Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Here I am in Oceanside, California, at the Companions for Independence Southwest Training Center! But that's a mouthful, even for a dog with a big mouth like me. I call it Puppy College for short. But you knew that, didn't you?
I began college on August 22nd. My PRs were going to fly out with me to give me a little extra vacation (and give themselves one, too). They were going to take me to Legoland and Sea World and maybe to the Getty Museum up in Los Angeles. And, of course, they wanted to take me to the beach and let me see what the ocean was like. Colorado does great mountains, but oceans? Not so good.
But my PR Dad fell off a ladder and cracked some things. (This picture is from right after he came home, and yes, I had permission to be on the bed! He couldn't move well at first, but I hear he's much, much better now!) So they had to stay home. And the CCI folks went into high gear. A nice lady in Denver offered to take me out with her, my friend Aunt Kelly was willing to take me up to Denver, and another CCI lady was willing to take care of me while I was in California. It's not just the dogs who are wonderful at Canine Companions!
So my PR Mom packed my bag with all the most important things: my leash, my cape, my Gentle Leader (I was hoping I could leave that at home), a couple of bones, and, of course, my FOOD!
The car pulled up at my house, I licked my people (the MEE-YOWS wouldn't let me lick them), and Auntie Kelly put me - and the bag - into her car.
She had a doctor's appointment in Denver - that's why she was really going - so I got a little more doctor's office training. Long hallways are good for sit/stay practice.
We pups need to have good manners at any office. We can't just wander around sniffing everything - unless somebody says it's all right.
Did you know I can read medical information? Hee hee.
This is my new friend Gloria. She was going out to Oceanside to see her dog graduate! Her dog's name is Alesia. (It rhymes with amnesia, which is what I have when I forget my commands.) Maybe in a few months I'll be graduating, too! She took good care of me on the plane, and I took care of her. I'm an old hand (paw) at flying - after all, I took my PRs all the way to the land of Indiana and back on an airplane!
Once in California, I switched people again. I just love meeting new people. Jeni and her daughter, Brooke, had a younger CCI pup with her (sorry, she didn't get any pictures of us together), and we had a good time. When you start puppy college, you leave your old bones behind - and get new ones - so I gave mine to Nettie to keep.
I didn't get that big vacation, but I did get to see how pretty Oceanside is! We went down to the marina. Ah, the wonderful water! I wonder what kinds of food people keep on those big boats. The birds were cool, too - made lots of noise. I loved it.
That afternoon, we went to the big ceremony, where the terrific dogs who are graduating and beginning their CCI careers are honored! They also introduce all the new guys like me.
I got to wear a special cape just for this ceremony. When I graduate (notice I'm saying when), I'll have a different kind of blue cape to wear when I work.
Here I am (above) by the big sign in front of my college. This school - one of the five CCI training centers around the country - is named after some famous people who love CCI very much. Everybody else knew who Dean Koontz was! But I never read any of his books. I did read one of Trixie's.
There are always lots of nice people and nice dogs at these ceremonies. Here I am standing in line with Brooke waiting to be introduced, so everybody can see how cute I am. The man standing there is Mr. Wahrenbrock, who is the PUPPY BOSS! He runs the puppy-raising program. If he's the puppy boss, he must always carry puppy treats in his pockets, don't you think? I have to check that out.
After all the fun, it was time to say goodbye to Jeni and Nettie, and go with another lady to my new dorm room. (She was holding on to a yellow leash on my collar so she wouldn't get lost.) I couldn't wait to see what my new place was like.
And... the first thing I found out was that my roommate is my old friend Emmy! Hooray, hooray, hooray! (Wag tail at great speed.)
All that was last month. I've had a great time since then. There are 32 dogs in my class, and sometimes they divide us into little groups and just let us play! My teacher - they call her a trainer - is named Becky. She's nice... smells like dogs, and knows how to make me wag my tail. While she and the other trainers get to know us, and check our bones and our eyes and the rest of us, they'll also see what we've learned and how well we've learned it. They'll find out if we're scared of anything (there aren't any cows around here, are there?), if we're noisy or quiet, if we play nicely, if we get too distracted by Bob the Cat or the bunnies (you could say they're trainers, too), and much more. Then they will decide if each of us pups should stick around here or if we need to go into another career. My PRs will get a report card about me once in a while.
What happens if (gasp!) I get released? It won't mean I'm a bad dog. It certainly doesn't mean I'm less wonderful than I've always been! (I probably won't even become more modest.) I might get to go to a different school and become a hearing dog or a drug-sniffing dog. Or I might come back to Colorado, supervise a wonderful family, and become a therapy dog, visiting people in nursing homes or reading to kids in libraries (oh, reverse that - they'll read to me). Or I might stay in California and supervise somebody here, and maybe live by the ocean, and get to know all those noisy birds... and maybe even go sniffing around in one of those boats.
But my plans right now are to stay right here and become a Canine Companion!
P.S. There are ice cubes in California!