Our current puppy project

Kyndall is the 6th puppy we are raising for CCI. She was born October 18, 2014, the fourth in a litter of 6 from northern California. We picked her up from the Oceanside center on December 17. 2014. And the paperwork says we must turn her in for Advanced Training on May 1, 2016.

Kyndall on the brink of leaving CCI’s Southwest Regional headquarters.

Over the 10-plus years Steve and I have been involved with raising puppies to be service dogs, by far the most common question we’ve been asked is, “How can you give them up?” My standard answer quickly became, “You can’t sign up for this unless you accept that it’s not your dog,” I tell people. “You get to live with this really cool animal for a while, but it belongs to someone else.” Giving them up is always hard. But when that day rolls around, you don’t really have a choice.

All that’s true, of course. But over time, we’ve also gained perspective on the big picture. We understand better what an amazing thing a successful graduate dog can be. Despite our not-so-great track record to date (one graduate and four release dogs), we feel more motivated than ever to have another success. That can’t happen unless we eventually turn Kyndall over to the professionals.

I’ve also become more serious over time about trying to capture what’s involved in this complex, often comic experience. For the raising of Kyndall, I’ve gained some partners in chronicling. Two videographer friends, Alberto Lau and Bob Schneider, have committed to creating a documentary about raising service dogs. Along the way, I’ll be posting occasional excerpts of what they’re capturing too.

Our adventure with Kyndall begins with this post and continues forward in time.


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