Happy Birthday Nugget!
A REFLECTION ON NUGGET 16 Months Later
In case you didn’t see this when it was originally posted more than a year ago, this was information given to me by The Seeing Eye, Inc. about Nugget from one of the puppy-raising families who donate their time and efforts to prepare these precious gifts for those of us who can’t see:
“Family Composition: Nugget grew up in a small family consisting of Mom, Dad and son. Our son took care of most of Nugget’s household needs. These included feeding, parking, playing, napping, etc. Nugget was a beloved member of our family.
Environment: Nugget grew up in a country environment that has slowly become suburban. He learned to walk nicely along streets with moderate traffic volume. On those walks, he encountered deer, horses, foxes, ground hogs and plenty to smell.
Pet Friends: Nugget was our only child, but he had plenty of doggie friends in the neighborhood.
Exposure: Nugget has been many places. He frequented the library, post office, shops, the bowling alley, basketball games and even participated in a long-distance charity walk. He did fine at quiet meetings and loud sporting events. Nugget has had no trouble with all types of stairs, elevators, trains, buses, horse carriages and boats. He loved it all.
Characteristics: Nugget is a gentle giant. He can be very active and run and play with great gusto, or he can be an adorable marshmallow.
Toys: Nugget is a strong chewer. Only the strongest Nylabone can survive. He enjoys chasing balls or a Frisbee.
Cute Stories: One thing we will remember most about Nugget is his chocolate color. He has such a winning personality. We never encountered anyone who didn’t fall in love with him.”
I can only imagine how hard it is for these truly selfless families to have to say goodbye when the time comes for their charges to go off to ‘doggie college’.
It’s hard to put into words the overwhelming emotions that wash over you when you are the recipient of such acts of kindness and generosity of spirit.
But I hope Nugget’s first family finds comfort in the gratitude of all of us who rely on our Seeing Eye dogs and the freedom of mobility that they bring, but that they also become deeply loved members of their new families.”
Now, a year and 4 months later, Nugget continuously shows the great character and ‘winning personality’ that his puppy-raiser family helped him to develop. He learns very quickly and is very devoted – never leaving my side, except for when he likes to run and play with other dogs at the park after I remove his guiding harness.
Nuggie still loves children and loves to play with them, but has matured into a calmer playmate. Sometimes I think he’s a cat trapped inside a dog’s body because he loves to snuggle on my lap. As serious as he may look in his photos, he’s very light spirited and playful.
But when he’s got his harness on and he’s working, Nugget is all business. His puppy-raisers gave him a great foundation. Like Wagner, he is a real gentleman and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
Today, on his 3rd birthday, I celebrate him as my true hero.