I originally planned a more fun, two part post of our trip for Turn In, but I'm not feelin' it today. Maybe I'll add deltails of our trip itself later... We'll see.
It is hard to find a place to start about what Turn In is like. I have heard it from countless other puppy raisers, read the itinerary of the day several times, and have tried to mentally and emotionally prepare for this every day for eighteen months. I have even told scores of strangers how it was going to be.
Let me tell you. Nothing prepares you for it. Nothing.
It was so good, sad, downright sucked, exciting, hopeful, and inspiring all at the same time. You leave a chunck of your heart on that campus, but go home wanting to raise ten more puppies.
|Dante and his litter mate, Deacon.|
The day itself was good. Life has been so busy, I hadn't had time to really process it until we got there, and then it hit me, and with all the "festivities," it was hard to think about much else, and it was a battle to fight the tears on and off through the day.
They way that CCI aligns matriculation with the graduation of new teams is so perfect! It keeps you grounded and in perspective of just why you can do this. There was a 13 year old boy who graduated with a Skilled Companion, and I had a view of his mom from where I sat. She cried tears of Joy throughout the entire ceremony. We don't give puppies up for "disabled people." We do it for little K, and E, and the amazing, selfless wounded veteran that graduated that day.
|Dante and Novel.|
|Dante and I with Katherine and Novel.|
Not to say that I am in any way perfect. While I know I have raised this puppy for the right reasons, feelings of selfishness creep up in the exact minute you kiss that baby goodbye, and you really don't want to do it. You only do it because you have to. I wish that didn't happen. I know every day I had Dante, and even in the hours and days following, I have wanted this, but I wish that even in the act of handing the leash over I had wanted it.
My last words to Dante were not good luck. Even though his future career is unknown to me, it is not left up to luck. Even if Dante doesn't make it to graduation, I have peace that Dante is right where he needs to be right now. I know that God has the perfect place picked out for him, and I pray that I will be at peace wherever that may be.