It's taken me a looong time to write this post, partly because it isn't a post I ever thought I'd have to make and partly because I wasn't ready to acknowledge what occurred on May 26th: Z was washed from SAR training. In addition, I was asked not to return with another dog (and/or as a member) until I had achieved some of the certifications the team requires.
Z washing was something I didn't see coming and something that I really think could've been avoided if there had been clearer communication with me as a new handler. Me needing to return to volunteer status is wholly my fault and something I take full responsibility for.
I'm not happy about how Z's dismissal was handled for a number of reasons, and thus I'm currently on a break from even serving as a volunteer with the team.
I still think about SAR a lot, especially with the new pup I got in May maturing into an awesome high drive dog. I've considered trying out for another team, but I think that at this time, as much as I hate it, my schedule is such that it wouldn't be fair to try to start from scratch again. I just don't have the scheduling flexibility I need for the practice and continuing education SAR with a canine partner requires unfortunately. Perhaps someday.
So here's me signing off for now - wiser, more in awe of the process, determined to try again when life permits, and wishing all those involved in SAR good trainings and fast, happy finds.