I graduated with my wonderful Facility Dog, Presley, in November 2002 and was looking forward to my first CCI Graduate Seminar in October 2003.  Little did I know that I was about to meet Diane, who would become my mentor and cherished friend, and her incredible Facility Dog, Dustin.

At that seminar, Diane and Dustin presented a treasure trove of creative ideas that I have used with my special needs students ever since.  In addition, Diane told me of a special dog camp the following summer that Presley and I attended along with Diane and Dustin.  At that camp a bond was formed that has remained to this day. In addition to learning from Diane’s presentations at the seminar and camp, I have devoured the publications that she has written. I often refer to, and pass along ideas from, the Newsletters and Dustin’s Paw Handbook, both of which are full of helpful and creative ideas for Facility Dog teams. Both Diane and I lost our precious dogs to cancer at an early age (Dustin in May 2004 and Presley in April 2008) and are now working with our successor dogs.  Having Diane to turn to during my agony over Presley’s illness and treatments, and my grief after her death, was a tremendous comfort to me. Thank you Diane, for being there at the beginning of my CCI journey, for being a wonderful mentor over the years, for seeing me through the difficult times, and for continuing to be a special friend and soul mate.  I cherish it all. – Caren Hill and Lacey, CCI Facility Dog Team

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