It's the post you've all been waiting for...O'Connor's official graduation post! So it starts out like this...
Wednesday 8:20ish pm...I called O'Connor's person at GDB. I was waiting for my flight to OR in the airport so it was the perfect time to call. So anyway, he was in his room and I introduced myself and first things first...he got ALL my contact info and promised to stay in touch...Then we talked about how wonderful and fabulous O'Connor is! He is living in Denver now and works in a big office building. I found out that his handler has had 2 previous dogs, Seth and Tompkins.
Thursday... O'Connor's handler emailed me some pictures of the day he got O'Connor (these are the pictures posted below)
Saturday (the big day!!!) 11:30am...My friend Whitney and I showed up at GDB. We went in the visitors center and they gave us the graduation program...Whit opens it up and yours truly is FIRST!!! Yikes... We visited with a few people from CO who also had dogs graduating and that was fun.
11:45am... They take us into the dorms and seat us in areas to meet our handlers and see our puppies again!!! O'Connor was THE FIRST puppy who got to come out with his handler...lucky me! So the class supervisor is doing sighted guide with O'Connor's handler and O was healing very nicely...and then he saw me and his nice heal became the little engine who could trying to get to me. It was the greatest thing ever! When they got to me, O'Connor tried to flatten me. NONE of my graduates has been THAT excited to see me (and I've had some pretty excited puppies at graduation...) So after jumping all over me for a few minutes, O'Connor was tired and layed down at my feet. Then he remembered he was with me and tried the whole thing again. Then we went and got formal pictures for GDB (I'll post those when I get them). I talked with his handler and life was great.
1:15ish...time to get ready for the actual graduation, so the instructors took O'Connor's handler and I got O'Connor all to myself. We went back over to the visitor's center and into the "little room" where we would stay through the graduation slide show. The lady from GDB who was coordinating everything reminded me that since I was first to speak...I set the tone...in other words, if I cried, EVERYBODY else would cry. So it was finally my turn to go out of the room and stand by the class supervisor...he was very nice and said that O'Connor is a truly amazing and fabulous dog (as if he needed to tell me that!) He really liked O'Connor a lot! Anyway, so I went up on stage and I don't really remember too much of what O'Connor's handler said, and then I said some things about O'Connor being the greatest dog ever, and told a story about O'Connor and the 2nd graders I worked with last year...I didn't cry! :) So then after graduation, we went and got Frisco out of the Kennels and took these pictures:
After the picture taking I went and watched one of the guide dog trainers work with her sheltie...teaching him to work some sheep. That was fun...
5:00pm... went back to campus to pick up O'Connor and his handler. We went out to dinner with Emily and Ellis and several other people...and got some more talk time with O'Connor's handler and others who were in the class. It was awsome! Such a great graduation day! O'Connor's handler is SUPER nice and has promised to stay in touch and so far is doing VERY well with that ;) I'm sure O'Connor will have a wonderful life as a guide in Denver and if he ever wants to come home...that is fine with me as well! (but I DO hope he works for a long time!)