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!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Separation Anxiety . . . mine!

The last couple of days have been spent preparing for our trip.  We will be hitting the road bright and early tomorrow morning.  I will (once again) attempt to tweet periodically on the trip, but we all know how rubbish I can be about that!

Anyway, one of the things that is on the list of things to do was to get Cura be-a-u-ti-fied -- something I try to do for trips or other 'big' events.  It's just a good idea to make sure she is looking her best so I supplement my weekly grooming sessions with the occasional professional job.  This means that she has to be dropped off at the groomers for a few hours and I am on my own.  I may have mentioned that I spend most of this time feeling a bit lost -- think of it like you have left your purse or wallet at home for some reason and have to constantly remind yourself that you are not supposed to have it with you.  A brief moment of OMG followed by 'oh, yeah.'

Well, this time it was different.  I had a very hard time without Cura.  I spent the entire time she was at the groomers battling my anxiety.  Since my recent tumble, I have been a bit unsteady on my feet (a bit stiff) and Cura has been particularly attentive.  She usually keeps track of me, even in the house, but since the fall she has been right by my side pretty much all the time.  Let me tell you, it has been very welcome.  Maybe it was the fall, maybe it was the fact that I have been a bit unsteady, maybe my confidence has been a bit shaken from the experience -- whatever the reason, both Cura and I were very relieved when I picked her up from the groomers!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Success when it really matters . . .

I was going to wait a bit before making the big announcement, but todays blog topic makes more sense if I spill the beans now . . . Cura will graduate at the end of this month!  Rick and Heather made the announcement at the beginning of the month.  This is our last month as students in the program.  I am both excited and proud to have completed the program.  But, that is not exactly what this post is about -- though it is relevant. 

As I have mentioned, before Cura came into my life, I fell quite often -- at least once a month and sometimes more.  But, since I have had Cura with me, I have not fallen . . . well, that is until a couple of days ago.  We were having one of our last training sessions and we were working on the 'Get' command.  This is the one where either Cura goes and gets someone to help me or someone tells her to get me so that she can lead them to me.  This has been a particularly difficult thing for Cura because she does not like to be away from my side.  She has also found it distressing to 'Get' me and find me laying on the ground when she gets there.  But, she had gotten much better and understands the concept well now.  But, practice is the name of the game, so Rick had walked away with Cura and I was moving to a different place (so Cura actually had to find me instead of just return to where I was before -- it keeps her thinking to mix things up a bit and helps insure that she can adjust to circumstances as they arise).

Anyway, there was something on the floor and I managed to step on it, lose my balance, and the next thing I know, I was on the ground.  Let me tell you, after over a year of not falling it was a big shock!  Heather called to Rick who, once he realized what had happened, told Cura to 'Get' me.  Before I knew it, she was at my side protecting me from anyone 'helping' me up before I had a chance to make sure I was unhurt.  Then, when I was ready, she helped me get up off the floor, we found a seat, and she sat with me until I had fully recovered from the incident.  She was amazing!  This was the first time she experienced a true fall (every other time had been simulated so the emotional element and sense of urgency was never really there before).  On top of that, we were in close quarters, so she had to adjust the routine to enable her to accomplish what I needed from her in a more confined space (an example of how mixing things up in practice helps Cura to do her job well). 

It is interesting that days after Rick and Heather announced that she was ready to graduate, Cura proved it -- I am so lucky!  Sure, it has required (and will continue to require) hard work and dedication, but it has definitely been worth it!