Letter From College

It came as a complete surprise.  I was working away when I heard my phone buzz with an e-mail.  All day I had been talking to Kolby’s puppy raiser about how much I was missing my girl and how I couldn’t wait for our Advanced Training report card to come the following week.  Helaine’s song was on Spotify and everything felt so lovely.  Sure, I was missing my girl…but I was also day dreaming about going to Santa Rosa again in February and handing off her leash to her forever person.

As I opened my email my jaw dropped to the floor.  Right there, in my inbox, was a bright and shiny brand new message from our puppy program manager, James.  It was titled “Helaine’s Report”.  I instantly sent a message to Elle, cancelling out our previous discussion and preparing for what was to come.  I took a deep breath, and with shaky hands I opened it up.

Her trainer’s name is Kristina, and she is an apprentice trainer for Canine Companions (my dream job!) Helaine is still considered a potential breeder as of the date of her first report.  She was learning Push and Hold, and they were refining her basic commands she’s learned with me.  All of her appropriate behavior was checked off!!  I know that she is a very good girl, and I’m glad that she’s proving that to her trainers.  She did have two inappropriate behaviors marked off, which included some submissiveness and inappropriate toileting.  I am not aware of the circumstances surrounding either of those but it certainly doesn’t sound like my sweet girl.  I do understand that she is still adjusting so I hope that both of those check marks will be removed when I get her second report in a couple of weeks.

This is what her trainer had to say about her:

Helaine is settling into advanced training.  This month we focused on brushing up on basic skills and introduced hold and push.  Helaine is learning to touch a target with her nose for a food reward and hold a plastic dumbell in her mouth.  In the kennel environment on two occasions, Helaine had a fear reaction when an unfamiliar person entered her run.  We are monitoring this behavior, but it has not been seen in other circumstances at this point.  Overall, in training and in general, Helaine is a responsive and consistent dog.”

That sounds about right, minus the fear.  She’s always been a very sweet and consistent puppy in training, and it thrills me that she’s keeping that up in the college atmosphere.  We are closing in on the two month mark since I handed the leash over, and I look forward to getting her next report in a couple of weeks!  Stay tuned, November is the half way mark to graduation!

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