Posted on December 13, 2016
Posted on December 13, 2016Bentley is back home again after a short board train he spent with Lisa over the first week of December. I must say, he is SO good. He is around the house with us now almost 100% of the time. His only "puppyism" he still is working on is chewing, but, anyone who has had a puppy, especially a lab puppy, knows this is normal especially for this "adolescent" stage between 1 and 3. Typically, though, he is so well behaved - he follows me around the house, lays down and chews on his bone or Kong toys, checks out what is going on in each room, and enjoys his walks outside. He is extremely tolerant of Meagan leaning on him and has become more attentive to her in recent weeks. He gets her off the bus still, but now he really goes up to her and noses her hand so he can lick her almost as if to say "hi friend!" If he is walking through our living room and Meagan is wobbling around, he will go over and nudge her with his nose, or lick her and check in. It's nice to see their relationship developing so wonderfully! Just the other day Meagan had peanut butter for a snack. One of her MAJOR sensory issues was anything wet - if she spilled something on her pants at school it was a total meltdown. If her hands were wet, it was a crisis...etc. Well of course what dog doesn't love peanut butter? I came in to the living room and Meagan was laying on the floor with Bentley next to her. He was licking ALL over her hands! I was really surprised. She wasn't freaking out at all. I asked her "Meagan, isn't Bentley making your hands wet?" She said "Mom he's helping clean off my peanut butter!" I was fine with that! I was just amazed she was so tolerant of him licking. He really has helped break some barriers down already that we just haven't been able to conquer otherwise. (see picture I added of this on photo page).
Yesterday we had a rather scary day with Meagan. I will post the full story on her main blog but Bentley was really attentive and I think helped her get out of whatever was going on. Thank goodness. We are grateful still for this amazing opportunity we have been blessed with, of having Bentley grow with and help Meagan, and look forward to watching them continuing together on this journey.
Posted on November 10, 2016
Posted on November 10, 2016Hi all! It has been a while since our last update. A lot has been happening!
Bentley returned from another month long training. His obedience now is VERY good. He is just a year old (yep, he had his first birthday!) but he is really such a good dog for being a very young energetic lab! He now won't even go near his food unless we tell him to eat. One time I got busy tending to Cara only to come back in the kitchen and see him still standing there - ha! So his impulse control is just better by the day. He is doing much better with his walk close and now knows the command "slow." If he gets trotting a little too fast, we can say slow (or for different things like going up stairs) and he is pretty good at slowing his pace. This is something we are implementing in case Meagan walks with him one day and holds on to his harness.
Bentley is also doing well with "place" and "down around and under." He is excellent at behaving while eating out - not that we go out a lot, but, it's important as it will apply to other situations. He also knows the command "help!" If Meagan falls, she yells "help!" and Bentley goes to her side and barks. THis has been very neat to watch him learn. He is still working on it, but we work with him daily and he is doing an excellent job so far of responding with the appropriate barking and alerting! As he goes for more training after Christmas, this will be important so they can transition some of the learning to seizure alerts as well.
What has been really nice is seeing how he is very tolerant of Meagan leaning on him or laying on him. He was always fine with touching, but in typical puppy fashion, would pop up when someone leaned on him - now he just stays there and takes it. This has been great for Meagan. I can't tell you how many times she has just gone over and leaned on him when she needs it. I love seeing that - that's what this journey is all about.
Meagan is now over 70 days seizure free - I'm hesitant to say it, but we are SO thankful. We pray this continues but are always keeping a close eye on her. Bentley is due to return after Christmas for another month of training - we are currently brainstorming ways to continue to fundraise. With Meagan's seizure needs, he will go several more times to the trainer so they can work with him on this specialized training. We are so happy he will get the tactics he needs to help us keep Meagan safe.
Thanks again to all and we wish you a wonderful week!
Posted on August 22, 2016
Posted on August 22, 2016Hello all! Wanted to take a quick second to post an update on Bentley. He is 10 months old now....and getting so big! We are continuing to work with him at home on his training. He has most of his basic commands down which we practice daily depending on work schedules - some days it's less, and some days it is more. But either way we make sure he is getting good reinforcement. Typically on my days off, I take him places with me. He has been to Target, Publix, other retail stores and all around outside. Next week I plan on taking him to the mall at some point to do some more long term practice with his stays and ignoring people. There is also a little train ride for the kids that will be really good to work around and continue to desensitize him to distractions. Luckily, his biggest "distractions" seem to be other dogs and people - simply because he is really sweet and social! But if he is in a down stay, he will control himself and not jump up to be pet or say hi, which is really good. We are very proud of his accomplishments at such a young age. We understand he is still such a baby in such a big strong body and he is doing a great job. Basically between now and next August, we are doing what we have been doing - except over and over again. We want Bentley to have a "puppyhood" and enjoy being little just as any other dog - he just has the benefit of already knowing several commands so as he grows we can continue to make him stronger in those things. One thing that will probably change or be adjusted is his seizure protocol with Meagan. We talked with the trainers and the head of the program and he is going to study some videos of Meagan's seizures and try to make a plan for Bentley to be reactive to some of it or at least know what behaviors mean we need to be alerted. This will be very helpful - although we have monitors, we can't stare at them all day and all night so once he eases in to those behaviors, it will allow all of us to breathe a little easier. He has to be older to learn those things, though, so we are probably looking at sometime after next summer for him to learn those new additions.
The plan is still for him to return to Lisa in October for hopefully a month long stay. We are going to try to partner with a few other local businesses for fundraising, and have also received some donations from various sources at the end of the summer (for which we say thank you!) so we are crossing fingers we can stay on track for October!
Thanks again for being so supportive of Meagan and this journey with Bentley. It is for sure a LONG process!! But it is one we know is well worth it because she is worth it. A thousand times over. Thanks again and God Bless!