I feel really really good about this. Darcie keeps checking in on me to make sure I'm feeling okay, but the truth is I really do feel pretty good. I feel more at peace and I love having snuggle time with Owen. My tics seem to be diminished when I get to snuggle with him, and I am noticing that out in public I have so much to focus on that my tics have to take a back seat. All of this and I haven't even had him do any tasks yet!
Tomorrow we will get to do some of his pressure tasks. Owen really seems to love doing these with Darcie, in fact he tries to do them without her asking a lot of the time. I haven't gotten to do any of them with me because we were waiting until our "pack" was established. Having a dog lay on top of you to apply pressure is putting them in a position of dominance, but even though Owen is helping me I am the alpha in the relationship. Owen is doing really well heeling next to me and listening to me for commands (he even stayed in a down-stay today while Darcie played with the cat toys, Owen's toys, and Toby - he really really wanted to get up, but he didn't), so because he is listening to me and respecting me, we get to start with deep pressure tasks tomorrow.
This morning Darcie and Owen came over to my apartment and we worked on having Owen do more basic obedience tasks for me. Toby is getting more and more interested in playing with Owen as time goes on, a few times today he almost initiated play with him! Darcie and I also outlined the next week today; tomorrow night Owen will start staying with me all the time which means anywhere I go, he goes too. We will get to be on our own from Friday night until Sunday morning, so we will get to do things by ourselves (kind of like a test to flush out any problems we are having). So far, I think the plan will be to go places I normally go - the grocery store, hobby lobby, and perhaps out to lunch or dinner somewhere - and just take it easy and go at a very slow pace without any expectations or pressure. We also decided - tentatively - that I am going to take my public access tests a week from tomorrow (scary!).
|Snoozing in the computer lab|
I had a meeting this afternoon, but afterwards Darcie, Owen, and I met up at Gonzaga to do some work around campus. We walked around the education building and then went into various classrooms so that I could see where Darcie recommends placing Owen depending on the type of desks in the room. I got to practice placing Owen in and under under some of the desks and we got lots of good practice heeling. We also started to practice with the mobility harness which was... very short lived. I'm about two inches too tall for the height his harness is at, and because it is such an important piece of equipment, it really has to be just right. So tonight, we measured Owen and I ordered my very own (very very expensive) Bold Lead Designs mobility harness. It is totally beautiful and is the best harness available right now. Darcie was telling me that even with the harness that Owen has now (which was the best one available at the time they bought it), dogs can still physically break down using it. Whereas the BLD harness (while albeit very expensive) is much better because was designed by service dog handlers with veterinarian input to make sure it is as safe as possible for the dog. They are also custom-made for each dog/handler partnership so it will take approximately four weeks to get it. In the mean-time I'm going to use my super-crafting skills to jerry-rig a fleece insert of sorts that should raise the handle height enough that I can use the harness to stabilize myself (but not brace or anything heavy-duty) while I wait for my state-of-the-art, did I mention very expensive, harness to arrive. I will also have Owen's handsome Heeling Allies vest to use if I want to.
|(Probably) The biggest dog in the world!|
From there we went to Walgreens to pick some things up, a super quick in and out trip, and then we went home. Thankfully. I think both Owen and I were pretty wiped out by the end of the day.