On behalf of Mother’s Day, we’d like to share with you a letter we received from the mother of one of our graduates. Enjoy!
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To Canine Companions supporters and volunteers:
It is hard to believe that we just celebrated the first anniversary of the graduation of Jacob with Skilled Companion Kanue. So much has happened in the last year since Kanue and Jacob have become a team.
Canine Companions has been doing this long enough to know the thousands of success stories and the difference these dogs make in the lives of so many. Kanue has certainly joined the ranks of the many Canine Companions assistance dogs before him. It’s hard to believe that this big, playful dog (when not in work mode) has become someone that Jacob depends on — a very loyal, faithful, purposeful companion.
They’re together nonstop. Despite hating eye contact, Jacob always keeps an eye on Kanue, making sure he is around. Despite having very few meaningful relationships, Jacob giggles at Kanue when he shakes his collar or when Kanue retrieves a dropped toy. Jacob does not freely offer affection to anyone. I worried that Kanue would not fully bond with Jacob without the praise and physical reward coming from Jacob, which is actually the reason for this letter.
I knew Kanue had a bond with Jacob the day I saw the two of them together in Team Training at Canine Companions. Weird as it sounds, it was as if Kanue picked Jacob. But I didn’t fully understand the bond Jacob had with Kanue until last year when Jacob had his 15th surgery.
Usually, there are lots of tears, major anxiety and sheer panic — for both Jacob and me! This time was completely different because of Kanue. Jacob was not crying, but smiling. I was able to talk to all the medical professionals before surgery without interruptions, because Jacob was calm and happy with Kanue by his side. I also noticed that Jacob’s dad, Greg, and I were calm.
What was happening? Certainly this couldn’t be all because of a dog. Certainly they had to be pumping happy gas thru the vents of the hospital.
Then the time came to wheel him to the operating room. I had already informed the staff that Jacob may start screaming at the doors, pinch and use all means necessary to express his displeasure. I explained to the staff that Greg and I will have to go into the induction room to help calm Jacob down. So they let Greg, Kanue and me escort him.
But there were no tears, no pinching, no tantrums and no need for anxiety medication. With Kanue, Jacob was calm and fine. After surgery, we were called back to recovery immediately. Kanue jumped up on Jacob’s stretcher, smelled him all over, covered him in kisses and laid down by his side for the entire recovery.
This was the first time in 15 surgeries that Jacob did not require any pain or anxiety medication during recovery. Kanue was able to provide Jacob with everything he needed. And this is when I was completely convinced of Jacob’s bond to Kanue. Jacob may not actively show many signs of affection to Kanue, but the bond and love the two have for each other is undeniable.
So if a puppy raiser is ever having a bad day with a stubborn puppy or if a donor is debating on whether their donation will have an impact, please know that all your support makes an unbelievable difference in someone’s life.
Mother of Jacob and Skilled Companion Kanue