Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Commitment

People ask me when I knew I was going to pursue training service dogs as a career. There are actually two answers to that question. The first answer is that when I was learning advanced training with Kojak, a big black lab in St. Louis, I knew I would do this for a long time. I went to class one night and witnessed the meeting of a young boy and his new service dog Crocker. The delight, happiness, joy, and glow that came from that 10 year old boy and that dog was nothing short of God’s miracle. The flame of passion was lit at that exact moment, and I knew I would do this for a long period of time. What I didn’t know then was shortly I would be leaving St. Louis and the life I knew there for Wilmington, North Carolina. I was very comfortable in St. Louis, with a lifetime of family, friends, recreation, and church. I had no intentions of leaving St. Louis for anywhere else in the world. He had other plans, and in September of 1996 I moved to Wilmington.

Moving to Wilmington was a big change, and as I looked for an organization to volunteer with, I found no service dog organizations existed in North Carolina at that time. So through a lot of prayer and soul searching on December 1st, 1996 Carolina Canines for Service came into existence; which is the second part of that answer.

I can still see that boy and Crocker, and a chill goes up my spine every single time I think of them. We have now placed 38 service dogs with our program and the same feeling, the excitement for the client, and that very soul identifying chill happens with each and every one. As times become more trying, we will continue to train as many quality service dogs as possible, whether it be one at a time or 300 at a time— that is my true commitment to the One we celebrate this Christmas Season.

Merry Christmas,
Rick Hairston

1 comment:

manda said...

i am interested in giving my 10 week old yellow to carolina canines. i was told by the main site that there are no foster families available now. i would like to see her get in this field. i am an occupational therapist and i found myself unable to keep this puppy due to the illness of my mother. anyone you can suggest for a good home?