begin her final training to become a guide dog for the blind. This was not, “Do good, write and we will see you at Christmas”, this was goodbye.

Tessa was a member of the family, our baby, a sweet heart who wanted to play and please. She responded to your training and love because she unconditionally loved you and not because she understood her destiny. As she pressed her body against the fence on that faithful day, you understood her fear and the pleading in her eyes. You knelt down and with all the love and reassurance of any mother you said “Tessa, it’s time to become a hero.” The tears flowed down your face, your heart was breaking and yet you walked away.

At that moment you became my hero. Tessa did not understand but you did and the selfless sacrifice you made that day was enormous. Only someone who has borne witness during the last two years can understand and appreciate the significance of that sacrifice.

I have witnessed the joy and freedom that a guide dog brings; it is after all the gift of sight attached to a four legged companion that will also provide unconditional love. What greater gift could we bestow on anyone? The only thing that I failed to fully appreciate was the sacrifice that the truly dedicated puppy raiser is asked to make.

Is it possible to raise a puppy, do the required training and not become totally bonded to that brown eyed angel? If so, you choose the hard road. When you made the decision you committed without reservation. I reluctantly agreed, your dad questioned your sanity and along the way many offered their assessment of your apparent toughness i.e. “It’s a great program, but I just wouldn’t be able to give her up, I would just get too attached.” Many times I felt like saying this woman has the biggest heart in the world, she cries at movie previews and refuses to watch Lassie movies for fear of embarrassing herself.

As you made Tessa a part of your identity, I also watched in admiration as you attended obedience class, guide dog meetings and outings, read every book you could find on dog training and watched what’s his name on television. You would come home from walking Tessa in tears one afternoon stressing that she just wasn’t getting it and be beaming the next day when she performed well in class or on her walk. When you originally briefed me on responsibilities you stated that socialization was a primary goal and that entailed Tessa going with us to movies, dinner, shopping, trips, vacations etc. I did not realize it meant every time, every where even our anniversary! If Jane went, Tessa was by her side. Your identity became the woman who is raising a guide dog. As we watched TV at night Tessa was belly up in your lap as you talked to her about how she was doing in training, alternately praising and scolding but always reminding her that she was to be a hero one day.

When the notice from GDA arrived and the date was set I watched and listened as you struggled to accept the inevitable. Your first response was to announce a 30 day boot camp for Tessa in an effort to ensure that all she had learned was fresh in her memory. Then it was, we need to go here and do this before Tessa is gone. Finally as the day drew near the tears started to come more frequently as the realization of the last walk, the last car ride, the last meal and the last play time became a reality. I still choke up remembering you on your knees looking Tessa straight in the eye and telling her to listen to the trainers.

I truly believe that few people possess the strength and character necessary to love so deeply, work so hard and then willingly sacrifice it all for another. Jane Ellen Broome you are my hero and I am very proud to be your husband.

Sincerely,
 

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So moving...wow...I don't know what else to say. I feel humbled by your amazing sacrifice. Congratulations to you and to the gorgeous Pepper.
 

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this is the 2nd time i have read this letter and it still makes me cry as it touches my heart deeply.

Kari, thanks for shaing such a beautiful letter that shows sadness yet the genuine love and sincerity for helping others in need ...and have a better life with a service dog/doodle. Sometimes what we love most can also hurt us inside while it provides another joy inside.
 

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Congratulations to you and Pepper Kari.....as difficult as this may be, just know that everyone here is so proud of Pepper and you. It takes a very special person to make the sacrifice that you are making, and I know that if I had to give up Raleigh, my heart would be breaking. I know yours is too, but I also firmly believe that you will be truly blessed for this selfless deed. One of the many blessings you already have is your beloved Pepper, and you will always have the wonderful memories you shared together with her to help you through this.

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Kathie,Raleigh & Molly! :D :D :D
 
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