by Laura Sylvester
Our Journey to Orbit Story continued ...
It takes 2 weeks to find out if you even qualify to apply for a dog with CCI. This is after you fill out an online questionnaire. Lucky for eager me we heard back in one week – HOORAY, step one – success.
Columbo comes for a visit.
It took me over a week to fill out the application, 11 pages including a detailed description of what Elliot does everyday of the week. Questions about our house, our family, and our life and of course about dogs: Do we have any dogs already in the home? Does Elliot want a service dog? Does Elliot like dogs? I answered questions about his abilities in the areas of Communication, Social, Sensory/Cognitive and Physical/Behavior. It had been years since I filled out such a detailed questionnaire about Elliot’s abilities and disabilities, there was a time when he was newly diagnosed that I remember feeling like I did this type of thing once a week. In addition to the application I had to submit photos of Elliot, our house and yard and each family member. I also had to write one page essay about Elliot and why we think a service dog would benefit him. It was time consuming, but I have to admit it was a labor of love!! I enjoyed every minute of it.
During the next month as we waited to hear back from CCI, I took daily walks through the San Luis Rey Mission to the CCI campus. I sat on a swing outside their offices and listened to the dogs in the back. I signed up for a free tour of the facilities and waited.
The highlight of our wait was when Nancy and Mark brought Colombo over to visit with us. We wanted to see how Elliot responded to a well-behaved dog. My parent’s dog barks and Rick’s Mom’s dog jumps up -- both of these scare Elliot. But I knew a well-behaved dog would be different. After all, when Elliot was a baby/toddler we had Buddy and Elliot loved to lay and sit on him.
Colombo’s visit was a success, Elliot pet him, hugged him and read to him. His interest only lasted 10-15 minutes but it was joyous to watch.
My hopes were high as we waited to hear back from CCI.