From Puppy to Professional

Canine Companions puppy Wes has grown from an excitable, adorable puppy into a well-mannered adolescent over the past 19 months with his volunteer puppy raisers Christa and Steve. The time comes for every puppy when they have learned all they can in the care of their loving puppy raising families and are ready for the leap into professional training. Next month, Wes will make the journey back to Canine Companions to start learning the 40 commands that could help his future partner be more independent with him by their side.

A Bittersweet Goodbye 

Looking back at Wes’ time with Christa and Steve is a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences – from his first night home to his last – all so Wes could have the best foundation possible. “Wes has worked hard to get to this point,” Christa says. “From a young age, he has been extremely excited when he sees his dog friends. Teaching Wes to be calm and relaxed by our side was an important life skill for him to learn. We spent many hours in the mall, a busy lobby and at the airport. We just hung out doing nothing. Slowly Wes has learned to relax and be calm and to ignore the excitement around him.”

Wes is a good traveler and some of Christa and Steve’s favorite memories with him were on public transportation. They traveled by bus, light rail and trolley to visit friends, go shopping and to do some people watching. Hiking was a favorite past time.

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“One of the most memorable moments with Wes was at the Littler Executive Employer Conference,” says Christa about the Canine Companions partner that named Wes. “We relaxed until it was time for Wes’ big debut. Then the excitement began. The lights dimmed, the music started playing and I handed Wes’ leash to Paul, one of the emcees, and he took Wes from there. Boy did the two of them look sharp as they walked onto the stage, Paul in his dapper suit and Wes in his freshly pressed cape! They told the story of how Wes got his name and how their partnership with Canine Companions began. It was very touching to hear them speak about their founding partner and to see little Wes on stage.”

Wes’ Next Adventure Awaits

In a few short weeks, Wes will be on his way for the next great adventure, meeting his professional trainer and making new friends. Christa, Steve and Wes will take their traditional last morning walk before handing him back to Canine Companions.

“Our hope for Wes is that he will offer independence to a person with a disability – that he will be a best friend, offering loyal companionship for many years to come. Wes is such a funny guy who put a smile on our faces each and every day. He has come very far and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Thank you, Christa and Steve, for opening your home and heart to Wes.