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Remembering Training

Rainie's First Day Home

Today is the first day for a new class at EAC where 4 diabetic adults and one 5-year-old child (with his parents) will be paired and trained with their new alert dog. Their lives will change in ways they can't even imagine!

This reminds me of my training and all the "firsts" that Rainie and I have had. Initially there was a week of classroom training where we were introduced to topics such as dog behavior, the basics of handling a dog in public, and dog first aid, as well as learning what an alert may look like, and how to reward the dog when they do alert. And finally, toward the end of the week we were finally matched with the dog we’d each go home with (in my case, this was Rainie). The second week we spent actually going out in public under the trainers’ watchful eyes, where we got to get used to actually dealing with a dog in public places such as restaurants, parks, shopping, pubic transit, etc. It was all very exciting!

However, the most amazing things began to happen over time as Rainie and I got to know each other, and as we began, experiencing our ‘first alerts’. The first one she gave me (while we were not in the classroom) was when she poked her head through the shower curtain as I was showering at the hotel. What a joy and surprise! And from there, the list of ‘firsts’ go on: in a restaurant, on a walk, while shopping, at a movie, in every room of the house, while working in the garden, on an airplane, while giving a lecture on what a diabetic alert dog is, etc.,etc. The list continues to grow…

I truly wish the best for the new teams that begin their training today! Their lives will never be the same.

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