by Laura Sylvester
Our Journey to Orbit Story continued ...
It took just about 2 months to here from CCI. One day upon arriving home from HP, Rick met me in the kitchen, “I’ve got bad news” as he pointed to a letter on the refrigerator. “We regret to inform you … We suggest you expose Elliot to as many dogs as possible … Below is a list of alternative service dog organizations in the event you choose to continue your pursuit of a dog for Elliot ...” THAT was the question of the day, wasn’t it? ‘Continue our pursuit?” In this moment my answer was, “no.”
After dinner I took a shower, (when you have a child with autism like mine, privacy is somewhat of a rare occurrence, but I needed alone time), I needed to cry. Surprisingly the tears came more slowly and ended sooner than I expected. I was more perplexed than sad. “Why had I jumped into this river of momentum IF it wasn’t going anywhere?”
I decided to just let time pass, ‘I just wont think about it’ was my strategy. Yes ‘avoidance’, but I also wanted to see if I had fabricated this river of momentum or if it was real. Only 2 weeks into my service dog hiatus, the cutest wet nose yellow lab was staring right at me in a Facebook ad – 'service and family dogs’. I called the number and told the person who answered, Tim, that I was a little bit grateful and a little bit freaked out at how that ad showed up on my Facebook page. (If you aren’t familiar with how this works, it’s called Targeted Advertising – Facebook uses your posts/interests to target ads directly to you.)
Tim and I spoke on the phone for over an hour -- I loved their approach; how they would train the dog just for Elliot; how they would come to our home to train us; and of course, I loved that they happen to have a service dog candidate that surprisingly no one had yet claimed.
“New Guy” was available! Now, I just needed to convince Rick that we could raise the money and he could be ours.
As you know -- we did it, with the graciousness of friends, family and strangers we raised the money and in March of 2011 New Guy, renamed “Orbit” became Elliot’s service dog, and … he IS real!