A few posts ago I promised that I had some exciting news to share. In order to understand to the full how excited I am, I need to give you a little of my puppy raising history. It is complicated, but I have gotten many questions as to how I started, so I figured it's about time anyways. ;-) So, here goes!
I first got introduced to puppy raising when friends of my family started raising for The Seeing Eye (they are on #4 now). In 2010, I saw a booth about Southeastern Guide Dogs at a 4-H event, and became really interested. So, February 2011, my mom and I filled out the application to raise for them, only to find out the next week that they did not have a puppy raising group where we lived. Some more research and we found Guiding Eyes for the Blind. They have a great map of their regions on their website, and oh. my. goodness. I was so excited that they had a group in my town. We filled out their application, and within the week were in contact with our group!
In April, we started Pre-Placement Classes to get our first puppy that summer. At the same time, we had researched service dogs for my uncle (who is now on the waiting list for a CCI dog), never thinking we would be raising for any other organization. I did my mandatory puppy sits before getting a puppy, but July 22, 2011 - two weeks before Mr. M was supposed to arrive - my parents break the news that we are moving to another state that winter. One that Guiding Eyes does not puppy raise in. I was totally heartbroken.
We decided that we could still be puppy sitters until we moved. Bless my poor mother, who put up with many different puppies coming through our house, and the rush of hiding everything "dog" to run out of the house for a showing. But, I am so thankful for the months of sitting; we learned so, so much in the process.
In September, I went back through a bunch of old emails in search for the organization that raised assistance dogs. Ahh! I found it and went straight to Canine Companions for Independence's website.
By this point, I had learned a lot more about dog training (still learning), and was quite picky about who I would raise for. I knew that I could not raise for someone who did not use positive reinforcement/treat training. Tie this with our geographical location - it was pretty impossible. Although CCI did not have a puppy raising group here, their program is set up so that you could raise on your own.
Sign me up!
We sent in our official application in December 2011 from a hotel room. Totally oblivious to the fact the my first Puppy in Training was born two days prior.
Sorry I lied, that was a lot of history.
I am incredibly thankful that CCI has allowed me to raise, but not having the great support that I had with GEB's puppy raising group has been really hard.
So here comes the exciting part! Two weeks ago, Young II and his first-time puppy raisers joined the CCI family! Yup, they live ten minutes from me! I met his wonderful raisers in January, but have not met Young yet. I don't think I have to say it, but I am so, so, SO excited to have another yellow-caped puppy around here!!!