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The Matriculating M’s

Micron at Lookout Point, the highest elevation in Dayton.

When we’re out and about with Micron, he has folk so impressed with his fabulous manners that we sometimes get requests to train their dogs for them. Or mayhaps would the same behavioral techniques work on kids, too?

Of course, we have to gently answer with a big fat No to both queries. We’re not professional dog trainers and well, we only had one kid to practice our parenting skills on, so no profundity to share on that topic either.

So how do we know what to do with this CCI pup? Who trains the trainer, that is?

Well, our CCI family does. As volunteer Puppy Raisers (PR’s in CCI-speak) we have a network of rather knowledgeable folk that are there to help us every paw step of the way. The CCI Puppy Raiser Coordinator is our first line expert. Suzanne is just a phone call away to advise me on how to quiet a very vocal puppy or to troubleshoot a dog that can’t seem to hold his licker. (Micron’s Pavlovian response to seeing a tot in a stroller is to lick his lips in anticipation of a full face slurpfest. Not a behavior becoming of a service dog, you know.)

The local chapter group with other PR’s is something we couldn’t live without, either. We have access to folk who are raising their eleventh CCI puppy. Or their seventeenth.  Or how about that dedicated couple working on pup #32.  Wow.  So whatever puppy nonsense may be going on in your house with the furball in your charge, you know someone else has had a very similar experience somewhere along the line.

But we’re a big group, this CCI family. A nationwide organization, Canine Companions for Independence is of the oldest and largest of the service dog providers. And truly, the connections I enjoy most is interacting with the other PR’s from my pup’s litter.

We talk, we share. Do the littermates share any personality styles? Sure, but each is still unique. To unify this extended family, fellow PR, Marianne, has coined the term dogs-in-law, and I think that fits quite nicely.

Micron at B&N ready to show off his manners. And good looks.

Over the past eighteen months the PR’s of the amazing M litter have been sharing photos and stories.  And now, we’re providing emotional support as we prepare to return these beautiful dogs back to CCI to finish their training. This week, on either May 13 or 14, the M litter puppies will be matriculating into CCI’s Advanced Training program. We’re sending them off to dog college, so to speak.

How do we give them back? With a box of tissues and a lot of pride. And the support of like-minded people who are now part of our family.

We caught up with five of Micron’s littermates and their PR’s. Here are Madden, Mars, Molina, Madias and Meryl and their PR’s as they share some photos, thoughts and their hopes for the future.

PR’s Regina and Dave share these words about their pup, Madden.
What to say about Madden . . . he is beautiful inside and out. Our Zen dog who is gentle, and sweet and soulful, and loves to carry items around the house – not chewing but just carrying and bringing them to you and gently waiting until you take them. He works with special children each week and is at ease which puts them at ease. Did I mention he is sweet?

Madden is pup #9 for us and by far the hardest for me to return. He is deliberate and slow and mellow and thoughtful and that is what I will miss. Being around Madden is very calming; I think he can do anything he wants – Skilled Companion, Service Dog, or Facility Dog. But not Hearing Dog. as he does not have nearly the drive or energy.

A dream to raise and loves the outside playing with other pups, but perfectly content by your side. Our hope for Madden is that he is matched with someone who will appreciate what he has to offer and our CCI Northeast Regional Center is so very good at making those matches.
Mars is being raised in Denver by PR Marianne and John. I giggled when I read this. She could have easily been describing Micron instead of Mars.
He LOVES to carry things and will try to take something out of my hand if he thinks he should carry it for me. I keep telling him it’s MY decision, not his. My favorite is when he carries the blue plastic recycling bin back to my office after I take it out to empty it. He is SOOOO pleased with himself. He is also the snuggliest puppy we’ve had and will crawl into my lap with his teddy bear.

I asked Marianne how she thought Mars might wow the CCI trainers. See “carrying things” above.  Also, should they need a tennis ball retrieved from anywhere, Mars is the dog for the job. He’s a bit obsessive about tennis balls and has stalked people at the gym who have tennis balls in their gym bags. This is not a good thing.

Puppy Mars
And hopes for his destiny? John and I hope he graduates, of course. I think he’d be a dynamite Facility Dog, but I trust the trainers to determine his major once he settles in at college.  As long as he ends up with someone who will love the stuffing out of him we will be happy.

We feel incredibly lucky to have raised a rare black fluffy! Especially one as funny and sweet as Mars. He is a one-of-a-kind dog in so many ways and even though he’s our 7th, the final goodbye at CCI on the 14th is going to wrenching for John and I. Puppy #8, Rocket, better be on his toes because we are going to need some serious adorable to go home to!
Speaking of dogs-in-law, Mars recently traveled across the country to New Jersey for a doggy reunion with littermate Madden. You can read more of this adventure on Mars’ blog at:  Mars’ DogBlog – Reunion!
Madden (L) and Mars (R) together again
PR Michael shared these photos of the Molina, a yellow fluffy who shares some good looks with Micron.
Molina at six weeks
Molina attending a dog show
We’re seeing some fluffy similarity in the good looks department here too. Madias is being raised by MaryAngela in New York.
Madias at six weeks
Madias enjoying the country life  (is that a John Deere collar?)

I’ve just recently caught up with Kim, the PR of lovely Meryl, who has created a video showing a day in the life of a CCI puppy-in-program.  Spend a few of minutes to watch beauty in motion. A very nicely done video. Enjoy . . .

A day in the life with Meryl

About Donna Black-Sword

Lover of all things Dog.

2 responses »

  1. I guess I'll see you on Friday 🙂


  2. good luck to Micron!!!!



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