Saying goodbye to Kyndall yesterday was about as bad as we anticipated, for us, at least. And Kyndall didn’t look like she was having a whole lot of fun either. We left the house shortly after 9:30 a.m. and drove to the conference center in Oceanside where the graduation ceremonies are held. The first thing you do there with your matriculating puppy is to turn in his or her training gear and dress them in their ceremonial finery. Lots of photos get taken.
We had to gather for instructions in what to do during the ceremony, though Steve and I already knew, being as how it was the very same thing we’ve done for all of the previous turn-in ceremonies in which we’ve participated. Then there was time to socialize. This was fun, as we’ve gotten to know a lot of people over the 11-plus years we’ve been involved with CCI. One unexpected pleasure was the chance to meet the woman who raised Kyndall’s sister, Kawika (aka “Kiki”) in Albuquerque, NM. But sadly, we couldn’t meet Kawika herself because she went into heat immediately after arriving in Oceanside on Wednesday. (Barbara, her puppy-raiser, carried a stuffed puppy during the presentation of the 34 pups turning in.)
Another big highlight was meeting the girl who will be Kyndall’s kennel-mate to start, Pendra, raised by a veteran Oceanside puppy-raiser. Dusty told us that Pendra was the calmest pup she’s ever raised — happy to wrestle and play for 15 or 20 minutes, and then to settle down for a snooze. That’s exactly how we would describe Kyndall, so it gave me high hopes that the two will get along just fine.
The ceremony itself began at noon and lasted for a full 90 minutes. As always, it was an emotional roller coaster. There was a video introducing the folks who will be receiving dogs. Of this graduating class, three would be working as “facility dogs”(including two who will be helping to calm crime victims). Two were being awarded to help out women in wheelchairs, and two were chosen to be “skilled companions,” part of a whole team assisting the disabled person. There were speeches and a slide show of images of the puppies turning in and other words and sights to touch the heart.
After the ceremony, we headed out to the van and tried to feed Kyndall an early dinner, but she wouldn’t look at it. Then we drove to the CCI facility for the saddest moment of all. Unlike any previous occasion, on this day we were accompanied by our two videographer friends, Alberto Lau and Bob Schneider, who are working on a documentary about puppy raising. Bob captured what it looked like right at the end. Note that Kyndall did what has always impressed me (and made me feel a little better). She trotted off wagging her tail, and she didn’t look back.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/166657430″>Kindall enters advanced training – HD 720p</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user25079241″>Jeannette De Wyze</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>