An Update on Hartford, Our Service Puppy…

Family Dog Photography: Lifestyle photography includes the pet
Hartford at 14 months.

I am so thankful that we have these wonderful portraits of Hartford. We will think fondly of her every time we see her picture.

For those of you who don’t know, we are raising a puppy for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). This is a service dog organization that provides highly trained dogs to people with disabilities free of charge. Volunteers all over the country provide CCI puppies with a safe and loving home while they grow out of puppyhood.

We will have Hartford until August. Then we will take her to the training center in Orlando, Florida. She will stay there for six months learning advanced skills like opening the refrigerator, picking up things, opening doors and pulling a wheel chair. After she is trained, if she is suitable, they will match her with a client and train them both to work together for two weeks. When she graduates we will go back to the training center to hand her over to the person she will be assisting. She has a lot of hurdles to go through before she becomes a service dog and according to CCI, most dogs don’t make the cut. We are working really hard and keeping our fingers crossed that she will get the job!

Our puppy arrived on February 5th. This was her then:

Lifestyle family portraits, our service puppy in training
My favorite picture of Hartford as a baby. I took this three days after we got her. She was about 8 weeks old.
Pictures of the dog. Professional Lifestyle pictures include the family pet
This was taken the same day. Her ear is green from the tattoo they gave her before sending her our way. It stayed green for about a week. I love the wrinkly skin!
Our pets are part of the family. Lifestyle photography outside.
Hartford at 10 weeks old trying to get our 12 year old dog, Domino, to play with her.

This is her now at 60 pounds.

Stunning portrait of Hartford.
Hartford at 14 months.

She is very well behaved in public. I take her to the grocery store, restaurants, Costco, soccer games and cross country meets, the bank, etc. Basically everywhere I go, she can go. I also leave her home often so she will be fine staying by herself.

Hartford has learned 26 commands of the 30 that they would like us to teach her. We are still working on the following commands:

  • Bed: get on a rug that we have designated as her bed and stay there. She often confuses it with “kennel” and goes into her crate.
  • Stand: she should stand on all four feet and stay there until told to move–she likes to sit down on me.
  • Speak: I can’t get her to understand this. She tries everything she can think of, but she doesn’t bark, even though it is very frustrating to her.
  • Turn: she should turn and stand in the opposite direction. I haven’t started on this one yet. I’ll get on that this week.

We have really enjoyed having Hartford as a part of our family and will miss her dearly when she goes. Knowing that she will have a purpose helping another person will make it more than worth it.

If you would like more information about CCI and its services, got to

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