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In the world of a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence, you know it is getting close to time to turn your puppy back into Canine Companions when your dog advances to “Big Dog Class.” So we start this story with Lacinda. Lacinda is our second pup-in-training and she is a big dog. Her turn-in date is February 17, 2012.


Why start at the end you ask? This is actually my second attempt at blogging our experiences as a volunteer puppy raiser and breeder caretaker. While we are nearing the end of Lacinda’s time with us, February brings a brand new litter joining us (and the world) and another adventure. Also, I abide by the thought that there is no time like the present so here we go…

I have kept journals off and on through my life since I was in grade school, I am my family’s historian, photographer, and am an avid scrapbooker. So it feels that blogging is a natural extension, the next step if you will. I enjoy writing and hope the stories we have to share will bring you a smile, pull back the curtain on puppy raising, and maybe inspire someone to apply for a CCI Service Dog, become a CCI volunteer, or to donate to this worthy organization.

I know that we all have important lives, and while I am doing my best to live mine to the fullest, the point of this blog is not to share the minutia of my day. Unless of course that minutia is dog focused, like I don’t know…maybe the dog who decides to take a mud bath instead of doing their business right before you are leaving for puppy class. I think puppy raising is both one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I have ever had. That means this will be an honest account of puppy raising – the good, cuddly, and poopy. If you only are interested in the cuddly just look at the pictures.

Just like everything else puppy raisers (CCI’ers as we also call ourselves) have our own secret language. I have set up a puppy raiser’s dictionary. I will add things as I think of them.

We live in Northern California, which means we are part of the Northwest Region (NWR) of CCI. Our campus in located in Santa Rosa, California. Canine Companions is a nationwide organization and has 5 campuses. We have raised two puppies from the NWR – Sabina II, and Lacinda. Sabina is now a breeder for CCI, she lives with us and we are her breeder/caretakers; and as I said Lacinda is nearing the end of her training. We hope to start raising our third puppy in April 2012.

Sabina II

I hope that you enjoy our story. Please share this blog with your friends and family and your comments are welcome. Please keep in mind that Canine Companions is not the only service dog organization, it is just the one that I chose to volunteer for. I am committed to CCI and it’s mission, but respect all of the puppy raisers, and breeder/caretakers out there.

For now we join this program already in progress…we find our hero out there running with the big dogs.