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New Experiences

Hi Friends –

I wasn’t planning on following up Mom’s PSA Monday post but there seems to be popular demand. There is also a point of view that I’d like to acknowledge.

There seems to be some concern on both sides of the argument over where I spend my time with my family. I am here to say first, Thank You. The mere fact that any of you have taken time to either agree or disagree with us in writing means that we are reaching readers and causing them to feel strongly one way or another and this is wonderful. You’ve heard Mom and Dad say how narcissistic this blog feels at times. Often one reason it feels that way because many of the responses we get to posts are positive and one sided. Don’t get me wrong I love to hear how wonderful I’m doing with Dad and how much everyone loves me, but there are times Mom and Dad need to know that people do not agree with them. We all appreciate opposing viewpoints, so don’t be afraid to speak up. I like to hear everyone.  Mom and Dad may not agree with me here for their own reasons, and that’s OK too.

Some of you may know that many still consider me TOO young to be a service dog. I appreciate that point of view. What some may not know is that my experience is different than many.  You see, I was not raised the same as many service dogs. Several service groups, especially the ones we’re used to in the Northeast, use what is known as “puppy raisers.” These volunteers take home pups that are about eight weeks old and raise them until they are 14 to 16 months old. During that time they do participate in training and socialization activities, but their formal training does not begin until that 14 to 16 month old milestone. In my case I was born, raised and trained on the same farm. My training started as soon as I began weening from my birth mother. It is a very intense program. Dad says it’s much like how he received his early education, at a technical high school, where you are held to a very high standard and essentially must learn your job alongside the standard growth and socialization of a “normal” high school. It is very intense but for some of us that is what we need to allow us to thrive. Others may chose a more traditional route of high school then college and that isn’t wrong either, just a different path. So, when you say I’m not ready I thank you, but respectfully disagree. I have, in fact, graduated my program and do have my service dog registration numbers and diploma to prove it. This does not mean that I don’t have room to grow; I do.  Does this mean that when you get your first job you don’t continue to learn and grow, or are you expected to know all the intricacies of your environment? My guess would be you are given the freedom to learn as you go. That being said, let’s move on to this past weekend and my perspective.

Many of our dear readers know that we love Salem, Massachusetts. We love the small New England town feel of it (even if you have to look for it at times) and we love Halloween so this is “one stop shopping” for Dad. Dad has been there in October several times and he loves the craziness that descends on the town.  You may not be aware that my Dad is the king of OK, (…it’s a rubbish title) and he has decided that failure is not something to be afraid of. He says he tried that in the past and it brought too much fear along with it. I don’t know if that makes me fortunate or not, but it is now a fact of my life. Mom and Dad knew what we were in for when we made the plan to go there. We did not count on the number of people present, but we think it’s great that either the economy is getting better or more people need to escape for awhile. What this did was provide training opportunities for all of us. There is no way for us to know that drums, bagpipes, rushing crowds, barking dogs or kids with balls throws me off my game a bit if I never experience them. Learning this would never happen if we just went to Dad’s office and stayed home all the time on the weekend. If this is all we did I’d be bored and so would Dad. History has taught us that the more opportunities I have to learn the better I am the next time in a similar situation. Dad may not be a perfect trainer but he is willing to try and fail, so that we can succeed in the future. As long as he is willing to take me out I am proud to stand by his side.

There will likely always be people who say that I’m not trained well enough to be in a certain place at a certain time (Editor’s Note: As a mom I feel I am allowed to say this, but most children are not trained well enough to be at certain places either, including our own sometimes, but that doesn’t stop parents from taking them!!) but Dad says it’s like learning to ride a bike, or drive a car, success may not come the first time or the fiftieth, but it will come. Please remember: if you believe you can’t, then you’re right. What happened the first time you thought you couldn’t and you did? I hope you learned that maybe you need to change your mind and decide that instead, you can say: “I haven’t yet” rather than “I can’t.”  I am as determined as my family to be a role model and if this means your first impression is that I’m not perfect then I invite you to see where I am this time next time next year. I challenge you all to be better next year than you are today. I will be.

 

written by DFS
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13 thoughts on “New Experiences

  1. Diane B Stern October 26, 2013 at 8:35 pm Reply

    Totally agree, Casper. Experience does come from learning.

  2. Nancy Nyberg-Pennel October 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm Reply

    Casper I enjoyed reading your blog. I like the challenge that I can be better each day whether I succeed in doing it the 1st time or the 20th time it is better to have tried and failed then to never have tried at all. You and Dan do that on a daily basis and you learn from your mistakes and the next time you do something different. I admire your Dad’s attitude and it rubs off on numerous others. So do what you do and live and let live. Love you Casper.

  3. Judith Coller October 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm Reply

    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Don’t stress about the closed doors behind you. New doors are opening if you keep moving forward.”
    — Thema Davis

  4. disneyholicdee October 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm Reply

    One of the most important life lessons I’m still learning is that growth only happens when you leave your comfort zone. It may not always be a fun thing to do, but you gain so much! Keep it up, Casper and family. You’re all doing just fine!!!

  5. Hilda October 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm Reply

    Experience comes from learning and we all learn something new every day. And, every day can be a challenge and you, my dear Casper and Dan, handle these challenges “head on!” We can all learn something from the both of you; we would all be better if we followed your lead. Love you, Casper….you’re the greatest. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

  6. Marilyn Sygrove October 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm Reply

    You and your family are to be praised for making learning opportunities for all of you. In reality we are all learning every day. Sometimes nothing earth shattering, but just a new thought or experience. Keep up the good work of sharing these milestones in your life because you are helping us, your followers, to learn as well.

  7. Melanie October 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm Reply

    Good attitude Casper! Even cousin Lola has her challenging days. Some people think because you are service dogs that means you are perfect. I think they need to remember you are dogs first. There will be times that sights, smells and sounds overwhelm you. This most certainly does not mean you are not good at your job. Keep up the good work my furry buddy!!

  8. Lu Summers Freeman October 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm Reply

    Very well put and your words apply to everyone and every animal. Your very clever and will do well in life and lessons with your can-do attitude:
    “Old man Can’t had two sons – Will and Try!”

  9. Linda Craig October 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm Reply

    Casper, you have to get out and about to experience new challenges. That is how we all learn. Sure there might often be something that startles you but that is just part of learning. Some people might say you aren’t well trained but you only need meet the needs of your handler…and family, of course. Keep trying new things, keep learning. Get out there and meet new situations head on! 🐾🐾🐾

  10. bobbity212 October 15, 2013 at 10:59 am Reply

    You are one smart dog, Casper. Don’t ever stop being willing to take the reasonable chance, it is very important to your quality of life.

  11. Sharon kbtz-AZ October 15, 2013 at 10:43 am Reply

    Bravo! Very well said. A challenge we all should take up….”to be better next year than you are today”. Yes, my Little Ghost, you are young and have much to learn, but you are in the best home to do just that because your family does not put limitations on themselves and life. How do you learn unless you allow yourself to go and experience life. Life is a series of challenges and choices and your stories encourage me to get out there and enjoy life rather than sit home because “I’ve never done that before”.

    • casperthedane October 15, 2013 at 11:16 am Reply

      Well put, Sharon. I didn’t have much of a can-do attitude most of my life and Dan really has inspired me.

  12. Margie coldrick October 15, 2013 at 10:37 am Reply

    Well said. What a smart pup. I think you are doing just fine.

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