Animals At Your Side

How animals open our hearts to a greater Love

My Gift To You

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When it comes to raising a puppy to become an assistance dog, you will face the inevitable event of “giving the dog up.”  As volunteer puppy raisers we welcome a CCI puppy into our homes when the pup is only 8 weeks old, and then spend the next year and a half guiding that pup along in its process of becoming an assistance dog.  The dog, then, goes to live at CCI for 6 months to complete its training and be matched with the right person.  {Side note: If it is not in the best interest of the dog to become an assistance dog, that dog will become what we refer to as a “change of career dog.”}

As a puppy raiser, you will not only face the inevitable event of “giving the dog up,” but you will face the inevitable question of “how can you give them up?” (on numerous occasions, I might add).  There are many responses to this question…but for this post I will focus on one.

I receive each of these dogs as a gift, and in return I get to give each of these dogs as a gift.  I’m reminded of a quote that goes, “If Cinderella says, ‘How is it that I must leave the ball at twelve?’ her godmother might answer, ‘How is it that you are going there till twelve?’”[1]

How is it that I can give this dog away?  How is it that I get to have this dog in the first place?  I see it as a gift that I get to develop a bond with one of these pups.  I then want to share that gift with someone else…someone else who can appreciate this dog even more than I am able to.

The act of giving away a dog, that in a sense has become a part of me, helps me to give myself away as a gift.  Perhaps you are asking yourself, “Give yourself as a gift…what does that mean?”  It means, that all that we have been given is a gift (our existence, our loved ones, our talents, our material goods), and we are not to keep those things all to/for ourselves.  We are to love without holding back, even when it hurts…even when it requires giving up something we want to hold onto.  That hurt will turn into joy when we see what comes from it…when we see the new life of a person who has just received an assistance dog.

Here’s a light-hearted public service announcement for Canine Companions for Independence…enjoy!

[1] G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy


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