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.
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...