Clover and I have struggled in the past to work together in public. She’s mostly blind and has a very difficult time focusing in new environments. She’s brilliant at home but she’s even had trouble focusing in my driveway with my husband moving around to video us. These challenges have caused me angst over the years but this Valentine’s Day weekend was so very sweet. My husband generously stayed home with our other 3 dogs so I could visit my nieces in Pennsylvania to celebrate their birthdays. As a traveling companion, Clover is the best. She doesn’t like the car, probably because she experiences vertigo, but she will tolerate it. And when we arrived at our destination she was absolutely perfect, lying next to me on the couch while we watched TV and snuggling with me at night. Clover adores my 8 and 12 year old nieces and the girls love her back.
I like to think that Clover is influencing how my nieces feel about dogs and how they feel about disabilities too. Clover doesn’t let anything stop her and the girls often help to train her. They are learning to plan training sessions and how to tell when she needs a break. Most importantly, my nieces are learning Clover’s lack of vision is something we need to adjust for but doesn’t prevent us from training complicated behaviors. Sunday morning, my youngest niece and I worked on shaping Clover to put her paws in my sneakers and we talked about how we are teaching small steps to build toward the goal behavior of Clover walking in my shoes.
Having this time with Clover and my nieces was such a special gift. Life has been a bit crazy since we got our puppy Gambit and Kira lost her mobility in early December. It was so nice to have this time to reconnect with Clover and be reminded of how lucky I am; it was good to slow down and just hang out.
I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend! Please give your pups a smooch from Clover and me!