Sunday, May 18, 2014

Roller Coaster

It wasn't to the level of a double dog dare, as no canines were involved in this challenge of machismo vs. tough, yet still delicately feminine character.

The Vortex at King's Island
Yeah, no problem.
The brother-in-law and I were standing before the Vortex on the first family trip to King's Island since the ride debuted. Vortex, which is Latin for You Don't Need Your Spleen Anyway, boasted a claim as the tallest roller coaster in the world with the highest drop.

Not so bad, right? I mean, once you tackle that feat with a hearty scream, you'll find yourself back in manageable territory of the usual twists and turns expected of a roller coaster.

Oh, but not so for the Vortex. No, this marvel of engineering psychopathy also was also the first thrill ride of its ilk to offer up six inversions.

Inversions?, you ask.

Inversions, I repeat. Upside down, ya'll. A full loop. Six brain rattling times. 

I believe the max speed of this ride is somewhere around highway speeds of fifty five miles per hour. Vomiting is not an option since even your overpriced amusement park lunch has no idea of which way is out after the second loop.

So here we stand, the BIL and I, watching otherwise normal folk screaming in a tone that could be interpreted as either a wonderful thrill or a curse to their mothers for ever looking at their dad that way, depending on the observer's point of view*. Neither one of us has the guts to back off now, so off we go to stand in line with the other adrenaline seekers.

The ride lasts a mere two minutes in normal time and about a full life cycle in we're-all-gonna-die time. It was all up-up-up-up to get to that highest drop thing and then the world as we know it goes upside down. Six times. Real fast.

Afterwards as I step out of the car, the ride attendant reaches out to grab my arm as my knees betray me. The BIL is but a flash in my peripheral vision as he hot steps it to the men's room.

Wow, what a ride.

So it's not surprising when a roller coaster is used as a metaphor for life, now is it?  The thrill of anticipation of what is around the next bend, as well as the ups and downs that stress us out to be replaced by pure happiness and relief. And always, the hope that the next drop won't be as bad as the last one.

As it is with volunteer puppy raising.

Euka is now at the regional training center for Canine Companions for Independence to begin her Advanced Training in the ways of an assistance dog.  We gave her a kiss and hug good-bye on Friday. Asked her to do her best to make us proud. To keep safe the love we gave her over these last months because she'll want to share it later.

And as our roller coaster car slows to return to the station, we're reminded of the ride we've been on with Miss Euka.

Eighteen months have passed, can you believe it, and we've shared over one hundred stories over that time here at Raising a Super Dog.

Let's remember the journey ...

Getting settled in Ohio


In A California Blonde in Ohio we welcome home the delicate flower that is Euka puppy.
Micron: Ow-ow-ow! Holy dog! Really? Ow!
Euka II:  Rawr! nom nom nom
And it begins.

The Ohio E's have a play session after arriving from California in Furry Blurries.

Euka meets our family in Changes in Latitude, including an obligatory introduction to Bodine, the benevolent overlord of Sword House.

And Micron's puppy lovin' patience is put to the test in Adaptation.





Training 

Euka explores Work/Life balance while training to be an assistance dog. With the Ohio's E's, she finds Time to Ramp it Up with Nothing to Fear.

A group training and socialization event is recapped in Well, Hello Deer.

With Micron as her mentor, we introduced the Speak command to Euka, giving it one heck of a try in Silence is Yellow.

A little R&R

What do you get when you put three dogs plus three hoomans in one car for a twelve hour trip? A test of wills -- and patience, that's what. But hey, we survived to tell the stories. The dramatic tales of our Odyssean-style  trip to the southern Outer Banks is shared at Save Yourselves and Attack of the Ten Foot Sea Spider.

Euka does her diva thing in Base Tan.  And something fish is happening at Floundering in the Rain.


Celebrating holidays


Seems each holiday inspires another photo shoot that doesn't quite match the vision I had in my head. Four Point Mutt was the first of these valiant attempts.

Euka channels her inner polar bear in blizzard-like conditions.

Later, Miss Euka offers an open invitation to be her Valentine.

And we get a long anticipated visit by the Euka Bunny and her goldengoober sidekick.

We'll give you a fer instance of one of those hairpin curves on this roller coaster ride that we didn't see coming at Then This (ugh) Happened.

Meeting famous folk


We were thrilled to meet Temple Grandin during her visit to Cincinnati, Ohio. Euka got a leisurely belly rub while I learned about Temple's view of dog harnesses.

Euka was at my side, then at The Bloggess's, when we met one of my favorite authors, Jenny Lawson.

Our little diva had a chance at fleeting fame at Working Like a ...well, not really


Wow, what a ride!


Thanks so much for being with us on our journey with Euka over these months. Dunno about you, but I'm struggling to find myself prepared to see this ride pull into the station.

But you know what?  Euka's ready.  She's getting in line for the next adventurous set of twists and turns. What's next?, you ask. Well, that's the exciting part. Nobody knows yet where this ride will lead her to and so we, as mere spectators now, can't wait to find out.

These links I've offered up are but a few. Hey, I wasn't kidding when I said we have a bunch of stories here on the dog blog. Browse at your pleasure. To make it a bit easier to filter to the Euka goodness, click her name in the Word Cloud in the right hand panel. And just scroll along, page by puppy page.

A time capsule of adventures.

Did you have a favorite story I missed linking here? Drop a note in the comments to share your memory.






________________________________
*Speaking of point of view, here's a YouTube video of the two minute ride from the front car of the Vortex.

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