I wasn't going to write a note today because I am tired, grouchy, and I have a headache. Since being tired and having a headache is part of my life 99% of the time that I am awake, I decided that the additional being grouchy part is a lame reason to not write about our progress today. One day, I will look back on our notes and see how far we've come. I will appreciate that I took the time to document our every step.
Kris came over again today to do neutral dog practice and to work on a few other things she wanted to work on with Malachi for his upcoming therapy dog test. She really has little to worry about with him. He is just a big moose. I think they will do better on the test than she thinks they will. Practice makes perfect though, so we keep practicing.
Kris ran through the entire Delta evaluation with me and Topher. Wes watched. She is not allowed to see or work with Tanker yet because she is still his evaluator. I am really glad that she went through the test with me. Topher did not have much difficulty, but I did. My processing speed and coordination are so messed up. Multitasking is very difficult. Watching, thinking, and acting are three things I have a hard time putting together. Stupid brain injury. By the time we get through practicing over and over again, I hope that I will know the test like the back of my hand and I will not mess anything up on the day of evaluation. I sure messed up a lot today, but Kris is so very patient, and so very kind, and extremely encouraging to me. Have I ever mentioned how much I look up to her? She is a great mentor. I love her to pieces and I am blessed to have her in my life.
Topher did the neutral dog portion of the test PERFECT! He didn't seem nervous. That part of the test was my biggest obstacle and I am proud to say that I think we have overcome it. Yay Topher! Honestly, I think he really likes Malachi. He has yet to be allowed to sniff him or have any contact with him except for looking across the driveway at him, but I can tell by his interest in Malachi that they will be great playmates once we can allow them to interact. Right now we have to keep them as neutral dogs to each other for practice purposes until the test next week. After that, they can play and act like dogs together all they want.
Topher showed a couple of stress signs throughout our mock test, but they were very minimal. He only licked his lips a few times during times that he was just a little unsure. Of course, his handler (me) has difficulties of her own, so the fact that he can deal with his miscombobulated mom and the situations he as to go though on the test shows that he is a pretty good dog. Topher is such a calm dog that I have to engage with him a little more to "revv" him back up sometimes. When he is a little unsure about something, if I say, "yay Topher, good boy" and pet his ears, he perks right up and says, "oh okay, it must be okay" and he usually wags his tail. I have to work a little harder at reading his body language. I had difficulties today with following directions, carrying out the actions of what I was supposed to be doing, watching his body language, and reacting to him to encourage him. Kris really helped me with that. Again, the more I practice the test, the more I will learn it so that it's like second nature. Then my simple mind can focus on Topher more. Stupid brain injury.
Overall, Topher did great! He is the perfect dog for me. Blondie really must have gone to Heaven and sent him to me because I really can't think of anything he could do better to help me overcome some of the issues I am dealing with. If he wasn't helping me in any other area, him helping me gain confidence is enough. What a great dog!
Once Kris left, Wes got Tanker out and we went through the test with him in the driveway with a neighbor. Tanker does excellent. The only issue he is having is with the restraining hug. He gets excited and wants to play. When he wants to play, he talks. Unfortunately, that would make him fail his test. So what are we doing this week? We are taking the dogs out to stores every day to have as many strangers we can find to hug Tanker.
I took a few pictures of Wes and Tanker practicing.
About The Foster Zoo
- Lindsay, Wes, and The Zoo Crew
- We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.