I am a puppy raiser. That means that I do not get to keep this dog that I raise, train, socialize, and take with me nearly everywhere I go. Oh, and I also love him. Very much.
I have had many people imply that they think I may not love this puppy because I can give him up, but never so bluntly as today.
I made a quick stop at Petco to get some High Value Treats for Dante. Since it only took me five minutes, I left him in the car with my sister and just ran in myself. The cashier was asking me about my dog and such, and I told him about Dante and how I was raising him for CCI... my typical spiel. He asked about what I do in training and such, and I said that I have him for about 18 months, teach basic house manners, commands, and socialization before I give him back to finish training and hopefully be place with someone who needs him. "So you don't get to keep him?" He asked. "No I don't, but someone needs him more than I do," I replied. "So I guess you don't get attached to him. I am a real dog lover and could never do something like that to my dogs. It must be sooo hard on the dog emotionally to just be ripped apart from the one person he loves." I wish I could say that I educated him on how CCI puppies are so well monitored and how we make sure that they are comfortable with different people and in different houses, and how each of the dozens of people who are involved in their lives loves them to pieces, and they have the most amazing lives of any dogs I have ever heard of. But I was caught off guard by his bluntness, and was at a loss for words, besides a small amount of defensiveness. I said something along the lines of how much I do love Dante and that he would do great, and also stressed again that he has an important job to do.
Even though in hindsight I know I could have said something better, I now have thought through it and have an answer for the next person who asks.
But I am writing this to make something clear: I love this puppy with all of my heart. Yes, we butt heads at times, but when Dante leaves, he is going to take a big chunk of my heart with him. And as I have said before, that's okay. You know what? I am a huge dog lover too. I have always had a soft spot for Goldens especially. To be a puppy raiser you have to be a dog lover - more specifically a puppy lover. But first and foremost you have to be a people lover. It is the only reason you can give them away, because someone needs him more than I do, and - as much as I am leery about it - will love him as much, if not more, than I do.