Sunday, January 10, 2010

"How do you give them up?"

A question we hear a lot as puppy raisers is how do you give them up? I always say that I know what I am getting into when I sign up for a puppy and that getting another puppy is always helpful in the process. But really it is so much more than that, I really don't see how I could not raise a puppy. Not only do these dogs do amazing things, but because of "my" dogs I have met my best friends and had wonderful experiences that I would not have otherwise had if it were not for the dogs. I am so thankful for every dog that I have raised and the opportunity to meet new people and the possibility of giving someone the gift of one of the dogs that I have raised is just so special. I started raising puppies when I was 16 and a Junior in High School, since then I've turned in 5 puppies and am on my 6th. For me turn in isn't as hard as it once was, but the waiting process of seeing what the dogs choose is the hardest. What some people don't understand is that working is completely up to the dog, there is no training that will make a dog something that they are not meant to be. Getting the call that "my" dog was graduating was probably one of the best feelings of my life. So sure, I will cry when I turn them in and I will for sure cry when they graduate, but those tears are so much different, they are tears of joy and of all the hard work, patience, repetition and watching that puppy finally have something click where they understand what you are asking of them. So when I am asked how can you give them up? I know that for me it's much deeper than that, it's not just giving back a dog that I have shared the last 18-20 months with. It's giving back a dog that is ready for it's next journey in life, it's purpose. I don't need the dog, as much as I love them, I don't "need" them. There will be another puppy that I will get to share part of my life with and new opportunities and learning experiences with that puppy that I'll look forward to. Because as much as raising a service dog is about helping others, as CCI's website says "transform someones life by raising a service dog. Yours included". And I know from experience that this is true, my life has changed for the better because of Kedra, Hiltie, Shawn, McKenna, Omeeka & Milano!!

No words needed...

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