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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Churry's 2nd annual Christmas Shopping Trip

      Each year my mom, sister and I enjoy a girls' trip to Denver.  Well, my mom and I do, my sister already lives here.  When Churry came along last year she had not even had her puppy cape for all that long so it was her first big outing.  I've been reflecting lately if Churry has even improved that much in the last year.  I know she knows a few more commands, but she was such a quick learner as a puppy and has always been really comfortable in public that I didn't really know if I would notice a difference.  I really did, though!  There were many times that I noticed her doing things in such a mature manner that she would not have done last year.  Things like automatic sits while I was looking through racks, AWESOME greeting skills when people asked to pet her, and just a lot more stamina with our endless shopping!  I really put her to a test when I wanted to try some things on.  I left her in a Sit/Stay (with my mom close-by supervising this test, of course) and I walked to a couple of other areas in a pretty large and busy store.  She stayed the entire time and each time I would catch a glimpse of her through racks, etc. she would always have her eyes on me.  I thought it was pretty amazing that she knew where I was the entire time.  And what an awesome stay!  A good 10 minutes of sitting before she broke it to lie down and rest.  Left my camera in the car most of the day, though, so no cute pictures this time! 

     She also was able to visit the rehab center/nursing home my sister is doing her clinical at.  The last time I took her to a nursing home she did well, but was incredibly nervous.  It is definitely not her favorite place, but I LOVE how she greeted a few of the residents today.  She was much more confident today about it!  And I love how excited the residents are to see her.  It truly makes their day to have a simple visit from her.  Don't forget the elderly during this Holiday season.  They would love a visit!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Got to love Wal-Mart!

      Churry and I needed to make a quick Wal-Mart run tonight.  I only needed about 5 items to finish out our weekly meal plan so it was supposed to be a very routine stop for her, one we've done hundreds of times.  It turned out to be quite a training opportunity!  First of all, some guy thought he'd be really funny and try to call Churry to him by whistling.  Hopefully, he felt silly when Churry did not acknowledge him in the slightest even after 3 or 4 whistles.  Why would somebody think to do that?
      Then, for some reason, there were tidbits of food EVERYWHERE!  The Sunday samples must have either tasted bad or were messy.  But, the floor really needed cleaned.  Luckily, Churry didn't try to do it for them.
     Then, a little girl kept walking by and tapping on her.  She was really young and wasn't speaking English, so  I decided to just ignore the situation and allow it to be an added challenge for Churry.  I wish I could have communicated with her because you could tell she was really genuinely just interested and curious.  Churry did really well at ignoring her!
     Then, to top off the trip, while we were very patiently waiting in the 10 people deep line with our 5 items, somebody in the next aisle was apparently purchasing squeaky toys.  And felt the need to test them out the ENTIRE time we were in line.  Now, I would have found that annoying in general, but when it puts my dog on super alert, it gets really annoying.  I was very proud of her, though.  She maintained her position beside me perfectly even though she was VERY interested in the sounds coming from that direction.  WOW, who knew a routine trip to Wal-Mart could turn out to be such an opportunity for testing our skills!  One would have thought I had set up a test for her prior to going into the store.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


    Today, Churry had one of her most difficult outings to date. We went to a movie in a sold-out theater.  It was obviously very crowded and she had absolutely no room under my legs.  She has also been having some trouble with seeking attention from me rather than staying in a down position like is expected at a theater.  The last movie I took her to see we had to leave because she was being so naughty!  Today, the movie had lots of animal sounds in it, too, which was another added challenge.  She did awesome!  I was so proud of her!  She did not pop up a single time.  She repositioned herself once, but did it quietly without standing up.  Success!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

School Days

    Wow!  What a month it has been!  We have had a lot of trials and tribulations in our household this month...hopefully, they are over.  Churry had a great day at school today.  During short weeks such as Thanksgiving week we have rotations where each of the 6 first grade classes passes through my room for a 30 minute lesson.  My lesson that they all heard was about assistance dogs, how they should behave when they see one, puppy raising, etc.  They also were able to help me out by taking turns greeting Churry, which is a skill she has been regressing on recently.  Of course, she greeted each and every one of the students perfectly with her paws and bottom on the floor and her tongue in her mouth! 

     She also showed off some of her commands to each of the classes.  There were many oohs and aahs when she "jumped on" to a table, did a "here up", a "go up", carried a pencil between two students, and remained in a perfect stay while they all either walked over the top of her or in a circle around her.  I was very proud of her today!

      Other challenges that she has while at school with me include joining the class for storytime and the discussion that follows.  During this time the students and I are gathered on the carpet with me in a chair and the students all gathered in on the floor in front of me.  I put Churry in a Down/Under under my legs during this time.  It is challenging because all of the students are right there up close to her and she is expected to ignore them.  She does a really good job with this.

     She spent the remainder of the day snoozing under my desk like she usually does when she's there.  And when she got home, she enjoyed a nap after a hard day's work!