2 Comments

So About Graduation…

Kimba & Me

Kimba & Me

What’s the saying again?  You plan and God laughs.  That has been such a common theme in this journey of bringing Kimba to greatness.  So it should come as no surprise that the one thing I thought was going to be an easy “for sure” is not to be.  Since I found out that My Diva was graduating as a Mobility Dog my mind has been whirling and my heart has been jumping up and down.  I have told everyone I know about the good news even strangers who are fawning over Quickly…”yeah, she’s cute isn’t she?  Listen, my first dog Kimba is graduating on 10/24!”.  I had been thinking about her gifts, planning my outfit (would wearing a shirt that says “Team Kimba” be weird?), looking through the box of mementos that I have kept for her (how tiny her first collar was!) and reveling in the joy that is success.  I was excited to bring the whole Kimba Krew out to Can Do Canines to see just where I spend so much of my time.  I wanted them to see for themselves what we all just can’t accurately picture in our minds–Kimba is an assistance dog!  The happy talk was crazy and the excitement was contagious.  But then I got the call.

I was notified that there was a possibility that My Diva would not be at graduation.  I was told of the reasons and various circumstances that truly don’t matter at this point.  The caller went on and on about options.  I tried to be strong, I even tried to be optimistic which is my usual tactic when faced with bad news.  But this news was just too bad, too unexpected, too personal, too unfair.  And so then I did the thing you’re not supposed to do when you get bad news and you want to be strong-I let the feelings in.  I let the unfairness take over my mind which was bad enough but then the heavy, unbelievable sadness settled in to my heart and that was the worst of it by far.  With those feelings I did the most natural thing you do when your heart is broken in to a billion bits.  I cried. The tears slid down my face and my voice became shaky despite knowing that I did not want to burden this poor bearer of bad news with my emotions.  True to form, the caller started talking faster with options and maybe’s but I knew my fate.  I knew that God’s laughter was loud on this one.  I would not get to see my Kimba Girl walk up on that stage and collect her well deserved rewards of applause, love, and admiration.  But worse than that, I would not be able to give her those things myself.  The promise of graduation had always been the thing I held on to in these many months of missing My Girl and now it was gone.  The conversation went on much longer than I wanted with options of my coming to graduation anyway and watching Kimba’s video of greatness.  Or the possibility that things might change.  There was even mention of some other “surprise”.  I was moved by none of it.  I just couldn’t see myself attending graduation without my Kimba.  That was just too much to ask of me.  In fact, my irrational mind said we should call off graduation for everyone until Kimba can come!  It’s not fair!  I got off the call and had the head in my hands, nose running, slobbery, heaving, inconsolable, heartbreaking sobfest I deserved.  It was truly an amazing sight that I am thankful only Quickly was witness to.  It was pathetic and sad and heartbreaking but above all of that, it was cleansing.  Sweet Quickly Girl laid her head in my lap with a quiet comfort that only the love of a Black Lab can provide.

In the intervening days since “the call”, I have managed to find some peace with the whole thing.  I put off telling people as long as I could but when I heard of people making plans and excitement mounting, I had to start telling my family and friends that they had their Saturday back.  I got the official call last week just as I saw that there was a lunch being planned by some fellow volunteers and Puppy Raisers after graduation with a request for Kimba’s Krew to join in on the fun.  These are people who love Kimba too and were just as excited to see her Greatness come to fruition. Ugh. That was a hard dream to crush.  Very hard.  But here’s the thing (because there is always a thing):  Kimba’s greatness is most known to Kimba and she does not need a whole bunch of graduation commotion to tell her that.  Kimba is a working Girl now and she will be doing exactly what she was so tirelessly loved, trained, and encouraged to do on the day of graduation.  That knowledge is really all the celebration I need and I am slowly becoming more ok with that.  Though I have to say that Saturday is going to be an incredibly tough day for me.  No Kimba on her birth and graduation day?  Not the plan.

I have packed up her gifts and will be dropping those off at Can Do Canines tonight to hopefully arrive to Kimba before her birthday. I am celebrating “Kimba Birthday Week” on my facebook page with pictures and a look back on her puppyhood.  I am doing what I can to celebrate despite the distance between My Diva and me. And so I guess this is the story of how raising Kimba ends.  Who knew so much emotion and drama could surround a DOG??  But I think it’s because it was never that simple for me, it was the process of being raised myself and producing greatness that is undoubtedly my best work that causes the tears to come so easily.  I have never been so proud and so very thankful.

Be well Kimba Girl and always remember the first Human to put a cape on your gorgeous, black body and inform you that greatness was imminent.   -The Human

This blog is not affiliated with Can Do Canines, and the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CDC as an organization. For official information about CDC, how to apply for a dog, how to become a puppy raiser and other volunteer opportunities, click here.

Advertisements
2 Comments

Greatness

Baby Kimba

Baby Kimba

I have waited so long to type the words you are about to read.  Are you ready?  Kimba is graduating next month!  I just found out today and can hardly believe it.  My Diva has found her place in this world as someone’s very own Mobility Dog and she is enjoying her new career so well that she has decided to officially accept the position on October 24, 2015.  That is also the day she will turn 3.  I just can’t stop smiling and my heart is bursting with pride at the news that I did it.  I brought Kimba to Greatness.  Of course, I did not do that on my own.  In the many months since I dropped Kimba off for final training she has been through a lot.  The story of her final training is a bit hazy to me despite regular updates.  There has been talk of clients not working out, issues with certain skills, the continued cape fear,  she was training to be a hearing assist dog…and then she wasn’t, she was in prison, and then back in the kennel, in a foster and then back in the kennel, and there have been other things that seem very unsaid.  Who knows with that Girl?

Just recently I was accused of having been too hard on Kimba and that she is a perfectly normal, sweet dog.  It was implied that no one besides me had seen the Diva in her.  I smiled and nodded but we all know that’s a bunch of HOGWASH!  Just read the blog people.  Kimba has always done things the way Kimba wanted to do them and in the timeline that she chose.  She refused to tug and she refused to retrieve when I had her and you will never convince me that it was because I was the crazy one…she didn’t care to learn/execute despite my best efforts.  She just didn’t feel like it and I respect the Hell out of her for that.  And the fact that she is not graduating until she is three years old kinda tells me something.  Diva simply decided she was ready now and not a second before. God, I love her!

I don’t know much about Kimba’s client except to say she lives far away from me so I probably won’t see much of Kimba after graduation next month.  That hurts me to the very core of my being but it further demonstrates that this puppy raising thing is not about me; it is about the life that will be so profoundly better because my heart always said yes even when my mind was screaming, “RUN”.  I am proud of Kimba of course but I am just as proud of myself.  This was an experiment in expanding my heart that I truly did not know I could achieve.  And Kimba made me work for it.  When people compliment me on how great Quickly is, I shy away from the accolades…raising her has been easy.  But I relish every single word of praise I get about Kimba because I earned it and deserve it.  I am a better person because of Kimba, she brought amazing people, great opportunities, and beautiful realizations to my life.

I’m inviting everyone I know to graduation so we can witness Kimba’s greatness come to fruition.  I am so excited to wrap my arms around that big black lab body of hers and tell her how much I love her.  I will be covering her beautiful fur in my tears as I finally have my chance to tell her how very proud I am to see her doing the very thing she was meant to do.  To see that she is equipped with the confidence and knowledge that she is amazing will be my own graduation.  Learning to tug, sit, stay, retrieve and all the other skills are the very least of what I was charged with in my duties as PR to Kimba.  My most important role was to love her, advocate for her, and set her up for the success she now is.  Yep, I did that.  Me…Kimba’s Puppy Raiser.  -The Human

This blog is not affiliated with Can Do Canines, and the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CDC as an organization. For official information about CDC, how to apply for a dog, how to become a puppy raiser and other volunteer opportunities, click here.

Leave a comment

Still Amazing

Reunited

Reunited

I had to come give an update on Kimba.  She got out of the prison puppies program right before Christmas and came back to the kennels at Can Do Canines.  This is awesome because now I get to see more pictures of my girl.  I even got to see her by accident at an outing Quickly and I were at.  It was funny when Kimba saw me.  It wasn’t the moment you would expect with her jumping up and down but it was exactly what I would expect from my Diva.  She basically just stared at me with a look on her face that clearly said, “where have you been?”.  Now, I must say that the poor girl was dealing with a lot at the time; she had just been released from prison that day, she was wearing her cape which we all know is never a good thing, and she was wearing a gentle leader which has never been ok with her.  So she was trying to battle all of those issues when all of a sudden she looks and sees me.  It was a cool moment.  Very cool.  I even got to hug her and take some pictures.  I was over the moon!

Kimba spent the holidays with a very sweet foster who was nice enough to put lots of pictures on Facebook so I could see how she’s doing.  She is as beautiful and brilliant as I remember and I continue to be so proud of her.  They are working on her cape issues in the kennel along with getting her in to some hearing work.  It won’t be long before she has a client and making a difference.  I still can’t believe it.  Maybe this little experiment is really going to work:).  -The Human

Leave a comment

An Update!

Hello!! Is this thing on?

I’m sorry it has been so long. One of my biggest issues is that WordPress is acting really weird and it’s hard to access my blog for some reason. I’ve tried several computers and I keep running in to issues. But anyway…

Kimba is doing great by all accounts. She is in the prison puppies program and her trainers report that she is “full of personality”. Oh, don’t I know it! She is on her way to becoming a Hearing Assist Dog if you can believe that. Her training is going great and she is even getting better with her cape issues. That’s my girl:). The plan is for her to come out of prison soon and go back to CDC to prepare for her Forever Human. Just typing that makes my eyes fill with tears. I am so proud of my Diva. I will post an update when I hear more.

My sweet Quickly is doing well too. I didn’t know it was possible to love another dog as much I love my Diva but Q has found a way. She is such a sweetheart and she adores me. She is almost 9 months old and she is SO smart! Right now she is another prison puppies program for some puppy training bootcamp. She’ll be gone until November. Wow. I haven’t gone this long without a puppy since I picked up my Diva in 2012. It is so strange!

This site is driving me nuts so I’m going to cut this short. Hope all is well with my faithful readers! -The Human

2 Comments

Quickly

Quickly Aka "Little Puppy"

Quickly Aka “Little Puppy”

 

I haven’t told you much about my new puppy. Her name is “Quickly”, she was born to her Mom Hildie who is a breeder dog in the Can Do Canines breeding program. The Q litter was her third litter and Quickly was the only girl. You know how I love my girl puppies:).

I had not planned on getting a puppy right away. I was going to foster for the summer and see what the fall brought. I was hoping to get a puppy from Kimba’s Mom again. But life is funny and I got a call about Q at the same time I found out that I was turning Kimba in soon. Q needed a puppy raiser and my name had popped in to the trainer’s head. I was pretty much suckered in to it with pictures on Facebook. Q is adorable and has a little white patch on her chin and under her paws. I started two separate emails to tell the trainer that I was going to pass on Q. For some reason, I failed to send both. Then I decided to text my regrets and accidentally said, “I will take Quickly”. What? How did that happen?? I can only say that the Universe knows better than me and I am so happy with my new sweet girl.

I call Quickly “Little Puppy” or “Q”. She responds to anything really. She is the sweetest little puppy. She listens well, trains well, and she loves oh so well! She loves to give kisses, cuddle, and play. I just adore her. She tortured Kimba for the three weeks they were together. Kimba was surprisingly good about the constant biting but sometimes I had to put one or both of them in time out. Q stays with my Mom during the day and they became fast friends. She loves to go to my Mom’s because that is where all her feedings happen. Smart girl:).

Q is different from Kimba at this age. Kimba was tough to love but so easy to teach and train. She got things immediately and stayed very focused. Serious beyond her age. The Divine Ms. Q has little time for serious matters and would much prefer to play, be silly, and ignore any attempts at learning stuff. Why learn when you can pull on my shirt sleeve and make me chase you??  She’s impossible to get a picture of because she is off throwing toys around or trying to snuggle in my arms.  She is a big puppy and I love to just grab her and squeeze her.  She is as sweet as they come!  She has a lost, sleepy puppy face that always seems to be saying “wait.  what’s happening?”.  She has been my sunshine during these tough weeks of letting Kimba go.

Like Kimba, Q’s food needs are being sponsored by Blue Buffalo which I am so thankful for.  They have committed to supporting me as long as I am raising puppies.  I am overwhelmed by their kindness.  I know some of them read my blog–thank you!

I’m not sure what I will do as far as blogging with Q.  I don’t know that there is an audience for a PR with a puppy as easy as Q but I do love writing about the journey so we’ll see.  If I do, it would be a new blog as I feel this one truly belongs to Kimba.  I’ll keep you posted.  

Also, I don’t think I ever thanked all of my blog readers for reading the blog, offering support, and laughing with me through the Kimba journey.  Thank you, thank you!  I know some of you are PR’s yourselves who shook your head and nodded right along with me in my ramblings.  I hope my words have been entertaining if not helpful.  Thanks again.   -The Human

This blog is not affiliated with Can Do Canines, and the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CDC as an organization. For official information about CDC, how to apply for a dog, how to become a puppy raiser and other volunteer opportunities, click here.

1 Comment

Turn In Day

Turn In Day

Turn In Day

 

So here is the story of turning in my Diva…sigh.

We had Kimba’s party on the Friday before she left and it was a great event. Lots of fun stories, laughing, eating, and yes some crying. How did we get here already? How is it time for Diva to go so soon? It was bittersweet to celebrate with her supporters and remember all the Kimba moments. And some of my most favorite people were there to share in the celebration. It was so much fun. At the end of the party, we took balloons and wrote wishes for Kimba on them. My wish was “don’t forget how much I love you”. Yeah, no tears there. After we wrote our wishes, we released the balloons and watched them fly away. So cool.

Oh, I forgot to mention, a few days before the party I caught an awful, vicious cold. I haven’t been that sick in a long time but I did my best to ignore it. I could hardly even talk during the party because I was so congested and my throat was on fire. Ugh! So the rest of the weekend I was miserable! Too bad I had two puppies to care for. I tried to be fun for my Diva’s last weekend and do some of our weekend rituals one last time; we made it to the dog park and puppy playtime but that was about it. It was rainy, I was sick, Netflix and Nyquil took over. Diva entertained Quickly while I blew my nose a lot and gargled salt water. Ugh! I felt so bad.

After the weekend I continued to feel awful but soldiered on. I finished up Kimba’s final paperwork, mentally prepared myself, and gave her lots of love. I didn’t even cry those last two full days with her. I spoiled her rotten! I hardly ever give her treats but that was not the case in those final days, it was treats, love, treats, love. I couldn’t help myself.

The night before I turned her in, I took her to this lovely place called Dog Day Getaway in Apple Valley. It’s basically a spa for dogs. It’s actually a doggy day care and kennel but they do grooming too. This place is beautiful!! And on Tuesday’s they reduce the self bath by 50%. Yes please! So Kimba and I ventured out in to the rain so she could get beautiful for her big day. I got her in the tub and took my time bathing her. While I rubbed her down, I talked to her about her next big steps in the journey.  I explained that she had been a wonderful addition to my life and that I absolutely adored her.  I told her all the things I love about her, that she’s smart, funny, caring, flexible, energetic, and sassy.  I thanked her for teaching me to be more patient and flexible and not so serious.  I told her that she is the reason I have so many new friends and great stories and I am grateful for that.  I told her to do her very best in training and make me proud.  Don’t forget to be gentle about taking treats and make good decisions when told to ‘come Kimba”.  I scrubbed her down and rinsed her well.  I clipped her nails and cleaned those dirty ears.  It took 7 towels to dry her and lots of treats to reward her.  She was a champ through all of it and she actually seemed to be hearing what I was telling her.  I brushed her and cleaned her eyes.  I hugged her and let her run around and shake it off.  She was shining like a new penny by the time we left and as beautiful as ever. 

Wednesday came.  I have never liked Wednesdays.  Of course I had to turn my girl in on a Wednesday.  I took the day off and spent the morning washing her cape and replacing her name tag.  Her old one had my information on it so I got her one with just her name.  It hurt like Hell to take her old tag off and put it in her little box of mementos.  Kimba and Quickly played all morning while I took calls and texts from friends reassuring them that I would be fine dropping Kimba of on my own.  Let’s be honest, no one was overly excited about being apart of that sadness so I gave everyone a pass.  Besides, I wanted to just be sad without feeling like I had to put on a brave face for whoever was with me.  It was better this way.  So at 10:15am, I loaded up my Diva one last time and left my house.  Things got really sad as I pulled out of my driveway and it dawned on me that this would be the last time Kimba was at my house.  So surreal.  I got to Can Do Canines a little early so I sat in the parking lot for a while and just cried.  I could see Kimba in the rearview mirror staring at me-clearly concerned but confused.  She assumed we were just here for class I’m sure:).  I read text messages of love and Facebook posts of encouragement.  They truly gave me strength to do the impossible.

I got out of the car, grabbed my naughty girl, her food, and her cape.  It’s funny how a dog’s basic needs are so little when you really break it all down.  Food is her only real requirement of life if you were to ask her.  When we got there, we had to wait for Nancy the trainer and I got to take a few more pictures of Kimba.  She kept her concerned look the whole time.  I fought back tears and hoped I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone.  Nancy came to get us and I handed her the food and Kimba’s cape, she handed me an envelope that I have yet to open because I fear it is sadness that I can’t handle yet.  We took one last picture before going in to the training room for a debrief.  Kimba got to go off leash and play with toys while Nancy told me the plan for Kimba’s next few months.  She will be in a kennel with her roommate “Journey”, she will be evaluated in the next few weeks to see where her strengths lie and where her training needs are.  There will be numerous play times, love times, snuggle times, and field trips with volunteers.  She will be well-loved and kept busy which were my chief concerns.  It’s one thing for me to be sad, but I don’t want my Diva to be sad.  She will likely go back in to the prison program for most of her training where she will also be loved and spoiled.  Nancy encouraged me to ask for updates when I need them.  She said some other stuff too but I kinda stopped listening after I realized she was not going to say the words, “just kidding, take your Diva and go home!”.  No, this was real.  After awhile, I said good-bye to my puppy and another trainer took her away.  She didn’t even look back, just headed off to her future. 

It was hard but Nancy was really good about it, she didn’t break down which I know was tough for her.  She gave me a nice hug and thanked me for my hard work and just like that, it was over.  I had turned in Kimba.  I don’t know how I did it, I just did it.  I then turned my attention to Quickly and got some supplies for her; she needed a new cape, heartworm meds, and Frontline.  I came home and she was waiting for me to take care of her.  Time to put my efforts in to my little puppy and she is more than willing to take my love and attention.  She was just what I needed to help shake me out of my intense sadness.  To see her literally jumping up and down in her kennel at the very sight of me was so sweet.  I remember when Kimba used to need me like that.  Shortly after I got home, I got a beautiful arrangement of tulips from my friend Heather and her family.  So perfect.  I love tulips!  And the day before my bestie Shalon had dropped off some wine and a card.  So I sat those beautiful tulips down on the table, poured myself some wine and celebrated a job well done. 

I have gotten two updates on Kimba and she is doing very well.  Even learning to retrieve which is a skill her and I really struggled with.  She’s with the pros now and I’m sure she will really begin to blossom.  I have learned that a October graduation is out of the question so I won’t see Kimba again until the next graduation in May 2015.  Yes, a year from now.  It makes me sick to think of it being so long until I get to see her.  But I’ll get updates and pictures during that time so that’s good.  I am already so proud of her.  I can’t wait to watch Quickly be as amazing:).  She should be an easier experience as Kimba has taught me well.  I say it all the time, Kimba raised me as much as I raised her.  It is so true.  Greatness is imminent Diva.  -The Human

This blog is not affiliated with Can Do Canines, and the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CDC as an organization. For official information about CDC, how to apply for a dog, how to become a puppy raiser and other volunteer opportunities, click here.

2 Comments

Updates

Kimba Photo Shoot

Kimba Photo Shoot

There is so much to update you on and I will do a real post about turning Kimba in but here are just a few highlights of the last few weeks:

First, the party. Kimba’s party was a smashing success and I can not get over how many of her supporters came out to wish her the best. I kept joking that if this had been a party for me, there would have been three people there but for Diva, they came out in droves! So good to see everyone and I love recounting the stories of Kimba. I can not believe how far we’ve come with that girl!

Second, Kimba had her second photo shoot on Easter. When Kimba was a baby, her whole litter was photographed. I have posted some of those pics on my blog-she was a looker even way back then. She is as beautiful to photograph now and my friend Sandy did an amazing job capturing her. Kimba posed for those photos like a pro. I was really impressed with how cooperative she was. Nevermind, I was bribing her with treats:). I will post some of the pics soon but have added one above as a sneak preview.

Turn in day: Sadness I tell you, sadness!  I will tell the story in a future blog soon. I am just happy that I actually went through with it instead of making plans to leave the country with my girl. By all accounts she is adjusting and doing well. I’m trying to do the same.

And I had to move on from my Diva even sooner than I had planned, I would even call it moving on “Quickly”. I got my new puppy three weeks before I turned Kimba in. I was basically tortured with pictures of her cuteness and on April 10th I picked up 12 week old black lab puppy girl “Quickly”. Yes, that’s her name. Yes, I have to say things like, “Go potty Quickly!”  “Come Quickly!”  My neighbors think I’m nuts. She is obviously from the Q litter and she was the only girl in her litter. She is adorable and sweet and smart and did I say sweet? She is so easy. SO EASY!! I deserve easy and I am happy to have her. To know Quickly is to love her. Her nickname is “Little Puppy”. I just started calling her that for some reason, maybe because I had my big puppy Kimba at the same time I got her. Anyway, she is not little though, she is a chunky puppy and I love it. More to come on her but yes, I’m going for round two in the game of puppy raising.

That’s my update for now. -The Human

 

This blog is not affiliated with Can Do Canines, and the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of CDC as an organization. For official information about CDC, how to apply for a dog, how to become a puppy raiser and other volunteer opportunities, click here.