I was emotional and ready to cry even before arrived at the community center.  I was nervous and excited.. just as I was this morning.

When we got there we did a few dry runs with the color guard.  Something about seeing the American flag always makes me cry.  I think it’s because when you are deployed (at least everywhere I was deployed) display of the American flag was prohibited.  You don’t realize how beautiful that flag waves until your right to wave it is taken away.   We were honored enough to have Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John Baca there to present us with our certificates.  He was there with his service dog, JoJo (I hope I spelled that right!).  He is so down to Earth and really easy to be around.  I also received a Medal of Honor challenge coin from him.  I look forwarded to showing it to my family when I get home as I doubt many people carry this coin. (Google “challenge coin” for those of you who weren’t military or don’t know what one is).

I interviewed for the Denver Fox news channel… I didn’t realize I had picked up a TN accent!  Aaak!  No wonder no one believed me when I said I was a Colorado Native!  I think Bear is the better looking of the two of us!  I look so pale on TV…  I can’t wait to get a copy of that so I can show my son when he is older and he can see him mommy in her uniform.

We leave out tomorrow and I am incredibly tired.  I haven’t slept hardly since Wednesday night.  I think in about 20 minutes I’ll go ahead and take an anti-anxiety pill so I can wind down enough to sleep tonight.  I need to finish packing too.  All that is left is some of Bear’s things and Katie’s things.  I am excited to see my son again.  I miss him so much.  Tomorrow afternoon cannot come fast enough.

I am so thankful for this opportunity that I’ve been given.  Working with Bear has really helped my confidence.  I know there was some hesitation with placing a dog with me right now because of having to bring Katie, my husband not being able to attend, and arrangements for my son’s situation were still unclear, but I am so happy that I was given a chance.  I didn’t understand initially why they would make me wait, but after coming here and reading Bear’s journal and seeing how much love was put into him, I can understand why they would want to make 100% sure that he would be going somewhere where his training would be put to use.

When we get home I look forward to working with him at the food store in Bells and basically getting me, him and Katie (in the stroller or backpack) navigating our way around our little town.  I look forward to everyone meeting Bear and I can’t wait for our friends to see the change in me.  The fact that I will BE in the hardware store, bank or food store will be enough to shock people!  I think some people are starting to wonder if my husband hasn’t just made up a wife!  I never go went anywhere.

I have also learned some more great news, which I will get more details on later (hopefully) that the Veteran’s Administration will start funding service dogs!  When I do some more research and find out more details, I will be sure to post it in the News section of the blog.

I probably will not check back in and update until things are calm at home.  We have a long day of traveling tomorrow, Monday will be more of me and Bear getting to know each other and him learning my house…  I have a doctor’s appointment (he is looking forward to meeting Bear too).  Tuesday will be a busy day of introducing Bear to my son’s classmates and Wednesday I have my root canal.. (joy).  If I know me though, as soon as the hydrocodone kicks in and I should be resting I’ll probably be on here posting pictures from our training as well as some pictures of Bear at my house.

Sad note,  I am going to miss terribly the three trainers who have been my backbone these past two weeks.  These are people who were yelled at, cold shouldered, cried on, and then were asked for help (sometimes within the same 30 minute block) and never once did they turn their backs to us.  Training is stressful for the veterans, and it would have been compounded had we not had such wonderful leaders.  I know I can (and probably will at some point!) call them in the middle of the night and get advice.  If Bear is acting up I know I can call for advice, if he is sick or acting weird, I can call.  If I just feel like I can’t make it one more day I know I can contact them.  I never felt like I was a burden and with my terribly memory I am used to people getting frustrated telling me the same things over and over, but no matter how many times I asked for information repeated, I never felt like it bothered them.  They will never know the magnitude of their effect on not only my life, but my children.  Because of these trainers, when my son kicks a field goal, he will look up and see his mother (and Bear) sitting proud.  He will never feel the pang of hurt or resentment because his mom missed something due to being too anxious to leave the house.  My daughter will have someone to take her to birthday parties and she can have sleep overs without worrying about her mother.  My husband will finally have someone to stand at his side (instead of hiding in the corner) when he goes to work parties or family days.  Bear isn’t just changing my life, he is changing my family dynamic.  I will never be able to express my gratitude enough.

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