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As a puppy raiser, once you turn in your Canine Companions for Independence puppy, the waiting game begins. Each month for 6 months you receive a report card stating your dog's progress in his or her advanced training. Only forty percent of all dogs that are turned in will make it, so your fingers are crossed. Eventually, you will get one of two calls: Your dog has been released from the program OR your dog has been matched! In our case, Noble was matched as a Skilled Companion with Luke, who is 7 years old.
Canine Companions then gives the recipient of the dog your contact information, and it is completely up to them if they choose to contact the puppy raiser. Puppy raisers don't ask for praise or even expect to meet the graduate if they do not wish to do so. However, I'm HAPPY to report that people that receive their dogs are just as eager to meet us as we are to meet them.
The interaction I witnessed between Luke and Noble is one that will change my life forever. Puppy raisers ride the emotional roller coaster: We laugh, we cry, and with each service dog we place, a piece of our heart goes along on the journey. I share with you a wonderful thank you note I received from Luke's mother, Diana. As a puppy raiser, this is just one step below winning the lottery. I hope you will get as much joy from it as I did.
I would just like to say that being a volunteer in any organization is a wonderful thing to do, and I can directly see that one person can, indeed, make a difference!