Our 4 Paws Adventure – Day 8 – First Bath

*This post is part of a series originally posted on my former blog, Stinker Babies. I’m reposting here for families who are interested in learning more about the process of being matched with a service dog for their children. This series was written during March of 2013.*

Everyone seemed a little off today.  The kids were wound up extra tight and seemed to fall apart over the least little thing.  I’ve had allergy issues all week and my RA started flaring today so I was wound up extra tight and wanted to fall apart over the least little thing.  April seemed to sense all that and seemed pretty restless with everyone else on edge.  Bedtime could not come soon enough.  That’s all I’m sayin’.  They are not asleep yet but at least they’re contained in a smaller area.  Although I did just hear Caleb on the monitor say something about going out the window.  I hope that’s just talk. We did a practice track in the halls tonight with April and she did great but I really don’t feel like testing it out for real.  Not tonight.  I just want to sit down with my Homewood Suites coffee cup that my sweet husband used to smuggle wine from the lobby.  Okay, scratch all of that.  It took me 48 minutes to type this paragraph because of how many times they got out of bed or basically terrorized each other.  I’m done.  My mind is 1000% gone.  This day can be over.  Now.

In class today, we practiced “place” from longer distances.  We did alright but we need to work on that one more during the evening.  We also worked on some behavioral disruptions.  “Nudge” will ask April to go over to Caleb if he’s crying and she will nudge him and try to distract him.  “Touch” will ask her to put her paw on him to hopefully distract him from any kind of stimming that we want to reduce (like gnawing on objects or loud vocals in a public place).  “Kisses” will just have her go over and do exactly that- give a little doggy kiss to help distract.  We didn’t practice this one because Caleb is a bit weirded out by licking.

Our track today was in a new place that was still covered in snow.  It was beautiful and kinda fun to be the first person to walk that path.  I have found that I absolutely love going for walks in the snow.  As long as I have the right shoes, it’s awesome.  We walked the outer edge of the park to the tree and then took a right towards the woods.  We half-slid, half-walked down a hill and found ourselves in this little bit of woods.  The snow covered all the underbrush so it was just the trees and the snow.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  In between the snowballs, anyway.  Each one of my kids has a pretty good aim, by the way, so watch out.

After class today, April went out back to play with some pals and confirmed her need for a bath.  When we got back to the hotel, she hesitantly got into the tub.  Our lab may or may not have gotten the memo that she’s supposed to love water.  The jury is still out, I think.  Apparently, when we get back home, it will already be summertime so we’ll be figuring this out soon.

It’s hard to believe that we only have two class days left.  Our test will be Friday and then we’ll (hopefully) be celebrating our graduation with all of our classmates.  You really do connect with your classmates and make lifelong friends.  Everyone told us that 4 Paws is just a wonderful oasis from the real world and it really, truly is.

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