Cabana is Home...

my new blog header that says ours for a year, but has year crossed out and says lifetime instead...to stay! I feel such relief and peace about our decision. She may not be the "perfect" dog for us, but we love her so much. In the end, I couldn't bear to think of not having her in my life anymore. I can't wait to teach Cabana to play fetch with tennis balls, take her to obedience classes for further training, and give her Frosty Paws and other previously forbidden treats.

Part of the reason I was hesitating to keep Cabana was that I kept imagining her in a new home with a little boy, maybe about 8-years old, who'd play tug with her, run circles with her in the yard, go on expeditions through the wilderness. I could see her being endlessly entertained by a little boy because every time we see children in a store, Cabana is so enthralled. She was so sweet and gentle with my nephew who visited this summer. But--there was no guarantee that she would be going to a home with an 8-year-old boy or that she'd love him more than she loves us.

There might be a dog out there who fits our lifestyle better, but there also might not be. I'm happy to never know. I do know that I would have compared every subsequent puppy to Cabana. This one isn't as smart as Cabana was, or that one chews things up when Cabana never did.

I'd like to explain my not feeling "completely relaxed" with Cabana from my earlier post. I tend to feel overly responsible for people (and pets). Because Cabana was in training, I was always thinking about her future blind partner. I'd think maybe I should be putting her on tie down more often or take her to restaurants more frequently so she'll be used to that, etc. AND for the past 6 months, I've been waiting for Cabana to go into season (Martha was right about watching the pot--it never boiled)! I worried constantly that if a determined big male dog decided to get frisky with Cabana, I may not have been able to stop him. Plus, Cabana is my first dog, so everything is new to me.

As Cabana's new owner, I am fully committed to giving Cabana the things she needs. There's a big off-leash dog park near my girls' high school that I've been dying to take her to. After her spay and recuperation, I plan to take her there frequently, so she can play with other dogs until she's exhausted. If she needs a 5-mile walk or run, hey, I need the exercise, too! And my husband is a marathon runner--he'd be happy to take Cabana for runs, too.

When I picked Cabana up from the puppy sitter's this morning, she was SO excited to see me. She eagerly hopped into our car, and snuggled up against my hand as I petted her in the back seat. She was so happy to come home. There's no doubt in my mind that Cabana feels our love. Our home is her home, and she is our dog.

P.S. As you can tell from the new header, I plan to keep blogging about Cabana.

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta  – (November 29, 2009 at 5:47 PM)  

YAY!!!! Welcome to your forever home Cabana!!!!!

I'll hope that her "episodes" subside like Ellie's did after she was released. Ellie enjoys all the new "forbidden" things too much!!! :D

So glad to hear you'll continue to blog about her. Can't wait to join the adventure for the rest of her life!

Natalie  – (November 29, 2009 at 5:55 PM)  

OMG!!! I didn't even read the blog I had to comment first!! Congrats, I'm so excited for you :)

Ok, now I'm going to go read the rest of it

Al Brittain  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:00 PM)  

That's just outstanding - I hafta admit I was hoping this was the decision you'd make (if you look at my site or profiles, that probably won't surprise you...haha).

I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a long time, but I think this is the first time I've commented - pretty good reason to say something.

Al
--
www.albrittain.com
www.linkedin.com/in/albrittain
www.facebook.com/albrittain
www.twitter.com/albrittain

Hobbes Dogs  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:03 PM)  

Congratulations on your new forever dog! I remember the same excitement when we went to pick up our dog Baloo when he was disqualified.

I definitely know what you mean about never really relaxing with one of these puppies. I know I worry so much more about my foster pups than our own dogs. I imagine you won't worry so much now that you know Cabana's yours for good.

I love the new header, and glad to hear that we'll still be hearing from you and Cabana on the blog. :)

Heather and Ellie  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:07 PM)  

Congratulations on your new puppy!!

Sounds like she'll be very happy living where she always did. I think you made the right decision. Maybe she'll settle down once she's given more freedom? I don't know, but it might make a difference.

Are you planning to raise again when Cabana is older?

I'm so glad you decided to keep blogging :)

Rebecca, Ely and Rocky  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:10 PM)  

That is so exciting! I am glad Cabana has found her forever home! I can’t wait to hear all about Cabana adventures as a spoiled pet! Sounds like she will have a blast being a pet! Congratulations on your new addition to your family

L^2  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:20 PM)  

Yay, Welcome home Cabana! :-)

Ro  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:26 PM)  

Yipeeeee!!!!!! Yayayaya!!!! Wow girl, I think you had us all on pins and needles, and I certainly did not see this coming. What a great twist you through in there, and I'm so glad you described the new thingy with the year crossed out and forever in its place, wow wow wow, how's that for drama? Literally in a few seconds I was like, wait, she's keeping her? Wait, is she? Oh dear oh dear oh dear, oh she is!!! Hehehehe ok so sorry for the silly goofy comment, but this just made me really happy. You sound so very confident in this decision, and I'm so glad GDB brought you such a wonderful pet, and I'm so glad Cabana gets to stay with her people!!! Yaya!!!!!!

Kim, Bethany and the girls..  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:32 PM)  

Congrats on your decision! Having a career change is soo much fun! You will see Cabana in a whole new light now that she is able to be a pet dog and a dog that only you get to make decisions about!! Enjoy her!! Claudi is such an amazing dog since being CCed!

Kim, CC Claudine, PIT Doug & PIT Marina

Natalie  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:39 PM)  

Yay, Welcome home Cabana!! I'm so glad to hear of your decision to keep Cabana as a pet, and also that you're going to keep blogging!

A wise person (aka Sam Hobbes) once told me that these dogs all end up exactly where they belong. I was skeptical at first as I was struggling with my first CC at that point and was so disappointed that I couldn't keep 'my' puppy. But time went on and she was right- both my puppies have ended up in the perfect forever homes and I couldn't be happier.

So here's to you and your family's new life with Cabana!! It's obvious that you love her very much and vice versa and I look forward to reading about all your new adventures!! Congratulations!

Lauren and Don  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:40 PM)  

How great that Cabana will be yours forever! I am so happy to hear that you will continue your blog and look forward to reading about Cabana's adventures as a pet. Congratulations to both of you.

One of the great things about GDB is that they are very thankful for their career change dogs. There is a family in our club who no longer raises but continues to bring their career change lab to meetings.

Guide Dogs also sells very cute "career change dog" bandanas :)

Becky  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:40 PM)  

I read your title and tears welled up. (I'm also listening to Christmas music so that doesn't help :D). It sounds like you have made a decision that feels great to you. Cabana is so fortunate to be in your home. Welcome home and happy that you will be continuing to blog about you and that very special girl, Cabana.

Coreena, Eva and Charlie  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:49 PM)  

Congrats! Career changed pups are so much fun! Its so amazing to see them blossom as a pet and really watch them mature! I can't wait to watch your guys' relationship grow and thrive!

Anna  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:51 PM)  

I'm glad Cabana will be able to come home. Being a pet is so much fun, and if she's anything like her half-sister, pet life is 100 times better than being a guide dog (puppy)!

smilinshell11  – (November 29, 2009 at 7:03 PM)  

Cabana is going to have SO much fun! :) I can't wait to hear of all the fun adventures she is going to have living with you!

Emily, Burgess, Tahoe, and Keno  – (November 29, 2009 at 7:33 PM)  

Yay!! I was really hoping you would keep her :)

It sounds like Cabana is home where she belongs! Seeing as I've never had a graduate, all I know is the life of cc'd pups, and I can tell you it is wonderful. I know Cabana will love all the added perks of being a pet! More treats, running off leash, playing at the dog park, etc. I can't wait to hear more about Cabana's adventures as a pet!! Congrats on your new dog :)

Maddie, Gabrina (IFT), and Betsy (PIT)  – (November 29, 2009 at 7:40 PM)  

YAY I'm so glad you made a decision! I was literally checking your blog every hour waiting for a post! It was a very nice distraction from my homework ;]. I can't wait to watch Cabana grow up! I was going to miss her if you let GDB place her.
Do you think you will have Cabana do therapy at some point?
And I love your new header!!

OSU 98  – (November 29, 2009 at 7:56 PM)  

Yay Mimi!!! I am glad you are freed from your decision...and that she is coming home!!!

Now that she is a pet, here are a few things my little Chelsie Belle LOVES:

1) Dog day care, one day a week. Freedom to play with other dogs and toys at will...she will love it and pass out in the car, and sleep all day the next day. Great option when you know you might not be able to exercise her for a day or two.

2)Don't mess around with tennis balls, unless you want to clean yo green fuzz and rubber off the floor. go directly for the Kong ball. It bouces unlike anything you have ever seen and it is TOUGH. We have had the same one since Chelsie was 2. Walk 2 miles to park to chase ball, chase ball until tongue out the side of the mouth, walk home. Passed out lab. Warning - kong ball NOT an "inside" toy. Ours stays in the dog bin in the garage, or in the car in the summer time.

3. Therapy dog certification (Therapy Dogs International)- while Cabana was not destined to be a guide, she would be a great therapy dog (based on how you post about her love for people) My friend's CCI career change dog is absolutely amazing in all the people he touches - hospital, St Vincent De Paul and he is a reading dog at the preschool she teaches at (kids read to him). Cabana would be the highlight of her patient's day. I wait eagerly for the day we can return to our volunteer work.

Welcome home Cabana. :)

Sierra Rose  – (November 29, 2009 at 9:32 PM)  

Yeaaaooooo! Wonderful news! We can feel that sense of relief, just to have made this decision, and welcoming Cabana fully into your lives!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Kelsey, Tahoe, and Keno  – (November 29, 2009 at 9:46 PM)  

Yay!! I love the new blog header, and I'm so glad I get to keep reading all about Cabana's adventures. :) You truly have an amazing blog. Congratulations to your family on your new addition!

Martha G  – (November 29, 2009 at 10:24 PM)  

I'm sitting here grinning from ear to ear! Welcome to the world of career changed dogs. Don't forget reading with dog programs - there are probably plenty of 8 year old boys who would love to read to Cabana.

Ally, Teddy and Kira  – (November 30, 2009 at 11:03 AM)  

Wahoo! Congratulations! If it had come down to it I would have kept Iverson if he'd been career changed, despite his high energy level! I love the decision you made! :-D

Penelope  – (November 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM)  

Congratulations! Sorry we've been gone so we just looked up your blog and saw the caption and had to read it! CC's are AMAZING dogs and we know Cabana will have a wonderful time with your family! And...welcome to the Career Change blogging world...we're so glad you decided to keep blogging! :) Congrats again!

Emily and the Labradors  – (November 30, 2009 at 6:30 PM)  

As usual, I am late to the party... but so happy to hear about your decision! You guys are going to have so much fun together, and I bet she really blossoms without the added stress of guide dog puppy training and with all the added perks of pethood! I have had so much fun with my cc'd girl, and know you will with yours too!

And another thumbs up from me on the new header. I wish I could commission you to make one for me! You are so talented!

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