Thursday, July 2, 2015

Buchanan ... Cannon

He was born Buchanan in February 2014 in Northern California. He traveled by plane to our region at 8 weeks of age to join the Puppies in Program at a military correctional facility under the direction of our contract trainer for Canine Companions for Independence and two very well versed women staffed at the correctional facility. They shortened his name to Cannon and his growing up months began.
We are enjoying a change in our volunteer role. Rather than being a full-time Puppy Raiser, I am involved as our Chapter Secretary, and as a family we continue to help with Puppy Raising by being a Puppy Sitter. We know what it feels like to have a puppy underfoot without a break; it feels like having a toddler underfoot with no date-night escape. Sometimes, puppies (like toddlers) needs to venture off to their Cousins for days of focus and fun, so the Puppy Raiser (like parents) can regroup with an adult status in this world.
But the military correctional facility is just a touch different than Puppy Sitting other puppies ... the Puppy Raisers might enjoy their break from the puppy, but the Puppy is in more need of a break from the routine of the facility. While their command work skills are sharp and spot-on, they need the social side of the world. Learning to walk through a park on a loose leash despite other dogs roaming and geese flying, and they need to learn to walk through the bread aisle at the grocery store without talking a close sniff ... they just need to see the world.
We enjoyed having Cannon for the last eight nights. We didn't really know much about him, never really seeing him enough at chapter outings or classes to know what his personality or work ethics were like. So it was fun to have a complete "stranger dog" among our family.
It has been reaching 90-degrees daily for the entire time Cannon has been with us and we are not used to that high of temperature. It is the hottest June in the history record books for our area, by about 20+ degrees. The need for Air Conditioning in houses is rare, and so we are among the majority company in doing the cooling off the old fashioned way, open windows and fans. I like to think that if nothing else, Cannon had a taste of what it will be like to live in California during college. If he can survive the worst of it here, he will shine in the heat of Santa Rosa. And Cannon did great.
Throughout our days we went to the parks and trails that meander through our zip code. Because of the sunshine, we opted for early morning walks and it was perfect. It set our day out right by getting in our exercise so that the rest of the day, no matter the plans, he was ready to focus. Although, the more I got to know Cannon, the more I found out that he is one mellow fellow. He didn't need to be "worn out" in order to focus, but all dogs need exercise, so I am happy that was consistent to his routine.
We ventured to stores for the Air Conditioning perk and he walked by our side without sniffing, pulling, or lagging behind. He was our happy partner as we shopped for cold items like ice cream and ice tea and ice lattes and ice water ... and ice cream.
Other adventures took us to an elementary aged musical in the heat of the evening because my daughter was one of the camp counselors of the week long event. Cannon settled in next to my chair and didn't move, despite the swarm of kids that came to say hello. In fact, during the performance a sweet little toddler came close to Cannon, but without touching him (he listened to his mom) he laid down on his belly to face Cannon's face ... and they stared at each other for many minutes, both bodies not moving, only their eyebrows showed their mutual love interest in "What are you doing?!?"  Cannon is amazing with children!!
We had a Chapter Meeting that lasted many hours, and Cannon did a great job relaxing under our chairs and around other Puppies in Program. He is a mellow big boy that was never phased during our time together. He is a very happy puppy with a wiggly butt whenever someone shows him attention, but he does not solicit and does not go overboard (no excitable greetings). It was easy to take him places; like shopping at the big indoor mall for additional summer clothes for my daughter, and a sushi restaurant where he laid at our feet under the table and received "Ohhh, look!" from patrons when we left (a great sign they didn't know he had been hanging out), and of course to Starbucks to enjoy time with extended family.
Cannon experienced a Thunder and Lightening storm in the middle of the night, and passed. Cannon played with our Beagle, who is not a big dog fan, and he passed. We went to church and he slept during the entire service with flying colors. We visited my parent's house and we let him run and catch Frisbee's in their acre fenced yard, and he enjoyed that with a sideways tongue hanging out. We laid quietly for my Summer Piano Lessons where students came and went with piano music playing in between without fuss or disapproving expression.
A boring week? Not at all, Cannon was just so solid. The finale was a huge gather of thousands of people at a "Take Your Kid To Work Day" at a large Fortune 500 company in our area - hundreds of little hands pet Cannon and other Puppies in Program under the shade of the tent in the warm heat and ALL the puppies were rock stars. I was overwhelmed at the volume of people to start, but Cannon held steady throughout.

So proud.

You have a gentleness to you that can not be beat. Your tail wag says you are so happy to be with humans, and your eyes soften when you see the ones you like the best. Your confident nature in allowing time away from humans is a good attribute (you are ok with staying on the cool hardwood floor even if the rest of the family was in a carpeted room). Because of these attributes I am hopeful that you will shine solo in college. You will love the attention from your Trainer and volunteers, you will be able to handle alone time when it isn't your time to work, and you will snuggle with your roommate when it's time to go to sleep at night because you are just so good with your peer group!

Your skills are solid in knowing all your commands and using them while in distracting, public areas. I have no doubt that the staff in College will be impressed with your knowledge and ability to work. You certainly know your Puppy Stuff. Nice job! 

So really it will come down to you. Do you want to Graduate and work? I hope so. I think that you have a lot to offer a person or groups of people because of your strong character of wisdom, confidence, alongside your gentle, mellow side which makes you easily blendable into any given situation. I hope I see you in a Blue Vest and hear your Graduate Story. I hope you thrive and live fully ... I believe in you. 

And should you choose another path - it still applies, you will change a life for the better. You are just that amazing. Thank you for making our week together so easy, happy, and memorable. 

Much love, 

Your Puppy Sitter


  1. As usual, I love the blog post. I print and add these to our pups "baby books" that I plan to give to their forevers when they graduate! Thank you again for taking our pups out on parole for new adventures!

  2. Oh good - I'm glad that you will be sharing the adventures with their Forever's. I can't wait to see who that person will be for each of your amazing puppies.

  3. What a lovely post! I love the joy you took in Cannon.

    received Patterson and graduated as a service dog team on May 15. In gratitude to CCI, I've written and am self-publishing a nonfiction picture book for ages 6-8 on the process of getting an assistance dog, featuring 2014 skilled companion team Molly Polka and Jerry. 100% of all profits after publication and distribution go to CCI.

    I still have about $1200 to raise for 20+ full-color images and marketing and promotional material to help launch the book at the SER center. Would you share this on a separate blog postand/or suggest other people to contact? I have already raised 45%, but have completely exhausted my Facebook circle. It would mean so much to play a small role in helping other applicants receive these incredible dogs. Thanks for considering!

    ​Campaign link:

  4. Hi there! :) I am the proud recipient of Buchanan and I love him more than anything in the world! He is still very wiggly when he's happy :) I loved reading this post! Thank you so much for helping and loving my new best friend!

    1. How exciting!! Thank you for your comment. We are so happy that Buchanan (Cannon) graduated and found his way to you. His love for others was like no other and it makes us smile to know that you get to benefit from all of his superstar qualities. What a fabulous dog. You are one lucky recipient and we are so proud! Best wishes and extra hugs to Cannon from us!