When people ask me how I can stand to raise a puppy and then give it away, I usually respond that part of the secret is to avoid thinking about Turn-In Day until the very last moment. Then I plunge into misery for a while. For this turn-in, I found the sad thoughts assailing me early in the week, and impossible to ignore. The event itself — yesterday — felt fraught with emotion.
Maybe it’s partly because Darby is such a powerful personality. Although I’ve loved all my CCI puppies, she’s not my favorite one of all time. Brando was that for me, and Tucker — as our first — also occupied a special place in my heart. But Steve says Darby unquestionably was his favorite, and Darby is a close runner up for me. She has an enormous appetite for affection, for cuddling, and for fun. She’s smart and learns readily. Who couldn’t love that combination?
This was our first turn-in since CCI moved from the San Luis Rey Mission. I loved the beautiful gardens there. In contrast, Oceanside’s QLN Conference Center has a strongly industrial vibe. Still the physical surroundings were mere background; the canine ceremonies took center stage.
|Lining up to have portraits taken.|
Before those started, Darby got decked out in what Steve calls the “dress uniform” — the fancy royal-blue cape and gold halter. We had our photo taken. Then Darby got a chance to meet her sister Dazzle — whom she hasn’t seen in 18 months. I observed nothing to indicate that the two girls recognized each other. Still, we and Dazzle’s puppy-raiser Beverly (from San Luis Obispo) enjoyed the reunion.
|Who IS this blonde?|
|Oh yeah. That’s my sis, Dazzle.|
Some of the pups found the graduation program less than riveting. But Darby, as always, remained alert.
Throughout the proceedings, she climbed up onto Elliot’s lap at the slightest provocation (and lay down obediently when so directed). Then it was time to pack her into the van for the dreaded drive to the CCI facility.
I shot the traditional photo of her and Steve in front of the “escape-route” poster.
Then we checked her in and in short order handed her over. True to form, she trotted off to the doorway leading to the kennels, never once glancing back. My last glimpse of her was her tail wagging.
Now we won’t receive any official news of how she’s doing until Friday October 5. I’ll report that here.