One Year Later…

It has been one year today since I officially became a recipient of a service dog. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I remember forcing myself awake after spending the night in the guest cabin of the farm. I slept on a couch the entire night with a Great Dane, so I really didn’t sleep at all. I was waiting semi-patiently to go out on another training session with Casper and Megan or Maria (SDP’s resident trainers), possibly all of us together. Really any combination would do in my mind as long as I could prove that I was a worthy handler of this amazing dog. I knew there was a lot going on in the main house and I was only granted limited access because they had a brand new litter of would be service pups. Casper and I wandered the farm, chatted with volunteers, and relaxed on the aforementioned couch. I knew Casper and I were bonded when I went to move my truck from the lower parking area to a spot next to the cabin and he jumped in the cab to ride with me. Later that same day a bed that had been donated to SDP needed to be picked up, it wouldn’t fit in my Ranger so I moved my truck once again, so the full size truck with the bed could get close to the door of the cabin. Once again, Casper jumped in for the 40 foot ride. This time, Megan saw him hitch a ride and asked if he did that on his own. When I said he did, we had a laugh and then she said, “If he wants to go for a ride, take him for a ride and see how he does with you.” I did just that, just a quick few miles, and back to the farm. There wasn’t much time past, maybe enough to get back into the cabin when Megan entered and told me “take your boy home!” I remember it took me a moment to process this statement, breaking it down in my head like an algebraic equation, and then leaving as quickly as I could before someone changed their mind. I was so stunned I didn’t even pause to use the bathroom, and I really had to go! I stopped before the highway to let Lauri know we were coming home and held my bladder to the nearest rest stop.

Every day since I have been so proud to have Casper as my partner, neigh, a member of the family. He has been a helper, a friend, a set of shoulders for me to lean on in every since of the phrase, a teacher, and so much more. Taking a service dog everywhere you go is not always easy. There are times of compromise and frustration, and of joy and elation. There has been exponentially more awesome than suck. He has had so many positive effects on my life, as well as that of Lauri and the girls that I can’t imagine my life without Casper. He walks my path, our path. We are so very thankful for what he has brought to us. I could go on and on but tonight fewer words are needed. So I will leave it at these and say Thank you Casper, I love you with all my heart.

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15 thoughts on “One Year Later…

  1. Kat July 3, 2014 at 11:45 am Reply

    Congrats on the 1 year “gotcha day”!!
    I love reading about you guys…here’s to lots more adventures with Casper and happiness to all!! You guys are awesome!!

    Kat – formerly owned by 2 Danes (1 deaf, 1 hearing) **best dogs ever**

  2. Laura Fahey Hron July 1, 2014 at 6:28 pm Reply

    Thanks to you, Lauri, and the “human puppies” for letting us be a part of your lives since our baby boy Casper became a part of your lives. We become so attached to these wonderful creatures that we just love to see how they bond with their “families”. Casper chose an awesome person and family to be his furever family. Cannot believe it has been a year. Can’t wait to hear about Cowboy Casper when he reaches the OK corral.

  3. lufree54 July 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm Reply

    Oh Dan & Casper, you forgot the Kleenex with story! I so love hearing of your daily experiences and adventures – from all the perspectives you have shared. You really open our minds, eyes, and hearts to the wonder that is a service dog and relationship. I hope you will continue to share with us for we care about you so! Hugs to you ALL – even the basement monsters! Safe travels to the new home and good luck getting settled in.

    BTW – You came together about the same time I became addicted to SDP and on my son’s 31st birthday!

  4. Terri White Miller June 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm Reply

    Thank you so much Dan for letting us into your life with Casper. We love hearing about how much he has changed your life for the better! After watching these amazing dogs being born, it is wonderful to be able to follow them with their humans. Knowing how much they help change lives makes it easier for us to “let go” of them at the farm. So again, thank you so much for sharing you family and your pictures of Casper. Mush love to all of you!

  5. Bobbity212 June 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm Reply

    What a huge milestone for you and Casper. I trust that it only gets better as you go. I hope that your move turns out to be exactly right for all of you. Please keep up the blog as you are able–when I think of Casper moving so far away, it makes me teary, but I know he will be happy as long as he is with you. Take good care of each other.

  6. Judy Carroll June 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm Reply

    I love to read of Casper’s exploits and the situations you all find yourselves in – AND how you deal with them! Casper seems the most laid back of you all – LOL. Please don’t stop sharing our ‘little” Chuppie Casper with us. Good luck to all of you as you wend your way in life!

  7. Maureen June 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm Reply

    Happy Daneaversary to everyone! Good Luck with your move. Be careful there in OK I hear there are tornadoes down that way but what am I saying, we just had the double twin tornadoes where I live in Nebraska about five miles down the road. I’ve been watching people’s kids while they clean all that up and also fostering a dog.. Good luck to the human puppies and I hope the transition is smooth for them. Now that my son is grown up I think about moving back east (Connecticut) to be near my sister and my niece who is four, but it’s difficult to give up the ‘good life’ I have created for myself here. I’m also worried about my insurance because of ongoing cancer maintenance treatments/orthopedic care. So you guys are brave for moving. . Again good thoughts and good luck. Thank you for writing about all of Casper’s adventures. I lurk on the explore site and don’t comment often but I do buy bricks when I can. My own pup is a Dane/Lab rescue who has helped me so much with my own balance/walking issues since injury and cancer. Two vertebra in spine were shattered by a tumor and since then walking hasn’t been the same. My dog had to live with a foster family while I recovered. When I finally got back to my life my Dane (she came with that name) hasn’t left my side for a moment except when I go to work and use my cane. Anyways, good luck again and thank you.

  8. hilda June 29, 2014 at 12:49 pm Reply

    Awesome year, awesome man and his service dog. Love you, Casper and family.

  9. Debbie June 29, 2014 at 10:31 am Reply

    Congratulations!! Love hearing about all your adventures. Wishing you all only the best life has to offer!

  10. Linda Craig June 29, 2014 at 12:51 am Reply

    Casper, you sweetheart, you made the best possible choice in selecting Dan (and Lauri and family) as your partner. He is such a kind and deserving person. You bring each other such happiness. May you have many more years together.

  11. Karen Maitland (nhteach) June 28, 2014 at 11:08 pm Reply

    Happy “Anniversary”!!!! Dan and Casper really were meant for each other!! I’m so sorry I haven’t had the chance to meet all of you – yet!! – maybe someday. In the meantime, safe travels to your new home and PLEASE keep the blog going. I LOVE reading about Casper – he’s always had a special little corner in my heart!!

  12. kbtz-AZ June 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm Reply

    Congratulations on your year together. May it be only the first of many. Look forward to hearing of your new adventures.
    I must admit, Dan, I was upset with you when you took my Little Ghost from the farm because he was so special to me. But it didn’t take long for me to know it was a match made in Heaven and Casper was right where he belonged.
    Bless you and your family. I look forward to future posts of challenges and rewards.
    Hugs to you all….

  13. Diane Stern June 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm Reply

    Congrats on your 1 year anniversary. I remember Carlene telling us in the DD that Casper has picked his partner. So very excited for all of you.

  14. tisdeh June 28, 2014 at 9:57 pm Reply

    Dan and Lauri, I’ve enjoyed reading all about your first year with Casper. Congratulations!!! I am always in awe when I hear what great things these dogs can do. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It really helps us understand the challenges and successes you face. Sending hugs your way!

  15. Janice W. Constantine June 28, 2014 at 9:02 pm Reply

    Much love to Casper and to you Dan…you are a great team. Hearing the adventures of your family (both challenges and sucesses) bring smiles to my face. Congratulations on one year as a family.

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