This morning, for the fifth time in our CCI puppy-raising career, I got a phone call that plunged me into depression. This time it came from Becky Hein, the current Southwest region CCI puppy program manager, informing me that sweet angelic Kyndall was being released. “The trainers have decided it would be best for her not to be a working dog,” she said gently. “But she’s such a lovely girl!”
Ha. We KNOW she’s a lovely girl. But this time Steve and I believed she had an excellent chance of graduating. For us, Kyndall always was attentive. She learned quickly. She was ready for activity when the opportunity arose — but happy to rack out and nap at other times, an affectionate and mellow companion. Yet even before receiving her first report card, here she was being judged unfit for a life of service. Becky explained that the trainers found her to be “overly aware of her environment,” focusing unduly on distractions such as other dogs, bunnies, and interesting smells. Food and verbal encouragement had not improved her, the trainers judged. So that was that.
One of the things Steve and I find most discouraging about this development is that we were able to be so wrong — so unable to see these failings in advance. It shakes our confidence in our ability to improve. Steve commented, morosely, that he felt ready to give up.
Of course, there’s no giving up right now. We’re less than 2 weeks into Life with 11-week-old Beverly. She’s at her peak of puppy cuteness — so small she still can creep under the sofa (and think that it’s SO COOL to be there):
…so small she’s still nervous about descending long flights of stairs:
She’s so young it’s almost impossible to imagine what kind of full-grown dog she’ll become. By the time she gets there, I suppose Hope may triumph over Experience, yet again, in our hearts.