And Part Two of my CCI Team Training Experience. Took me a little bit longer to get writing this than I had planned/expected, but I had lots of catching up to life to do, and a couple extraordinarily sunny days to enjoy with Caleb like this one.
And graduation! What will I remember the most? The puppy raisers! Specifically, Caleb’s puppy raiser, Bruce. I can remember thinking to myself the night before, golly gee, I hope Caleb’s puppy raiser is cool and going to want to stay in our lives. Not just receive a Christmas card in the mail want to stay in touch, but actually up for seeing pictures, receiving a phone call, and maybe even getting together from time to time.
Well, did I ever hit the jackpot with Caleb’s puppy raiser. What an absolutely amazing guy! It’s funny to look back and think how nervous I was the night before, thinking about meeting Caleb’s first parents who had poured so much of their time and love into my new best buddy. Would they be sad/emotional? Would I be the person they hoped their dog would end up with? And… Would they be cool and somebody I could really hit it off with? Like I said, jackpot! Caleb’s puppy raiser Bruce was just incredible. From the first moment we met it felt as though everything about this match was simply meant to be, and the more we talked, and the more we grew comfortable with each other I knew that this was a person that would stay very close in my life. Success! Another awesome addition to my life.
From there, I fully figured I’d move along and let Bruce spend his last morning with Caleb and drift from person to person, saying hello, and just thanking everyone for being so great. Well this is almost how it went down, only thing is Bruce wasn’t about to shue me away… we had so much to talk about, and all the puppy raisers were migrating to the play yard, so the morning of graduation turned into one of the coolest, watch a whole bunch of beautiful lab/retrievers run around and play, and talk to a whole lot of really passionate/selfless people. What an incredible morning!
After that, there was a really delicious lunch and then the graduation!
What else can I say about graduation, other than I’ve never been to a ceremony that has left me so touched. Everything about it, from watching puppy raiser after puppy raiser (25 in total) turn in a dog that has been their life for the past 18 months, to the slideshow showing the early days of our service dogs, to actually receiving our dog from their puppy raiser. It was beyond more than my heart and tear glands could handle and left me with this huge sense of purpose and desire to really make the most out of this new relationship with Caleb and become a super active part of the CCI family.