DENVER - December 5, 2012
I'm learning that puppy raising is a little more complicated than I thought. It's not all kibble and squeaky toys. It has a lot of parts to it, and some parts are easy while others are very hard indeed.
My Auntie Vanessa and Uncle Kevin sent an email last Friday announcing the arrival on December 28 of their new Canine Companions puppy in training LIONEL. I can't wait 'til he gets here so we can romp n' stomp and I can teach him what I've learned so far. The PRs are already planning his arrival party. This is an easy part of puppy raising.
Marianne has been fretting about Rocket and how he's doing at Oceanside in professional training: Is he studying hard? Is he listening to the trainers? Is he having fun? Is he having too much fun and causing trouble? Is he getting along with his roommate, Timber? She won't get his first report card until early January and the suspense is killing her. This is a hard part of puppy raising.
Hearing that someone is about to get a grad dog is a really wonderful part of puppy raising. My Auntie Elizabeth, a psychologist, applied for a Canine Companions Facility Dog to assist her at work. It's been a long process, but Monday she called us to announce that she'd received the long-awaited call from CCI inviting her to Team Training in February! YeeHaw!!
But the worst part of puppy raising is hearing that a dog has been released from the program. Sadly, Auntie Vanessa called last night to tell us that Evie, who went to professional training at the same time as Rocket, was released yesterday. She was barking a lot when it wasn't her turn to work with a trainer. She was also wadding up her bed in the training room and peeing on it! Evie was telling the trainers "I do not want to be a working dog - get me the heck out of here!" Vanessa said, "Good for her for being so clear about her desires." But Kevin said, "Hearing that Evie got released hurts from a very emotional level, but it's also the right thing. Rationalizing these two is not easy."
Puppy raisers hate it when well-meaning people say foolish things like "Oh, don't you want her to fail so you can keep her?" NO! Of course not! Puppy raising isn't about the PRs getting the dogs back, it's about dogs graduating with partners and providing independence and self-sufficiency. So yeah, the worst part of puppy raising is getting That Call, the one that says, "I'm sorry, she's not interested in being a working dog." PRs cry when they get that call. Seeing a dream die sucks, if you'll pardon my Cat.
I offered to spend some time with Auntie Vanessa and Uncle Kevin to comfort and distract them, and they may take me up on it. Puppy raisers are amazingly resilient, however, and they are already looking forward to Lionel's arrival and the beginning of another adventure. Plus, everyone is buying plane tickets to attend Elizabeth's graduation in February. Bad news is tempered with good, and the end of one dream is the beginning of another.
CHOW FOR NOW!