Generally about graduation time I get very excited. I love to go to graduations to cheer on the new graduates and support my friends who are turning in their pups. When Dave and I are turning in our pups graduation is bittersweet. Going to the graduation ceremonies are so important to us, but knowing that we will be leaving without a pup is always hard.
This time; however, will be a bit different for us. This will be the first time our “grandpups” – Sabina’s offspring are being turned in. I have to say I am over the moon, sort of. You see I have become very close to and lifelong friends with the people who have raised our first “trial-sized” litter. Like my last post the G Litter was my first of firsts – our first litter, our first bean named puppy – I could go on and on. (You know like the first time one of my puppies escaped from their pen, the first time a puppy pooped on my foot, first time I had to rush a nursing mama dog to the emergency vet – but I think you get the picture.) So it is with this graduation I am more happy than sad, excited even, at what the future holds.
A fellow breeder caretaker told me one of the reasons (besides puppies of course!) that she loved being a breeder caretaker is that through one breeder girl she had the chance to be part of so many miracles at one time. Puppy raisers are amazing, and I love being a puppy raiser, but that is 18 months of committed time to one dog, one graduation. Don’t get me wrong as someone who hasn’t had a graduate dog yet I am working hard towards that goal, and know without puppy raisers Canine Companions wouldn’t be able to place as many dogs as they do. But as a breeder caretaker you have the opportunity to usher lots of little puppy lives into this world and start them out on the path of being an assistance dog, and that is simply amazing.
While I certainly understand the last of the lasts, the tears, and heartache my friends and puppy raisers of the G Litter are experiencing. I also know that they are awesome (dare I say some of the best ever) puppy raisers. They loved these, now not so little, boys with all of their hearts. The G-men simply could not have a better shot at graduating, everything that could have been done for them has already been done. I am proud to think that Dave and I may have played a tiny bit of a role in their success. All of that makes me excited. I can’t wait for them to be turned in and for them to go on to be great forever dogs – whatever that forever is.
Dave and I will get to be there when Gromitt turns in and will be there in spirit when the time comes that Garbanzo and Grimaldi say their good byes. The awesome thing about these dogs is that they seem to know that they still have stuff to do. Both dogs I have turned in and all of the dogs I have seen turned in – snuggle in for that final hug and then happily walk away with their new trainer. Confident, happy, and ready to work. They don’t look back.
They don’t look back because they don’t need too. They know we have loved them with all of our hearts, first their breeder caretakers and then their puppy raisers. They know we would only leave them with people who will love them as much as we do. They don’t look back because we have been preparing them their whole lives to look to the future. They are doing what we taught them to do. It is through a new set of eyes I will be seeing this turn-in. Yes, yes, their will probably be some tears, but mostly I will be looking straight through to the future.
Good luck G-Men, you are so loved by many, some you haven’t even met yet.