Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nikki is a crack up...

NIKKI has had some fun times the last few are some of the highlights:
Once again my wonderful coworkers have come up with some awesome activities for NIKKI and the kids. Since it is the Easter season we decided to have an Easter Egg hunt with NIKKI. We read the kids an egg story and then gave them some ideas on where to hide
the egg for NIKKI. We were working on the positional concepts...under, over, besides. The first class went really well. NIKKI obediently found the egg after it was hidden and promptly gave it directly to me without opening it. (We used one of those plastic eggs - just incase you were wondering.) I would give her a treat each time and the kids thought is was great that NIKKI could find the egg! The next class wasn't quite as successful. One of the kids opened the egg and NIKKI got a glimpse at the treat inside. I am not sure if the the egg was not put back completely but from that point on NIKKI decided she would rather the treat inside the egg then the one I gave her for giving the egg to me!! I must admit that I did have a yummy treat in the egg since I assumed she would use her nose to find the egg. She got pretty good at "cracking" the egg! Luckily I don't think the kids saw my panic each time she cracked open the egg...They seemed to enjoy it regardless! I will use the clicker next time!

We had another opportunity to visit a friend's daughter in the hospital. After getting permission to make an extra visit to the hospital and visiting all the other kids on the floor we got to spend about an hour with Ashley. Ashley has been sick for a few weeks and her mom was hoping that NIKKI could help get her mind off of being in the hospital.
I think it worked! NIKKI and Ashley had a wonderful time. Ashley helped NIKKI practice all her tricks...I think she especially liked when NIKKI "said her prayers"! They even played golf! Ashley would hit the ball and NIKKI would chase after it! It was a great set up...NIKKI is a great retriever it! I have included some pictures (and no jokes about my nifty smock I have to wear as a volunteer!) NIKKI was also there when the nurses had to take some vital signs and give Ashley her IV antibiotic. I think just having NIKKI there eased Ashley's anxiety with these not so fun things. The nurses were glad and even asked NIKKI to come back in a few hours when the process had to be repeated! I am sure they would just love to have a dog on the floor at all times for some of the not so fun things they must do to monitor the kids.

We only had one other thing happen that day at the hospital....Candace. For those of you who don't know, Candace is NIKKI's most favorite person in the whole world. Nobody can get NIKKI as excited as Candace. NIKKI and I were on our way out when we started talking to some ladies in the hallway. Just then I hear my name and look up to see Candace coming toward us. Immediately I realized what was about to happen. Candace walked up and NIKKI didn't recognize her at first. For one brief second I thought that maybe we were ok but it was only for one second and NIKKI recognized her! NIKKI escalated from level 0 to level 10! Needless to say we moved on very quickly. It took her several minutes to calm back down! Not sure what it is about Candace but NIKKI just loves her! The only other time she does this is when we have some down time at dog training class. She will start barking! At dog class I can get her back by giving her commands and treating her for correctly following through. I think I will carry with me some high value/really special/not used often treat so that when this occurs I can get NIKKI's attention back on me. Since she is so food motivated I think this should work. I am not sure there is a treat out there that would distract her from Candace though!!

NIKKI gets the next couple week off....we don't have any classes scheduled this week, our visit to the hospital next weekend is postponed and then the following week is spring break. Now that NIKKI knows how to crack open the plastic eggs....I am hoping that she doesn't steal the eggs out of my kid's Easter baskets! Happy Easter everyone!
Enjoy this beautiful spring!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I just wanted to give you a quick update on NIKKI. I am happy to report that she has not had any seizures - that I have seen - since we started her on medication. All the side effects she was experiencing in the beginning have seemed to subside and she is the same old sweet girl that she has always been. She is back to work and doing very well. This past week we visited several classrooms and NIKKI did her usual great job! On Friday, she helped the kids in the preschool count - she did tricks and they counted how many times she could do them.... 5 high fives, 4 turns, 3 speaks, 2 puppy push ups and 1 rollover. Not only did they work on counting but also number recognition. And the coolest thing is - NIKKI is consistently taking commands from the kids! That makes them very happy when she listens to them! (I do have to use a few hand signals every now and then when the kids aren't too clear!) Earlier in the week she helped some special middle schoolers work on verbalizations and matching. And her usual Wednesday job of spending time in Candace's classroom is always fun....especially when Candace's assistant Flossie makes the peanut butter crackers. Today NIKKI visited the kids in the hospital. I have to admit that this still is my favorite thing to do with NIKKI. I don't know what it is but it always makes me so happy to be at the hospital. There wasn't too many kids in the hospital today (which is a good thing!) so NIKKI had an opportunity to brighten the day of a few nurses. Even the nurses can be easily impressed with just a few tricks!! NIKKI is also still going to her weekly advanced obedience class and doing well. We are working on the skills she needs to pass the Canine Good Citizen test this summer. I think at the beginning of this blog I said - just a quick note - but I seem to be rambling on! So to sum it up...I am cautiously optimistic that NIKKI's seizures are under control and that our work together can continue as we have always planned!