Tracy is here! (by Natalie)

Hello! Guess where I am right now! If you guessed Colorado Springs, Colorado, you guessed right! Even as I am typing this, my brother Benjamin is hanging out in the other room with our very newest member of the family, Tracy!!! We got Tracy yesterday evening. She is the cutest dog ever, and her eyes are just so intense. She is very well trained, and we love her.

Tracy LOVES tennis balls so much that she goes crazy around them. She loves Frisbees too! Also, she is really athletic. We have met a lot of people with allergies here. It’s really cool to be around people that “get it” with food allergies. We all understand each other and each others’ restraints. The hotel is trying to be really allergy-friendly, and Benjamin was excited because he can eat breakfast here, and he can have the waffles that the hotel serves. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but usually the breakfast at hotels isn’t safe for him to eat.

I still cannot believe that Tracy is finally here, and I have to keep pinching myself to make sure it’s not a dream. Thank you for helping to make this opportunity possible, because it’s the best opportunity ever! As I watched my brother take Tracy for a walk yesterday, right after he got her, I started to cry because I knew that Tracy is my brother’s ticket to freedom, his ticket to be able to live like a “normal kid.” Benjamin will be able to do things that he’s never been able to do before, things that you and I take for granted every day. Things like sitting at a lunch table and not worrying about what the person before you ate. Just talking with your friends at the lunch table, having a regular conversation. Things like sitting down in your desk, and not having to worry about what the kid before you had for breakfast and what he/she touched. These are all things that Tracy can help him with. She can sniff his lunch table before he sits down, and tell him if there is nut residue on the table. Tracy will sniff his desk and let him know if it’s okay to sit at. I just can’t believe that she is really here, and this is a possible new kind of life for Benjamin.

I don’t get to hold her leash much, and I don’t give her a whole lot of commands. I try not to interrupt when Benjamin and Tracy are practicing commands, and frankly none of us but Benjamin do all that much with Tracy. But it’s okay. It’s okay because I know that this dog might save Benjamin’s life. I know that she is primarily his dog, and that Tracy will know my brother the best, and she will trust him the most. She will look to him for the next move, and she probably won’t ever have that kind of relationship with me. Again, that’s okay. I am enjoying watching them bond, and seeing how even after only 24 hours how close the dog and Benjamin are getting. The trainers said that it will usually take 10-14 days for your dog to really trust you, but I think that Tracy is going to trust Benjamin before that.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU!!! I could say that forever, and I wouldn’t have said it enough times. I am just amazed by this dog. Everyone who has donated, or looked at my blog, or just supported us by themselves in their heads, helped SO much to bring her home. Also, thanks to all of the trainers that took Tracy in along the way, and to the leaders of Angel Service Dogs for making it possible for Benjamin to get Tracy! Thanks again to everyone who donated or supported us, and I can’t wait to post pictures when I get back home! I’ll see you all later!    -Natalie

[cross posted at my 30dogbookblog]