Why I chose my wish and about my wish trip
I volunteer at the local animal shelter and one of the tasks I enjoy is training cats and dogs. During the time I was deciding on my wish, we went to Greenfield Village in Detroit. While there, we saw a farmer call the sheep. Most of the sheep ran towards the farmer, but he had to work harder to get one ram to obey. After seeing this I remembered that dogs are sometimes used to herd sheep, and it hit me that my wish could involve sheepdogs. That led to a plan to go to a beautiful new-to-me area of the country and learn how to guide and train sheep dogs. I found a trainer in Pennsylvania who was unusual in that she uses positive training methods instead of punishment. She was willing to work with me and the wish took shape.
Carolyn, the dog trainer/shepherdess, has a farm surrounded by Pennsylvania woods with a great view of the Appalachian Mountains and the Delaware Water Gap. I spent nine hours at the sheep farm, and each one was a joy. The first thing I did was learn the commands by observing Carolyn, and then I practiced directing one of the experienced dogs to herd a small group of sheep. After this, Carolyn told me to try to herd five sheep by myself without the dog’s help. This was really hard! After this I learned how to train several different dogs who were at various stages of learning. In the afternoon we worked with more dogs and also herded ducks!
The rest of the trip involved being treated like a VIP at Martin Guitar, getting a tour of the C.F. Martin Guitar museum from the CEO, receiving several amazing gifts from the factory’s custom shop, and playing guitar with my brother for some of their staff. We also enjoyed the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area and the historical sites in Pennyslvania. Standing in Independence Hall and taking the tour was surreal. Getting our picture taken in front of the Liberty Bell was amazing. We also had tons of fun at the Franklin Institute. I also really enjoyed going in all the gift shops and getting suveniors in Pennsylvania.
What I’d like to say to those who made my wish possible
Thank you so much to everyone who played a role in making my wish come true. It was a wonderful experience for me and my family after a difficult diagnosis the previous year. I’m so grateful that my disease is now in remission and I felt really well for this trip.