Sunday, August 22, 2010

There's a word for that

Cool Beans
Gnarly monarch butterfly at CCI graduation
I'm a child of the 70's. An era of great music and horrifically bad fashion. Anyone else out there remember sporting those one piece pantsuits and trying not to fall off your platform shoes?  How about making your bell bottoms even bell bottomier by cutting into the seam and adding a triangle of bandanna fabric so when you walked between classes at school it sounded like a huge pillow fight with all those jeans smacking into each other?

Remember laying on the sidewalk in front of your house and yelling for your mom to come out and save you because your bell bottoms got jammed into your bike chain - again. 

To all you young folk out there trying to bring back 70's retro fashion. I'm asking nicely . . . please don't. Really.

Of course, we had our own slang back in the day as well. We expanded Cool into Cool Beans. (I can't explain why or how this one came about; or even why I still hear it said today.) Other ways to describe something wonderful was Boss, Funkadelic and, my favorite, That's gnarly, Dude.

In today's culture, I hear the word Awesome thrown around as if it means the same as Cool Beans, and frankly, it bugs me. Even worse, some folk will use Awesome as sarcasm. As in . . .  Dude, did you know your cat just threw up something kinda orange colored on your sofa?  Response: awesome.

That ain't right. Something awesome is, well, awe inspiring. Not just pretty good, but instead is the apex of wonderful. It stops you in your tracks. Maybe it causes you to pause and reflect on what is happening right in front of you. It is something divine.

If we misuse Awesome, then we're left with a diluted word and no way to explain the things that change lives.

Now this is Awesome
Something wonderful has happened. Our first CCI puppy, Inga IV, has graduated as Skilled Companion for a young boy. Ok, to be painfully honest about this, I'm pretty jazzed that I didn't totally screw up in raising this dog. 'Tis true. This admission alone speaks a volume about the professional training staff at CCI.

Inga IV
Inga and I spent nearly a year and a half together working on the basics; obedience, socialization and such. Her success was top of mind for that entire time. But while all this was going on, there was the knowledge that less than 50% of CCI pups in training actually make it to become assistance dogs. That thought follows a puppy raiser like a cloud of gnats; hard to swat away. You can do everything right, but what it really comes down to is if the dog wants to do the job.

Because CCI's values are so high, because they will not place a dog with someone unless it is absolutely the right thing to do, many of the pups are released from the service dog program. When I titled this blog Raising a Super Dog, it was because that's exactly what these dogs are. Not just really smart pets, but a level higher. Confident, healthy, compassionate and intuitive dogs with an unshakable work ethic.

So what happens to the pups that don't make it as a service dog? They become Change of Career dogs. COC's in CCI-speak. These dogs may move into another service field such as Search and Rescue or Therapy Dog jobs. Or they may become really wonderful & loving pets. 

The work that CCI does is amazing. I would even call it awesome. Because making a profound impact to a person's life, especially in a way that provides independence that wasn't there before, is nothing less than awesome.

And I honestly can't think of another word to describe it.

Yellow Cape (turn-in) Cookie
Blue Cape (graduation) Cookie

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Great job to both you and Inga!

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  2. I definitely know what you mean about the "cloud of gnats," I am a second time puppy raiser for CCI and my first one, Mindy IV, just graduated as a Skilled Companion for a young boy also! Congratulations to both you and Inga, all the worry seems worth it once you see them with their new partner :)

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  3. Hi, My name is Elijah and I am raising Dembre for CCI! I met Micron at the CCI NC puppy picnic and I think I've seen you at puppy class as well. Feel free to stop by our blog: ccipuppyblog.blogspot.com

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