Tuesday, January 5, 2010

erin & SOLOMON update

hi all! i have fallen in to the popular trap i like to call bloglessitis. i am the official p4p blog police, so i really must not do that again. i did get a little time off for the new year to visit jeremey and his family at their new home, and i had no cell phone or internet service there...this sent me into extreme blackberry anxiety for the first day or so, but after that it was really pretty nice. anyways, back to real life now.

yesterday, dad and i traveled a bit to spend the day with erin and SOLOMON at their therapy to check in on SOLOMON's progress and to see if we could help get SOLOMON to do anything new the therapists could think of. when we met them, i had prepared melissa that SOLOMON might get very excited when he saw dad and i...this is a trend among the dogs we place...and as flattering as it is, we have to ignore their behavior when we reunite until they calm down. when we walked in the therapy room, SOLOMON did not get quite as hyper as i expected. he did sit up from his sleep upon hearing my voice and do his happiest SOLOMON face. for those of you who haven't met or worked with the SOLLY, this is when he sits as tall as he can, sticks his nose in the air, pushes his ears all the way flat, squints his eyes, and wiggles his whole body as much as he can without breaking his stay. it is hilarious and warmed my heart, i missed him a little. after he quit putting on his sly little show, he laid back on melissa's feet and dad and i went up to greet him. i was so impressed with his self control and dedication to melissa despite our appearance (can you say "umbilical cord training works like a charm" anyone?)...but this was only the beginning of his show.

well, as soon as we showed up, one of the therapists working with erin immediately showed us how open-minded she was. she began asking what things SOLOMON could do right away...can he help with this? can he sit like this? can he brace her like this? (side note: it was like meeting the next sharon!) i cannot say how wonderful it is to meet a creative, forward-thinking, PT, OT, or speech path with our clients, because with the dogs, the only limits are our creativity...and sometimes the medcial professionals do not want to be very out-of-the-box...so this was GREAT! anyways, i digress, what's new...

so, trying to remember all the things we did with SOLOMON yesterday in just a short hour or so: he tugged the criss-crossing, velcro straps of her leg braces and took the braces out from under her legs and took them to melissa (how he figured out which ways to tug the criss-crossing straps i do not know, but he figured it out in about 2 seconds)...he untied erin's shoes for her (but he couldn't quite undo the double-knot, so we helped with that!)...he braced her standing with he balance harness...he helped her get from sitting to standing by laying then standing to give her leverage with the balance harness...he braced her walking with the balance harness...he walked beside her walker perfectly...he braced a rolling scooter so it wouldn't slip as erin transferred on and off of it...he is learning how to position himself to help her transfer independently into and out of her chair...and, a new one for me! he is learning how to right her chair if she accidentally flips backwards (as karen and i experienced plenty trying to go up inclines or over bumps in our chairs this summer!) erin's chair will catch itself at about a 45 degree angle with her laying backwards, but then she needs assistance to get back on her wheels. we practiced this with an empty chair, and SOLOMON figured out his best shortcut to righting the chair after understanding what melissa wanted, which took about 5 tries. this week, they will work on it until he does it with erin in the chair. it was great!!

sorry for being so wordy, but even this does not do justice to our experiences. by the end of their few days at therapy, SOLOMON will not only be doing these things, but will do them effortlessly i am sure. he figures things out so quickly and solves problems so well, and he is so desperate for melissa's approval because the umbilical cord training has worked like magic with him...he is a very very loyal and strongly-bonded dog. IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST DAYS I HAVE HAD IN A VERY, VERY LONG TIME. of course i didn't have my video camera, but melissa is going to work on documenting these things for me so i can put together a video for everyone. less than 2 weeks in, SOLOMON looks like he's been teamed with their family for over a year. anyone and everyone who has had their training hands on or around SOLOMON (especially karen) should be very proud...this is a job not well done, but flawlessly done.

stay warm everyone!

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