Not again!

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!”

062716 happy girl
If she knew what was going on, she’d probably be wearing her smiley face. But she’s probably feeling somewhat morose herself at the moment. Becky also told me she would be spayed today.

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):

062716 hiding

…so small she’s still nervous about descending long flights of stairs:

062716 creepy2
This doesn’t look very safe to me.


062716 creepy1
If I just sit here patiently and wait, maybe they’ll come and carry me down (again).

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.

14 thoughts on “Not again!

  1. Don’t get down on yourselves. Even though it’s difficult not to it’s a rare case that anything you do can change the outcome of advanced training. Lots of great dogs just aren’t meant to be service dogs. It took us five try’s to get a graduate. You never know which pup will be the one.


  2. Awe this made me sad! It must be so disappointing. I’m not a puppy Rasior but my son is disabled and he has a CCI doggie that has truly made such a difference in his life. I believe it was the 8 dog of one of the co raising family’s and the 4th of the other. Without you amazing wonderful puppy raisers my sweet little boy would not have such a special friend that helps him everyday. I hope you don’t give up. Someone just like us may be waiting just for he amazing puppy you are raising xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It took me 6 tries before I got my first graduate, so I understand the frustration. A veteran PR told me early on “If you’re patting yourself on the back for your dog’s graduation or you’re kicking yourself for your dog’s release, you’re thinking about yourself too much.” I am raising #17 now and I still can’t pick which ones will graduate and which will not. Keep on keeping on!


  4. Kyndall’s a GREAT dog. Lisa and I really enjoyed puppy sitting her and know she is an exceptional dog. Let’s face it, only a third of ALL the puppies that are sent out for raising with dedicated and capable raisers graduate. There’s nothing wrong with either the canine or the human. The people who need a service dog need animals that aren’t better than the released dogs — only different. Where’s Kyndall headed for bringing her loveability with her?


    1. Thanks, Bob, for the very kind words. I believe Kyndall will be going to friends of friends who will give her a wonderful home. Will report more when that’s set.


  5. Noooooo!!!!!! (Frowny face with a tear.)

    Sent from the mobile device of Doris A. Fuller and Starry Nights, with apologies for any resulting typos or formatting



  6. One of the hardest things as a puppy raiser is to realize that the dog chooses whether they want to have a career as a service dog, not us. It is one of the things I love about CCI. I am currently raising my 9th CCI puppy, and I still can’t accurately predict the outcome, and rest assured it is not anything you did or did not do that affected the result. What continues to amaze me over the 12 years I have been raising puppies is that these dogs seem to end up exactly where they are supposed to be! Please don’t give up on puppy raising, we need you! Sending you hugs and puppy kisses!


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