Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hardy's first time in vest out in public

Over the past couple days, I've come to realize that I'm having a flair of the rheumatoid arthritis in my chest wall. Besides being tiring and painful - it's hard to breath; Laurel gets worried because she knows that I'm having a problem but when she alerts and I take my medications, the pain caused by the rheumatoid stays instead of going away. So she alerts more and really doesn't like to be away from me. Unfortunately, here in Canada, there are more times when we have to be apart than when we are at home - sometimes just because I'm in another part of the house and she needs to stay in our bedroom or because I'm taking a class or doing something with Hardy.
Although I have worked very hard to keep Laurel from suffering separation anxiety, I hadn't considered that we would need to work on her being okay when she knew I was having medical problems and she had to be away from me. We are trying to use her love of pigs' ears as a way to distract her during these situations and it seems to be working, at least for short separations! Hardy knows that something is up with Laurel because she isn't as interested in playing and he seems to be trying to figure out what is going on.
We took Hardy out to a restaurant for his first public access experience (dressed) during the K9Helpers club meeting on Wednesday. Another club member's dog was with us as well. Hardy sat with me for a couple minutes and then Sue put him on the floor in a down stay. He put his head down and did a beautiful job. A short while later, he was sleeping. It was a terrific success!

Yesterday, Sue and I decided to go to the Six Nations reservation to get some moose hide for moccasins. We decided to not take our service dogs because the reservation is sovereign land and not covered by the service dog laws of Ontario. We didn't want to offend anyone and felt it might be considered disrespectful. We also didn't want to run into an access problem. It was the longest time I had left Laurel while she was struggling with knowing that I was having medical problems. John was home with the dogs and said that from time to time Laurel would let out a tragic mournful howl. I heard it just as we were coming into the house and it broke my heart. We'd had a lovely drive and a pleasant afternoon but that kind of ruined it all. It also enforced my determination to help Laurel be okay if she has to be away from me and I am having the medical problems she alerts to. Also, I'll do whatever I can to avoid this with Hardy and hopefully being more aware will help.
We also have a mystery on our hands right now. The other day, I left Hardy out in our little side yard while I took a shower. Sue knocked on the door and asked me if I had put Hardy in the back yard with Yarrow (a white Standard Poodle owned by K9 Helpers). Of course, I hadn't and we have no idea how Hardy got from his side yard to the back yard. Obviously, he went over or under the fence separating the yards but the back yard is about 7 - 8 feet lower than the side one. He must have either slid down a wall or fallen but he seems to have survived it without any damage and fortunately, he and Yarrow were getting along just fine.

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