This morning was quiet relaxing to know that we only had to go to the mall. We have to leave at least twenty minutes before we are supposed to be at 4 Paws but since the mall is just up the road from our hotel, we had that much extra time in the morning. :o)
We went with Jeremy into Dick's Sporting Goods and started working with Dublin there. Judd and I both hid with her as the other talked Dublin up into tracking. The tracks went well and Jeremy talked through everything that Dublin was doing really well. He explained why he was going this way and that way for the scent and saying when Dublin had a "head snap." It was good to go to the mall today and get more play by play on indoor tracking. We went back to the play area within the mall and allowed Jacey to go play for a bit so she would be happy. She loved running from one structure to the next. She did really well with being tethered when we walked from the play area to the stores and back. We also went with Jessa and tracked within JcPenney's (I think that was it). We did a total of six tracks between Jeremy and Jessa and each track that I personally went on, I became more confident and understood the things that I need to do to make sure that Dublin stays with the scent. It was neat to see when he got super close to her how much his tail started wagging back and forth. His enthusiasm for finding Jacey was wonderful to see.
We went back to 4 Paws after we had our tracks at the mall and continued more distraction work...just making it more and more distracting for the dogs to stay focused. Dublin did very well with this except for a stuffed dog they have named "French Fry". He got a little too excited over it when one of the other little boys started to push it across the floor. After a quick correction, Dublin went back into a down and was better about watching me. We also worked on giving commands with only our hand signs or words. Dublin did pretty good, but it is definitely something that I will continue to work with him on at home. We also worked the dogs off leash today to make sure that they still have respect for us and still listen. Dublin is a super good dog and does very well. I am just soooooo grateful that 4 Paws was here to train him and prepare him for Jacey...for us! After having a puppy for a few short months, I know that I wouldn't have been able to train a dog on my own. The amount of time that is spent on each dog is incredible. Thank you 4 Paws!!!
After lunch, Jeremy went over any questions we had regarding tracking from this morning. We will definitely have to go on daily tracks with Jacey to continue to have Dublin memorize her scent and especially for us to learn to read him while tracking. He then went over the things that we must show tomorrow during our "public access" test. Jeremy also went over traveling with our dogs and the things we need to do to prepare them for a trip. Thank goodness Dublin's foster family has flown with him...at least twice...so that he shouldn't be too nervous about the three flights we have to get home.
He also discussed things to do if we have other animals at home. Since we have Sasha (dog), at home and she is so submissive, I don't think we have a lot to worry about. However, we are still planning on having Judd's brother and his wife take Sasha for about a week when we get home so that we can establish a routine and rules within our home for Dublin. Then we will introduce them and have both of them. I am beginning to think I'm a touch crazy for having two dogs, but thank goodness Sasha is so lazy! :o) I'm hoping that all goes well between the two of them and that we don't have problems with Dublin bonding more with another "body" in our house more than Jacey. That is going to be critical! Bailey and Carsten already understand that Sasha is their dog and that Dublin is for Jacey. Hopefully we don't have to remind them of this too much.
I feel pretty good about the test tomorrow. It will take about twenty to thirty minutes and then we will have a restaurant part of the test where we demonstrate that we can handle the dog within a restaurant setting. It is funny though because they told us today that part of the test is dropping the leash while in a heel and then immediately picking it back up again. This is to show that the dog isn't going to run off. :o) I'm going to practice with Dublin tonight to see what his reaction is to this so that I am prepared for tomorrow. Overall, I think it will go well. I guess I'll find out soon enough because we are the first of the bunch to begin the public access test. After we complete this portion, we (really, just me) will go to 4 Paws and complete the needed paperwork. Judd and I have decided that he will stay here at the hotel with Jacey and attempt getting some work done while I go and do the test and paperwork with Dublin.
After we have completed our test and paperwork we don't have to be back at 4 Paws until around two o'clock for our graduation. :o) I can't believe this day is just about here. Jeremy and Jennifer reassured us all that we will do just fine on the test tomorrow. This class has gone amazingly fast.
::Sigh:: I got my Olive Garden fix tonight. :o) It was good! The company we had was great too! We went with another family from class and enjoyed sharing stories about all the things our kids have done, gotten into, escaped from, etc. It was great to sit with another family as Jacey scavenged the spaghetti off my plate as soon as it hit the table. In fact, she couldn't leave my plate of food alone the entire meal. Knowing that Jacey was acting this way and knowing that the other family understood completely where we were at was a wonderful feeling. I feel extremely blessed having gone on this trip not only for Dublin but also for the time we've had to meet other families in the same boat as us and to know that we are truly not alone in our frustrations...or our good moments.
I am so grateful for all the men and women who have made this possible. To know that in less than two weeks, we were done fundraising for Jacey's service dog and to know that we would be in this December class was something I never expected. Without the giving hearts of both friends, family and complete strangers, we would not be here. Thank you so much! I feel blessed beyond belief!!! Thank you for all that you have done. I am so grateful for 4 Paws as well. They are an amazing organization that changes lives for the better. I am completely behind 4 Paws and would love for people (including Judd and I) to continue to donate to them. They know what they are doing. They have a passion for it. And they do this for children. That is their focus - children! You know they have their hearts in the right place. If you are interested in donating to 4 Paws, you can always go to their website to do so at www.4PawsForAbility.org/donation.html
Judd and I both look forward to getting home and seeing our other children who we have missed terribly since being here. I know they are counting down the days until we get home which makes me smile. It is soooo nice to talk to them each day but I miss their silliness, smiles, and especially their hugs and kisses.
Well, I need to go practice with Dublin before my pillow starts hollering too loud and wakes everyone up around us! Have a great night...because today has been a great day! Keep your fingers crossed that I do well on the public access test and that I pass our class! :o)