Monday, November 16, 2009

Closing out another session in Morgantown

Good afternoon, all. Today is my last day with Lia for this trip up. It's been eventful and exciting, especially for her. My mother and I got into Leesburg on Wednesday evening and Allison dropped off my girl at our hotel. She had a little bit of an upset stomach, but it cleared up by Friday. On Thursday, Allison picked us up and we went to Hillsboro Elementary to read with the kids. This was Lia's first time going to a school for this program and she did phenomenal. After getting used to her surroundings, she laid right down and listened attentively to the kids' reading. Later on Thursday, we went with Allison to a Cub Scouts meeting for a presentation. Speaking publicly makes me very anxious, but having Lia with me allowed me to ease into the scenario and grab it by the horns. We had a great time and the kids loved Lia. They asked very good questions about Lia and the two of us. Overall, Thursday was a great day of new experiences for the both of us. I must add, before I forget, that Lia is a "snorer." She has a very loud snore and it's hilarious. Anyways, back to the training! On Friday, we departed Leesburg en route to Morgantown where we would finish the week out. We attended the Welcome dinner at the Cracker Barrel at 1830. It was great meeting so many people involved in this organization and see old familiar faces, too. Lia did awesome and really never lost her focus. Of course, there were other service dogs there, and that was a little bit of a distraction but she refocused perfectly. I was so proud of her, and of me, for sitting in a public setting with so many people and having my buddy there to help me through it. On Saturday, we went for Lia's graduation. She is a certified Psychiatric Service Dog. It was a great presentation and ceremony that really touched me, personally. Mr. Johnson, one of her trainers', really made an impression on me. I know Lia has helped him with his obstacles, and know that she is going to be my best friend(she already is!!!). Lia was happy to see her old friends and trainers, as well as to get her new cape. She looks great in it. I'll post pictures when I can. Well, after the graduation, we attended the reception at the alumni center on campus. Lia, again, did awesome. She got to be the center of attention for the day and it really got her excited. Having her in all these public places and outings has really made it easier on me. That is one of my biggest issues, going out into public. And, she is helping me transition beautifully. Well, on Sunday, we lounged a little bit, played a little ball, and went to Cooper Rock State Park again. There were A LOT of other dogs out there, and Lia did great. She didn't bark but once, and that was just a little ruff to let them know she was there. We walked down to the overlook and sat down and enjoyed the view. Of course, after that, we had to walk the trails and let her "get her sniff on." It was nice to get out and let her just be a dog. I think that's just as important as when she's working. Gotta have that downtime to let her hair down. Anyways, today is monday and it's been relaxing. I forgot to mention that nearly everyday, we have been somewhere public to just get her feet wet and practice on keeping her focused on me in tough places. Today, we went to Wal-Mart and she did GREAT. Yesterday we went to Books-a-Million and she did awesome. I have to say, I can already drastically see the difference that she has made in my life, and I DON'T EVEN HAVE HER FULL TIME. There is so much to look forward to and getting Lia to Camp Lejeune is my number one priority. I'm still complying with treatment and doing well with my rehabilitation for my TBI, and Lia is giving me a focal point. Tonight at about 1845, Heidi will pick up Lia and we'll part ways for a little while. BUT, I am already looking forward to being back with my girl again. GREAT WEEK!!!!!