Monday, March 1, 2010

What I Meant To Post

Okay, so my post about Eclipse coming home was not what I was looking for it to be *wink* Exhaustion and emotion that I refused to release makes my recounting of things lacsidasical at best and I'm anything but lax about the fact that Eclipse is home.

 Eclipse walking over grass. His head is down, ears perked forward, mouth open and the photo is a little blurry from the movement

Bringing Eclipse home was an extrememly emotional experience. I've know that he doesn't want to be a service dog since he was 14 weeks old, he told me in no uncertain terms that he didn't want to be. For ten months now I've just been waiting for him to be heard and understood and allowed to be what he wanted to be. Some dogs simply don't have what it takes or have the want to work. Eclipse is one of them. It's been a major rollercoaster ride for me between knowing that he doesn't want to work and watching others try and make him like to work. He's been gone from our home for 8.5 months and I was emotional everyday of those 8.5 months not only because I missed him but because I felt he wasn't being listened to the way all service dogs in training deserve to be listened to. When I found out that he would get to come home I initially let that emotion out, crying to Alex that "our baby gets to come home, he doesn't have to work, he finally gets to come home", yet there was still a fear that something would go "wrong" and he wouldn't be allowed to actually return to us. When it came to actually getting him I was emotional, extremely, about him coming home but it was mixed with sadness for Tabatha. Despite what people may think, I don't hate Tabatha and I have had one wish in all of this, that no other family be hurt in these disgusting "games". My wish, of course was not heard and another family has been awfully hurt. I have subconsciously tempered my excitement for my family due to what her family is going through, which came across in that last post.

Eclipse running towards Alex at the dog park. Alex is bent down slightly with his arms getting ready to embrace Eclipse

In all of this I am happiest that Eclipse was finally heard and is never going to be forced to work again, I'm ecstatic that he is finally home with us, and I'm happy that for those involved that are hurting that they'll still be involved in his life and that they can hopefully begin to heal.

Eclipse playing tug with me with the pink stuffy. You can't see his face, just his chin and below, Teddy and Kira are visible in the background.

As you can see, Eclipse is pretty content here. When he first came in this house he urinated just a tad when Teddy was saying hello, just to tell Teddy that he realizes who's the boss still. He knows exactly where the toy basket is and in the morning contains himself until he gets to the basket where he pulls out his favorite duck and prances, parades and wiggles around until it's time for breakfast. Honestly, I think I have a hard time putting it into words, because it feels like he never left. Yes, there's a big ten month gap that we missed out on but he looks almost exactly the same as when he left and those two visits (at 8 then 11 months) really helped to keep him fresh in our memories. He's the same exact dog that we knew and loved so long ago and that we never quit loving. His face is just a tad bit lighter than the rest of his body but as Alex says it "he's no dagaii shinin anymore", although in some pictures he certainly is ;-) He's doing well. We took him and Eva to the dog park again yesterday and they had a blast, Eclipse picked up on his usual "stalking" of his sister (which I have a great photo of on Coreena's camera...) and they interacted well with all the other dogs, even the obnoxious hound that was there. Yesterday there was a young great dane, rottweiller, pit mix, hound mix, jack russel mix, black lab, shepherd mix, westie, our two goldens and Rizzo. They played well together and Eclipse regularly came and checked in with me and everytime I said his name he'd come running, just like old times. We're going to do some more proofing of his recall these coming weeks in challenging situations since it will be necessary for a short trip we're taking him and Eva on in a couple weeks.
Eclipse running towards the right of the camera at the dog park. His blue plaid collar is very visible. It's starting to get dark so the sun is casting fun shadows over his bodyEclipse, Teddy and Kira in sit-stays. Eclipse and Teddy are looking at Alex while Kira is looking at me

While Eclipse does have some new habits that we'll be working on, there's nothing that we can't handle. He's still really respectful of the furniture, although we need to work a bit on keeping his feet on the floor as he wiggles and not on our chests. He does attempt to get on the bed but after one verbal correction he settles down on his blanket on the floor by my side and sleeps through the night. He does have some counter surfing issues as well but thankfully a verbal correction is all that is needed to redirect him, even with yummy chicken inches from his nose. He's doing well and our well-mannered, goofy, loving, boy will be back to himself in no time.

Eclipse laying on the carpet on the threshold to the kitchen. No dogs in the kitchen when we're making meals, a lesson he'll quickly learn and is doing very well at respecting thus far

Eclipse this morning coming back into the living room after getting a drink. He's looking up towards the camera and his face is shining from the flash.

Today was the first time he got Nutri-Cal and Salmon Oil added to his food and he couldn't be happier with it, I thought he was going to jump out of his skin after the first wiff he got of the salmon oil. He also loves the Nutri-Cal, it's a great treat for training as well, since one lick out of the tube is a great reward and not messy! I think we may use it for recall training. The purpose of the Nutri-Cal and Salmon Oil? Well, Eclipse's body weight is still low and it's said that he'll never weigh more than he does now due to some health issues he has going on (more on those later). If he's anything like Eva (which I'm sure he is) if we just up his intake that will just up his output, not his weight. So, in addition to transitioning him over to a much higher quality food with a more usable protien source in a couple weeks, we're adding Nutri-Cal to his food. Nutri-Cal is very high in calories and should provide Eclipse with more than 600 extra calories a day. The hope is that in a couple weeks when we go back in and weigh him again that his weight will start going up, both on the scale and over his ribs. The Salmon Oil has a bit of a different reason. Eclipse's coat, while pretty, is very thin and still quite dry. Tabatha was giving him fish oil capsules but Eclipse learned to eat around them, so we switched methods. We spent $15 on 8 oz of wild Alaskan Salmon oil to add to his food. Only 2-3 squirts per meal should quickly get his coat, and skin, in better condition. Thankfully we won't need to be adding canned or packaged food or gravies to his food to get him to eat on a regular basis, he eats more like a lab now than I've ever seen him and I must say, it's a nice change. Right now he's on Canidae simply because that's similar to the quality of the food he was on and I didn't want to cold-turkey switch him to the Solid Gold bison and fish recipe without a couple transitions. So, we are transitioning him cold-turkey (as that's our only option) to Canidae and getting his gut used to the Nutri-Cal and Salmon Oil and then we'll slowly transition him onto the Solid Gold.

a closeup of his kibble this morning, there are darker browns from the the VitaCal gel and the water is milky from the Salmon oil. Looks gross but he LOVED it!

He still loves his baby bears, although the original one is a little small to be any fun anymore, he loves the bigger one. His go to toy is, of course, his ducks. Then he loves the pink giraffe/horse stuffy that Tabatha sent with him. He's so far been very respectful of all his stuffed toys and we hope to keep it that way with regular walks and play dates with his sister and Charlie.

Time to go make some VitaCal popsicles for Eclipse :-D

Ally, Eclipse, Teddy & Kira

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