Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dear Haddie

There was a time shortly after you arrived that I was overcome with the realization that our family was starting something big. One of those moments as humans where we pinch ourselves and ask, "Is this really happening?" I am sure it was the combination of feeling completely out of my league in the task of training you to the level of expectation that I had set before me, and the overwhelming feeling that you would not be under my care forever, and that in the process you would be changing lives.

The more I became involved with asking questions to our CCI Trainer, Terri, during our weekly puppy classes, the more I felt confident that perhaps I really could do this. Terri has this way of speaking that is clear, and very concise. She doesn't mess around - the answer is the answer. And I learned quickly to trust her; and as a result, everything she said worked. I am positive that without her leadership, this whole Puppy Raising experience would have turned out differently. I am not saying we are perfect, but I am saying confidence is key. Terri gave me confidence.

You, Miss Haddie, have been a blessing in so many ways. Without you, I would not have met the strangers that I did in the last 18 months. Every character has come to see you, from the screaming toddler whose mother thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to babysit her chid while she shopped and the kid loved on you, to the man who thought it made perfect sense to bark at you, to those who tried desperately to get an answer on where to buy a vest for their dog too, to the kind spirited who gave a genuine-look-me-in-the-eyes-while-touching-my-elbow to say, "Thank You", to those that just wanted to pat your head, look into your eyes and melt, to those that were just strict with the rules and would not come over to you, but would compliment how beautiful you were. All those people, I would never have spoken to, nor affected one way or the other, had you not been in my life.

And then there is the entire group of amazing priority people that we are working hard for. The people who will ultimately become part of the CCI family as a Handler of a Graduate Dog from CCI. We have class with wonderful Handlers with Graduate Dogs and they in fact make this journey the reason for everything we do. There are no words that can express how proud I am to know them, to see how dogs just like you, Haddie, change their life. It is the number one reason why we are in this together.

My family. You have brought a huge responsibility of hard work and dedication to the daily view of my children. When we started this family volunteer role, we were all on board, sharing ideas of how this and that would work in raising you. Sometimes in the Cloud 9 discussions before an event actually takes place, we tend to forget reality. Everything seems to work perfectly in our minds. But ya' know, Haddie, it really has been. There has not been a day when the kiddos did not step up to raise you. There has not been a day where they have complained about you being in their life; and let me remind you that not every day you chose to make it easy on any of us (you had your naughty streak, Girlie!! haha). Haddie, you have brought out the best in our family in working together as a real team for this outreach. I am so happy you have taught our family how to love big for others.

Haddie - your future is bright, Girl. No matter how you choose to behave in College, you have the perfect family waiting for you off campus. If you study hard and work your best-side, I will see you at Graduation with tears of support and joy as our family walks you across the stage to your forever Handler. All the puppiness you brought to our house, the love, the stoic nature when working, the 18 months of adventures we found together, the quiet times, the ball chasing, the little games we played will be flooding back to our minds with happiness when we transfer that leash. We worked great as a team, Haddie, and you are so deserving of Graduation day.

We will be just as proud if you decide that College life and working is not your passion. We understand the intensity of this job, and we know that not every pup feels it their calling to work in this way. But I have no doubt, that you will continue to change the life of others - as you already have. Know that if you decide that this is not for you, that your forever family is waiting back here for you. You already know them; the 13 year old boy that plays jazz piano like a rock star every Monday evening at our house. Oh yes, same family - his mom is the nice lady that plays ball with you every Monday evening at our house.  Yep, the dad? He is the guy that came to play ball with you one night too; he's a baseball coach for his son's select team and he really knew how to throw you that ball!! You were worn. out. when. he. said. goodnight!!

Either way you choose, you will have the BEST life and I am confident that you will know so too.

So. This is our final chapter in Puppy Raising wonderful you. I really don't know how to end this post. I know my heart is forever changed, I know you will forever be my Puppy in Training, and I know that I will always love you, think about you, and care for you no matter the distance between us. You are forever My Haddie Rosa.

I love you.


  1. Oh dear. That post just brought tears streaming from my face as I start my work day. That was so beautifully written. My heart breaks for you, but rejoices with the knowledge that you have done your absolute best and that she will be going on to change many more lifes. As I have said before, I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers, and I look forward to hearing all about this new adventure when you come home! Big hugs to you all and congratulations on turn in. That in itself is a BIG accomplishment. You've made it!

  2. ok there needs to be a warning label on this saying to have tissues near by when reading im quite sure I ruined my makeup reading this lol good luck Haddie in the next stage of your training.

  3. Oh goodness, that was beautiful. Congratulations on such a fantastic job with Haddie! Your family is definitely in my prayers this week, especially Friday!

  4. What a beautifully written post. Every day with our CCI dog, I am reminded of what a miracle they are to our family. And I know that these special miracles happen because of people like you. My simple words of thank you will never be enough. I will be thinking of you and your family this week and hope to see pictures of your adventure. We've been having beautiful weather here in Northern California. I hope it stays nice for you!

  5. Wow. That is beautiful and gives a glimpse into all the different emotions that come with this journey! Sending much love and best wishes!