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I spent a ton of time thinking about and drafting (and re-drafting, and re-drafting) this post. First I waxed poetic, then I went short and sort of terse, and now I realize I just need to say what I need to say. We are about to start a new chapter in our CCI lives with aspiring service pup Cate. I am very excited about chronicling her journey, and even more excited that you might stick around to see how this whole thing turns out.

I am amazed at the amount of people reading this blog, and love getting comments. The stats show me that I even have readers in other countries, amazing! However it is all of this exposure that gives me pause. It has recently come to my attention that there are different training practices with regard to puppy socialization in different CCI regions. This spurred quite a bit of discussion, sort of a “whose right – whose wrong debate.” Not a discussion I am qualified to weigh in on. The way we do things where I live seems to be working for me – and more importantly for our pups.

Here is what I know. I know that I take puppy raising very seriously, I think it is one of the most important things I have ever done.  I know that Dave and I take our aspiring service pup to as many experiences as we can think up.

Sabina at Disneyland waiting for Its a Small World.

I know that each puppy is different and requires the puppy raiser to be flexible and find what works for that particular puppy. I know that my first two pups (who couldn’t have been more different) are not perfect but have turned out to be pretty bomb proof. I know that according to the puppy manual weeks 8-16 are the most important and that CCI looses more pups to lack of socialization than disease. I know that it is my job to get this puppy out into the world. I take great pride in making sure I know my dog and take them to only the most age appropriate outings. Have I ever miscalculated? Yep, and in those rare situations I left – just picked up my pup and left.

Lacinda at the pumpkin patch

I also know that each puppy raiser I have met in this wonderful aspiring service dog world love their pups, are sincerely committed to the mission, and will do whatever it takes to help their puppy succeed. We all walk across the matriculation turn-in stage, we just get there in different ways. Buckle up socialization starts Saturday, and if she is anything like her mama we are in for a wild ride! (and we can’t wait)