Jeb's DogBlog - Graduation Zone

Chapter 22

Denver - May 15, 2013

Exciting times here! 

We received word that Rocket has made a match with a woman from Southern California and that he will graduate as a Successor Service Dog on FRIDAY!  And his sister Rumba also matched and will be graduating! As you might expect, there's a lot of whooping and hollering and whoo-hooing and yee-hawing around here.  After all, Marianne and John haven't had a grad dog since Ross was selected as a breeder and they handed over his leash to breeder caretaker M-L Reinking in August 2010. Before that, their last graduate dog was Hudson in November 2007.  So, you know, it's *cough* been awhile.

Now, this is not to say they're terrible puppy raisers, just that it's always up to us dogs to decide if we want to work for CCI or do something else. Marianne always says that one of the things she loves about Canine Companions is that dogs who don't want to work are released from the program to follow their hearts. Sometimes that happens early in Advanced Training and sometimes it happens at the very end, but no matter when it happens, the trainers are respectful of the dogs' wishes. We love the Canine Companions trainers, we do.

In all the excitement Marianne seems vaguer than usual this week. Yesterday at work she almost walked into a live shot. She used my name instead of Rocket's in a post on her Facebook page. She forgot to return a phone call and two emails.  This morning during my nap I heard crunching.

"Is it lunchtime already?" I yawned. "Boy, the morning went fast!"  Then I glanced at the clock. "Hey, it's only 10:30. Why are you eating now?"

Marianne paused, a forkful of salad halted in midair. "Really? Huh, I thought it was a lot later. Well, I'm hungry so I'm going to eat now anyhow."  She got up and stretched, paced around the room twice, then sat down and resumed eating.

"You'll be hungry again by noon," I warned her. "Why are you acting so weird?"

"Graduation Zone," she said. "It's like the Turn In Zone, but possibly worse. I'll need to make to-do lists or I'll do something really dumb like leave my wallet at home or forget your food."

ARGH. "Don't do that," I urged. "That would be bad."  I thought for a minute. "Wait, what about my food?"

"I need to pack food for you because you are going to stay with Citrus and her puppy raisers while we're in Oceanside. I told you that."

I shook my head. "Um, no, you didn't."

"Really?  Huh, I thought I did. Well, now you know," she shrugged.

"But I want to go, too!  I want to see Rocket graduate!" I whined. "Why can't I go?"

"For one thing, we're flying Southwest Airlines and they don't allow the puppies in training. And honestly? I want this weekend to be all about Rocket and his accomplishments. If and when you graduate, it will be all about you, I promise."  Marianne patted my head.  "Cheer up, you'll have lots of fun with Citrus and we'll take plenty of pictures to show you when we get home."

"Oh, all right," I sighed. "Fine. Whatever." I pretended to pout a bit, just for effect.  But in reality I'm every bit as proud and excited as Marianne and John. 

GO, ROCKET!  WOO HOO!

Chow for now!

JEB