The Gold Award

Hannah says it’s for the Gold Award. I say it’s for the puppy. You decide.

I saw it first on a Facebook post by one of my granddaughters. “Hannah Claire Kelly is going to get a dog!!! :) SO HAPPY, life is good.” Could it be really be? I thought any chance of that was kyboshed many years ago. But as I read the FB comments to her post, I realized it wasn’t a done deal; at least not yet.

Hannah has been an avid girl scout for the last nine years. She also has a very special connection with dogs. If it had been up to her, there would have been a family dog for all of the fifteen years of her life. But after Mandy—a pet golden retriever who died when Hannah was seven—her parents said, “No more dogs.”

Hannah could have lived with that decision. That is until she read the story about a young lady who had trained a guide dog. It was the featured story in The Golden Link, a monthly magazine published by the Girl Scouts. The Texas teenager provided a foster home for a nine-week-old puppy; raising him until he was sixteen months old. During that time, she taught the dog 40+ commands and exposed him to many types of social situations. For this community service, she received The Gold Award—the highest honor you can receive as a Girl Scout.

Hannah had worked hard for her bronze and silver award. Now she knew how to get the gold. But the biggest hurdle to getting a dog (a golden retriever or a lab) would be her dad.

Determined to make it a reality, she put together a 22-slide PowerPoint Presentation, which took her two-and-a-half weeks. Her goal: To convince her dad that she should be a “puppy raiser.” (See attached copy.) He was impressed with her creativity and due diligence. However, this would be a major commitment for the family. So he said that he would have to think on it.

Four days later, he told Hannah that the jury had made their final decision. Was she ready for it? Her hopes hit rock bottom, when she saw his deadpanned expression. Then he announced his verdict, “I know you will have many obstacles ahead of you. But I won’t be one of them. You have my approval to send in your application to be a foster mother for a potential “dog of service.”

Hannah’s Power Point Presentation


  1. Dot DeYoung says:

    Love it! The Power Point presentation is sooo Hannah! (And your article is great, too!) We sure have wonderful grandkids, don’t we?

  2. Richard E. Kelly says:

    Dot, we are indeed blessed. All the granddaughters are oh so different, but I wouldn’t trade a one of them. They are the best! And yes, the PP Presentation is totally vintage Hannah. Love that young “where there’s a will, I will find a way” young lady.
    I plan on making this story ongoing. The next two posts will include info related to the puppy raiser group and more. Then, I hope that I can share with readers her experiences as a “puppy raiser”

  3. Reg says:

    Hannah, apart from being as we say ‘drop-dead gorgeous’ you are a fairly wonderful person. Raising a Guide dog to improve the lot of someone else takes a lot of time and heart.
    I guess by now march 2012 the dog is well on its way in its service life.
    whatever accolades you receive for doing this are well deserved.
    What a pleasure to have come across your story as i wandered the (web) world.
    Good health and good seasons to you and yours.
    Me? Im a granded in West Australia and an ex ‘aged-care’- worker. Itoo have a lovely daughter and grandkids and she has done me proud in what she has achieved in her life. I know how your mum n dad must feel.. well done!

  4. Lainie says:

    Loved the PowerPoint! A friend’s daughter was a puppy raiser as a teenager, and it turned out to be a great experience for the whole family (including her father, who like Hannah’s wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the idea to begin with).

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