A brief version of the story: Pantera broke her leg as a puppy - they were able to put a plate and screws in her leg and she carried on with her training - determined to be a guide dog! Her second winter as a guide dog in Utah, her leg began to experience pain from this injury and they determined if they removed the metal plate and screws it would help her be able to resume her work -- which it did! We wanted the same surgeon to remove the plates so Steve and I flew Pantera to Oregon. Her recovery time was going to be three weeks of no activity which we all knew would be difficult for her when she would want to go to work, etc with me so it was decided that she would stay in OR near the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus.
This was very difficult for me. Pantera and I had formed the amazing bond that happens with a guide dog team and also I loved the freedom that a guide dog had brought into my life. I was dreading leaving her ... Along came an angel, Debi, a foster mom from guide dogs for the blind who was willing to take Pantera into her home and care for her for the next three weeks. They had recently had their special dog, Champy, die and they were ready to share some of their love. I met Debi and immediately knew Pantera was going to be just fine. Debi called & emailed during this time ... at first I wanted to talk to her to know how Pantera was doing -- soon I realized Debi was a new special friend that I have treasured for the past nine years. Debi and Steve's love and generosity touches me to this day.
We have enjoyed travelling together! I will never forget our biking/kayaking/camping adventure to the San Juan Islands! That was so out of my comfort zone but a memory I will forever treasure. Then, we enjoyed experiencing beautiful Central Oregon. When I graduated with Cricket, Debi visited me at the school and even took me shopping! Then, our family stayed there the night before graduation. Debi is one of the first people I call with good news to share. She is there cheering me on and I love her. We are leaving in the morning with our good friends, Rod and Connie to spend a nice long weekend with Steve and Debi in Cannon Beach.
What a blessing these wonderful friends are in our lives ...