Friday, February 6, 2009

Lunch at CCI

Once or twice a year, I take lunch up to the graduating class at Canine Companions for Independence. Many of the graduates have mobility issues, so getting offsite to lunch would be a bit of a hassle. Plus, up where it is, there is not a whole lot around there. The graduates do not pay for their dogs, but they do have to pay the lodging costs for 2 weeks - so volunteers also provide lunch to help defray costs. Lunch today was courtesy of Papa John's - just for reference, if you are feeding a not for profit organization, PJ will give you a large one topping pizza for $7 - good pizza at that, at least I think so.

The class today was mostly kids - in fact, there was only one adult. Two, I guess, if you count Abby, she was 19 - so she will handle her dog herself. What a beautiful girl she was. All the kids were super cute - and in love with their dogs. This was definitely the "Z" class - Zeko, Zeman and one more Z. Zeman was a beautiful golden - almost a dark red. I commented to Adrena, one of the instructors, I had never seen that color golden come out of there. Let's see if I can run the class down...

Hannah/Britta (FBL)
Morgan/Zeko (MYL)
Dallas/Rocky (MBL)
Abby/Unknown Z dog (FYL)
Trevor/Anderson - (MYL) Actually, Anderson is practically white!
Zach/Zeman - (MGR)
???/Brynda - (FYL) She was the only adult in the class

I got a chance to mingle and talk to all the people in the class - they were all really nice, and as I said , the kids were super cute. The first person I met was little Morgan - she was 8 and told me she LOVED pizza. I asked her if I could touch her dog, and the look on her face was priceless. Zeko was definitely the biggest dog in class - I was sitting with Adrena just checking out all the dogs in their "under" position, and looked at Zeko and thought, Man, that is one long dog!!! Long and lanky...but cute. The best part of the day came right as lunch was ending - Brynda's mom in remission from breast cancer. I think the cancer has really aged her - she was probably a very striking woman, pre cancer. She still looks great, but was saying that her hair never really came back and that it was a lot wavier than it used to be. Hannah was sitting near Morgan, they were playing with their Nintendo DL's and when she said that, Hannah looked up and told her that she was beautiful, that she liked the way her hair curled and the headbands she wore. It was awesome.

It always strikes me as amazing what positive attitude these students and their parents have. The kids in this class were all in wheelchairs - Morgan, Trevor and Hannah all had what I would classify as fairly severe physical disabilities. Dallas was autistic, but communicative - but probably definitely had his challenges. The parents and the grandparents are all so positive - for them, this is a life changing event. They are so greatful to everyone involved with CCI and just super, super nice people. You should all come with me some time to see that.

And finally, the best part of the whole post.....CONGRATULATIONS MADDIE! Fellow blogger/CCI raiser Maddy had her dog Tyanna placed in this class. In addition to the class onsite at CCI, there is another class off site. Maddy's baby was placed in that class. Still a week to go, but she has been placed. Congratulations Maddie!!!! What a testament to the trainers at CCI to have 2 classes going on at once. In class means they work the students and their dogs 6 days a week - so much work goes into every class, and to be able to change the lives of 2 classes of individuals, WOW! Awesome group.

Check out Maddie's site.


The Monroes said...

I cannot even imagine the changes these dogs bring into the lives of those children and adults. They gain not only freedom but companionship. Amazing. Of course I teared up reading about what Hannah said to the woman about her hair, what a sweet little girl.

Maddie said...

aw, it sounds like it was a great experience...just like all CCI events!! :)

thanks again for the shout out! I'm so excited to spend my valentine's day with an amazing group of people as well as being united with 'my' baby!

i can't wait!

PwD-SD said...

What a wonderful thing Hannah said to that woman. I have a friend that was a puppy raiser for CCI as well. These dogs are fantastic.

Becky said...

I am inspired by you and so many others who give this gift ... I feel I am a recipient and need to be more to give. Thanks for your post!