"Today was a good day." Both vets said this today on their way home with their partners seated at their feet. A good day. You've got to wonder what that is to them. A good day to me? Getting in exercise. Scrapbooking or reading a bit. Talking to my husband. Shopping. Easy things. Every day things. So what is a good day to them? I didn't ask but I was with them all day. From waking to sleeping. Today's day involved learning the simple things again. These dogs are smarter than these men. These men will catch up eventually, but the dogs know 90 commands and these men are 70 commands behind them. But they are willing to learn. They are fighting for their lives and their freedom. They have taken the step forward that required them to admit their inability to cope and request help. A hard thing for most people, especially warriors who have braved the worst life has to offer and survived.
Class today consisted of commands and getting their dogs to trust them as well them learning to trust their dogs. The picture above is Isaiah standing on a box while Meghan is inside. She cannot see him. He marched on top and she couldn't see him and kept coming out to find out what was going on. Her command was to stay, and he had to put her back without coming off the box. We also had field trips to a restaurant, drug store and Petco. The guys and the dogs did wonderful. All this was done with our trainer and prompts and encouragement from her. Then when the day was done and everyone was exhausted, she sent us home ....... with the dogs, alone. No trainer to look to for cues if things were being done right. Just the guys and their instincts. Dinner proved interesting for Isaiah. He had commanded Meghan over and over to go under the table, lay down and stay. But she would not do it. Would not. She would just stare at Isaiah. We couldn't figure out if she was challenging him or if something else was going on. Eventually she went in and laid down and stayed. But she was not in the position he wanted which was facing his back (which was against the wall) but she turned and faced forward where she could see what was going on. Then she was happy. We ended the night at Wal-Mart where Isaiah was on his own. He wanted to be independent. After all isn't that what this is about; his independence? So I shopped for fruit and such and he trained with his partner.
The lights are now out in the hotel room, except for the glow of my PC's screen. Isaiah and Meghan are in bed together. Both so exhausted they are sleeping. Touching. Always touching. And I am releasing him to her. Letting him depend on her and her on him. The mantra of the class is........If you take care of her, she'll take care of you. This bond of mutual dependency may very well save his life. A month ago she was being trained in a prison and had been for 18 months. And tonight she is sleeping in a very comfortable bed with a man who will treat her right the rest of their life together.
Today was a good day!!!