I keep telling myself that it is Bear’s age, that it is some developmental plateau he is at. Bear is nearing eight months of age and I keep hoping he will signal when Maggie or Declan are low. We haven’t even introduced the high blood sugar scent, yet. It is beginning to feel futile, like Groundhog Day (the movie), doing the same thing over and over again without much to show for it. Bear continues to chew up books and shoes and helmets. Dec’s bike helmet is now in the garbage. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is now in recycling.
I’ve tried to change it up a bit when possible. I’ll put the scent sample in Dec’s pocket, or in Fiona’s pocket, or in Maggie’s sock. Bear pretty quickly understands that it is game time. With game face on, sniffing intently, he’ll search for the sample and signal once he finds it. Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, but it appears Bear knows when the sample is out and work is to be done with a yummy liver treat to be consumed. Does he smell the sample as soon as the cap is taken off? Can he hear the lid being placed on the counter?
I’m convinced that he can tell when I try and inconspicuously unscrew the sample while it is in my pocket. He tilts his head the side, his ears perk up, and if we aren’t walking he will sit down and get ready to signal. This won’t be a problem as long as Maggie and Declan unscrew a vial in their pocket whenever they are low.
Yesterday Maggie got down on the floor with Bear, got him to signal a low by putting her arm out, and then she tested with her kit. Being the ultra sensitive person that she is, Maggie was indeed low. This is when I realized what she was doing and asked if she could sit a bit longer with Bear, feeding him treats and blowing in his face. She also suggested we take some low-scent samples. In addition to being ultra sensitive, Maggie is also money motivated (Over the summer we agreed that they would get 25 cents for each scent sample). She was planning a date at Starbucks the next day.
Starbucks date aside, Maggie got down on the floor with Bear, got him to signal and gave him treats on her own accord. It may be that she has come to terms with the fact that Bear is around for the long haul, and that he may as well be an asset to her. Similar to asking me what my plans are each morning, she may now see Bear as a resource worth utilizing.
Bear came with us today to a physical therapy appointment and to a dentist appointment. Maggie took a few pictures with Bear, yet another sign she is coming to terms with him. While Maggie got a cavity filled at the dentist, Fiona had the scent sample in her shoe, in her pocket, and under her leg. Knowing the sample was out, Bear’s game face was on and he signaled when he found it. After the filling we took the dentist out for some hot wings. Bear laid under the table quietly. As we got up to leave there were two guide-dogs in line to order some hot wings (with their handlers). I had to forcibly direct Bear to the door. Even so, the two other service dogs were distracted and had to be redirected by their handlers. Not to be mean-spirited, but there was some solace in the fact that these guide-dogs were distracted, that it is not just Bear.
At the New Year Bear will be eight months old, which is the age some dogs are placed in their home. At the New Year I will be half way through my year off. I’m hoping for some milestones.