Carla returned to CPL for a successor dog during Fall Team Training 2014, when her first service dog Bonz let her know that it was time for him to retire. They had shared a wonderful partnership for many years, with Bonz making it possible for her to be more independent and active. The process of partnering with a successor dog and transitioning a service dog into happy retirement can be very emotional. It was hard for Carla to leave Bonz at home – but she recognized it was in everyone’s best interest. She cleaned out Bonz’s harness and returned it to CPL so that she could focus on her new partnership. Carla got the “horse sized” dog in this class, Uncle Ed. He was a favorite in the kennel – his beautiful red color, massive size, and gentle personality all made him the object of much attention from volunteers and staff.
Carla quickly bonded with her Team Training classmates, sharing her past service dog partnership experiences and encouraging others to embrace this remarkable learning opportunity. This wonderful woman who describes herself as a “thriver” not a “survivor” of her disability headed home after Team Training to her home in Delaware. She was looking forward to introducing Uncle Ed to the retired Bonz and the life of independence that the three of them would now share.