My Paws with a Cause Dogs --- By: Susan Kohloff
Buddy was my best friend. We had been through a lot together. But at almost 14 years of age, he decided to cross that rainbow bridge. I was devastated as one can imagine.
Photo Above: Buddy at Eastmanville Farms. About a month before he left. My most favorite photo. Shows his gray, the time of year, his enthusiasm. I'm crying as I look at it because it's so him........ Eastmanville Farms was also the last place I took him before he left. That's the place where he started to stumble and I thought he had just pulled a muscle. It was where the beginning of the end began........ And this fence is in front of a cemetery; Eastmanville Farms used to be the Ottawa County Poor Farm. This is where the disenfranchised are buried.....
About one month before he left me, I talked with a friend who bred dogs for Paws with a Cause. She encouraged me to consider becoming involved with the organization and I said that once Buddy was gone (I knew in my heart-of-hearts that his days were limited), I would look into Paws. Paws national headquarters is in Wayland; just south of Grand Rapids on US-131. Raise a pup, help a disabled person. Sounded like a good plan. I could use their vet services and buy monthly heartworm/tick medication at cost.
So a few weeks after Buddy left me, I made application to Paws with a Cause. Raise a pup until I felt ready to have a dog of my own again. Get some excellent obedience training for myself (Paws provides that at no cost as well) and maybe when it was time to turn in my pup (at about 12-14 months), I would be ready for my own dog.
Wolfgang, an 8-week-old chocolate lab entered my life in January 2016. House breaking a pup in winter - not fun!!!! But, we persevered. Did all the obedience work; made GREAT friends in the Paws community. (I can't say ENOUGH about the people I've met and continue to do things with).
Unfortunately, Wolfgang has elbow dysplasia and was eliminated from the Paws program at the end of July 2016. I had the option of keeping him as my "keeper dog" or letting Paws find him a home. I kept him. My heart was full and he was the embodiment of my beloved Buddy.
But wait!!!! There's more!!!!! I love the Paws program and people so much that I decided I wanted to remain involved. I now also have a Paws breeding stock female named Dory who is also a chocolate lab!!!! She is 4.5 years old and will have two litters with all the puppies going to Paws to be raised as potential service dogs. And, once she's done having her two litters, she will remain we me as my "keeper dog".
Photo: Wolfgang and Dory
How I became the loving owner of two chocolate labs is beyond imagination. It's a lot of work, but that's OK. I love them and we have lots of good times together. But more importantly, I'm involved with a group of people who are passionate about dogs, good training, good manners and helping the disabled. I love my Paws community!!! Give this organization some thought and maybe you, too, could be a Paws volunteer! Puppy raisers and breeding stock hosts needed all the time.
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