Exactly one year ago today, we welcomed our newest CCI puppy, Jambi, into our lives.
It was love at first sight for Ella and Annie.
And Langston, who’d returned to us from Advanced Training only a week earlier? Well, he needed no convincing to allow her into his life (and his bed. *ahem*).
Everyone always asks us how we do it (once they get over the adorableness and coolness of seeing a real live dog out and about in the library or at Target). How do we love these dogs as though they’re our own, and then give them away? My answer is simple: We are amazing, selfless, and basically role models for everyone around us. Duh.
After I’ve explained that, I go on to tell people that, once we saw what these dogs could do – once we saw how they could help people, how they can change lives, how they can give kids and adults alike hope and courage and freedom that they never dreamed possible – we couldn’t not do it. Does it suck, giving the dogs up after they’ve been part of our family for a year-and-a-half? Yes. It does. It hurts like hell. But that hurt is absolutely nothing compared with the joy that these dogs can potentially bring to others. On one of those scale-thingies (I suck at The Math, so just use your imagination), it’s not even close to being equal.
Of course, it’s not all sacrifice. Not by a long shot. Aside from having a cuddly, delicious, soft, apple-eating puppy in our lives, we also get to experience what it feels like to help someone else – and, I’m not gonna lie, that feeling is so incredible, it actually makes me feel almost selfish raising these dogs. I get to have a puppy AND feel this stupendous? This can hardly be legal.
When we got our first CCI puppy almost five years ago, my cousin – whose mom, my Aunt Lisa, has raised CCI puppies for years – commented to me that doing so was one of the best gifts we could ever give Ella and Annie, because raising CCI dogs changed her life. (She’s now an Advanced Trainer out in California, so I guess she knows what she’s talking about.) That wasn’t what we set out to do when we started down this path, but if that’s what winds up happening, then go us! Unintentionally instilling values, FTW!
We are currently the only family in Western New York who is raising puppies for CCI, and while that’s a somewhat neat distinction, I’d like to change it. My new goal is to convince at least one other local family to become puppy raisers before we turn Jambi back to CCI in August.
It’s worth it, I promise.
Come on… You know you want to…