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Willow's Adventure Continues

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Hey all! I've been trying to get back on her regularly - but life with 3 kids is very distracting (it took an entire day to write this up).


Willow is now 8 years old and (while I'm still waiting for her to "get big" since she is a solid 33#) she is ​still​ the best dog. She has been a never-ending comfort, support system, and friend. She has helped me watch and raise my kids, start my business, as my service animal and everything in between.


Most recently Willow accompanied me to Song Dog Kennels (Selma, Or) from Florida. It was her 1st (2nd, 3rd, and 4th) flight and she did brilliantly. We camped at the farm for a week before a 5-day cross-country road trip to Pittsburgh where we got on a plane back to Florida. Through all of our adventuring Willow has always been the best companion, keeping me sane and focused.


During our week at SDK we were able to help out, play with puppies, take dogs for walks and swims and learn from Kim's vast knowledge of, not only the dogs, but delicious restaurants nearby and life in general. We also met Greg who is essentially a walking encyclopedia of AIDog information. Seriously if you need to know who was sired by who, he knows. It was amazing and honestly I could have stayed MUCH longer if finances allowed. I will never be able to fully thank Kim for allowing me to visit for such a long and intimate experience with the dogs. Watching them move and communicate with one another was truly magical; watching the puppies grow and develop personalities was beautiful. Again, I wish I could have stayed longer but do hope to make this (at least) a yearly retreat.


Jack Giddens (human to Arlo) and Mikaela Ritter (human to Tamarack(who is also Willow's full sibling) and Rune) were also at SDK while I was there. Jack is there often to learn from Kim and help with the dogs, but Mikaela drove all the way from NH for this little sabbatical. We drove down to Clam Beach in California one of the days we were all there to meet up with other AIDog owners in the area (sorry to anyone who wasn't invited, we will try to be better next time!) and the dogs all had a great time. I've never seen any breed of dog get along so quickly with unknown dogs, it was so amazing to watch. There were a lot of different personalities but the dogs quickly developed a social hierarchy in this new pack of strangers.


After a very wonderful week Mikaela and I packed up (let's be honest, Mikaela packed up while I played with the dogs) her van, took a group shot, and had a very touching and tear-filled goodbye. We spent 5 days on the road together and the dogs did GREAT. They rested and relaxed while we drove 8-10 hours a day, and stayed calm in the constantly changing hotel rooms with strange noises. The only bummer was driving by all the state parks and museums and not being able to stop and explore everything.


Of course, after spending so much time around the dogs and PUPPIES, I am hoping to send up my deposit for a puppy very soon!











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WOW, what a great story and your photos are simply marvelous. Those pups look like they are having the time of their lives. So fun.....memories for ever.

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