The Puppy Lottery

Chocolate lab puppy Charlie looking at team play ball

Charlie watching the ball game.

As a professional trainer, I am often asked what dogs think about. I don’t really know no one really does.  I can only imagine what Charlie thinks sometimes; today however there was no doubt in my mind about Charlie’s thoughts. 

He was as excited as I was to arrive at his new home, after all this is what he and I have been training so hard for over the last couple of  months. He passed all his puppy tests, passed his Canine Good Citizen test, got a clean bill of health from his veterinarians, and was doing great scent work as a diabetic alert dog. The time had come for Charlie to live with and start working for his new family.  Little did we know that they took to heart my suggestion that many toys make a teething puppy a happy puppy.  His eyes widened and his tail wagged as he discovered, much to his delight, basket after basket of toys of every kind and description.  He was sure he had just hit the big time doggie Lottery! 

There were training treats too, container after container of every flavor and variety a puppy could ever want. There were several large fluffy dog beds around the house, just perfect for a young pup to nosedive in and roll around. The family was definitely prepared for his arrival. I think Charlie was as happy a puppy as I had ever seen.   Everyone seemed delighted at his arrival. I was especially touched when the grandparents of his new family, had a special floral basket & card sent to the house filled with specialty bake goods from various local dog bakeries. What a lovely gesture!  I guess that made it official then, Charlie now had his own forever family.

Charlie meets the team

Over the next 3 days he had a schedule to rival any celebrity. He met all the school classmates of his new family’s daughters. He attended the local school basketball game to watch his new owner in the play offs and then get his picture taken with the teammates. He went for walks. He had a play date with the neighbor’s Brittany and his new canine “cousin” a miniature Poodle. He accompanied a whole car load of young ladies to the nail salon.  He went out to lunch with us at the local eatery, and in and between he had obedience lessons and scent work lessons with the girls. It was a full weekend of nonstop excitement. By Saturday night he was one pooped pup, I was a little worried we had done too much. But typical Charlie style, he bounced right back on Sunday morning after recharging his batteries with a nice long night’s sleep.

dog under a table

Relaxing under the table at the local eatery

 As the time drew near for me to leave I thought about the time we had spent preparing Charlie for this moment. According to the log book we put in over 1400 hours of one on one training hours with him, we logged many miles of car riding time, miles of city walks, and countless nights of interrupted sleep to take a puppy  learning his housebreaking routine outside in all types of weather. All these things led to the moment I was now witnessing. Charlie was relaxing in the kitchen where we all stood saying our last goodbyes.  He really seemed to be one very happy puppy who understood perfectly when I said to him, “This is what you have been training for Charlie, you take care of these girls and their family, don’t let anything happen to them.”  I’m not worried, I know he is loved and will be cared for, but that didn’t make it any easier to leave for the long lonely drive home.