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June 6 update

Loretta is getting very good with the kitty. Yesterday she sat nicely while Solo wandered around the room and played and Pete read my puppy profile. I'm very impressed with her puppy environment, and I think it will prepare her nicely for her work with me. She doesn't seem to have had a ton of exposure to small children; but she has had quite a bit of exposure to offices, nursing homes and wheelchairs. This will come in handy if I do hospital visitations, etc., or if I do any other work with people with disabilities. With her temperament, I doubt that children will be a problem. She is quite gentle with the cat and tolerant of pets from adults while sitting. Tolerance of pets while sitting is the key to successful child interaction in my experience.

Yesterday afternoon, I dressed in something similar to what I would wear to seminary (for my own benefit because it changes the way that I carry myself), and we did some work with Loretta taking verbal commands while I pulled my computer bag. Since I started using the rolling bag after retiring meg, this was actually more of a challenge than I expected it to be. I have to remember to put force back on the bag if we are going downhill or slowing down so that the momentum doesn't cause it to press on me and interfere with my reading of Loretta's signals. Using the cane in my right hand and pulling the bag with my left, I took it for granted that I could stop the motion whenever I wanted to. I had plenty of warning because the cane always gave me two or three steps to stop. Loretta and I stop in sync; and it takes much faster reflexes to stop a bag in motion on a dime like that.

We worked through streets, weird intercections, a park, and an office building with an elevator and stairs. That just about covers our route to and from campus: streets, a run through a park across the bridge, and a building with stairs and an elevator. Loretta did very well with the doors that open toward me on her side, which I have to hold and let go at the last minute to get the bag in. These are things that spooked Meg; so I am pleased to see such an encouraging pattern with them.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 7th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
They will train you on escallators if you want it, but many people choose to avoid them and use stairs or elevators instead. (That is my preference, and I opt out of escallator training.) Escallators and moving sidewalks tend to be dangerous and frightening for dogs, and once upon a time the schools recommended avoidance. They started offering training because some people could not avoid using them and the schools felt it was better to teach safe usage than to discourage it and have people ending up with injured dogs due to lack of knowledge. That is the very long way of saying it's up to you. I can understand why it was frightening to you, especially with your issues with stairs. If your one leg remained on the immobile ground and your other was moving, no wonder you felt that sensation. Someone was probably yelling at you to hop on, and that wouldn't have been a very comfortable thing for you to do. Using an escallator really requires quite a bit of coordination. If you have difficulty with this, there's not a thing wrong with taking the stairs or elevator. They just may be difficult to find.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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