Monday, October 4, 2010

IFT and what that means

"The time has come," the Blogger said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
And the letters I, F, and T."

We got an email on Wednesday. One that I had been expecting any time, then heard it was going to be January, then surprise! It came anyway.

It's time for Cindy Jae to go In For Training (IFT).

IFT means that the guide dog school has evaluated the space in their kennels and they've decided they have room for Cindy Jae and her 5 brothers and sisters. The dogs usually go back with their whole litter, which means that Cindy Jae will have a few friends down there with her.

On November 8, we will load up the car and drive down to Palmetto, FL, where we'll walk on the beach a little, check into a hotel, and get a good night's sleep. We'll get up Tuesday morning, then make our way over to Southeastern Guide Dogs. Around 9:30, we'll meet one of the trainers and hand over the leash. Cindy Jae will trot happily down a walkway to her new life. The dogs go first to a special kennel building just for new IFT dogs. There's a big play yard and lots of other dogs to sniff out and get to know. She'll spend some time there to be evaluated by the trainers and the vets and they will decide where to place her.

Cindy Jae could become a breeder for the school. She's small and I know that's one trait they like since smaller guide dogs fit into smaller spaces. Breeders are placed with host families near the school and they produce a few litters of future guide dogs before they are released from duty. It's a pretty cushy life.

She could be "career changed" to work as a police dog or a therapy dog or put into the Paws for Patriots program where she would be paired with a soldier suffering from a disability received in combat. Cindy Jae does have some allergy issues so this is a possibility.

Then, of course, there's the career she's been training for since birth - guide dog for someone who is legally blind. In this case, she would stay at the school and learn the skills she needs to know to live and work with a blind individual. After 6+ months, whenever she's deemed ready, the school will present her to incoming classes and see if they can find the perfect match for her. The pair will train at the school for several weeks, then Cindy Jae will go home with her new partner. Cindy Jae is fearless, loving, and incredibly smart and I think would make a fabulous guide dog.

Cindy Jae will love "going off to college". Lots of old and new friends in the dorm, lots of fun new teachers, new classes that will challenge her, new places to go and new things to do. Though there may be some tears watching her walk away to her new life, we'll be happy for her and maybe we'll go play with some of the new puppies for a little bit. Then we'll load ourselves back into the van and point our noses north and east.

And then we'll drown our sorrow with butterbeer while wearing mouse ears.

Because Cindy Jae shouldn't be the only one having fun.


Heather said...

Will you be kept up-to-date on her progress, and where she goes?

Heather said...

Will you be kept up-to-date on her progress, and where she goes?

Brandon - The dog with a blog said...

Oh goes, the time has gone by so fast! I remember when her litter first came - and I met them at the Christmas party.

Wow, leaving in Nov? That's so soon - yet so far. I hope to see her before she goes!

Rudy's Raiser