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.

Jacob and Kanue

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.

Kanue providing comfort

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.

Recovery with Kanue

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.

Much love,
Mother of Jacob and Skilled Companion Kanue

12 thoughts on “A Letter From a Mom

  1. Oh thank you for sharing your story. I’m happy to hear Jacob has his canine companion now and that his quality of life, well, it sounds like all of your lives, has improved because of a dog. Dog’s are the most generous, fabulous beings we have ever been graced with. We are fortunate they are so giving of themselves and so forgiving. Thanks again for sharing. My best to all of you!

  2. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful story and message. Tears! I love that Jacob and Kanue have an unconditional love and bond. I will be a better puppy raiser today, and every day, because of this story.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story about Jacob and Kanue. It is so heartwarming to know their special relationship has made Jacob’s life, and everyones’ lives so much better. My continued good wishes to all of you!

  4. I can only add this…..my dog and all those dogs who serve us as hard “working dogs” are , are the best ever care, we disable humans need. Theses dogs work hard and simply, love us and care for us 24/7. I wish your family the best of yet to come, with Kanue at his side. i, too, have a fuller life because of my service dog, and mostly because my dog loves me, no matter what I “can not” do, like others.

  5. Jenny – your story is exactly why I am raising a puppy for CCI right now. I am sure Kanue’s puppy raiser is moved & proud of him beyond belief. I can only hope the journey I am on with puppy Pongo ends with a story like yours.

  6. I’m sending this story to our granddaughter, age 11, who loves dogs but can’t have one due to their living in a rental. We took her to the Canine Companions for Independence graduation in Santa Rosa this year and I want her to learn the meaning of how dogs can be helpful to us in so many ways, not just something to play with. Thanks for sharing!

  7. We received our dog Jingle for Chet in the same group as Jacob and Kanue. It was great to see the picture of the two of them sitting together. I remember Jacob and his dad very clearly. I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Hello to Jacob.

  8. I have a release dog from CCI ( formally known as Gerik) after he had anxiety in the CCI training center at 18 months. Garrett has found his job though, and is now working with children in need through the Paws for Tales Program , Naperville Il Humane Society. Garrett visits three schools, and 50 students read to Him. Garrett’s sense for what a child needs is incredible and he instinctively knows how to interact with each student. It is a miracle to see the bonds they make and the affect he has on his students. I’m not surprised at your son’s peacefulness having his partner with him. God bless these dogs and the dedication of CCI and the volunteers to provide them to families in need. Best wishes for good health for Jacob.

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