Friday, April 22, 2011

The Waiting Game

It seems like a long time has passed since we first discovered we'd be traveling to Ohio for Jarod's service dog from CCI. However, though it's really only been a month, much has happened.

It was my work that approved the leave time (Chris did not have enough vacation stored) so I will be the one traveling with Jarod. I've already gotten a little emotional thinking of being away from Chris and the girls for two weeks--the longest ever since we've been married, and never in the time we've had kids. Although it's worth it and an experience not everyone gets to enjoy, I'm sad about missing all of that time in their lives, not to mention both Mother's Day and Chris's and my 12th anniversry--all on May 8.

But Jarod and his dog are worth it.

We're planning to have web cams, head sets and Skype to keep in touch. Appointments have been made for cleaning up the laptop computer to ensure it's working well during our trip. The digital camera has ample batteries, and I'm in the process of cleaning thoroughly so there's less to manage around the house. I'm making sure there are little notes and treats from Jarod and me everyday for the girls that we'll leave behind. I have some other ideas as well, but suffice it to say we're making the most of this spring break in preparation for the trip.

A binder also arrived from Ohio. This blue binder has a lot of information in one place, and it's all from CCI. It included a thick packet of information that I was required to fill out and return within two weeks to verify our placement at team training, which is already done. There's the book of lessons I'm required to read and take quizzes on, making sure to pass with no less than a 90%. All of this will be due on the first day of training. Did I mention the list of 42 commands we're learning?

Also included was a list of accommodations. While many other CCI locations have dormitories in which team training participants may stay, we have to stay in hotel at our own expense during this time. Thankfully, some of the area hotels offer deals for those staying for CCI. We'll be staying at the Residence Inn in Delaware, OH. The suite has a queen bedroom with a livingroom, bathroom and a full kitchen. Wifi is free, it has laundry services, daily maid service, and they'll even do your grocery shopping for free! Woot woot!

Regarding the training itself, there was a lot of helpful information. Many people have asked us if we already know the type/name of the dog Jarod will receive. We do know the CCI breeds its own dogs specifically for the purpose of raising as service animals. All of the puppies born from each litter share the same first initial (All D's, for example). That's how you can tell which puppies are siblings. CCI only breeds labs, retrievers, or lab retriever mixes for use as a service dogs, so we do know that much. However, when they invite us down, we're not the only ones attending. Indeed there will be a class of about 10-12 recipients training to receive a dog (many recipients in our class are children). For the first few days of training, we work with many different dogs available at CCI, and the trainers take many notes. On the third day, Wednesday May 4th, they will make what they call "preliminary placements". This means they will match Jarod with the dog they believe he'll leave with (and usually this is what happens). Jarod will continue through the rest of training with this dog, even bringing it to stay with us in the hotel over the first weekend. However, if they determine a change needs to be made, we are obliged to accept the change as requested, which means we could end up with an entirely different dog.

Jarod would tell you he wants a black doggie, and I say I'm all for a golden (reminiscent of the one our family had when we were young). Besides, our neighborhood has MANY black doggies, I think a golden would be a nice change of pace. But regardless, it doesn't matter what we like because we don't get to choose. CCI trainers choose for us, and that's what they're paid to do. It's best to trust them and go with the flow.

There's much we have yet to learn, but once we hit the road we'll be keeping the blog going daily with pics and video, stories and more.

Peace to all.