Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Captain's couldn't tell you

Everything has been going pretty well here in Xenia although I must admit it feels like we are in doggy/owner bootcamp. Up at the crack of dawn to get Tess ready, as well as ourselves, get in the car, drive to 4Paws and train, train, train for 6 hours. We get back to the hotel sometime around 4:30ish and are completely exhausted yet there is more training to do. So we take a little break and then start randomly giving out commands to Oreo.

Here's the thing with Oreo. "She's a sensitive girl". We have heard that over and over again while at 4Paws. That is the biggest reason she was matched with Tess. They needed a sweet, mild tempered dog so that Tess wouldn't get hurt and that Oreo really wouldn't care that Tess couldn't play rough games with her because she wouldn't like them anyway. Of course, being so sensitive means she also has a few, well, we'll just call them quirks. She gets scared easily but then gets over it as soon as we make sure to show her that there is nothing to be afraid of. Her biggest fear is the BIG SUBURBAN. She absolutely hates getting in. Once inside the car she is fine, but getting her to actually jump in is the issue. She gets herself upset enough over it that she will sometimes vomit. We can't be mad with her because she just can't help it, and she looks so ashamed of herself that we just end up feeling even more sorry for her.

At first, we thought it was motion sickness. I mean, wouldn't that just be the height of irony? The people who drove the farthest and regularly have to take a ferry, would get the dog who gets motion sick? But after discussing several times with Jeremy, and having him come out to watch her reaction to getting in the car, he really feels like it is all anxiety and that she is getting so anxious she makes herself sick. We are figuring out tricks to help her and are hopeful that once we get our own minivan back, she'll feel better about getting into a car. Time will tell.

We have been learning some fun commands as well as the obedience/work ones. Like today we learned to have them "play dead" by pretending to aim a gun at their head and saying, "Bang". It was really funny. And they have other expressions they use for the same trick for those people that are uncomfortable with the whole pretending to shoot a gun thing. We did the gun but also tried the others just for fun.

practicing DOWN with distractions

giving praise and reward for staying down even with people coming up to her

The hubs giving a reward for a good SIT

Oreo is also learning to retrieve things that Tess has dropped and bring them back and place them on her lap. It's a little tricky, but the more we do it with Oreo, the better and more accurate she is getting. Eventually we can teach her to retrieve the phone or the bag that has Tess's emergency seizure meds it
if we want to so that we don't have to leave Tess's side to get them while she is seizing. 

And while all of this is really incredible, the thing that the hubs and I keep remarking on, and are most grateful for, is to watch Tess with Oreo. She just lights up when she sees her. And this is the most we have seen her smile and heard her giggle in such a long, long time that we both agreed that even if Oreo couldn't do half the things she can, she was well worth getting for Tess.

This morning was the first morning that we woke up to find Oreo on Tess's bed without us prompting her to get up there and stay with Tessie. It was beyond heartwarming to see.

We made a wish for Tess in the hopes that it would be something she really loved, and it is coming true.

How blessed are we?!


  1. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. You nailed it when you said that seeing Tess this happy is what really matters with the wish. All the extras that Oreo can do are bonus's. With time she will ultimately be Tess's wish and your wish come true. A true friend for life with Tessie and a 24 hour hero living with you and placing a smile on all of your faces daily. Such good news Joanna.

  2. Truly wonderful! A great dog with a great family!