All in a Dane’s work

Hi, Friends –

My days start out as normal as it gets around here. That is to say, I’m sure not anyone else’s vision of normal, but isn’t that just an agreed upon construct anyway? I mean really, I think normal should be kibble and cuddles in the morning, followed by some zoomies in the yard, a nice nap, then maybe some lap-sits followed by another nap. Maybe, since I love my job I could walk Dad through a hardware store or maybe the local Ranch & Feed store for a new toy. Is THAT my normal day? NO! I have to wake up before the sun so Dad can stay home and go to work in Connecticut…from home…we live in Oklahoma folks! Way to let go of the past Dad! I hang out with the cats most of the day, but I always check in to see if he needs me, or on the chance, I get to work.

It’s not all being lazy, yesterday we voted on a school board referendum, then renewed the registration for my SUV (and mom’s). After that, we dropped Mom at home and stopped to see Mr. Brendan for a haircut (Dad’s, not mine). I get groomed in the back yard like some kind of dog! It wasn’t too much work, but it’s always good to get out.

Today was a bit more of the same, kibble then naps then  some zoomies and complaining that my sister was getting ALL the Dad time. He assured me that when he was done working I would get a chance to work today. I kept checking in to see if it was time, but he kept telling me we had to wait. Finally, he was done! I took off my PJ’s (my home harness) and dressed for work. We headed out with Mom and went to meet the eldest puppy at her school. Dad had a 3ELove shirt on so I knew we had official disability business to take care of.

We waited in the front office for classes to let out, then we made our way back to a conference room. There was a long table in the center of the room (kind of the hallmark of a conference room). We sat at the far head of the table, with me to Dad’s right, and Mom to my right. People slowly filed in while some introductions were made, others were not. (No accounting for class, but dad let it slide for some reason. – He told me later that he didn’t want to add tension to the room and most often it’s wiser to be silent.) We were there to observe, how things were unfolding with the school’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) board; specifically how they were going to handle Lily’s case. This was the second meeting, the first happened without us, and it blind-sided Mom. Dad would have had feedback had he been there., based on what Mom told him. This one was more or less paperwork but we’ll be there to ensure this plan is implemented correctly and that our girl gets what she needs.

Everyone was nice enough, and Dad purposely excluded his read of the room. (both from this post and mostly from the girls). From what we heard, the next step is a series of academic testing so they have a baseline for her. Dad’s a bit apprehensive, but as long as the facilitator is calm and personable things should go fairly well. (We met her, and Dad felt like she would be quite understanding.)

We handed out several Casper Cards and explained, where appropriate that we advocate for the disabled (…and the outcasts at large; in our home that is a thin blurred line). We’ll be back in a few weeks for follow-up. Taking these things one step at a time is the only way to go. (Paw’s & Eye’s crossed)

P.S.

We will have more on this as Dad decides how to address invisible disability and diagnoses.

Accepting small wins in training

With our last post, we gave you a series of shorts that, to my mind, never really fully developed. From the feedback in the comments, I’ve been assured that everyday insights can be just as valuable as stories of our epic adventures. With this in mind, I have no epic adventures to share today either. Just a status that is likely too long for Facebook (as I tend to get, let’s just say, descriptive and ramble on).

As many of you know Casper has a “sister” that we adopted not too terribly long ago. She’s still a pup and just to the phase where she asks to go outside when she needs to and can hold her own until she does. Being that she is a Staffordshire Terrier mix there is a difference in energy levels and personality (because I don’t think dog-ialty is a thing). Casper is done playing in about ten minutes, where Wednesday will play all day and not take the hint that an animal or human may have lost interest long ago (Ahh the joys of puppy-dom). She is also out-going where Casper is more laid back.

For this reason, we have installed several gates throughout our home to divide it into three sections. The bedrooms and 2 baths at the back. The kitchen in the middle, and the second living area that has become our office space. The office, as we call it, has a door to the back-yard, and another to the laundry room, half-bath and garage.

Most of the day I typically have the puppy in the office with me and Casper hangs out in the back of the house with the cats, who have not grown fond of Wednesday yet. It seems that a play bow translates to a sharp cat. Of course, there is an exception to every rule. His name is Crookshanks, he’s a daddy’s boy and sleeps under my desk most of the day. He’s right here by my feet as I write this. Close to me and the food bowls in the laundry. (Several times a day I have to stop to open the door to the food.)

The other reason I have the puppy with me more often is she gets too feisty for the kids, but tends to nap more with me. I just have to let her out to romp in the yard a few times a day. (She is very good at coming in to cool down.) I tend to have a bond with most, if not all of our animals, that is different from the rest of the family. Wednesday is calmer with me than the kids, so it’s easier for me to work if I don’t hear screaming over puppy nibbles and pawing all day.

Casper is also okay with this arrangement, as he gets to sleep on my bed all day. This is as long as I remember to give him attention too. This usually comes in the form of snuggles after work, and lap-sits after the puppy goes to sleep for the night in her crate. I have promised that we will go out to train once we can both be outside without the chance of heat stroke.

Today I felt I needed to single-hand 2 dogs. I’ve done this a couple times, and it usually goes like this.

Put the puppy on a lead and let Casper through a gate as he runs for the door to avoid being jumped on and nibbled. The door gets flung open and Casper runs out to his yard. I then hold back a diving pup from the closing door.

Today was a little different since the pup is weeks older and has somewhat better manners. I still put the puppy on short lead (via a harness), but this time I asked Casper to work.

I ask the puppy to sit. I open the gate and immediately ask Casper ‘with me’. This let him know to clear the gate and circle back. I had the puppy in my left hand (which is his hand/side). So I grabbed Casper with my right, while I traded lead hands and simultaneously asked Casper to “come-around” and “stay”. I asked Wednesday to sit, while Casper braced for me to keep my balance. They both know “walk-on”, so Wednesday followed my request to Casper. We made it to the door, Casper exited safely. Wednesday sat again as I closed the door and unclipped her lead. She got a cookie, and pets and went back to her mat when I asked her to go lay down.

This may be a small victory, but a victory none the less. To have these two that close together just days ago would have landed me on my back, with a play session over top of me. This leaves me with hope, that with time and training we can all occupy one uninterrupted space. Being teamed with a Secret Service Dog leaves me with high expectations, but this girl is smart and is learning fast!