For those of you not used to CCI lingo those letters stand for Change of Career. That's how we describe pups who have been determined by Canine Companions for Independence as not suitable for service dog careers.
Too many times that's been the fate of my pups, so now, not only do I have a COC pup, but I'm a COC mom.
Mer and I are embarking on a new journey together.
She may not be suitable for the service dog life - and truly when she bolts to the end of her leash in fear at a loud noise - I can understand CCI's thinking, but she is a sweet, loving, joy-filled dog, so we're embarking on a therapy dog career.
Here's a letter she's composed to explain our situation:
My name is America. Sometimes when I come into a room people sing this funny song – “here she comes, Miss America.” I’m fine with it, but it seems a little silly. Canine Companions for Independence named me. I have 6 sisters and all their names start with the letter A too.
I met my mom (people call her Mrs. D.) when I was eight weeks old. I didn’t know very much then, but my mom taught me to do lots of cool things like sit, stay, shake and speak.
After I got all my shots (they only hurt a little bit) my mom started taking me on new adventures. I got to go to the library and the market and senior homes and schools.
I always wore this special cape that said, Canine Companions for Independence. Whenever I had my cape on I had to use my best manners. I could wag my tail, but I couldn’t jump or lick anyone AND I couldn’t eat anything that was on the floor – only things my mom gave me – she called them treats. I get them when I’m being especially good.
When I grew up all the way and learned to go anywhere mom went she took me to college so I could learn to do special things like open doors and pick up keys and turn on light switches. I got too homesick though and now I’m living back home with mom and dad.
Sometimes mom goes to school where there are lots of kids – I love kids. She does something called ‘substituting’ - on those days I get to hang out with kids.
I’ve been taking lots of tests so I can be what she calls a ‘therapy dog’. I’m not sure what that means – probably just meeting and greeting more people. I’m pretty good at that.
If you’re reading this, I hope I’ll get to meet you someday!