Sunday, April 11, 2010
Well, he did it!!! Gerrit graduated!!! He graduated as a Skilled Companion, which is a dog that enhances independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive, and developmental disabilities. Skilled Companion Dogs are trained to work with an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator. In Gerrit's case, he was placed with an 18 year old boy and the boy's parents are the facilitators.
I didn't get to go to the graduation, but my pal told me all about when she got home. She said that it was the most wonderful day ever (besides getting me back, of course ;-)!
When she first arrived at CCI, she got to meet and have lunch with Gerrit's new family. She said that as soon as she met them, she knew that they were the perfect family for Gerrit!
After lunch, she got to see Gerrit again. The little clown was so happy when he saw her, that he actually knocked her right off her feet! That must have been so funny! My pal got to spend an hour with Gerrit prior to the graduation ceremony. She said his tail never stopped wagging during that whole hour.
The most emotional part of the day for my pal was the graduation ceremony, when she presented Gerrit to his new family. She said that while she had to wipe away a few tears, she was so incredibly happy and proud of Gerrit. She could tell that Gerrit had already bonded with "his boy" and she knew that the future was going to be filled with fun and happy times for the two of them.
Gerrit - We love you little buddy! You made us all so proud!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
My job this week has been to be there for my pal. She's had lots of tears in her eyes this week. So, whenever I saw her getting a little choked up, I ran over and put my head right under hand. Without even thinking, she would then begin to stoke my head. As she did this, I could feel the tension in her hand release. And, when I gazed up at her, she smiled. That's when I knew that I was doing my job well.
The week started with her returning to work after being on maternity leave for over four months. She misses baby boy. And, she misses me and Lucky. We all miss her a ton too. The days just aren't the same without her constantly here with us. But, as hard as it has been on all of us, it almost makes evenings that much more special. We really cherish the time we all have together. Evenings are filled with lots of hugs, laughs, and belly rubs (for me!).
To make this week even more emotional for my pal, on Monday she heard from CCI that our little clown, Gerrit, is in fact graduating this Friday!!! He will be graduating as a Skilled Companion!!! On Friday, my pal will get to go to CCI to see Gerrit again and present him to his graduate (his person) at the graduation ceremony! My pal is sooooo happy and proud of Gerrit. But, because I know my pal so well, I also know that there is a part of her that is sad. While she always wanted Gerrit to graduate, she always sort of thought he would come home some day... like I did. Call it a dog's intuition, but I knew he was never coming home. I knew that even though Gerrit was a little goofy, he had what it took to graduate. I am so happy and proud of my little buddy!
So, this is why I have been working extra hard this week. My pal's eyes has had lots of tears. Tears for missing baby boy. Tears for missing me and Lucky. Tears of joy at the thought of Gerrit graduating... and, tears of sadness at the thought too. I'm glad that I am here for my pal. Right here where I belong.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
While I have been busy on vacation, frolicking on the beaches of Southern California, my little friend, Gerrit has been busy training in school!
In fact, he's been working so hard, that the little guy is rotating into Team Training again! And, he's rotating earlier than expected! We were hoping he would be rotating in May. But, an even earlier Team Training class is starting tomorrow and Gerrit is rotating into it!!!
He is one of seven dogs that are rotating into the Skilled Companion/Facility class. IF Gerrit matches as a Skilled Companion, he will be placed with an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator. A facilitator is typically a parent, spouse or caregiver who handles and cares for the assistance dog. Disabilities served include but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Down’s syndrome. IF Gerrit matches as a Facility dog, he will be placed with a facilitator working in a health care, visitation or education setting.
Of course, we can't get our hopes up too high yet because there are a whole lot of IFs. While there are seven dogs rotating, there are only four people. So, not all of the dogs rotating will be matched. But, those that do will be graduating on April 9!
My pal has her fingers crossed and I have my paws crossed that Gerrit will find his perfect soul mate in this Team Training class. We will hopefully find out Wednesday if he has pre-matched. I'll keep you posted!
So, what does the photo above have to do with Gerrit? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to show you what I've been up to with my own soul mate... my pal!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Even though we now have baby boy, which keeps my pal and me SUPER busy, my pal still always seems to find the time to incorporate me into her photo shoots. Take yesterday, for example...
Baby boy was asleep in his crib. I was sound asleep on my doggie bed. When, all of a sudden I hear, "Hey, Carlo, come here for a minute!" Groggily, I stood up, did a big stretch and shake, and trotted into the other room to see what was up.
I found my pal with camera in hand hovering over the floor. "Uh oh", I thought as I slowed my pace down. But, then in my pal's other hand I saw a bag of dog treats! Sweet! And, I happily picked up my pace until I was sitting right next to my pal, nose and mouth strategically placed right next to the bag of treats.
However, I was not expecting what came next! My pal had me lay down on the floor and she began laying treats down all around my paws in the outline of a heart! Now if you recall, CCI pups are taught not to eat food off the ground. While I am no longer a CCI pup in training, I'm still not supposed to eat food off the ground... at least not when my pal is looking... ;-) So, there I lay as my pal slowly put each treat down, one by one.
It was torture, I tell you! Well, it was torture between the moments when my pal would look up from her handy work and exclaim, "Good boy Carlo!" as she handed me a treat. But those delicious moments were few and far between... since for some reason my pal thinks I've become a little chunky lately and need to be on a diet. Sigh...
Finally the grueling photo session was over and the photo above is one of the end results. Hope you all had a happy Valentine's Day! Can I go back to sleep now?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, my pal received an email from CCI that Gerrit... as in little clown boy Gerrit... was rotating through to Team Training! He did it! He made it through 6 months of Advanced Training and actually made it to Team Training!
For those of you who may not know, Team Training is a two week period in which people with disabilities, who have applied for an assistance dog, come and stay at the CCI campus. During this time, the people are carefully matched with a dog. CCI does a really good job of making the perfect match... they want to make sure that a person and dog are just right for each other and are true soul mates!
After getting the good news email, we had to wait until midway through the first week of Team Training to find out whether Gerrit had matched. There are always more dogs than people in Team Training, so there are always some dogs that don't make a match. Waiting to find out what the news was on Gerrit was like waiting for a bowl of food... excruciating!
Well, we finally got the news... and Gerrit did not match. But, that's not really bad news. It just means that he didn't find his soul mate this time. He's going to continue his training at CCI and hopefully he'll make a match at the next Team Training in May. If you ask me, I think Gerrit just wanted to stay in college a little longer and have fun. The party boy probably wasn't ready to get a real job yet!
The super cool thing is that Gerrit's work buddies, Dupre and Enso, did make a match! They will be graduating TOMORROW!!! My pal and I are so excited for them and their puppy raisers and wish them all the very very best!
In anticipation of Gerrit graduating, my pal made a Gerrit photo book to give to his future person. That's a picture of it at the top of this blog. It took her awhile to make it cause she had to sort through tons of photos of clown boy. We're going to keep the book in a special place so that it's ready for the day that Gerrit finds his soul mate!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Remember Nick?... Gerrit's "bestest buddy"? Well, for those of you who may not have been reading this blog back when Gerrit and Nick were pups in training... Nick and Gerrit both went off to CCI doggie college (aka Advanced Training) back in August. They've both been working hard to become assistance dogs. However, Nick was just released from the program a couple of days ago. He decided he wanted to come back home. And, he is now living in his forever home... with his puppy raiser!
My pal and I went over to visit Nick yesterday. It was quite the doggie party. Not only did I get to see Hope and Nick, but there was also this little beagle dog named Spencer. He was soooo much fun. He would run super duper fast enticing all of us big dogs to chase him. Spencer was not easy to catch... not just because he was like Underdog fast, but also because he bounced off furniture and flew through the air. Come to think of it, he sort of flew just like Underdog!
It was a ton of fun playing and seeing Nick again. After we played, we got to go on the "dog couch". That's right... the "dog couch"! Nick's puppy raiser has a couch that she lets dogs sleep on! It was awesome! My pal had us pose for this photo, and I was so happy about being on a couch, that I didn't want to get off. I even stayed there after all of my buds hopped off. Geesh, I sure wish WE had a dog couch... hint, hint, hint.
And, as for Gerrit? Well, believe it or not, the little clown is still in college!!! I'm sure he's missing his bestest buddy, Nick. But, he's still hanging in there. In fact, if he studies really hard this next month, he may actually graduate next month! Wouldn't that be somethin'?! Go little clown boy, go!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I know, I know... I've been one big flakey dog when it comes to writing in my blog lately. But, what's a dog gonna do when he's got a super big important job like me? My pal has officially given me the title of Super Nanny!
As Super Nanny, every day I help my pal as she takes care of baby boy. I follow her around and make sure I am always by her side in case she needs me. For example, my super sonic nose is always the first to detect that baby boy has done a stinky in his diaper. Personally, I think it smells kinda nice... but my pal said that I like other stinky smells too (errrrrrr, yeah, that's true). Anyways, as soon as my nose starts sniffing baby boy's diaper, my pal knows she will soon also smell the stinky and that it's time to change that diaper.
Another thing I help with is carrying a toy as I follow my pal and baby boy around the house. My pal has explained to me that it will be some time before baby boy plays with toys, but I like to carry one with me... just so I'm ready when that magic day happens!
I also help take baby boy on walks. My pal pushes the stroller as I walk proudly next to it. And, I glance into the stroller every once in awhile to make sure that baby boy is doing ok. He's usually sound asleep and looking ever so cute.
There are still times when just my pal and are able to go out for a break. Just the two of us. Like the other night when Baby Daddy got home from work, my pal took me to the river. It was loads of fun, but we didn't stay too long cause we were both missing baby boy. As soon as we got home, I ran and brought him a toy. Taking care of baby boy is a full time job... but, being Super Nanny sure is the best job I've ever had!