Thursday, September 22, 2011


I was doing some research on some of the next steps in Eli's ongoing training as a service dog. I found a few interesting things.
First of all, there are a lot of Chihuahua service dogs out there! It was fantastic to see all the pictures of handlers with their Chihuahua assistants. Second, I was surprised to find out how beneficial agility training is for service animals. I think Eli would love doing agility work and would probably be pretty good at it. When he and his big sister, Mei-li, run around, Mei-li hardly keeps up with him. And when Eli plays with his Aunt Delmi, my mother's German Shepherd, he keeps right up with her. The benefit of agility training with a service dog is that it strengthens the dog's compliance to command and improves their courage and stability. My concern is that I do not know how I would keep up with Eli in an agility course and, obviously, as a service dog he is supposed to listen to my command, not someone else's. I will have to investigate this avenue further.
I am trying to figure out if and/or who I should register Eli with as a service dog. It is not a legal requirement to have registration and other than the schools trained service dogs are placed from, it is difficult to find an agency that seems reputable. I am definitely ordering some photo tags, though.
I am having an asthma exacerbation. I went to the emergency room at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, Connecticut yesterday and brought Eli with me. He was behaving perfectly! The nurses loved him, as did the patient next to me. Eli was being pleasant with everyone and was not being a threat in any way whatsoever. He was fine with people touching me. Fine with all the commotion and noises. The hospital security guard came in and requested identification and paperwork for Eli. The guard was pretty gruff about it, but I showed him Eli's badge and also provided the documentation I carry in my bag, even though it is illegal to request documentation. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability. Regardless, I complied because I was not in the mood for an argument at that point, considering I could barely breathe. The security guard disgusted my respiratory therapist when he stated that infection control people may come in to talk to me about a dog being in the hospital. The therapist stated that the patients in the emergency room are more infectious than my little dog. That is very true!
Anyway, after a few minutes the Emergency Room Director came in and asked if I needed to have Eli with me. He stated that patients expressed concern about having a dog in the hospital. First of all, therapy dogs are in the hospital all the time. I explained that Eli just passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, that he is clean, up to date on all of his vaccinations, and had been behaving perfectly. The Director continued to insist that Eli be brought out to the car. This was disturbing. What if I had been brought by ambulance or my husband had not been with me? What would he have requested I do with Eli then? Eli is trained not to leave me and does not like to be without me, especially knowing that I am in need of medical attention. The patient's daughter next to me spoke up and said that her father was happy to have Eli around and had no problem with him accompanying me. The respiratory therapist could not believe the Director had my husband leave with my service dog. Yes, my husband finally conceited and left me alone in the emergency room and took my dog home. I guarantee that I will be filling out the questionnaire the hospital sends out following treatment.
Upon the advice of the respiratory therapist, the emergency room doctor consulted with my primary care physician and decided to admit me for further care. I discharged myself against medical advice.
There is a NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services) dog walk in Putnam, Connecticut this Saturday, September 24th. This walk benefits Canines for Combat Veterans. Lisa, from My Dog Training Center, LLC, will be conducting AKC Canine Good Citizen tests and may do demonstrations with her Cocker, Kach. (Eli loves playing with Kach!) The event will also feature the "Big Dog Show." They are expecting to have a number of pet education, animal rescue and other related groups in attendance for the event. The promoted idea of the event is the role service dogs have in a disabled person's life and how having a canine companion instills a sence of confidence and independence in the handler. Also, that a service dog is a cost effective alternative to physical and psychological therapies. I think Eli would be a wonderful addition to the event. I would love for him to show off his "here." Most likely he will have stage fright, as I have learned from class. But it would be awesome to show how Eli uses my cane as a focal point for staying by my side. I know Lisa would be very proud of him if he would demonstrate that skill, as would I. 8)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Doing His Job

Around four o'clock in the morning Sunday I proceeded to become very ill. Eli was in the bathroom with me when I became sweaty and light-headed. Before passing out, I unlocked and opened the bathroom door.
I am unsure as to how long I was out, but upon awakening I could hear Eli running back and forth from the master bedroom to the living room, where my son was sleeping on the couch.
When I was finally able to get up and leave the bathroom, I found Eli sitting on my son, trying to wake him up.
I am so proud of him! Even though his attempt at getting help was unsuccessful, he definitely tried. I had a discussion with my husband and my son about responding to Eli, especially when he is not with me. The problem Eli had with getting my husband's attention was that he is unable to get onto our bed by himself. We will have to get Eli a set of doggy stairs.
·. ¸ .·´ *•*CrystalLynn*•*•*
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eli is a Canine Good Citizen!

My little punkin' seed passed his CGC test! I am ultra proud of him.
I was very nervous. My anxiety increased when we had to regroup so I could get Eli to execute his stay. When we returned to the test room, Eli did it and I was ecstatic! One thing I did have to change is that I had to leave my cane behind as I walked away from him. Eli and I have been working so much on "here," which uses my cane as a touch point for him. When I left my cane behind to walk across the room, Eli stayed put. We are definitely going to have to strengthen his stay so that I can walk away with my cane. He knows what to do, though, and that is fantastic for a seven month old.
To my surprise, Eli really liked the "friendly stranger," Natasha. (I think her name is Natasha. My heart was in my throat, so I may not be remembering her name correctly.) He was great with her. He also did very well on his reaction to Lisa's German Shepherd, Rose.
I honestly prepared myself for not-so-good results today. He was a bit anxious when we arrived. He has not been there in a few weeks and he walked around with his tail tucked tightly between his legs for a little while. With all the pressure and everything we have gone through with our move, I did not expect Eli to execute the test points as well as he did. Believe me, there were glitches! That said, through it all Eli is a good boy. I guess I am doing a pretty good job helping him along, too. 8)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Canine Good Citizen Test Time

Our family has relocated and is getting settled into our new home. Making our move more stressful was the fact that the storm we had knocked out power for six days. Our new home is supplied water by a well, which made for an extra yucky situation. We survived.
Eli will be taking the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test at My Dog Training Center tomorrow afternoon. I can not say that I am completely confident.
We had an incident at a department store last week. I was walking through the store, carrying Eli, when an older woman reached over and grabbed for him. I jumped. Eli snapped at her. I got very upset at the woman and loudly said that Eli is a service dog and people can not be reaching for service animals. Eli had a hard time getting over the situation, probably because my heart was racing and I continued pretty upset, and he kept growling until I decided to end our shopping trip. Since that happened, Eli has not been open to greeting strangers. Not that I blame him! I, too, have been nervous bringing him into public places since that happened. We have been out and things have been touchy. It is getting better, though. We were able to go to a department store supercenter yesterday and Eli behaved perfectly. I was impressed and proud of him, especially since the door person questioned how a Chihuahua could be a service animal and wanted to examine his service dog in training badge closely.
Moving does not only stress out the human members of the family. It also affects the furbabies. This adds to my anxiety over the CGC Test tomorrow. I have been telling myself that it is not hopeless if Eli does not meet the qualifications for passing the test right now. I confirmed with the trainer, Lisa, that Eli would be able to retake the test. I am just going to feel terrible if Eli does not pass. I already feel as though I have not been able to train with him and practice as much as we should because of moving and health issues. When we do work together, Eli does an amazing job. However, he usually is great at home. It's when we are at the training center that there are issues.