Saturday, January 30, 2016

Successor Service Dog Battier

What an absolute honor it was to present Battier to her new favorite person Nancy! I have known Nancy since I was 16 years old and I cannot possibly think of a better person in the world for Battier! All the trips and adventures that we went on together during her puppy years will definitely pay off. It sounds like they already have a lot of fun trips planned! Such a lucky dog! I’m a very thankful puppy raiser since I will get to watch Nancy and Battier’s bond grow and see her working. Definitely the best perk of puppy raising! I always love seeing “my” dogs work and Battier is my first local dog.

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!

Ramesh, Nancy, Battier and I.

Battier snuggling with her first trainer Maria! She was her trainer for her first 6 months in Advanced Training! Maria is now at the new Texas Campus!
Amanda, Battier's 3rd semester trainer. She taught her the Service Dog skills like: pull, light, switch, fix it, etc.

Beautiful girl! 


This will always be a very special photo to me. On December 7th I found out that my breeder and Battier's Great Grandma had terminal cancer....I found this out at CCI and they were wonderful and took Chandra (Shawn) back to meet up with Battier one last time. I wasn't able to see the reunion, but I hear it was very sweet! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

259 days.....

It has been 259 days since I last saw Battier.....the wait is definitely worth it!! After 2+ years of hard work, tomorrow I will be handing Battier's leash over to Nancy to make their team official! This is such a wonderful honor! I have known Nancy since I was 16 years old and puppy raising my first puppy Kedra. Little did I know that 12 years later I would be picking up a cute little 8 week old puppy named Battier that would later go on to graduate with Nancy.

The gift bags are made up for Nancy and Battier's trainer Amanda! Her first trainer Maria received her gift today in Texas, it was fun to FaceTime and see her open her gift! I love making photo books and can't wait to share Nancy's and Amanda's with them tomorrow.

Schedule for tomorrow...I will probably leave Sacramento around noon or so. Puppy Raisers of graduating dogs will meet with our Puppy Program Manager James at 4pm. At 4:30 pm we will be reunited with the dog we raised after 6, 9 or 12 months depending on the dog....Battier was in Advanced Training for 9 months. Then I will meet with Nancy and her husband Ramesh for dinner. I cannot even wait until we can go over stories! This is going to be so much fun and the adventure is just beginning....

To be continued!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I received the call today at 9:30 am....Battier has made a Pre-Match!!! This means that she has placed with someone in the Successor Service Dog class! The match is a pre-match until Canine Companions for Independence makes it a final match, hopefully tomorrow or Thursday. There will be a small graduation ceremony for Puppy Raisers. Before the ceremony I will get 1 hour with "my" girl and then I will have dinner with her wonderful Graduate! There I will hand over the leash and Battier will officially be on her next adventure. I know who her graduate is and I am thrilled, I just cannot share the information yet. 

Over 2 years of training and love has been put into Battier and it is all worth it!!!! Stay tuned.....

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dear Battier....

Dear Battier,

Today you attended your first real Team Training and hopefully your perfect match was there. What I would have given to be able to see you today....the last time I saw you was May 15, 2015. You have grown into an amazing Service Dog since then and I am beyond proud of you! We went on so many adventures during our year and a half together, but your journey is just beginning. My favorite places with you were your favorites too I think...Lake Tahoe, because you love swimming! Disneyland because, who doesn't love Disneyland?! You were perfect and so good for all your pictures. Miami was another fun adventure! Again you were perfect on our crazy long journey there from San Francisco. You've been on both coasts and I hope you get to travel a lot more! I know that you will graduate with the perfect person for you because you are the most and amazing dog I have ever known (and you have some good competition). People often ask us as puppy raisers "how can you give them up?"....well, there are a few reasons. First, I got to have you in my life for a 17 months. Something that I am so thankful for. Also, I always say "how could I not", you are here for a purpose bigger than you even know. Someone has been waiting just for YOU!! You are also so loved and will be loved every single day of your life! I cannot wait to meet your forever person and I will thank you for bringing us together. Thanks to your amazing trainers Maria and Amanda for training you to be the best you can be! I'm so surprised they got you to speak after we tried so many times! I cannot wait to see you do your Advanced Commands! This is just such an exciting's been 255 days since I've seen you and yes I have an app for that...but it isn't because I miss you. I am just SO excited to see you and your new person! I've been thinking about you every day and hoping that you're having fun in Advanced Training. I know you get the best care there and will also be happy when you get to go to your new home. I love you with all my heart and I always will. Thanks for being my friend and loving me back. Love you Batts and I have a feeling I'll be seeing you soon!