Steve and I have long felt that one of the best things about raising puppies for CCI is the community it connects us with. Puppy-raisers come from many walks of life, and they span the range of political affiliations. I guess. But we never talk about any of that. We talk about dogs, and somehow I come away thinking that most of the dogs are being raised by decent, likable humans.
Though that’s been our experience for more than 10 years, the past year is the first time we’ve ever lived close to another CCI puppy (Kora) who’s so close in age to one of our trainees (Kyndall). As the girls have gotten older and better behaved, it’s become more routine for Kora’s puppy-raiser (Lisa) and us to find opportunities for them to get together. This weekend was particularly golden. While Lisa golfed on Saturday, she dropped off Kora at our place. Then on Sunday, Steve and I went on an outing to Tijuana that we knew would consume at least six hours. Kyndall is now old enough to be left in her kennel for that long. But it’s hard not to imagine her feeling lonely and bored. So I asked Lisa if Kyndall could hang out with them during our absence.
Clearly the girls had a great time:
They’ll see each other tonight again when we carpool to puppy class.
Steve and I don’t get out to political rallies and protests all that often, which explains why last night was the first time we ever took a puppy to one. But last night we couldn’t resist joining the small group of folks who gathered in front of the Apple store in the Fashion Valley shopping mall in support of Apple’s stance to defend customer privacy and security.
We figured although Kyndall wouldn’t understand the larger societal issues at stake, she wouldn’t mind making her own statement. Indeed she seemed very chill about wearing a sign:
She in turn was a great hit with both the protesters and the news media. This morning I noted that she showed up in at least one TV news report (looking cute even if the reporter got her sex wrong).
I’m not sure how much impact the rally had on the larger debate. But it was a terrific training exercise for Kyndall. She sat calmly, even regally, throughout all proceedings. I’d take her to another protest any day.
It feels like we have started our descent in preparation for landing (aka Turn-In), now less than three months hence. Kyndall has learned all the commands she’s supposed to know, but we nonetheless returned to Advanced Class Monday night. We’ll continue to attend because we feel like it’s a good place for her to practice. One thing that was new was the presence of her BFF, Kora, who just moved up into the highest group. Although we’d wondered if their mutual presence would distract the girls from the lessons at hand, this proved not to be a problem. Steve and I even gave Kora and Lisa a ride to class (since we live so close to each other). We made Kyndall and Kora both ride in the big cloth kennel we keep in the back of our van. We’d half expected that containment vessel to explode with motion and raw doggy energy, like something in a cartoon, but the two girls seemed to settle down almost instantly (perhaps a result of all the recent time they spent together at the Holiday Pet Hotel.) In the classroom, we sat on opposite sides of the room, and an observer wouldn’t have guessed that Kora and Kyndall had ever met.
Around the house, Kyndall seems calmer than ever. It’s hard to avoid wondering if that second heat cycle didn’t affect her personality positively (although it was already good to begin with). Basically, she’s not doing anything around the house that’s a problem. In the yard, she still gets tempted from time to time by flowers and leaves that apparently call out to be ingested, and she can’t resist the occasionally urge to dig. We’re going to try to continue to tune her up. But it’s a stretch…
After being kenneled together at the Holiday Pet Hotel for three weeks, during their recent coincident heat cycle, Kyndall and Kora must be missing each other, right? That’s what Lisa Matthews (Kora’s puppy-raiser) and I have been wondering. We got at least a partial answer Thursday, when we all literally ran into each other on La Jolla Boulevard. We chatted for a minute or two, then went our separate ways. But Lisa later called and told me that Kora had cried and yipped for some time as Kyndall and I receded into the distance. She asked if I had any training advice for her (crying and yipping being frowned upon in service-dog wannabes). My recommendation: call the puppy program manager up in Oceanside and ask her what to do. (I didn’t have a clue.)
Lisa later reported that she had talked to Becky, who recommended we meet on the street where the two girls could see each other but not get close. She said Lisa should then give Kora some really good treats to let her know it was not play time (and help her learn the difference.)
In preparation for that, Lisa brought Kora over to hang out with Kyndall for a few hours this morning. Clearly they are good friends. After a typical wild greeting, they soon settled down to hanging out pretty calmly.
Lisa and I plan to try the street pass-by tomorrow morning. Then Monday evening, Kora will have another opportunity to exercise restraint in Puppy Class, since she will move up to the Advanced Class (where Kyndall has been for some months.)
We got word late Saturday that Kyndall’s heat had ended, and she was ready to be picked up. Once again, Kora was in synch — HER heat ended too, and she also was cleared for homecoming. We thus gratefully accepted the offer from Lisa, Kora’s puppy-raiser, to collect both girls Sunday afternoon. They pulled up to our house a little before 3 p.m. yesterday.
In Kyndall’s absence, lot of folks have asked us how Mr. Tucker was enjoying being an only dog. We’re sure he enjoys being the exclusive center of canine attention, not to mention having the back doors open so he can wander inside or out at will. But his tail was certainly wagging furiously yesterday when the K girls arrived.
Lisa and I had wanted to give the girls a short opportunity to race around like maniacs, as they always do when Kora visits Kyndall at our house. But they surprised us by being unusually tranquil — probably a result of all the play time they got up at the Holiday Pet Hotel. Karina up there sent me one last set of photos that once again made it clear what fun times Kyndall enjoyed there.
Now that she’s back, we’re enjoying her sweet disposition and cuddly presence. I’m also sorry she’s back to the boring routines around our house — rather than the fun times at Sex Camp. Still, we keep reminding ourselves that her mission in life is to become a service dog. We’re also keenly aware of how little time we have left to prepare her for starting her advanced training up in Oceanside — just a little more than 13 weeks. We still have some serious work to do to try and get her ready for making it all the way to graduation.