Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 in Review (long post)

WOW It's 2011! Each year goes by more quickly than the one before.

"Spring to Summer, Summer to Fall, Fall to Winter. In such a way progress the seasons of life." -me

January- I fostered my last two dogs, Winnie and Tenor, for "A New Leash On Life LLC". Began extreme puppy raising research and finished my work on a short guide to puppy raising gathered from every source I could find. 

February - Worked on school, thought more about puppy raising, kept on volunteering at "A New Leash on Life", and prayed about puppy raising.

March- I continued working with dogs at "A New Leash On Life". Read more about CCI and researched CCI. I also enjoyed my birthday. 

April- Stopped work with "A New Leash on Life" though kept in contact with the rescue. Near the end of the month I discussed puppy raising with my parents and got a "Yes".

May- Put in an application at CCI. After a couple of weeks I had my phone interview, was accepted into the puppy raising program, and was told that I could get Dembre! I raced to prepare for the arrival of the new puppy. I received and read the entire puppy raiser manual and tried to get sleep as I awaited the day I would pick up Dembre. And then the day was there. Friday, May 28th 2010 at 3:30 I walked in the door of Canine Companions for Independence, North Central. My Mom and I had our puppy raiser orientation and then got the grand tour of CCI. I had been on a tour before  but this time it was different I was walking through the training center as part of the volunteer group not just a random person. I thought we were finishing our tour when we walked up to Dembre's kennel. There stood the most adorable, fluffy little guy I had ever seen. I picked him up and cradled him and he just lay there calmly. We went out to the board room and signed the contract and before I knew I was driving home with a future service dog at my side. 

June- Dembre met my friends and I met other puppy raisers. I got to know a few better than others and started to feel like I belonged. Dembre learned new things every day and grew bigger and bigger. We learned and grew and I realized that I WAS a puppy raiser. I WAS living my dream! And most of all I was raising a miracle for somebody other than myself. 

July- Independence Day came! That day represented much more than just the freedom of America; it celebrated exactly 35 years of Independence for people with disabilities. Isn't that fitting? CCI began it's mission to provide independence 35 years ago on Independence Day!!! Dembre continued to grow up. He learned more and so did I! 

 August- I enjoyed a middle-of-nowhere backpacking trip with friends and family. Dembre went off to the puppy sitter as my family and I went on a fun packed vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia for a week. After that week my family dropped my older brother and I off at a Retirement home in Williamsburg to join some 30 other adults and teens from our church for an amazing missions trip. Over that week we helped various people with different home makeover projects. I got the privilege of tearing out an unsafe kitchen floor for and older man and then putting in a new and beautiful one. I also got to sit and scrape glue off of a floor for an hour or two with some friends while singing. During that week I had some amazing prayer times with close friends and drew closer to God. When I returned from my trip I met an almost 5 month old puppy that I hardly recognized- Dembre. He had grown huge and was becoming quite a handsome dog. 

September- Dembre turned five months and got his official cape. He began to go to the library, grocery stores, and made his first visit to church. I enjoyed getting to know my friends at CCI even better and was very thankful for the puppy raising friends who helped me with all of the things that I needed help with. I also enjoyed the most awesome Christian Camp ever over Labor Day Weekend. Thought Dembre didn't attend the camp, I somehow knew that during that camp God was telling me that I was more than following my dreams, I was doing his will in puppy raising. I was being a light unto the world.

October- Dembre turned six months old and began to go with me to almost everywhere I went. He could be seen in restaurants, movie theaters, stores, our local library, and even got to visit an outlet mall. I was very proud of my little puppy who wasn't quite as little anymore. I realized that I belong at CCI  and was amazed with how God had allowed me to follow my dreams as a puppy raiser. I hoped and prayed that that very special black puppy would become a service dog that would change the life of somebody else very special. 

November- I missed the CCI graduation on November 12th, but on that very day I was at a museum with Dembre in Akron, Ohio, some two hours away from CCI, when I met a family who asked about Dembre. I told them about him and CCI. Then the mother said that she was friends with one of the graduates who was coming home with her Service Dog that night. Wow! God has an amazing way of working things out. Who would have thought that we would meet a friend of a graduate on the day of the graduation? Coincidence? I think not! We Also enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 December- The Christmas rush began and we were busy, busy, busy! Early in the month our Senior Pastor passed away and Dembre was by my side through the calling hours and funeral. Dembre got to visit the statehouse where he met his first State Trooper and got to visit both the senate chamber and the the meeting room for the House of Representatives. Christmas came and it was an amazing time. On the 28th my Dad and I went to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra in concert, which was AMAZING. Sadly Dembre did not go. I enjoyed Christmas break and on New Year's Eve our family hosted a large party/game night. We turned on the TV to watch the ball drop and right about midnight we lost our signal. Happy 2011! 

Overall, my year was great! Before I know it it will be 2012! I haven't found out whether Dembre will turn-in in August or November, though I was supposed to know by the end of December. It makes me kind of sad to think that if he returns to CCI in August, our training is half way done. Seven months down, seven months to go. I thought it would go fast, but not this fast. I hope to get another puppy as soon as Dembre turns-in. My Mom said that she'd like me to get sponsors before I raise another puppy so I get our community involved and spread the word about CCI. I don't like relying on other people's generosity, but I also want to keep on puppy raising. My vision from the start was not to raise one puppy for "the experience" but to raise many puppies to make a difference. 
Dembre at 9 weeks.

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