Saturday, December 15, 2012

My shadow

Owen has turned into my shadow overnight.  Even in my teeny tiny apartment, if I get up and go somewhere, Owen gets up and goes somewhere.  If I go to the bathroom, Owen goes too.  If I go to cook in the kitchen, Owen flops down behind me with a big sigh.  If I go sit on the couch... Owen thinks he should come too. :)  Once he realizes that big sad puppy-dog eyes won't work, he lays down on his bed and falls asleep.  (He did get up on the couch this afternoon when we were napping, but he got down on his own after a while - I guess I wasn't a good napping companion!)  He isn't supposed to be on the couch or bed without me asking him up, and I am being careful to not set a precedent on his first day here that he is always allowed up when I am.

He was pretty convinced that he was allowed in bed last night.  He sat by the side of the bed and rested his head on the mattress and stared at me.  Once he realized it was a "no" and I gave him lots of pets and praise for being on his bed, he settled in for the night.  Poor Toby had this look on his face that said something along the lines of "I thought the dog was just visiting!"  But he seems to be over it today.

Owen is a great sleeping companion, he slept all the way until my alarm went off, and then was perfectly happy to go sleep in the living room while I got ready this morning.  He was also very good at napping this afternoon; we both were.

Today was our day by ourselves and it went really well.  I'm exhausted.  Owen is exhausted.  But it went really well.  First thing this morning, the maintenance guy came to the apartment to fix my washing machine so Owen and I got to practice his down-stay while the guy was working on the machine.  After that we got ready to go.

First, we went to Hobby Lobby (I needed something for holiday gifts).  It was really busy and we pretty much got stared at by everybody we ran into, but Owen was a pro.  He naturally did a "front" for me when I stopped to look at things (front being where he stands in front of me horizontally) and did very good heeling throughout the store.  As we were trying to go to the checkout though, a woman came barreling down an aisle with a cart and didn't see us until she was practically on top of us.  Owen didn't startle or anything, but he did try to sniff her cart while I was trying to keep walking.  I'll talk with Darcie on how best to handle things like that tomorrow.

After Hobby Lobby, we went grocery shopping.  I know that eventually Owen will make errands like this easier, but it was very mentally taxing trying to hold a list, push a cart, and worry about Owen while navigating the store.  Thankfully, there was one of those mini-carts available.  I really don't know how I would have managed a big cart and Owen.  One of those things I'll ask Darcie's opinion on tomorrow.  I think a lot of this will get easier with time though.  Owen did great at the grocery store, he tried to sniff some produce and I think I had him totally confused while shopping because I kept backtracking and turning around (something I do anyway when I shop - I'm just not used to having a dog follow me around while I do it!). 

Owen was fired up when we got home and decided to try and play with Toby again.  Toby was not expecting Owen to chase him (and as much as I love my cat, he isn't very graceful) and somehow they managed to slam an end table into the wall at just the right angle to break an outlet cover.  Luckily my dad is visiting next weekend, I normally leave projects like that for him to worry about when he gets here.  After chasing the cat, Owen and I both settled in for a very long, very much needed, nap.

Eventually though, dinners needed to be eaten, so Owen and I both got up so I could fix both of us food.  After he ate his dinner though, I eventually relegated him to his bed because he kept following me around the apartment, even though I wouldn't stay anywhere more than a few minutes, and I could tell he really just wanted to sleep in his bed.  We did some cuddling in the form of deep pressure, and we are about to go out for the last time tonight before everybody in my apartment turns in for the night.  I have some very tired and over-stimulated animals.

Owen and I have an early morning tomorrow, he and Darcie are coming to work with me.  Should be fun!  I hope...

Sorry for the lack of pictures today, that was too much to worry about while we were out.  I'll try and take more pictures tomorrow.


  1. Ben is still my shadow after all this time. My apartment (the one I moved into is tiny) and no matter where I go Ben is there. Even at my parent's home with all the other dogs and distractions he is always around. I've gotten pretty used to have a four legged person in the bathroom with me whenever I head there whether it's only for a moment or for a shower.

    Grocery shopping is hard! I personally think it is one of the hardest things to do with a service dog. The cart, the list, the dog, the harness, the people - it's a lot to try and manage. It can seem like a balancing act especially if there are a lot of people in the store. I'm impressed you tried it so soon! Sounds like it went pretty well too. :)

    Keep hanging in there. Sounds like you are both pretty worn out but learning a lot. Don't let the little things that aren't quite perfect discourage you. You have a long time to perfect them.

    <3 - Kate and Ben

    Oh and the cat thing - our cats were not happy campers to see a new dog enter their domain. They hit him on the nose a few times so he eventually got it. Or maybe Toby will start to play with him. :)

    1. Darcie was saying that Owen is a "shadow" dog for sure! Darcie also said that Owen will say hello to you in the shower; haven't experienced that yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time! My cat views the bathroom as his own personal territory (like he does the rest of the apartment), so I'm pretty used to four-legged people everywhere anyway. :)

      Yeah... Darcie was like, you went grocery shopping?! We normally do that on the second week. Whoops! I needed food, but I do admit I eventually decided that what was left on my list wasn't very necessary by the time I was almost through. I guess it gets better? Ha.

      Toby seems pretty happy (as happy as a cat ever lets you know they are) to have Owen in the apartment. I think he gets lonely and is liking having a companion, and he has tried to initiate play a few times. They just haven't quite figured it out yet. Toby isn't shy at all about Owen, I was getting ready for work this morning and came out of the bedroom to find Owen sitting outside his kennel staring at Toby who had decided that now was a good time to sleep in the crate. Poor Owen didn't know what to do!