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My Training Diary

12 November, 2010

November 11th 2010 7:43 pm
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Hello everyone!

Well, we are back from Coleraine for a flying visit home.(There is no internet there, so Mum is in withdrawal - all her communication is online!) Dad has been doing the locum there and we will be there until after Christmas so we will have lots of opportunity to meet with new people and tell them about Assistance Dogs! Coleraine is a small town as is Casterton, Balmoral, and a couple of the other places in terms of population numbers. Large hearted though! I've not had a hair turn when I've come into any shop or for dinner at the pub after Church on Saturday nights. They are better educated than a lot of city folk.

I had a bit of a blast from the past this week, too. AS a puppy, I started out being with Mum and Dad when he took Services in Retirement Centres and Nursing homes. (This was before Mum and Dad found out about Assistance Dogs) I used to upstage Dad a fair bit, too! So I was sort of a Therapy dog, for a while. It was nice to go there and visit.

The only disconcerting thing was the Staff had adopted a Maltese Terrier from the RSPCA - and he was really aggressive! He tried to eat a piece of me and then intimidated Beau. I know I'm not supposed to, but I told him off! Mum was really upset with me, though.

I had a very rushed time before we left to start the locum, trying to organise Mum and Dad for the Open Garden Scheme. This is the second year our garden has been open to the general public in the Spring Festival. Mum and Dad were a bit nervous, but Simon - The Kitchen Farmer, and Katie and their eight week old beautiful baby girl, Mary Elizabeth, came to have a look and were very reassuring. Simon and his brother Daniel built the raised beds, Esther Dean style, and everything is organic. So, I have lovely fresh, chemical free vegetables in my meals.

The best part was giving people an escorted tour through the garden. I did very well, I was told! I let Mum and Dad know when a fresh group arrived, too, so there was always someone to speak English to them. Being a Spitz breed dog, I talk A LOT, I'm told, but it seems that only Mum and Dad speak my language. Sigh... Mum says I'd talk under water with a mouth full of meat, but I'm quiet when I'm vested and working. It takes some doing!

I'm busy trying to train a new standard poodle puppy - you've probably seen him on my Dogster page? Beau? Well, let me tell you, this is something altogether new for me! I thought I had grown up in a Nursing Home for Elderly Dogs! Jack is 17 this December and Sophie is 13. Mr Tim crossed the rainbow bridge a couple of months ago and we have all been sad and missing him. He would have been 17 in December, too. He was Dad's shadow, even though this meant they often fell over each other. It's very quiet without him, even though Beau is here now.

It's great to have someone to play with but also a bit off-putting. He started out shorter and smaller than me but a fortnight later he's taller and a lot heavier and by the amount he eats, he's not going to stop in the immediate future!! But we are great mates. I don't know what the fuss was about. Everyone assumed I'd be jealous, but that is a waste of play time.

My Dad has early Parkinson's - he's only 48 in human years, too - so Beau will probably be trained up as his Assistance dog to help with coordination, balance and to break the "freezes". Anyway, I've taught him - Beau, not Dad! - to sit and drop already and to be clean in the house, even though we are living in two homes at the moment which could have been confusing for a young dog. I think we're doing pretty well! Mum is going to need a bigger boy for balance and mobility but we both think Dad's needs are more urgent.

Mum still doesn't have a date for my re-credentialising. It's worrying her that we don't have a date to work towards - a focus.Still we are working everyday on our tasks and work.

Talk again, soon,



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