An interesting part of being a whelping home volunteer is that you get to experience “first hand” the Global Mission of assistance dogs for those who need them.
Sugar came to Can Do Canines from another organization. It was determined by that organization that she had what she needed to be a great breeding dog and so conversations between Can Do Canines and them began and soon Sugar was on her way here after being bred out east. We received a call from the Training Director asking if we would be interested in becoming a breeder host family for her. We agreed, and it was a month before we were able to confirm her pregnancy of 6 or more puppies! The news was fantastic and we were thrilled! And then we were nervous, scared and worried that we wouldn’t be able to do the job right. After all, these puppies are valuable; they are not ours and yet we were accepting the responsibility of being their caretakers to successfully get them to a set age where they will take the world by storm! We wondered whether we were up for the challenge and whether or not despite our best efforts if the outcome would meet our expectations for ourselves.
Once Sugar had her beautiful 1st litter of 6 female puppies in August of 2015 we were elated! As the weeks passed, we learned many new, incredible things; like how the program worked, how her puppies would be distributed between the 2 organizations as part of their contract and what that meant as well as how to care for a litter of puppies and her mother. It was a huge learning curve, but it allowed us to learn more about how these organizations work with each other to increase their breeding program and what that entails. It was determined that 2 of Sugars puppies would be going with the other organization to another country to help start up a program there. There were many decisions within that larger decision, and it tweaked my interest in learning more about how organizations operate within those boundaries. I had no idea when I first started learning more that it was such a complex and intricate series of decisions and agreements that makes this a well oiled machine. Dogs come into the program, new breeding dogs arrive, and some dogs leave the program for other organizations. I can only imagine the paperwork needed to keep all of these happenings in order!
In the end, Sage and Nutmeg who were 2 yellow females, went to Hong Kong for the program. They stayed with Great Start fosters here until they were old enough to fly such a long distance, and shortly after the beginning of January 2016 they were on their way to be the change for someone. They had to learn a new language and everything that goes with that, and reports are that they are doing great! However, raising a litter of puppies and then having some of them go off to faraway lands isn’t easy if you get attached like I do, so it takes a little adjustment in my thinking to convince myself that not knowing how these puppies are doing on a regular basis is just part of the process.
A couple of puppies from this “L” litter will also be designated and chosen from the other organization to become theirs. These organizations help the breeding program within Can Do Canines be strong and diverse and keep their breeding lines at the highest standards possible so that more incredibly high quality assistance dogs can be developed. Where will they go? What will they do? How will they be chosen? I can’t answer those questions, but it certainly adds an interesting perspective to the whelping home experience!