It's been a week since Kyo moved out and into the PAALS training program. There have been a lot of changes around here, both big and quite subtle.
The biggest changes I've already talked about-quieter, takes me less time to feed everyone, no more counter surfing which means we aren't always having to worry about closing the baby gates we installed...Etc. One of the more subtler changes that I've noticed in the last seven days is Glacier's energy and affection levels.
When I first got Glacier, he was a big goof who liked to curl up on my lap if I sat on the floor with him. We used to sit together on his sleeping mat at Leader Dog and I would hold his bone for him. I even read him a Hardy Boys mystery just to get him used to my voice. lol
When we got home, our bonding continued. He would follow me around the house after I had taken his leash off a few weeks after returning home. He would sit on my feet and bring me toys to play with. When I got Kyo a lot of this behavior stopped. It was so subtle that I hardly noticed it. I was so caught up in training Kyo on how to be a good companion dog, that I barely noticed Glacier becoming very subdued. I was also incredibly busy with my massage program and I also thought Glacier was just maturing. Glacier was barely a year and a half when I got him, so I thought he was calming down with age.
Ever since Kyo left, some of his personality traits have come back out. He follows me around and checks out what I am doing. He sits with me and squishes himself up on my feet as small as he can get. It's like he can't get close enough. He's started bringing me toys again and dropping them on my lap. He's also become a little mischievous again as well, but I fell in love with all of Glacier and I am glad he's back.
Roscoe seems a bit different too. He dances around a lot more like he used to and talks to us when we're getting ready to go out. He doesn't bark, just sort of sing/growls when the harnesses come down from where they are hanging.
I may have been Kyo's stepping stone on his way to greater things, but he definitely taught me a lot too. It's okay to have pet dogs in the house with working dogs-Aria doesn't bother these guys at all or alter their personalities-but when your pet dog's personality is bigger than your two working dogs' combined, then there is a problem. :) That is part of the reason I finally decided to give him up. I am all for adopting dogs, especially older dogs because they often get over looked, but adoption may not be as much of an option for guide dog users. You only get twenty minutes with a dog and then you have to decide whether he/she is for you or not. The Humane Society said I could have a trial run for a week, but you can't really get to know a dog in seven days-especially if that particular dog has a lot of potential, but has no manners. :)
It was definitely a learning process and I'm glad I just figured it out before it was too late and Glacier turned completely inward. He was never unhappy and he still worked well, but he just wasn't his normal silly self.