One of the Universe’s best doggies ever has jumped across that rainbow bridge. We knew it was coming, we knew it was time, we knew there would be tears. We knew that our hearts would break & the Fiore scar that was left would always be with us. I am so glad I knew her & had her in my life to teach me all she did. I know I am not the only one she mentored. She was special, special right from the start.
Fiore`came to Big Daddy & I one summer late night/early morning from Canine Companions for Independence, one of the most fabulous organizations ever. We had (well, I had) volunteered to be puppy raisers for CCI & were getting our first puppy. I was getting all sorts of signals from the universe about the phenonom of dogs helping people & how much the dogs love it too. Cutting to the chase here, we got Fiore & 18 months later, she had changed our lives more than we changed hers. Fiore went on to Advanced Training, a six month schooling the dogs get before placement. We got monthly reports. She was doing ok & learning a lot. AT is 6 months long. Needless to say, the training is intense & CCI has very high standards so not every dog graduates. CCI believes that each dog has a purpose in life & the dog has had a Change of Career. Fiore was grooving along in AT & the longer she stayed, the better her chances were to graduate. Somewhere near the end of AT the dreaded “call” came. Fiore had decided that being a service dog wasn’t really for her.
What changed her mind? Clowns. She lost her mind when the clowns came in. She would not even let clowns holding hotdogs near her. Finally her trainer took her outside to calm down. Fiore did not recover very well from the clowns. Being afraid is something that can be dealt with, lack of recovery is not. Fiore was moving on.
Where would she go? The puppy raiser has the first say, as a general rule. CCI called & asked me. Since the very first day she laid eyes on that dog, I knew deep in my heart that Fiore was SisterR’s dog. When SR would come over, she would fall onto the floor with the dog & cry “I can’t look at her”. We wanted Fiore to become a service dog. But, dang, SR loved that dog. They had a connection even though SR had kept the dog at a sort of arms distance, not wanting to make eye contact, or fall too deeply in love. My first puppy, I was deeply in love myself. A lot of folks were. Fiore was special & everyone around here loved her. The vet had mentioned he’d like to have her. I told CCI, let me call ya back.
You know the rest. SR adopted Fiore from CCI & they went on to enjoy the most wonderful life & adventures together. I know without a doubt that Fiore landed up right where she needed & was meant to be. Fiore spent a happy life hiking, canoeing & swimming. She found a great sun spot where ever she was & snuggled down.She loved her people & was loyal & true to them. She didn’t raise a fuss but, WOOF, don’t get any closer. Out walking on a clear blue sky New Mexico day , she would tippy toe along, head back, breathing in the universe but never running off. She was a lady. She was a great campin’ dog. She might not like clowns (never did understand that one, seeings how we are all such clowns) but she did love hotdogs & she did love a party. She inspired other Sisters to get puppies & over the years the pack grew. Instead of kids underfoot (they grew but still come back, which we love), at holidays & family get togethers, we now have running dogs. Fiore was the big dog but such a loving sweetheart. Much as the family loved her, we knew Fiore was SR’s dog. SR took such good care of Fiore & Fiore adored her momma. During SR’s darkest nights Fiore was there to console & encourage her. SR would even take off driving across the country as long as she had her trusty sidekick. What Fiore meant to SR & how sorry I am about the loss of Fiore, I can’t begin to say.
As one of the people who raised Fiore to be a service dog, I can say that she served perfectly. Right before I handed over the leash so Fiore could go to AT I whispered in her ear “go to your destiny”. And she did. She served, she healed, she loved & comforted. She fulfilled all hopes. She went to a destiny that makes me proud to have known her & to have had a role to play in her life.
Little Fie-o-reen-o, Fiore-moto, Little Flower, Fioreore, Fiore,
you leave us all so sad & so glad, you silly dag.