Thursday, June 5, 2014

GADA Team Training Day Four Part One

You could feel the excitement in the air today as everyone arrived for team training. Gotcha day was finally here, the day we have been waiting months for. The day we get to bring our dogs home. As we ate breakfast, everyone chatted with Ramona, asking questions about how bringing our dogs home would go.

Chrystal (Mason's mom) and Jeremy (my husband) worked on different commands with Danny and Murphy. They will need to help us with the dogs from time to time and need to know the commands as well as we do.
Chrystal and Danny
Jeremy and Murphy

After they finished up with their practice session, Mason and I worked on some new commands with the dogs. They were take to drawer, take to person, tug it, and push it. These commands will help us tremendously. When I took Murphy to the station with the drawer, I didn't even I have give him one command!!  He knew exactly what to do. I was amazed!! Murphy tugged the drawer open with the bandana that was attached to it, he retrieved the wallet that was in the drawer, turned around, handed it to me, I handed it back to him, he returned to the drawer, dropped the wallet in, and nosed the drawer shut. And all with zero commands from me!!  What a smart dog!!  I still can't believe it. Murphy and I went to the door and he tugged it open with the bandana that was attached to the handle.
Mason, Chrystal and Danny
Me and Murphy

Next it was out to the parking lot to practice getting in and out of our vans safely. After a couple of trial and error attempts to discover what would work the best, we found the perfect solution. I go up the ramp of my van and Murphy follows in behind me. Once inside the van, Murphy hops up on the back seat. I then unhook his leash from my wheelchair. I close the door and position myself in the driver's spot. Murphy then hops down and lays in the floor.
 Murphy in
Murphy in his spot
Murphy out

One of the commands I am most amazed about is the potty command which is better hurry. These dogs have all been taught to potty on a leash on command!!  After practicing loading and unloading from the van, I take Murphy to better hurry. I guide Murphy into the grass and tell him free dog. This lets him know he is off duty. I slowly go forward and tell him better hurry. I barely get the command out of my mouth before Murphy squats to peepee. I am floored!!  How awesome is that??  Murphy continues to amaze me.

Danny, Murphy, and Topper have all successfully loaded and unloaded into their new vans and been to better hurry. It's back inside to the classroom for a lecture on home safety.
Topper going in

Romana covers may issues and preventive ways to avoid these issues. It is quiet scary to think of all the dangers in our home for these dogs.
Good settle

Today's lunch is provided by volunteer Kathy. She bought us chicken salad, pasta salad, fresh homemade bread, and a southwest medley. We aren't going to know what to do with ourselves after team training. We may all go hungry.
Murphy resting up

After lunch, we are joined by service dog team Jordyn and Eddie and Jordyn's mother Joey. Joey enlightens us on all the things they wish they would have known two years ago when they brought Eddie home from team training.  It is a very beneficial lecture for all of us and we are grateful to have so many different support systems to lean on.
Jordyn with Eddie and Jerry

Ramona goes over a few home training issues we may run into over the next few weeks and how to handle them if they arise. She assures us again and agin that her and Tim are only a phone call away no matter the time of day. We are all so lucky to have Ramona and Tim with us every step of the way.
The volunteers are learning too

It's finally time. Each service dog team has been waiting months for this day to come. And it's here!!  It's really here!!  We are going home with our fur babies!!

Ramona and Tim follow us all out to the parking lot to see us off. I can't even begin to imagine the emotions they must be experiencing. On one hand I know they are so proud of how well the dogs have bonded with us and on the other hand I know they are letting a piece of their hearts go with us as we load our dogs into our vans.
Mason, Chrystal and Danny
Topper getting ready to head home
Murphy going home

Murphy is already understanding the loading process without as many commands, after just a few practice times. He is ready to go home.
Murphy leaving Goodwill
Murphy arriving home

I will never be able to express to Ramona and Tim how grateful I am that they chose me to be Murphy's forever mommy. They are trusting me with their baby. The baby they have nurtured since he was only 8 weeks old. The baby they have dedicated the last 2 years to. The baby they have modeled into an outstanding service dog. Thank you seems so insufficient. What I can tell them is today my family of three turned into a family of four because of Murphy.


  1. Murphy will take very good care of you and your family .. I (as well as Tim, Ramona and all of the volunteers ) will miss him, Topper, and Danny. But the good side is that we have Courage and Indy's adventure ahead of us. Once again congrats and be sure to give Murphy a hug from us from time to time ... :)