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Old 25.06.2012, 15:01
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A proper introduction

Hello to all,

Although I joined the English Forum almost a year ago, I never properly introduced myself.
I've been living in Pratteln, BL for the past three years now but have been in CH a total of nine years! Time flies!
I am a Greek/Canadian citizen who came to CH to complete an apprenticeship as a guide dog mobility instructor
when I was just 24 years old I continued working for the guide dog school for a few years. A most rewarding
career but at the same time demanding, both physically and mentally.

It was time to take a break and try a different career path and soon went on to receive my teaching qualification
and spent a couple of years teaching adults&children English.

Then I met a remarkable young blind woman who had a dream of starting a guide dog school in Greece. After some
thought, little planning but a whole lot of knowledge, the Lara Guide Dog School was officially established in 2008
The guide dog school I used to work for, was thrilled with the idea that a new member from the Mediterranean would
have the chance to join the International Guide Dog Federation, so they decided to help out.

A great start all together, volunteers wanted to help, experts gave out their advice free of charge, school managers
from countries like Taiwan even came to Greece to visit! We had no office, no dog training facilities, we all worked from
home on a volunteer basis and we weren't even living in the same country!

During this time though the economy began to fall. The crisis kept rising and the dream of creating a "proper guide dog
school" was beginning to feel distant. And yet we stuck to it, I mean we had nothing to loose, we still had our day jobs, right?

In spring of 2011 a miracle happened. A Greek foundation functioning on a global scale literally knocked on the young
woman's door and offered the school 40.000 euro for the training of a guide dog, its client and whatever else would
be needed. We were dumbstruck. She called me at 02.00am to scream out the news, crying.

So, we picked the best candidate from the five candidates that the school had in total. We had no time to raise a puppy
and hope that it would fulfill the requirements so in September 2011, we found ourselves a young dog that did. Mario.

During this time there was another phone call. This time it was to tell me that she had lost her job at the research centre
in Crete due to the cutbacks and that she would have to move in with her parents in Athens.

The question we all suddenly had to face was, "how can you sustain your dream on a volunteer basis when that which sustains
you is no longer there?"

And so Mario came to live with our family for seven months. I socialized him, and trained him, we spoiled him and loved him.
My heart started to break as soon as the deadline approached, the candidate would arrive in a month to stay with us and complete
the first part of the matching process with her new best friend.

As I write this introduction both Mario and Sia are now back in Greece. I spent the month of May with them in Greece completing
the second part of their matching and then said goodbye.

I came back home felling proud but empty. Thinking I can not go through this again. You see, most schools have kennel facilities.
The instructors will come in the morning, work with their dogs (usually they are assigned to 4 - 6 dogs at a time), then they will go home.
Job done. Even though they love their work and their dogs.

The system with which I was taught and worked with meant that I had two dogs for training in my own home. We become a family.
We learn so much from each other and when the time comes to say good bye after many months it is hard to watch your dog
looking at you walk away.

So, it is back to my normal life in Pratteln, with my private dog, my man and our baby bump. We just found out, I am pregnant!!
Or is it, "we are pregnant?"

I hope to make some new friends and I wish you all a nice week
Lia
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The following 3 users would like to thank liajoe for this useful post:
  #2  
Old 25.06.2012, 15:03
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Buakaw has made some interesting contributions
Re: A proper introduction

Woohoo.... in similar situation.... We just found out we are expecting too Congratulations!

Unlike you I am all new here but ehy anyway
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:05
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Re: A proper introduction

Nice intro. Welcome and keep up your good work.
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:15
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Re: A proper introduction

Welcome to the Forum, and thank you for a very nice introduction.
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Old 25.06.2012, 16:14
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Re: A proper introduction

Thank you
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