It’s Saturday, March 15. Once again, we’re headed for the downtown coffee shop. When we get to the corner of 5th and E, we discover a parade going on. Wella does a magnificent job, weaving me through crowds of people and avoiding any kind of mishap with such incredible ease. She does a great job of staying focused through the crowds. I find that if I proactively reassure her before we reach a potential distraction, she tends to stay more focused.
A fire truck passes—sirens blaring. I have Wella sit, while I stroke her ears, head and neck to keep her calm as we wait for the noise to subside before resuming our route.
We arrive at the coffee shop. Kelley again meets us and is most complimentary of our handling of the route. I require very little prompting on the return.
It’s Sunday—our only day off during the entire program! I drag myself out of bed at 7:00, throw on a pair of shoes and jeans, and take Wella outside to relieve, then return to my room to feed her breakfast. I slip off my shoes and jeans and return to bed for another couple hours of much-needed sleep.
Because this is “doggie boot camp” with only one day off, and eleven days of highly intensive training, the housekeeping staff treat us like absolute gold. On Sunday, they provide continental breakfast until 10:00, then begin serving made-to-order breakfast/brunch around 10:30.
I crawl out of bed for the second time around 10:00, shower, dress, and Wella and I make our way to the dining room for my custom omelet and seasonal fruit.
After brunch, Stephen, Michelle, Sharon and I spend a few hours at the mall, doing some shopping, and rounding out the afternoon with a trip to BJ’s Brewhouse, to enjoy appetizers and an assortment of beverages. The time away is most welcome…but I find myself missing my sweet Wella girl. (Outside of class time, we are not allowed to leave campus with our dogs prior to graduation.)
Back on campus, they’re offering an optional T-Touch therapeutic massage class to show us the basics of canine massage. Wella enjoys it so much that she’s snoring by the end of the hour.
Because we are training with the dogs for several hours per day, and because handlers experience a great deal of tension from the amount of shoulder movement that is required in guidework, the school has arranged for a massage therapist to be available for hire. He works at the students’ expense) on Sunday evening, for 30 or 60 minute sessions, where he uses therapeutic massage to help alleviate muscular tensions and strain of the human halves of each team
Oh my gosh! What an experience! This guy finds tension in the tiniest of muscles I never realized I had (or used). I’m now completely relaxed. I wish he didn’t have other appointments after mine…I just know I could fall asleep right here if he’d just give me three more minutes. This has got to be the best massage I’ve had to date.
Following my massage, I’m able to polish off the evening with an extra-therapeutic fifteen minutes in the hot tub. Sharon and I enjoy conversation over a cup of hot tea, and snuggle time with our dogs before calling it a night.
Copyright (C) 2015 Donna Mack Anderson. All rights reserved.