Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NURI Update!!

(Another new post below this one)
Well true to their schedule, Nuri's December AT report came in my email today! I was sitting at my computer anxiously checking my inbox and waiting. Then my phone buzzed to alert me to a new email and I immediately opened the report!

It's a good report, by Nuri's standards. She is so goofy, I love it. Here we go!!

She is in good health and passed all her medical tests. (phew!)
She is learning Retrieve, Hold and Push. All interactive and working with an ambulatory person.
The only behavior she is exhibiting is "Solicitous" which isn't bad.

Here is what is written in the Notes Regarding Behaviors Section:
Nuri is currently learning to hold various items and polishing her basic commands. She is slow to progress with the push command due to her low food drive. At times she can be very active and solicitous. I am working on her learning to be appropriate with her interactions and response to correction. In public she was distracted by her environment but remained responsive. In the play yard she will play keep away when I call the dogs into the kennel. I am working on improving this. She is easy to manage during grooming although will vocalize during nail clipping.

None of this is any surprise to me. She always wanted to play keep away when she was playing and would occasionally, mostly whenever it suited her, come back when called. Nothing I could do would change her behavior. That's just the way she is. She is also the kind to not want to come any closer to you if she has you in sight. She will just sit there and look at you like you were not that intelligent and be like, "I'm right here, I don't need to come any closer!" Yeah, used to drive me nuts!

It seems like she is having fun and behaving herself which is all I can ask for. I also heard about her brother Nico that turned in this past November as well. He is doing a bit of "fawning" and "excessive body contact" which is quite amusing. Silly Nico!! And Nanette, Nuri's sister who also turned in in November, was released just before Christmas. She is going to live with one of her PRs which is awesome. They were lucky enough to get her home before Christmas and I know they enjoyed a great Christmas with her!

Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season, and have a Happy New Year!!!

Happy Holidays!

It's been a very crazy month of December and things have been busy around here! Christmas was a lot of fun and Bright was so well behaved the entire time!! I love it! We took some pictures in front of the tree and she didn't seem very happy with me, but I did it anyways.

(Note: I know she is still under 5 months old, but her puppy cape was delivered to me early and so I put it on her for the pictures alone. She still only wears her puppy cape when doing anything. Plus her big girl cape hangs off of her which is quite comical)

We had a ton of snow over Christmas and Bright loved it!! She was jumping around and doing back flips and kangaroo jumping through the snow. We got a total of around 18 inches so the snow was quite high for her. We cleared an area where she could use the bathroom without sinking in the snow!This picture was taken before it got really bad outside.

We then had a day full of rain which washed away all the snow (yay!) and Bright was not happy. She kept trying to find a small patch of snow to "hurry" on and was sad to see them all get washed away. It was hilarious!

We also finished up our gift wrapping at Borders for the year. Great times had by all and raising awareness for CCI as well as getting donations. Here are some pics from the last day at Borders. Bright slept the whole time, lazy dog!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bright's Favorite Purple Ball

We have this old toy that is a round purple ball with cut out holes in it. On the inside is a little green ball that rolls around, but is too big to slip through the holes in the purple ball. Bright loves this toy and I finally had the camera nearby when she was playing with it and managed to get some video of her in action. It's hilarious!!

Yes those are my feet in the video in my awesome slippers. Nuri used to love carrying them around the house and I had to hide them whenever I had them off of my feet.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NURI Update!

Well we haven't gotten the newest AT reports like those lucky ones in NCR, but something equally as good! Enjoy!Anyone able to tell where my goofy Golden girl is???Yeah, she's the silly one!

CCI Christmas in the Kennels
Twas the night before Christmas and the kennels were still,
With most dogs now asleep having eaten their fill.
The Labradors sprawled out, quite snug in their beds,
While visions of ANYTHING edible danced in their heads.
And the Lab/ Golden crosses curled up on the floor,
The Goldens twitched in their sleep and some even did snore.
The dog food was stacked in the feed room with care,
In hopes that a trainer soon would be there.
On the window ledge, one of the kennel cats lay,
Surveying the lawn at the end of this day.
Something was different, that little cat knew.
Tonight something would happen, it had to be true.
For that day as the workers had left to go home,
They’d wished “Merry Christmas!” before starting to roam.
The dogs had noticed it to during this past week's walks,
The trainers seemed just that much happier and eager to talk.
In the mall where they worked through the maze of people and stores,
There were decorations and music and distractions galore!
Most dogs pranced along without worry or fear,
But some balked at the man on the sleigh and those fake looking deer.
The cat was almost asleep too when he first heard the sound,
A whoosh through the air and a jingle around.
It reminded him of a dog's collar when the animal shook,
But this sound kept on growing. He'd better go look.
From the ceiling there came a faint sort of thunk,
As the kennel cat climbed to the highest pile of junk.
Once before people had worked on the roof,
And come down through the trap door to a chorus of "Woooof!"
But the dogs still were quiet, all sleeping so sound,
As this man dressed in red made his way right on down.
He patted the cat as he climbed past his spot,
Then made his way right to the trainers' coffee pot.
A Labrador sat up, not fully awake,
Then a Golden followed her with a mighty loud shake.
That did it! All the dogs sprang to life with loud noise.
In spite of the din, the old man kept his poise.
He filled the pot full and it started to brew,
Then he pulled up a chair and took in the view.
Dogs all around him, so carefully bred,
He knew well their jobs, the tasks that lay ahead.
Some had stopped barking and looked at him now,
While others delighted in their own deafening howl.
Laying a finger in front of his lips,
The jolly old man silenced the excitable yips.
"You all may not know me, but I'm Santa Claus,"
The old man smiled and took a short pause,
While he filled up his mug with hot liquid and cream,
"I've always wanted to stop here. It's been one of my dreams."
The cat had climbed down and was exploring Santa's sack.
"Yes, little kitty, that's an empty pack."
Santa smiled as he drank and looked at those eyes,
Deep brown ones and gold ones held wide in surprise.
Some of these dogs, he'd seen just last year,
In their puppy homes, cute and full of holiday cheer.
He'd seen the effects of a pup on the tree,
But now they were here at the school, just waiting to be.
"I didn't bring you presents or bones just to chew.
I'll tell you something better, what you are going to do.
You all will work hard and the trainers will share,
Both praise and correction, gentle and fair.
You'll go lots of places and face big scary things.
You'll ride buses and subways and hear fire sirens ring.
Cars will drive at you but your path you will stay,
Not moving into danger let your handler lead the way.
And then just when you think that this trainer's the best,
The kindest, most fun person, toss away all the rest,
That trainer will begin to ignore you and give you away,
Handing your leash over despite your dismay.
Now the person who pets you and feeds you may ask,
For your expert help in many a task.
This man, woman or child whose heart you with snatch,
Thanks to CCI you will make a great match.
So, you well-trained dogs it is no big surprise,
You will work as a team and discover the size
Of this great world we live in, because you will go
A million new places with this person, you know.”
Santa sipped at his coffee and looked over the brood,
Knowing what he had to say next might sound kind of rude.
"Not all of you will make it and become a working pair
Your time here isn't wasted though, please don’t despair.
Some of you will be drug dogs and some will find bombs.
Some will become pets in a home with a dad and a mom.
All these things are important. People wait on long lists
To receive such good dogs as you, the school folks insist.”
The last drop of coffee had gone into his cup
As Santa turned, smiling at each wide-eyed pup.
"The best gift of all is to give something back.
That's why there's nothing for you all inside of my pack."
Draining his mug, Santa went to each pen,
And petted and scratched each dog again and again.
"Now next year and many more years after that,
You all will give gifts wherever you're at.
You might lick a hand that's had a bad day,
Or retrieve an object that’s fallen out of the way.
You might help catch a crook or discover some loot,
Or just bring some joy to a tired old man in a funny red suit.
Your master will love you and treat you with care.
In return, your training and trust will always be there."
After the last dog had been petted and soothed,
Santa put away the coffee pot and made ready to move.
Up the ladder he rose to the door high above,
With a smile and a wave as he slipped on his gloves.
And all the dogs’ ears were pricked as he disappeared out of sight.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Update and a Story

Well Bright and I have been super busy as we gear up for the holiday! We have been at Borders every Saturday raising money for CCI and doing quite well! We also have been handing out a lot of brochures and recruiting some (hopefully) new puppy raisers which is just great. The awareness that we do at these gift wrapping sessions in amazing and so many people are better informed for it too. It also amazes me that now most people will ask about petting the dogs because they see their vests on. Now I get "Oh well they have a vest on and I know that I can't pet them." This is what I call success! When my family first started raising puppies we were constantly having to tell people not to pet the dogs since they are working. Now, 7 years later, most people in this area know about the dogs and will ask first! It's so great.

As of today Bright is finished with her study for CCI. YAY! No more recording poops and keeping track of everything. I can give her treats now too!! I didn't mind the study, it was quite fun actually, but I'm glad it's over. We were at the vest yesterday for the last of her shots and she weighed in at 32.8 lbs! Yikes! I had her at the vet last Tuesday for her serum sample collection and nasal swab and she weighed 30.8 lbs then. So here is a list of her weights since I got her:
November 17th - 25 lbs
November 24th - 26.7 lbs
December 8th - 30.8 lbs
December 15th - 32.8 lbs
She is growing so fast and pretty soon she will be passing Wilara in height. Crazy!In the newest version of CCI's newsletter, The Companion, there was a little story written by an NCR graduate that I wanted to share with everyone. This doesn't just go for CCI puppy raisers, but for all puppy raisers across the country that have opened their hearts to a little fluff ball.

For All the Puppy Raisers
This story was submitted at
by CCI Graduate Sharon Heyer

While I was hoping for a miracle and something to make my life better, a Canine Companions puppy raiser was having sleepless nights as she housebroke a puppy. While I was filling out papers and waiting for my name to come up on the list, she was taking a puppy to obedience classes and socializing him to the world. When I was called for Team Training and planning a trip, she was hopeful the puppy would pass tests so he could be there too. When I traveled to Ohio to meet my new partner, she was praying that her puppy would make a placement. When I was nervous and waiting to see what dog would become my arms and legs, she was nervous and waiting to know if all her hard work had paid off. At graduation, when I was excited to leave with my new independence, she was saying goodbye one last time. When I was at home with my new service dog snuggled with me in my bed, she was at home trying to ignore the empty spot where he used to be. When she thought she was alone and feeling her loss, we were thinking of her and carrying her love in our hearts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Picture

Well the other day I took Bright to the mall to get her picture taken with Santa! She was excellent and I guess we don't have to worry about her being afraid of people in costume. She saw Santa and immediately wanted to get into his lap. She was so cute! We got a good picture of her.
I'm not sure yet, but I might take Bright to get her picture taken with Santa at work as well. RBVH is having Santa pictures this weekend and I'm considering taking her and Wilara on Sunday to get their pictures taken! I'm still trying to come up with a few good ideas for pictures this year. Still thinking. Anyone have any good ideas??

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A New Bed

A snuggly update:

We got ANOTHER new bed! Bright likes this one a lot better, whenever she can fight her way to getting it of course! Wilara seems to spend most of her time sacked out on this bed.
Look at that cutesy face! Awwwww......

So my mother was at Sam's Club today and picked up a new dog bed for the kitchen that the 4 dogs can all fight over. There is another one, but nothing beats a brand new bed!! The new one is quite interesting because they haven't been able to find a way to stay IN the bed. They keep falling out! Gives a new meaning to falling out of bed.....My sister's Sheltie, Jewely, has the right idea. Seems that she is quite comfy laying there like that. Looks good to me!

So since Bright couldn't really figure out how to best lay down in the new bed, she went over to the older bed and fell into it and promptly fell asleep. Oh the good life....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Goodbye Power Cord....

So today I was at the doctor's office and left Bright home with my mother to watch. Not good!! She proceeded to chew through my power cord for my laptop! So now I have to order a new one and I'm without a computer until then. What will I do now???? More time for training!

And she looked so innocent when I scolded her for chewing on the cord. She has tried to chew it apart before, but we have always been able to stop her before she got that far. Oh well, hopefully I will catch her next time!!But how can you possibly resist and yell at that face???

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And onto Christmas we go!

I used to work at Borders in Eatontown years ago and I always saw that they had free gift wrapping where organizations and groups would come in and wrap gifts and just ask for donations. So I started seeing if we could get CCI there to get some donations. Here we are, two years later and we are having fun again at Borders!!!We always have Black Friday and the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 9-4 to do some gift wrapping. It's always a bunch of fun and we always try to get a whole group of people there.

We were at Borders yesterday from 7-4 since they opened early for the "holiday". I also made a sign for us so that we can attract some more people on their way out.We were joined by pup in training Spike II and SC Orson and Kimmie. It was a lot of fun!!Today my mom and I were on our own with Bright, but were joined at the end of the day by newly graduated SD Monty and Nancy! Another great day.
We make some money, but really it's a great way to spread the word about CCI and Service Dogs in general. I'm not sure if I have said this before, but Service Dogs in my area are something that people have no idea about. This area is dominated by The Seeing Eye in Morristown which has been there for probably about 30 something years. Seeing Eye, or Guide Dogs really, are the only kinds of dogs that people associate with a "working dog". It's a bit frustrating because I am constantly having to correct people and tell them that no, she is a Service Dog in training. Just a bit annoying, but I know where people are coming from since The Seeing Eye is so prominent in our state.

But this weekend we passed out a lot of brochures and received almost $200 in two days!! Not bad, and we spread the word about working dogs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Like Bright, I'm wiped out from a very great Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nuri Update: November AT Report

Well with Thanksgiving on Thursday and no one working on Wednesday (well for the most part anyways!) the AT reports went out today instead! So I was very excited to see what Nuri's report read.

For the most part it told me everything that I already knew would be the case. Her trainer is Lisa (YAY!) and she is still pending on her health evaluations. She went on a field trip to Petco and there they take them off their GLs and take their vests off and just see how they react in an environment. Nuri apparently wanted to meet and greet all the other dogs in the store! Very shocking for her since she tends to be a bit more aloof towards other dogs.

She was also forging on her leash which is something that is not really news to me. I have been trying to work with her on a flat collar and she was never very good at this. She worked better while on the GL than anything else. It will be interesting to see how she progresses as she begins to work with a prong collar.

She has also adjusted well to the kennels which is something that I was a little worried about. She has stayed in the kennels before and I hoped that this would calm her down when she turned-in. Seems that it worked out well!!

It really wasn't a bad report, but again, it's only been about a week and a half of her being there. She begins her Advanced Training next week and that's when all the fun begins! It will be interesting to see her next report and see how she has progressed.

Until then I'll have to entertain you all with stories of little Bright!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Bright Beginning....

Well little Bright II has been home with me since Saturday and has settled in nicely. She has started to follow me around the house and keep me in her sights at all times! It's hilarious!

Well after Nuri went back into the kennels, Katrina brought out Bright and all the oohing and aahing began because she is such an adorable little puppy! We took a few pictures with her and she is so good! She's going to be a big puppy, I can already see it. Sandy, a fellow PR, did a quick check into her eyes and he pronounced that she will graduate! After having her for a few days, I can believe it.

The love of a puppy can be a big help when overcoming the loss of turning in a puppy. This has been a new experience for me since normally we overlap our puppies by either a few weeks to a few months. I have never before turned-in a pup and picked up another. I was handed this little bundle of fluff and my heart immediately melted. Here was this adorable puppy with the longest ears I have ever seen and so many wrinkles that when she lays down, her entire brow area furrows and all you see are wrinkles. I knew then that a new chapter had started and that it really was off to a Bright new start.

It's weird in the house now that Nuri is gone. It's very quiet! The last few months Nuri decided to start alert barking and nothing I did helped to make her stop. Bright hasn't really barked yet, but did let a yip out the other day! She doesn't seem to like the car very much since she whined a portion of the way home. When my pups are old enough (or big enough) they are no longer in a crate when we travel. Instead we put them into doggy-seat belts! This is an easier way of restraining them than constantly putting in the crate and taking it out whenever we have to go somewhere. Can be a bit cumbersome! Instead Bright wanted to be as close to me as possible.

On Sunday I had to pick my brother up from the airport and Bright came along with me to get her used to the car rides. I have the sling carseat cover in the back fo my car and she managed to flip herself over the side trying to get up to the front with me! So we really have to work on that.

Bright has picked up on "Sit", "Hurry", and "Let's Go" already which is awesome! We have been working on "Shake" since she likes to do that anyways. She's such a bold and independent puppy as well. I took her on her first public outing: Borders! All the employees love it when I bring the puppies to the store to say hello. And it's the perfect place for me to introduce the puppies to larger crowds of people.

We went to the kids section of the store where I knew that they had a big stuffed Golden Retriever. Nuri was a little timid around the stuffed animal. Bright was the complete opposite! She wanted to play and in her exuberance she toppled the thing over a few times.

I took her to the vet yesterday to let the doctor meet her and evaluate her. Dr. Heins said that he sees a little bit of discomfort in her hips but that he doesn't think that should bother her later in life. So that's good! He said that he will just keep an eye on it. She also weighed in at 25 pounds!!! YIKES! Huge puppy! Well she is 3 months old, but that's still a big puppy. Maybe too much loose skin?? LOL

I'm happy to have this new little puppy in the house. I love puppies and I'm excited to see where this new journey will lead me!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The End of Another Chapter to my Story

I know many people are waiting for this post, and I will try to do it some justice! Turn-ins are never easy for me and I hope that I can get all my thoughts into this post! And to let people know:

TISSUE ALERT! (and very long post)

So I was up early on Saturday to make the long drive out to Long Island and NER's home office. We barely made it 15 minutes on the road when I realized that I forgot my camera! So we turned around at the next exit and went to get my camera. We also realized that we forgot the seatbelt for Bright! We have one for Nuri, but it's waaaay too big for Bright to fit into. Couldn't find the seat belt, but found my camera and off we went again. After picking up Karen we continued on our drive.

We made it to NER with plenty of time and got there around 10 am. I went into the center and headed over to one of the training rooms. There they have three tables set up with signs behind them that have the first two letters of pups names on them to direct people to their appropriate table. Kind of like when you vote and you go by last name, this is by the puppy's name. So we went over to Lauren (who was Shane's trainer!) since she was sitting at the table we needed to go to.

Now many PRs already know how it goes at turn-in. We sit at the table and answer a whole bunch of questions. What nicknames does she respond to? Any medical problems? Anything that we need to know? I always answer as truthfully as possible. I also joked around with Lauren and asked her if she was ready for Nuri to come in and her response was "well physically we are..." I was cracking up laughing and it made the whole process that much easier to go through.

I informed Lauren of Nuri's habit of pulling out her fur near the base of her tail. It's an odd behavior and we really haven't figured out why she is doing it. It's not irritated or hot or anything like that. I believe that it might be behavioral and she does it out of boredom. It could be, not too sure, but they will keep an eye on her with that.

I got Nuri's cape and blue collar and leash that signifies that she is a puppy that is Matriculating that day. Then it was time for pictures! We took many pictures of Nuri in her cape and here are a few of them:We met up with MaryAngela and she's raising Nuri's brother, Nico. We took a bunch of pictures with the two of them on the bench since Nico made that his little bed and didn't want to be moved from it! We all joked that we were going to have to carry him on the bench to Graduation since he didn't want to move!It's crazy to see the differences in the two of them. Where Nuri is light in color, Nico is so red. Nuri is high-energy and Nico likes to sleep all day. Nuri's face is so dainty and Nico has the bigger head. It's so weird!

At 12 we headed over to J&R's Steakhouse for lunch! They love us there and love to see the pups as they come through. It just happened to be the 5 of us this time and just Nuri as the sole puppy. The food was delicious as always and Nuri was incredibly well behaved the whole time we were there. She laid down next to my chair and pretty much stayed there the whole time. I was so proud of her!We went to the Islandia Marriott where graduation was held and I decided to take some more pictures. I was also looking around to see who else from the NJ-Chapter was there. Dave & Regina were turning in India and I wanted to get a picture of Nuri and Indy together. (I managed to catch up to them after the ceremony)We then went in to the ceremony. The ceremony is always heart breaking and I am always filled with so much pride when I see Nuri's part of the Matriculating slideshow. My eyes were watering when it was my turn to present Nuri and receive my certificate from CCI for raising her.

India and Nuri
The ceremony was beautiful and it was great to see all the new graduates receive their dogs.

Now comes the hard part: Turn-In.

We made it back to CCI NER and back into one of the training rooms. I saw other people going through the turn-in process and was glad that I had done that before. This allowed me some time with Nuri without having to just answer the questions and then say goodbye. I'll put it plain and simple, I was a complete mess. Nuri wanted to wander and all I wanted to do was hug her and just tell her how much I love her and will miss her. I spent about another 10-15 minutes with her before Katrina came my way. She had paperwork for me to sign for Bright. After I finished signing everything she asked if I was ready. (Of course I wasn't ready, but what else could I say?) So I whispered "Be good and Behave" into her ear and gave her a last kiss before handing her leash over to Katrina.

As I wrote in my post before, all NER puppy raisers hand over their leash and then watch as their pup walks away down the long hallway and disappears through the doors to the kennels. Well that's what happened with Nuri. Off she went without a glance back. Of course she had to stop right before the door to scratch. I started laughing through my tears as I recognized her usual stall tactic. As always, we stand there with the tears streaming down our cheeks and watch as a piece of our heart walks away to begin a new part of their journey.

I cry each and every time, but know this: I am proud to be a Puppy Raiser. I am proud of the pup that I just returned to CCI. And I am proud to say that I am able to open up my heart time and time again and love these puppies until their time to journey on without me arrives.

So I close another chapter in my CCI story. This one was a lot longer than the others and filled with more frustration and puzzlement than normal. But even through it all, I am happy to have known and loved Nuri for the past year. She is an exceptional dog and as CCI's motto goes: "Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People" And I truly believe that Nuri can become one of those exceptional dogs.

So to Nuri, I wish you the best of luck in Advanced Training. Pay attention and work your hardest to be the best that you can. Know that I love you and miss you every day and I'm wishing you all the luck that I can. You have made me a smarter Puppy Raiser and I thank you for that. You have also helped me to become a more patient person and to listen to my pups when they tell me things. You have taught me so much that I will never forget any of your lessons and I will use those lessons well.

Love to my little Golden Girl...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Almost time for Turn-In

(possible tissue alert)
Well the days are quickly winding down and I'm preparing Nuri for turn-in. It's one of those days that puppy raisers across the country know so well. These little fluff balls come into our lives not knowing much and we accept them each for who they are. Through patience and constant repetition we begin to guide these dogs to an ultimate goal of graduating as a working dog. Whether you are raising a Service dog or a Guide dog, all puppy raisers travel the same road and have the same temporary ending. We all must give them back to the organization that they truly belong to.

But I always remember that I am doing something for a greater purpose. I am working hard to make another individual's life easier and more independent. This purpose alone helps me to get through the difficult day of Matriculation. I go with a heavy heart, but one that is also filled with an incredible amount of pride and accomplishment. I have started this amazing dog on a great journey and helped them to become a well behaved, well trained dog.

So on Saturday I will be a complete mess. I will be laughing and smiling on the outside, but inside my heart is breaking yet again, as I let another puppy begin a new phase of their life. I am usually ok during the ceremony (tearing up of course!) but I truly fall apart when the trainers or kennel staff come to take the puppy from me and escort them to the kennels. As any NER puppy raiser knows, they take the pup and we watch them walk away praying that the pup doesn't turn around to look for us. When they disappear through the doors to the kennels we stand there, left behind, with tears rolling down our faces. I hope that my pup doesn't turn to look for me, that shows that they have been well trained and are trusting towards others. They will follow others and not constantly be looking for us. I will know that I have done the best job I can and I'm sending them off to "college" with some great training.

This year has been an unusual one for me. I have been one of those "lucky" ones that has to turn-in two puppies in one year. I had to turn-in Wilara in February and now I turn-in Nuri in November. I let each puppy go with a whispered "be good and behave" hoping that they will follow my warning and act like the good little girls that I know they are.

To all CCI Puppy Raisers with dogs matriculating on Saturday, or the following Saturday depending on your region, good luck to all of you and stay strong. The puppies have been trained well and have had an amazing time with you. Know that they will try their hardest to do you proud and if they happen to have a Change of Career, I hope you welcome them home with loving, open arms.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A trip out to SouthWest

So last week I went out to the SouthWest, aka, Los Angeles for a short mini-vacation! It was incredible and I had a great time! We decided to stop in to the SouthWest Regional campus of CCI and check out the facility. They are also in the middle of Team Training now and so we weren't sure whether we were going to be able to see the campus or not. The campus normally gives tours to the public on the first Thursday of every month and we were hoping to make it to the campus on time!

Instead we arrived about a half hour after the tour began and it turned out that no one showed up for the tour so the woman left! We were very disappointed, but I had been communicating back and forth with SWR's PPM and Stu said that he would be happy to give us a quick tour! I was so excited and very thankful to him for taking an hour out of his extremely busy day to show us around the campus. He really is a great guy and I can see how he makes a great PPM.

So here are some pictures that I took!The front of the campus

My mother and I in front of the sign for the SouthWest!

An area dedicated to PRs and Graduates. The bricks all have names and such on them.

This is what the sign reads. I love it!!

One of the resident cats. I don't think it liked being disturbed!

This is on the outside of the campus wall. I saw this first thing as we came up to the campus which alerted me to the campus! What a great sign!

The campus really is beautiful and is so open and airy! It's so different from NER since they have such a constant in temperature and can do a lot of work outside on the grounds. It's a lot of stuff packed into a small (2+ acres I believe) area, but it really works well for them. Stu was saying that they would like to expand, but there is no more room! They are boxed in by the roads on three sides, and a therapeutic riding school on the fourth side. But, like I said, it is so nicely spaced out that they are well situated.

Gorgeous campus!!!

Also, while at Downtown Disneyland we spotted a puppy-in-training from Guide Dogs of America! Having this blog has helped me to see a lot of the other organizations and recognize their capes and vests. So I saw this dog and immediately recognized it from a distance! Was anyone at Downtown Disneyland on Saturday Nov. 7th from GDA?? The pup was a yellow lab/golden cross from what I could see and very well behaved! The woman was too far ahead of me to catch up to her and have a quick chat.

Then a little while later I saw ANOTHER dog walking around! I'm not sure where this dog was from, but again looked like a yellow lab/golden cross with a blue cape on, but not CCI. I didn't recognize anything about the vest, but that doesn't mean anything! I tried to get a picture and this is what I ended up with!
As you can see, I barely got the dog's behind! Anyways, it was a fun trip and I wished I had Nuri with me since there were so many experiences that she would have loved to experience!