Monday, May 26, 2014

May Graduation Part 1

There have been lots of happenings in our lives in the more-than-a-month since I've last updated this corner of my life.  End of school busyness and some computer problems have kept me off, but Moray has had some exciting highlights and defining training moments that I would hate to skip.

About a month ago, my uncle who has been on the waiting list for almost two years for a dog from Canine Companions got the call that there had been a cancellation for the May Team Training and they had a spot available for him to attend.  

Team Training is period that lasts two weeks where students stay at CCI and learn how to work with their new assistance dogs.  This happens four times a year at all of CCI's campuses, and is culminated with a graduation ceremony where the puppy raisers of these dogs hand over the leash for the last time, but is also paired with matriculation of puppies into Advanced Training.  

I have only attended one graduation: when Dante Turned In at CCI's Southeast Region in Orlando last August.  To say the whole family was excited about my uncle finally being invited to team training at the Northeast Region in New York was an understatement.  We have family up north and my mom and I made the decision to drive up there to see them and attend graduation pretty off-the-cuff.  But with school ending just two days prior to leaving, and several other things, it all seemed to work out pretty perfectly.  

This was Moray's second road trip, but his longest at a grand total of about 2,500 miles covered in five days.  This trip challenged him, but didn't push him too far.  His skills grew noticeably and it was really neat to see how much he is maturing and learning, as well as how hard he tries and how willing he is to please.  
Good little traveler
We drove twelve hours the first day.  Moray was so good rotating between the backseat and his kennel.  We were gone five nights and we didn't stay in the same place two nights in a row.  Moray was so flexible and went along with the flow beautifully.  He may or may not have gotten some cuddles on the bed, too!
On our second day we got up bright and early and drove our last four hours before 9:30am!  We arrived at my grandparents' farm where Moray got lots of hellos and much needed play time in the yard, and his favorite - the stream!  He had SO much fun splashing, sniffing, and biting at the water.  He is unmistakably a labrador!

After some time to calm down again and visit, we went downtown and walked, window-shopped and just had fun.  Moray was curious and took some work to keep his focus, but did really well overall and enjoyed taking it all in.  We went into a frozen yogurt shop where the lady was very nice, but extremely worried about "all" Moray's fur.  She asked us to stay in the corner and not go by any of the food, and when kindly explaining didn't change her mind, we complied.  It's not always worth it to push, especially when you have the chance to leave as a fantastic representation of the behavior of how a working dog should act as Moray did.

This sums up his attitude perfectly.  Always happy, he is!

My grandparents, Mor, and I
Dinner for the two and four-legged, and a nice bone to chew rounded out our busy but fun first two days!

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