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For those of you who know me you have probably heard of my Other Mothers before. They are a group of very special women who freely gave their love, wisdom, time, and shared their families with me when I needed it most. I truly would not be the woman who I am today with out their guidance and support. These are women who were not obligated to help, care, or provide for me; they were women with large enough hearts to find room for me, when simply, they didn’t have too.

It is usually at this point in a post when I would defer to on of my favorite authorities, Merriam-Webster, to educate us on the meaning of “mother.” Today I will just tell you – I think of Mother/Mom like i think of House/Home. A house is a building that people buy, occupy, rent etc. A home is where you live, eat, thrive, and love. It is where you share all the moments – good, bad, and ugly – with those you care about most. I think almost any woman can be a mother, as it is frighteningly easy to become pregnant. But it is a mom who makes the boo-boos better, punishes you for your own good, wipes your tears, makes you sit up straight, wash your hands, and is your greatest champion because that is what she does. Not because she is related to you. I really shouldn’t even say she because I know some pretty great he’s (dads) out there who have been both mom and dad when (for whatever reason) a mom wasn’t around – Rich Plath where ever you are I am talking about you among others.

The dog fans among you are wondering where I am going with all of this, get to the puppies! Right? Are you thinking she who doesn’t have and isn’t going to have children probably shouldn’t be expounding about motherhood? The simple fact is that as a daughter I am an authority on what makes a good mom, and I am here to say it has all to do with your heart and not DNA. Well, maybe DNA. Interesting thought here – maybe some women, like my sister and my other mom’s, are wired to be the great moms that they are.

If it is DNA, then CCI breeder girls have it too. (Maybe that is what Dr. Daniels is testing for when she picks breeders. I will have to ask her next time I see her.) Sabina is, although the dog love of my life, not the most demure or delicate dog I know. Dave calls her a wash-and-wear dog for a reason. She is ruff-and-tumble, work hard, play hard dog, until the puppies come. Then my beast of a pup is the most tender loving girl on the planet. (Funny, she does the same thing with small children. She is always on high alert with children corralling them towards the adults. She often distracts them from danger by begging them for tummy rubs.) I am constantly amazed by her and how she cares for her charges.

Sabina and her first litter – the G Men

When they are small she walks delicately among them, she actually seems to be counting to make sure she knows where they all are. She isn’t too overprotective of them, but attentive to be sure. As they get older she helps them learn to play, keeping them in line – doling out corrections as needed. As they get bigger, her parenting style grows and changes with them. It is a privilege to be a breeder caretaker for Canine Companions, and quite possibly one of the best things I have done in this life.

While I personally think Sabina is the very best breeder CCI has ever had (mom’s think that about their kids.) I have to tell you Dr. Daniels and the committee do seem to pick the best of the best. Here in the Gold Rush Champions Chapter we have many breeders who day in and day out do the mommy thing, bringing more aspiring service dogs into the world. All wanted, all cared for, all loved, all chosen and on the path to giving a very special gift to their forever people. (To my male breeder friends and fans don’t worry there is another day for you – wait for it – yep Father’s Day.)

Despite how extraordinary all of this is, once in a while something extra-extraordinary happens, and it is happening right now. Recently a female breeder who is caring for her  litter became very ill and unable to care for her young pups. Too young to be weaned, the pups have gone out to other nursing CCI breeder moms. This mothers day two very special GRC breeders have gladly taken on some of these new pups and are treating them as their own.

CCI Breeder Dawna anxiously greeted her new charges. We got to visit the new litter and pups recently and if you didn’t know who was who before, you certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. Dawna’s breeder caretakers are working on her new blog so I will leave them to tell this awesome story. Suffice it say, Dawna is the best of the best dog mom through and through. The only thing that occurred to her was to take care of these little bundles. Across town brand new breeder Emerald has also welcomed two of these puppies in to her litter, and all are doing well. Emerald is a first time mom, and yet she knew she had a job to do and did it.

Being a mom is quite possibly the most important and hardest job there is. It leaves a lasting legacy and impact not only on a family, but on our society. Moms really should be celebrated everyday and not just when the Hallmark calendar tells us to. I know that I do not and have not spent enough time telling my other moms thank-you and probably more important – I love you.

My Other Moms: Jeannine Klock, Gail Kleve, Linda Jeffrey, Jane Bruner, Cindy Enloe – Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, and thank you for everything you have given me. I hope that I make you proud.

My sister and my “sister” – Jessica Brest-Lee & Erica Kleve-Pope – Happy Mother’s Day. You are truly an inspiration to me. I am so proud to be your sister and part of your lives. Your dedication, tough love, tender hearts, and seemingly endless patience are amazing. You should be proud of your kids, they are a tribute to the mother that you are.

CCI Mama Dogs – It is such a great joy to be the dog mom of a dog mom. You girls make it all look so easy (but not so easy that I want to be a mom.) Thank you for sharing your pups with us. Around here it seems like everyday, or at least every eight months or so, is Mother’s Day.

Sabina and Gromitt