This weekend was great fun!
Saturday started at 7:45 when I finally drug myself out of my bed! I relieved Eclipse and Elly, gave them their breakfast and let them play for a bit before I went and showered and got ready for the day. Alex and I left Elly and Eclipse in the den with Coreena, Eva and Evett while we went out in service from 9:30 to 12:15. Then it was a mad dash to get changed, the pups relieved, everything gathered, get in the car and head off to Keizer for our class at 2:30.
We saw two wrecks on our way up and around 5 cars pulled over. We ended up being 15 minutes late to class, handed off the pups, and got started. We re-introduced ourselves since we have Two new raisers in our class. Well, okay, they're not new, they've both been involved with Joy Dogs before. That's right! Two of the three pups who were without raisers now are with their raisers! Want to know who?
Well, Eola is now with Karen. Karen has been taking Joy's dogs to school with her for the past 9 months but hasn't been able to get approval to have a pup at her apartment. She got that approval and was handed Eola to raise at class on Saturday. Elly is also with her raiser, Ron (I think). He got Bonnie at 7 months of age. Don't know who Bonnie is? She's an adorable female golden who is now an autism service dog.
After introductions we talked about some fear issues some of the pups *cough cough* have been displaying and how we can get them over it. We then tried showing Joy the commands our pups should know by now. Eclipse was a little turd because there was water there. (Yes, he's still focused excessively on water.) We tried moving to another spot to work with him, twice. We tried kibble, numerous times. We let him drink for a bit, which didn't fix it. We even put his gentle leader on him. Yes, I was getting extremely frustrated. My star of a pup who does "closer" and "back" like a champ wasn't strutting his stuff and made me feel like a slacker. But all was well once Joy handed me some really good treats that he took. Then he did all his commands for me, even in his gentle leader.
We then moved on to the new behaviours/commands we're working on currently. We learned how to train and use "across" (where the dog is perpendicular to you right in front of you. Eclipse loves it as he's still not real solid on "front" but we can't use "front" for the next two weeks while training "across", they're too close), "turn" (they just turn to face the opposite direction, in front of or beside you), "Go to blanket" (different than go to bed. They have a specific blanket they're taught to go lay on until released that can travel with us), "lap" (front legs on lap, elbows resting, legs loose until told "off") and "nudge". This one is really cool. What we do is take a lid (looks like a pringles lid) and hold it at puppy nose level. The pup will automatically get curious and investigate. At that point we Yep!, remove the lid and treat them. We then place the lid back at their level, when they touch it Yep!, remove lid and treat. This is only repreated about three times to begin with or they begin to get worried about it. This will eventually be used to teach them to nudge push plates, doors, etc.
Joy then gave us each a compressed rawhide for the pups "just because (we) are so awesome". It was a really nice gesture and much appreciated. After that class ended but we didn't leave. Everyone eventually left but I wanted to get some more kibble for Eclipse while we were up there and had the money for it. We also talked to Joy about a number of different things and just had a good time.
Joy offered to lead us to the pet store she goes to and we got there just fine, unfortunately after they closed. However, they invited us in anyways and we got some contact information for a poodle breeder in Sutherlin that goes there regularly in case we want to network for emergency food or anything. I got my 40 lbs of food and met two very nice gentlemen. Joy then showed us how to get back to the freeway, even signaling to show us where to turn! It was extremely concientous and again, very much appreciated!
We got home without incident, although we did see around another 4 police with people pulled over on the way back!
Eclipse crashed as soon as we got home, apparently it was a tiring day *grin*
Today was again a fairly long day. I took sleeping pills last night so slept until 9 a.m. (late for me) and got up and got ready for meeting which started at 10. Our meetings go as follows; we open with a song and a prayer said by a brother. Then comes a public talk given by another brother. Then comes another song, followed by an audience discussion on an article from The Watchtower (published by The Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania) concluded by another song and prayer. Anyways, the brother giving the public talk today was a brother from our local congregation and I have known him since I moved here when I was two. I grew up with his two sons. The public talk is 30 minutes long. About 20/25 minutes into it he started stumbling on his words and reading from the outline instead of just delivering the information as he usually does. He also leaned on the podium and got Really pale. He said "I'm sorry, friends, I'm feeling a little light-headed right now". All the brothers in the hall leaned forward and got really worried looks on their faces, ready to leap up on stage at the first sign of serious trouble. He finished his talk and then another brother went up to introduce the song we were going to sing. The brother who gave the talk was taken to the back room and some vitals were taken as there are a couple nurses in the congregation. He was taken to urgent care by his sister. Once there they were told to go directly to the Emergency Room. They complied. At the hospital they discovered he has a brain aneurysm and he was rushed immediately to a hospital in Portland (probably OHSU, but not sure) for emergency surgery. We haven't heard yet if he's come through the surgery fine or not but will keep the blog updated on his progress.
After that emotionally exhausting news Alex, Eclipse and I headed to town for some necessary shopping. I have just over 100 lbs of kibble in the den right now, only 40 lbs of it in a container, so we went to buy another container for Eclipse's food. We went to Big Lots first and got the new container (just another garbage can) and some cheap snacks. Then we headed to Neverland Comics for Alex to look at the discs they have in. I got SOOO mad here. We walk in (we go there at least twice a month) and the guy (not the normal one that's there) and goes "He Can't be in here!" I said, very calmly "actually, he can. He's a service dog in training". The guy then goes "No! I can't have him in here!" when I kindly responded, "legally, he can". At that point his demeanor changed slightly although he was still abrassive and said "I need you to go outside, you can't be in here. I have a cat in here that doesn't like dogs and I need to get him in the office." I kindly, again, responded that we've been in here many times, the cat is fine. He then 'kindly' (more so than he had been) asked us to just go outside for a moment so he could find the cat. I did so begrudgingly and not 30 seconds later he came and brought us back in. At that point he was nicer and was saying how he appreciated and respected what we are doing but the cat doesn't like dogs, blah blah blah. I am completely emotionally exhausted at this point and didn't even respond. Yes, a few tears even snuck out, the Jerk! Ah well, whatever.
After that we headed to Wal-Mart for a few necessary things and all went smoothly there. Eclipse relieved outside of the store on command, on a different surface with people and cars around, in his gentle leader *grin* The greeter looked like she wanted to come tell us to leave but the other one told her to leave us be so all was well. After that we went to the video store and were there for a good 20 minutes and Eclipse maintained a very nice "side" position and despite laying down sometimes when we stopped he stood on command and had zero issues "let's go"ing (?) when asked to. I was very happy with the progress he's making and can see him turning into a great dog.
Now we're home, after taking a mile walk with all the dogs and just relaxing. We don't work this week although Alex is doing work for a friend Wednesday and Thursday that he'll make more money doing than us babysitting all week, so it's all good and I'll get to catch up on my sleep.
That's all from here. Keep an eye on my private blog as there are a couple new posts there as well on things I'm not comfortable posting about on this blog!
Sorry for the lack of pictures.
Ally & Alex w/ Eclipse, Teddy & Kira