I have observed that Loretta is quite sensitive to my emotions... Apparently she is also sensitive to physical changes in my body. Pete noticed on my trips that she slows at random. I have been vaguely aware that she slows a bit when I am hurting and speeds toward the ends of the trips. I have absolutely no problem with this. In fact, one of my "problems" with Meg was that she would plod on the way home and I just wanted to make it home because I was in so much pain. I am writing this paragraph mostly as a mental note to myself to make some observations about Loretta's reactions to my various physical/emotional states. This can make for a really good bond. It also makes me very cognizant of how vulnerable she is if I become too focused on my internal stress or too angry about something and show it in my work with her.
The dog/food distractions yesterday were good for me in a way. I learned later that Jeff let the dog chase me for a way on the second block. I also learned that he did this to several other students as well, and they all got angry. I suppose this was part of the idea: to make us angry while working because that will happen in real life. It may not be a dog chasing me that makes me angry, and it may not even be my dog distracting or working poorly. In my anger, I will have to determine whether my dog deserves or needs an angry, corrective voice or whether my anger is misdirected toward her. I will have to determine when I am too angry or upset to make safe traffic judgments and what to do about the situation. Yesterday, I knew that petting Loretta's wonderfully soft face would do quite nicely for reminding me that I was all right and capable of doing this stuff. So I did what would make that safe and possible: sat her at a corner. Sometimes, I may need something other than my dog's soft fur to comfort me; and in that case I will need to remember to attend to her needs while attending to my own as well.
Morning has broken. Two days until Loretta and I begin the home transition... I am both excited and anxious.