Monday, May 18, 2015

Become a Professional Cuddler

                   Your challenge: Watch this video without saying, "Awwwww."

Want a puppy?

Okay, but beware--this is more than just a puppy. Whatcha got here is an 8- week old bundle of pure potential. And how she turns out is mostly up to you. I mean, look at her. Her whole face is saying, "Sooo... whaddaya want from me?"

And you're about to answer that question over and over--with your voice, your touch, and however many quarts of patience you've got on hand. She has no idea how to feel about this big, loud, weird world and the people who run it. You're the one who is going to define those things for her.

How can you help her become confident, trusting and resourceful?

Those are the thoughts that stream through the mind of a "Puppy Raiser" for Can Do Canines. They're the selfless volunteers who bring a sweet young thang of a puppy home for her first year of life. They love her up and teach her lots of skills she'll need as an adult.

Because this pup has been chosen to lead a very special existence. She's destined to partner up with a person who has at least two things: a disability-- and a desire for a better life that only an expert dog can fulfill.

They need each other, these two creatures. This dog and this person. Each
one helps the other to get out and see more of the world--and care for each other like family along the way.

I've been lucky enough to volunteer for Can Do Canines for many years now, and count some of their graduates among my friends. And though I might enjoy the writing exercise of trying to put words to the depth of the emotional connection between an assistance dog and her forever person... I'm not sure it can be done.

I can tell you that the bond between a dog and the person who relies on her is tangible. It has heft. You can feel it in the room with you as a separate "presence." And now I sound like some kind of kook.

But some things I know. 

When a dog springs into action to pick up your toothbrush--because you can't pick it up for yourself... or when she licks your hands and face to help bring you out of your seizure... or when she wakes you up in the middle of the night-- maybe saving your life--because she can tell your blood sugar is dropping... it's not because she was trained to do these things. It's because she is driven to do them.

There is a connection between these two individuals that I've already said I can't explain--so I guess I'll stop trying.

Besides, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's get back to the puppy stage of this noble animal.

If you have one-and-a-half minutes to spare… and you need the kind of emotional boost that only oodles of darling puppies can serve up... then check out the above video.

If you have a year of your life to share… and want to fill your heart to overflowing... please become a Puppy Raiser. Or pass this on to someone you know who might love to raise a puppy.

No experience necessary.

Today I think I'll take a few moments to remember that I have a wide variety of skills that can be useful to others.


  1. Awesome video and important message. Nice editing, too!

  2. Thanks, Swanhouse! And yes, a truly great editor volunteered his time and talent to spread the puppy love.


Be engaged, but be nice.