A Texas Star Is Born
Provided by Leigh Ames, Puppy Raiser – 10/10/2008
Ocala has made it! She graduated and is now a working girl. We are so excited for her. Knowing how determined she is we shouldn’t be one bit surprised. We should also have known that Ocala was destined for stardom back in those early months of puppy class. Whether showing off her obedience with precision, or offering a playful “look- but don’t touch” glance, or even annoying us with an all out demand bark, Ocala wanted everyone and every dog to know she was there. With patience, work, and maturity, she managed to channel that enthusiastic vanity into a love and knack for work.
Ocala’s career will be spent in Texas, guiding her new partner, Ralph, through his busy schedule, working at 3 radio stations. As if radio celebrity wasn’t enough, Ocala will also help Ralph give educational presentations to local elementary schools about visually impaired people. What a coincidence! Ocala wowed classrooms and gymnasiums full of students working as my assistant in our Charlotte area schools doing the same kinds of programs. The kids love her and she loves being in the spotlight.
Attending this September graduation was a remarkable experience for our family. Seeing our girl with her partner by her side, was exactly what we had worked toward, and more than we had hoped for. The multitude of emotions was overwhelming. As I try to put into words how just the sight of her made me feel, I can sense that heat creeping back up my neck, and the tingling in my scalp. I was, WE were, all so very proud. Proud of Her, proud of ourselves, and proud to be part of such an incredible effort and organization.
Ralph, her partner, was and is such a gracious person. He is so pleased to have Ocala and thankful for what she will mean for his life. After spending about an afternoon with him, swapping stories about his life, ours, and Ocala’s puppyhood, I said to Ralph, “I can tell how much you love her. I want you to know how much that means to me.” His response will be forever etched in my mind, and serve as my strength during the days when I feel her absence. He said, “It was first love at first touch.”
Every moment of frustration, every piddle puddle cleaned up, every moment of sadness we swallow when saying goodbye, is all worth it, in that one expression of love, from the very person we do this for. The VIP, the very important, Visually Impaired Partner.
Ocala was raised by Leigh and Tim Ames and family of Concord, NC. Ocala’s vet sponsor was Poplar Animal Hospital of Concord, NC and her food sponsor was Bovis Lend Lease of Charlotte, NC.