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July 14, 2011Yo!Marianne spends a fair amount of time toodling (her word, not mine) around the Internet reading other blogs. Sometimes she suggests things for me to write about, based on something she read on a blog. Somehow her leisure activity translates into work for me. Huh.Anyhow, she's recently been enjoying a blog called Full Soul Ahead. I like it too, mostly because it includes (wait for it) a SERVICE DOG. A service dog named Jingle, no less. I mean, that name is every bit as cool as Rocket, don't you think?Jingle is not a CCI dog. She was trained by an organization called 4 Paws for Ability. I was curious about her training and her work as a service dog for a young girl named Riley, so I put on my Canine Correspondent collar (you didn't think it was going to be a hat, did you?) Here's my interview with Jingle:ROCKET: Hey Jingle, what was your puppyhood like?JINGLE: I was part of a litter that was rescued in Kentucky and delivered to shelter, which then transferred us to 4 Paws for Ability, in Dayton, Ohio. They did this because our temperaments were awesome. That being said, I am the only one of my siblings who went all the way to become a service dog. I am part Australian Shepherd, part Boxer....so they think.ROCKET: Wow, that's quite a story. And honestly, I'm a little stunned that you're not Lab or Golden Retriever. I had no idea other breeds of dogs could be service dogs.MARIANNE (interrupting, horrified): Rocket! That's rude and insulting and.....ROCKET (hurriedly): OK, OK! Sorry, Jingle. I didn't mean it like it sounded. My experience is limited to the other CCI pups I see in class. I'm sure that there are lots of other breeds of working dogs. Hey, did you live with a puppy raiser like I do?JINGLE: Yes, part of the time. 4 Paws for Ability placed me with a foster family where I learned basic obedience, as a young pup. Next I was placed with an inmate in a women's prison. In prison, I learned advanced obedience. Then I went back to 4 Paws for further training.ROCKET: That's cool! Marianne says that CCI also has puppy raisers in prisons. What happened when you were matched with Riley at the end of your training?JINGLE: Riley's family had to go to Dayton and spend ten days being trained and getting acclimated with me. I went back to the hotel with them each night. I was just shy of a year old when they brought me home to Cleveland.ROCKET: Well, that's a little different from CCI. I will be about 18 months old when I go to CCI college and around 2 years old when I graduate. IF I graduate, Marianne says. Heh. Were you excited to go home with Riley?JINGLE: At first I was scared it might not be permanent, but now I'm sure they'll never give me away.ROCKET: Of course not! Jeez, don't even say something like that. (shudder) Were you the dog Riley was expecting?JINGLE: Riley's only requests for her dog were that I be cute and fluffy. I am both. Everyone who pets me marvels at how soft my fur is.ROCKET: Yeah, you look really pretty and soft and fluffy in your photos and.......really........pretty......JINGLE: Are you OK?ROCKET: Uh, yeah, fine, I'm fine! (shaking head to clear it) So, um....what kinds of things do you do for Riley?JINGLE: My main job is "behavior disruption" meaning if Riley is upset or starts to have a meltdown, I respond, and provide a calm presence for her. I help her move through upsets quickly and I am a good and trusted friend who cheers her up.ROCKET: I bet you're really good at that. In fact, I bet you know when she's feeling upset before anyone else does. I think I remember that you live with some cats. Hows that going for you?JINGLE: I never gave the cats the time of day until Riley's brother Seth got a new Chihuahua puppy. When the puppy chases the cats, I have to admit, I get on board and it is loads of fun. I'd never be so bold as to chase a cat on my own, but I do it....for the little guy.ROCKET: (Snorting with laughter) Now that's pretty funny. What kinds of activities do you do with Riley? Is there anything you especially like?JINGLE: I love to go for long walks and for drives in the car. I spend time at the neighbors' house in their fenced in yard, romping with my BFF Gilda. (She's a black Lab mix). I love chewing my bones, and wrestling gently with the puppy. I get tons of love from Riley, the rest of the family and everyone I meet. I have slept in Riley's room every night since I came home with her in 2008. In the winter I sleep on the bed, in the summer it is too hot so I prefer the floor.ROCKET: Sounds like a perfect life to me! Whats your favorite treat?JINGLE: My favorite treat is a Kong filled with peanut butter. I also love Milk Bones.ROCKET: Ooooh, me too! I lovelovelove Kongs filled with peanut butter and Milk Bones. (drooling slightly) YUM. What else should I know about you?JINGLE: Okay....one weird thing about me. I've developed a teeny phobia of going head first through doorways. To get around it, I turn and back into entryways, butt first. My family calls it my "moonwalk" and they think it is cute. I'm also very scared of the vacuum.ROCKET: Um, yeah, that is weird. I'd rather go through head first, so I can scout for food. The vacuum doesn't bother me...yet. Marianne says that pups sometimes go through "fear periods" at different stages, so maybe next month I will be scared; who knows? Don't feel bad, though. Hudson, her fourth CCI puppy, was afraid of butter. Now that's REALLY weird.JINGLE: Heavens.ROCKET: Riley, did you want to say anything about Jingle?RILEY: She's a very good companion and she's really cute.ROCKET: Yeah, she is. Really cute.JINGLE: Okay Rocket, Good luck! You can do it! It's totally worth all the work you are putting in. Trust me! Woof!ROCKET: Thanks! And to my readers: Check out Full Soul Ahead for lots more about Jingle and Riley.Chow for now!RocketQuestions or comments for Rocket? Would you like to be notified when Rocket updates his DogBlog? Send him an e-mail!Would you like more information about Canine Companions for Independence or perhaps be a puppy raiser? Call 1-800-572-BARK or go to CCI for details.