Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Real Thing

I had surgery last week and am hobbling around on crutches right now. We made arrangements for Boston to stay with someone the first few days as I wasn't sure I could handle an active puppy plus Sage while on pain meds.

We picked Boston up last night. I was curious as to what her reaction would be to the crutches and my using them - is very different than what I looked like when she last saw me. Surprisingly, she wasn't fazed by either the crutches or my appearance a bit.

I decided to have Boston work for me during my recovery period as she will for the person she is placed with. This has given me a new venue for training because I cannot 'leap' to correct her on a command - I need to rely on the verbal commands and limited hand signals she has already learned. It's been going well. When the crutches fall on the floor she picks them up, when I drop items (which is often and for real, because it's hard to carry items and use crutches concurrently!) she picks them up; she closes doors and drawers. She retrieved her pack and brought it to me when it was time for the morning meal. When I let her outside this morning she did her business and promptly came back to the door. I'm totally impressed!

What I hadn't realized to this point is what a busy puppy Boston really is. The last two families that have taken care of her have both commented on it. I work outside the home so am away from her all day, and spend the evenings playing or training, so am managing her energy.

Boston has been in non-stop motion since we got up this morning. Chewing on bones, playing with toys, visiting all the rooms in the house (looking for trouble I am sure), "bringing" me things I really didn't want, and just generally pestering me. She's already had her treat ball and a kong with peanut butter. Yikes! This is going to be a long four weeks at home. How do the stay-at-home dog parents do this?

Here is a picture of Boston during her recent visit to Marley's house. Marley is such a ham. I sent along her homework sheet in case Julie had time to work with her, but Boston returned it "incomplete".

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sister Visit II

Both Boston and I had the pleasure of visiting our sisters last week. While I traveled to Denver to visit my sister, Jan, who is the recipient of the second service dog I trained, Boston visited her sister Angel in Arlington MN.

Me first. Jan and I took a road trip to Santa Fe for some jewelry shopping at the Santa Fe Plaza and art galleries on Canyon Road. I have to say it was a huge success! We visited the Bandelier National Monument at Los Alamos. It's a beautiful park, and the weather was perfect. Jan and Laker took in the view from a park bench while I made a short hike to see the cliff dwellings.

While I was out of town Boston stayed with her sister, Angel. It was their first visit together and Janice reports that it went well.

"Boston took to being at our house, with no problem at all. She and Angel played all day long. The first couple of days they hardly took a break. At 10:00 this morning, however, they were already napping at my feet -- photos prove it.

I got sick after Boston arrived, and my husband was out of town for the two days when I was the sickest. So the pups really got very little from me and they took such good care of each other and of me. Never got into any mischief at all! Now that we're home without Boston, Angel has found a sponge from the sink, a sock and another sock, from who knows where! And the TV remote. She misses Boston already! I'm sorry I couldn't do more with Boston while she was here, but she really made my life easier while I was sick.

Boston's so sweet, very affectionate, so gentle on the leash. Gets her pack and GL and gets dressed so nicely for meals -- I never told her that she was dressing for dinner. Angel was better about it with Boston here, too. I took her to the church to practice away from Angel and she did some nice pushes on the cabinets and drops and stays and retrieved an index card, which impressed me -- Angel would rather tear up any paper.

Mostly, I was telling them what good girls they were. They had so much fun together and were so patient and helpful to me. "

We as trainers are always looking for new experiences to introduce to our pups. While at Janice's Boston met her horse, Magic, and checked out some construction at the neighbor's house.