(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.