Friday, February 14, 2014


Dear Monica,

Who would have put money on us? Ya' know ... meeting you for the first time in person after the Matriculation Ceremony with Haddie was not my finest moment. With tears cutting into my eyes, and a lump suffocating my throat, you walked up to me with your enthusiastic smile and a very, very fluffy puppy in your arms. What I couldn't choke out was said in body language as I passed you headed back to Campus to say Goodbye to our first Puppy in Program.

But you didn't give up on me, thank goodness. You recognized the moment for what it was and instead sent me a "friends request" over Facebook. The rest is literally written among the 13,479 private messages we've encountered with one another, and that doesn't even include the random, useless, but so important, daily photos on text messaging.

Ohh, what a year makes! We have been through Haddie's Turn In (albeit separately - ha!), through Halo's Turn In, Haddie's stall to a 9-month wait in Advanced Training which put us faced with the real possibility of Halo and Haddie graduating together, only to hear that Halo opted for the Advanced Degree too and a dual graduation was not going to happen. You were the bonus gift at Haddie's Graduation - the light that made the day even more perfect with your enthusiasm, smiles, photography skills, and contagious laughter. You made the day a true celebration.

And now that day is here for you. Graduation. A year and one day short of the day we met. A year of hopes and dreams and talks and texts and photos that circled our friendship to the pure heart of what this day is really all about.  I pray that you enjoy every moment and that every minute actually feels like 90 rather than 60.
Graduation Day from Canine Companions now has two meanings for you. You are one of the lucky few who get to have that; sharing the joy in watching one of your amazing family members receive her Service Dog just a few short years ago. And now today, you celebrate the puppy you have raised, loved, cared for, trained, cried over, stressed about, worried about, and proudly cheered, Graduate and travel to her new home to share with her Forever Person.

There are times in leading up to today that I have relived the moments when Haddie Graduated. The moment of packing up the car to travel three states to land in a hotel just a few exits away from campus; that excitement of the long road trip could not be surpassed even by a trip to Disneyland. Reading your messages to me this week as you packed your belongings brought back the memory of pure bliss. I am so thankful you are experiencing the same.

Watching the video you made for Halo's Person of the countless photographs of her life - adequately synced to the music Halo by Beyonce - brought goosebumps and tears for I know the hard work and dedication you brought to Halo's life to ensure the greatest chance of success. You dressed her up, took her to Disneyland, cuddled her in the sweetest embrace, and taught her her first 30-commands with such ease and confidence, and so much more throughout all 547 days you were together those 18 months. Your hard work, dedication, and joy come to completion today.

Now it is about the love of bringing a little girl into your life, surrounding her in happiness through Halo, and keeping in touch to let her know that you care about her. Her independence will shine through your selfless act of giving, of embracing Halo with a life of Service just for her. While you don't know just yet the why's to her journey to Halo, you know that she is so loved and very deserving of your heart which you left on Santa Rosa Campus in May 2013 when you said your Goodbye to Halo. For the puppy time you had with Halo was nearing a close,  but Halo's and her person's story were just beginning. And I know you would do it all over again for this exact moment.

You woke before your alarm this morning. You have been literally walking on air since the phone call last week that Halo had found her person. A little girl. You have chased the dreams in your mind wondering what her story will be and through it all you have fallen in love. What used to be "I can't wait to see Halo again" has quickly changed to "I can't wait to meet Caroline". The transformation to the big picture has been beautiful to witness, for you have been taken over by the simple act of Giving. Your heart has been changed forever. The true essence of "How can you give up this puppy you have raised?" has been answered.

You can.

You did.

For her.

I love you.
~ Your 206 Mom


  1. Oh. My. Goodness. This just made me bawl my eyes out. I too noticed the transition from "I can't wait to see Halo" to "I can't wait to meet Caroline." This has been an incredible journey to be a part of, first with the turn in of Haddie, then that of Halo. And now here I am, sharing in the adventure of another graduation with another incredible friend. Life with CCI is crazy, awesome, and inspiring. What a great day this is. Love you dear friends. Both of you.

  2. Ya know… you know how to make a girl cry! I LOVE YOU!!!!! Seriously you are the best. I couldn't ask for a better 206 mom. Thank you for the beautiful post. yesterday was amazing.