That's right, you heard it here first.
I am going to be a mommy again.....to a 65 pound, two year old bundle of fur.
Ramona Nichols from the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy had a workshop at the Ms Wheelchair Tennessee pageant last year. She brought service dog Jerry with her to demonstrate just how useful a service dog can be for individuals with disabilities.
Getting a service dog has been in the back of my mind since then. I finally took the plunge and started the interview process for a service dog in November. Ramona and Topper came to my house and for two hours we talked about all things service dog related.
I know my family, friends and even strangers don't mind helping me when I need it but it would be so nice to not have to ask for so much help. The service dogs at Goodwill know 90 commands and can help with such tasks as turning lights on and off, retrieving dropped items off the floor, and opening and closing doors. How awesome to be just a little more independent all thanks to a furry friend.
(Personally, I think they know 91 commands because Ramona can make them
ALL smile for a picture!!)
These dogs are truly AMAZING!!! They have the sweetest disposition and truly live to help others. Many people with disabilities could benefit from having an assistance dog to aid them their daily life. However, so few trained assistance dogs are available that only one percent of Americans who need assistance dogs currently having them.
To address this need, the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy was created to train and to provide assistance dogs FREE OF CHARGE to Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia residents who have physical disabilities. It costs approximately $25,000 to train an assistance dog.
Once the interview process and applications have been filled out, the board at the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy begins the placement process. There are many aspects that are taken into consideration such as: living arrangements, children in the household, other pets in the household, how active you are with work/school, and what you will need the dog to help you with. Your number on the waiting list doesn't matter because a true fit is needed not only for you but for the service dog as well.
There are currently three service dogs available for placement. Topper, Danny, and Murphy are ready to start making a major difference in the lives of three special people.
Tuesday I received a phone call from Ramona. She told me that the board had made their decision on the place of these three puppies. They thought one of the dogs would be a perfect match for me. I was beyond thrilled to hear this fabulous news and of course wanted to know which puppy I would now be mommy to. Ramona said that Murphy seemed to be the best fit for me. I must admit that I was not only super excited to have been selected but I was over the moon that Murphy was the dog for me.
Murphy is a very blonde, beautiful Golden Retriever. He is very loving and at one of my visits to Goodwill, he came over and gently placed his little head in my lap. Murphy is the diva of the three dogs and does not enjoy being out in the rain or getting dirty. Perfect, because guess what?!? Neither does his new mommy!! I have been told that Murphy is so secure in his masculinity that is looking forward to all the pink accessories I will shower him with.
I am so honored to have been selected to be a recipient of a Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy dog. Ramona and all the Goodwill volunteers put their heart and soul into training and loving these dogs. And they are entrusting me with one of their babies!! What a blessing!!
I encourage you all to 'like' the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy Facebook page. Over the next couple of months Murphy will be visiting my house and place of work so we can start the bonding process. In June I will go through a two week training course to learn all the commands and how to properly care for Murphy. This journey will be documented on the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy Facebook page. I would love for you all to be apart of it with me.
I hope no one is too disappointed that I'm not pregnant. That seemed to be everyone's favorite guess. :-)