One Year

I tweeted that yesterday marked one year since Yara and I became a team. It’s truly amazing to me that it’s actually been a year; it has quite literally flown by in a whirlwind for me. Lots has happened, that’s for certain:

Profile headshot of Yara in harness on a brown backgroundIt certainly has been a very fun and exciting year together with her, but I can’t say it wasn’t without it’s stress. Dealing with the diagnosis of Yara’s EPI alone would be enough to firmly plant this first year into that category, but add in a new job, a big move, and returning to graduate school! Plus all the other zillions of things that have gone on. I’m actually very thankful to have had the privilege of being partnered with a dog that didn’t really ever require a “breaking in” phase. I’ve mentioned it a fair number of times that she’s always just been a guide dog. From our very first walk in harness I’ve felt that way and been continually amazed at how competent and sensitive of a guide dog she has always been. In many ways, I was the one who required the “breaking in” because of this very fact. It was hard to remember at times that she was such a new dog because of how flawlessly she would work through things. In fact, I find it very telling that when she was out here “checking up on us” Becky was rather astonished to see I almost exclusively use a flat martingale-style collar on Yara. At VESID my colleagues were incredibly shocked to discover how short a time I’d been working with her, especially given her excellent behavior. (Well, at least around everyone else sans my boss.) In fact, I still remember the second day of work when I was introduced to our deputy commissioner, Dr. Cort! I’d allowed one of the secretaries to pet Yara and she had rolled onto her back to get her belly rubbed when Dr. Cort had walked out of her office to speak with said secretary. Before I’d even had a chance to recall her with a come to heel, Yara had jumped up and run behind me to sit on my left side. We all just stared at her open-mouthed until I finally joked, “I guess she knows whom to impress!”

Before you go thinking I’ve put her on a pedestal of grandiose proportion, I certainly admit she can be naughty. Honestly, she can be downright annoying at times, especially when she lapses into that famous GSD whine! She’s never yet learned to control where her tail is nor whether her back end can fit in places. I am happy to say she hasn’t broken anything yet, but right before our move to Albany I decided to give up on the coffee table and left it back in Schenectady! And let us not forget that she is a bona fide German shedder extraordinaire who firmly bumped Dolly out of the “sheds the most” title.

Still, as the many pictures attest, it’s hard not to find her adorable beyond words and I’m never surprised to hear someone admire how striking she is. I can’t say much for the comments about her “unique coloring” but I can say it has changed quite dramatically over the last year.

I expect no less than continued excellence as a guide dog from her as we embark on our second year, but I am hoping that it proves to be at least a slightly less stressful one. We’ll be dealing with her EPI, of course, but it seems that will be quite manageable. We have a few fun trips planned,, such as next year’s Walk and Dragon*Con, and tentative plans to visit several people in the next couple months. Not to mention the day-to-day things to keep us occupied, too. :-)

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