The Canine Companions for Independence Successor Side Placement Graduation was beautiful! I arrived in Santa Rosa around 1 pm and met my friends who were presenting Battier’s friend Jane who was trained as a Service AND Hearing Dog! We had lunch before heading over to campus. It was a rainy morning, but the rain cleared when we arrived on the beautiful Schulz Campus. I went to the Administration office and gift shop, a must stop on any trip to Santa Rosa! My 10th puppy and Battier’s nice Mary V joined me, she’s only 10 weeks old and an adorable Golden Retriever. Mary hung out in in the kennel office in her own kennel and she had plenty of staff me members that came in and loved on her! Before sending Mary off to the kennels at around 4 pm, I was trying to get her to “hurry”. Apparently Battier was with Nancy and her husband Ramesh at the time in the dorm and I was across the grassy area, but we guess close enough. They said that Battier became very alert and the only thing we can thing of is that she heard me.
At 4:30 pm the Puppy Raisers of Graduating dogs went to the North Training room and were reunited with their puppy. I knew this was going to be a very special reunion. Battier and I had a very special connection and she will always be a special girl to me. I cannot wait until she has that amazing bond with Nancy, I know with how much they love each other already that they’ll have it very soon!
Check out this amazing video of the first time that she saw me in close to 9 months. I am thankful that her trainer Amanda took her into the other training room for when I came in. Some of the other dogs were in kennels in the room, but I was hoping that I could get this reaction:
From 4:30-5:30 pm we had “alone” time with the pups and it was nice, but all I could think about was how excited I was to have dinner with Nancy and Ramesh. I was looking forward to sharing stories about Battier and hearing how their week of Team Training went.
At 5:30 when we went to dinner it was very nice! There were 7 Graduates in this class, 5 Service Dogs and 2 Hearing Dogs (Jane is SD/HD). It was a small and intimate graduation and one of the best ones I have ever been to. I really enjoyed not having the crazy busy day that goes along with the regular graduation ceremony. We did get a slide show put together by the Instructor Assistants and that was very nice! It’s a little sneak peak into the week of Team Training. The Gold Rush Chapter was well represented in this class. We had Battier, Jane, Ralene and Anikan (finished in the GRC after being raised at Crossroad Prison) as the dogs from the GRC and then 3 Graduates: Nancy, Bari and Jay. It was like a big family reunion.
After dinner and the slide show, the IA’s went to get the dogs from their kennels and we got to hand them over officially! It was wonderful. Such an amazing day!
After the presentations there were some comments from Puppy Raisers and Grads and those were all wonderful as well. Once the graduation was officially over at 7:30 pm, the real party started. Nancy, Ramesh, Battier and I went back to the dorm room to go over Battier’s puppy photo books. For a dog with over 9,000 photos, it is tough to make just one book! Battier also opened her presents and she was so excited to have some of her puppy toys back! It was SUCH a wonderful day. Just everything I could have ever dreamed of.
I am so thankful that I will be able to watch Nancy and Battier’s bond grow and see them around Sacramento. It’s going to be a fun adventure!