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Puppy Raisers, Mary and Michael

My husband, Michael, and I have raised five puppies for Brigadoon. What a joy! Each puppy was special. We loved the first first weeks of teaching the basics, even though there were a few early morning challenges! When they reached 4 months old we took them everywhere: grocery stores, doctors offices, hospitals, concerts, churches, restaurants, on buses and car trips, to visit friends in their homes and to various meetings. Wherever I went, the puppy wearing his Brigadoon jacket, went with me.

First we had Finnegan, now Finn, who became a mobility dog for a lovely young woman in the Seattle area. Finnegan is a black goldendoodle. Happy, silly and always willing to please! I especially loved our training sessions. Finnegan was especially comfortable in church. He sat with me in the choir and stood quietly when we sang our choir anthems. He also processed down the church aisle at the beginning and the end of the service. Choir members wore black robes and white stolls. We often joked that our little black Finnegan needed a white stoll of his own!

Our second puppy was Fresca, a white havanese. She became a diabetic alert and PTSD service dog for a wonderful Vietnam Veteran in Seattle. Fresca got along famously with our cat, so much so, that once when she was playing with the kitty, she slipped and broke her leg! We quickly got her to the vet, she had surgery, and was back in action in no time. Her cast did not slow her down a bit! Fresca learned all her basic training. And even though she had broken her leg, she was still able to dance on her hind legs.

Our third puppy was Chili, a beautiful golden colored labradoodle. Her recall was perfect and she responded well to many commands. We took Chili everywhere, and she attracted a lot of attention from people, because she was so friendly. But unfortunately she had some fear issues and had to be released from the program. She is now part of a loving family in Canada.

Number 4 was Charlie. A white Australian labradoodle. He was a lab, poodle and cocker spaniel mix. Very intelligent and quick to try new things. Absolutely fearless. We took him everywhere, even on a car trip down to California, where he had many wonderful and varied training experiences. Charlie showed great promise. But unfortunately, he loved his toys and treats a little too much. In other words: resource guarding, and he had to be released from the program. He is now a permanent member of our family, and he's found his place in life -- agility training. He loves jumping hurdles, running thru tunnels and climbing every kind of obstacle he encounters. He's a joy to watch.

Puppy numer 5. Brock. What can I say about this wonderful yellow intact male lab? A big, big bundle of love. He was excellent at recall and all the basic training he had to undergo. Brock was an extremely calm dog, and I took him everywhere: to concerts, church, grocery stores, even the dentist's office. He was comfortable everywhere. I had very high hopes for Brock. But unfortunately he developed allergies and also needed to be released from the program. He's now part of a loving family connected to the Brigadoon organization.

It has been such an honor and a joy to raise these five puppies. Michael and I are very pleased that two of them became service dogs and made a different in the lives of two very special people. But we also gained sooo much from the experience. I grew so much in my ability to train and love dogs. I met so many wonderful people because of puppy raising. (After all, everyone wants to stop and talk, and it gave me an opportunity to tell them about Brigadoon and what a great organization it is.) I would not have traded these opportunities for the world. And I hope to raise another puppy for Brigadoon in the future.

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