|Now that, says Euka, was a play session!|
You must really be mad at that little yellow dog, says Bodine. The benevolent ruler of Sword House strolls into the kitchen while I’m putting some sandwiches together.
Ooh, is that roast beef? he asks.
Ack! Get off the counter, Bodine! I say. Take those litter box feet of yours back to the floor. And what? I must be mad at who?
The cat makes a clear, and rather impressive, leap over to the dinette table. He lifts a hind leg and gets down to personal hygiene business.
|Let me know when you’re done on the counter, willya, says
Bodine. I have some important business to tend to.
I’m talking about that little yellow dog, says Bodine. He’s speaking slowly so I can understand this time. You took her outside hours ago and never brought her back in.
What are you talking about, cat o’mine? I say. The puppy is right here. See? Holly’s on the dog bed in a Down Stay. Right, Holly? Good girl, you.
Not that tail biter, says Bodine. The other one. Wow, you really don’t remember, do you? Maybe you should start writing this stuff down.
Wait, I say. Are you talking about Euka? Bodine, you dip, we turned Euka back over to CCI for her Advanced Training. It’s been over two months ago.
You don’t say, says Bodine. He waves a dismissive paw in the air. Well – a few hours, a few months – it’s all the same around here. If it’s not one dog, it’s another.
He shifts his cleaning efforts to his other cheek. Huh. So you’re telling me, says the cat. That we’ve swapped out yet another yellow dog? Can’t we just install a revolving door or something to speed up the process? Hey, you know what? I’m not even going to bother to learn their names anymore.
Right. Why start now? I say. Anyhow, I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that Euka is doing well in the Advanced Training program.
Oh, indeed, says Bodine. Here, look. This is my Glad face. He goes back to his cleaning efforts.
Ok, smarty cat, but she is, I say. Her first semester report card came in and we’re really proud of her. Her trainer says Euka’s taking on the new commands quite nicely.
Ok, I’ll bite, says Bodine. Like what?
Well, it’s nice you care enough to ask, I say. That’s sweet of you to … can you not lick that area in front of me, please? Thanks, dude. So the monthly report card is split into sections. The first part shows the training in progress.
She’s building on the commands she learned with us, I continue. Her trainer will work her on the basic commands from a wheelchair, so a Heel looks different to her now. And retrieve is an enhanced command now, too. Euka will learn to Hold an object for a length of time.
The Push command is totally new to Euka. She’ll respond to Push to close drawers or doors. Ok, imagine this Bodine … an assistance dog learns how to open a refrigerator door, retrieve a can of soda for her handler, then closes the door with a nose push.
Gotcha. Imagining that, Bodine yawns.
And a reminder why we’re not talking about assistance cats, I say. Anyway, here’s the best part. The second section of the report card is for positive behaviors. And Euka’s trainer has checked off every one of them.
Are you sure you have the right report? asks Bodine. Just sayin’.
|Miss Euka, star pupil|
You know, it’s funny you would mention that, I say. These first semester reports usually have something that is a head scratcher for a puppy raiser. The dogs tend to show something brand new that they didn’t do with us. After all, it’s a wholly different environment and handler. Of course, we should expect to see some different behavior as well.
So, you’re surprised that she’s doing so good, huh?, says Bodine. Yeah, I can see that. Yep. If memory serves …
Actually, Bodine, truth be told, I have to admit that our Miss Euka is holding her own in Advanced Training is nothing less than what I expected out of our girl, I say. What has me surprised is the third section of the report card.
Which is what exactly? says Bodine. She’s learning how to make sushi? Understands how to use the DVR remote? Got her black belt in Dog Yoga? Tell me, what amazing feat has the golden child accomplished that has you so gobsmacked?
Well, I say. Again, you need to keep in mind that she’s in a new environment.
Ok, so she’s not an architectural engineer, says Bodine. Got that. So what?
Euka showed a fear response in her behavioral assessment, I say. Not so much that the trainer is overly concerned. Really, she said she wasn’t sure if it even needed mentioning. Just something to note and watch.
That dog, The Euka, was afraid of something? says Bodine. You have to ask for the right report. You know something got boogered here, paperwork-wise, don’t you?
|From the start, Bodine and Euka had
an … interesting … relationship.
I know, it’s weird, right? I say. Here’s the thing. It was early on and could be simply due to the lifestyle change. If I know that polar bear like I think I do, she’ll shake it off and carry on.
Which makes sense, says Bodine. So, when’s the next report?
Later this week, I say. It’ll be the second one we get. Then if all goes as planned, we’ll see another four monthly reports after this and before her Advanced Training is completed. Keep your paws crossed for good news.
I’ll be sure to do that, says Bodine. In my spare time. In the meanwhile, Food Lady, you might be interested in this little news flash.
Oh really? I say. Is the cleaning ritual finally finished? All attention is now back to you, my benevolent ruler. How may I serve you?
Oh, it’s not me, says Bodine, smugly. It’s about the spotted dog. How long ago was it that you let the Jager outside?
Holy cow! I say. I forgot! Jager! Here! Cookie!
Hey, it’s not like I should tell you your business or anything, says Bodine. But you do really need to start writing this stuff down. I think this might be a two cookie day for the Jagerhund.