It’s been a while, a little over a year now since I last updated my blog.

2014 was an incredibly busy year for me and my pack. My daughter was born in February. From there things have just been wild and hectic.

I’ve decided to pick up this blog again because it seems to be one of the very few ways I can easily keep track of training. I’m an abysmal note taker, and up until about a year ago, keeping notes in my head worked okay.

Holly and Bri. Holly is starting to show her age a little around the muzzle.

Holly and Bri. Holly is starting to show her age a little around the muzzle.

As far as myself, my mental health took a very severe turn for the worse in early 2014, shortly before Le Kiddo arrived. It had been wobbling a bit before then, but that was when it really face planted. It came back with a vengeance, quickly surpassing the severity it had been at before. It was devastating, frustrating, and soul destroying in many ways. A lot of different things I had been planning on that were already made more difficult with being a single mom were made virtually impossible.

Holly has always been helpful. As many will know I worked with her as a SDiT for a while. She washed because she didn’t enjoy the work. Bri was a SD prospect. She was an incredibly shy puppy and I decided early on not to push her too much. If she ever came ready then wonderful. If not, then she’d remain a beloved pet and in home support. My symptoms improved enough when she was around a year old that I no longer needed a SD or service human to accompany me. With that I was content to continue working with her as a pet and possible competition dog.

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Bri performing some quick deep pressure therapy after a meltdown to help calm me. This is less deep pressure, more grounding, but the DPT is harder to get on camera.

With my worsening issues returning I decided to evaluate her again for SD work. She passed her CGC and CGCA in February of 2014 with flying colors. She was no longer fearful of strangers, only slightly wary of very small children and bombproof around other dogs/cats/squirrels and various strange stimuli. Her greatest flaw was barking upon greeting people.

Sun bathing beasties.

Sun bathing beasties.

I decided to give it a shot. If she succeeded, wonderful. If not, then I’d explore other options.

She took her first Public Access (PA) outing shortly before her third birthday in August of 2014. Since then she’s progressed more beautifully than I could have ever dared to dream when I first brought her home. Most of her tasks have been pretty well and thoroughly known since she was a puppy. A little fine tuning, and a few new ones and she’s got the skills I need her to to get me through the day.

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We’re still progressing slowly. Slow is fast. If I see any hint of stress or discomfort I know I’ve pushed too hard and take a step back. So far there’s been very few incidents of that though. If Bri continues to progress at the rate she has been I think she’ll be ready to move from Service Dog in Training to full fledged Service Dog by her fourth birthday. I’ll put her through a Public Access Test as laid out by the ADI, either under a trainer, or video taped, and consider her graduated. It’s completely amazing how far she’s come.

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In other news, Holly, my beloved Coonhound, turns nine years old in May. She’s still as feisty as she ever was. A little slower, a little less likely to bounce off the window after squirrels, but otherwise unchanged. We’re looking at getting into bikejoring as a fun way for her to burn off her extra energy.

Holly. Dreadful beast is still just as prey driven as she ever was. :)

Holly. Dreadful beast is still just as prey driven as she ever was. 🙂

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For those who may be reading this, hope you’re doing beautifully!

Always a Blessing,

Kat, Holly & Bri

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