Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Escape to Oakville Place Mall

Self-Portrait in Washroom at Mall

Yes! We were allowed out in public on our own for a bit today! Mind you, we did a "group" exercise under supervision upon arrival at the mall - having the dogs "Up/Push" the button to open the door, and then touring the mall as a group, using the elevator to the second floor two at a time under the watchful eyes of Tracy and Paulette, then going to the Food Court for lunch. A trip down memory lane for "Madame Jarrett" occurred, reminiscent of those Grade 8 trips to Quebec City, when Tracy handed out $10 to each of us to go to purchase what we wanted to eat, asking us to bring back a receipt and any change!Except that I am 61, not 14! But, after lunch, we were given free time and I toured both levels of the mall with my canine companion, made a few purchases, and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of being on my own! I also drove myself, Pina, and one of the trainers from the HED (Hearing Ear Dog) class to the mall and back, so that, too, felt quasi-normal! Hopefully it won't be too too difficult to re-integrate into society after my cloistered life of three weeks here.
We returned "home" at about 2:30, and Tracy suggested that we and the dogs rest until after dinner, and that we would do a short training session and let the dogs have a "group play" then. That would have been a wonderful plan, except that when I lay down for a wee nap, the HED class was doing an extremely loud-yelling-names-activity in the hallway right outside my door. Oh well, I am only in this room for three more days.
We added one new skill after dinner - an "UP/OPEN" to push on lever-type door handles. That won't be too helpful in my house (and I wouldn't want the wood scratched in any case!) but it might work elsewhere!
As we near the end of this training session in Oakville, I am becoming increasingly cognizant of just how much work will be involved once Pina and I are at home. To maintain the bond that is truly in its infancy at this point, to increase it, to keep and build on the respect that my dog has for me, so that she will want to continue to work for me, is going to require time, effort and vigilance. I think I am up to it. Let's hope so!

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