Thursday, October 13, 2011

My First Week with Emma in 2005

We made it through the first week.
Oct 14, 2005

Emma and I made it through the first week of training. I can't believe how much I have learned in five days. Tonight I feel kind of naked not having her at my side. Among the new commands we tried today was "car". Emma showed me how eagerly she gets into a van or car. She was so cute in the car especially. she was on the seat, looking out the window eager to go. I do think she looked a bit disappointed that she had to get back out without going anywhere at all. We also met with the people from the foster home. Judy told me more about her work with the dog, and what the dog was use to in her home setting. It was helpful.

She also shared a story that is a good reminder for you dog and cat owners. One time after a sleep over her son had with his friends - the dog got downstairs unattended briefly. When they checked on Emma she was unconscious. She had found a bag of chips, and trying to eat what was left worked her way into the bag and ended up suffocating. They got her out and she came to on the way to get emergency help. She said that she heard from another dog owner that it has happened with a dog getting into a box of cereal also. I am glad she told me so that is another thing to really watch. I am so glad due to their quick thinking that the dog is fine. I know accidents can happen in an instant.

When we were talking I asked her how she ever got this adorable puppy to learn so much. It is so amazing all she does. Judy and Emma have been to weekly classes since she was 8 weeks old. She said you can't believe how much she learned in six months. No matter how many months or years pass my gratitude to Judy and her family will never fade. That includes her friends and relatives who all were part of Emma's life. I hear many of you are reading my blog. Thanks so much.

Today she practicing picking things up for me. I drop things easily and she can pick them up to put in my lap, in my hand, or even on a counter or table top. We also practiced retrieving a phone. I will have a portable phone in a specific place where Emma can pick it up. We are probably going to put a velcro handle on it to make it a bit easier for the dog and to protect the phone. she loved practicing that skill for me today also. The goal will be if I fall or am in a medical need situation - she can go get the phone for me and bring it to me. Imagine that.

She practiced picking up so many items including keys, kitchen untencils, a glove, and billfold. She really loved it. It is all like a game to her - she is eager to get it, bring it to me and it is fun. I am also astounded the dogs know the command look. She will then search for the item I am asking for. It was so adorable watching her scan the floor or counter for the item I requested and then bring it to me. She also can put things into a basket, on the counter, or my scooter basket. They tell me try having her put laundry in the hamper and you can bet we will try that. Some service dogs put laundry into the washing machine. I am not sure Emma can reach mine but she will be able to empty the dryer - and I guess enjoys that also.

The big thing I have learned this week is how much the dogs enjoy helping. The tasks are like games to them. They get a treat sometimes now as they get use to us but more and more will do it for the fun of it and verbal reinforcement. I can't wait to bring her home and show my family all she can do. It is one thing to read about it, but to see it in action is unbelievable.
YES they tell me Emma has been as tired nights as I have been. I hear she can snore but I won't mind that a bit. Thanks Emma for a great great eye opening week.

UPDATE - 2011
Yes she snores, still loves car rides especially if on the seat, she still eager to do all tasks. Still loves keys but since I don't drive I don't drop them like I use to. If Greg does she is elated. I think the noise and challenge make if so fun for her.

Our only thing I may check with staff on is getting the phone. Yes I can have Emma get if I drop. but found if i put it in one place for her to get if i asked for it - well she loved that and would bring it to me over and over and over again. I usually have cell phone in my pocket and one home phone by me at all times.

Also she can get me blanket. Well so handy now as My arms so weak that sometimes i can't pull up the covers and can get her to do that. Still working on it but she does pretty good. Funny though, so rare, she woke me in middle of night. Like always tried Greg first and he ignored her, then she pops to my side, I thought she just wanted to play. so she gets in bed...I think yeah she will lay down and sleep. Gets in the middle and places her paw on me like she is tapping me (it is adorable and polite) so I think better get up she needs something. Took me a minute to wake up and she pulls my covers off me. Well that will wake you up...and took her outside so surprised she had to go to the bathroom again...not normal for her.

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