Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween -- Houdini Howlers Style

Day 7 of training started off with two tracks in the midst. Grandpa took Maddie by stroller through a baseball field and hid behind a shed and on the second trip he took her stroller through a dense wood trail and hid behind some brush. Via found her both times.....she is getting better and better at tracking Maddie. Then we went back to 4 Paws and worked on tethering Maddie to Viva....this is where Madison is hooked to Viva and she has to staying in a down position while Madison pulls on her or while we are walking Madison is walking next to her or behind her. Although both girls are about the same weight Viva is a strong dog and is able to keep Madison from running...yeah! Then if was off to the mall again to walk through the stores, ride in elevators, and meet huge stuffed tigers. Viva also tracked a trainer twice through the shoe department and did fabulous. We ended the day with a gathering of 5/10 service dogs at our house for a potluck and trick or treating through the neighborhood. Maddie was "Batgirl" and Viva was "Wonder dog." We didn't stay out to long for Madison is now on her second round of antibiotics for a sinus infection. Zachary on the other hand took advantage of the wonderful weather and stayed out for the two hours and collected a ton of candy. He was a "Pokemon" trainer.....Happy Halloween and to all a good night! Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself! The last picture I just took is of Madison and Viva laying in bed sleeping for the 3rd night in a row....Viva is doing great...I heard Madison the other night at 2am..."Viva, oh Viva girl." So much better than "Mommy, mommy I sleep here!"

Training days 2 - 6...time flies

Day 2 is over time to take Viva home and introduce her to the Harley and our neighbors....

Training Day 3 -- Another intense day of training Viva or should I say Viva's parents. We started out our AM session with a bit of tracking work. Maddie ran off with another trainer and Viva searched her out in about 5 minutes. Maddie was hiding behind a shed and Viva was so excited to "find" her. I started to tear up realizing that my greatest "fear" of losing Maddie has been lessened by the mere presence of Viva. Then we worked on basic obedience and then ended class with Viva teaching us how to “lap” (putting her paw or muzzle on Maddie) and “over” which is laying on Maddie for deep pressure input. Our evening ended with a fast pace 1 mile heel walk and then books in bed with Madison; where Viva stayed for 10minutes before jumping down. Our goal is for her to sleep all night in her bed. A wonderful day had by all. Now to attend to Maddie girl who has a cold. Thank you to all those who have left wonder posts of support.

Day 4 - tracking and outing to the mall. Viva did fantastic in finding M in the woods and was a trooper while we walked around the mall for 3+ hrs and no loot in hand! She even tolerated an extremely rude/uneducated woman (Mommy not so much)....and to top it off she laid on M while I gave meds and cleaned her screaming and she just spent an hour in her bed. Yippee a great day

Day 5 - Saturday morning started with Viva tracking Madison and Mommy. The first track was rough because Viva is still trying to memorize her Madison’s scent but she found us. Then onto basic obedience and lots of loving from Maddie. It is amazing to watch the bond form! We took Viva to Subway for lunch where she wasn’t even noticed while we ate our subs…and Madison was easily directed to sit back down “next to Viva” normally we would have to chase her around the restaurant a few times. Then back to the center where we learned about the feed/grooming of our service dog. Back home tonight and we tried our own tracking trek in the neighborhood tonight…and Viva did well until she meet a neighbor’s dog but she did find Maddie on a swing set and was super excited. Then at bedtime with protest from Maddie to brush her teeth I decided Viva needed her teeth brushed so we did that first and Maddie was then happy to comply! As I write this post Viva just came down the stairs after two hours of laying in bed with our little girl who is coughing up a lung!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Training Day

What a wonderful first day of training. We started the day off super excited to meet Viva girl. We arrived at 4 Paws with the other 9 families and had to wait forever to finally get her out of her cage. Madison kept saying "Let Viva out" over and over. She is a beautiful golden yellow color and is so lovable. Aftrer our family meeting with her it was down to the business of training. Although she already knows 40 commands we worked with her on sit, down and stay. It was an intense emotional day one. Side note the lead trainer saw her doing detection work "seizure alerting" on Madison at 11:48am and tonight she developed a runny nose and fever.....amazing already! (Pictures are in reverse order)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Columbus Marathon

I can mark another "life" goal completed. This past Sunday I ran in the Columbus Marathon for 26.2 miles...It was a difficult task but I finished. Mike and the kids greeted me at the 18 mile marker and then Zach ran me in at the finish line. The weather was great and the race course was great...lots of spectators and running through the campus was fun! Post-race: I am feeling good....toes hurt but I am thinking of signing up for a 1/2 marathon in the near future.
Kuddos goes out to Karen and Hollee for completing the race too! And to cousin, Lisa for running her first ever race and 1/2 marathon at that! Girl Power.....

Meet the newest member of our family.....

We found out on Saturday that Madison's new service dog is a Golden Retriever. Her name is VIVA....she was born on 28 July 2010....I've attached her "puppy" picture and her most recent picture...she is just beautiful. Madison is soooo excited to meet her as are the rest of us! When I showed her the photos on my phone she started kisses my starts next Tuesday!