Friday, March 25, 2011

The Official Word

It's official. We're going to Ohio.

The call came last Friday afternoon, the 18th, at 4 p.m. Chris and I were home, and I'd been waiting for the phone to ring. And when it did, we both held out breath, waiting for the words that would make one of Jarod's dreams come true.

And that's exactly what we got.

The team was delighted to offer us a spot in team training. We leave May 1 for Delaware, OH (a suburb outside of Columbus). Team training will begin May 2 at 9 a.m., and run Monday through Saturday, then Monday through Friday. Graduation will be Friday, May 13th (I'm going to assume the date is pure coincidence and not an omen!). Everyday will have training from 9-4 with an hour for lunch, and then we'll go back to the hotel for dinner and studying.

My in-laws have been incredibly helpful, and Kay is planning to come along with me. As Jarod can participate in team training as he feels like, Kay can stay with Jarod (or take hime all over Columbus) while I'm in training. We're in the process of searching for hotels and other arrangements that need to be made. But for now, the excitement alone is enough for us all.

Stay tuned.--Wendy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Day the Phone Call Came

Yesterday the phone rang.

We were still hanging around the house in our jammies at 11 a.m. because that's what we do when we have a day off of school and no where we needed to go. Sleeping in, a lovely breakfast, sipping coffee and watching reruns of "House" on Bravo, our family relaxed, enjoying the sudden slow pace of a day with no obligations.

We'd been waiting for the call to come from Canine Companions for Independence for the past 18 months. In June of 2009 we applied for a skilled companion animal from CCI, and in October 2009 we traveled to the NorthCentral Regional CCI center in Delaware, OH for our family interview. Two days after our return from the interview, we received a letter stating that Jarod had been accepted into CCI's program. From there, it was merely a waiting game--one we were told could take up to two years.

Until yesterday when the phone rang. When I saw the caller ID, my heart absolutely skipped a beat before it began racing as I answered. Adrena Wilhelm, the NorthCentral regional center coordinator for CCI was calling to let us know that they "might" have a dog for Jarod at the May team training. While she assured me this was encouraging news, she cautioned me to remember that this wasn't quite the official invitation to team training in May. Instead, she wanted to schedule one more phone interview with myself and one of the three team trainers who would be working with us in May. This is the final step before an invitation is actually made. They call and conduct a 30 minute interview to verify why we want a service dog and discuss the team training process with us. As the process can be physically and emotionally exhausting for many (and certainly for Jarod), they want to be certain we can complete the training should we choose to accept an invitation. The interview is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 16th at 3:15 p.m.

If Jarod is accepted into team training, he will be going to Ohio from May 1 through May 14th (coming home on the 14th).

Tonight we begin to document a journey that actually started long before 2009. As we travel through these experiences with Jarod, we hope to chronicle these most special events both for our own family, and as a means of sharing a greater understanding of autism and how companion/service animals make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities. Stay tuned--there's much more to come! Until then, peace to all of our friends.--Wendy (Jarod's Mom)