Adventures as a Recent College Grad Living with Chronic Illness and Training a Service Dog

Saturday, November 8, 2014

We've been Working!!!

Miss Polly has been flying through her training. She will pick up anything I might happen to drop- and I mean anything. Car keys, pencil, cell phone, hair brush, food wrapper, receipt- I've realized in the last week or so I'm quite the klutz with how much stuff she has been picking up. She also will jump up and hit the automatic door buttons! Seriously- she is one very smart puppy!!!

With having our basic skills that help to mitigate my disability, we have started to venture out to more training on public access. We have spent over 30 hours at Petsmart over the last two months, and between that and going in to work on Fridays- we made the big jump. 

Polly went to class with me.

We started with my shortest class, that normally only lasts 30 minutes. Well, she sure did get to experience a lot in those 30 minutes! The whole class applauded at least twice, she was stepped over multiple times, and was taunted with a few offers of being pet. Despite all of this, her reaction stayed the same... 
I told her to stay laying down, and she did- for the entire class.

SHE'S JUST SO GOOD!!!!! So, she went with me to class on Wednesday evening also. The class was taking a field trip to another part of the building, in the middle of class. (I had not been aware of this because I had missed class the previous week...) It included a rather daunting exhibit by the Office of Multicultural Affairs that included being in the campus movie theater and then moving from room to room down a hallway- all of which was pretty much in the dark. Goodness- I certainly have a special dog to have not lost it. She's not perfect by any means, she still has a long way to go- no Service Dog is perfect. However, she handled herself better than I could have ever fathomed. If I had known more of what it was going to be like, I would have waited and chosen to not take her, but she sure did put her big girl attitude on and we got through it. And what's a better reward than getting to come out to lunch with me?!

So the next day, we had our first restaurant experience!

I chose to get out of my wheelchair and sit in a booth, so that way people wouldn't even see her or be tempted to come up. Shout out to all the employees at Newk's- they all acted completely professionally, just as they should with all service dogs. She laid under the booth silently the entire meal, and even picked up my phone after I dropped it under the table. 

I am so lucky to have her in my life, 
and am even more so looking forward to what 
the end of this year has in store for us!