Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dolly- our service dog in training

We are fostering a service dog.  We got her almost 3 weeks ago.  Her name is Dolly and she is doing very well.  She is taking up most of my spare time, but she is cute and its fun to be with her.

Its very different raising a service dog.  There are so many rules that we must teach and enforce that we didn't with any of our other dogs.  Right now, the most difficult rule to teach is keeping her off of the furniture.  It would be easier if we didn't already have Callie who is allowed up on things.  That inconsistency is hard, but what is really difficult is that they play and chase around the house.  Callie escapes to the couch and it seem natural for Dolly to follow.  We're working on that one.

There are several commands that we are attempting for this first month.  She has mastered "come", "sit", and "down".  We are trying to incorporate "lets go", "leave it", and "give" into daily routines.  It will be much easier when this awful weather breaks and we can go on some enjoyable walks.  Several of the commands lend themselves well to walks.  The "give" command should inspire some good fetching.  One of the things we can't do with her is tug of war. Since that seems to be what we do with dogs to play, it has been difficult to interact sometimes.  I'm hoping that the fetching will be fun for both her and us.

Literally everyone who we have told about Dolly asks how we will ever be able to give her up in a year from now.  It will be difficult. Very.  But, even from the get go, she feels somewhat like she already belongs to someone else.  She will have a purpose to her life.  The different rules help to reinforce this feeling.  We are already very attached to her and proud of her.  But someone else will love her and also need her.  I think the one who will have the hardest part dealing with her absence will be Callie.  She can't know of the reasons for her departure.  But, it also may happen that Becky decides to move on in the meantime.  Life is uncertainties.

As for me, I have been getting a few colds this winter.  It began in early February with a chest cold.  I had to take amoxicillin for that.  It lasted most of 3 weeks.  Then I had some stomach problems.  That lasted about 2 weeks.  Then, just last week, I developed an upper respiratory infection.  Just some sniffles and coughing and general tiredness.  I'm feeling much better now, so that one was much easier.  I'm not sure what the difference is this year.  This is the most I have been sick in many, many years.  I usually don't get anything.  I have always credited the flu shots for that. This is more what I expected to happen since I was immunosuppressed.  I don't know if I was just lucky before, or unlucky this year.  My blood sugars almost directly parallel my symptoms which I find even more interesting than frustrating now.  It doesn't bother me so much now that I know it will probably come back to normal.


Hallie said...

Darling dog!! We'd love a service dog to sniff out blood sugar!

It's been a BAD winter (I'm in Ohio, too). Everyone has been sick - a lot. The kids at school have been bringing in one thing after another. Hoping once we can get outside that it will help!! Here's ton sunshine and warmth! We deserve it!!

et63 said...

Dolly is beautiful!! I don't know how you do it, I would get so attached to her, and the breaking of bad habits is sometimes difficult, for me. I have been accused of spoiling my Maggie, but she does keep an amazing watch over me. She spots a low much better now that they don't come on so drastically. I hope that you too, are feeling better. I have to agree with you, it has been a horrible season for cold, flu, and URI ... I have had one or the other since December. Hoping for a wonderful spring!! Eliza