how it all began.

Last night my local Canine Companions chapter had a social get together and one of the people there who was from the North Central Region staff asked when I started raising and how I found out about CCI. As I was telling her the story, I realized just how special the story truly is. I love the organization and I feel so privileged to be a part of it.

People are always surprised when I tell them I am raising CCI puppy #5 and I am only 22 years old. My story with CCI began 9 years ago when I was 13 years old. Actually it began before that because that was just when I actually got to get a puppy. The journey actually began two years prior when I was reading my monthly issue of the American Girl Magazine. In the magazine they talked about two girls who were puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind. I read the magazine article and immediately knew I NEEDED to raise a puppy. I found out that Guide Dogs for the Blind was only a west coast organization but found out there was an organization in my state! I thought I had hit the jackpot. That was the moment I began the 2 year long journey of attempting to persuade my parents to let me puppy raise. I thought that the organization in my state was the perfect fit until I found a book at my local library called "Love Heels". It was a CCI book that a local puppy raiser donated to the library. I read that book 100s of times and fell in love with the organization. I needed to raise a Canine Companions for Independence puppy!

I continued my persuasion techniques with my parents. I did good old fashioned begging, power point presentations, projected cost reports and presented tons of information about how my volunteering would help me and others. I was committed to the cause. Thankfully, 2 years after hearing about puppy raising I got to submit my application to Canine Companions for Independence and become a puppy raiser. In November of 2006 I got my first puppy Conover and began this great adventure. Now 9 years later I have Fitz and love puppy raising more than I could have ever imagined. I do not see this love affair ending anytime soon. CCI is stuck with me as a volunteer for life and many more puppies will grace our home over the years.


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