Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two Year Update on Bear and Jessica

It has been two years since Bear and Jessica had there 1st official overnight visit. To say they have bonded would be an understatement. They rely on each other daily in ways most of us could not imagine.
Recently Jessica talked to me about Bear and wanted us to know that Bear continues to pick up anything Jess needs, from her phone, pencils, clothes and cards.
Bear knows when Jess needs her leg braces and shoes and will get them from the closet for her and put them away at the end of the day.
Something we did not teach Bear is retrieving clothes from the dryer and handing them to Jess. This skill was taught by Jess as a game and has worked out well.
Bear travels with Jessica wherever she goes and since he goes to the grocery store with her, Jess feels he should get to pick out his own toys at the market.
Jessica lives in a building with handicap accessible doors so when you visit Jessica the first thing you will greet is Bear. He has decided he should always push the button to let people in the building.
Jessica feels it is not only important for people to know that Bear helps her with her physical disadvantage, even more than that he is a cuddly companion with a lot of spunk. Bear makes her feel very safe in new situations and has opened up a new channel for her to visit with people who she never would have talked to before Bear.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

How hard is this whole process emotionally?

It is not easy. I will say that. It is always hard when something you love and helped to grow moves on to what they were meant to do. Ask any parent of a college bound kid. There are some things that have made this process for me easier.

1) I volunteered for an organization that provides follow up for Bear's whole life. I know someone is checking up on him forever. I know that if he is not happy or is being mistreated, that he has an advocate that will be looking out for him. I also know that the same person will make sure that Bear is skilled in the areas Jessica needs him to be even if her needs change. He is meant to work and he loves to work so I know that will continue as long as his health holds out.

2) I was able to meet Jessica and see her home. I know what environment Bear will be working in, where he sleeps, where he goes outside, etc. His life is not a mystery to me. I was able to have that connection which made me never wonder if he's safe or in danger because of the neighborhood.

3) I was able to have Bear home for a visit. Bear left my home officially in November. I was allowed to have him back with our family for one week during Christmas. That really helped me be able to say goodbye when the time came.

American Assistance Dogs really understands the needs of the volunteer trainers. They worked with me so that the transition was easier. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this adventure for Jessica, do it through American Assistance Dogs, and I look forward to training another dog for AAD in about a year.

So even though it was hard, I would definitely do it again.

HAPPY GRADUATION to Jessica and Bear

Bear and Jessica had their final graduation on June 23, 2007. It was awesome! Thank you so much to Jessica and her family. They said some very nice things to me and my family that we will never ever forget. I very much appreciated that. :) We wish you both all the best. It is such a blessing to know that Bear will be so well cared for.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Meet Jessica!

This is Bear's new owner, Jessica. I've had the priviledge of meeting her and I was thrilled that Bear was picked to work with her. She is such a wonderful woman. I'm sure we'll be posting things from her many travels with him. Her biggest need was to have a dog pick things up for her. YEA!! That was Bears biggest strength.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


As we are nearing Bear's official graduation, I look back on all the time and work we did together to get him to this point. He really has made me very proud.

He came to me as a cute, fuzzy, little puppy and he left a very skilled dog who's life truly has meaning with the difference he will make in this world.

He gives every day a life of independence, security, tremendous love, companionship, and joy to another human being who needs those things.

Although I have tears in my eyes as I write this post, I have such a huge heart that is bursting with pride. What an honor I have been given to help someone else in this way. I can't even express in words the absolute gratitude I have for being allowed to be a part of this process.

It's time consuming, it's frustrating, it's so much fun, it's entertaining, it's facinating, and it is oh, so rewarding. I felt like a partner to Bear in his growth and learning. I also feel so priviledged to turn him over to Jessica. What a wonderful person for him to work for.

I will meet them again at graduation and I'm sure the tears will flow but looking back on all the hard work - I wouldn't have changed a thing.