Tomorrow will hold Graduation and Matriculation ceremonies all over the country for CCI’s wonder dogs. In all my social media feeds, I’ve seen nothing but chatter about upcoming graduates or pictures of matriculating puppies and I am filled with love, admiration and excitement for those stories and for those puppies. I can’t help but think about what I will experience in August of 2014, and then again in February of 2015.
Every morning, I wake up and I let my beauty out of her kennel. We stretch together, and out the door we go to Hurry before breakfast, (her, not me!) We play, we cuddle and it is a wonderful start to the day. When I come home from work, the routine is the same, except this time I sit on the floor and she sits in my lap for as long as I’ll let her. I sure love this dog. But with that daily routine, comes the daily reminder that we are working one day closer to our last day together. I am both excited, and sad at the thought.
I’m excited because I know that these days are spent preparing her the best I can to become one of those graduates. I know that once I hand over that leash on turn in day, it will be Helaine’s choice whether or not she continues on this path. I will watch her walk away knowing that I have left everything on the table and that I have put all my heart and soul into creating a miracle dog. From that moment on, she will choose her own destiny. It’s a beautiful thought and one that I am both dreading, and welcoming with open arms. After all, I’m not doing this for me. I want her to succeed and I want her to graduate. I look forward to handing over that leash at graduation day. I love Helaine. I love her so so so much. But, I love her forever person so much that I will gladly hand that leash over to them on graduation day in February 2015 with a smile on my face, tears in my eyes and a piece of my heart sealed with them. I’m not giving Helaine any option. She HAS to graduate! 😉
Last night at the beginning of puppy class as we sat in our cradle circle asking questions and sharing stories, a puppy raiser who’s last pup Jet had a side placement a few weeks prior to Graduation had an email to share from Jet’s new forever family. He is a nine year old boy is non-verbal, the email was from his mother. Apparently they had another dog for a whole year before they had to reluctantly return the pup to CCI because their son just couldn’t bond, hense the reason of the side placement. She had explained in detail about how life changing Jet had been in the short amount of time he had been in their life. What was read next touched me so deeply, it brought tears to my eyes. Jet and his boy were romping around in the yard, and playing with a stuffed duck. The family was laughing and enjoying watching the love and playfullness between the two, when the boy said “Jet get duck.” Now, it wasn’t noted whether he and spoken before, but being non-verbal this was a HUGE step. We all sat in silence when the email was finished, before we all sighed with love and awe. How incredible, that these dogs change lifes all the way down to a quick command. I want nothing more than to get an email like that someday. My goodness, I’m crying again.
Helaine is a life changer. I know that for certain. She has already changed my life, created in me a new person. I have an entirely new family to love and share good times and bad with. I have friends across the country (part of my mission with this blog) and I get to promote and advocate for those who can’t. I am living a dream. It was this month, one year ago that I found a blog about a CCI pup named Haddie and my life changed for what I now know is the better (like I had any doubt). As I was talking with Haddie’s puppy raiser yesterday about what’s to come (in case you haven’t read, she didn’t make a match this go-round so she will remain in Advance Training in Santa Rosa with hopes to match in November, or potentially a side match before then), we had conversed over how much we would love to be able to see the pre-match happen. For me, I had always wanted to see that moment where a dog and a person become one. Well, I got my wish. A few moments later an email came around in one of the national groups with a YouTube link. What I witnessed was short, so sweet, and so awe-inspiring. Have a look for yourself:
Yet another moment that brought tears to my eyes. I serve a really incredible organization. I am so blessed. As my fellow PSC members say goodbye to their puppies, and my sweet friend Hannah says goodbye to Dante III tomorrow, I will be sending nothing but loving thoughts and prayers for strength as the end of this chapter draws to a close. It takes the heart of a lion to do this…I am not only proud of you, but I’m proud that I get the honor of being associated with each of you. My heart is with you this weekend.