DAY ONE:  The first day was the graduation ceremony at the prison which I wrote about in the last post, a must read, get your tissues, it is a very emotional post!!!!  We did get to see our service dog, TEDDY for a short time, and then reported to the hotel for more story sharing and went over what we will learn for the week.
DAY TWO:  We had a wonderful day in training at the boot camp. The first 6 hours we were learning about relationships and about trust. The dogs are not necessarily obedience trained, they are trained to think for themselves. It is important if Molly would be in danger that the dog would break a command to sit and stay, to save her life...and that is why they do not train them in obedience completely. They have to make choices. 
Today was the first bonding day, we got to spend 2 hours with Teddy. Molly got to give him lots of love and treats to build some trust between them. It was so sweet. Teddy is a real gentleman and such a faithful friend. Tomorrow at 2 pm he will come to us again and it will be forever. We are so excited. It will be our first night with Teddy tomorrow. God is so good!
DAY THREE:  The dogs were brought again for a few hours of training but not released to us for good yet!  Today Molly had to learn how to load and unload Teddy the proper ways in both the elevator and the vehicle.    The reason it is so vitally important to do this type of training for the recipients, is because if that leash would get caught up in the elevator door or car door, it could be the death of the dog in a real hurry.  

In the elevator you must make them wait until you have your foot over the door and have the control over the situation so that the dog can quietly enter and be with you without the leash getting forgotten in the situation.  

What was especially cute, was when he pushed the elevator buttons for her.  
TEDDY was a pure gentleman.  He waited when Molly said to wait, and he looked at her the entire time, to make sure he was sure to do what ever she asked.  

Next she walked TEDDY out to the parking lot to work on loading and unloading the vehicle.

She told him to LOAD UP, and he jumped right in like a good boy!
After she sat in the car and got him situated, shut the door, she had to work on Unloading as well.  Next she opened the door and she came out of the car.  She then told TEDDY to UNLOAD and he came out and she asked him to sit just in case she would need to grab other things or lock up the vehicle.  The dog has to be calm in the parking lot and be under control so that he won't get hit by a car or pull her abruptly where she would lose the things she is trying to carry in the process.  Teddy did amazing.  Just as calm as could be!
These are all things that you don't realize go into the training of a service dog, but after you work on these safety procedures, you can quickly see why.  So many things can happen and that dog has to be able to be kept safe too, after all, if he gets hurt, he can't do his job either.  So they are like a team. They keep each other safe.  It just warms my heart!  
DAY FOUR:  The day we get to keep him forever!Great NEWS!!! Last night was Molly's first night with TEDDY her diabetic Alert dog and it went fantastic!!!! He actually alerted her with a high blood sugar late at night. He paced around and started barking, acting very nervous. He would look at Molly and keep acting in that manner. We were taught in class that a service dog will oftentimes alert very differently than what they were trained to do with their inmates. It becomes all about relationship and a personal level of communication that is specific to the one that they are matched to. 
We were told to keep track of unusual behavior. After TEDDY barked for the second time, paced back and forth again, I said, "Molly, I think he may be trying to tell us something! Test your sugar!" She did. It was HIGH! 270! Furthermore, we also figured out how that happened. Her vial of insulin was nearly out, so Molly said that sometimes it will not dispense when it is that low of juice, so she was able to switch out the medicine after noticing it was no longer working. WOW! Just WOW! So we could fix the problem because TEDDY was working. He did just what he was supposed to do. 
Molly loves him so much already and already we are beginning to see all that these dogs are able to do, and it is truly amazing! Today for the first half of our day camp, we played hide and seek with TEDDY. This was a very important lesson for him. I would tell TEDDY to go find Molly and he would actually go around the room and find her. Then she would tell him to go find MOM. And he would find me. Even if we tried to hide, he already knows our scent and finds us with his nose. He is both learning our names and our smell, so if for instance, Molly was having trouble, she can tell TEDDY to go get me and he will sniff me out! So cool!

Just for a reminder…

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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2 thoughts on “Service Dog Boot Camp

  1. Hi! My name is Annie Wagner & I wanted to reach out to Teddy & his handler. If this is the same Teddy, & I sure hope it is, I had the honor & pleasure of meeting him at Presence Resurrection Hospital in Chicago this past Wed. I had just been moved from ICU & as I was getting settled in my new room, my boyfriend told me he had a special surprise for me. In walked this handsome, gentle pup. To put into context how very special this visit was, I have my own furry family; a 14 yr old Black Lab, Scooter, & 4 cats (Dad – MeowMeow, Mom – Xena & their 2 daughters – Delilah & Samantha). I was recovering from a near fatal choking incident & over the course of the next 72 hrs I couldn’t remember large chunks of time (side effects of intibation, etc.) but I did remember Teddy. And his big ole head! All legs & head. So very cute! I didn’t remember feeding him carrots but I did remember those eyes & the love he gave me. He reminded me I had a family to get back to. I wanted to leave him a bag of carrots at the hospital for his next visit as a thank you. Am hoping this is the “right” Teddy & that maybe we can meet again so I can say thank you to him in person. If allowed, he is more than welcome to come for a visit to my home (Mannheim & Lawrence) cause my Scoots loves a visit from other pups. He’s the “big brother” to all the dogs in our neighborhood. They will drag their owners over to our property & bark; wanting Scoots to come & play.
    Everyone tells me he should have been a therapy dog himself. Gentle & laid back & super smart. Whatever is allowed, I would truly love to see him again & show him my gratitude. At a time when I was confused & disoriented, he gave me a focus, a sense of reality. A bag of carrots are waiting for him in my fridge. And in the event this isn’t “my” Teddy, I would still like to express my gratitude to this Teddy for the awesome job I know he does every day. So give him a special treat from me. As an aside, I do music & special event promotions & would love to host a fund raising event for your organization. Whether you are in the Chicagoland area or not. I realize the need of service animals like Teddy & that there are real costs associated with their training. Of course my offer stands for a playdate, regardless. My number is 773-704-1907. Please feel free to contact me.

    Much love & belly rubs!

    Annie Wagner

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