Introducing Copper: From Street Puppy to Service Dog
I am a firm believer of the phrase "when God closes the door, he opens a window." Every problem has a solution, and I truly believe that every solution has it's own problem. It's a circle, a never ending cycle that seems to keep me on my toes.
The pilot program training with Gilligan and Luca (more on them later this week!) is coming to a close. It has been a six month whirlwind of finding them as candidates and completely throwing myself into their training regime; I have truly loved every minute of it. But now as the time has come for me to help them transition from my home to another, I feel this sense of emptiness. Not in a bad way though. In fact, I'm beyond thrilled to see what these two dogs can accomplish in their lifetimes; I can't help but feel these emotions of what I can only describe as "empty nest syndrome." I'm the type of person who thrives on projects and keeping myself busy with dog training, and now that this particular one is coming to a close, I'm finding it a bit hard to transition myself. I told myself that taking a little break to regroup would be good for me. A pause in the chaos would help me refocus and be ready for the next project. I've spent the past couple weeks praying that God would show me when it was time to pick up the treat bag again to begin the next dogs transformation from shelter to service dog.
Apparently the time is now. It came a bit quicker than I had anticipated although I'm not complaining! Meet Copper (who we originally were calling 'Richmond' until we found just the right name for him) the stray puppy that is my next service dog training candidate. This guy who found his way to us is sweet and spicy all wrapped up in one. He's attentive, eager to learn, sharp as a tack, SUPER duper food motivated, and falls into the young enough age window where I believe he could be socialized to eventually become a Full Access Service Dog.
Copper came to us as a bit of a hot mess; aural hematomas in both ears (notice the puffiness of his ears in the picture?) due to him shaking his head constantly from a pretty bad double ear infection. Also, on his belly, a large umbilical hernia. Although we don't know for sure his age; we are guessing he is around 10-12 weeks and he already weighs in at a whopping 26 lbs. Yesterday he had surgery to correct his umbilical hernia, as well as to be neutered and get vaccines. So far, he's healing well and on the road to recovery.
Copper has grown a bit of a following among the members of our neighborhood (he is so stinking cute!) and after a neighbor suggested creating a fundraising page for him so that she could donate; my partner, Alex, and I were touched at the donations that began to pour in. In just a few days, enough money had been raised to cover 3/4 of his rapidly growing medical costs. I am so touched that people in the community are so willing to help out! It warms my heart that there are still good people in the world willing to pay it forward for someone else. Someday, this guy will be assisting a Type 1 Diabetic who really needs his help to keep their blood sugar numbers out of the danger zone. If you are interested in donating towards Copper's service dog training journey click here.
I am beyond excited to start this guy's training journey to become a full access Diabetes Alert Dog. I must admit, I'm a bit nervous as I have never trained a service dog from start to finish before. I am, however, more than ready for the challenges that I'm sure this experience will present. I know it won't be easy; there have already been times where I have wondered what I got myself into by bringing a young puppy into my life (it's been quite a while.) Copper so far has proven to be a quick study and he has already learned the basics of some of the more simple commands such as 'sit' and 'down' and 'wait.' I just know that this handsome fellow has a bright future, and I invite you to follow along as he develops and reaches his full potential.
I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, to those who have chipped in for his medical costs so far! It is so appreciated! Be on the lookout for us in the neighborhood as he grows; we will be hitting the ground running once he fully recovers from his surgeries. But for now, Copper is resting...