"Testimonial of Hope'' from a Pup in Training
By Tuck – An ICAN puppy
Hi there – I'm Tuck! I'm a Gemini and was born to some really cool dogs, Alpine and Kash. Both of them are Golden Retrievers, just like me, and they say I am taking after my dad because I have big paws and my fur is white as snow. My dad is also famous. He does this really cool thing called TV commercials where he runs and jumps on things called mattresses. He's so famous that he paw-signs autographs all day long. One day he came to Indiana for a visit and that's where he met mom. He fell dog-eyes in love and that's how I came to be!
So this is my story! When I was a very young pup, my mom told me that I was going to bring Hope. I didn't know Hope and my mom said Hope wasn't a dog, but it was believing something good would happen, like me finally getting that big red ball that squeaks a lot. She said I was going to grow up and become a great service dog, and that's when Hope would happen. She said that sometimes a human has a bad accident which causes them to not walk or run anymore, so they ride in this thing called a wheelchair. She also said that they can't pick things up and I would do these tricks, that humans call commands, and I would pick up their shoes, open doors, turn on their lights and other important things.
She said I would make them happy and they would feel free again. She said that I would be loved sooooo much, that I would never want to leave their side. That's what Hope is, she said, and Hope will come someday soon. This was an awful lot to think about for a little pup like me, but I promised my mom I would never forget about Hope.
I am just sixteen weeks old and I have been to a whole lot of cool places! All I keep hearing is something about me needing to socialize and I 'think' that has something to do with humans. First, I got loves of soft touches from Dr. Jamie who brought me into this world, and then, these really nice humans named Joe and Sandy puppy started me – teaching me to potty out in the grass, to sit and look up at them, to be real quiet in my crate, plus a whole bunch of other cool things! Then they handed me over to this human with a funny name called Dino. She told me I was going to be famous like my dad, and there were some special humans who wanted to meet me. And so that day arrived and was it ever a dog day in heaven!
Dino and Jillian (they call her the Big Dog at ICAN), got me all ready- brushed, paws wiped, put a cool red collar on me and this blue thing they called a bandana. They told me we were going to Petsmart! They said that Petsmart was going to give me a special name, in addition to some money that would help train me. I had no idea who Petsmart was and I thought that sure was a funny name for a dog, but he must be awfully smart. But it wasn't a dog! It was this huge gigantic massive box that humans call a store, and it was filled with dog toys, squeakers, balls, food, treats, and fluffy beds! And the smells! It was like walking into a dog barbeque! The humans were so nice; I must have met more humans than the amount of times I could wag my tail, and they were hugging and kissing me, with bunches of flashes coming from this thing they called a camera. Wow! What a perfect world for a dog! And then, this nice lady named Tammy, got in front of everyone to announce my new name Tuck! Pretty doggone cool if I say so myself! We were there a long time and I sure was sad leaving, and so were they; but Dino and Jillian said we would come back many more times as my feet grew.
The best part was when we all got in Jillian's black box, it had wheels and moved really fast, and they decided to stop for ice cream, whatever that was. They then let me out of my crate and I got on Dino's lap. It was awfully crowded in the front part and I just don't understand why humans have so many things! So here I was, all comfy on Dino's lap, (she made some comment about how plump I was getting) and she drops this square thing, she calls her cell, between the seats. Jillian was on her square thing talking, and then Dino accidentally dropped the cup of ice she got for me. Meanwhile, my nose was sniffing out this stuff that Dino had in her other hand that Jillian had called a milkshake, and before you know it, I took a dive for the fluffy white stuff on top of it! Wow! Humans sure eat good! ''Oh no!'' Dino hollers to Jillian. Jillian says something about how cute I look in a white mustache and starts making flashes with her square thing. She then says, ''now no one will ever trust us to take an ICAN dog out again!'' And then they made this funny noise that humans call giggles. I didn't quite understand what she was talking about, but I do know one thing for certain, these humans are a pretty interesting bunch of two legged creatures!
So the big day arrived when Dino took me and another ICAN dog, a gorgeous black and shiny lab named Mac, to prison, which Mac calls The Dog University. He told me to hang tight with him and everything would be cool…that I would become as smart as him someday. Mac introduced me to all the staff wearing funny outfits and to these really nice humans, called handlers. He said they would be training me and if I did the trick right, they would give me these yummy treats like marshmallows (his favorite) and pupcorn. And better yet, I would hang with a bunch of other cool dogs just like me! And that's exactly what happened.
A human named Bobbie is now training me and she's real nice. But the coolest thing of all is I keep hearing her talk about Hope. I was so surprised, she knows Hope too! So each day, while she trains me, she tells me these really cool stories about Hope. Like this little girl named Olivia who got a smart dog named Ally, and Ally helps her walk without her walker; and this little boy named Yeahsen, and how his dog Harmony goes on walks with him and introduces him to new friends at the playground. Oh, and a soldier named Nick, and how his dog Festus helps him get up from the floor and makes him feel safe in big boxes like Petsmart. And even my handler, Bobbie, tells me that by believing in Hope, she knows she will leave the University someday and will go home to be with her family. And her dream is to bring Hope to teens, who take really bad pills.
Bobbie tells me how special I am and that there is already someone out there who has been searching for Hope for a very long time. I asked her if she could contact that someone and tell them that I am working really hard, and as fast as I can, to become a great service dog for them. She says she can't do that, but she did tell me one special thing I could do…when I lay my head, down to sleep, to just ask Dog, she says that's God spelled backwards, to send a message to that someone out there and tell them that Hope is on its way.
And that is what I have been doing…every single night.