There are a lot of hard decisions I’ve had to make. Thankfully none of them have ever concerned my pets.

I think there are a few puppy raisers who drop by here every once in a while, right now I really do envy you guys. You work so hard with your pups, do a wonderful job, but you don’t have to make the final decision when it comes to passing a dog or washing it out of Service Dog work.

From left to right, Holly, Edna, and CCI puppy, Nimby.

These last few weeks I’ve had to step back and take a good hard look at Holly while we’re out working in public. Evaluate how both of us were working. When Holls first started SD training she was very enthusastic about working. She was always eager and happy to go to work. Recently she’s been getting very stressed out. Even in low distraction environments like the library she has her ears back, and starts panting soon after entering the building.

She’s never been a fan of riding in cars. She used to hate riding in them, we worked really hard and for a while she was doing really well, she’d just lie down and go to sleep. Now she starts panting quickly, she’s not as stressed as she used to be but she certainly isn’t excited about it all.

While she still performs her tasks well, I don’t want to continue to push her. That would be horribly unfair for her and very dangerous for me.

All this has led me to make the decision to wash her out. No worries, Holls isn’t going anywhere. She’s my first dog, she’s incredibly special, and she’ll still do her tasks at home, and when we’re out walking and goofing off. She’ll just return to ESA and pet status.

"Hunting" in Belle's backyard.

I think that she’ll still occasionally come with me to very low stress places that she’s familiar with, and that I have to go to, like my therapist’s, but other than that she’ll just be my good dog. She’ll be able to walk, play with the other dogs, and chase squirrels to her heart’s content.

Because she’s washing out, and because I can’t function in public without a dog, (My therapist didn’t want Holly to wash out, she was concerned about my safety.) I’m beginning the quest for the my next SD candidate. Hopefully not too much time will lapse between Holly returning to a pet life, and a new SD prospect.

We’ll keep you updated on that, and on Holly’s life as a good ol’ Hound dog!

Until Later,

Kat & Holly