You guys know how much Hallow means to our family. She has been such a blessing to all of us. We wouldn't have her sweet face if it wasn't for the donations given by generous folks like you. Please consider donating. You can click the photo above or the link below.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Lonestar Chapter of CCI had their graduation last Friday. Even though we have had Hallow since February, we were invited back to participate in the graduation ceremony. Hallow's puppy raiser, Joan, flew all the way from California to be here for the graduation. We were so excited to meet the woman who raised Hallow for the first 18 months of her life.
Graduation day started with a brunch.
We got to meet Joan in person for the first time. It was so fun to sit with her and go through Hallow's puppy book together. Hallow was Joan's 4th puppy to raise for CCI. She is raising puppy #5 now! There were people at the brunch that have raised as many as 18 puppies for CCI! Puppy raisers impress me so much. They give 18 months of their lives to a dog that they will eventually hand over to someone else. That is a beautiful act of love and generosity.
Joan was so kind to bring gifts for Hallow and the boys. Benjamin loved the Coast Guard coin she gave us.
The graduation ceremony was sweet and emotional. They showed videos of all the graduates with their dogs. Each puppy raiser meets the graduate on stage as they hand over the dog to the deserving recipient. It is very moving and caused a number of tears. They had boxes of tissues on every row.
The whole crew with Joan. We were so thrilled to have her here. It was such a blessing to meet her and Hallow was so excited to see her. It was quite the reunion.
Earlier in the week we had to head up to the CCI training center for interviews.
We did an interview for a local news story as well. I swear, I am becoming pro at interviews.
As far as I know, the story hasn't run yet, but I'll post the link once it does.
It was a great day and we were so blessed to meet Joan and to be there to witness other kids and adults receive their CCI dog. I can't say enough about Canine Companions for Independence and all they do. They are truly a great organization with some really great dogs. We love Hallow and can't imagine life without her.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
We get to do the coolest things ya'll. I'm always humbled by all of the fun things we get to do, things that we would never even know about if it weren't for Spina Bifida. We were invited to represent Canine Companions for Independence at TexasFest, a local gala put on by The Irving Healthcare Foundation. The foundation raises money for CCI and other organizations.
The boys watching an armadillo race....only in Texas ya'll.
Caleb was brave enough to touch the dillo.
Since it was a CCI fundraiser, we had our girl Hallow with us. She got quite a bit of attention.
There was a magician that the boys loved. He did several slight of hand tricks that had them mesmerized and somehow he got one of my rings into a sealed envelope. Mind blown on that one.
Isn't she pretty in her collar and flower? I finally have a girl to buy pretty things for.
And finally, a rare family photo.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Last week we made the long (so very long) drive to Louisville, Kentucky for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association tournament.
Hallow is ready to go. Having a dog makes packing for a long trip a challenge. We had to use our roof storage rack so Hallow would have enough room in the back.
The long drive was hard for Hallow even though we stopped often. I think that much time in the car stressed her out quite a bit. At one point she climbed into Caleb's lap.
Lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Arkansas. Hallow is the queen of the "sad face" look. Pitiful.
We split the drive over two days and stayed in Tennessee for one night to rest up. The hotel pool was a great reward for the boys after spending the day in the car.
Finally made it to Kentucky. I think I have more pictures of Hallow than anything else.
Surprisingly I have few pictures of actual basketball. The team played 4 games....they lost 4 games.
Hallow resting during the games. How cute is she in that collar? I finally have a girl to dress up!
The team all crammed into a booth together. They may have lost all of their games, but they still had a good time together.
These long trips are tough on this guy. He is very much a homebody and he hates being away from his Legos. I promised him that I would buy him a new Lego kit while we were in Kentucky. As soon as Caleb's first game was over I took him to Target to pick out a kit. Best purchase ever. He was perfectly content.
He even found a fellow Lego-lover to hang out with. These 2 spent a lot of time together during the tournament.
Dirty hands and a dirty face, all part of wheelchair basketball.
Hanging out with this fellow SB mom was the highlight of the trip for me (and for Caleb I think too). This is Annie and her daughter Anna. I've "known" Annie online for a few years and we met briefly at Nationals in 2014 but we were able to really hang out this time. Caleb and Anna were fast friends and have already video chatted several times since we've been home.
Being a pretty service dog is exhausting. We had a constant stream of people coming up to us to meet her and love on her.
Another stop in Tennessee on the way home.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Our sweet girl is fitting right in with our family ya'll. I had to share some pictures from the last couple of weeks.
This girl loves to sunbathe. Loves it. She loves going outside and just laying in the sun, it cracks me up.
Caleb and Hallow showing off the "lap" command.
Big yawn! I think we have worn her out with all of our walks and nature adventures.
She's so pretty!
Benjamin adores her. I was concerned that he would feel like Hallow is Caleb's dog and not his but it hasn't been that way at all. She has been a nice addition to our family.
She loves to play fetch and often brings the ball to us to let us know when she is ready to play. She is just the right amount of playful balanced with the perfect amount of chill.
We have fallen into a really nice routine with her already. She is just so easy.
Hallow joined us on Benjamin's final orthopedic appointment. It is so weird and fun to take a dog into a public building. She did great.
We've only had her a couple of weeks but she truly feels like part of our family.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Get ready for some major cuteness, sweetness, and adorableness.
Caleb and Hallow meeting for the first time.
She was born on Halloween 2013, that's how she got her name. You say it like the "Hallow" in Halloween.
I really have no words for how amazing this dog is. I knew Canine Companions for Independence trained these dogs well but I was truly blown away by Hallow. Really I was blown away by all of the staff and trainers. We did training Monday through Thursday of this week. It was a fast paced week with a lot of information thrown at me. I think I went to bed at 9:30 every night this week because I was just so exhausted! It really was a training for me because this dog already knows how to do a ton of things. I learned so much about Hallow, about how to be a good leader, and how to handle her. I wrapped up my training today by taking the public access test which certifies me to take Hallow out in public places. We are officially trained.
Caleb had the easy job this week during training. While I was sitting through lectures, he was cuddling with Hallow.
That face. Stop it.
He's quite smitten with her. We all are really.
I think she is pretty comfortable in her new home.
She is just so sweet and smart. I'll share some of the things she can do on the blog soon. I just wanted to take a minute to introduce everyone to Hallow.
I did set up her own Instagram @hallow.cci
I'll be using that as a way to share videos and photos of her. It seemed like the best way to connect with other Canine Companions and allow her puppy raiser to keep track of her and how she is blessing us.
Friday, January 29, 2016
We started the process of applying for a Skilled Companion Dog through Canine Companions for Independence a year ago. We went through the multi-step application process and found out over the summer that Caleb was indeed approved for a dog. At that point Caleb's name went on a waiting list and we started waiting. The typical wait time is about 2 years but we knew it would be less for us since CCI just built a new training facility in Texas.
Yesterday I got a very unexpected call from CCI letting me know of a very unique opportunity. They have a dog that they believe is perfect for Caleb and is ready to be placed immediately. Yay! The situation is unique because we get to bypass the usual intensive 2 week training that is scheduled for May. Caleb and I get to do our training in 3-4 days because we will have one-on-one training with the team. We will begin our fast-track training on February 22nd. This time next month we will officially have new member in our family. I don't know much about the dog except it is a female black lab. We are so excited to meet her.
This kid was pretty excited when I told him. Fist pump for excitement.