Friday, June 26: Day 7
He was so excited to see me today! He ran to the end of his leash and half jumped up, then spent a while snuffling at my hands and my legs, shoving his face against me and panting happily. While dogs pant when they are stressed, that doesn’t seem to be a habit of Hudson’s – he yawns, but when he’s panting, he seems to be happy.
We talked about yesterday, and I just about cried when I told them how different the public responded to me. I know that for people whose disabilities are invisible (like our two with seizures), it can be uncomfortable to have your disability become visibly manifested in having a service dog, but for me, it was so liberating to not have my disability be the focus of the majority of my interactions with strangers.
We did more obedience work today – heeling correctly, down-stays (where you have your dog lay down and stay there, even if you walk away), food refusal, so on. Then we talked about how dogs play together, and the best way to introduce strange dogs and figure out if it’s safe to have them play together. I thought to myself well, Hudson hasn’t had the chance to really play, so after class I’ll see if I can get someone else to stay and let our two dogs play!
We got all kinds of instructions on what to do this evening, when we go home. I felt bad for the poor dogs – they haven’t eaten for 24 hours, so that they can be switched over to their new foods if their new person is feeding something different (I’m not) and so that they’ll still eat their dinner even if they’re being fed the same thing.
Then there was a talk about the daily ‘well dog’ check we should be giving. Phew, I swear we check every part of the dog, nose to butt! Hudson was NOT keen on this.
Finally, we were done for the day. Ye gods these days are long. N and Claire stayed to play with Hudson and I. The two dogs know each other well, and as soon as we had them out of harness and off leash, the two took off running for all their doggy worth around the play yard! I think we were there for 20 minutes before we called it quits, and from all appearances they had a good time.
It was a little hard to convince Hudson to step on his bed – I had to lure him with a toy – but once he was on it, he didn’t want to get off! After a year of living in a kennel, it must have felt like a great luxury to him, and he heaved a huge sigh before he started nuzzling into it. He spent most of the rest of the evening curled up on it, and wasn’t much interested in the toys I’d brought for him. Oh well. I tried! His trainer says he likes these ones, so maybe he was just too nervous.