Since I was six years old, I had wanted to train a puppy for Paws With A Cause, an organization training service dogs for people with disabilities. For six years after that, my Mother told me “No. We don’t have the time, money, or experience to train one of these dogs.” I wanted this so badly, so I didn’t give up asking for it. Though, after years of wishing, asking, begging, the dream slowly faded, reality sunk in, and I thought I’d never get to train one of these beautiful dogs. New things started happening. New adventures came into my life, and I forgot my dream.
Shortly before my 12th birthday, we befriended a family who was raising a foster puppy at the time. They said that PAWS had 70 puppies who needed homes that coming Spring. I smiled, “That’s cool,” I said, hardly giving it a second thought, and not bringing the subject up again, knowing what the answer would be if I did. That evening, we came home and my Mother told my Father. “Well is that something you’d want to do?” He asked. My eyes lit up. Was my dream finally coming true, this easily, after all this time?
We attended an orientation at PAWS. We had a Foster puppy mentor come to our house. We put in our requested breed/gender and they assigned us a litter—the ‘C’ litter. Our puppy’s name was Cricket and we’d pick her up the first Monday in March, 2012.
January of 2013, Cricket went back to PAWS for ‘college’. She is now a Seizure Response Dog in Wisconsin. I raised this puppy. Trained her, loved her, gave her my heart. This puppy was my dream. Giving her back, giving her up, might have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but she is making an incredible difference right now, with her forever person.
It is now March 2016 (it’s been 4 years and 4 days exactly since my 1st PAWS puppy came to live with me), I am now raising my 3rd Paws With A Cause dog, who will be leaving in April. These three dogs, Cricket, Fallon, and Cia, have blessed my life so much and have made it so full. I am beyond thankful for all three of these dogs, and am so amazed by everything they’ve done.
As I write this, Cia is lying down, sleeping at my feet, and I can just imagine all the amazing things she will do someday; save a life, give new hope, open doors for her person that they thought could never be opened. She’ll do it all, big or small, and I’ll be right there through it all, cheering her on, because she’s making a difference, and that’s what really matters. Not how hard it was to house train her, not how hard it was to give her back, just the fact that she’s doing what she was meant to do. And it all started with a puppy.
Thank you Grace Rosin for sharing your beautiful story with PAWS for all you do to help increase the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities.