Jeb's DogBlog - Bittersweet

Chapter 60

DENVER - May 14, 2014

Well, here we are - my last DogBlog post.  Can you believe it?  My co-workers are stunned. They keep saying things like "Already?" and “No, it’s too soon!” and "Really? It seems like you just got here!"  But the truth is that I arrived in Colorado October 3, 2012 (2012, people!) I am 21-months old and it's time for me to move on. 

I leave for Advanced Training tomorrow. I'm excited, and a little scared. I've heard the trainers are super friendly and kind, but there are a lot of dogs at AT. What if they don't like me as much as they like the other dogs?  And who will my trainer be?  Will he/she be stern or easy-going? Will he/she expect me to do the ROLL command (which I utterly, completely and totally DETEST?)  Do dogs get released from the program for refusing to do a ROLL?  Will I be released for some other infraction before Marianne and John have even returned to Denver?  These are the questions I ponder late at night in my crate.

I decided to ask my friend Hughy, a graduate dog, for his advice about AT.  You may remember that I talked to Randi, Hughy’s partner, in an earlier DogBlog post (http://www.thedenverchannel.com/lifestyle/pets/jebs-dogblog-freight-train-of-love).  Hughy was happy to chat with me.

JEB:  So, I’m a little nervous about Advanced Training. Any advice?

HUGHY:  Hmmm.  The beds in the kennels aren’t as comfy as the dog beds at home, so be sure you maximize your time in the play yard and the grooming studio.

JEB:  Good to know. I do love a cushy dog bed.  I’ve heard there’s a cat named Bob who lives on campus, which is wonderful. I have two kitties at home, Diddums and Dewey, who I’ll miss a lot.  I’m glad there will be a campus kitty to snuggle.

HUGHY:  (shakes head violently) Oh, no. No, no, no.  Not Bob.  Bob is a different animal.  He’s mean, really mean.

JEB:  (puzzled)  Really?  How odd.  Well, what about the rabbits? I hear there are also resident rabbits on campus.

HUGHY:  Yes, they have a cage but sometimes they hop around the courtyard. Don’t fall for the “bunny bar” fake out. Bunnies are your friends, not food.

JEB: (insulted)  I would NEVER eat a bunny!  The very thought!  I haven’t even unstuffed the toy bunny I got for Easter.

HUGHY: OK, OK, calm down.  Jeez. 

JEB:  Let’s talk about the accommodations. What are the kennels like?

HUGHY:  Pretty darned nice – heated floors, skylights and music. The kennels are coed but you won't have a girl for a roommate, so make sure you maximize time with them in play yard!  The kennel techs get to choose the night music. Sometimes you will love it, sometimes you will wish you had opposable thumbs so you can change the station. My all time favorite kennel party song is, of course, "Who Let the Dogs Out.”

JEB:  Hahahahahaha. I heard about a dog at the Northeast Regional campus who figured out how to unlatch his kennel, and he actually DID let the dogs out.  The kennel staff was quite puzzled when they found all the dogs romping together the next morning.  What about the trainers? Are they nice?

HUGHY:  The  professors, er, I mean trainers are amazing. I hope you get Sarah, my trainer; she is awesome!  She taught me really well and made me into the service dog I am today. I kinda had a crush on her, I used go all soft in the knees (yes we have knees) when she told me "good boy"….ooh la la!!

JEB: (blushing)  Wow, um, that’s kind of embarrassing.  I’ll just tell her you said hello. 

HUGHY:  Jeb, I want you to know that I’m proud of you, kid.  I think you have a bright future!

JEB:  (still blushing)  Thanks, Hughy!  That means a lot to me. I’ll do my best at AT.

A big shout out to all my friends at 7News who helped raise me, and all my peeps in the Denver puppy raising community. Marianne and John are going to take a little hiatus and do a lot of puppy sitting this summer before getting their next puppy in August, so there probably won’t be many entires to the DogBlog, but I’ll make sure Marianne keeps everyone posted on my progress in AT. 

Love,

JEB

Bittersweet (adj.) 1. Bitter and sweet at the same time: bittersweet chocolate. 2. Producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure: a movie with a bittersweet ending. 3. The feeling a puppy raiser has when giving the dog back to Canine Companions at Turn In.

Turn in: Returning a puppy to Canine Companions for Advanced Training.

Jeb is kindly allowing me, Marianne, to add a note. I honestly can't believe it's time for Turn In again -- it seems like John and I just did this with Rocket!  But as much as we'll miss him, we think Jeb is ready for a new adventure. As always, we are hopeful that he chooses a career path as a Canine Companions graduate dog, but ultimately it's his decision. The amazing trainers will help him choose his major (Service Dog, Skilled Companion, Hearing Dog or Facility Dog) or release him if he decides the life of a working dog is not his cup of kibble. No matter what he ends up doing, we will be incredibly proud of him and so glad we had the opportunity to love the stuffing out of him for nineteen months. 

And now, I will do my very best to follow this sage advice: Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. (But carry tissues, just in case.)

Chow for now!

Marianne

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