Well, you haven't heard anything in a while from me because I continued to get bigger and bigger until I felt like I was going to explode...thankfully, I didn't! And then on January 25th at 11:00 pm, the chaos in our house rose by one when Trevin Thomas entered the world. He weighed in at six pounds thirteen ounces and measured twenty and a half inches long. We got to the hospital and had thirty minutes before he was here. Don't worry - I got my drugs in time!!! :o) All went well and we are now home adjusting to the new routine. Sorry, but I am a prideful parent and must include some pictures to show off our little one.
I know, I know...you didn't come by my blog to see if I was still pregnant or not (I hope you didn't anyways!). Things are still progressing. Slowly. But progressing. We continue to work with Dublin bonding more with Jacey which is a little difficult, in my opinion. Jacey has had NOOOOO problem bonding with Dublin but she has been somewhat aggressive with him. She tries to pull his tail and ears (not surprised by this), but she has also decided that head butting him seems appropriate, not just on his head but on his sides and back as well. I am still learning so much about Autism and ways to work with Jacey, but I must say that I'm at a loss for what to do with her aggressive behaviors. She and Kenna can get into it (and do) sometimes. Jacey will push Kenna, pull her hair, or lean into her which drives Kenna crazy. Kenna on the other hand has learned to fight back and will pinch, hit or pull Jacey's hair. Sorry, back to Dublin and Jacey.... She is just rough with him when she seeks out his attention. He will be laying on the floor and as she runs full steam ahead at him, he will sit up as if to brace himself for the onslaught.
Don't get me wrong, Dublin is doing well with Jacey but I just don't feel like he is one hundred percent bonded to Jacey, unless of course she has food! So, what am I doing to work on this? Jacey is quite a busy little three year old girl. She attends Special Ed Preschool in the mornings and gets home to ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) in the afternoons...EVERY DAY! With this busy schedule, I have found that I will have Jacey's Hab Aid give Jacey treats when she has done well with something to give to Dublin. Dublin is much more apt to hang around with the treats being thrown at him. Also, Jacey has been coming and laying down on the floor at random times in the afternoon and evenings. I will call Dublin over to her and have him do an "over" on Jacey and I'll tell Jacey that they are snuggling. She giggles and eventually wants him off. I will repeat this over and over as I rub and pet Dublin, telling him what a good boy he is. I am also observing Jacey closely as she runs about the house and if I catch her being rough with him, I will go over and show her, hand-over-hand, how to pet him and give him loves.
The other thing we have discovered needing to work with Dublin on is NOT growling and sometimes barking. I have finally decided to call and talk with Jeremy, the head trainer at 4 Paws, about this because what we were taught to do in class is just not working. What were we taught to do? We cover his muzzle with our hand and tell him no. Then if the growling or barking was caused by something he is unsure about, then we need to introduce him to it and talk to him and tell him what a silly boy he is, giving treats as we talk. The PROBLEM - Dublin continues to growl and tries to back away from what we are doing and will NOT eat the treats we offer him. That definitely says something! We know exactly what it is he is growling and barking at - Judd. Not that it happens every day and every time he comes across Judd. It seems to be only after Judd spends time in the garage. Strange you may say, but it is what Judd was doing out in the garage that is what Dublin is unsure of - coyotes, fox, beaver, muskrat and whatever else Judd may have been working on related to his trapping. Dublin does not like the pants Judd wears to work on his hides, nor the smell that apparently is on Judd when he comes in.
This past Saturday, we finally got a babysitter and went to town with just Jacey and Dublin to do some tracks. Judd had heard of an auction going on and thought we could get some tracks done in the building it was being held in. Of course, after looking at a few items Judd thought he might be interested in. Dublin was an excellent dog when we entered the room where the auction was held and was soon after barked at by some some little dogs. Dublin's tail stayed up and continued to "heel" to Judd. The owners of these little dogs had to holler and yell at them to come back and to stop. It was quite a little scene during this auction. I mean, how could you miss three little yappy, barking dogs in a fairly quiet room?! I was very proud of Dublin for staying in a "heel" and not being phased by the dogs. I know this was because of his upbringing before he came to our home! Thank goodness for that!!! Anyhew, while we were at the auction, we walked down a few aisles of tables looking at the different items. There came a point where Dublin broke command and refused to go any further. I quickly looked around and saw animal hides layed out on a table we were nearing. Like I said, I am definitely going to call Jeremy about this. Luckily Dublin only broke command and didn't growl or bark. I'll keep you posted as to what happens with this.
So, we did go tracking on Saturday WITHOUT our cheering section. AKA - Bailey, Carsten, and Kenna. let me tell you, it was soooo nice not having to have the eyes on the back of my head up and running. Trevin behaved himself well and slept the entire time in our Baby B'jorn I wore. Jacey also did great with being tethered to Dublin. It has been a while since we have done that with her and I feared it would only lead to the same behaviors as trying to hold her hand. She loved it!!! She was allowed to run "free" and not be held with a tight grip on her hand. We did just a couple of tracks in this tiny mall because there wasn't much to it in hallways or places to go to hide. So we also went to the real mall. Holy cow, I guess we picked a bad day because it was horrendously busy. I guess that's good for doing tracks but both Judd and I were glad to get out of the chaos when we left.
We thought we would try some tracks outside of the department stores, down the main walkways of the mall. I must say, Dublin is very impressive! He found his girl every time. Knowing how many scents he had to weed through to find hers, we were exhilarated to know he could find her. I must say, I got a little over-confident at the end about my "ability" to read him. Judd and I had agreed on a location just inside a major department store. When we got to that intersection, Dublin continued to pull me hard towards a Hallmark store. I thought in my head that maybe Judd had wanted to trick me by going in to this other store instead of the one we had agreed on so I continued to let Dublin pull me in the direction he wanted to go. We got to the entrance of the store and one of the workers told me that it looked like I was "being taken for a walk." I didn't stop to tell her that Dublin's job was to track his little girl should she get away from us. Kind of funny to think that this lady had thought of this "service" dog taking it's owner for a walk. It must have been a sight knowing that I had Trevin in the Baby B'jorn, covered with a blanket and me being pulled by this large black dog! Needless to say, Judd had not tricked me and was standing out of sight just inside the department store. Dublin found his girl eventually but I know that I became over confident in reading his body language when seeing Judd and Jacey where they were supposed to be. I retraced our steps with Dublin and he found her. I know I should have paused longer at the intersection to make sure that is what Dublin wanted to do. It goes to show how Jeremy was right when he said that rooms breath, either in or out. I figure with the way Dublin was pulling me to this Hallmark store, that the department store Judd and Jacey were in definitely breathed out, causing Jacey's scent to go into the Hallmark store. It also reminded me that along with this breathing that rooms have, that a person has a "scent cone" and will drift in the direction of the airflow.
I must say it was funny that while we were at our "real" mall, security stopped us twice because of Dublin. The second security guard just wanted to "remind" us that the only pets allowed in the mall were service animals. Well, yes, we knew this considering the dog we had was a service dog which was wearing his harness (which technically he doesn't have to wear to be allowed in public places). In fact the first security guard that stopped Judd said he was sorry, that he hadn't seen the patch on the harness. It's funny how a simple patch can make you look like you're allowed to be there. I could have had Sasha, our other dog who isn't as well-behaved when it comes to commands as Dublin. "Oh sorry sir, I didn't see the patch." It's a funny thought in my head, hopefully it is yours too!
I also wanted to thank everyone who helped make Dublin a reality in Jacey's life. This past Sunday at church, I gave a lesson in a class with just women on the subject of service. I was reminded of what amazing service we were given when we were fundraising. It blew Judd and I out of the water with quality of people that came forward wanting to help. Thank you for all that you have done for our family and especially Jacey. She is a happier girl with Dublin around...if only she knew how to be a tad bit gentler. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't look at Dublin and think about all the people that made him a reality. Thank you for your service that was shown to Jacey, whether it was time, a talent, money, or spreading the word. Thank you....
With that said, it is getting later in the evening and Trevin has yet to have his awake time tonight which should make for an interesting night. Thanks for following our journey with Jacey and Dublin!