"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it along to someone else." Mitch Albom

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Pedicure?

       Tonight Churry and I had to go pick up a few things for school tomorrow.  She usually does very well about leaving things alone on store shelves.  I can't recall a time ever, really, when she has tried to grab something.   While shopping tonight, Churry and I happened to walk past some nail polish sitting on a bottom shelf.  She suddenly reached out and nudged one with her nose, causing it to fall on the floor, not breaking thankfully.  So, I corrected her and decided to go around the aisle and walk past again.  Again, she nudged the same one!  We repeated a 3rd time and she finally left it alone like the good girl I know she can be.  Maybe she's decided since she loves being groomed so much now that she needs some polish with her pedicure, too!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Handwriting and spelling for Churry, too!

    While  Churry was on vacation with her friends she heard them bragging about how their puppy raisers taught them to write their names.  So, I reassured her that I know all about teaching handwriting and spelling.  She did a great job!

First, she had to hold a down/stay while she learned how to spell it.  This took a while since I kept having to scoot the letters over to fit on the towel.

Then, she had to do some commands around it.  Such as down, stand, sit, etc.

After that, she practiced walking over the top of it while "leaving it".

It has been SOOO good to have her home again!  We have been practicing some of the tips we learned at Pups days, such as changing pace.  It took us a VERY LONG TIME to walk around our block tonight.  We also went to Wal-Mart last night and practiced left and right.  I was pretty sure she was learning it before she went on vacation and Mandy verified that she knew it, too.  So we practiced it in public and she did fantastic!  I was very pleased!  I love when I can see progress with her.  But most of all, I love having her snuggles when I get home from work!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More pics from PUPS days

I am taking a Juno walk with Letha, an apprentice Guide trainer.  I can't imagine the trust between the dog and graduate!

Churry is practicing heeling with me using a walker.

Kinsey enjoying the experience.

Doing a good job with Kinsey!

Churry getting to work with Kinsey.

Churry has some work to do heeling by a wheelchair!


       PUPS days at KSDS was this weekend.  I was so excited to go get my sweet girl back from her vacation!  I had wonderful reports about her behavior from Mandy and Lisa so that made me happy.  Kinsey went with me and both of us had a great time and learned a lot on Saturday.  At PUPS days we are able to have a session with a vet to ask questions about our puppy's health and listen to what they have to say.  We also heard from a panel of graduates about their experiences with their dogs.  There was a Service dog team, a Social dog team and a Guide dog team there to visit with us.  It's always very inspiring to me to listen to the graduates talk and be reminded why I'm doing this even though it's SO hard to imagine Churry not being mine one day.  The thought of never seeing her again breaks my heart!

     One of my favorite parts of the day was the Disability awareness exercises.  I forgot my camera so don't have too many pictures of Kinsey and I...just some I stole from a friend.  :)  Hopefully, Lisa has a few more of us that I could share.  Kinsey practiced counting money blindfolded.  She even counted out the correct amount the first time!  Then she made a peanut butter and pretzel sandwich while blindfolded using only her left hand.  That was quite a task!  We went on a blindfolded guided walk with one of the Guide dog trainers and practiced with Churry using a walker and a wheelchair.  It's good to experience a few of the challenges that graduates may have on a daily basis.  Kinsey was able to work Clara and Enosdale this weekend so she could get some practice as well.
Getting ready to play some puppy Bingo

Churry did a good job with commands this weekend.

Hanging out with Perdido

Churry is sitting up watching something while Perdi just relaxes

Beaches Puppies....from left to right:  Perdido, Ormond, Ventura and Marco

     Churry also was able to reunite with 4 of her littermates this weekend.  It was fun to see them together and see how they all look as grown up puppies! 

    Churry was tired and very excited to get home last night.  I'm so happy to have her home!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Vacation for Churry

Since I'm back at school this week and it's crazy busy, Churry is going on vacation to stay with Mandi and Lisa for the week.  They are going to split some time with her and offer her some new training opportunities.  It has been very hard not having her here so far.  I keep thinking I need to take her somewhere and just really miss her snuggles, but know she's having a much better week with them than she would with me.  And Mandi was so sweet...she helped her make me a birthday card since she missed my birthday yesterday.  On a happier note, I completed a lifelong goal of running my first 5K yesterday!  I ran with 4000 other people in the Glow Run.  It was a lot of fun after I got into my groove and shook off my nerves!

I can't wait until next weekend to go reunite with Churry at PUPS days at KSDS!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Horse Show

     One of my favorite things to do is go enjoy a horse show.  :)  Being that I'm the only person I know who enjoys this I never really go see any.  So I decided it would be a good outing and made Churry go to one with me today.  It was a very small one, but it worked out well because we were able to sit right by the rail where the horses were going by.  I wanted to accomplish a couple of things today.  One, practice being in a Down/Under without popping up every time she saw something, heard something, or just got bored.  Second, being exposed to horses again.  She has met horses at my parents house, but it's been awhile.  This would obviously be a time when she couldn't just walk up to them and greet them if she felt like it.  She did fairly well.  She popped up a few times, but only when somebody stopped to talk to me and then reached their hand right under me to pet her.  Can't get too upset with the dog in that moment!  I do wish, however, that she would have gone back under my seat a bit more willingly after she was up.  As far as the horses, she was very interested in watching them, but didn't pull at all to try to go to them.  She just stayed under my seat and rested her head on my foot or the bleacher so she could watch them go by.  One bonus of the day was some kids went stomping very loudly all over the metal bleachers we were sitting on.  One even went right over the top of the one Churry was directly underneath.  She didn't even pop up!  I was very pleased with that moment!  The mom was very upset that they were interrupting our training, but I reassured her that I couldn't have planned it better myself.  I told her if there are no unexpected distractions, then it's not a very challenging experience for Churry so I actually appreciated it.    And I'm glad I found a companion to go enjoy horses with me!

Enjoying the public and accepting that everyone is entitled to their opinions...

    Whenever we are out and about, many people ask about Churry and many kids stop to greet her.  It is always fun to be able to share about KSDS with the public and thankfully Churry is usually a good ambassador!  On one outing this week, a person commented that he didn't think Churry would be a very good service dog because she's clearly lazy.  I guess this is because she was in a Down at my side (because I TOLD her to) and had been there for about 10 minutes while he was talking to me?  Even though I knew what she was doing, it was still pretty unnerving to have someone say that about my puppy!  It does worry me that Churry is exceedingly stubborn about refusing to do things she doesn't feel like doing or doesn't see the need to do, but hopefully, she will outgrow this and succeed in her intended profession...However, I still didn't really appreciate the observation from him.  I guess I need to get some thicker skin.

     Are there other puppy raisers with very stubborn puppies?  Do they eventually succeed?

A Trip to the County Fair

     It's been a few days since I've posted,  but Churry had the opportunity for a few new experiences this past week.  Last Friday, we went to the county fair.  Our fair is not like a typical county fair with a carnival, etc. but there were still some things for her to experience.  Besides the general crowds and learning to ignore people and other distractions, she was able to experience chickens...loud chickens.  They were in cages about 4 feet off the ground and I didn't think it was probably appropriate chicken viewing manners to have her "go up" to look at them.  So we just practiced walking past them politely.  We also walked by many tables with artwork, food, lego projects, and a variety of other things.  She didn't seem interested or distracted by anything.  After some walking around, I found a chair and had her practice in a Down/Under position, which she does not enjoy for any lengthy amount of time at all.  She did a pretty good job.

     While we were there, an elderly woman walked by pushing her husband in a wheelchair.  The man stole my heart when he very kindly asked if his wife could pet my beautiful dog.  Such a gentleman!  I said of course.  So, I had Churry sit and then told her she could pet her.  She said she would have to sit down, too.  So I looked to see if there was a chair nearby, but before I could even do anything to assist her, she dropped to her knees and gave Churry much the same attention that the lady at the nursing home did.  She, too, told Churry over and over how much she loved her and just kept hugging  and petting her.  Thankfully, Churry was very good because this woman could not stand unassisted and I would have been mortified if she would have knocked her over.  I, of course, had my arm around Churry's chest to act as a barrier just in case.    When she was done petting her she pulled herself back up and they continued on their way.  What a sweet couple!  Determined to maintain their independence!