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Hi diddley dee a service dog for me?

On a happy note we're one step closer to our dream of getting a dog. We've applied to Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) for a service dog. Yesterday I had a phone interview.
Note: as of 2/23/08 CCI is working on making everything on computer.

Before that C filled out a seven page doubled side form describing everything from our personalities to our daily lives. It was on blue paper so couldn't be scanned in. It was the most unfriendly writing forms I've filled out in the past five years. Even able-bodied C had problems with it. His handwriting is according to him "terrible." He hauled out a manual typewriter that he had and typed most of the answers in.

I will definitely work with CCI to get all their application form into a Word or writable PDF document after I find out the outcome of my application. Good or bad. I just don't want to be seen as criticizing while I'm applying. Ironically they have online forms for puppy raisers.

I also wrote a bio about myself and sent in several photos as part of the application.

Next step is a professional references from my doctor.

Then a personal interview in Santa Rosa.

Then I get placed on a waiting list for one to two years.

Then C and I go to a two-training class in Santa Rosa. At the end we get a dog.

But then we have to go back in 3 months for a followup.

Then we have to go back every 1-3 years for public certification.
It's all a bit unreal; hence the title of this post. In fact last night I dreamt that I was visiting the center and I watched the process for picking out a dog.

Each puppy raiser had created a booth advertising their dog. The puppy raisers raise the dog from 8 weeks until 18 months. The booths were all different and strange.

One featured a set of clothes hung artistically. The clothes were all artsy clothes presumably the clothes woman wore. The booth also featured a large cutout of the owner and the dog in silver cloth.

Another booth simply contained a long list of the dog's positive attributes. White on black cardboard. Glaring and hard to read.

Another towered over me. It featured tons of photos of the dog and puppy raiser with cutesy phrases like 'Doggone hot' and water spraying on the dog. A scrapbooker gone mad.

Another had pillows and soothing music.

Each booth had the dog's crate but not all the dogs were there. Some were being taken out for walks by their prospective owners.

I think I must have said out loud "This is so confusing and overwhelming."

Next thing I knew I was awake and C was asking me what was wrong. I told him about my dream.
He said "I didn't know you were so anxious about this." I said "Yes I am." He said "You're great at applying for things." It's true I have a good track record but I haven't really applied for anything since my MBA back in 1999.

I also did my research and there are tons of service dog organizations out there including another one in Santa Rosa. However this seems to be the best organized. And I like organization. Their process is long but so far they have responded relatively quickly to me. I also like the fact that they breed their own dogs.

Comments

( 17 notes — Leave a note )
poets_hand
Jan. 20th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
Wow - good luck with that! I hope you get one soon.

Since I can't see you IRL, I have trouble visualizing your disability; in my mind you don't have one. What could a service dog help you do?
waterowl
Jan. 20th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
In practical terms open doors especially the fridge and car door fetch objects toilet on command so it's easier for us to deal with the waste. I also hope that having a dog to manage in public places will help me be more aware of where I'm going so I don't trip as much and sprain my ankles. A service dog would help me rest my wrists and give me more independence. I lock my wrists to compensate for my disability (jerking) and they are degenerating.

In emotional terms a dog would bring us more joy as any dog does. We need a dog specially trained to deal with disabilities. Both of my cats cope fine with my jerking and being occasionally hit accidentally. There's also a lot of strange people visiting our house strange equipment and odd stresses that come with Little T. I raised my cats from kittens. One of them adjusted just fine and the other is still adjusting. That lack of adjustment has been a huge stress on our family as well as the cat. I don't think we could handle a dog who couldn't handle us.

So even to have a dog just as pet we either need someone to train a dog or train one ourselves. I don't have the wrist strength to train a puppy and an adult dog already has its own temperament set.
poets_hand
Jan. 22nd, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
I see. I really hope you can get one soon. I love having a dog, despite the dirt, hair, and cleaning-up chores (which my kids are now old enough to do!)

gconnor
Jan. 20th, 2007 07:40 am (UTC)
I have another close friend, whose family got a CCI dog for his sister, and I think they also raised 1-2 puppies for them. Seems to be a great group.
waterowl
Jan. 20th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Cool! Is the family in the local area?
gconnor
Jan. 21st, 2007 12:26 am (UTC)
No, they are in Santa Rosa. Only one son is local (Los Gatos)
batshua
Jan. 20th, 2007 09:11 am (UTC)
Good luck!
waterowl
Jan. 20th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
cubes
Jan. 20th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
Best of luck with the application!

I've seen some CCI dogs in action (supporting our regional CCI center is one of the ongiong projects of our state women's club organization), and they are truly amazing animals.
waterowl
Jan. 20th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad your organization supports CCI! They seem really well run and the dogs really do change peoples' lives.
jennyrob
Jan. 20th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
Dogs are wonderful, but they are work! Even service dogs are still dogs. Even if they poop and pee on command, you have to take the dog outside to do it, on a reasonable schedule, and it still needs to be cleaned up. It gets old really fast. Plus, even service dogs shed and track in dirt.

Man, as much as I love dogs, I personally think the added work and timing requirements in your life would outweigh any benefits a dog might bring.

Did you know Cheryl is an excellent dog trainer? Dillion is an amazing dog. Talk with her about it.
waterowl
Jan. 22nd, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
Anything worthwhile is a lot of work -- kids dogs cats etc. We've discussed this a lot as a family and decided the benefits far outweigh the work. One of the many benefits of CCI is that they provide a lot of training and support for the dog owner. CCI has already made it very clear what the needs of a service dog are. We already know who will do what in our family.

Of course I know about Dillion and C will discuss Dillion with Cheryl when he gives her a ride. But Cheryl has different capabilities and limitations than I do and indeed her family situation is different too.

We all must make our own choices based on our family's needs constraints and desires. As your friend I do my best to support the choices you make. I hope you will do the same.
jennyrob
Jan. 23rd, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
I would hope, as a friend, that you would give me information about a decision I was making that had costs and downsides I might not have considered, if you knew about them. Like, if you'd had a timeshare condo, and I was thinking about one, I'd be happy if you shared your experiences with it, and advised me that it's not a great idea.

That being said, I'm sorry if my tone was off, and if I hurt you. That was not my intent.
owlmoose
Jan. 21st, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
CCI is a great organization, there was a family in my parents' church who raised dogs for them. The dogs (all golden retrievers in those days) were wonderful animals and so well trained. Best of luck, I hope it works out for you.
plantgirl
Jan. 24th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful idea. And with the wait time, the munchkins will be older, and able to help a bit with care of the dog, and other things around the house.

Speaking of help around the house, I will gladly come over and sort toys in your living room, see if we can reduce them to something that fits on the shelves, if that's something you would find useful. Plus it's been too long since I've seen you. I'll email you.
waterowl
Jan. 30th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
That would be way cool! Thank you!
emerge
Jul. 16th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
How wonderfully exciting! While going through the process I also had such dreams myself. :)
( 17 notes — Leave a note )

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