Cura and I have been together since 2009. We want to thank all of you who followed the early days as well as those who popped back on occasion during the long hiatus. Training was done, the days passed, and we were settling into our life together.
Fast forward: Cura is slowing down and a new member of the family is in training. On top of that, we are all busy with our new calling . . . Running the Training Department for Paws and Stripes. Join us on our journey!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Upping the Challenge (plus our blogaversary!)

Before I go any further, I have to give a little nod to Cura's and my blogaversary.  I completely spaced on Sunday and didn't even remember that, while we began our journey together a few months earlier, the firts post to Cura's Corner went up on June 13, 2009!  I knew it was sometime in June but I have a clearer memory of adoption day.  I never got around to checking the date of the first post before June began and when June hit, we have been so busy that I forgot all about it again until today!  Ah, well . . . we are officially a year old here at the Corner!  How far we have come!  Thanks to everyone who checks in on us, even if it is just from time to time.

Now -- about upping the Challenge . . .

This should come as no surprise!  This whole experience has been one big challenge.  When I look back at where Cura and I were just over a year ago (yes, she has been with me for almost 15 months -- it seems like forever AND yesterday all at the same time), I am amazed.  Not so much with her, but with me.  I am doing things that I have not done for years and if I did, I was VERY uncomfortable and got it over with as soon as possible.

A perfect example is going to the Mall.  Could. Not. STAND. Going. To. THE. MALL.  Just thinking about it would heighten my anxiety levels.  When I had to go, I was in and out as quickly as possible -- no window shopping, no browsing.  If I didn't find what I needed quickly, I usually did without it.  But, I digress . . .

This post is not about the Mall, at least not specifically.  Instead it is about yet another level of training for Cura.  She is already very good about not reacting to other dogs while she is working.  We have even gone on a few restaurant trips with another team (Crayola and Ginger) but now we are actually having the dogs work next to each other and not just relax side by side under the table.  We started off with the dogs on the outside and the two of us walking close enough that we could touch hands if we stretched out our arms -- about 5-6 feet.  Now Ginger and Cura walk side by side with only a few inches between then!  It only took one session to get them there and now it is all about reinforcement.

To top it off, Cura and I have started working with other Service Dogs in the same way.  Saturday we will be either having an initial session with a third dog, or a second session with the second dog that we trained with a couple weeks ago.  Either way, it will be interesting to see how we do!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Everyday (non)events

There has not really been anything spectacular or exceptions that has happened since my last post.  In fact, things have been ordinary.  I have begun working on a the revisions for my PhD again.  This time I have a strict schedule and am diligently sticking to it.  What that means is that I have been spending a lot of time with my head in books and in front of the computer and Cura gets to have quite a bit of semi-work time. 

Semi-work -- what the heck is THAT, you may ask.  Well, even if we are in the house, Cura is aware of my location and if I am out of sight for too long, she will come to check on me.  For example, we have one of those alarm systems that make a little beeping noise when doors are opened.  If I leave Cura upstairs (usually because she is napping and I plan to be right back) and go downstairs and go out to the garage to get something, by the time I come back inside, she is waiting at the door for me.  So much for being asleep! 

The few times we have gone out have been fairly uneventful.  Well, at least no more than normal.  We still get approached by people wanting to touch Cura.  Younger people just want to touch her, older people want to touch her AND talk my ear off!  There are still waiters who forget that there is a Service Dog under the table or tucked next to my chair.  Putting her in a corner doesn't even work all the time.  Just the other day I was at a restaurant.  When the server came to the table, I made sure that he knew that there was a Service Dog at the table and I pointed to where Cura was so he knew exactly where she was.  It was a small table, so she was not completely under the table -- but she was placed out of the walkway and in such a way that the server could access all the settings at the table without having to walk near her.  But, the next time he came to the table, he went straight to that area and banged into Cura.  She didn't really move, so it must not have been too bad, but still!  On top of that, he then proceeded to 'console' Cura by petting her and making a big deal about the fact that he bumped her.  THEN (you gotta LUV this . . .) he refilled our coffees -- pouring the hot coffee into our cups OVER Cura's body!  Now, I used to be a server and I realize that he was using a technique that insures that a beverage is not accidentally spilled on the table or a patron -- but if he HAD spilled any coffee accidentally, he would have dumped it on Cura! 

Sometimes it amazes me how much people just don't think!

More adventures (or non-advenures) next week!