Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day Four: Now it's getting "real!

Mom's Take:
It was fun heading out to CCI this morning because this time we knew who specifically was waiting for us. Flash was happy to see Jarod and they had a quick, happy reunion with Flash waiting politely before happily responding to a lap command. This dog sure loves a good hug!

We had a full lecture at the beginning of the day about the importance and semantics of grooming the dog. A lot of importance is placed on good grooming for many reasons. First, and most obviously, to preserve the health of the dog. Second, the psychological benefits include a deeper bonding with the dog, making the dog feel cared for, and reinforcing my role as the "pack leader". Finally, and understadably, since the dog goes out into the community representing CCI, it's vital that we do everything we can to represent the best of the organization, demonstrating our dogs are clean, well cared for, the kind of dog that could be a good match for anyone with a disability. I could go on, but I think you catch the drift. You'll never see a messy, smelly Flash!

Grooming lectures are one thing, but grooming in practice is something else. Cleaning the dog's ears admittedly grossed me out a bit, but having changed hundreds of baby diapers, I was well prepared. We cleaned Flash's ears and eyes together, brushed out his coat, trimmed his nails (I knicked the bloodline on one of them--sorry Flash!), and brushed his teeth with what I am sure is an extremely tasty meat flavored toothpaste. Delish! :)

All during this, Flash just sat there. He liked it. He savored and relished each moment. It never fails to catch me how well trained these dogs are. There are tremendously high expectations and the dogs meet them. What a testament to this organization!

Anywho, back to the dog. We enjoyed yet another lovely lunch provided by volunteers, and this time our dogs sat with us. It was funny to watch everyone negotiate the buffet differently today. After all, do want really want to hold your full plate in the same hand with which you're supposed to do corrections? And it's an experience to have to use the restroom with a dog staring at you (TMI, I'm sure--sorry!). But this is reality, and it was staring at me right in the face with two extremely brown eyes.

We managed fine, but it's a whole new process. Everything seems new, like having to learn to walk all over again. Right now we stumble along, getting our bearings. Give us a month, and we'll be ready to run!

The afternoon continued with a lengthy but highly informative and interesting lecture from the local vet CCI uses. He covered about every possible concern an owner could have about the dogs. We learned that these dogs are specially bred for this purpose by CCI, and only 4 out of every 10 dogs makes it into the program. We learned that our dogs are checked by board certified opthamalogists to ensure their sight is perfect, and they've been tested and x-rayed for any signs of hip displaysia. In short, if these dogs were atheletes, they would have had Olympic quality care, and nothing short. And, by the way, did I mention the dog is free? Yeah--this is all paid for by donors.

We practiced multiple commands today as Jarod mentioned, and the fun part is that they keep growing the difficulty of the command sequences. Three days ago we were thrilled with "Sit!" Now, a common sequence involves the following: "Flash, let's go. Flash, Up! Flash, get! Flash, hold! Flash, Off! Flash, Let's go! Flash, lap! Flash, Give!" Remember, that each command is meant to first be said by Jarod, and then by me immediately following. Then, if Flash doesn't follow through (and he usually does), it's my job to quickly (and harshly) correct the dog, saying No! But never repeating the command. Trust me. The dogs know. It's a rapid barrage of commands I hadn't realized was possible, and it's only going to grow from there.

Tonight we left with a 20 pound bag of dog food and the crate in the van so we could get the hotel room ready for Flash's first night. We also brought the grooming bag and supplies (including a spray bottlle if it's needed). Everything about this shows we're ready for the reality of bringing the dog home. And sometimes, I still can't believe it's happening--but the sparkle in Jarod's eyes say that it is. Thank God for Flash--Jarod fairly glows!

1 comment:

  1. Keep glowing!!
    And I love the picture of you and Flash bonding in the restroom. They are very beautiful eyes.