Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Turn In

The sixteenth of August, two-thousand-thirteen has been a date marked and saved on my calender since February of last year.  A day that at times, couldn't come soon enough, but a date that most of the time, it seemed we were rushing toward at lightning speed.  Well, it has come and gone -- nearly a week ago now.  There is a weird quiet now that it is passed.  Maybe because the absolute c.r.a.z.y. life was up until then (okay, life itself hasn't calmed down that much, but I digress).

 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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I cannot believe that tomorrow is the day that we head to Canine Companion's Southeast Regional Training Center.  The last week (let's face it, the last two months) have been on the crazy side.  It is a good thing because it has helped kept my mind off of turn in, and kept me sane.  

 Last week we headed to North Carolina for a week.  Moray stayed with Young's raisers, had a fabulous vacation, and grew about three inches. 

One of the many photos I received of Moray's grand time away.
Dante came with us, and also had a good time.  He somehow got hold of aluminum foil without us knowing, and was sick for the first three days.  We ended up taking him to our old vet there, and he is fine now.  But, he had fun on outings to new places, and seeing my older sisters one last time.

Visited my sisters' school

Sit (stays) at my sisters' school

Novel stairs checked off as well.
Saying goodbye to my sisters.

On our way home Monday, we picked up a sweet CCI puppy named Odina.  Odina is turning in with Dante, but sadly her raiser isn't able to take her, so she has spent the last few days with us, and will be flying with my mom, Dante, and I.  Odina is such a sweetie!  She is so good with her commands, is super cuddly, and gets along great with Dante and Moray.

Dante and Odina at Starbucks

Grocery shopping together

Hey, look! They are capable of being in the same room and NOT playing ;)

Last day together.  Moray is already 32 lbs!

Gonna miss watching these two play together.

At the vet.  Moray for his last set of shots, and Odina for a health certificate.  Moray is now legal to go to dog-friendly places, and Odina is cleared to fly!

Practicing his settling.  He always puts his paw on my foot to make sure I reward him for a job well done.