Four-legged Argos grad Mileigh completes leader dog training

Editor’s note: This is a first-person account by 2012 Argos graduate Ally Rospopo. Rospopo’s senior project while at Argos was to work with Mileigh a puppy raiser before the dog complete leader dog training. Rospopo’s senior project was previously featured in the Pilot News.

When an Argos senior graduates, this is usually the completion of his or her senior project, but for me the journey continued.
I raised a Leader Dog for the blind throughout my senior year. Mileigh went through the journey of senior year just like any student at Argos High School. She even walked at graduation with the class with her own cap and gown. Since graduation,
Mileigh finished up her time with me and returned to Leader Dog for the Blind in Rochester Hills, MI for her extensive training. The day I gave her back was a very hard day but I knew that she would be helping someone out that needed her more than I did. I continued on with my life at college while eagerly awaiting Mileigh’s updates on how she was doing.
On Nov. 28, I received an email stating that Mileigh had made it all the way through her training and would soon be placed with her partner. After reading that email, tears came to my eyes, and I realized all the time, energy, love, and obstacles I had faced were all worth it. Mileigh was matched with her blind person, but ,unfortunately, she wasn’t a good match so she was placed back in the holdover phase.
So again it was a waiting game to hear how she was doing. On Jan. 14, I received the email stating that Mileigh was again placed with a new person and that I could go to meet them on Jan. 19. It was a very happy day for me knowing I would get to see Mileigh again soon and see how much she had grown.
On Jan. 19 my family and I made the six hour trip to Rochester Hills, Mich. to visit Mileigh for a final time. There were four other puppy raisers there to also see their dogs with their people.
When Mileigh walked in with her new mom, tears instantly came to all of our eyes. It was amazing to see how much she had grown up. When she came over she definitely recognized us. We got permission from her mom and were allowed to pet her. After the initial greeting Mileigh calmed down and settled right next to her new mom, Molly. It was like she knew what her new job was in life and she was content with it. We then sat down and talked with Molly. She and Mileigh are a great team as their personalities are so much alike. I made a scrapbook of Mileigh growing up and talked about everything Mileigh went through.
Molly was excited to hear that Mileigh loves basketball games because she loves them and plans to attend them. She enjoyed hearing Mileigh’s life journey. We exchanged contact information for each other and she plans on keeping me updated on her and Mileigh’s life. I couldn’t have asked for a better person for Mileigh to be with.
This whole Leader Dog puppy raising experience has been amazing and visiting Mileigh and seeing her at her final stage has been the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced in my life. I feel like all my commitment and dedication to this paid off and it is an amazing feeling. The final step of seeing how well Mileigh and Molly do together is closure for me and I couldn’t have asked for a happier ending to this story.